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Jan 16 2013

Prototypical Sexist Atheist on Exhibit

In response to my post Monday on Adam Lee’s petition against the harassment of prominent women in the atheist movement (see The Name for What’s Happening), someone posted a comment that demonstrates the very existence and nature of the problem. Indeed, almost so perfectly I’d think a feminist invented it as an ideal hypothetical example; but no, this is an actual post by an actual antifeminist atheist who actually believes (or wants you to believe) everything he wrote. I responded there, but it’s all so worth reading I’m reproducing it here, in it’s own blog post. Because I want everyone to be aware that this shit is going on.

The commenter (posting as “submariner“) wrote:

“In other words, the Lee petition exists because women in this movement are being digitally harassed beyond the pale (and not, say, blacks or homeopathy opponents); and feminism is being openly mocked…”

PZ Meyers forbid Feminism be MOCKED, oh noes!, and OPENLY as well!!.(better if they mock in secret).

You have feminists like Feminist Frequency claiming that words to Christmas songs are sexist, that depictions of video game NPC’s are sexist.( talk about 1st world problems) Feminists have elevated internet trolling to the level of harassment ( although not legally declared such) , swooned about people wearing a t-shirt that made it clear the wearer did not want to be identified with one of their groups, and another who gave a creationist style science denialism “lecture” with no citations, quote mines, and strawman arguments.

Richard, the feminists and A+ ers are doing fine mocking themselves. Most rational people can see this for what it is: a political movement. One that refuses to look skeptically at itself.

In case you were wondering, I won’t be signing the petition.

To which I replied:

Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit A: an antifeminist has unabashedly shown up here. Take note! Study this specimen.

Those songs are sexist–or rather “creepy and/or sexist,” as submariner left out the disjunctive; because antifeminists tend to be logic challenged, and often do things like this: distort what was actually said to make it sound worse. Submariner is attempting an argument form called reductio ad absurdum, yet could only do it by missing or misrepresenting what was actually said (thus, he had to lie to make the facts absurd, in order to argue from their thus-fabricated absurdity–clever, eh?–or does he delusionally think he has accurately represented the facts in this matter? Neither is encouraging). That’s SOP for antifeminists in the atheist movement.

The issue of video games is another antifeminist distortion: the study of NPC’s (“nonplayer characters”) in video games that submariner refers to hasn’t even been completed yet (nor is it solely about NPC’s), and yet the mere suggestion that there might be some disturbing issues of sexism worth studying in video games produced a vast and ruthless campaign of sexist and misogynistic harassment of the researcher (documented here and here and here and here). This is precisely the kind of thing I’m talking about (although in this case it’s the gaming community, not the atheism movement specifically; but our women are receiving nearly the same treatment from atheists).

Here, our antifeminist specimen exhibits the delusional belief that there aren’t any issues of sexism worth studying in video games. Because delusionally not believing there is any sexism is practically a defining attribute of modern sexists. Which makes this a nearly ideal red flag: anyone who denies there is any sexism in America to study is probably a sexist; or else someone who just bought a computer and has only just recently discovered the internet.

Our specimen also conveniently “leaves out” the fact that the way this researcher (Anita Sarkeesian) was treated merely for wanting to research the question exhaustively and conclusively proves there is a disgusting and shocking degree of sexism in the gaming community. Thus, he cites this as an example of something outrageous feminists do, while leaving out the fact that the story he is referring to entails conclusive evidence that what this feminist wanted to investigate was not outrageous but evidently fully justified. Deleting facts that refute them, in the very examples they try to cite in their favor, is another example of antifeminist SOP.

The other two examples this specimen of antifeminism then cites are similarly erroneous: in both cases he has deleted all the key facts that eliminate their use as reductio arguments, he misrepresents what actually happened, and then fallaciously infers from these thus-fabricated non-examples that feminism deserves to be opposed, and therefore (we’re to infer) feminist women deserve to be ruthlessly digitally harassed. [if you don't already know the true story behind the two other examples he mentions, see here and here]

Of course, do note that this antifeminist doesn’t explicitly say that–that’s what he wants you to conclude. But he knows he would look like a complete and total asshat if he actually said that out loud. But that that is indeed what he is arguing is unmistakable from the context and his conclusion: he is commenting on a post asking people to sign a petition protesting the digital harassment of women in the atheist movement; he states some arguments, then concludes that he won’t sign the petition. The fabrications that precede that declaration are even explicitly represented as his reasons. Thus, he does not think there is anything wrong with digitally harassing women, and he wants you to agree with him.

I know, I know. You are thinking no one could possibly be that fucking bonkers, or that heartless, or that much of an ass. Or even if someone could be, surely they wouldn’t come out and publicly prove it by actually saying these things here (here of all places–as if he thought I didn’t know the truth of these facts and wouldn’t point you to the links–links he was careful not to include, because he knows if you actually looked into these things he would be exposed). But alas, here he is. Proof positive of sexism and antifeminism in the atheist movement–and of how heartless and irrational they are–and either how delusional or dishonest they are, depending on how you explain all his factual omissions and distortions; either way, as is typically the case, these people are wholly untrustworthy sources if you want to have any account of reality.

Submariner of course blasted the post with a bunch of other comments. But I saw no need to examine his nonsense further. I let it all through moderation so everyone could see what I mean.

Submariner is a perfect example of why you need to sign Adam Lee’s petition. Women don’t need apologists for harassment like submariner. They need a show of support, they need to hear that you won’t defend harassment, that you find it as disgusting and unacceptable as I do and would rather it stop. Please stand up for what’s right here. Go sign his petition!

112 comments

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  1. 1
    Matthias

    Oh Richard! Don’t you know that tearing apart someone’s terrible reasoning is taking away their right to free speech? Here they are standing against the feminist groupthink that we shouldn’t be horrible assholes to each other and you have to oppress them with political, i.e. factual, correctness. For shame!

  2. 2
    uberfeminist

    Why don’t you do as much as read a single Atheism+ forum thread?

    If you want to piece apart every anti-fem or MRA that comments on your blog, fine. Just take a few moments, and read the conversations to be had on the AtheismPlus.com website, or the AtheismPlus subreddit.

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      What has any of this to do with whether we should sign Lee’s petition?

    2. 2.2
      uberfeminist

      Because your posts about Adam Lee’s petition thus far have been as much an endorsement of A+ as it has been a critique of anti-fems or bigotry.

      I believe you would find that A+ is not inclusive, but rather an exclusive group of people forming around ideas not entirely related to secularism. It’s largely a political organization that views itself as the “atheist” perspective on a plethora of social justice issues. Especially SJ issues as they apply to the USA in particular. They’re people that believe that their local atheist meetup didn’t talk enough about income inequality and gendered pronouns.

      The anonymity of the internet will provide an endless supply of people saying awfully bigoted things. Maybe it’s real, or maybe it’s for the lulz. The moderators of Atheism+, with their assumptions of being representative of atheism at large, are practically guaranteeing there will be a legion of people in it for the lulz.

    3. Richard Carrier

      I see we have another delusional person completely out of touch with reality, who completely ignores all the evidence, even in the post they are commenting on, and fabricates claims about their imagined enemies, all to rationalize their refusal to take a stand against the harassment of women.

      (Or is this just another sock puppet for snowman and submariner?)

    4. 2.3
      uberfeminist

      What evidence is there of any racial or sexual assault happening at any secularist or skeptic event?

      I do not doubt that Anita Sarkeesian received a lot of grief online. Somebody edited her Wikipedia page? Somebody called her a bitch on XBOX Live? I believe every word of this.

      I’m sure there is rampant misogyny and racism when playing multiplayer Halo. Why not form HaloPlus?

      What specific claim of mine is manufactured?

      Do you deny that there are people on AtheismPlus (a group that remains uninvestigated) that care about gendered pronouns and income equality?

      Join SPLC, join HRC or join NOW. All these organizations are great! All these organizations are primarily secularist. (Who says there are too many theists in your usual LGBT rights group?)

    5. Richard Carrier

      You are attempting to derail this conversation. I have been talking about digital harassment, which I have documented not only exists, but at appalling levels. Your attempt to claim otherwise is exposed the moment anyone follows the links I provide in this post and in my last post and here. As far as harassment at conferences, there have been several incidences, but you can go complain about that elsewhere, where people actually document them (some of the links I have provided cover that subject).

      But certainly, by all means, we can all support the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be fighting the digital harassment of women in our own movement, or that we should ignore the sexism in our movement, or never talk about that or other issues that are important to us and to the world and that atheists could have a lot to contribute to.

    6. 2.4
      uberfeminist

      I completely agree with you regarding digital harassment.

      Where I get confused is Adam Lee’s petition is addressed to the FFRF, CFI, AHA, AA, RDFRS, SCA, SSA and JREF.

      These groups manage nearly ZERO web properties. Why should they be concerned by what some guy says on YouTube?

      Adam Lee wants them to manage their conferences.

      All the bold text from the petition:

      “We support making the atheist movement more diverse and inclusive.”
      “We support strong, sensible anti-harassment policies at our gatherings.”
      “We support the people in our community who’ve been the target of bullying, harassment and threats. ”

      Basically he wants FFRF to ban Thunderf00t from their meetings. They want to have secular groups make a concerted effort to identify internet trolls, and proactively exclude them from conferences. Presumably everybody on Youtube that says “Hey, nice rack!” can be said to be FFRF’s problem.

      The funny part being Adam’s plan for inclusivity rests on excluding people.

      Since when do effective groups need to make themselves the YouTube police?

      Would be interested to hear what you think of Michael Shermer’s article, which compares Atheism+ to Objectivism…

    7. Richard Carrier

      What Lee wants are respected organizational authorities to vocalize their disgust and rejection of this harassment, to prevent the antifeminists from claiming these organizations support them, and to create a top-down show of support. Exactly as his petition explains. The end game is to make this behavior increasingly and ever more widely declared the shameful and immature and immoral behavior it is that atheists will start to stop doing it.

      Nothing in his petition mentions banning Thunderf00t from conferences or meetings.

      But yes, unrepentant harassers ought to be excluded. Repentant ones need not be. However, though Thunderf00t says asinine things, and has engaged in borderline criminal activity and violated the constitutional rights of American citizens, and is thus a disgusting shitbag in my opinion, I am not personally aware of him participating in harassment. He is just defending and/or denying it. For which he should be ashamed. But as long as he behaves himself at a venue, I see no reason he can’t attend meetings or conferences. Of course, if he walks in and pisses off everyone at them, that’s another story. You don’t walk into a meeting, take a shit in the middle of it, and then complain when you get kicked out.

      As far as the whole issue of the necessity of excluding people who take metaphorical shits in the middle of everywhere, read the link I provided in my preceding post on this very issue: Some Thoughts on Divisiveness.

      As far as Shermer’s article, I’d need a link. I don’t know what you are talking about.

    8. 2.5
      LykeX

      What evidence is there of any racial or sexual assault happening at any secularist or skeptic event?

      Ahh, the good old false equivalence; if there are no corpses rotting on the ground, then nothing objectional happened. Interestingly, some of us think that even if it hasn’t escalated to the point of police involvement, there might just possibly be a problem anyway.

      An example of such is what happened to Ashley Miller at TAM. It was bad enough that the offender was ejected from the reception. There is actually a level of behavior in between perfectly ok and call the cops. It’s a level that predators are very good at identifying and that you are in the process of trying to make invisible.

      What you’re doing here is actively helping predators get away with their scumbag behavior. You might not intend it that way, but that’s the result. I suggest you stop.

    9. 2.6
      snowman

      >>Thunderf00t has engaged in borderline criminal activity

      Only a little better, Richard, than the other day when you were adamantly and falsely claiming he WAS a criminal, even though he broke no law at all and was invited to the group’s email list, and you refused to stop libeling him or present any evidence of your claim. http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2832/comment-page-1/#comment-31563

      >> and violated the constitutional rights of American citizens

      Again, can you prove yet that he broke the law and did that, or still just making that up to libel people? If so:

      “I see we have another delusional person completely out of touch with reality, who completely ignores all the evidence, even in the post they are commenting on, and fabricates claims about their imagined enemies, all to rationalize their refusal to take a stand against [fill in the blank]”

      Read the law and present legal evidence.

      *****

      uberfeminist asked:

      >>What evidence is there of any racial or sexual assault happening at any secularist or skeptic event?

      And Richard gave none but said this had nothing to do with conferences:

      >>You are attempting to derail this conversation. I have been talking about digital harassment
      >>As far as harassment at conferences, there have been several incidences, but you can go complain about that elsewhere

      But Richard then oddly demanded that they condemn anyway what isn’t even a problem at their events:

      >>vocalize their disgust and rejection of this harassment,
      >>prevent the antifeminists from claiming these organizations support them,
      >>unrepentant harassers ought to be excluded [from their events]

      Which is exactly why the poster said the petition made no sense to begin!

      Why not ask them to condemn poverty in Somalia as well? What does “digital harassment” have to do with those organizations and their events???

      From the way A+ goes on, women need concealed weapons to survive the burly he-men at an atheist conference. Given how dorky most atheists are, that sounds a bit off. The worst thing I’ve ever heard reported is a guy politely asked a women in an elevator to have coffee. She said no, he said something insanely sexist like, “Oh, OK, well have a good night then.”

      Was that one where the cops were almost called in but he cleverly kept it legal??? (Holy christ, do A+ women live cloistered with nuns and only encounter men at atheist conferences???)

      So putting aside online trolls,

      >>What evidence is there of any racial or sexual assault happening at any secularist or skeptic event?

      …such that anyone needs to participate in an A+ hunt for atheist sexists/racists? What actual specific things have happened that constitute sexism and racism, and to what degree?

      If not actually an issue, is this not simply another tactical maneuver to inject an A+ political issue into the agenda of a philosophical movement which must be, if to retain the freedom to question all, apolitical?

    10. Richard Carrier

      [Note to everyone: snowman thinks, for some unintelligible reason, that my believing Thunderf00t is morally a criminal is itself a crime, and not only that, but as much a crime as actually violating the 4th amendment right against unwarranted searches of our private papers by exploiting a security loophole to gain unauthorized access to a corporate email server and spy on the private email exchanges therein. And to support this ridiculous equivalence, he carefully does not link you to the actual comment he is referring to, but to his fact-challenged response to it, thus concealing from you what I actually said, which is here. This is, once again SOP. This man is a deceiver who either can't reason coherently or can't be trusted to give you an accurate account of reality. Either way, I see no point in responding to anything else he says. It's all bullshit, disconnected from logic and reality. And again, I only let his post through moderation so you can see what a delusional wanker he is.]

    11. 2.7
      snowman

      Good god, you are desperately dishonest, Richard.

      >>snowman thinks that my believing Thunderf00t is morally a criminal is itself a crime

      What I very clearly said is you’re an idiot: “No, morally you are not a “criminal”; criminality is a legal matter. Jeez.”.

      But that your lying and stating that people are in fact criminals and violated rights and such is libelous and shouldn’t be done by any honest person until proven in a court.

      And you think I “concealed” your magical ideas by linking to the same thread yours was in, just because I chose a different post per the need of my point above???

      I truly think you have some serious logic and honesty issues, Richard. What horrible shame happened in your childhood that you must never be wrong now?

    12. Richard Carrier

      Demonstrate that a single thing I have said here is a lie.

    13. 2.8
      snowman

      Please demonstrate you’re not a convicted rapist, Richard.

      You’re smart enough to know how dishonestly you argue yet not smart enough to stop. Are you a sociopath?

    14. Richard Carrier

      Please demonstrate you’re not a convicted rapist, Richard.

      Because an article containing extensive documentation and evidence of a fact is exactly like having no evidence whatever for a fact.

      You’re smart enough to know how dishonestly you argue yet not smart enough to stop. Are you a sociopath

      Demonstrate a single instance of me being dishonest.

  3. 3
    Jackie

    Very well stated. Thank you.

  4. 4
    Jay

    You present as an atheist. And you do present as a feminist. But I haven’t see you yet, present as a skeptic.

    1. 4.1
      Richard Carrier

      You must not read much of my work.

  5. 5
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’ve already signed. :)

    Something I’ve noticed about a certain breed of bigot is that they tend to prove the accusations against them in the midst of their defenses. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone say “I’m not racist, I just don’t like *racial slurs*!” or someone saying “Those *expletive sexist slurs* are just calling people misogynists for disagreeing with them!” The lack of self-awareness is staggering.

    1. 5.1
      John-Henry Beck

      I’m not sure how much of it is lack of self-awareness and how much of it is simply that they define bigotry, especially sexism, in a very different way. Like how they’ll insist Internet harassment isn’t something to complain about because people get harassed on the Internet all the time – they don’t differentiate between sexist slurs and rape threat versus other insults and trash talk. It’s like they expect some notable level of people acting badly to others and so trying to get people to check their behavior and be nicer is an unreasonable imposition on freedom.

  6. 6
    nohellbelowus

    Is this post the modern equivalent of a head on a pike?

    Have you been rewarded by any feminist Queens for this feat? I suppose scantily-clad virgins waving palm fronds over you and placing grapes in your mouth is a non-starter.

    *Sigh*

    ;)

    1. 6.1
      Richard Carrier

      BN

      (for readers equally bored, see the italicized paragraph at the end of this post for my abbreviations)

  7. 7
    Maureen Brian

    Thanks, Richard.

  8. 8
    Fizzing thru da Fizzics

    Belatedly, I signed as well. Was following the debates around, and the cognitive disconnect frightens me. The labeling of people as “no true ,,,,,,” shouldn’t be part of any rational discussion. /Relurking/

  9. 9
    Steven Carr

    Any idiot can see that the words to ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ are creepy, sexist and demean women.

    Unlike, for example, what Sasha Grey did on film for a living, which was ‘an expression of her liberty and power’

    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’m not sure what you mean. I assume you are referring to my discussion here. Disconcerting expressions of female power are indeed quite unlike “the tired old, all women need is a man myth” sung seriously as if it were actually romantic. If Sasha Grey ever sung a song “all I need for Christmas is to gag on a cock” I am quite certain she would not actually mean it; it would be a joke. I’m not aware of anyone who sings “All I Want for Christmas Is You” as a joke. But if someone did, it might actually be funny.

    2. 9.2
      Steven Carr

      Here are some of the lyrics to that song. As you can see, it perpetuates the myth that women want a man more than they want snow or magic reindeer.

      And this song was sung seriously , as though it was actually meant, and not as a joke.

      So sign the petition!

      ‘Oh, I won’t ask for much this Christmas
      I won’t even wish for snow
      And I’m just gonna keep on waiting
      Underneath the mistletoe

      I won’t make a list and send it
      To the North Pole for Saint Nick
      I won’t even stay awake to
      Hear those magic reindeer click’

  10. 10
    mikmik

    That petition is a joke. What thunderFoot video? I don’t mean one doesn’t exist, of course it does. But the petition gives no link or anything to find out what is being opposed by the petition.
    I’m with jay, there is a fucking dearth of skepticism in this A+ movement. You want to understand something, and that is this is a bait and switch.
    A+ was, and claims to be, about equality for all, with no specific agenda in any one area. The critics said it was nothing more than a disguised feminist movement, and suddenly they were all painted as anti-human rights, called assholes and slime, etc. etc.
    Now what have we? A fucking feminist movement.
    You certainly invoke the typical ‘argument’ of this movement:”someone posted a comment that demonstrates the very existence and nature of the problem. Indeed, almost so perfectly I’d think a feminist invented it as an ideal hypothetical example
    So fucking what? I agree that this person is full of bullshite, but it NOT AN ARGUMENT FOR A WIDESPREAD PROBLEM!
    One person says something ignorant, and suddenly it is proof of a widespread problem? It is anecdotal ‘evidence’, a sweeping generalization, and it is certainly not valid logic.

    This is what fucking gets me over, and over, and over again, and that is this particular type of segue: Here, our antifeminist specimen exhibits the delusional belief that there aren’t any issues of sexism worth studying in video games. Because delusionally not believing there is any sexism is practically a defining attribute of modern sexists.
    Where the hell do you get that? THAT IS A NON SEQUITUR, FFS! You take your partially valid criticism, and elevate it to a sweeping judgement and conclusion :”as submariner left out the disjunctive; because antifeminists tend to be logic challenged, and often do things like this: distort what was actually said to make it sound worse..

    HEY???? What???? That is exactly what you are doing! Talk about disjunctive bullshit. Who said the guy is anti-femenist? Part of his response used an invalid, IMO, couple of examples, and yet his other examples given are valid. You cherry pick part of his statement, ignore the context of the comment, start slinging the manufactured ad hominum – actually poisoning the well – “anti-feminists tend to be logic challenged” – as to assume that feminists are not. There is plenty of ‘logic challenged’ bullshit on the feminists side, and in fact, every discussing I have been in lately has involved no logic whatsoever, but insults, belittlement, slander, and repetition of these unsupported accusations and insolent put downs in every, EVERY, response to my comments.

    It seems that ANY DISAGREEMENT OR CRITICISM is universally labelled anti-feminist misogynistic rhetoric of poor little menz with delicate feelings that refuse to acknowledge that their petty little aggravations are pathetic in terms of the ‘real’ issues.

    I’ve come to the same conclusion, that this ‘movement’ (good description) is farcical and badly misguided at the outset. This article is a prime example of your bullshit tactics.

    Your turn, call me an anti-feminist misogynist, sling the invective. You types always, ALWAYS, do. Anyways, shouldn’t you be out burning your bra, or something? See, it is easy to be a dismissive and condescending fuck.

    I fucking resent your constant insinuations that everyone that doesn’t agree with you, part and parcel, is a degenerative fuck. If any one of you were to ever, EVER, consider a single criticism or disagreement rationally, I would fall off my chair, because I haven’t seen it yet. NEVER.

    You must not read much of my work.” My conclusion also, a dearth of skepticism. In fact, you are an insult to the concept when it comes to feminism.

    1. 10.1
      Richard Carrier

      Note to everyone: the above is another example of a factless, illogical tirade from an antifeminist completely out of touch with reality. As is typical, he misrepresents the facts, attributes claims to me I didn’t make, gets all my arguments wrong, resorts to stock fallacies like red herring and tu quoque, claims evidence doesn’t exist that I presented clearly, claims evidence exists that doesn’t exist, and when we note all those facts and draw the obvious inference (that his rage and polemicism and complete disregard of, and obvious disinterest in, the actual issue here of the way women are being treated in this movement, all evidences a seething sexism), he accuses us of being the bad guys for “jumping to conclusions.” No, we’re reaching conclusions.

      mikmik: Go away. I have no interest in your irrationality or your distortions of reality or your self-absorbed rage or your completely unproductive, unconstructive way of communicating. Go pout somewhere else.

    2. 10.2
      snowman

      Et, voila: Richard just proved the poster’s point in spades.

      Jay, you’re right. Richard is a liberal skeptic/atheist. He only uses questioning to undermine others and reach a nice crowd-friendly liberal outcome so he can claim it is “rational”, but never to undermine his own beliefs.

      This is a political movement not a philosophical one. As soon as questioned they go on an us-against-them attack.

    3. Richard Carrier

      [Note to everyone: this is a statement completely devoid of any evidence. Standard Snowman SOP.]

  11. 11
    sean 224

    “A boy chases a girl until she catches him” a fifties pop song title.

    “………and made him headsman for we said who’s next to be decapitED can not cut off another s head until he’s cut his own off, his own off, his own off, his owwwn………………….” WS Gilbert.(The Mikado).

    1. 11.1
      Richard Carrier

      Perhaps you could try making an argument, and thus explain the relevance of these quotations?

  12. 12
    Thetar

    Richard, you really seem to have completely swallowed the radfem dogma. Regarding Anita Sarkeesian, the side of the story that you presented is not the only one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2sNUhskwlI&lc=3Ag2KvP6xJKEQBiJ9byF9FLzWhCJTWzxPqZ98hxQYPA

    Although the title of this video could be considered inflammatory (no not antifeminist or misogynistic), it presents coherent criticisms of Anita Sarkeesian and her misguided project. I don’t support any harassment that she has received, but like Rebecca Watson, she uses that to play the victim card, which sadly seems to be paying off.

    1. 12.1
      Richard Carrier

      it presents coherent criticisms of Anita Sarkeesian and her misguided project.

      No, it doesn’t. But that you delusionally think it does tells me all I need to know.

      In fact, teachers take note: that video could be used in a media or rhetoric class to teach how to spot standard fallacies (from tu quoque to straw man to red herring to false generalization and beyond), and would serve as a good example for comparing what Sarkeesian actually says her project is about and why it’s worthwhile (which a smart skeptic can find out by watching her video), with what this guy claims she said (which is remarkably incorrect, omitting almost all of the points and claims she makes, and getting wrong the ones he does mention).

      I’ll give his video two kudos, however: it’s delightfully short and stated in respectable prose (and thus not shrill or insufferable). But as far as logical validity and soundness, it’s a textbook fail.

      And in any event, this still has nothing to do with whether we should sign a petition protesting digital harassment of women.

    2. 12.2
      oolon

      Is it very A+ and anti-sceptical of me to not bother watching that video because its made by someone called “FeministCrusher”?

    3. Richard Carrier

      [RC chuckles]

  13. 13
    Randomfactor

    I’ve signed too. In the spirit of “it’s never the crime that gets you, it’s the coverup,” the reaction to the initial “elevatorgate” incident proves how right she was.

  14. 14
    JediVerse

    He was not saying there is no sexism, he was saying the sexism that is being made out to be such a massive problem is not really that much of a problem. You have done exactly what you accused him of – reductio ad absurdum. I think if there is sexism in gaming it should be looked into and the reasons explored (like the fact that the vast majority of gamers are male so game developers are writing to appeal to their audience and don’t consider the finer ethical points of whether a female playing it might feel marginalized), and if it is found that yes there is sexism in the industry then awareness needs to be raised. Submariner’s point is that if this is the sort of thing raised as a major problem then there can’t be too much wrong (hence “first world problem”). It is not like they are complaining that women are being beheaded for learning to read for example, or that they are not getting equal pay for equal work, or even that they are being forced to leave their careers once they are married. Those would warrant the sort of attention the atheist community is giving to feminism.

    Now on the subject of consciousness-raising, why is the movement for equality among the sexes still called “feminism”? Isn’t that exclusive of an entire gender? It is interesting to note that in law I can think of not a single example where sexism against women is still legally condoned, yet for men they can be discriminated against with impunity (and yes I agree that for much of our history it has been the other way). A stay home father who has raised his children since they were born while his wife works, if they seperate will have custody immediately granted to the mother in many states, because it is assumed in law that mothers will automatically be better parents. This is an agregious violation of rights based solely on gender, but gets not a mention by A+, yet possible sexism in games gets an entire blog post? Male circumcision is almost universal in the US, yet it is not seen to be a problem. It is much more important to complain about female circumcision in other countries that we can’t do anything about.

    Of course there is sexism against women which still exists in our society. What Submariner was saying is that it is getting far more attention than it warrants considering the extent of the problem. What I would add to his assessment is that the treatment of people who disagree is creating trolls who will say horribly sexist things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually sexist. Can you possibly imagine the heartache of a father who has just had his children taken from him because he is male, then his community of skeptics and atheists tell him that feminism is the most important issue in his community, and this feminism holds that men are the problem (the “patriarchy”), that men are never discriminated against in our society, and then when he objects to this is banned from the forum. We are talking a level of anguish and anger it would be hard to understand without going through it yourself. If this man then says some sexist things to get back at the people who have hurt him, does that make him a sexist? Or a misogynist? A+ is generating a lot of anger because it is seen by many that feminism has hijacked atheism to the point where it is all anyone seems to want to talk about. I would not say that it is not an issue at all, but compared to the problems which religion poses our society, sexism against women is a pimple.

    Please go to the A+ forum and have a look for yourself. Imagine you are a father who has just lost his kids and you read those comments. I am not saying that all the trolls are bereft fathers, but any one of them could be. You are defending A+ as if all it is doing is saying women should be treated fairly. I don’t know a single atheist that would have a problem with that. If you are going to defend A+ you need to know what it is doing. The treatment it is meeting out to people makes wearing a t-shirt or making jewelery seem trivial by comparison.

    1. 14.1
      Richard Carrier

      Nice long speech.

      Now, are you in favor of signing a petition protesting the harassment of women in the atheist movement, or not?

    2. 14.2
      Keith Monaghan

      He was not saying there is no sexism, he was saying the sexism that is being made out to be such a massive problem is not really that much of a problem.

      Okay, so it should be ignored then? Nothing should be done? Conference organisers and the heads of atheist and sceptic organisation should not be informed of and/or take seriously the idea that a few women may be subjected to sexual harassment? Clearly because women aren’t being beheaded or anything this issue isn’t worth our time, right? You may not think it’s worth your time – well fine that’s your prerogative – it’s our time and resources that we’re using to combat a problem we see as worth combating, not yours.

      …they are not getting equal pay for equal work

      They’re not actually.

      ……or even that they are being forced to leave their careers once they are married.

      Many are.

      …Those would warrant the sort of attention the atheist community is giving to feminism.

      But online harassment and degrading of women and the belittlement of the issues that effect them aren’t worth the attention being given them? You do realise how this ruckus started don’t you? Women came forward about having experienced harassment at atheist/sceptic conferences, and a movement was set up to have the leaders of atheist groups and those holding conferences to institute harassment policies, just like many other conferences have – And then all hell broke loose. There was major pushback from a segment of the community, the overwhelming majority of whom were male, claiming that harassment polices were wrong, that there wasn’t much of a problem anyway and that we should focus on other things. Never mind the fact that there was nothing particularly special or onerous about these policies – they were fairly standard – the point was these MEN felt that they were encroaching on their freedom to… well to what? Harass women? What started out as a simple suggestion to have harassment policies at conferences was blown out of all proportion by those opposed to them.

      …Now on the subject of consciousness-raising, why is the movement for equality among the sexes still called “feminism”?

      History and because women and how they are treated in society are the primary focus of study.

      …It is interesting to note that in law I can think of not a single example where sexism against women is still legally condoned…

      The fact that you can’t think of any doesn’t mean they’re not there. But even if there were no cases of in law where sexism were condoned that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen anyway. You understand that the law cannot regulate every human interaction and there are many instances where sexism occurs despite the laws in place. In fact, that’s the thing with sexism, it very often prevents these laws from being enforced. Essentially your argument is that if there’s no sexist stance in law there’s no problem to fight against – even though women are still being discriminated against regardless.

      …A stay home father who has raised his children since they were born while his wife works, if they separate will have custody immediately granted to the mother in many states, because it is assumed in law that mothers will automatically be better parents.

      This may surprise you, but this is exactly the kind of thing feminists argue against. Why? Because this is an example of a patriarchal system in action. Men are forced to conform to stereotypes as much as women by the same systems that oppress women. The idea that men are the providers and women are carers is something feminists have been disputing for a long time, and if you were familiar with feminist writings you’d know that.

      …This is an egregious violation of rights based solely on gender, but gets not a mention by A+

      The fact that men are harmed by the same patriarchal systems that oppress women is very often the topic of A+ writings… but if you read them you’d know that.

      …Yet possible sexism in games gets an entire blog post?

      This post is not about sexism in games – it’s about an example of sexism in the community.

      …Male circumcision is almost universal in the US, yet it is not seen to be a problem. It is much more important to complain about female circumcision in other countries that we can’t do anything about.

      Yeah, male circumcision is not comparable to female circumcision. If it were it would involve the removal of the glans and stitching the foreskin shut… all done by your grandfather who has no medical training. So as you can see, it’s not as bad as stuff going on elsewhere so we can ignore it, right? (I refer you to your own comment about women not being beheaded). But, here’s the thing, male circumcision has been condemned by feminists in the atheist community too but you weren’t listening then either were you, because it aligned with the feelings of even sexist males and so wasn’t blown out of all proportion by them trying to shout the feminists down.

      …Of course there is sexism against women which still exists in our society. What Submariner was saying is that it is getting far more attention than it warrants considering the extent of the problem.

      You agree that half the population faces the threat of sexism but you don’t consider that a problem worth seriously addressing? How much attention should it be given then? Once a week? A month? Every blue moon?

      …What I would add to his assessment is that the treatment of people who disagree is creating trolls who will say horribly sexist things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually sexist.

      Now I will half agree with you here. There are some members of A+ who are too damn vitriolic for their own good but you need to understand that THEY’RE angry too. They’ve had to endure harassment and the trivialisation of issues that directly affect them too. People on both sides have reason to be upset. Of course, when I point out that vitriolic language causes an opponent in an argument to double-down and makes them incapable of actually acknowledging the points being made I get labelled a “tone troll”. Well whatever, if they’re primarily concerned with unloading steam then fine. But unloading steam is not an excuse for sexism – not at all. I don’t think that someone who only says sexist things, or racist things, or homophobic things when angry can honestly claim they’re not sexist/racist/homophobic. Those things don’t just pop out of thin air. If they say those things to “get back” at someone for upsetting them the they are guilty of abusing these very real issues.

      …Can you possibly imagine the heartache of a father who has just had his children taken from him because he is male, then his community of sceptics and atheists tell him that feminism is the most important issue in his community, and this feminism holds that men are the problem (the “patriarchy”), that men are never discriminated against in our society, and then when he objects to this is banned from the forum.

      Look it’s quite clear from everything that you’ve posted so far that you have no idea what the feminist position on the patriarchy is. It’s certainly not that men are not discriminated against at all. As I pointed out to you earlier, the idea that women make better child carers then men is symptomatic of the patriarchal system. It’s the system which enforces traditional, sexist gender roles – men need to be big and tough, they need to provide for women who need to make babies and stay at home to mind them. Men who do not fit into this rigid, patriarchal notion of “manliness” (by wanting joint or sole custody of kids for example when really he “should” be happy just providing Mommy with money to care for them) ARE discriminated against by the system and feminists not only acknowledge this, they actively fight against it. Now, I can’t comment on what happens over on the A+ forums, because I never really go there, but if you’d be kind enough to point me to where someone says men are NEVER discriminated against, or who actively agrees men should never be the primary carer of their kids I’d be much obliged. In fact I’d also be very surprised if you were able to finding anything comparable.

    3. 14.3
      Jesse M.

      [Submariner] was not saying there is no sexism, he was saying the sexism that is being made out to be such a massive problem is not really that much of a problem.

      Let us grant that for the sake of argument. The fact remains that small problems are still problems, so the argument carriers little weight. With that said, how is the identification of purported sexism in songs and video games relevant to the discussion of whether we should oppose the harassment of females? There is only one way the former could be relevant to the latter: when the former is seen as justification for not doing the latter. If you recall, that was the problem that Richard Carrier was calling attention to.

      You have done exactly what you accused him of – reductio ad absurdum.

      Carrier does not object to reductio ad absurd when that rhetorical device is based on accurate representations of someone’s views. He objected to Submariner’s attempted reductio ad absurd because it was based on a strawman.

      Now on the subject of consciousness-raising, why is the movement for equality among the sexes still called “feminism”? Isn’t that exclusive of an entire gender? It is interesting to note that in law I can think of not a single example where sexism against women is still legally condoned, yet for men they can be discriminated against with impunity (and yes I agree that for much of our history it has been the other way). A stay home father who has raised his children since they were born while his wife works, if they seperate will have custody immediately granted to the mother in many states, because it is assumed in law that mothers will automatically be better parents. This is an agregious violation of rights based solely on gender, but gets not a mention by A+, yet possible sexism in games gets an entire blog post? Male circumcision is almost universal in the US, yet it is not seen to be a problem. It is much more important to complain about female circumcision in other countries that we can’t do anything about.

      I agree that sexism, gender roles, and related issues affect males in both subtle and extreme ways. This is not contested by Atheism+, by the way. For example, Greta Christina has written blog entries (I can recall at least four) about the ways that males are negatively affected. I would not surprise me to learn that other Atheism+ authors have written similar blog entries. To say that the supporters of Atheism+ (such as myself) do not see these things as problems is a strawman.

      I agree that we would benefit from an ungendered term for the fight against sexism, gender roles, and related issues. However, I have not heard, or been able to come up with, a term that pleases the ear and which is specific enough to refer to these issues and no others. I have long liked the term ‘equalist’, but the meaning seems too broad to be used effectively to address specific issues and it is open to abuse, much like the word ‘respect’ has been abused to mean “don’t dress too sexy”.

      With that said, your argument implies that we should not take the time to oppose the harassment of females because the problems that males face are more dire. There are two issues with that: it assumes a dichotomy in which people must choose between one or the other; and it implies that female problems ought to be selected against. That kind of argument hurts the cause of opposing sexism against females (obviously) but also against males, because it associates the feelings of frustration and loathing with the opposition to sexism against males. In other words, this kind of argument is not a good way to make friends.

      What I would add to his assessment is that the treatment of people who disagree is creating trolls who will say horribly sexist things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually sexist. Can you possibly imagine the heartache of a father who has just had his children taken from him because he is male, then his community of skeptics and atheists tell him that feminism is the most important issue in his community, and this feminism holds that men are the problem (the “patriarchy”), that men are never discriminated against in our society, and then when he objects to this is banned from the forum. We are talking a level of anguish and anger it would be hard to understand without going through it yourself. If this man then says some sexist things to get back at the people who have hurt him, does that make him a sexist? Or a misogynist? A+ is generating a lot of anger because it is seen by many that feminism has hijacked atheism to the point where it is all anyone seems to want to talk about. I would not say that it is not an issue at all, but compared to the problems which religion poses our society, sexism against women is a pimple.

      I have not been to the Atheism+ forums, but I have seen some men on this website attempt to make such arguments and get shouted down. Every once in a while, I think the person was shouted down too quickly, but that is only once in a while. Most of the time, I have little sympathy, because their behavior is lamentable: they create strawmen arguments, downplay the seriousness of female problems, set up false dichotomies in an attempt to push female problems into the backseat, lambast people for their supposed political correctness, and so on. Comments like those are tiring, and it would not surprise me to find that the people at the Atheism+ forums have grown tired of posts with the same smell.

    4. 14.4
      A Hermit

      He was not saying there is no sexism, he was saying the sexism that is being made out to be such a massive problem is not really that much of a problem

      So how much of a problem does it have to be before we start looking at it to find out how bad it is? Or before we speak out against it? Should we ignore the harassment that does happen just because you think it isn’t that bad?

      What’s your threshold for sexism? Is it the same as, higher or lower than your threshold for, say, racism? Is there some acceptable level of harassment or discrimination that has to be exceeded before you object to it in general?

    5. 14.5
      oolon

      Why do idiots like JediVerse pop up everywhere pontificating on the A+ forum when they have plainly not been hanging out there? You would think xie would at least google the forum to check on if xie is full of shit…

      Anyway.. Circumcision. A+ Forum. Have a look ->
      http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=870
      http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=701

      FGM is considered worse, and why not! But it is also clear pretty much the whole of A+ is anti-male circumcision –> at least I couldn’t find anyone in favour of it!

      Fathers who have not got custody of their children would be far far far better off supporting A+ and so called “radical” feminism than hanging around with a bunch of angry impotent misogynists and rape apologists (MRAs)… From the A+ forum -> (As I doubt you have the attention span to read the links I post)

      Equality is the message of feminism, including when it comes to child custody. Why do women get child custody so much? Because women are stereotyped by patriarchal thinking as natural nurturers, whereas men are portrayed as dangerously inept when it comes to taking care of children. These are false stereotypes that feminists have been working for decades to break down. What has the MRM been doing about it? Mostly complaining. Also advocating violence against women who unfairly “steal” men’s children away from them. You know, just a bit.

      A main goal of feminism which you seem to be totally ignorant of is to break down the gender stereotypes that assign men and women roles that irl fuck them up. Men are capable of being the primary caregiver to a child just as gay/trans/etc people are.

      This bit from you is ridiculous ->

      I would not say that it is not an issue at all, but compared to the problems which religion poses our society, sexism against women is a pimple.

      Google “religious misogyny” FFS… Christianity is one of the major forces of oppression and disseminators of those toxic stereotypes about gender I mention above. If you think custody and male circumcision are a big deal then sexism is a big deal… Oh and if you didn’t get it “feminists” are not just concerned with sexism towards women, it just happens that women come off worse in our patriarchal society.

    6. 14.6
      LykeX

      A stay home father who has raised his children since they were born while his wife works, if they seperate will have custody immediately granted to the mother in many states, because it is assumed in law that mothers will automatically be better parents. This is an agregious violation of rights based solely on gender, but gets not a mention by A+

      Bullshit. Feminists have done far more for men’s rights than MRAs ever have.
      Incidentally, note the first comment on that page, where several posts by Greta Christina, resident of FtB, is mentioned. Now stop spouting MRA talking points and do your damn homework.

  15. 15
    sean 224

    “A boy chases a girl until she catches him” a fifties pop song title.

    “………and made him headsman for we said who’s next to be decapitED can not cut off another s head until he’s cut his own off, his own off, his own off, his owwwn………………….” WS Gilbert.(The Mikado).

    Just a little whimsy Richard.Somewhat needed,perhaps, in the fetid atmosphere in which this argument continues to rip into the fabric of this Atheist movement which many of us are wedded to. Our movement is worldwide, this bickering is mostly in USA. A+ is an American thing,I live in France which has an advanced social safety net. We want religion to be a harmless hobby can we work towards that?

    The rest is a tempete dans une tasse. Back to work everyone!

    1. 15.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’m not sure what you mean. France has a notorious sexism problem. Arguably worse than in the US generally. (See here and here and here and here.)

      As far as working to make religion a harmless hobby, we’d love to be doing that. But the sexists and antifeminists in our movement won’t let us. They won’t let up on their harassment of women in particular who would love to be doing something else other than be driven out of the movement or forced to constantly respond to this shit. We are all still working toward that goal in lots of ways, but we’d be doing it a lot more if these assholes would just go away and commiserate with each other in their own forums, and leave the rest of us alone.

    2. 15.2
      Kassad

      I call bullshit on Sean. I live in France (well I’m French) and we have a massive problem with sexism. Also I’m not sure about the “worse than in the US generally” part of Richard response.

      Moreover, the state of secularism and the status of non-believer in France (which is far better than in the US :)) make the fight against feminism infinitely more important in this country.

      Besides I’m not sure what “atheist movement” in France you’re talking about, and if you are talking about this community, it is mostly american, so stop pissing on someone else priorities please.

  16. 16
    GrzeTor

    Is it a trend? I read some frethoughtblogs and find that citations that bloggers give as a sign of some perceived problem are actually accurate and correct! Good jobs for finding such arguments and presenting them to the world.

    Btw. how do you call an atheist who is against Atheism+? An anti-atheism+ atheist? A+ people naming skills lead to the massacre of language.

    Concerning your example – a fuzzy thinking might lead some people to confuse two different concepts – “sexism” and “anti-feminism”. Read definitions, compare – these are not the same.

    BTW. – do you know that Angry Harry is “99% atheist”?

    http://www.angryharry.com/es-The-Golden-Rule.htm

  17. 17
    dianagoods

    Easy to be skeptical of ideas that we have no emotional investment in, not so easy to be skeptical of our own beliefs. So many seem to be responding to this with the knee-jerk reaction “I’m one of the good guys, therefore I’m not sexist.” I have always identified as a feminist and yet when I look back at some things that have come out of my mouth over the years, I could cringe at what my earlier self believed. Becoming involved with atheism and skepticism has opened my eyes to questioning everything, most importantly my own beliefs and values. That there are people who would deny that sexism and misogyny is a problem in this community just boggles my mind.

    Signed the petition last week.

  18. 18
    loofasword

    “What I would add to his assessment is that the treatment of people who disagree is creating trolls who will say horribly sexist things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually sexist.”

    Try that with any other “ism” and see if it makes any sense:

    …trolls who will say horribly anti-Semitic things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually anti-Semites.

    …trolls who will say horribly racist things because they are angry and lashing out – not because they are actually racist.

    If you’re not “actually sexist”, then you don’t use sexism to lash out, no matter how angry you may be about anything.

    1. 18.1
      doublereed

      Those other statements make total sense. People say anti-semetic and racist things when trolling. Of course they do. It just depends on the target.

    2. Richard Carrier

      (and some of that came up in the attacks on Sarkeesian, including speculation she was a Jew…it would be comical if it wasn’t creepy)

    3. 18.2
      loofasword

      Those other statements make total sense. People say anti-semetic and racist things when trolling. Of course they do. It just depends on the target.

      ?!?

      Uh, okay. So your definition of “actually racist” is what, exactly?

  19. 19
    gwen

    Thanks for the post, Richard. I signed and will encourage others to do the same.

  20. 20
    1. 20.1
      Hank_Says

      52 signed, 48 to go.

      Most likely scenario upon completion: FtB and Skepchick will receive a petition, signed by 100 people who fail fucking dismally at reading comprehension and win completely at ignoring scads of evidence of harrassment and abuse out there in broad fucking daylight, telling them to stop being such misandrists and stop ruining skepticism for everyone.

      Then what, Mahatma? FtB/Skepchick already know of at least five times that many delusional sexism denialists and they’ve been getting hate mail, rape threats, ignorant “rebuttals” and shrill demands for “evidence!1!” from Internet Tough Guys like that every fucking day for two solid years and it’s only strengthened their resolve; what possible effect could knowing the names of 100 more ignorant bastards have on them?

      You are hereby awarded a Slow. Fucking. Clap.

    2. 20.2
      Swk6

      We could. But it’s rather cute seeing it all small and pathetic like.

    3. 20.3
      oolon

      From the number of votes for you Rocko I think I have to assume the majority do like “unskeptical witch-hunts”… Where do we go from here?

  21. 21
    Mzone

    Richard, how is your question different than “Have you stopped beating our wife yet?”? Does it not presuppose that there is harassment of women in the atheist movement? I don’t consider opposing radical feminism as harassment, I don’t consider Harriet Hall’s t-shirt as harassment, and I don’t consider a respectful invitation to coffee as harassment. You call yourself a scholar? “Nice long speech” what a dishonest and dismissive individual you are.

    1. 21.1
      Richard Carrier

      I documented harassment in the atheist movement. Extensively. In several posts. And here in comments.

      Meanwhile you engage two of the standard antfeminist fallacies that this very post documents:

      (1) You straw man the case of what happened to Amy Roth by leaving out every other thing that happened and the actual sequence of events (and Hall’s demonstrated complete lack of compassion and sympathy for Roth once she was aware of all that was happening and how it made Roth feel…Hall actually went out of her way to continue making Roth cry and feel unwelcome at the conference…most of us had parents who taught us not to behave like that, but to make people feel welcome at events they sponsor and to help them feel comfortable there).

      (2) You tell a stock lie about the incident when Rebecca Watson was propositioned alone in an elevator at 4 AM in a foreign country by a complete stranger: so far as I have seen, never, anywhere, by anyone, was that ever called harassment…except by antifeminist liars like you. Watson just said she didn’t like it and that it wasn’t a good idea for men to do that. She never called it harassment. Nor has anyone else in the Atheism Plus movement that I know about. (And if any did, they are wrong. It would only have been harassment if he persisted.) What was harassment was what was done to Watson by hundreds of atheists in our movement after she said that, even though what she said was a perfectly sensible and, honestly, a rather mild thing to say.

      Thus, when we get to look at the truth, antifeminist bullshit like yours is exposed. And the extent of your dishonesty or delusionality is exposed. And thus we are shown why people like you are completely untrustworthy guides to reality and should simply be ignored. Exactly the point of the very post you are commenting on. Thank you!

    2. 21.2
      Hank_Says

      … I don’t consider a respectful invitation to coffee as harassment

      Neither did Rebecca Watson – which you’d know if you’d watched the video (99% of which was about other things). The fact that you think she did consider the invitation harassment tells me more or less all I need to know. Rebecca states quite plainly and calmly in that video that being asked to a man’s hotel room at 4am in an enclosed space – after she’d made it plain she was going to her room to sleep – made her a little uncomfortable.

      That this obviously and easily-confirmable fact needs to be restated after all the coverage it’s had over the last two years is disturbing. It’s like there are two parallel narratives: what Rebecca actually said (which is very easy to check) and what certain people have been told is true by others with vested interests in demonising feminist women and their supporters. The latter, false narrative has snowballed and been used, ironically, to fuel two years’ worth of actual harassment targeted at Rebecca as punishment for a mis-perception that she called harassment on something that wasn’t. This harassment has, as should be common knowledge, spilled onto others of all genders who have said anything at all on the topic – often, sadly with the encouragement or tacit approval of high-profile skeptics who ought to know better.

      I don’t consider Harriet Hall’s t-shirt as harassment

      As the t-shirt was not targeted at you and didn’t make reference to anything you said or experienced, that is completely irrelevant. The target gets to decide whether they feel harassed; the opinion of a random onlooker (or internet commentator, months after the events) is absolutely meaningless.

      I don’t consider opposing radical feminism as harassment

      More meaninglessness. Regardless of how you even define “radical feminism”, simple ideological opposition to it is one thing; a concerted campaign of online abuse and graphic threats is another entirely (especially when many if not most of the targets of such abuse don’t even identify as “radical” feminists). It is the latter state of affairs that has people upset, not the simple fact that there exist people who oppose “radical” feminism (however that is defined).

      This shouldn’t need to be explained to those who self-identify as skeptics (and who have unfettered access to the real versions of the events under discussion) and it’s lamentable that it is. It’s also, frankly, shameful and embarrassing to this community that such explanations need to occur with such frequency and predictability.

    3. 21.3
      LykeX

      …I don’t consider a respectful invitation to coffee as harassment…

      How about being told that you “deserve to be raped and tortured and killed“? Does that qualify?

      According to the MRA script, this is the point where you say that’s just harmless internet trolling and I have to point out that there’s nothing harmless about death threats.

    4. 21.4
      snowman

      >>The target gets to decide whether they feel harassed

      No, they don’t, that’s idiotic! The standard is a common person.

      Following YOUR non-logic:

      I feel harassed by Rebecca Watson’s blue hair. I then say, “C’mon, gals, don’t do that at conferences, makes me uncomfortable.” Women are annoyed by my stupidity and call me names online.

      Therefore the atheist community is against men??? And you post that I get to decide her blue hair is harassment???

      And any “skeptic” crying about an opinion on someone’s t-shirt should stay home until grown up. Jeez, can you imagine Dawkins crying at a conference because someone had a t-shirt saying “God is NOT a delusion!”???

    5. 21.5
      LykeX

      The standard is a common person.

      Then, by that standard, does “You deserve to be raped and tortured and killed” qualify?

  22. 22
    GrzeTor

    We, atheists are totally exhausted by the constant “you are immoral” propaganda directed at us. Most of it stems from religious leaders and activists, who do the propaganda. So atheists organized into atheist communities… only to find out screaming feminists falsly accusing them as a group (atheist men) that they are immoral. No safe heaven – loud, unbearable accussations everywhere!

    The propaganda against atheists, especially the one that somehow accuses us of being immoral is definitely above the treshold of tolerance. As such there’s no choice but to categorize everyone spreading it (those priests and feminist who do it) as enemies. Enemies of atheist movement. And deal with them accordingly.

  23. 23
    submariner

    Richard,

    Sorry it took me a while to respond to your post. Let’s get to it, shall we?

    “Our specimen also conveniently “leaves out” the fact that the way this researcher was treated merely for wanting to research the question exhaustively and conclusively proves there is a disgusting and shocking degree of sexism in the gaming community.”

    What Richard conveniently leaves out is that the video in question was a plea for both money for a kickstarter and a plea (though unspoken) for the very trollish comments she then displays to play the victim. Previous FF videos were comments disabled. All of them since then are also comments disabled. Why do you think she allowed comments on the one video she was using to e-beg? To add fuel to the fire, she then posts a comment in that video asking people not to feed the trolls. She’s very clever there don’t you think?

    Here are some comments that your link linked to :

    “But this study has been done over and over and over and over again….stop beating a dead horse.” and

    “Why don’t you make a series that highlights the strengths of the medium in regards to women? If you want positive change then delve into whats being done right, rather than focusing on this negatively. Look at eternal darkness (which is awesome), that game has a female lead who is not hypersexualised or stereotyped – and there are loads more. Thats what i’d prefer to see.” and


    It’s called an archetype. Such are present in male characters as well. Archetypes have recurred in human forms of expression since the invention of art.”

    Such misogynistic comments. These were gamer people who had developed their own culture, rules of engagement and slang. Into this arena a self-proclaimed feminist who vlogs about decidedly 1st world “issues”, wants to review games from her decidedly prudish (to the gamers) POV. In an effort to change the games being produced. Well you can see why they might get upset.

    SURLY AMY-

    “he misrepresents what actually happened, and then fallaciously infers from these thus-fabricated non-examples that feminism deserves to be opposed, and therefore (we’re to infer) feminist women deserve to be ruthlessly digitally harassed.”

    The backstory on Amy :http://elevatorgate.wordpress.com/tam-2012-drama/

    Nice straw man Dick. I in fact do not believe feminist women deserve to be ruthlessly digitally harassed. Can I see the evidence of this “ruthless digital harassment”, please? If it’s so ruthless and actually meets the definition of harassment, I’m sure you’ll have police reports, or injunctions that means some official entity recognizes the digital harassment as such, right, Dick?

    Science denialism : Here’s a link to the Clint piece.
    http://skepticink.com/incredulous/2012/12/01/science-denialism-at-a-skeptic-conference/

    In your only defense of this article you cited Stephanie Zvan’s FTB article. Interesting choice in that it was self-contradictory. Didn’t see that part? Let me point it out to you by putting her comments near each other rather than separated by several paragraphs.

    “Have you seen Rebecca Watson’s Skepticon talk yet? You should. It’s a brief, entertaining look into some of the ways evolutionary psychologists abuse science when it comes to gender essentialism. ”

    and

    “Once again, this points to the fact that this is a speech about popular psychology. I happen to disagree about the “boring” part, but she’s dead right about the fact that evolutionary psychology in the popular media is appalling. ”

    Who’s doing the lying here Dick?
    “as if he thought I didn’t know the truth of these facts and wouldn’t point you to the links–links he was careful not to include, because he knows if you actually looked into these things he would be exposed”

    Links are there Dick, your move.

    1. 23.1
      Richard Carrier

      [The above post by submariner is almost entirely bullshit. It is full of even more fallacies and falsehoods, and descends into immature name calling. SOP. I let it through moderation solely to show people what sort of people I'm dealing with here.]

  24. 24
    submariner

    Oh and a comment to the readers. Follow Dick’s links. Follow the links in the Dick’s links. Then google the topic and follow those links. If you’re expecting truth from the likes of Dick here….well, let’s just say I advise you to apply real skepticism and follow those links.

    1. 24.1
      Richard Carrier

      [Note to my readers: I am starting to suspect submariner is a child.]

    2. 24.2
      snowman

      Richard, I think your readers suspect you are untrustworthy (again), responding like a baby with insults to someone telling people to read the evidence for themselves.

      Why do you always undermine yourself so badly, Richard? Who can trust anything seemingly intelligent you post when you constantly respond in such a childish and unphilosophical manner?

    3. Richard Carrier

      No, Snowman, most of my readers have your number. They are not deceived by your rhetorical tricks into thinking I’m the one who is bullshitting them, or the one who is acting childishly. I’m sure almost all of them know you are the one who is. And those who don’t, are delusional antifeminists like you.

  25. 25
    submariner

    “What was harassment was what was done to Watson by hundreds of atheists in our movement after she said that, even though what she said was a perfectly sensible and, honestly, a rather mild thing to say.

    Thus, when we get to look at the truth, antifeminist bullshit like yours is exposed.”

    Let’s follow that link as a skeptic for example One of the subsequent links leads to a Page of Hate:
    http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/

    Counting up all comments of the page o hate: 365 (plus or minus) of those 308 were authored by 4 people. That leaves 57 comments by unique people, plus the 4 “stalkers” which makes 61 people. Hardly “hundreds of atheists”

    But there’s more: Read the comments and categorize them yourself. 39 are terrible examples using sexual language. 8 are personal insults that don’t relate to gender. 2 of them are actually reasonable disagreements.

    Rebecca Watson’s channel got over 1.5 million video views on Youtube, OK maybe many of them were repeat viewers. Her most watched video had over 189,000 views. Now she pulled comments from multiple sources so there’s no way for me to find out exactly how many people viewed her various material, but lets just say it was 189,000. That’s 39/189000= 0.00021 or 0.02%. Not fair enough? I’ll even count all of the “hundreds” which was actually 61. 61/189000= .00033 or 0.033%

    Now the 57 non multiple comment people don’t rise to harassment by VAWA standards:

    http://news.cnet.com/FAQ-The-new-annoy-law-explained/2100-1028_3-602539

    http://news.cnet.com/Create-an-e-annoyance,-go-to-jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html

    here’s an article about guys getting harassed for their views:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/the-national-hate-mail-obama_n_1944849.html

    Be wary readers of the FTB’s . Check facts or you might believe 61=hundreds.

    1. 25.1
      Richard Carrier

      [Note to my readers: submariner engages here in sample bias: he works from a single link, ignores most of what is said in it, and draws conclusions from his self-selection of evidence even within that one location that are supposed to hold for all the links I provided, when if he did this for the whole sample provided, all links and all evidence, none of his conclusions would hold up. This is antifeminist SOP. Ironically, even his fallacious argument makes no sense: he wants you to think there are fewer harassers than actually there are, therefore we shouldn't sign a petition against harassment. I'll let you think that one through to spot the obvious fallacy.]

  26. 26
    Shawn S-Z

    I feel like I’ve been living with my head in the fucking sand for so many years. When I first read Rebecca Watson’s post about her elevator encounter which sparked such a vitriolic discussion (and it hasn’t always been just a discussion; it is more often just rants by people who are either anti-feminist, anti-women’s rights, or people who didn’t realize there was a problem and don’t want to deal with it now that it has been made apparent). I signed the Lee Petition. I mean, I understand the confusion by a lot of people, like me, who didn’t realize there was a problem, mostly because we aren’t misogynists (I’m always asking my wife to let me know if I do or say something she thinks is misogynist; I also ask her to call me on logical fallacies, too; She’s a great partner for that!) and thought every other atheist had to be like us. That was naive.

    There seems to be a lot of denial about the issue and this just goes to show: atheist != skeptic. Also, skeptics have their ‘sacred cows’. I find mine and try to kill them, but some sacred cows are camouflaged very well. That’s kind of what I’m seeing right now with all this. People in angry denial that a problem exists, but who don’t realize they are behaving in a manner consistent with that of a misogynist.They might even be very good when it comes to treating women as equals 98% of the time, but that 2% still needs work so they’re pissed when they hear that they still need to work on that 2%. It’s almost like hearing a white guy say, “I’m not racist, I have at least two nigger friends at work. You have to admit, I mean I’m not making this up, it’s a fact, they DO smell different.” It is ridiculous. Even if there were a group of women who actually were going overboard in some manner consistent with the accusations leveled by some of the posters mentioned, I can’t say I’d blame them.

    So far, everything I’ve read indicates a real problem and until every man of us takes a good look inside and scours every misogynist thought away, just like every white person should scour every racist thought away and every skeptic should scour every superstitious notion away… well…. the problem will remain. I have little hope it will go away looking at the loudmouth asses, but then again, I feel the same way about fundamentalists. Just because we have made strides toward a society where women are truly treated as equals doesn’t mean we’re done. This might even be the hardest part. Those of us who think we’re done. We’ve done enough. No. We’re not done yet. Keep it up, Richard. Keep it up, PZ. Keep it up A+.

  27. 27
    eric

    Those songs are sexist–or rather “creepy and/or sexist,” as submariner left out the disjunctive…

    I’ve never really understood why some defenders of old stuff have to say its not sexist to defend it. I watched the Thin Man last year and it was horribly, incredibly sexist. Also, as ’30s movie, pretty good. “Santa Baby” is a ’50s era swing song that portrays women as vain/materialistic. This is not surprising given when it was written and nobody should feel a need to re-interpret it to fit modern sensibilities. If your aesthetic taste runs to enjoying it as a song (like mine did for the Thin Man), fine. But liking it doesn’t mean you should deny it says what it actually says. Artists are, like the rest of us, products of their times. There’s often going to be racist, sexist, or bigoted material in old art – even the good old art. What we have to do in such cases is to try and appreciate the art without condoning the message. Sometimes that’s possible, sometimes its not and we just have to reject the whole piece entirely. But nobody – defender or critic – should be claiming these pieces of art are not exactly what they are.

    1. 27.1
      Richard Carrier

      Just FYI, I am an avid fan of the Thin Man films and I can’t say I’ve found them especially sexist. Their portrayal of women tracks (if comically exaggerating) the reality of the time; and their depiction of marriage borders on feminist for that era (but not so much by 21st century standards, sure). Indeed, when was the last time a crime fighting hero was consistently and integrally depicted having a good ongoing relationship with his wife? We might actually have gone backwards in some respects.

      But I agree with your overall point, and am thus interested in hearing what you thought was (as you put it, maybe exaggeratedly) “horribly, incredibly sexist” in it (I assume you are reacting only to the first film).

      Your mention of the song, though, reminds me to note that finding, for example, “Santa Baby” mildly sexist is not the same as finding it “horribly, incredibly sexist.” I’m not attributing that sentiment to you, though, just making the point to everyone in general, since the antifeminists tend to gravitate toward black-and-white fallacies and assume if we find something sexist, we find it absolutely, horribly, in every worst way sexist, as if it was either that or not sexist at all. There are degrees, and context can make a substantial difference.

      For example, “Santa Baby” is a somewhat inept analog to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” but the latter comes from a context in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that is a satire of the very sexist concepts it superficially reproduces–which is evident when compared to its original source material (which actually was sexist in a disturbing but perhaps not artificial way): the things that were changed and handled differently say a great deal about how progressive the film actually is. See this feminist analysis, for example (although I think she misses the sad notes in the signature song), and this one.

      What can be illuminating is thinking about how you would improve the lyrics to any such song.

      To “fix” “Santa Baby” you’d pretty much have to change the whole theme of it (what do women actually wish for for Christmas?), or re-contextualize it (e.g., put it in a musical on the lips of a specific character, or revise the lyrics to acknowledge the existence of women unlike the narrator, or to give the narrator an actual motivation), or gender reverse it (a trick that can often expose what is actually weird or even creepy about a song).

      By contrast, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a more sophisticated portrayal of a particular character type that is, when you pay attention to it, actually intentionally sad. I wouldn’t change the lyrics. I don’t see it as actually generalizing to all women, but as portraying one type of woman in a sad situation created by her cultural context (a context that is now obsolete in most Western democracies, but meaningful as history: see the preceding link; and yet, the film would be downright subversive in most sexism-dominant cultures today, like modern India).

    2. 27.2
      eric

      am thus interested in hearing what you thought was (as you put it, maybe exaggeratedly) “horribly, incredibly sexist” in it

      Well, it was last year, but I think the fact that both characters agreed/supported a pretty subservient role for women. As you say, they do it with sometimes comic exaggeration, so its easy now to view it as snarky or a sort of Colbert-like satire. I am not an afficionado of ’30s films, however, my expectation is that at least some of it was serious; the viewer is expected to believe that the characters actually believe a lot of what they are saying, they are not merely saying every single sexist thing with a clever wink to the audience.

      Your mention of the song, though, reminds me to note that finding, for example, “Santa Baby” mildly sexist is not the same as finding it “horribly, incredibly sexist.”…There are degrees, and context can make a substantial difference.

      Agreed.

      To “fix” “Santa Baby” you’d pretty much have to change the whole theme of it …or re-contextualize it…or gender reverse it

      Re-contextualizing seems pretty easy (if one wanted to). While I don’t think this is the way it was meant to be taken, it would be fairly easy – especially with music video – to point it at social class or wealth while not changing the lyrics at all.

    3. Richard Carrier

      I think the fact that both characters agreed/supported a pretty subservient role for women

      Only insofar as that was the going thing in the culture at the time (so yes, even the comic exaggerations sometimes amplify beliefs or expectations common in the audience). But in that context, Nora’s liberation and persistent resistance to her husband’s protectivism was actually quite progressive (as was his good-humored response to it; as opposed to shaming her, divorcing her, beating her, intimidating her, etc.). Likewise, the diverse ways women were portrayed, especially considering their independent thought being so frequently featured, even when it isn’t admirable (this becomes more evident in subsequent films in the series; not all women are good guys, nor do they all share the same values).

      Notably, Nora is the one with all the money, and who chose to marry Nick. She lets him manage the money because she hates accounting (as a later film illustrates; he also can’t stand the accounting and tries to fob it off onto managers, thus even that attitude is not portrayed as a “girl” thing). She is heroic (on at least two occasions I can think of she dives in front of a bullet to save Nick, though he’d rather she didn’t; thus the protectivism isn’t all on his side) and non-traditional (she drinks as lavishly as he does, and this is never portrayed as a character flaw or as unwomanly), as well as clever and pro-active. Indeed, it’s hard to list in what ways exactly she is “subservient” to Nick, all things considered.

      In the first film, though, there are fewer female characters to judge by. A small sample size of two (not counting Nora) can skew impressions (pick any random two women connected to a murder today and you could still possibly end up with similar personalities, minus the comic exaggeration). Over the course of the whole series you get a lot more variety. Nothing as entirely stereotype-breaking as, say, a female judge or fighter pilot, but then, that would be bizarre back then–and one doesn’t write bizarre into a script unless you have a reason to; normally you want background facts to track what is familiar, and believability requires trending toward stereotypes. Only when those stereotypes are culturally unrealistic are we in bad fiction land.

      Hence, unrealistically portraying women in a sexist way is not the same thing as realistically portraying women as they are in what actually is a mildly sexist culture (and when you exaggerate for comic effect, the same rule still applies, with allowance for the comic exaggeration). It’s rather like admiring the feminism in Jane Austen without being appalled none of her women gets in a sword fight with ruffians. The only sexism in her work is the sexism that actually existed (although granted, much of her work aims to criticize it; the Thin Man films instead play off it for fun–but notably, when they do, the women come off no worse than the men).

    4. 27.3
      moarscienceplz

      I have all the Thin Man movies on DVD, and I have to agree with Richard. I think The Thin Man could be easily remade today with very little change (except, maybe, less alcohol). OTOH, if you reversed the genders you’d have a female detective who quits her profession to marry a rich playboy and become a lush. That, I think, WOULD appear sexist. So, maybe The Thin Man is slightly anti-sexist? Nora is definitely the more mature of the two. Sure, she is seen as bumbling when she tries to solve the crime, but I see that as due to the fact that Nick has lots of experience as a detective and Nora doesn’t, not that she is a female.

      Most of the supporting characters are not shining examples of humanity, but this is a rather noir-ish film, and both males and females get their chance to be low-lifes, so I think it’s pretty even-handed in it’s treatment of the sexes.

    5. Richard Carrier

      OTOH, if you reversed the genders you’d have a female detective who quits her profession to marry a rich playboy and become a lush. That, I think, WOULD appear sexist.

      Oh, man, that made me laugh. :-)

      I wonder if that twist could be done without seeming to be sexist. I hadn’t thought of it before. It might be amusing. As long as you kept to the style of humor of the original films (and didn’t try to go slapstick or Identity Thief with it). It’s like wondering if one could pull off a gender-reversed Arthur.

  28. 28
    jacklewis

    Maybe the petition should be about principles that everyone can agree it and leave thunderfoot out of it?
    Valuing free speech sometimes means defending the right to opinions one disagrees with… no?

    1. 28.1
      Richard Carrier

      Thunderf00t is the reason the petition is needed: he called for these organizations to ban us from attending their events. Lee’s petition is the sane response to that absurd demand.

      This isn’t about free speech. It’s about human decency and whether we will do anything against the harassment that is taking place in our community.

      One can be free to promote terrible things. And we can be free to sign petitions expressing our disapproval of them. That’s how freedom works.

      Defending liberty is not an excuse to be amoral.

  29. 29
    Steven Carr (@stevencarrwork)

    REBECCA
    Over the past several years, I’ve been groped, grabbed, touched in other nonconsensual ways, told I can expect to be raped, told I’m a whore, a slut, a bitch, a prude, a dyke, a cunt, a twat, told I should watch my back at conferences, told I’m too ugly to be raped, told I don’t have a say in my own treatment because I’ve posed for sexy photos, told I should get a better headshot because that one doesn’t convey how sexy I am in person, told I deserve to be raped – by skeptics and atheists. All by skeptics and atheists.

    CARR
    This is quite shocking. The sheer scale of harrassment documented here is appalling.

    Is it any wonder that women just do not feel safe at sceptic conferences?

    Would you go to a sceptic conference if you were treated like that?

    1. 29.1
      Richard Carrier

      (To be clear, she was describing disparate incidents over several years in both physical and digital venues, not a single barrage of incidents at any one conference. She is actually careful to point that out. I note this only because some antifeminists convert quotes like that into claims she didn’t make.)

  30. 30
    doublereed

    Man, it is absolutely ridiculous how much pushback this is getting. It’s disturbing that very basic egalitarian principles are being labeled as radical feminist or whatever. I have no idea why people are pushing this whole “Sexism Denial” thing. Clearly we have a serious problem on our hands. How did it get to be this way?

    This is the reason why gamers developed Wheaton’s Law: Don’t be a dick.

    1. 30.1
      atheist

      Clearly we have a serious problem on our hands.

      I agree that the skeptical movement has a serious problem with the harassment of women, and the damage done is very real. Consider the fact that Natalie Reed feels she must leave the movement entirely. Or, consider how Rebecca Watson feels about, and assesses, the situation. She has a disturbing point that most of the defense against harassment, so far, has to be done by individuals because organizations don’t want to get involved.

      But at the same time, I’ve been happy to see that many skeptics are working on the problem. I tend to agree with PZ Myers’ recent assessment that the majority of skeptics are anti-harassment and pro-feminist, even if they do not describe themselves in exactly these terms. I hope that this trend will continue.

      In a situation where one group of skeptics is becoming an ever-more-extreme anti-feminist harassment machine, while another group of skeptics is being grudgingly pulled into defending against harassment, I would hope that the second group prevails. I would hope that the first group, while its pro-harassment activism is certainly effective, ultimately is marginalized in the greater movement. I would hope that the activism of skeptical feminists ultimately prevails, and that the skeptical movement ultimately accepts their teachings that feminism is the natural outgrowth of a skeptical worldview.

  31. 31
    Deepak Shetty

    Im sure you didnt mean it this way – but “our women” ??

    1. 31.1
      Richard Carrier

      The women in our movement.

  32. 32
    GrzeTor

    Richard, please explain to me, how do you want to achieve 2 things at once:
    1) Expanding atheism to ethnic groups like blacks, hispanics.
    2) Increasing safety (rapes, harassment and stuff) for members of atheist community.

    As I understand crime rates and stuff (level of aggression) for groups mentioned in point 1 are HIGHER than for the distribution that current atheist movement has. So including this group in the community is likely to INCREASE various dangers to the members of the atheist community. Even increasing interaction rates should lead to increased dangers compared to the current safe heaven of having mostly Northern Asian or Norhtern European mebers.

    1. 32.1
      Richard Carrier

      Holy. Fucking. Shit. You did not just say that.

      (Do I really have to explain why this is not only a fallacious argument, but blatantly racist?)

    2. 32.2
      GrzeTor

      Richard – you haven’t answered any of the difficult questions I asked (starting from what’s are cons and fallacies of Atheism+ add-on over atheism). You are dodging this one too. And it is especially important because it is a practical question. And it’s critical because it’s a security question. Your attempt to reach out to higher-crime, higher-violence groups that the ones that are present now puts atheist community at risk of various dangers.

      I’m not sure from where you have deduced “racism”. I’ve checked many definitions, and what I’ve written is not compatible with them. Example one: “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. “.

      1) I didn’t present any belief or doctrine, just a practical fact of life, confirmend by crime-rate statistics.

      2) I didn’t say anything about INHERENT differences between races. The visible higher crime, violence might be caused by this, or may not – a “gangster culture” might be a reasons. If so the problems are temporary rather than inherent. But are still going to be present as long as the culture is alive, which may last dozens of years.

      3) I’ve havent said anything about power structure, who should rule whom.

      4) It’s actually you who has the habit of constant dividing people into races. The greatest example is the “Diversity” dogma, that by it’s nature requires dividing people by race, to check what the per-race distribution of number of people is, and wheter it matches preexisting beliefs of how it should be. When it comes to me, I’m not particularly interested in analysis of people by race, and unless prompted by the other side of the discussion (either race realists, or diversity worshippers) I don’t analyze people by race.

      So before you use words – check their definitions!

      Again, and with the newly acquired knowledge that it is a practical question about security – how do you tacke the problem of expanding to higher-crime groups, a goal you advocate.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Wow. Just wow. I’m not even going to waste time on this one.

      (If anyone else wants to, go ahead. But I doubt your careful explanation of the racism and logical fallacy in his original remark will persuade him. He looks like a lost cause.)

    4. 32.3
      GrzeTor

      Richard, I’m severly dissapointed with your performance in those 2 recent threads. It looks like I wrongly assumed that you are an intellectural, which implies being interested in discussion on important problems. High crime rates among certain groups are an important problem. The security issues related to admitting such groups to your movement are critical, but perhaps you are accepting the price of ignoring them, which is having a risk of real-world victims.
      Then I also thought you are an advocate of your newly formed secular religion of Atheism+ [1], rather than being a sketpic, open to any result based on results (even one that would invalidate your core values). An advocacy would mean that you eagerly engage in discussion, but not in the purpose of finding out truth, but just to avertise his preexisting core values, and denigrate views of his opponents incompatible with his core values, including the real facts they present.
      Unfortunately it turns out that you are not an intellectual. In our recent exchange of post I was writing well-argumented posts, while you were reacting with responses like “Holy. Fucking. Shit.”, ” I’m not even going to waste time on this one.”, “I don’t know [...] what the point of your question is”, or no responses at all, or by addressing only the easy part of my post, while omitting the difficult part (even though these were about topics you are aparently interested in). Basically you refrained from discussion on such topics which excludes you from the classification as an intellectual, or even an advocate.
      This puts you more in the category of priests of your Atheism+ religion. Priests are people who preach their core values to others by constantly repeating slogans (see my post about Slogan Thinking), and getting both severe emotional reactions and mental blocades when dealing with information that is incompatible with their core values.You repeat slogans, and you got both reactions when faced with the unconvienient facts of life I and others have presented. Up to the blockage of thinking by a taboo of mentioning something about race – at this moment your dogmas prevented you from thinking, and forced you to run away from the discussion.
      Which is bad for your reputation and general development of critical skilss. I’ve seen your talks, and it looks like you are a person who gets for the easy stuff. The main topic beign laughing at some ridiculous religious myths. Really, how difficult is this – telling that stupid is stupid? Or how difficult is to proove that science is better than religion? Getting rid of theistic religion is mainly about breaking it’s emotional hold on humans (fears etc.), fighting social pressures, and one’s own habits and preferences resulting from indocrtination as a child. When you get it then argumentation is the easy part. In your defense – you have done very good job in those easy areas.
      If you were willing to get into the real world, and critically analyze issues that are there, then the level of difficulty goes up tremendously. The types of propaganda used there are much more unobtrusive, intermingled with thruth etc. In religion it’s like telling you a false claims in your face with „you have to believe it” order. In the real world it can be heavily promoting proven benefits of something and hiding the disadvantages of it in various way: by simply keeping information about it secret, bribing reviewers with advertisment money, or even going as far as persecuting those who dare to publish about the negative sides of your products.
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/drug-company-drew-up-doctor-hit-list/story-e6frg6n6-1225693586492
      Notice – the first set of questions I’ve asked to you was „So what are the biggest flaws, errors, falacies, disadvantages of the part of Atheism Plus that is the difference between it and conventional atheism? Can you enlighten us on this?” – and you failed to answer.
      Right now I cannot say that you have the ability to get to this „Level 2” of critical thinkig, you are just stuck at laughing at stupid myths, and instead believing in stupid-but-less left-wing ideologies of Atheism+. For you a necessary step to go up to the Level 2 is getting rid of your mental blocades caused by Atheism+ and use the achieved freedom of thought to apply critical thinking to those Atheism+ concepts, values and dogmas.

      ———————————————————————

      [1] Richard Carrier explaining what religion is in his “Why science is better than religion and always has been”:
      “By science and religion I mean particular things. By religion I mean any system of beliefs and values based in some way or other on unscientific thinking. Depending on some sort of knowledge other than scientific reason. [...] Religion can also mean a sincere devotion to any worldview, any philosophy of life as a source of meaning and values. That’s a valid use of the word, and in that sense I myself am a deeply religious man.[...] By science I mean the whole system of values and ideas on which all scientific thinking is based [...], “.
      Atheism+ fits your definition of religion well. It’s both a devotion to a set of what you call “core values” it provides – which are positive statements of what you value, rather just being methods (like in skepticism) or rejection of claims of certain types (like in conventional meaning of atheism), as well as it’s based on unscientific thinking. The latter was partially shown in my other posts, for example:
      1) I’ve noticed that “social justice” is not defined – ‘The phrase has taken on a very controverted and variable meaning, depending on who is using it. ” according to Wikipedia. As such it’s unscientific.
      Reading further – „The term and modern concept of “social justice” was coined by the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli in 1840 based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas […]The idea was elaborated by the moral theologian John A. Ryan […]Father Coughlin also used the term in his publications in the 1930s and the 1940s. It is a part of Catholic social teaching, the Protestants’ Social Gospel”. Yeah, not even a hint of a religious thinking in Atheism+ core concepts 
      2) I’ve proven that “eqality of opportunity” promoted as a part of social justice concept by some Atheists+ is not unstable, self-eliminating. And that there can never be an equality of opportunity if you include humans vs. institutions scenarios. And attepmts to implement impossible are unscientific.
      3) I’ve proven that the current stated Atheism+ core values and goals are not compatible with a standard, empirically proven framework for formulating and evaluating goals (S.M.A.R.T) .
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria
      4) What I have been doing in my previous posts and now is to see how Atheism+ core values, goals and plans perform when the real-world is taken into account not just Slogan Thinking. This is a wide area full of opportunities to find real gems of contradictions for those who wish to apply critical thinking.
      By far the biggest looser is A+ core value of diversity. In my past post I’ve indicated that Diversity is neither revealant both in absoulte terms (achieving diversity doesn’t solve any real problems, just satisfies subjective feelings of people who want to achieve diversity), as well as relatively to the standard skeptic goals of advancing reason and critical thinking – that give you great bang for the unit of efforts and resources that you spend on popularizing them. I as well as others have indicated that it may not even be achievable, as the current experiences from the real world show
      The current sub-thread I’ve started was supposed to confront the set containing of:
      a) the real-world (measured by police stats) crime rates of various ethnic groups
      b) the desire of A+ people to expand to those groups
      c) The general fear of A+ members of crimes of certain type done AMONG THE MEMBERS.
      With the question – how would you make the coherent whole out of them?
      What you might answer could be one of the following:
      I) Show willingness to apply some security checks to members, eg. checking them for crime records, screening out those who have commited violent crimes. This would result in my resposne about you violating your declared core value of „compassion”, basically putting you in „rough justice” camp. And the elitism of your group would increase as you
      II) Answer with a denial that a problem exists (a standard left-wing response). This would result in me showing you the data. And there’s a lot of data out there. Eg.
      http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=26368

      „In the United States in 2005, 37,460 white females were sexually assaulted or raped by a black man, while between zero and ten black females were sexually assaulted or raped by a white man.”

      III) Show faith in your abilities to fix the crime problems immediately or in a short time (A+ doing miracles). This would force me to show what the typical (realistic) crime rate decline rates are, what are the limits, and what kind of demographics changes are required to achieve this.
      Example of typical rate of crime decline – by Steven Pinker
      http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html
      Examples of the demographics processes that are necessary for crime rate decline – by Gregory Clark. Notice the progress included both brutal stuff like systematic elimination of people who don’t fill the criteria, as well as thing you’d probably hate – a succes of „privileged” people, who didn’t care about „social justice”, but practiced nepotism.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYspzYiX_kg

      Then the topic would go it’s way according to your third response. But since you are not an intellectual, not a skeptic, not even an advocate, but just a priest of Atheism+ – left the thread with no answer, but just an expression of emotional state. Which is very irresponsible as it’s about a SECURITY issue, with probable real-world victims.

    5. Richard Carrier

      [One only hopes I'm being punked. This is getting totes funny.]

  33. 33
    jacklewis

    “Thunderf00t is the reason the petition is needed:”
    Oh, sorry… I get it now, it’s not about feminism, it’s about petty vindictiveness.
    Fighting absurdity with more of the same… why do I keep expecting better?
    And here I thought you were serious about the issue.
    BTW how about providing a link in the petition to the exact video that is so disturbing?
    I am sure there is a video, but I would think a petition complaining about a video would at least provide a link for it instead of staying generic and forcing anyone who would be interested in signing or not to scan for it…
    This would seem a fairly obvious thing. Maybe I missed the link but I really can’t find it. My eyes are not what they used to be.
    (Really not trying to be contentious, but seriously…)

    1. 33.1
      Richard Carrier

      No. It’s neither petty nor vindictive. It’s simply necessary. But for you to see that, you’d have to be reasoning coherently and your beliefs have to be in line with reality. Neither seems to be the case.

      (BTW, I’m not sure if petitions at Change.org can have links in them. Tf00t’s video is linked in the very first sentence of Adam Lee’s article about the petition, which I linked to myself in the very first paragraph of my post about the petition, which was in turn linked to in the very first paragraph of this post you are commenting on. So maybe you just haven’t been keeping up with current events.)

  34. 34
    Hank_Says

    21.4: snowman

    >>The target gets to decide whether they feel harassed

    No, they don’t, that’s idiotic! The standard is a common person.

    Following YOUR non-logic:

    I feel harassed by Rebecca Watson’s blue hair. I then say, “C’mon, gals, don’t do that at conferences, makes me uncomfortable.” Women are annoyed by my stupidity and call me names online.

    Therefore the atheist community is against men??? And you post that I get to decide her blue hair is harassment???

    And any “skeptic” crying about an opinion on someone’s t-shirt should stay home until grown up. Jeez, can you imagine Dawkins crying at a conference because someone had a t-shirt saying “God is NOT a delusion!”???

    Now, “non-logic” eh? That’s rich. IF Rebecca had worn her hair blue expressly to upset you (and especially continued to do so after you’d requested she stop), you may have cause to feel harassed. However, in your example, she didn’t do that. You simply took exception to her blue hair and ask that all women not colour their hair in public. If that piss-weak parallel is the best you’ve got, your hypothetical women are right to be annoyed by your stupidity (though they should probably leave out the name-calling – no point ceding you the moral high ground with some grownup language).

    Short version: you not liking someone’s hair is not harassment. That is idiotic. Someone wearing blue hair deliberately because they know it’s likely to upset you? Well, if it does upset you then yes: you do get to decide if you feel harassed by that behaviour.

    (BTW – what the frack is a “common person”?)

    The t-shirts in question were not just opinions being voiced, they were pointed remarks targeted at particular individuals in response to those individuals’ comments regarding harassment and related policies at public events. They were intended to belittle their targets and dismiss their concerns. Don’t insult peoples’ intelligence by claiming “innocent opinion”. By the way: it wasn’t just t-shirt slogans people felt harassed or upset or targeted by, but don’t let your incomplete knowledge of the situation dissuade you from jumping in feet first.

    Jeez, if you can’t see the difference between your personal reaction to a hairstyle and a clique of people displaying slogans and engaging in behaviour deliberately targeting individuals they knew would be at an event and would likely see those slogans/experience that behaviour, there’s little else that can be added to this exchange.

    Except for this: one question mark at a time is quite enough, please. This isn’t Youtube. What is it with dudebro internet champions and their abuse of punctuation? Why do defenders of sexism so closely mirror fundamentalist trolls in their argumentation?

  35. 35
    Hank_Says

    Moderation again! Well, hopefully I’ll be stuck here for less than 72 hours this time :)

    1. 35.1
      Richard Carrier

      Sorry. I don’t work on weekends. Then I get swamped with work until Tuesday. Happens sometimes. But I’m glad to see you taking some of the load off me here.

  36. 36
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Hey Richard, Thank you for pointing out the surreal and ridiculous strawmen/strawfeminist arguments these anti-women’s rights/feminist movement folks are trying to pass off as logic. The logical fallacies they are employing are stupendous, it’s one big gish gallop. Thanks for not being swayed by their nonsense and showing it for what it is.

    I’m still trying to understand why feminism is such a hot-button issue. Being a feminist first, when I became an atheist I could COMPLETELY related to all the bullshit anti-atheists try to use to dismiss you or accuse you of being a horrible person for being an atheist.

  37. 37
    jacklewis

    Ok, so yes there is a link at that article (I see that now) but not at the page where the petition is and which I assumed was the main/important thing people were supposed to read and sign (I probably got that wrong too).

    I sincerely feel really awful that my suggestion that there should have been a link there has caused you such discomfort or distress that you had to react emotionally and try to belittle me for such an odious comment.

    It’s patently obvious that mentioning a single offender in a petition is by definition petty and vindictive, but sure… people that disagree with you are reasoning incoherently… sigh. How coherent does one need to be to not even understand such simple words as petty and vindictive. Did you at least get a rise out of being such an asshole? Did your self worth rise for a second? I hope for you that it did, maybe you can try to maintain it at a ok level, so that you don’t feel the need to be a douche to other people who might waste some of their time trying to discuss things without completely agreeing with you. I sure won’t be bothered anymore.

    1. 37.1
      Richard Carrier

      I sincerely feel really awful that my suggestion that there should have been a link there has caused you such discomfort or distress that you had to react emotionally and try to belittle me for such an odious comment.

      You are referring to this comment. Which has none of the attributes you claim. Except that I calmly and emotionlessly pointed out that it “seems” you were not “reasoning coherently” and “your beliefs” were not “in line with reality.” Which is true.

      But your irrational response even further confirms your inability to discuss this calmly and reasonably. You live in a delusional bubble in which a petition, motivated by shock at a disturbing video calling for feminists to be banned from conferences, calls attention to the entire gamut of abuse women are receiving and why we need to make the opposite response that Thunderf00t is calling for, and is therefore “petty” and “vindictive” and targeted solely at him (which it is explicitly not).

      You see what isn’t there. And that’s disturbing. It makes rational conversation with you impossible.

  38. 38
    Lucky christian

    Hey all you atheists out there, I for my part am quite happy that this debate about feminism is happening at the moment. This has many advanteges: F.e. Richard Dawkins looses popularity. To my guess, it will not take long till Dawkins is forgotten and I think it will not take long till the atheist community is cut into pieces. Rebecca W. has managed to do what no WLC could have been done. Everywhere the community is breaking into pieces.

    Thank God for Rebecca Watson. I think the problem for you guys is that you try to make the whole community bigger by assimilating feminist issues. But I think at least for your side this was a mistake.

    Atheists seem to be devided on feminist issues and that will cut you appart …..
    I wish you good luck for the future. Things look good.

    F.e. a year ago, when I searched the Richard Dawkins foundation in google, I got 15.000.000 hits.

    Yesterday I got only 12.000.000 hits. Thank God …..

    Rebecca doesn’t know it, but she is Gods instrument!

    God bless you….

    1. 38.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s all fantasy. But I guess it’s nice to see what bubbles of fiction people are living in these days.

  39. 39
    theoreticalgrrrl

    People are going start believing in God again because of that annoying political special-interest group, Women, trying to take over atheism.
    Rebecca = Eve! A woman ruins it all (again).

  40. 40
    andrewviceroy

    Girlwriteswhat? just gave a stunning example of the real effects of feminist misandry at the governmental level: http://youtu.be/DpiUQl98YkI?t=13m14s These are NOT *strawwomen*, as has been portrayed here and elsewhere. She also gives a real sample of untenable suppression by feminists in corporate America (Norton): http://youtu.be/DpiUQl98YkI?t=5m55s

    Now I do think that “men’s rights” has the same pitfalls as “feminism” does, but those are NOT “hate sites.” Yeah, “antimysandry.com” is a “hate site.” WoW.

    1. 40.1
      Richard Carrier

      Yes, that is a straw woman argument. When you pick an isolated extreme member of a class and assume their stance is that shared by all members of that class, and then condemn the whole class by arguing against the behavior of that one aberrant member, you are committing a textbook straw man fallacy. If someone did the same to atheism, you would be outraged. But when they do it to feminism, you cheer. You need to examine yourself here. Something is wrong with the way you are thinking about the world.

      In these cases, as well, her facts are a bit skewed.

      Blocking sites is optional; that is, someone can choose whether to block sites or not on a terminal they own (using the software in question). And Norton doesn’t have a category of “hate” sites anyway. Its software, and only at the highest level of filtering, blocks sites deemed “unsafe for children / not family friendly.” Someone (we do not know who, much less whether they were even a feminist specifically, or even if it was a human: some of these decisions are made by robots) decided that the listed MRA sites had non-family-friendly content (presumably, atheist sites talking about human sexuality or torture would be blocked by that same filter, for example [likewise sites that use words a lot like "fuck" or "cunt," as MRA sites oh so often do]). Possibly Norton (by human or robot) made the decision because of material like this.

      That hate literature has been published on MRA sites is an established fact (see here and here and here and here). This puts MRA sites in a grey area: not all their content advocates hatred (even violence) against women and feminists, but some of it does. Some people are concerned about that. Nevertheless, Norton-Symantic overruled the blocking of MRA sites. They are no longer classified as non-family-friendly on their software, even at the highest filtering level.

      So much for mainstream feminism being unfair.

      Notice how reality is a lot more nuanced than your worldview would have it.

      Likewise, the Jill Carter bill story is inaccurate. Maryland law calls for consideration of joint custody: MD. CODE ANN., FAM. LAW § 5-203(d)(1) (LexisNexis 2006): “If the parents live apart, a court may award custody of a minor child to either parent or joint custody to both parents” and id. § 5-203(d)(2): “Neither parent is presumed to have any right to custody that is superior to the right of the other parent.” So there was no opposition to joint custody, just the presumption of it. Ironically, even apart from that, the example is self-refuting since Jill Carter is a woman and supported the bill in question, which refutes the claim that all the women refused to vote on it. Jill Carter is in the Maryland Women’s Caucus, so obviously they could not “all” have walked out to block the bill. Carter was the bill’s sponsor!

      So here we have a feminist (Jill Carter) arguing against other feminists now being used to malign all feminists. Nice. Just pick the side you disagree with, call them “the feminists,” ignore the other side (also women, also feminists, also advocates of women’s rights), and then conclude feminism is evil. There are other examples of split sides among feminists in the Maryland legislature featuring Carter, where she is not alone, and the issues are more complex than just “evil feminists vs. the nice girls who for the purposes of our narrative we shall pretend are not also feminists” storyline would have it.

      Surely you can think better than that.

      BTW, I tried finding the bill GirlSaysWhat references, so as to maybe find out how she mistook what happened, but she either gave the year wrong or the wrong bill number. But using the Maryland legislative website I found several bills on child custody in 2004, the closest being HB 1217, which did not establish joint custody (that was already on the books) but required a court to officially state why it rejected it if it did (it does demand a presumption of joint custody unless reasons to reject are declared, but the latter is all that enforces the former, and the latter is what the Women’s Caucus supports, strongly in fact: that the courts must have to state the reason for their decision, whatever it is; so Carter’s law is actually not necessary).

      That Carter has continued pushing the same bill for years (I found an article on her refusing to vote for marriage equality until the House votes on this very same bill even just a few years ago) suggests this is the one she meant. I then found a journalist’s note about a women’s caucus “revolt” against that same bill in 2004, so this must be the one she meant. It’s unclear why they opposed it (their only stated reason was that it would effect too radical a change in existing law, but I don’t see how).

      Personally, I see nothing wrong with the bill (and I’m a feminist–ergo, so much for that argument), nor does Women’s Policy Inc. (ergo, so much for all feminists agreeing with the Maryland Caucus). Finally, as I noted already, the women’s caucus in Maryland actually supports the basic principle that the court should be required to state on the record the reasons for its custody determination (whether for or against joint custody), which is really all that Carter’s bill actually does. So these “evil feminists” are not actually opposed to joint custody, nor to the only substantive change Carter’s bill would effect, which is official declarations of reasons for custody rulings.

      Once again, reality is more nuanced and complicated than your narrative would have it.

      You should embrace a reality-based worldview and actually check facts like these yourself before drawing rash conclusions here. I shouldn’t have had to do all this. You should have done it first.

  41. 41
    andrewviceroy

    sorry, that “real effects of feminist misandry” (although, ironically, it could be interpreted as misogyny in the long run, in the sense that it perpetuates gender discrimination that hurts women and men).

    1. 41.1
      Richard Carrier

      Just FYI, I made the correction, but left your request up since it made an additional point.

  42. 42
    andrewviceroy

    Hmmmm… here’s the first song criticized in the link:

    With lyrics like:
    “I just want you for my very own
    More than you could ever know
    Make my wish come true
    All I want for Christmas
    Is you”

    Poetic language that implies a mutual consent to “ownership” in order to artistically express how profound their desire is for fidelity. Totally common practice when describing emotions (especially in the Arts) and not a stretch of the word “creepy” in the least. But when you get right down to asking any of these people whether they think that they “own” each other in the sense of ‘slavery,’ beyond poetic license, would they actually concede to this? Overwhelmingly most would not IMO, even if they believe the 10th Commandment. This is the kind of stuff that makes people say, “there is so much worse going on to worry about this.” Talk about real abuse (I mean, DO talk about it).

    The next one is even more lame:

    “The song starts with “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night,” and then it goes on to say “I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus underneath his beard so snowy white.”

    The story is about someone’s mom whose cheating on her husband with Santa Claus and the poor kid has to watch the whole thing, or in the best case scenario it’s his dad dressed up as Santa Claus, but either way… bleh.”

    Clearly, it’s dad in a Santa suit- THAT’S THE JOKE! Holy shit! Are you f’n kidding me? Like the first one, it’s neither creepy NOR sexist. If you want a creepy Santa line, a much better one is, “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake… He knows when you are bad or good… so be good for goodness’ sake [and not the veiled threat I just made].” hehe

    The next song blames Perry Como for describing children playing with the kinds of toys they played with in the day, and so that reinforces the stereotype. The blogger gets upset at the idea that a girl should want a doll. Well, she better get upset at these primates as well: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/12/chimp-dolls/ Don’t cry naturalistic fallacy. I’m just sayin’ it’s not ALL about culture.

    I was going to stop after the first, but I’m intrigued to see if one of these really offends me.

    ““Santa baby, a 54 convertible too,
    Light blue.
    I’ll wait up for you dear,
    Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.”

    Santa Baby was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt in 1953 and has been covered countless time since then by artists such as Shakira, The Pussycat Dolls, Taylor Swift, Madonna. This song might seems cute, and sweet and some have even tried to make it sexy, but it’s really another tired old stereotype about how women are materialist and shallow.”

    PEOPLE are materialistic, not just women. An anecdote: I was on a dating site years ago and wasn’t getting too many hits (as an atheist and a musician), so I changed my title to “Millionaire CEO poet loves to laugh.” I instantly had an unparalleled explosion of so many views it was stupid. Of course, I creatively back-peddled from my false claim, then ultimately abandoned the experiment, but there you go.

    “I really can’t stay but Baby it’s cold outside
    I’ve got to go away but Baby it’s cold outside
    This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
    So very nice”

    Occasionally referred to as the Christmas Date Rape Song, this duet was written by Frank Loesser in 1936.”

    Okay, this one is a little creepy and imposing.

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