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Our Mythical Campaign against Sex

It boggles my mind how haters of A+ (which simply means atheism+humanism+skepticism, nothing more…despite lies and disinformation to the contrary) think we are the ones campaigning against sex. Like this guy. Who falsely claims:

(1) “[T]he in-groupers at FtB have been attempting to redefine flirting as sexual harassment and sexual intercourse as rape.” No, we never did any such thing. To the contrary, we have actually been making the point (repeatedly) that “actual acts of sexual predation” must not be confused with “criminalizing very healthy sex-positive human interaction” (the exact opposite of what this guy says). Indeed, I specifically made this point myself in my discussions of sexual harassment policies (see here and here; I have also talked about the difference, and promoted positive and liberated sexuality, here and here).

And:

(2) “The A+ folks have demanded that convention organizers add to their harassment policies, that no speaker be allowed to engage in sexual contact with any convention attendees.” No, “we” did not. To the contrary, several of us opposed any such suggestion. Including me, one of the patron saints of Atheism Plus (according to a popular anti-A+ meme). No, seriously. I wrote at length against what he claims we have been demanding. Only a few people suggested or discussed it long ago, but the rest of us argued them out of it. Us. The advocates of A+.

This from Emery of the Ardent Atheist podcast.

As to the first of these lies:

It’s amusing (as Stephanie Zvan has already pointed out) to see this guy think this–but disturbing to see him tell people this, and thus misinform the public about us and our movement–when the leading proponents of Atheism+ are people like Greta Christina, who has written fondly of her work as a stripper and porn star and writes and publishes porn herself, and writes extensively in defense of alternative sex culture and sex-positive feminism. Or Alex Gabriel and Miri Mogilevsky, who are openly polyamorous. Or Jen McCreight, who is a public connoisseur of pornography. And on and on. Indeed, many of my friends in the atheist community are polyamorous, or actively participate in the BDSM or swinging communities, some even have orgies and sex parties…at atheist conferences! And you know what? All of them tend to be the most enthusiastic supporters of Atheism+. And of sound sexual harassment policies.

The people who hate and attack (and, like this guy, basically lie about) Atheism+ tend not to be in these crowds. Of all the people I know and have ever met who are polyamorous or get invited to sex parties or go to BDSM clubs or anything of the kind, not a one is a hater of A+. Strangely, the haters tend to be people who don’t get invited to those parties and aren’t in open relationships or marriages [though Emery is reportedly]. Which is not to say they are synonymous. I’m not poly [or wasn’t when I wrote this] and [would up to the time of writing] politely decline invitations to sex parties, and plenty of vanilla and monogamous folk are A+ supporters. But the haters certainly aren’t much in evidence among the poly and alt sex crowd I know. Possibly because they don’t understand compassion and consent and thus would not understand how ethical alternative sex cultures actually are. Polyamory and swinging and even the attending of orgies requires more ethical behavior and more careful attention to boundaries and consent than traditional sexual relationships do. And people who are ethical enough to be accepted in those communities are the very people who get Atheism+ and why it is needed.

The bottom line is, we are already enthusiastically in favor of people pursuing all kinds of sexual activities, even at atheist events. Many of our most avid supports are wholeheartedly doing this. The only thing we are concerned about is that people do this ethically, that people don’t use their sex drives as an excuse to harass, harm, or cross boundaries.

As to the second of these lies:

The only policy I know of that prohibits speakers from having sex with attendees is the SSA Speaker’s Bureau policy, which was not composed at the behest of A+. They have a particular interest in avoiding the scandal of inviting people onto a campus who then pursue relationships with students or staff (I assume they think that as a guest on university campuses, and as recipients of parents’ support, the SSA could be made to look bad by such behavior). And yet I wrote at length and repeatedly against even that policy, and against such policies generally (and, gasp!, even Ophelia Benson agrees…another of us patron saints of A+…who in turn notes that, double gasp!, Rebecca Watson agrees with us, too; even PZ Myers has only said speakers should be more circumspect about pursuing such activities, not that it should be banned by policy–he has explicitly rejected the latter proposal).

I’ll quote my lengthier remarks, which anyone who actually reads what A+ advocates say might already have read by now:

Stiefel included among “unwelcome” advances [to prohibit] those “directed towards a subordinate in a hierarchical organization,” which perhaps indirectly criticizes some policies that aim to prohibit all intra-organizational sex. Such as, currently, the policy mandated within the Secular Student Alliance Speaker’s Bureau, which says “speakers should not engage in sexual behavior with students with respect to Speakers Bureau events.” On the one hand, in law and in standard bylaw practice, the term “should” does not have the force of “shall” (it means expected but not required … ), but it’s entirely possible the drafters of the SSA policy didn’t know that. And whether or not they did, some people have called for policies to prohibit all sexual activity between speakers and event staff and attendees.

I have already noted before that I believe this is overbearing and unrealistic. There is no relevant difference between a college venue sponsored by the SSA and one not, and college kids are not really kids, and the policy would make no sense if I were married to one, which gets us into “why is it okay if we’re married and not if we’re not?” That kind of distinction is for religious prudes, not freethinking humanists. …

I personally have no problem abiding by the SSA policy when they are sponsoring me as a speaker (except when it makes no sense, e.g. if my wife became a student at a venue). But I don’t think it’s a good policy and I don’t encourage it being adopted by other organizations. If I were ever keen to violate it (that is, if I were single and wanted to fool around), I’d just withdraw from the SSA Speaker’s Bureau. But I have no reason to, since I’m married, making it a non-issue for me. But that can be unfair to single or polyamorous speakers, and thus the SSA policy is in my opinion discriminatory (it will result in the loss or turning away of speakers for unfair reasons), unless their use of the word “should” is intended to mean not prohibited but only discouraged (but in that case it should perhaps be clarified).

Either way, I believe a better policy would be: “Speakers are not to solicit sexual behavior from students or staff.” If necessary, “and any sexual behavior with students or staff is discouraged” could be added on. That covers what they actually want to prevent (harassment and horndogging, which is unprofessional) and minimize (romantic complications, and the attendant problems they can cause the organization), without prohibiting mutually consensual behavior among adults (which can certainly adhere to workplace etiquette), as that can then be initiated by a willing subordinate, without having been pressured or made uncomfortable by any advances from the speaker. The existence of power imbalances often calls for an etiquette of deferring decisions to a subordinate that require an exercise of their own free will. It does not require placing restraints on even a subordinate’s free will. That is excessive and unwarranted.

So much for “the A+ folks have demanded that convention organizers add to their harassment policies, that no speaker be allowed to engage in sexual contact with any convention attendees.” Myth busted. Bullshit smelled. Augean stables flushed.

Now let’s move on to discussing reality, rather than mythology. Please.

 

Comments

  1. Ysidro says

    A similar thing has been going on in general geek culture. I had to stop reading an RPG blog I liked because the blogger ranted against “the prudes” who wanted to take away his fun. And he just goes on and on about “the war against the Neo-Puritans” and how “we need to stop this branching out.”

    He makes it sound reasonable and it’s possible the specific issues he brings up are valid, but somehow it seems like the same wankery I see everywhere someone tries to stop harrassment.

    The only thing I’ve learned is that for some people sexual harrassment IS what they [mean by] openly consensual behavior. And that gives me the sads.

    • says

      I struggle with that possibility myself.

      The principle of charity leads me to not want to think that of them…surely they don’t really support actual harassment and rape and exploitation and unethical conduct. Which is why they tend rather to deny that it exists; and when shown evidence, they deny it is common enough for anyone to be worried about…except we should always be worried about victims and how to help make less of them; and by the time you get to this point in the argument they’ve forgotten they had started the argument by making it about us being prudes, and now it’s instead us being too concerned about a few poor victims of something they now agree we should all be against.

      So I am inclined to think (hope?) that they aren’t actually endorsing harassment, rape, and unethical behavior (there are some exceptions, people who actually do defend that; but they are the worse of the worst).

      So their delusion that we are against positive sexuality must come from somewhere else. The lies and myths that grow from nowhere must have some other (possibly unconscious) motive.

      In some cases, maybe it’s they read one random person say something overboard, and then like a stock bigot attribute that to everyone who has any similarity to them (like, some random person y said x, so therefore “Atheism Plus said x,” even though y might not have even mentioned Atheism+ and even if they did, they aren’t the rest of us), but that requires starting from a standpoint of bias (“I hate A+ [for some emotional, non-factual reason I need to grow up, face, and deal with], therefore anything that supports my hatred of A+ must be true,” which is the exact opposite of skeptical thinking).

      So even then, it all comes down to some prior emotional state that is in reaction to something…something never factually true, yet believed fanatically for some reason, which entails A+ must be bad; prudery is bad; ergo A+ must be advocating prudrey.

      One possibility is anti-feminism, which is a form of latent (or even blatant) sexism. The same hatred of feminism (based on the same fallacies and falsehoods, e.g. “some random feminist said x, therefore feminism entails x and all feminists agree with x”) then gets transferred to A+, because A+, being atheism + humanism, and humanism entails feminism, therefore A+ is feminist (among other things), therefore every awful, false, bigoted thing said about feminists must be true of A+. (A line of reasoning that completely ignores the entire third and now fourth waves of sex positive feminism; but then, I don’t believe “reasoning” has anything to do with this sort of thinking.)

      Or many other possibilities. Maybe different ones for different folks.

      However, I do distinguish people coming to believe weird mythologies like this, and people merely “not getting it” when it comes to minor line crossing. For example, I know geeks who hear a woman complain about being objectified at a con, and they don’t understand what’s wrong about that if she dresses “like that”–usually because they didn’t listen to the actual story and thus didn’t pay attention to just what exactly it was that offended her and simply assume any and all objectification did, even private thoughts or mere eye wandering. Thus they assume that what is being complained about is even lustful thoughts or looking at her. Which would indeed be prudish and illogical. And so they assume those complainers are advocating prudery.

      But notice the key mistake they make in that process of error: they didn’t listen.

    • Ysidro says

      PZ just mentioned “The Ada Inititive” which is what the blogger in question was specifically railing against. I went back to his blog to get some more ideas on what he was going off about and there was a new post about an incident that happened at Gen Con (the worlds largest tabletop gaming convention) this past weekend. Apparently someone decided it was a good idea to sell women’s underwear with slogans like “Get me drunk and we’ll see” and “I need a little sexual harrasment.” Someone complained and they were removed. He says he thinks they were tasteless but spends more time complainging about free speech, etc. etc. etc.

      It’s just more of the same, isn’t it? I can’t say how he comes to believe this and I no longer care. I’m not even sure I want to bother calling him out on it.

  2. smhll says

    The bottom line is, we are already enthusiastically in favor of people pursuing all kinds of sexual activities, even at atheist events. Many of our most avid supports are wholeheartedly doing this. The only thing we are concerned about is that people do this ethically, that people don’t use their sex drives as an excuse to harass, harm, or cross boundaries.

    At a minimum, it would be nice if a person(s) approaching another person(s) with a sexual proposition at an Atheist conference didn’t completely startle them.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Ardent Atheist makes me think of something along these lines:

    “Yes Johnny, you may play with the cat. But no, you cannot shave it.”
    “You won’t let me do ANYTHING! I hate you!”

    Which I think tells us a lot about the Ardent Atheist.

  4. says

    Strangely, the haters seem to be people who don’t get invited to those parties

    Aha! See? That’s a clear case of discrimination! THAT’S why they hate you so much indeed. With all reason. Damn FtBullies!

  5. Jeffrey Johnson says

    All this bickering is so tiresome. Just because some guy is an idiot, do we all have to roll in the muck? I hate to see Richard Carrier, whom I greatly respect, get dragged into the endless drama that plagues free thought blogs.

    • says

      Huh? An atheist lies about me and my writings, and my calling him out on it and correcting the record is “drama”? You mean, I should just let liars lie and never respond to them and just let the lies become the “truth”?

      What kind of atheist are you? Seriously. If you don’t believe in fighting for the truth, if doing so is “drama” to be avoided, then get out of my movement. We don’t need you. We want people who believe in fighting for the truth. Not people who believe we should give that up.

    • Jeffrey Johnson says

      Huh? An atheist lies about me and my writings, and my calling him out on it and correcting the record is “drama”? You mean, I should just let liars lie and never respond to them and just let the lies become the “truth”?

      What kind of atheist are you? Seriously. If you don’t believe in fighting for the truth, if doing so is “drama” to be avoided, then get out of my movement. We don’t need you. We want people who believe in fighting for the truth. Not people who believe we should give that up.

      Perhaps an apology is due. I reacted with impatience because I’ve seen in the past too many other blogs on this site get bogged down in arguing about what is or is not sexual harrassment and what is allowed at conventions and who is abusing who and who is lying about who etc…. When that happens I just tune them out and stop reading them. And I like reading what you write because ordinarily it is full of knowledge and learning opportunities.

      I guess I figure people have to be pretty severely unmannered to even have to worry about whether or not they are harrassing someone. I’m over 50 and happily married and monogomous, so I’m just not even concerned about the issue. So perhaps my own personal bias has led me to leap to the conclusion that too much efforts was being spent on something that makes my eyes glaze over with boredom.

      Of course you should defend yourself if being attacked, but then again sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. Maybe it is because I was so impatient, and disappointed by the idea that this blog could become weighted down with such baggage, that I didn’t notice you being directly maligned. Perhaps it was indirect, and required more context to realize this. But I seriously don’t have the interest to spend enough time reading it all in detail. I guess I should have just kept my mouth shut and moved on.

      My apologies for not properly understanding what was involved. Perhaps I can put my point more politely by saying that I wish there were less of this kind of arguing. I would assume that conferences could be focused on discussing important topics and exchanging important ideas, but evidently they are also viewed by many as a great opportunity to party and hookup for sex. So I’m sure this is exciting for lots of people, but it just isn’t so for me.

      To me this doesn’t exactly seem like fighting for truth. It seems more like soap opera drama and settling personal scores. And I don’t want to be part of any movement, so I’m already out of it. I just like to read and learn. I guess I’ll avoid the blog if I’m not welcome and just read your books, where you wouldn’t dream of engaging in this kind of discussion I would hope.

    • says

      I very much appreciate this.

      Thank you for taking the time to say all that.

      I do think the tendency to recoil from conflict rather than deal with it is bad for any movement (it is what leads to hiding and burying evils in the community…as the Catholic Church came to exemplify in the worst way). I don’t think we should use “drama” as a synonym for “disagreement” or “conflict” or “dispute” or “argument.” And we should never think there is no correct side to any issue, when the evidence clearly sides with one. And we shouldn’t let our emotional distaste for disagreement lead us to avoid finding out where the evidence sides.

      Most of all, when one side creates a dispute, the other side should not be blamed for it. And it is those who make things up, or facilitate or even defend victimization, who are the ones creating a dispute. They are the ones at fault and all the blame and disapprobation and voiced discontent should fall on them.

      I can only hope more and more people agree those are principles to live by.

    • F [is for failure to emerge] says

      The baggage isn’t reacting to the lies, it’s the lies. The baggage isn’t reacting to sexism, harassment, and rape, it’s the sexism, harassment, and rape.

      Are atheist blogs bogged down when responding to religious stupidity and injustice? Are skeptic blogs bogged down when reacting to anti-vaxxers, chiropractic, and homeopathy? Are political blogs bogged down when responding to lies and bad ideas in politics? Are science blogs bogged down when mocking and exposing wrong ideas, quacks, and cranks?

  6. says

    Hello Richard,

    your post reminds me of a very important problem: protecting women from abuses while avoiding being unjust towards men.

    It is well known that many girls with a miniskirt appreciate the attention of attractive men and take that as a compliment, but if they get looked at by an ugly man, this becomes sexual harassment.

    This also raises another question: from what threshold does a “sexual behavior” become impermissible if one is married to another person?

    Kind regards from Germany.

    Lovely greetings from Germany
    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son
    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

    • says

      Thanks, Mr. Sexist from Germany.

      Nice going illustrating exactly the kind of shit I’m talking about.

      No. No woman in the universe has ever said an ugly man looking at her was sexual harassment. I know that happens in the fantasy world you’ve invented in your head and believe in with all your dear little heart. But it just isn’t true.

    • says

      Just a brief thought regarding “…from what threshold does a “sexual behavior” become impermissible if one is married to another person?”

      I imagine the threshold is pretty much the same as any other time; what someone is consenting to. I don’t think marriage changes that. Other than as an existing relationship one hopes you’ve learned about your partner’s boundaries and desires.

  7. Piebone says

    If Emery said things that are inaccurate, they should be pointed out; however, you should know that he is polyamorous, so that portion of your argument is invalid.

    Also, consider that the fact that Rebecca Watson agrees with you on a question of sexual behavior is not seen as a plus by many in the community.

    • says

      Oh, that first is a good point. He must swing in different circles than I know. I’ll make an emendation to that effect.

      On the second point, you should have noticed that I cited Rebecca Watson as agreeing with Emery (that policies against speakers fooling around are wrong). So you are kind of making my argument for me.

  8. says

    It’s a far right trope that feminists are both promiscuous Jezebels and frigid prudes. Cognitive dissonance doesn’t even figure into to because the gears have done froze up upstairs…that this same problem is embedded in the minds of some right wing atheists comes as no surprise. That there are reactionary “left” atheists who hold this same thought tangle also …comes as no surprise.

    It serves a purpose.

  9. TretiaK says

    One of the problems that I have with this (and I’m expressing a concern more than an opposition to what you’re talking about) is the fact that whatever Atheism+ represents in theory, the efficacy of it’s impact as a social movement has proven to be divisive where it concerns practical matters. Whatever theoretical objections someone may have to what you’re saying is irrelevant, if what you’re saying isn’t catching on or taking root on the basis of it’s paramount logical and rational basis, then there’s something else that is going on that’s steering people away or pulling people in other directions. Perhaps it’s a misplaced or mistaken notion people have about it’s entanglments with ideas like feminism, perhaps it’s the idea of organizing a movement on the basis of having a spokesman or popular leadership

    If people are there to believe that that’s what you’re doing, then despite whatever you happen to be saying, that A+ isn’t in principle closed to debate or the discussion of real issues, or that A+ isn’t divisive, you’re inadvertently having the effect of doing precisely that. If you want to incorporate and organize a good portion or significant segment of people that share an identical proposition (or series of them) that you hold about something, forcing people to accept these things on your own terms and denouncing people that aren’t automatically taken in by calling them an idiot (irrespective of whether or not you’re actually doing that, if that’s what people perceive or imagine you to be doing), isn’t going to motivate them very well to uniting them with your own end goal in mind (at least on the basis on my own experience, that’s what I’ve observed). My general point would be that people will go and create associations between things, even where none exist. With the behavior regarding things like the Myers/Shermer debacle, the Dillahunty/A+ Forums incident, or the Watson/JREF scandal, if people place and attach importances to those kinds of situations and issues, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people don’t want to be associated with such acts, regardless of your attempts to clarify and reiterate A+’s theoretical framework, or rehabilitate it by cultivating a more positive image or it and getting people to look past the major objections that I think a lot of people have to it.

    Just my two cents though.

    • says

      whatever Atheism+ represents in theory, the efficacy of it’s impact as a social movement has proven to be divisive where it concerns practical matters.

      Like what? Treating people decently and making public meetings of atheists more comfortable?

      (See what I mean?)

      …a misplaced or mistaken notion people have about it’s entanglements with ideas like feminism

      I’m not sure what this means…we do side with feminism (third and fourth wave). So thinking we do would not be mistaken. Where the haters go off the rails is that they have false or bizarre or bigoted ideas of what feminism means. Which means they are bringing to the table a system of false beliefs. That’s not our fault.

      …perhaps it’s the idea of organizing a movement on the basis of having a spokesman or popular leadership

      Note that that is the position of the haters of A+ (they hate that we want more egalitarianism throughout the movement and less hero worship and less cult of personality…and then they express that hatred by lying about us secretly wanting more hero worship and cult of personality).

      So this is actually an A+ view: excess hero worship and cult of personality causes divisive problems. Kind of what we’ve been saying since day one. But one wouldn’t know that if they only read our critics instead of what we actually write.

      It is push back against that, in defense of hero worship and cult of personality, that is causing divisiveness.

      …forcing people to accept these things on your own terms and denouncing people that aren’t automatically taken in by calling them an idiot…

      Provide an actual example.

      (That’s important. Because this gets exactly to the heart of the mythmaking I am talking about.)

  10. says

    This reminds me a bit of a conversation I had in real life a few months ago. A little dinner get-together with a handful of our local freethinker group. We ended up with a conversation with myself, a 40-something couple, and a retired fellow. The latter insisting that feminists were trying to tell him he wasn’t allowed to find women attractive. Despite the others (mainly the husband) and I trying to explain that no, that’s not what they meant by objectifying, the older fellow just more angrily insisted that yes, it was.

    Well, that and I’ve seen plenty of the distortion mentioned coming from the ‘Pit and such on Twitter and Facebook. It does seem to be a common thing with the anti-A+ crowd that A+ is anti-sex and anti-flirting for wanting these fun-killing policies that demand consent in the form of paperwork signed in triplicate for each flirt or touch…

    • says

      Yeah. That “triplicate” myth was Thunderf00t’s invention way back (which prompted my posts on sexual harassment). Goes to show now atheists have a faster myth-making machine than Christians ever did. Nice.

      For those who’d like more on your main point, I’ve tried to help people disentangle the difference between finding someone attractive and objectifying them in Sexual Objectification: An Atheist Perspective.

      Which in itself is an example of the kind of thing A+ advocates want atheists to talk more about. Precisely because so many of us are getting it wrong (and yet not usually the ones complaining about objectification).

      Some people are offended simply by the mere fact that I write about such things (regardless of the value or correctness of anything I write). It’s just perplexing.

  11. Abdul Alhazred says

    which simply means atheism+humanism+skepticism, nothing more…

    … a fandom taking itself too seriously.

    • says

      I pretty much agree, Abdul. Its like a group of hanger-oners hitching their wagon to the already resilient skeptical movement; a very loose society with little or no dogma. The most notable of that loose-knit group won’t get on board with A+ objectives so this is more a backlash than anything else. It is sad.

      A+ looks a hell of a lot like a religion, if you ask me. Who is vying for pope this week? Is it still PZ?

    • says

      If “moral philosophy” = “religion” then you are defining religion so broadly as to render the word meaningless.

      And A+ has no popes. Thinking it does is like thinking Buddhists have a pope.

      Which is to say: a total fucking ignorance of reality.

    • says

      Even though I haven’t had much of any direct involvement in A+, all the gross distortions and misinformation about it has left me pretty cynical and frustrated. People calling themselves skeptics and humanists who go on rants about A+, like that ‘it’s a religion’ thing, that seem entirely divorced from reality. I guess it might make sense if it’s just people reading the Slyme Pit and listening to Thunderf00t and such.

  12. Azuma Hazuki says

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    Simple, effective, easy to remember if not always to practice, and a very important man brought it to us in long, long past times.

    …I am of course referring to Master Kon Fu Tze (Confucius), who beat Jesus to the “positive golden rule” by some 500 years =P

    • says

      (And just to head off the chuckleheads who like to dispute the validity of that rule, one should understand that it is meant as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you were them,” it thus does not entail an egocentric standard of what is desirable; that has to be imported as an assumption, and that assumption would be invalid, as it ignores the intended function of compassion and empathy in applying the rule.)

    • Jeffrey Johnson says

      Of course you mean “opinions among those who knew about that link, and who cared enough to vote”, which isn’t at all the same as a representative sample of the public, or even a representative sample of a particular community. In other words, your “data” are mostly meaningless and can be easily dismissed. Even if your data allowed one to make meaningful inferences about opinions, what remains true is that individual opinions are often irrational and uninformed, and can’t be relied upon as reliable guides to objective analysis.

  13. Stacy says

    Its like a group of hanger-oners hitching their wagon to the already resilient skeptical movement

    “Resilient”? Seriously? Skeptics have had decades to create a “movement”. All they’ve managed to create was a small insular club comprised mostly of middle-class white dudes who think Michael Shermer is an intellectual heavyweight.

    The most notable of that loose-knit group won’t get on board with A+ objectives….

    Ooh, there’s a brilliant Skeptical argument. “The Big Names won’t join you. Therefore you’re wrong. QED.”

    A+ looks a hell of a lot like a religion, if you ask me. Who is vying for pope this week? Is it still PZ?

    Ah, there’s the sort of sharp, honest argumentation I’ve come to expect from the Slymepit. PZ does not and never has belonged to Atheism+.

  14. M. Less says

    There isn’t a quark’s worth of difference between the demographics of ‘Atheism Plus’ and regulators atheism. And I have no idea what constitutes being an official member of Atheism plus (they don’t have a sort of Bar Mitzvah or confirmations, yet) but Peezy has unambiguously identified himself with the group and even joined their crazy ass forum about a year ago.

    Atheism Plus is in reality just a bunch of privileged, “trendy left” white people making a grand show of their supposed liberal bonafides by making hyperbolic charges of various and sundry “isms”. PZ and Carrier basically mortgaged their reputations over this silliness (the latter’s mental/emotional stability is now an open question).

    Anyway, A+ never got off ground, largely due to the excesses of it’s higher profile advocates and the extraordinary intolerance and weirdness of the infamous A+ forum. This is sooooo summer of ’12 people; I can’t believe people are still talking about this. What a lame thing for Carrier to have jumped the shark over, huh?

  15. M. Less says

    [First of all, “regulators atheism” was an unfortunate autocorrect of “regular ole atheism”.]

    Richard, you aren’t important enough to be an enemy. But honestly, with “friends” like you, the “atheist movement” really needs no enemies. It’s a good thing you are largely unkown outside the skeptic blogosphere, because you are really an embarrassment. Trust me, even many who continue to speak kindly of you publicly are questioning your judgement and inside your mental stability in private.

    These recent shenanigans of yours in which you and Peezy appear to have tried to breath new life into the still born Atheism Plus movement by effectively accusing Michael Shermer of rape without any comelling evidence brought to bear whatsoever marks a new and loathsome low point for you.

    Congratulations, you are now officially morally bankrupt.

    Hopefully one night soon you will awake in a cold sweat and have that eureka moment where it finally dawns on you just how fucked up you have become. I mean, really, goddamn, if Shermer were actually guilty of what you publicly accuse him of, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But he hasn’t and he won’t because of the simple fact that there is no compelling evidence that Shermer did anything wrong whatsoever. You are really a moral horror show on public display.

    You know something Richard, you have been known to bend the elbow quite a bit at conferences and subsequently “act the fool”; it would be the ultimate poetic justice if some day someone suddenly asserts that YOU had done something of the sort you accuse Shermer of. It wouldn’t be the first time a self righteous zealot ended up being consumed by very monster it helped to create and feed.

    What happened to you? Mid life crisis? Didn’t you used to be sane once? Oh well, look on the bright side; as a bonafide, ahem, Neuro-atypical American, you can at least absolve yourself of the guilt of possessing “neurotypical privilege.” You’re practically Rosa Parks!

    Good luck l’il Richy…

    • says

      It’s amusing to hear someone use childish taunts like “Peezy” talking about me being morally bankrupt.

      And then giving zero evidence of my being uncompassionate, dishonest, or unreasonable.

      And instead engage in stock-off-the-shelf rape apologetics.

      For the record, one doesn’t “accidentally” rape someone, or take advantage of them. So I’m not in any danger of that, no matter how drunk I get. If I have sex with anyone, I will make sure they consider it and consent to it first. With the same consistent ease that I always make sure I don’t drive.

      Which is basically the opposite of being morally bankrupt.

  16. M. Less says

    There are no “rape apologetics” here, nor any suggestion that there might be such a thing as “accidental rape.” I’m not even sure what you mean by “accidental rape” or why you think I might be suggesting such a thing is possible; being intoxicated does not absolve one of inappropriate or illegal behavior of any sort.

    My point was that you have you might well find yourself accused of sexual harassment or worse by any number of women you have interacted (or not interacted) with at any number of conferences, and no matter how flimsy or nonexistent the evidence may be, you have already established a precedent that evidence doesn’t matter.

    I don’t wish this upon you frankly you may well find yourself one day in the mouth of the monster you helped to create.

    Regardless of whether this ever happens or not, one day you will realize the grave moral errors you have committed and that will be your punishment (in fact I’m actually paying you a huge and likely undeserved compliment in assuming that you have a sound conscience that will in time cause you to regret your actions during this time).

    • says

      You were alleging that I would get drunk and rape someone. Calling that “accidental” rape was sarcasm against you–as if somehow alcohol would just happen to turn me into a rapist, which is absurd. I’m now glad you agree with me.

      Evidently you were instead using the “bitches be liars” argument. I was being charitable and assuming you weren’t so dumb. So let’s talk about that stupid argument.

      I have not established a precedent that evidence doesn’t matter. Testimony is evidence. You are the one dismissing evidence by claiming any testimony coming from any woman ever is always a lie.

      Which means you are irrationally worried that all rape accusations are lies. Which means you don’t believe rape can ever be proved and all victims should always be ignored and dismissed as liars. That is what should haunt anyone with a conscience.

      Why you think alcohol is relevant to your point is beyond me. I could be a total teetotaler and never sleep with anyone and still get accused of raping someone by some hypothetical liar. So what I do has no bearing on my risk of that. That can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. That it therefore almost never does should clue you in.

      I’ve already discussed how Shermer could create reasonable doubt in favor of his innocence, in the comments on the relevant article (this is not a comment thread on Shermer). That he has not done so is disturbing.

      By contrast, in the extremely unlikely event someone tries to create a false accusation about me (as some wanker tried to do to another blogger on our network) I’ll ascertain the facts and bring to light all the evidence discrediting them (as that blogger did).

      I will also not act like a privileged creepy ass and create dozens of witnesses to my repeated disregard of women’s boundaries, thus establishing a vast precedent for my going further. I will instead actually comport myself in such a way that I can produce countless female witnesses to my respecting their boundaries and not acting like that. And that is what I have done. For years.

      If you want to protect yourself from the extremely rare and unlikely prospect of some liar falsely accusing you of rape, you should do the same. And not use the extremely rare and unlikely prospect of that cause you to disregard the testimony of every rape victim in the entire history of humankind.

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