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Dec 14 2012

Movie Friday: FAN MAIL!

Ohmygosh you guyse, I am just super excited. I was poking around in the dashboard of this site yesterday, and I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits from a Youtube video. Seeing as it is highly unusual for me to get referrals from Youtube, I clicked on through to see what was driving traffic to the site. Well wouldn’t you know, someone loves me and loves this blog enough to record a ten minute piece of fan mail! I’m so incredibly flattered. For someone to take ten whole minutes out of what I’m sure is a very busy schedule of hating the shit out of women to talk about little ol’ me? Gosh…

Let’s watch!

Well it’s the oddest piece of fan mail I’ve ever got. It doesn’t even seem like fan mail. It seems like he doesn’t like me! But that can’t be… I’m so loveable.

For those of you who didn’t/couldn’t watch all the way through, I will summarize IntegralMath’s* points:

  1. People (presumably women) make shit up about sexism and harassment at conferences, and FTB sucks
  2. People (presumably women) lie about sexism and harassment at conferences, and FTB sucks
  3. Qualitative analysis isn’t a thing (well he doesn’t say that, but I’m filling in the blanks because I appreciate his fandom)
  4. Just because people feel discriminated against doesn’t mean they’ve been discriminated against, and therefore the onus is on them to prove that they have, or STFU and come to conferences where they feel afraid anyway.
  5. Conferences are like roller coasters, because people FEEL afraid at both things, even though they’re both statistically quite safe. The purpose of going on a roller coaster is to feel afraid. And that’s like secular conferences because bitches lie about rape. (No word on what you’re supposed to do when nobody wants to come to your amusement park because they don’t like feeling afraid on roller coasters…)
  6. Assault is comparable, in terms of risk, to roller coaster accidents. (Left unsaid, of course, is that people don’t tell you that you were asking for it when a roller coaster breaks because you were leading the roller coaster on with your sluttitude)
  7. Getting raped, being in a car accident, and burning your hand with hot water are all factors that go into someone’s decision-making framework when they’re deciding whether or not to do something. Or maybe it’s that discrimination, feeling unwelcome, and feeling harmed are not things that people think about when deciding whether or not to do something.
  8. One of the following is perfectly okay (or at least so frivolous as to make its inclusion in the group superficial): discrimination, feeling unwelcome, feeling harmed. (No word on which one of these three IntegralMath feels is unimportant. My guess? The discrimination one)
  9. It’s plausible that a bunch of religious people answered the American Secular Census, and were so offended by people talking about religion that they reported it (rather than it being the case that the women who have been talking about harassment within the movement aren’t lying bitches). And this results in a gender disparity between men and women because… ?
  10. It’s plausible that the reason why people report feeling unwelcome is because they were told that they couldn’t have exactly what they wanted when they wanted it (rather than it being the case that people feel unwelcome for legitimate reasons).
  11. Preparing what you’re going to say before making a video is also stupid. (This is kind of a recurring theme)
  12. Jamie said that people should go around infecting people with HIV (no he didn’t, but this video is deliciously low-fact), and that makes PZ Myers a hypocrite because of Thunderf00t and John Loftus.
  13. FTB sucks.

I gotta tell you, if one paragraph from one post gets ten whole minutes of such buffoonish YouTube love from this guy, I can’t wait for him to dig into the blog’s archives so that he can dedicate his entire life to embarrassing himself on the internet like this for my amusement! Thanks IntegralMath! Let me know where I should send the signed 8″x10″ glossy photo!

A picture of me giving a 'thumbs up', holding a sign that says "I <3 IntegralMath"

I’m sure that this won’t be Photoshopped.

Like this article? Follow me on Twitter!

*I am told that IntegralMath also goes by the name Justicar, and is not terribly popular among the people whose opinions I care about.

44 comments

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  1. 1
    Riptide

    If I wanted to watch an idiot make a fool out of himself in front of a black/whiteboard, I’d skim Glenn Beck’s archives. This is just sad.

  2. 2
    HaifischGeweint

    I love that face.

  3. 3
    picklefactory

    But listen, where can I get one of those cool buttons?

  4. 4
    James T. Randall

    Methinks he doth protest too much. It’s quite surprising that he claims the moniker ‘integralMath’ as most mathematicians base their opinions on realistc and proveable formula derived from actual statistically sound data. As a mathematician, I am offended by his name. As a human I am offended by his opinions. As an iT specialist and lover of technology, I am offended by his use of that forum to propagate his form of hatered. At least you know you have the ear of someone who desperately needs educating on topics you speak of. A feather in your cap!

  5. 5
    stakkalee

    Apropos of nothing, but since the Slymepitters like to use “cute” pet names when referring to FTBers, whenever I see Justicar commenting somewhere I mentally replace his name with the pet name “NotARacecar”, as in, “He’s not a racecar, he’s just a car.”

  6. 6
    Timid Atheist

    Ah Justicar. I’ve seen some of his commentary. He thinks the slur for trans* people is a-okay to use. Cause it’s just word you know. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with him. I truly feel pity for people like him, who think that being skeptical about rape and harassment means he’s being a good skeptic.

  7. 7
    smrnda

    This is a response to James Randall, since I’m a mathematician – first, there’s no way of telling if this guy is an actual mathematician or if he’s just someone who happened to take calculus from the name. I also think you might be a little mistaken of the extent to which being a mathematician is going to cause people to draw correct conclusions.

    Mathematics, for the most part, isn’t about collecting data, it’s a field built around thinking axiomatically. The rules of statistics work for axiomatic reasons, and then other people (like scientists) use these to examine data that exists in the real world. Axiomatic thinking (what mathematicians do) is based on reasoning from premises. Lots of people can be great at this and then draw horribly faulty conclusions about the real world since they start with bad assumptions. Yeah, all the inferences are correct, but with faulty axioms that don’t match the real world, you get bad conclusions. The other problem is mathematicians don’t really get a lot of experience working with empirical data.

    Just thought I would add that since the *gee, math people are smart and must be the best people to ask about other issues outside their field* is a bad meme that needs to die.

  8. 8
    Crommunist

    #3

    I don’t know if the buttons are going to end up for sale or not. That one was a gift.

  9. 9
    maudell

    @riptide

    I thought the same… Glenn Beck minus charisma.

    It’s hard to watch someone who is so blatantly unaware of his ignorance, parading his precious opinion for all to hear. This guy loves his own voice. Somehow, there’s always part of me thinking these guys are just doing performance art. Maybe I need to think that in order to keep the assumption that people are rational.

  10. 10
    eigenperson

    As yet another mathematician (we are legion!) I would like to register my skepticism* that Justicar is a mathematician. As evidence, I offer two facts:

    1. He is using a whiteboard.
    2. He is an idiot.

    * One should be skeptical about everything, right?

  11. 11
    Rory

    I used to be a fan of his. He had a lot of really great videos on math concepts, and other things. There was a particular video that got me into his other things, but I don’t care to go look at what it was. I unsubscribed and stopped caring when he started making things up out of the blue about lots of different people. It’s sad that so many people I found so informative and interesting on youtube have become these knee-jerk haters that have this tunnel vision.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    Can we get buttons with your “thumbs up!” face on it?

  13. 13
    Crommunist

    I think elements of personal dislike leak into all aspects of these discussions, and when you have an audience that looks at personal attacks approvingly (and this is something I see almost universally, no matter whose blog/channel/whatever I am looking at), they become more and more commonplace. It is still very much an open question in my mind how we turn down the temperature of these discussions in such a way as to avoid being tone-scolds and prioritizing “civility” over the safety of minority groups.

  14. 14
    Stephanie Zvan

    Wait. Justicar wants our conventions and conferences to be inspected by the government? Why does he hate freedom?

  15. 15
    Valde

    Aw, I have seen some of Justicar’s comments as well.

    He is a first rate asshat.

  16. 16
    Crommunist

    He is a first rate asshat.

    I don’t know if that’s fair. He doesn’t seem particularly first-rate to me.

  17. 17
    Aratina Cage

    If I wanted to watch an idiot make a fool out of himself in front of a black/whiteboard, I’d skim Glenn Beck’s archives. This is just sad.

    There’s a reason I compare him to Victoria Jackson.

    (BTW, he coined the slur that became the rallying cry of the slimepit.)

  18. 18
    michaeld

    Rofls….. thank you so much Ian, I really needed a good laugh tonight.

  19. 19
    Makoto

    “But that can’t be… I’m so loveable.”

    I’m.. I’m sorry to say this, but.. that is simply the truth. And if it wasn’t before, your wonderful summation of the video (so that I didn’t have to watch it) made it so. Thank you for this, it’s a good end to a bad day.

  20. 20
    Marcus Ranum

    Well, if getting personal about things is the order of the day, I (heart) me some Crommunist! And FTB doesn’t suck!

    I’m just too lazy to make a badly prepared video about it. But I have a whiteboard. So, urr, whatever?

  21. 21
    Lee

    @13

    Read your thread, bud. Great comment, lost in a sea of personal attacks.

    @OP

    #4 strikes me as worth addressing, if you disagree. On who should the burden fall, in those cases? If someone feels discriminated against, are they, ipso facto, being discriminated against? That seems far fetched even for FtB.

  22. 22
    Crommunist

    Let me respond with two questions:

    1 – what proof would you accept for legitimate discrimination? To rephrase: what level and type of evidence would it take for you personally to believe that someone had been discriminated against, and isn’t just making it up (or feeling discriminated against without grounds)?

    2 – what practical difference do you think it makes whether someone feels discriminated against or is discriminated against (by whatever standard of evidence you determine) when it comes to that person’s decision to participate in a group?

  23. 23
    Edwin

    I want this guy to continue making his videos, and I want you to keep posting them, because I love the face you’re making in that photo and I want to see it attached to more posts.

  24. 24
    Crommunist

    Oh he is already a prolific vlogger. This is just the first of his videos I’ve ever watched. I’ll see what I can do about making the face a more regular feature.

  25. 25
    Lee

    I’ll respond by bringing the two into one. If someone claims they have been discriminated against, or they feel they have been discriminated against, what would you suggest as the next step?

    1. investigate their claim, ascertain the details, come to a conclusion.

    2. accept the claim, start accusing.

    When you sort of scoffed at #4, I read that as endorsing (2) above. Perhaps I’m mistaken? I mean, I don’t want to appear to be dodging your questions, I think they’re good questions, but they’re not precisely relevant to the argument presented in #4. They assume that you would take route #1. Your second question seems to me to put that person’s participation into a higher priority slot than, say, checking if they’re full of it or not before making accusations.

    So instead of jumping right to invective and scoffing back, I’m hoping to get an idea for why you reject #4.

  26. 26
    Lee

    I suppose a correlated question would be: is it your position that we should take anyone and everyone’s non-rational (i.e. no grounds established) fears or feelings as actionable representations of the world, simply on the off chance that those fears or feelings may turn out to be grounded in reality, or because similar claims have been grounded in reality in the past?

  27. 27
    michaeld

    How about, Accept they claim they feel discriminated against, investigate the instance they bring up to see if there’s anything that can be done there, whether or not there is in this instance look at reasonable ways to make them feel less discriminated against in the future so they feel comfortable participating.

  28. 28
    Lee

    @27

    Eminently reasonable, but lets not lose sight of the context of this discussion. Integralmath is objecting to your having established a problem because a survey says some people “feel” discriminated against.

    So yeah, if we have a specific person bringing a specific claim, lets investigate. Who’s saying we shouldn’t?

  29. 29
    michaeld

    Well a lot of people seem to have a problem with applying reasonable ways to make say women feel less discriminated against by having clear anti-harrassment policies at conferences. Something most companies have not an unreasonable idea.

  30. 30
    Crommunist

    My response to this question ended up being ridiculously long, so I made it into its own post.

  31. 31
    Lee

    @29

    No one said we shouldn’t investigate claims of harassment (as far as I know). I followed the discussion you’re referring to as it played out on Talking Philosophy, and I largely agreed with Russell Blackford’s take on it. The concern was not that we shouldn’t install reasonable policies, it was that the policies under consideration appeared over-broad and unduly burdensome. The idea of getting verbal consent for every interaction, which was how they were originally worded, seemed far from a reasonable response to what was, and still is, the behavior of a few socially inept drunks.

    The secondary discussion was whether a workplace and a social conference were properly analogous in context, eg did the Title VII justifications apply. Indeed, some folks took an even more hardline position, and viewed claims of harassment as an oversensitive reaction to normal human social situations that are, at worst, uncomfortable, but ultimately didn’t rise to the level of concern that would make any such policies even necessary. That any behavior that crossed over the line between uncomfortable and became genuine harassment should be dealt with swiftly, and that the conference organizers already had such powers to begin with.

    The final concern was that instituting such policies would create a legal and financial burden on the conference organizers that would enable an overly litigious attendee the means to cripple any person or entity connected to a conference in which something happened, but which they were, for whatever reasons, unable to prevent.

    These and other genuinely presented concerns were brushed aside, and the desire to add yet another safety layer for women won out. Yet here we are, discussing women still “feeling” discriminated against and “feeling” harassed and “feeling” harmed despite these measures, and some of us, frankly, are getting just a little tired of it.

    Call me insensitive if you wish, but in my opinion, if you want to claim that these feelings should be acted upon, women are going to have to support them beyond the mere act of expressing them. Otherwise, they just need to get over it.

  32. 32
    Lee

    Bah, figures, right after I hit submit.

  33. 33
    michaeld

    @lee
    And we view things very differently
    -I’m not particularly worried about a broad policy as long as it is used correctly,
    -A conference is at the very least a workplace for the organizers and speakers
    -conversely not having such a policy could also leave a convention open to litigation particularly in the event of a series of minor events culminating in a major incident.
    -Oddly enough not all conventions have taken actions and the skeptical/atheist community is larger then just conventions (who’d have thunk it).

    Anyway Ian wrote you A WHOLE POST *so jealous, when can I get my post :( * and I think he addressed you better then I attempted to so I’ll leave you to him.

  34. 34
    Fincke

    Amusingly, he has confused me and John Loftus. Here’s what PZ said about my guest blogger that Justicar is misremembering.

  35. 35
    Crommunist

    some of us, frankly, are getting just a little tired of it.

    Dude, people making your arguments were “tired of it” as soon as the conversation started. Yes, the majority group is going to tire really quickly of minority groups explaining why they don’t feel welcome. Y’all have the deepest and more sarcastic sympathy I can muster.

    Call me insensitive if you wish, but in my opinion, if you want to claim that these feelings should be acted upon, women are going to have to support them beyond the mere act of expressing them. Otherwise, they just need to get over it.

    That’s a false equivalence. They also have the option of withholding participation.

    You still haven’t, by the way, provided what you think is a reasonable standard of “proof” for “real” discrimination.

  36. 36
    Lee

    You still haven’t, by the way, provided what you think is a reasonable standard of “proof” for “real” discrimination.

    Because you still assert that no standard is necessary, that we should accept the claims unquestioningly. How we distinguish discrimination based on sex/race/creed from unfounded claims of same is a question I don’t really have a complete answer for.

    But since you asked, I have a general idea of how we would establish that someone had been passed over for a leadership position due to their gender. Say potential speakers for an event were pooled, and twelve were needed, then the most competent/willing twelve should be chosen. If, however, one or more competent, willing speakers is passed up because they weren’t the right gender, I’d say we’ve got the makings of a case.

  37. 37
    Lee

    That’s a false equivalence. They also have the option of withholding participation.

    You mean false dichotomy?

  38. 38
    Timid Atheist

    But since you asked, I have a general idea of how we would establish that someone had been passed over for a leadership position due to their gender. Say potential speakers for an event were pooled, and twelve were needed, then the most competent/willing twelve should be chosen. If, however, one or more competent, willing speakers is passed up because they weren’t the right gender, I’d say we’ve got the makings of a case.

    Here’s my problem with this scenario. What if that list of most competent/willing didn’t have any women or other minorities to begin with? What do you do then? Most of the time groups don’t bother looking beyond the most common/popular names for speaking and panels. As a result, it’s difficult for minorities to even begin to get a foot in the door.

  39. 39
    Lee

    @38

    Assuming we have a comprehensive list, representative of the population at large. It’s more of a thought experiment than a real world analogy, in response to Crommunist’s question.

  40. 40
    michaeld

    @38 Fincke

    Ah yes I remember when that was going on. Didn’t really mind myself, the GF is wiccan as are several friends :P .

  41. 41
    Crommunist

    How we distinguish discrimination based on sex/race/creed from unfounded claims of same is a question I don’t really have a complete answer for.

    Or ANY answer. So you think it’s reasonable that only ‘real’ cases of discrimination should be considered, and yet you have ZERO standard by which one would separate ‘real’ discrimination from ‘fake’ discrimination. The answer to this conundrum has been, in most circles, to just dismiss all claims of discrimination out of hand. Can’t prove it to soandso’s satisfaction? Tough shit. Should have had your video camera and portable fMRI deployed at all times. You can’t expect anyone to do something without PROOF, can you?

    And people are free to continue doing that. Nobody is going to put you in jail for being a litigious asshole. What they are going to do is stop putting themselves in situations where they get treated like this, which means staying away from conversations within the group, group events, and pretty much all circumstances where they have to deal with white boys demanding an unreasonable/imaginary standard of ‘proof’ for the most mundane statements. It becomes exhausting after a while. And you end up with fewer people getting involved, which means fewer people recognized as “competent” (what exactly makes you the “most competent”?) from disincluded groups, which results in a pretty homogeneous community that has well-understood barriers for anyone from outside that demographic to join in. It’s a pattern we see pretty much everywhere.

    And again, if you don’t care that this is happening (which, based on the pattern of your responses, you don’t really), then by all means continue to do nothing. Still no legal consequence for it. But not everyone agrees with you, and they’re starting to do stuff. That stuff is starting to pay off – it’s now strange and an immediate red flag when a list of “best of” or a conference or the board of an organization has zero women participating; this wasn’t the case 5 years ago. Thanks to the concerted efforts by, at first a handful and now a sizeable number of outspoken women (and a few men), it’s now completely inexcusable to utter the statement “I just don’t know of any prominent female atheists”, a shockingly common statement when I first started getting involved in the online atheist community. A whole edifice for discussing social justice issues, almost completely foreign to the atheist community a short while ago, has been built. Will this result in exactly proportional participation from all groups? Maybe not, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    If, however, one or more competent, willing speakers is passed up because they weren’t the right gender, I’d say we’ve got the makings of a case.

    Just want to address this real quick: how would you go about demonstrating that someone was overlooked because of their gender? At a certain level of ability/credential, the distinctions between people shrinks to zero. Is Eugenie Scott “more” or “less” competent than Jerry Coyne or Richard Dawkins or PZ Myers or Matt Dillahunty or Michael Shermer? What if you only have 4 spaces and Eugenie doesn’t make it on the bill? What if she consistently fails to make it on the bills of several different organizations, none of which explicitly state that she’s “the wrong gender”, which of course nobody would ever say because nobody’s “a sexist” in this day and age. What if “it just happens”? According to your standard, we’ll never have even the makings of a case, because nobody is standing up and trumpeting their bias.

  42. 42
    octopod

    Huh, that’s Justicar? Too bad he’s such an asshole, I was thinking he was pretty cute until I hit play and saw the body language and heard the noises coming out of his face.

    That said:
    11. Preparing what you’re going to say before making a video is also stupid. (This is kind of a recurring theme)
    Whaaat? Among what group of people is this a thing? This seems like an utterly ridiculous and self-defeating ethos; who adheres to it?

  43. 43
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    I find the rush to designate citizen investigators of sexual harassment (one of the premises of Justicar’s little exposition there and many conversations) a bit disturbing. I agree that it should be made clear to the community that certain behaviors are unacceptable, but the rush of self-designated investigators of claims who have no training, no knowledge or interest in the social science which demonstrates the prevalence of sexual harassment, a general attitude of disbelief on the subject and the presumption that false complaints are common is very counterproductive.

    In the same way that I will not sit in judgement of physics, since it is not my field, I don’t think people lacking knowledge, training or the willingness to learn should absent themselves from judgement. The people who fit that criteria ARE NOT qualified to come to a decision on its existence.

    And the last thing anyone wants is a group of self-designated investigators following someone who feels harassed around, looking for ‘proof’ of an event they suspect does not exist.

  44. 44
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Shit. Rather “I think people lacking knowledge, training or the willingness to learn should absent themselves from judgement.”

    I blame the end of the semester.

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