D.J. Grothe Replies… and I Reply Back »« Fashion Friday: Black Patterned Stockings

Two Questions for DJ Grothe

UPDATE: D.J. Grothe has replied to this post in the comments, and has requested that I link to that response here in the original post. I will respond as soon as possible; it may not be until tomorrow.

I have two questions for JREF President D.J. Grothe. They’re questions that I find unsettling and upsetting to even consider, questions I wouldn’t have thought I’d have to ask a leader of a major organization in this movement. But I’ve been reading some things Grothe has been saying recently… and apparently, I have to ask.

Question #1: Do you really think there is any context in which making threats of gender-based, sexualized violence — towards a person of any gender, but especially towards a female writer and her readers — can be justified?

Question #2: Do you really think that feminist bloggers in the atheist/ skeptical movements are writing about sexism and misogyny, and pointing out examples of it in our communities, primarily so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic?

I would like to think that the answers to both questions is an obvious and resounding “No.” D.J. and I have had some differences, but we’ve also had a largely cordial and even friendly professional relationship. I know he thinks of himself as an ally in the effort to make the atheist/ skeptical movements more welcoming to women. And I know that he takes pride — justifiably so — in, among other things, drawing more women to TAM, both as speakers and attendees.

But I’ve been following the discussion on Almost Diamonds about him, and about an apparent pattern he has of defending sexist language and behavior in the atheist/ skeptical communities. I’ve been reading the things he himself has been saying in this conversation. And I am extremely distressed to realize that the answers to both these questions appears to be, “Yes.”

I want to look first at Question #1. A bit of background, for those who haven’t been following this: In a recent blog post on Almost Diamonds titled Dammit, D.J., Stephanie Zvan pointed out what looks very much like a pattern of D.J. Grothe defending indefensibly sexist behavior by other men in the atheist/ skeptical movements. One of those examples stemmed from a dispute D.J. and I had over an incident on Facebook and in my blog: an argument about sexism and misogyny in Facebook with one Ryan Grant Long, which escalated and became ugly, after which I posted on my blog one of the uglier things Ryan said, applying the #mencallmethings hashtag:

Fuck you Greta. You’re the troll. You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening. You didn’t find one, but I dared to disagree with you, so you and your brainless followers thought ‘eh, fuck it, close enough. We’ll attack him instead.’ You’ve been capitalizing on this for months and perpetuating vicious stereotypes about both men and women, under the guise of ‘feminism’. I used to think you had something to contribute. Now I see you’re just a pathetic attention seeker who isn’t interested in anything other than stirring up shit.

And Ryan then posted on his Facebook page the following:







For those who can’t read the screenshots, they say this:

Status update #1 from Ryan Grant Long: Oh look. That stupid, fucking, lying, fake feminist, man-hating, sexist BIGOT Greta Christina devoted a whole blog post to me, in which she AGAIN plays the part of the professional victim and pretends to be some kind of “feminist” while simultaneously perpetuating tired stereotypes about both males and females, and of course, casting me in the role of the evil oppressor because I have a dick. What a pathetic excuse for a spokesperson for the “freethought” movement.

Comment from Richard Ian Tracy: WWJD?

Comment from Ryan Grant Long: Slap the bitch?

Status update #1 from Ryan Grant Long: Greta Christina’s insane followers accused me of being an evil sexist man and wanting to “kick women in the cunt every day.” Let me be clear. I don’t want that for all women. Just them.

Comment on own update from Ryan Grant Long: And her make supporters should take a boot to the balls as well.

Comment on own update from Ryan Grant Long: And her Intersex readers can enjoy a good mallet to the micropenis. I’m all inclusive.

Now, D.J. and I clearly have very different interpretations of both the original Facebook conversation and its aftermath. He seems to interpret it as Ryan making a reasonable comment expressing dissent; getting dogpiled on and being “egged on” by my “ditto-heads” in an “in group/ out group” dynamic; the situation escalating; and me unfairly and “opportunistically” posting one of Ryan’s more extreme comments out of context. (All quoted words and phrases are D.J.’s, btw.) I disagree strongly: I interpret it as me pointing out an example of misogyny aimed at Rebecca Watson in another thread; Ryan immediately hijacking the conversation into yet another rehashing of Elevatorgate, in a classic example of “Yes, but…” topic-changing away from discussing misogyny; Ryan getting dogpiled on by a lot of people who thought his derailment was obnoxious; the situation escalating; and me posting an incredibly vitriolic, ugly, sexist comment of Ryan’s to my blog, as an example of the kind of abuse women commonly deal with on the Internet.

But none of that is relevant. Even if I conceded that D.J.’s interpretation was 100% right and mine was 100% wrong, even if I conceded that Ryan had been 100% reasonable during that thread and I had been 100% an asshole… none of it would be relevant.

Because when Ryan issued his ugly, vitriolic comment that I posted in my #mencallmethings post, he clearly crossed a line. And when he posted gender-based, sexualized threats of violence against me and my readers — when he said about me “Slap the bitch,” and said about my readers that he “wanted to kick them in the cunt” — he crossed that line at a hundred miles an hour, and left it miles behind him in the dust. There is no context in the world that would make saying those things appropriate, or justifiable, or excusable.

And it shocks and distresses me to see a major leader in this movement justify them, and excuse them, and try to explain them away. It shocks and distresses me to see a major leader in this movement say this:

But my point is that in those quotes of his angry and unfortunate reaction (something, again, I commented about directly on Christina’s post) I believe he is taken out of context, or at least not in the whole context.

And this:

And if people have the time or gumption, reading the whole 200 comment thread where the guy was roundly attacked, and the stuff escalated in ugly ways on both sides, seemingly egged on with impunity, provides some good context.

And this:

…the excerpts on Christina’s post, and the quotes on this post from Long originally seemingly attributed to me (very surprisingly) are only a snippet of a spectacular 200 comment-long FB thread, where Long was insulted, accused of wanted to kick women in cunts, and was party to escalating the rhetoric.

(Clarification, BTW: Ryan was never accused in that thread of wanting to kick women in the cunt. Other instances of men saying that they wanted to kick women in the cunt were pointed out to him, which he misinterpreted as an accusation against him.)

And this:

But the guy’s initial comments were reasoned, and then he was roundly and personally attacked by a number of Christina’s ditto-heads in that FB thread. He reacted poorly, and that’s what Christina I think rather opportunistically ran with.

What’s more: In D.J.’s comments, even when he did acknowledge that Ryan’s behavior was problematic, he mostly did so in a very minimizing way. He referred to it as an “angry and unfortunate reaction,” said Ryan “reacted poorly,” that he “was party to escalating the rhetoric,” that he “reacted completely inappropriately in anger.” In this entire thread, the instances of him even acknowledging that there were ever any threats of physical violence total one: “there is never any defense for real or pretend threats of violence.” And the instances of him expressing serious concern over these threats, or any sort of sympathy for the targets of them, total zero.

As Stephanie documented in her post: This does not seem to be an isolated incident. D.J. seems to have an unfortunate pattern of defending indefensibly sexist behavior by other men in the atheist/ skeptical movements. But trying to provide a context to justify, defend, and extend sympathy for someone threatening to slap the bitch and kick her readers in the cunt… that, in my opinion, is far more disturbing than anything Stephanie described.

And this isn’t just coming from some random guy on the Internet. This is coming from a leader in the movement: the president of a major organization, which hosts one of the community’s largest and most visible gatherings.

In her post, Stephanie said that several people are now not sure they want to speak at TAM again. I’m one of them. This is the first time I’ve said so publicly — but it’s true. This distresses me greatly: I had an amazing, inspiring, invigorating, hilariously fun time at The Amazing Meeting last year, it was one of the highlights of my year, and I had been very much looking forward to going again this year: as a speaker, a workshop panelist, an attendee, whatever. But I now have no intention of going back to TAM. I’ll be very clear: I’m not calling for a boycott, or saying that anyone else shouldn’t go. I’m saying that I, myself, have no intention of going.

I have no intention of going back to TAM because I don’t feel safe there. I don’t feel confident that D.J. Grothe takes threats of violence against public figures in this movement seriously: especially gender-based, sexualized threats of violence against female public figures. I have no way of knowing over the Internet whether violent language, aimed personally and in great anger at me and my readers, is just someone mouthing off or is a serious threat. I have to assume that there is at least the possibility that they are serious. And if I’m at TAM, and someone in the community escalates a disagreement with me into a personal grudge expressed by vitriolic, ugly, sexist language — and then escalates further into threats of sexualized violence against me and my readers — I don’t feel confident that D.J. would take them seriously.

Because he didn’t take them seriously here. Because, in 2,371 words (by my MS Word count) of commentary across five comments in this conversation, he spent one sentence saying that of course threats of violence were not justified… and spent 602 words (by a conservative count) justifying Ryan’s behavior, defending it, explaining the context for it, defending his own reaction to it, and blaming me for having instigated it. Because, in his commentary on this topic, he spent far more time and space explaining that he was right about me being unfair to Ryan than he did expressing concern about the fact that my readers and I had been targeted with violent threats. Because, even after Ryan’s language had escalated from simple grotesque ugliness to outright threats of violence against me and my readers, he didn’t back down and acknowledge that perhaps I’d been right to be concerned about Ryan’s behavior, and had been right to ban him from my blog. Because, in 2,371 words of commentary across five comments on this topic, he expressed extensive sympathy for Ryan for how horribly he’d been treated by me and some of my readers… and not one word of sympathy for me and my readers for having been publicly targeted with gender-based, sexualized threats of violence.

Because he apparently thinks that there is a context in which gender-based, sexualized threats of violence aimed at female public figures and their readers is justifiable, or at least understandable and deserving of sympathy. And worse than that: He apparently thinks that a heated Internet argument is one of those contexts.

I really, really don’t want to come to this conclusion. But it’s becoming impossible not to.

Let’s be nitpicky for a moment. There are actually a handful of contexts in which saying the things Ryan said might be appropriate. A consensual SM scene. A private joke among friends who share a sick sense of humor and who all understand that the language isn’t meant as serious. A movie or play about sexism and misogyny. But a heated Internet argument? Even a heated Internet argument on a hot-button topic on which feelings run high? Is that really one of the contexts in which gender-based, sexualized threats of violence aimed at women — hell, aimed at anyone — is justifiable, or excusable, or understandable? Is that really one of the contexts that should generate sympathy for the person making the threats… and censure aimed at the person receiving them?

Really?

If not — then please, for the love of all that is beautiful in this world, say so. And say so unequivocally. Don’t say it with excuses and justifications and pleas for sympathy for the perpetrator. Don’t say “Yes, but…” and then derail the conversation onto another topic. Don’t toss off a single sentence saying that of course threats of violence are bad, buried in a lengthy diatribe aimed at the people who are speaking out about it.

Just say that there is no context (apart from the obvious consensual ones like the ones listed above) in which threats of violence in general, and gender-based, sexualized threats of violence aimed at women in particular, is justifiable. And say that you take it seriously. And say what you intend to do about it.

And now, I want to move on to Question #2 for D.J.:

Do you really think that feminist bloggers in the atheist/ skeptical movements are writing about sexism and misogyny, and pointing out examples of it in our communities, primarily so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic?

He seems to. In the conversation at Almost Diamonds, he had this to say about Stephanie’s post, my post on the #mencallmethings thing, and related posts from other bloggers:

I think as skeptics, it behooves us to be a bit more generous with others in disagreement, to be slower to vilify, and to engage in less scorched-earthing. I know it may be good for blog hits, but it is bad for skepticism and in my view, is antithetical to our values. (emphasis mine)

And this:

He reacted poorly, and that’s what Christina I think rather opportunistically ran with. (emphasis mine)

And this:

Few of these sorts of blog posts, this one included, appear genuinely to attempt to change anyone’s behavior for the better; instead, they seem to me to be deliberately controversialist, and focused on excoriating individuals for various things. (emphasis mine)

And this:

It may be the atheist blog sort of thing to do to insist someone who disagrees with something on one blog weeks before repeat themselves on multiple other atheist blogs weeks later (does that help with page views?) but my opinions are there for the reading, and I stand by them. (emphasis mine)

And this:

Of course, the rewards resulting from these sorts of unfair polemical and personal attacks ilk your blog post may be too great to change your MO, which I can sort of understand. (emphasis mine)

And this:

I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument… (emphasis mine)

I have two things to say about this to D.J.:

1: You are seriously mistaken.

2: This is an incredibly sexist thing to say.

For starters: If D.J. Grothe thinks Stephanie, and I, and the other feminist bloggers he alludes to, are writing about sexism and misogyny in the atheist/ skeptical communities largely so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic, he is seriously mistaken.

Stephanie has already done an excellent job of dismantling this misconception in her post About Those Pageviews. She’s pointed out that posts about internal controversies and other “insider baseball” within a movement are less likely to draw big traffic than posts of interest to the general public; that posts about internal controversies are just as likely to alienate readers as they are to draw them; that posts about disagreements with prominent movement leaders are just as likely to burn useful bridges as they are to build a readership; that if we wanted to draw traffic, we’d be blogging about sports or porn or celebrity gossip or cute kitten videos; and that no blogger in the world can predict which posts will draw traffic and which ones will die on the vine.

What she said. I would also like to add this: If I was only interested in drawing traffic to my blog, I’d be doing it on topics that didn’t regularly result in me getting targeted with ugly, hateful venom and brutal threats of rape and other violence. (Like this one, in which I was advised to fuck myself with a knife.)

I do not write about sexism and misogyny in the atheist/ skeptical communities so I can manufacture controversy and draw traffic. I’m going to spell out exactly why I do it, in huge letters, so nobody can miss it:

I DO IT BECAUSE I CARE PASSIONATELY ABOUT THIS MOVEMENT.

I do it because I want atheism and skepticism to flourish — and I think persistent patterns of sexism and misogyny are getting in the way. I do it because I’ve seen enough other social change movements, and have read enough history about other social change movements, to know what happens when they don’t deal with sexism/ racism/ classism/ homophobia/ etc. early on. I do it because I want our movement to deal with this now… so in ten years, twenty years, fifty years, we’ll have moved forward on it. I do it because I keep hearing women say they’re turned off from participating in the atheist/ skeptical movements — not only by sexism and misogyny but by stubborn and extensive defenses and justifications for it — and I want to change that.

Believe me: every time one of these instances of sexism or misogyny rears its head, I heave a huge, depressed sigh, and I say to myself, “Do I really have to write about this?” I’m tired of dealing with it, too. I’d rather be blogging about religious stupidity in the 2012 elections, or anti-atheist bigotry in high schools, or incoherent thinking in modern theology, or ways to build bridges between the atheist/ skeptical communities and the LGBT communities, or even Pascal’s freaking wager.

But if we don’t deal with this issue now, it is going to come back to bite us in the ass. If we don’t have these fights now, we’re going to have them in ten and twenty and fifty years — and they’re going to be a whole lot uglier then. Patterns of sexist behavior will have had more time to get entrenched; bad feelings will have had more time to fester; self-fulfilling prophecies will have had more time to get established. I don’t want that. So when these instances of sexism or misogyny rear their heads, I brace myself, and I put on my flame-retardant suit, and I dive in. Not every time; not as often as I should. But I do it.

And it is grossly insulting to tell me, and to tell other feminist bloggers, that we’re doing this primarily to get attention.

In fact, it’s not just a grossly insulting thing to say. It is a sexist thing to say. I want to ask D.J. Grothe this: Are you really not aware that one of the most common ways to dismiss and trivialize serious women is to say that we’re just trying to get attention? Are you really not aware that men’s ideas are generally taken seriously, and when they express them they’re generally considered to be sincere unless they prove otherwise… but women’s ideas are generally considered to be trivial, and when we express them, our motivations are called into question? Are you really not aware that men are generally seen as having an automatic right to express their ideas and to have them listened to and taken seriously… but that women are not, and that we commonly get treated as shrill, strident, insecure attention-hogs when we ask that our ideas be listened to?

The women — and the men — you have been talking about in this conversation are serious people, who care passionately about this movement, and who have put years of hard work into it. You may disagree with us — clearly you do. You have every right to disagree with us, and to express that disagreement. But when we’re blogging about an issue we care passionately about — especially an issue that exposes us to venomous hostility at best, threats of violence at worst — it is fucked up beyond measure to tell us that we’re doing it just to draw traffic and stir controversy and get attention.

And again: You aren’t just some random guy on the Internet. You are a leader of one of the movement’s largest and most visible organizations. I hope I don’t have to explain why that makes this far more important, and far more troubling.

You have gone out on an indefensible limb here, D.J. Please walk it back. This is a community that, by and large, respects people for changing their mind and admitting they were wrong. I believe you when you say that you want to work to make this movement more gender- balanced and inclusive, and I believe that you don’t consciously intend to be sexist. If you are serious about that, then you need to stop entrenching yourself in this indefensible position.

You have dug yourself into a big, big hole here. I fervently beg you to stop digging.

Comments

  1. kerfluffle says

    My experience with Mr. Groethe has been primarily positive. I am inclined to give him the benefit of benevolence, even while face-palming repeatedly. The last week has included a lot of that.

    It is obvious that Mr. Groethe also cares passionately about this movement. His work and his words support this. I originally thought that he was trying desperately to be some sort of peace-maker. That he would be asking everyone to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. (A tactic that is doomed to failure, no matter how generous the impulse.)

    And then I saw his disparaging comment on ERV. He seems to have decided that any discussion of feminism or privilege within the movement is unnecessarily provocative. That anyone who draws attention to it has no point other than to be disruptive. In other words, that there is no problem worth discussing.

    The skeptical movement is not exempt from common social issues. Historically, it has proven worse in some areas because of a large gender imbalance. That is being addressed, but only because people spoke out. Those people are the only reason I am still involved. If they didn’t keep pushing to make the movement more inclusive, there would be no room for me.

    To have the president of JREF imply that I am only welcome to this movement if I am willing to STFU is disheartening. Then again, if “skepticism” only involves questioning comfortable opinions or beliefs stated as facts, I’m not really interested.

  2. says

    This makes me very sad. Not just everything you describe, but that you were compelled to make this post. That all of these things had to be pointed out. It’s just….sad.

  3. says

    You know, a weird thing happened while I was reading this post. I have read the phrase “kick her in the cunt” so many times in the past few weeks that it has started to lose its impact, and instead of sounding like a terribly misogynist threat of violence, it just sounds like something so ludicrous only an advice animal would say it.

    And then it hit me. We just need an appropriate advice animal, and every time somebody in the skeptic community says something stupidly misogynist, we make the advice animal say it. Sorta like this:

    http://memegenerator.net/cache/instances/400x/12/12735/13041335.jpg

    Or this:

    http://memegenerator.net/cache/instances/400x/12/12735/13041472.jpg

  4. Brownian says

    Greta Christina’s insane followers

    I’m so sick of the ditto-head defence. If it’s news to you that people tend to read and comment on blogs written by people with whom they generally agree, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve got anything to write worth reading. The fact that the majority of people on a blog disagree with you neither makes you a freedom fighter nor does it make you right any more than it does a simple troll. The fact that, unlike the troll, you’re apparently sincere in your belief is likewise valueless; after all, we don’t accord arguments for the existence of gods greater merit because of the conviction with which they’re held.

    It may very well be true that the interlocutors in your particular case of persecution are all brainwashed Nazis marching in lockstep to the tune of their puppet master (unlike on every single other blog in which the regular commenters are simply but routinely accused of being such), but provide substantial evidence for your claim (the fact that they don’t immediately recognise your brilliance doesn’t count) or STFU.

    Crying ‘echo chamber’ is pretty much the least skeptical argument one can make, given the ubiquity with which such comments are made on the internet and the lack of self-awareness which necessarily accompanies them.

  5. Vicki says

    Greta,

    In a “why atheists are angry” talk you gave, you said (I think it was after a bit about pedophile priests) that you were angry that when stories like this come out, people rush to defend religion instead the victims. Personally, I found that to be the most damning line of the whole talk, and I remember it every time I hear a story like this. I think this is the atheist version of the same principle. It blows my mind that someone, for example, can write about an under age girl being threatened with anal rape (by people who supposedly agree with her no less!) and the response of some is to feel that atheist men need defending. Misogyny is the atheist’s ‘pedophilia’. Thanks for not being part of the cover-up. I’m hoping the rest of our movement will realize that this is our chance to show the Catholic Church what truly moral people do in response to immoral acts.

  6. says

    Well said. I’d considered planning to attend TAM at some point in the future, but after all this…not so interested anymore.

    Telling people to STFU and stop making others feel bad about being violent jerks is a great idea – why don’t atheists STFU and leave religious wingnuts in peace?

  7. says

    I’m going to digress and then give a little ‘me too’ at the end here…

    In the last few weeks, I’ve posted comments across FTB that are either critical of, in direct disagreement with, or open trolls of both you (Greta) or others and I’m not going to either defend or apologize for them…

    In this case, however, it’s very hard to take any of the cited examples (mind, I’m not likely to sift through 200 comments) as anything short of either Internet Tough Guy syndrome related chest thumping, or just blatant hate-speak.

    Did he get egged on by ‘Ditto-heads’? Maybe. Did he get dog-piled on? Possibly. Did he cross a very obvious line that even I, in my most heated and ranty bitch-fest, wouldn’t go NEAR? … The answer is a glaringly obvious and resounding ‘Yes’.

    [Inappropriate Humor]
    Besides, stabbing people in the eye is both gender-neutral and more gratifying
    [/Inappropriate Humor]

  8. A. Noyd says

    The accusation about drumming up controversy for the page hits reminds me of what certain homophobes say about people choosing homosexuality because being gay is so very socially rewarding.

  9. JHGRedekop says

    I would have expected D.J., being gay, to have a better understanding of how poisonous threatening language like this can be. I have to wonder if he would have defended someone using the phrase “bash the faggot” instead of “slap the bitch”.

  10. razzlefrog says

    Yeah, pay attention to that kind of stuff–sexism. As soon as someone uses my genitals or sexuality in a non-ironic, contextually inappropriate, denigrating, way I shut off and remove myself completely. Not dealing with it. Not talking to you. Done.

    When I hear from people in the community about this kind of stuff, the “sausage fest” meetings and conventions kind of start making perfect sense. I can’t express how off-putting and frankly…a little bit angering…sexist statements are.

    “Fun” side fact: I’ve also seen the gender skew indirectly in my day to day life, when I’ve told male atheists I’m a nonbeliever. Every time it’s happened, it’s resulted in a date or a date proposal – which in and of itself is fine – that’s great – I’m charmed – how do you do? – just then I get annoyed because I feel like that’s the only reason it’s happening. I’ve started telling male atheists I’m a believer. Conceding atheism destroys any prospect I have of finding guy friends, and when you make clear that’s all you want, politely and directly, they inevitably get offended and defensive. Cue arrogance. (Honestly, when all your good guy friends are gay, you come to realize you’re not being taken seriously.)

  11. k says

    thanks, good post. I never comment on blogs because I dislike controversy and fear attacks (I’m female, if you’re curious) – but this was good and needed to be said, and so I felt the need to comment as such. thanks.

  12. mcbender says

    Greta, this is very well-said. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about all of this, in my eyes, is the fact that you needed to. It should really not be this hard to get across the point that “hey, people, misogyny actually exists”…

  13. says

    @McBender

    Saying sexism or misogyny doesn’t exist is tantamount to saying racism doesn’t exist. If either were true, there’d be no need for things like Affrimative Action…

  14. Greta Christina says

    I’m so sick of the ditto-head defence.

    Brownian @ #5: Hear, hear. Especially since my readers are far from shy about telling me that they disagree with me, and do so frequently and with fervor. (Does anyone remember the fashion wars?) And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  15. jolo5309 says

    Since I suffer from “chronically late to the party” disease, I am only go to say this.

    If we cannot skeptically look at atheism and skepticism and point out what is wrong with these movements, then how can we justifiably point out want is wrong with any other groups?

  16. says

    Well said, Greta. You’re quite right–we do need to have this discussion, and the insistent arguments from some of the men in our community are further evidence of that. You and others (including Rebecca herself) have done a great job of picking up and running with what Rebecca started.

    While some of us might be doubling down on our prejudices, others here are listening, and we’re getting it. And even if you don’t manage to really turn things around with this, you’ve helped some of us understand what’s going on, so you’re having a significant effect (I was going to say “impact”, but Phil Plait would pop in and tell me that impact is properly a verb, not a noun).

  17. Ringo says

    Great post. TAM is something I’d wanted to attend, but I’ll save my money for something a little more welcoming I think.

    Also, while I’m not intersex I do have a micropenis. I’ll fetch my mallet. ;)

  18. michaeld says

    On the subject of posts created entirely for page hits I’ve seen this both on greta’s blog, Jen’s blog and Jerry’s blog. Those posts are cat posts and they are so adorably heart warming I wouldn’t have it any other way :P. Discussions of privilege and misogyny have nothing on posts about kittens playing with yarn or sleeping or just being kitteny!

    Ps Just no one take this as a hint to include fewer kittens in their blogs in fact an increase of 300% more kittens would be preferable.

  19. says

    This alone would have been worrisome enough:

    You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening.

    It’s a very telling comment.

    ***

    I’ll be very clear: I’m not calling for a boycott, or saying that anyone else shouldn’t go. I’m saying that I, myself, have no intention of going.

    I have no intention of going back to TAM because I don’t feel safe there. I don’t feel confident that D.J. Grothe takes threats of violence against public figures in this movement seriously: especially gender-based, sexualized threats of violence against female public figures.

    Wasn’t it TAM where someone prior had made a remark about assaulting RW and they issued an official response stating that if someone assaulted another meeting-goer they would be ejected and wouldn’t get their money back? I found that shocking. Not reported to the police and likely arrested, but merely kicked out. “And you’re not getting your money back, either!” Like you pay for one assault. Creepy.

  20. kerfluffle says

    @ Jen #6,

    It said something about how the feminists had threatened some boycott of TAM which didn’t happen because Greta Christina, et al have no influence. All of that is by memory, which is so unreliable. Basically it was very dismissive.

    Unfortunately I can no longer find it. I had thought that it was somewhere in the “Monument” thread. but several searches bring up nothing. I’ve been reading about this in so many different places that it is likely I’ve gotten things mixed up.

    Because of that, I must retract that aspect of the post above, with apologies. I wish that I could say it was the only instance in which Mr. Groethe had been dismissive.

  21. Cthandhs says

    Thanks for posting about this. I really only have one way to vote when situations like this come up, and that’s with money. There used to be relatively few places to put that money, to make sure that skepticism/Atheism is supported in our country/communities. One of the wonderful things about the internet and this growing movement, however, is that more good causes, conferences, and groups than ever before are in need of my precious dollars to continue their good work.

    As of this year, I made a pledge to limit my donation budget to organizations that actively work to help women, promote women’s issues, and/or include women leadership. The JREF has just dropped of my list for this year. That’s OK, I think I can find someone else more deserving.

  22. says

    From everything I hear, DJ Groethe is a great guy, and I have every expectation that he will answer both questions with a resounding “no” and also talk a little about how he was probably just a little hot under the color and didn’t mean some of the things he said before.

    (Glancing at wristwatch)

    Soon, I’m sure. In his leadership position, he’ll need to do that and I’m sure he sincerely believes the answers to those questions is a resounding “No”.

    (Glancing at wristwatch)

    By the way, did you hear that there’s a movement to erect a monument in some public place for Christoher Hitchens? I have a hard time supporting that because he was a very important guy at all but he was also a leader in the atheist movement who was very sexist, and didn’t seem to care about the damage that did. He was also a bit of a hawk. I’m not sure, but it seems to me that we’ve erected more than enough statues in public places to white guys who are sexist hawks.

    (Glancing at wristwatch)

    Oh, no, no, I’m not trying to imply that DJ Groethe, another leader of the Atheist Community is sexist or anything, because I’m sure he’s not. He’ll be along in a minute to set us all straight on that.

    (Glancing at wristwatch)

    By the end of the day, I’m sure this will all be straightened out. Gotta go, kthksbai

  23. Crommunist says

    I have been ostentatiously staying out of this particular fight (as I try to do whenever personal issues are involved), but this post is important and illustrative of larger problems within the community. This isn’t a personal fight – this is a serious issue that goes to the very core of what the next steps we take as a collection of communities. Do we genuinely care about the way we treat minority members, or are we just hitting the talking points so we can deflect criticism?

    As always, I stand in awe of your ability to cut through the noise and speak to the heart of the matter.

  24. otrame says

    This makes me so sad. DJ Grothe was my hero for several years. I never missed an episode of Point of Inquiry while he was on it (never listen now). He is the best damned interviewer ever. Period. He has a gift for getting even those who are not especially well-spoken to express their views, he actively supports the interviewee’s attempts to explain where they are coming from, often by asking devil’s advocate questions. He is truly great at that.

    I suppose he is great at running JREF too. I hope so.

    But honestly, this dismissive “You are just going after page hits, and what he said was bad but it was your fault anyway,” crap appalls me.

    Look, I am not one to react to every tiny little bit of misogyny that comes my way. I was deeply fortunate to have been raised by a father that treated my intellect and imagination with respect and that gives me a ground to stand on. I knew from childhood that those who said “Girls can’t do this, girls can’t do that” were stupid and not someone I should listen to. Also my profession has always had more women than most and, while hardly perfect, still does not suffer from or tolerate the grosser forms of sexism. Plus, I have all the skill of your average rock in social situations, so I am probably less sensitive to that stuff than I really should be. But use of threats of violence (even when used as a rhetorical device) in open internet forums should not be defended on a “you made him do it” basis. Use of gendered insults, in particular when the insulter clearly really means to insult that gender as well as the insultee, while less egregious, is also not acceptable and should not be defended.

    DJ, if you are reading this, please stop and think what you are saying. It’s true that there has been a lot of this stuff this year. You may feel that concerns about misogyny in atheist communities are over-blown and have been taking attention away from things you feel are much more important. But but surely you can see what is wrong with saying “Yeah, what he did was bad, but…”

  25. Pieter B says

    Vicki @#7

    Excellent analogy. Thank you.

    I’ve attended TAM faithfully since TAM 3.

    I have supported the JREF for ages — I even pledged $1000 to back Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge many years ago.

    This dismissive language from DJ is very distressing, and I may have to re-evaluate my continued support.

    Greg @#25

    I disagree with you fairly often. Not this time, not even a little.

  26. Alicia W says

    The skeptic movement needs to focus on its goals, which are debunking dangerous and uncientific beliefs and promoting a science-based worldview, instead of focusing on internal bickering over innane comments on facebook. From a skeptic female’s perspective, attacking people who are clearly allies like Mr. Grothe instead of focusing on the goals of the movement is a real turn off.

  27. says

    This isn’t a personal fight – this is a serious issue that goes to the very core of what the next steps we take as a collection of communities. Do we genuinely care about the way we treat minority members, or are we just hitting the talking points so we can deflect criticism?

    I’d disagree, but not about the issue, or about the way this reflects.

    I disagree that this particular issue is merely limited to one or two communities, or even a ‘collection of cummunities’ this is an issue of human nature. Bias exists any time we gather in groups, either phyiscally or intellectually. Be it a bias of Us vs. Them, or a bias based on differing ideas within the same group.

    Individual ideas, views, values, morality, gender, race, beliefs, socio-economic/ethnic background, shouldn’t be a reason (much less THE reason) to attack some one who has spoken out with an opinion that differs from our own. The sad fact of human nature, most colorfully demonstrated on the internet thanks to the veil of anonymity it provides (real or imagined), is that this is often what group dynamics promote.

  28. John Horstman says

    Clarification, BTW: Ryan was never accused in that thread of wanting to kick women in the cunt. Other instances of men saying that they wanted to kick women in the cunt were pointed out to him, which he misinterpreted as an accusation against him.

    This was the whole deal with Ryan Long: he saw comments made about SPECIFIC THINGS that other people had said, and interpreted them as attacks against him. This is either the result of him identifying his own behaviors as similar and therefore rightly seeing the critiques of others as critiques of him, or the result of privilege-induced narcissism, where he assumes that the conversation must be about him, even though it wasn’t in any way. Either way he’s kind of an asshole, as we tried to explain, and he went on to demonstrate that he is, in fact, a misogynist asshole.

  29. Crommunist says

    Alicia W #31:

    The skeptic movement needs to focus on its goals, which are debunking dangerous and unscientific beliefs

    Sexism is a dangerous and unscientific belief. It occurs within the skeptical community. As a black skeptic, insofar as my participation is contingent on whether or not I believe my perspective will be welcome or if I should stay on the sidelines, this is not simply a personal attack (it’s not even an attack – it’s a description of someone’s actions). It is a question about how people from minority groups are treated. If we can’t sort this kind of stuff out for women, I have little hope that we can tackle issues of racism – another dangerous and unscientific belief. I’d even go so far as to say that people’s legitimate fear about being assaulted, ridiculed, dismissed, or otherwise marginalized are far more important than whether or not you are “turned on” by skepticism.

    And the issue Greta raises is that it is not so “clear” that Mr. Grothe is an ally. If he spends more time and energy defending those who propagate dangerous and unscientific beliefs than he does opposing them, he is no ally to skepticism in general – only the kinds of skepticism that he personally cares about.

  30. NMcC says

    Crikey! First Hitchens, then Dawkins, then Coyne and now Grothe. Who’s next? Has anyone heard Harris or Dennett holding forth on womanhood? Does anyone dare check!

    If I was a feminist, I’d stick to fighting exclusively for womens’ rights and interests and organisations and wouldn’t touch the so-called ‘New’ atheists with the proverbial barge pole.

    What do you feminists expect, anyway? You hitch your wagon to a crowd of (over-whelmingly) white males whose only connection which each other, AND YOU, is that they think religion sucks and…that…er…well that’s about it. They have got absolutely nothing else in common with each other, and nor do they accept that they’ve signed up for anything else ‘in common’. They certainly don’t believe that they have to have anything else in common WITH FEMINISTS. And then you feminists are shocked and horrified when it turns out that there’s a goodly number of anti-feminist arseholes among them.

    If they think that womens’ interests and issues are still paramount in 2012, the feminists should build up their own resources, meetings, publications et al. They should forget about stealing a ride with the atheists. It’s only ever going to end in tears – or, as it’s been so delightfully put, ‘kicks in the cunt’.

  31. John Horstman says

    In fact, it’s not just a grossly insulting thing to say. It is a sexist thing to say. I want to ask D.J. Grothe this: Are you really not aware that one of the most common ways to dismiss and trivialize serious women is to say that we’re just trying to get attention? Are you really not aware that men’s ideas are generally taken seriously, and when they express them they’re generally considered to be sincere unless they prove otherwise… but women’s ideas are generally considered to be trivial, and when we express them, our motivations are called into question? Are you really not aware that men are generally seen as having an automatic right to express their ideas and to have them listened to and taken seriously… but that women are not, and that we commonly get treated as shrill, strident, insecure attention-hogs when we ask that our ideas be listened to?

    He may actually not be, if he’s never undertaken any serious studies (either in classes or his own reading) of pervasive misogyny in our culture. I know I had a naive, Second-Wavy, universalized-privilege (read: Classical Liberal) view of feminism/women’s equality before starting Women’s Studies classes and getting some serious knowledge dropped on me by the Postmodern and Queer Theorists who have been working since the Sixties to refine models of power, identity, community, etc. Privilege-blindness in one’s worldview can be surprisingly pervasive and resilient.

  32. says

    The skeptic movement needs to focus on its goals, which are debunking dangerous and uncientific beliefs and promoting a science-based worldview, instead of focusing on internal bickering over innane comments on facebook.

    Which begs the question: What are you doing here? Isn’t there a bigfoot video out there you need to deal with?
    Has it ever occured to you that all those sexist memes are indeed dangerous, hurtfull and unscientific?
    Did you read what Greta said when she pointed out that they do it because it is important to them (and me, too?).
    Who do you think you are to tell us that we’re wrong in dealing with what is most important to us?

  33. says

    Greta, Jen, Stephanie (and on, and on…) are making a commendable continuous effort to use their blogs as a social punishment mechanism against threatening sexist language. It is, in my opinion, the mildest effective means of dealing with the problem.

    I don’t see a single reasonable justification for DJ’s hamstringing. Maybe DJ could try to provide one? From where I’m sitting, it looks as though he just doesn’t see why Long’s comments are actually problematic.

  34. says

    What Crommunist said. Look to the recent Radford debacle for an excellent example: there’s a guy led by his sexist biases to make some incredibly stupid arguments for an absurd hypothesis, all under the banner of skepticism.

  35. Brownian says

    Stealing a ride with atheists???? O_o

    … They ARE atheists!

    Nope. The white males called ‘atheism’ first, apparently.

    Those of you with vaginas and the desire to be treated as people should be content to just work on that. Feminist pluralism is greedy.*

    *It’s okay if you’re an atheist + white + male, though.

  36. Brownian says

    The skeptic movement needs to focus on its goals, which are debunking dangerous and uncientific beliefs and promoting a science-based worldview.

    If the skeptics’ community believes that the greatest problem facing the world today is chupacabra-believers, then they’re welcome to it. But I will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent you from using the word ‘skeptic’ whilst you do so. You can call yourselves People Who Aren’t Aware In Search Of… Is No Longer on the Air for all I fucking care, but if you think sexism (or racism, or homophobia, or religion, or neoliberalism) is neither dangerous nor unscientific, then skeptics you are not.

  37. says

    From a skeptic female’s perspective, attacking people who are clearly allies like Mr. Grothe instead of focusing on the goals of the movement is a real turn off.

    Translation: I don’t care if they burn puppies alive, as long as they support my cat sanctuary.

  38. says

    The skeptic movement needs to focus on its goals, which are debunking dangerous and uncientific beliefs and promoting a science-based worldview, instead of focusing on internal bickering over innane comments on facebook. From a skeptic female’s perspective, attacking people who are clearly allies like Mr. Grothe instead of focusing on the goals of the movement is a real turn off.

    And debunking dangerous and unscientific sexist beliefs with a science-based worldview is…?

    Amazingly enough, one of the arguments for why women should turn away from religions is that these tend to enforce misogynist belief structures. Why should women join atheist organisations and communities if they’ll just get more of the same sexist garbage they’d get from religious nits? Why are women supposed to be happy when they’re ‘allowed’ to make do with whatever dribbles of privilege slide their way?

    Protip: someone who tells you that the problems you’re facing aren’t really problems, and then tells you that everyone who’s experienced those problems is simply desperate for attention when they bring them up for discussion – and then proceeds to tell you that it’s totally your own fault if people are abusive toward you – isn’t an ally.

  39. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    NMcC #35

    If I was a feminist, I’d stick to fighting exclusively for womens’ rights and interests and organisations and wouldn’t touch the so-called ‘New’ atheists with the proverbial barge pole.

    Fortunately for the rest of us, Nancy isn’t a feminist nor a “New” atheist. She’s slouching to the beat of her own drummer and does her own thing (whatever that is).

    What do you feminists expect, anyway? You hitch your wagon to a crowd of (over-whelmingly) white males whose only connection which each other, AND YOU, is that they think religion sucks and…that…er…well that’s about it.

    Yeah, it’s really amazing. You get a bunch of atheists together and the one thing they all have in common is atheism. It’s funny how that happens.

    However, more and more atheists aren’t white males. When these non-white and/or non-males want to be treated equally by the white males, many of us ancient, white (well, beige actually, unless you’re Ben Radford) males try to welcome those atheists who have the bad luck not to be white and male. Unfortunately there’s a loud minority who aren’t welcoming to the non-whites and non-males.

    It isn’t so much that non-whites aren’t welcomed. Hemant Mehta and Crommunist are respected members of the atheist community. But both of these men are men. It’s the Rebecca Watsons and Greta Christinas and Stephanie Zvans who’re having problems. And it’s folks like DJ Grothe who seem to go out of their way to add to those problems.

    However I have to disagree with Nancy in one major respect. She seems to think that atheist women should go their own way, forsaking the established atheist and skeptical communities. In the first half of the 20th Century we saw how well “separate but equal” worked in race relations.

    I firmly believe women should be members of the atheist and skeptical communities. If anyone leaves, it should be the misogynist atheists and skeptics who refuse to accept women as human beings. And I’m sorry to say that DJ Grothe appears to be one of these misogynists.

  40. Pierce R. Butler says

    Jeeezuss.

    Apologies on behalf of all of us with two X chromosomes and “Ryan” in our names…

    NMcC @ # 35: They certainly don’t believe that they have to have anything else in common WITH FEMINISTS.

    Have you ever heard of a guy named Myers?

    Try to learn something about a field before you expound on it, okay?

  41. says

    From a skeptic female’s perspective, [blah blah blah] is a real turn off.

    Alicia, from another skeptic female’s perspective, I’m not interested in you and couldn’t care less if my behavior turns you off. (And I’m adorable, so your loss.)

  42. says

    Crommie is full of win with this one short sentence:

    Sexism is a dangerous and unscientific belief.

    QFT.

    I’m not always as fully able to participate in going after misogyny as I would like to be, though I do try very hard. It just doesn’t light a fire in me the way religion does. But misogyny is at least as unskeptical and destructive and politically pernicious as religion. Maybe atheism per se has nothing to do with feminism, but the atheist movement (and certainly the skeptical movement as a whole) ought to have a lot to say about it!

    http://memegenerator.net/instance/13048670

  43. No Light says

    So, NMCC – icky girls should stay out of your little boy’s club eh? Idiot.

    Oh and Alicia, the word yo ‘re looking for is “women”, your use of “females” is such a dogwhistle that every mutt in my village started howling when I read your comment.

    And this, from Mr Grot himself:

    You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening

    Does he have no self-awareness at all? “She shouldn’t have worn that/said that/gone there/spoken to him/taken a cab/walked home” etc etc. We’ve heard it all before.

    To anyone thinking “He’s gay, surely he must know what oppression is like and how it hurts”, well no. He wouldn’t. Virtually the entire LGBT movement is run for, and by, cis, moneyed, white gay men. Being any sort of minority within that group, being visibly different to the leadership (being disabled, or a POC, or poor, or trans, or a woman) means you’re disregarded and ignored. Just as in every other movement (sadly, even in feminism) the cis, white, rich, straight Americans rise to the top and scream the loudest. Everyone else is trampled in the rush. In some movements gay men are given a voice, but women are silenced by any means possible. In feminism women are obviously supposed to be the key speakers, but then God-bothering predatory douchebags like Hugo Schwyzer are able to rise to the top and gain power and access to women, because they possess the magical combination of whiteness, wealth and being a man.

    That’s why feminism has a split down the middle, just like New Atheism has, and just like the LGBT movement has, because those with power and privilege use it as a stick to beat down those who make them uncomfortable, those who draw attention to difficult and painful issues like racism, sexism, cissexism, poverty, and injustice.

    As a woman, a dyke, a feminist, a skeptic, and someone raised by fundies who is now an atheist after a very painful journey, and who has severe disabilities and lives under the poverty line as a result – I feel like I’m near the bottom of a kyriarchal pile and can’t climb up, even online. Revealing anything about myself leads to either invasive questions about my sex life, or insults like “crippled cunt” or “fat dyke feminazi bitch”. Everywhere I look I see leaders of the various movements I’d love to join, love to be proudly affiliated with, denouncing the victims of this hateful invective for “causing trouble”, instead of telling those dishing out the jibes that they’re the ones in the wrong. The spoilt white men would take a telling off from one of their own, but not from someone like me, who they deem so inferior for daring to have a vagina and a brain, and for daring to love women and not men, and for daring to be a chair user who refuses to sit quietly in a corner.

    No more. Thanks for this post, thanks to Stephanie for bringing it out. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  44. Greta Christina says

    And this, from Mr Grot himself:

    You posted for the sole reason of trying to bait a sexist into writing something threatening

    No Light @ #53: Grothe didn’t say that. Ryan did.

    I have serious problems — obviously — with how Grothe has dealt with this. But I don’t want him blamed for saying things he didn’t say.

  45. says

    Greta said -

    I do it because I want atheism and skepticism to flourish — and I think persistent patterns of sexism and misogyny are getting in the way.

    Ditto that but also I want atheism to be mine every bit as much as it is men’s. I want not to feel out of place there. I don’t, but I sure as fuck would if it were mostly men of the misogynist type.

  46. NMcC says

    Comment 45 -

    ‘Tis Yourself, indeed.

    I almost counted the seconds until you showed up. I mean, why don’t you just get it over with and ask me out. You’re really just pulling my pigtails…and running to hide behind the bikesheds, aren’t you.

    “Fortunately for the rest of us, Nancy isn’t a feminist nor a “New” atheist. She’s slouching to the beat of her own drummer and does her own thing (whatever that is).”

    I find that incredibly sexist. You should jolly well apologise for that! Why do you use the female designation as a form of(attempted) belittling and abuse?

    As for the comment about ‘them’ being ‘atheists’ too – no they’re not, they are atheists first and foremost and couldn’t give a stuff about feminist issues. Never mind his reaction to the elevator incident in Dublin, did you watch Dawkins’ reaction to having to listen to Rebecca Watson’s speech the one where he was sitting beside her. For fuck sake, getting collared by that gobshite Muslim William Lane Craig wannabe outside the venue in Dublin was a positive relief for Dawkins. When listening to Watson talk, it was all he could do to stop himself deliberately falling off his chair – or shoot himself in the head – to relieve the tedium.

    No, at the risk of being abused as a ‘troll’ (who invented that stupid concept?), I think feminists would be far better organising as women around women’s interests with a prominent skeptical tinge rather than as skeptics or atheists with a prominent feminist tinge.

    Just my opinion. Please don’t kill me.

  47. NMcC says

    A word or two misplaced or missing in the above. Sorry. It’s all Tis’s fault. She got me all flustered…you know how it is when a secret admirer is watching your every move? You don’t? Oh, you poor thing.

  48. smhlle says

    I think this particular phrase “deliberately controversialist” can be accurately translated as “disagreeing with me and not backing down”.

  49. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    “Fortunately for the rest of us, Nancy isn’t a feminist nor a “New” atheist. She’s slouching to the beat of her own drummer and does her own thing (whatever that is).”

    I find that incredibly sexist. You should jolly well apologise for that! Why do you use the female designation as a form of(attempted) belittling and abuse?

    I’m obviously missing something. You said in your post #35:

    If I was a feminist, I’d stick to fighting exclusively for womens’ rights and interests and organisations and wouldn’t touch the so-called ‘New’ atheists with the proverbial barge pole. [emphasis added]

    In common usage, “if I were a [something]” means “I’m not a [something] but if I were….” I read your “if I were a feminist” as you saying you weren’t a feminist. If you are a feminist then I apologize to you for thinking you weren’t a feminist.

    However if you’re not a feminist then I don’t see how my statement is at all sexist. If you can explain the sexism in the statement and convince me that it was sexist, then I’ll apologize. Until then, you’ll remain unapologized at.

    One thing I do remember about you, Nance ol’ buddy, is your narcissism and completely unwarranted arrogant smugness. And no, you don’t get an apology for that.

  50. says

    Ditto that but also I want atheism to be mine every bit as much as it is men’s. I want not to feel out of place there.

    This bit for me.

    As an experiment, I tried arguing in a few different online atheist forums, and I used two different versions of my name: a definitely female one, and a gender-neutral nickname derived from it.

    With the female name, I received a number of condescending, patronising, and sexist remarks, and quite a few highly inappropriate and sexually-explicit/violent personal messages.

    When using the gender-neutral nickname, I didn’t get condescending or patronising comments…and I didn’t get sexist “go make me a sammich” or “boob pics or STFU” crap either. I also didn’t receive any personal messages. They either openly discussed issues with me or I got soundly bashed based on the actual content of my posts, and that was that.

    I want to receive the latter treatment regardless of whether people think/know I’m a woman. I don’t understand why certain people think I’m asking for special treatment by saying so as this appears to be how a number of atheists treat each other.

  51. razzlefrog says

    NMcC:

    “I think feminists would be far better organising as women around women’s interests with a prominent skeptical tinge rather than as skeptics or atheists with a prominent feminist tinge.”

    Why? You act like skepticism has nothing to do with gender in society. My understanding is the goal of this movement is to elevate skeptical thinking to the forefront of our collective human values and not to elevate skeptical thinking to the forefront of our collective human values—but only sometimes and in accordance with the popular sentiment of the time, preferably with extra emphasis on aligning our goals with MRA culture. C’mon, sister! Get with it!

  52. says

    No, at the risk of being abused as a ‘troll’ (who invented that stupid concept?),

    People like you. …Well, you invented the behavior. Others gave it a name.

    I think feminists would be far better organising as women around women’s interests with a prominent skeptical tinge rather than as skeptics or atheists with a prominent feminist tinge.

    Great. Go for it. But given the time you need for your organizing efforts, it makes little sense to spend it trolling other blogs criticizing people for taking an alternate tack.

  53. says

    James … Haha… The whole time I was writing that I felt dirty because I have not Ron one in years! But changing it to (glancing at mart phone. ) didnt seem to be working.

  54. Munkhaus says

    Benson:”I want atheism to be mine every bit as much as it is men’s. ”

    Yes, would you like any particular colour to be “yours” as well?
    Atheism isn’t even a thing. It’s a negative you silly billy.

    Aside from that, the witch hunt currently being conducted by FFTB at the moment is very distasteful. Fortunately, your numbers are barely in double figures.

    But the most intriguing thing is this … does anyone really have an ounce of respect for Laden? It’s almost impossible to believe.

  55. says

    I fail to see how suggesting that someone is trolling to pump up blog hits is sexist.

    “And this:

    Of course, the rewards resulting from these sorts of unfair polemical and personal attacks ilk your blog post may be too great to change your MO, which I can sort of understand. (emphasis mine)
    And this:

    I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs, now yours included: that fomenting movement controversy often seems to be prized over honest and sincere argument… (emphasis mine)
    I have two things to say about this to D.J.:

    1: You are seriously mistaken.

    2: This is an incredibly sexist thing to say.

    For starters: If D.J. Grothe thinks Stephanie, and I, and the other feminist bloggers he alludes to, are writing about sexism and misogyny in the atheist/ skeptical communities largely so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic, he is seriously mistaken.”

    I’d take more context but I don’t think I need to. D.J. NEVER said anything of the sort. What he suggested was that this particular kerfuffle seems a lot like that. And I tend to agree. I guess that means I hate women. But I don’t.

  56. katie says

    You know, the thing that really gets me about all this is that I’m perfectly willing to believe that men occasionally say stupid, insensitive things by total complete accident as a result of unconscious privilege (just like I’m sure I do as a straight white female living in a first world country).

    But the quickest way to defuse a situation like that is to admit that you’re wrong. Admit that, yes, you have privilege and that makes it hard for you to see that some of the things you say can hurt or scare people.

    It’s really not that hard. And if some of the people in the skeptic movement could just do that, we would have a lot less of this.

  57. says

    I fail to see how suggesting that someone is trolling to pump up blog hits is sexist.

    It is if it’s being used so as to divert the discussion away from the people throwing sexist diatribes, and instead make accusations about their victims.

  58. Crommunist says

    I fail to see how suggesting that someone is trolling to pump up blog hits is sexist.

    Translation: I failed to read the explanation of this statement in the post I am commenting on.

  59. says

    It’s things like this that make me (sorry) skeptical about the skeptical movement and it’s goals. When I see arch icons held up like Hitchens and the like who held fast to dangerous beliefs even when the problems were pointed out to them, I question the very ideals of skepticism they promote.

  60. says

    “In a “why atheists are angry” talk you gave, you said (I think it was after a bit about pedophile priests) that you were angry that when stories like this come out, people rush to defend religion instead the victims.”

    Exactly! I personally know victims of longstanding childhood clerical abuse who have blogs and who perpetually talk about childhood sex abuse matters, and are mostly ignored by all. The former are seemingly in my eyes, anyway, perhaps not sensational enough for people to want to bother listening to them, despite the fact that they came from institutions akin to gulags and know the literal meaning of childhood sex abuse. That’s my personal perception anyway.

    Some professional weak/near atheists, etc, so it appears, would much rather see their roles in standing up on lecterns in massive cathedrals at holy times of the year defending either the pope or the religious. Much more exciting business than communicating with real victims of abuse, I would gather! I could be totally wrong? Perhaps they feel that evidence based material and only the hallowed educational halls are the places to express these issues or in possible books that will possibly make them famous. Who knows?

    I have also witnessed thousands upon thousands of commentators flocking to certain sites to talk about the Dublin Lift-gate saga. Some professionals even interrupted holiday time to keep up to date on latest news pertaining to same. Mind boggles! But lots of the selfsame people, it seems from my perspective, run for cover, turn a blind eye when issues of clerical sex abuse are given airspace in posts on atheist blogs. The need to defend the religious seems to be so much more important to some ‘weak’ atheists. Sensationalism begets sensationalism and counts for more!

    Survivors of abuse thoroughly empathise with those who feel they’re just banging their heads against brick walls when it comes ‘sexist’ issues. Remember… it was the learned religious ones who hid behind closed ecclesiastical doors and turned a blind eye to child clerical abuse.

    butterfliesandwheels.org has indeed been hammering on about sexist issues for such a very long time. So I’m glad to see that the sexist floodgates have finally opened and other people are now talking about it and are not prepared to sit back and take the abuse anymore.

    To conclude: in the interim it would really be appreciated if some atheists could reserve some of the energy they have for sexist issues to acknowledging the blogs of real victims of clerical abuse. Thanking you in advance.

  61. says

    Greg you missed my eye-roe-neeeeeee. I was pretending to misunderstand by way of a joke about his pathetic wishful thinking when our hit numbers are in the squillions.

  62. Brownian says

    Just my opinion. Please don’t kill me.

    Ah! The mating call of the yellow-bellied, soft-spined dodo! They’re pretty ubiquitous these days. You can identify them by the way they’ll abandon their chicks at the merest hint of a predator, almost as if they’re saying “Oh, no! Not me! I won’t stand by my issue.”

    Sadly, the droppings they spray are often blamed on pigeons and seagulls.

  63. Munkhaus says

    @Adamgordon

    Hmm, cupcake… that’s original. And you linked to two instances of me giving my opinion: yes sorry, opinion that differs from yours is prohibited nowadays… I forgot.

    @We are Ing

    Yes, Hitchens and Feynman both famous “misogynists” and MRAs.

  64. Greta Christina says

    It’s things like this that make me (sorry) skeptical about the skeptical movement and it’s goals. When I see arch icons held up like Hitchens and the like who held fast to dangerous beliefs even when the problems were pointed out to them, I question the very ideals of skepticism they promote.

    We Are Ing @ #75: I know what you mean. But then I read one of the many emails and comments from people who’ve been following these debates in the last few months, and whose response is, “Oh, now I get it”… and I take heart once again, and my courage is embiggened.

  65. NMcC says

    ‘Tis Himself – Comment 60 and Salty Current.

    Er, I would normally answer you’re individual points, but I can’t help thinking I’m a victim of mistaken identity.

    I genuinely don’t know what you mean by ‘Nancy’. At first I thought you were referring to my initials and working that up into ‘Nancy’ as a kind of insult along the lines of ‘you big girl’s blouse’. I must admit, I have been thinking all along that you really were being sexist and abusive as I can assure you that I am the (sometimes) proud possessor of a penis. This fact alone should allow you to read your comments above in a new light, methinks. I don’t really care whether you apologise or not, I don’t even know you.

    Or perhaps this has all been one of ‘Tis’s ruses and ‘Tis really is smitten by me. Well, just so as you know, I’m not a cheap date. I have respect for myself. I’ll expect a prawn cocktail starter, a steak dinner and (at least) a half bottle of Blue Nun before I let you kiss me, let alone slip the hand.

    On the other hand, perhaps you’ll both be careful in future before hurling this ‘troll’ nonsense around.

    Incidentally ‘Tis, one can certainly stand for women’s rights without necessarily wanting to self-designate oneself as a feminist. It’s the same thing with atheism. I’m an atheist, but I now would rather cut my own testicles off with a butter knife than be lumped in with ‘New’ atheists like Coyne and Dawkins.

  66. NMcC says

    In my comment above, ‘you’re’ should be ‘your’. Probably other mistakes too. Sorry. I’m hanging off the edge of the bed typing this on my laptop on the floor and teetering between certain death and brain damage. If the latter is possible, that is.

  67. Brownian says

    Oh great, here comes munkhaus @67 again to enlighten us all.

    The yellow-bellied, soft-spined dodo’s mating call may be loud, obnoxious, and painful to the ears of the sentient, but it is effective, as one can plainly see from their numbers. I see the one above has already attracted another of its species.

  68. Munkhaus says

    Benson: “Greg you missed my eye-roe-neeeeeee. I was pretending to misunderstand by way of a joke about his pathetic wishful thinking when our hit numbers are in the squillions.”

    Yes, hilarious. (not hysterical. That word is forbidden now).
    And how many of those hits are from Laden on your blog, and from you on his? Bustling around in your echo chambers, banning any new comers that do not conform to the dogma. First the attempted bullying of Dawkins, the bullying of StClair, McGraw (calling her a rape apologist…. remember that Laden?), now Grothe in your sights for sacrifice. Transparent, and rather pathetic.

  69. Greta Christina says

    What he suggested was that this particular kerfuffle seems a lot like that.

    bonsaikc @ #68: I would like to remind you of some specific quotes from D.J.’s commentary. “Few of these sorts of blog posts…”; “these sorts of unfair polemical and personal attacks…”; “I’ll go back to believing what I have believed for a while now about some of these atheist blogs…” (Emphasis mine.)

    These sorts. What I have believed for a while now. Some of these atheist blogs.

    He was not talking solely about this particular kerfuffle. He was clearly talking about what he thinks is a pattern of repeated behavior. And he is seriously, insultingly wrong.

  70. says

    Jolo5309 said:

    If we cannot skeptically look at atheism and skepticism and point out what is wrong with these movements, then how can we justifiably point out want is wrong with any other groups?

    I think this is a good question. Can’t clean other people’s houses and leave your own a mess!

  71. Brownian says

    Hmm, cupcake… that’s original.

    Says the guy who runs not walks for the echo chamber comment. I described you in comment five, asshole. For fuck’s sake, you plagiarised the stereotypical you that exists in my head in this very thread. (I don’t ask you to be as intelligent as me, but it’s sad when you’re not even as intelligent as the figments of my imagination.)

    So, while it’s not forbidden for you to whine about unoriginality, your doing so marks you as completely fucking clueless.

    But, don’t mind me. Do keep bragging about your use of forbidden words, you dishonest, hyperbolic shit.

  72. Munkhaus says

    “He was clearly talking about what he thinks is a pattern of repeated behavior. And he is seriously, insultingly wrong.”

    No, he is absolutely spot on. There: diametrically opposed opinions. Now, show me your skeptical reasoning why you are not wrong. With working.
    Maybe he *is* right… have you thought about that?

  73. D.J. Grothe says

    Greta: Some quick answers to your questions, although because of the nature and culture of these sorts of blogs, my comment here will be seen by fewer people than see your I think incorrect take on things, unfortunately. Such is the nature of these sorts of posts (direct responses can get buried in comments), and so I would appreciate if you link to my response here in your original post.

    You ask two questions:

    Question #1: Do you really think there is any context in which making threats of gender-based, sexualized violence — towards a person of any gender, but especially towards a female writer and her readers — can be justified?

    No, of course I don’t. There is no justification for the use of such language, as I think you should know, since I’ve said as much many times already, including in an email exchange that you began with me the same day I made the comment that offended you on your post contra Long. I believe what Long said is unjustifiable, and I also believe that you treated him unfairly in your post against him. These two opinions are not incompatible: someone can be unfair to someone else who has done something wrong. I have explained why I hold this opinion in that email exchange you had with me, as well in numerous other comments on this blog network. You and I disagree about if/how you treated him unfairly, and you seem to be unable to allow for that disagreement. As a professional writer, maybe handling disagreement through public blogging and/or flogging is easiest or most natural for you; but publicly excoriating folks for not assenting to a view I hold is not how I am used to engaging in honest argumentation. You “fervently beg” me to agree with you, and of course I have already stated numerous times that Long’s comments were unjustifiable, but I simply do not agree that you treated him fairly.

    You ask what I intend to do about it: well, I certainly don’t intend to write a punishing blog post against Long. But for the record, I wrote Long a message that day and clearly stated, among other things, how out of line I thought he was to use such language, even if he or others felt he was deliberately provoked. I do not believe he disagrees.

    But again, and to repeat, threats of violence are unjustifiable, regardless who is making them.

    Question #2: Do you really think that feminist bloggers in the atheist/ skeptical movements are writing about sexism and misogyny, and pointing out examples of it in our communities, primarily so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic?

    No, I do not think this, nor did I ever say this. What I do think is precisely what I have said: that I believe some of the controversies in the atheist blogosphere (certainly not limited to topics related to feminism or sexism) appear to me to be fomented for the hits that result. If I am wrong, and blog hits are no motivation in writing such posts, I will happily stand corrected. But I’d certainly hope that these “call-out” posts against various people in skepticism for real or supposed sins do in fact generate a lot of hits, because if they do not, I see little other real-world pay-off. I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogs that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founder to this effect. Such controversialist posts seem like a pretty ineffective way to work to actually improve any situation, such as for example increasing women’s participation in skepticism, or at least seem to be far less effective than would be making better staffing and programming decisions, so I hope they at least result in an uptick in hits.

    I do not deny in the least that you feel passionate about these issues; I also feel passionate about them, and have worked for over a decade to address issues of equality in skepticism, atheism and humanism, and to challenge instances of institutional sexism within these movements. But I submit that in your passion, Greta, I think you are sometimes just too quick to vilify and make enemies, and to sometimes encourage your fans to engage in such enemy-making. You may do this unintentionally; I think people can sometimes be blinded by their various passions. This is the in-group/out-group dynamic that I find unsettling about some of the atheist blogs — disagreement with some bloggers on various topics (not just feminism, to be sure) appears to be not at all well tolerated. It is these blogs by skeptics and atheists attacking others in skepticism that I think is an unfortunate turn in our movement(s) over the last year or so. (Note that some of these posts don’t just disagree through reasoned arguments but engage in calls for boycotts, public punishment or public shaming — Zvan’s recent blog post claiming I was a sexist actually engaged in literal ad hominem, stating that I have a problem and the problem is “me,” as a person, as an example.) (And before you could possibly misunderstand: this is not at all to say that I do not also find the vile and reprehensible things some folks have said to women bloggers to be more than unfortunate. One should be able to disagree with an opinion leader on various matters and about various approaches to these and other topics without being ugly, personally insulting, sexist and misogynistic, and it is deeply regrettable than many commenters on all sides of the issues during the various controversies did not do so.)

    As you say, Zvan’s blog post cites three examples as evidence of my “hav[ing] an unfortunate pattern of . . . defending indefensibly sexist behavior by other men in the atheist/ skeptical movements.”

    But the claim that I have a history of misogyny or of supporting sexist behavior is unsupportable.

    Her three examples include 1) my comments on Watson’s post contra Krauss earlier in the year, 2) my “liking” a Facebook post by CFI Michigan justifying their choice of a speaker when she attacked them online for it, and 3) my comments on your blog post contra Long.

    I stand by all of my comments (and “liking” CFI Michigan’s post about their speaker decision), and have never “defended indefensibly sexist behavior by other men in the atheist/ skeptical movements.” And I have seen a lot of such behavior at the organizations I have worked at over the years, and have always worked to change it. But when an author like Zvan recourses to my “liking” things on Facebook to argue that I exhibit sexist patterns of behavior, she seems to be sort of grasping at straws — they are in no sense examples of a pattern of sexist or misogynist behavior. I submit that such posts by folks like Zvan are focused moreso on whom a blogger might be more rewarded for publicly excoriating rather than for what legitimate reasons they might do so.

    I have worked deliberately for many years to increase the involvement of women and racial minorities in skepticism, and to challenge institutional sexism within these movements. Of course, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. But when I started working professionally in skepticism, there were almost no women employees other than secretaries. Of the women currently working professionally at the three national skeptics organizations, I have personally hired half of them myself, all of whom were for positions of leadership. I have worked to change, and have changed, various relevant corporate policies. In my programming decisions, I have made TAM more representative of the talents of everyone, not just of white men. (This is not because I believe in quotas — I certainly don’t— but because I think the skeptics movement benefits when it draws from and includes the talents of everyone, and doesn’t ignore the contributions of half of the population.) For contrast, look at the following:

    CSICON 2011: 12 women out of 51 speakers on the program. (23.5%)
    NECSS 2011: 9 women out of 27 total speakers (33.3%)
    Skeptic’s Society Science Symposium 2011: 0 women out of 4 speakers (0%)
    Skepticon IV (2011): 4 women out of 12 speakers (25%)

    All of these events are fine and worthwhile events, and I think women and everyone else should feel welcome and safe at all of them. I regret that you now fear for your safety at TAM. Call me biased, but I think TAM stands out for the quality of its program, and not only because half of the speakers were women.

    I want skepticism to flourish probably at least as much as you do, and I believe it is flourishing more now than ever, despite various internet controversies of past months. Some indications include that our organizations’ conferences are bigger than ever, attracting younger attendees than ever and have more racial and sexual minorities attending than ever, and this is not accidental; it is hard work. The press attention we win as we work to educate the public about this point of view is increasing. Our organizations are growing. Our grassroots groups are more active and numerous than ever. Our activism campaigns demonstrate measurable results and help people. I think it is a confusing turn if you conclude that you want this movement to flourish but that I do not. We merely may disagree that polarizing blog posts that result in enemies-list-making, calls for people to be fired, boycotts, etc. are the best way for our movement to flourish.

    That said, I know that this movement has much more work to do for equality — concerns about misogyny are certainly not misplaced and we must all remain vigilant in addressing them. I do believe some of the reaction to real problems of sexism in our movement(s) has been hyper-vigilant, unduly polarizing, and a distraction from the actual hard work needed to fix problems. Further, I do think it is pretty ineffective way to improve things to try and publicly force assent, to bully or punish people who disagree with various approaches, to misrepresent people’s views to make our arguments seem stronger, or to be too quick to vilify. Some of these atheist blogs are sort of empty on the principle of charity in arguments, and I realize this may be because of past wounds in the blogosphere. But I’m hopeful we can adopt different, better, more effective approaches to address these problems. And just because you favor one approach and I favor another does not mean that we are not both working in common cause. People can take different routes to the same destination, and because you prize this sort of blogging doesn’t mean that I can’t prize other ways of addressing similar problems.

  74. cag says

    I suspect that many of the mysoginists were raised by mothers who adhered to biblical teachings, If you are a child and your parents teach you that women are half the worth of men, the results are not surprising. The bible is evil and makes humans do and teach evil things.

  75. Eclectic says

    I have not even read to the end of your article, because I expect it to be a difficult subject requiring a lot of thought, but my instant reaction to question #1 is duh, of course yes!

    Come on, you’re kink-aware. How about because she asked me to?

    Because I’m flirting in the SF Eagle?

    Actually, there are other conceivable circumstances, too. To persuade a Sharia court that I will deal with my wife/daughter firmly enough that they don’t have to bother? (Okay, I see how you could carve out an exception for this sort of “lesser of two evils” situation.)

    Rick Santorum is a particularly blatant kind of hypocrite for saying that all abortion is absolutely totally wrong, under any circumstances… except his wife’s circumstances.

    Likewise, it’s not okay to say that all threats of gender-based sexualized violence are wrong… except the kind that gets me hot.

    I like to *do* gender-based sexualized violence (with consent, safety precuations, and appropriate aftercare), and I’m not going to hold a man to a higher standard than Bitchy Jones.

    You can still criticize DJ, but please aim more carefully.

  76. carlie says

    I do believe some of the reaction to real problems of sexism in our movement(s) has been hyper-vigilant,

    Exactly what is the level of vigilance that is acceptable and proper, that does not cross into the level of hyper? Is it only calling out actual rape attempts? Is it only drawing attention to, say, every third or fourth instance of sexism? I’d love to know what’s ok and what’s not.

    unduly polarizing,

    If it becomes polarizing because some people think it’s ok to treat women like crap, then it’s their fault.

    and a distraction from the actual hard work needed to fix problems.

    Dear Muslima…

  77. Greta Christina says

    Eclectic @ #93: I specifically addressed this exception in the piece. Please do read to the end. Thanks.

  78. Brownian says

    Greta, Brownians foul mouthed abused is a bit much?

    Are you asking for moderation, you cowardly pissant? After your idiotic swipes about forbidden words?

    Why, you’re quite possibly the dumbest, most hypocritically self-unaware person I’ve ever encountered. I was right to call you spineless.

    Poor level of discourse.

    Am I interfering with your ability to copy and paste ‘echo chamber’, you brainless fucking slug?

  79. sambarge says

    You know, on feminist blogs, I’m attacked for being an atheist. On atheist blogs I see bloggers attacked for being feminists (or female as the case may be).

    Where is an feminist atheist supposed to turn to get some fucking understanding?

  80. says

    I believe what Long said is unjustifiable, and I also believe that you treated him unfairly in your post against him. These two opinions are not incompatible: someone can be unfair to someone else who has done something wrong.

    I have to wonder at what point this odd equanimity would stop. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that GC was unfair (she was not, of course). If Long had actually assaulted her, rather than “just” threatening it, would you still insist upon this silly “both sides” approach? What if she were hospitalized as a result of his attack, and blogging from her hospital bed? Still – both sides? If one person acts in a way that you acknowledge is unjustifiable, what is the point of harping on the behavior of the person to whom he’s behaved unjustifiably? How is this not an attempted justification for what you’ve said is unjustifiable?

    What if the issue were racism or homophobia?

  81. says

    I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogs that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founder to this effect.

    Who told you this, DJ? And to which blog are you referring?

  82. Eclectic says

    Okay, colour me embarrassed. You explicitly went there a bit later in your article. And yeah, Ryan Long is a complete creep who has waltzed happily across the generalized Godwin’s Line and has forefeited any debate he’s in.

    And anyone who has in the past agreed with anything he’s said should be distancing themself from him. (And don’t go quibbling about the exact wording of the threat; some phrases harbour venom beyond their literal meaning; “Strange fruit“, anyone?)

    Personally, it’s just the fact that threats of violence, especially specific violence to a specific person, by someone that person has no way of knowing isn’t Gary Ridgway, are Fucking Creepy and Wrong.

    For example, my line of acceptable sexual fantasy is that it’s okay to publish a violent fantasy about a fictional character, even one strongly associated with a particular actor, but not about the actor. Lara Croft or Severus Snape, okay; Angelina Jolie or Alan Rickman, not. (I’m still trying to fogure out what to do about fantasies involving people like Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Eddie Izzard or Stephen Fry.)

  83. kyoungers says

    I just created an account so that I could comment and thank you for writing this post. Of course you care passionately about the movement. That anyone could think your motives were otherwise is pretty discouraging.

  84. says

    Say what, DJ?

    I believe some of the controversies in the atheist blogosphere (certainly not limited to topics related to feminism or sexism) appear to me to be fomented for the hits that result. If I am wrong, and blog hits are no motivation in writing such posts, I will happily stand corrected. But I’d certainly hope that these “call-out” posts against various people in skepticism for real or supposed sins do in fact generate a lot of hits, because if they do not, I see little other real-world pay-off. I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogs that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founder to this effect.

    You’ve been told many times now by many people that people rail against injustice and foolishness because that’s why we write. There is no calculus of hits here. We write what we write because we care about this stuff. I really don’t understand why you can’t grasp this. Do you have the job you do solely because it pays your salary?

    What the heck is a “controversialist blog”? I don’t know of any; it seems to be a dismissive term you’re just using to snidely suggest that these blogs are really just milking controversy for hits. It’s not an apt description of any of the networks I’ve been associated with, and I’m notoriously obnoxious.

    I can tell you with certainty that there has been no such direction given at freethoughtblogs. The only direction Ed or I have given to any of the bloggers here is to follow their bliss and write about whatever the heck they want, even when we don’t quite get what they’re trying to do.

    Would you mind telling us the names of these “controversialist blogs”? Otherwise, it sounds a bit much like “the lurkers support me in email”.

    Are you talking about some of the gossip blogs, like gawker? ‘Cause that ain’t us.

  85. says

    But I’d certainly hope that these “call-out” posts against various people in skepticism for real or supposed sins do in fact generate a lot of hits, because if they do not, I see little other real-world pay-off.

    If these posts get a lot of hits, you’re only posting them for the hits. If they don’t, there’s no point in posting them. You lose either way!

    Posts about misogyny and feminism can’t possibly make anyone think or change anyone’s mind. You know, like posts about religion and atheism.

  86. carlie says

    Let’s say there is a person who thinks that all the talk about sexism is blowing things out of proportion and focusing on trivial little things etc. Here are two ways that person could respond to this issue:

    “Hey ladies, you’re really blowing things out of proportion here and all you talk about is sexism. Can’t you give it a rest and shut up?”

    OR

    “Hey guys, the ladies keep harping on sexism all the time and it’s really annoying, so stop giving them anything to complain about in the first place, ok?”

    Interesting how none of the people with that opinion ever choose the second option.

  87. says

    I do believe some of the reaction to real problems of sexism in our movement(s) has been hyper-vigilant, unduly polarizing, and a distraction from the actual hard work needed to fix problems.

    It’s hyper-vigilant, unduly polarising, and a distraction to call out sexism when we’re working on addressing sexism?

    I’m so glad a man was here to explain that to me!
    /sarcasm

    And here I thought the way to address a problem was to call it out so people could evaluate and possibly (hopefully!) change the way they treat others.

  88. says

    If I am wrong, and blog hits are no motivation in writing such posts, I will happily stand corrected.

    Then why don’t you just stand corrected when we’ve said as much, many times?

    Greg put together a post showing hits vs comments. Controversy drives comments, e.g. discussion. Hits come from happy-making or pointing out ironclad hypocrisy, with the post going viral on its own, and usually not getting as many comments.

  89. SkepticAtheist says

    The comment of “kicking women in the cunt” was brought up by Ophelia. Then Ryan responded back to that. Here’s the snapshot to show…
    http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l527/SkepticAtheist/RyanscommentsonGretasfbpost.png

    After Greta’s first blog, the insults towards Ryan and attacks continued by Greta’s dittoheads. Some people brought up the “kicking to the cunt” statement on their own. to Ryan. Then Ryan defended himself on Greta’s blog and mentioned the “kicking to the cunt” statements which were made by others, and that people accused him of wanting to do that. This was all a result of Ophelia and the dittoheads.
    http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l527/SkepticAtheist/Ryanscommentsontheblog.png

    THEN, Ryan sarcastically made those above statements on his personal wall, since people came to him with these statements. In those posts, everyone knew his point, that Greta’s fucking stupid sycophant army accused him of this, and that he was sarcastically mocking those attacks, while expressing his frustration.

    Now you idiots have taken a small joking-response which was generated by Greta’s sycophants, and turned this into a big issue, and you dragged D.J. Grothe into this mix. On Stephanie’s blog, D.J. Grothe expressed that he thought Ryan went overboard and was overreacting to the bullying. He never condoned anything Ryan wrote, whether rude or not. All he did in that original post was to point out the bullying and word-twisting.

    You are all modern witch hunters looking to burn someone at the stake. You use fallacious tactics to defend and rationalize your positions, and you use accusations and scare tactics to try to beat others into your way of thinking. You are opportunistic predators, looking to start fights over a simple disagreement, and you hope that while the person is defending himself from your mindless minions that he can post something which can be manipulated or taken in a different context. Greta, Stephanie, Ophelia and PZ Myers should be ashamed of themselves. Rename this blog “freefromthoughts”, or call it the baboon board.

    As for D.J. Grothe, he already explained himself in that other freefromthoughts blog from your brownshirt-friend “Stephanie Zvan”, and he articulately responsed with great precision, and politeness, despite the accusations of these drumhead-trials.

  90. Munkhaus says

    @107 Skepticatheist

    Hear hear. Grothe’s comments have been calm, polite and considered. The dribbled, mindless responses are just making his point about excoriation and the fomentation of controversy.

  91. carlie says

    The dribbled, mindless responses are just making his point about excoriation and the fomentation of controversy.

    Amazing.

    It really doesn’t even cross your mind that it might actually hurt to be treated like shit for being female, and that it might actually be bad for the skeptical movement to dismissively treat half of humanity like shit, and that it might be a situation that people would like to change.

  92. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I haven’t read any of the comments in this thread yet because I wanted to say what I had to say without being influenced by them.

    1. Fuck you, DJ Grothe.

    2. I now have no interest in attending TAM, even though I was trying to work out how to juggle my schedule and afford the next one since all of them have looked like a completely awesome vacation. Actually, I am interested in attending, but I’m not going to. Because of you. Because I cannot and will not put my money toward the organization you lead until you wake the fuck up and start treating women’s issues with the same seriousness with which you treat LGBT issues and skeptical inquiry.

    3. Greta is not the only one who’s noticed your pattern of evading problems of sexism and misogyny. Watching you do so has been a bitter reminder to me that being a gay man is no guarantee that a person has extended his sphere of moral concern to women.

    4. I’m not a ditto-head and I resent the hell out of you dismissing people who disagree with you as if they were under the Malign Hynpotic Spell of Greta/Rebecca/Whatever Woman You Don’t Want to Take Seriously.

    5. I actually admired your work on the Point of Inquiry podcast. I’m not inclined, by past experience or emotional tribal affiliation, to dislike you. But you’re being a fucker.

    6. You’re smarter and better than this. Please take the time to ask someone—most emphatically NOT a personal friend, and not an enemy, but someone you know of whose opinion you trust but who isn’t emotionally beholden to you—what they think of how you’ve handled this.

  93. says

    someone you know of whose opinion you trust but who isn’t emotionally beholden to you

    I’d actually like to recommend someone for that job, to make it easier, DJ. Try JREF’s communications director.

  94. Munkhaus says

    Carlie
    “Amazing.

    It really doesn’t even cross your mind that it might actually hurt to be treated like shit for being female, and that it might actually be bad for the skeptical movement to dismissively treat half of humanity like shit, and that it might be a situation that people would like to change.”

    Yes amazing… and amazing straw man that you’ve built, 30 stories high. Think about group/out group thinking you show here. Think about what skepticism means.

  95. says

    107: Way to Godwin.

    You do realize that “baboon” is a tell now, right? Your crew have been using that particular epithet enough that we can tell where you’re coming from.

  96. Crommunist says

    Think about what skepticism means.

    Everyone knows skepticism means dismissing everyone’s point of view (if it doesn’t match with yours) until they bring you 30 peer-reviewed RCTs that you can scrutinize for methodological flaws. Gosh, Carlie. How do you not KNOW that?

    It makes me happy that nobody really cares when I say stuff. I so rarely have to wade through this kind of condescending bullshit. I only ever do it for funsies. I sympathize with those of you who get treated like this on a regular basis. Makes me a bit ill, and sad.

  97. Crommunist says

    Also, you lose points if you just call “strawman” without pointing out what the problem with the argument is. It just makes you look like a whiny, petulant child who runs to the teacher when she/he loses at tag during recess. “Miiiiiiisss, Carlie CHEEEEEATED!”

  98. Munkhaus says

    cromunist

    “Everyone knows skepticism means dismissing everyone’s point of view (if it doesn’t match with yours) until they bring you 30 peer-reviewed RCTs that you can scrutinize for methodological flaws. Gosh, Carlie. How do you not KNOW that?”

    I was referring to the fact that carlie either did not read DJ’s comment, or ignored it; that in “skepticism” absurd, histrionic straw men isn’t generally considered useful.

    @114 Jason T.

    Have you considered that “baboon” might just be catching on? As an apt descriptor?

  99. Crommunist says

    It’s funny, we’re apparently the baboons, but you’re the ones with all the assholes on display.

    Boom! Roasted!

  100. says

    histrionic straw men isn’t generally considered useful.

    Cough Cough

    Yes, Hitchens and Feynman both famous “misogynists” and MRAs.

    You’re too emotional and aren’t thinking straight, maybe you should lie down until you become less hysterical

  101. carlie says

    What exactly is it that you want me to be skeptical about, Munkhaus? That sexism exists? That some people point out sexism because they want to eradicate it? That some people who claim to be logical and rational are still sexist?

    Or is it that when someone posts on sexism, then we are supposed to suspect that their ultimate motive is most probably page hits?

    I was referring to the fact that carlie either did not read DJ’s comment, or ignored it;

    I actually quoted and commented on it just a few comments after he wrote it. So does skepticism mean not reading everything before forming an opinion, as you obviously did?

  102. says

    SkepticAtheist

    your brownshirt-friend “Stephanie Zvan”

    Hmmm. The ‘feminazi’ meme by any other name, methinks. Congratulations. You just went from objecting to tactics to misogynistic cliché in the time it took you to type half a sentence. Hope you’re proud.

  103. Crommunist says

    Plus I think it’s hard to dance when you’re wearing those big floppy clown shoes.

    Boom! Re-roasted!!

  104. Munkhaus says

    cromunist

    “Also, you lose points if you just call “strawman” without pointing out what the problem with the argument is. ”

    Sorry, you really need it pointed out to you? You didn’t read Grothe’s comments either?
    Not surprising.
    I think you’re also confusing “straw man” with sarcasm to try to score a cheap point. This also seems pretty par for the course.

  105. carlie says

    A. Noyd nailed it back in comment 11:

    The accusation about drumming up controversy for the page hits reminds me of what certain homophobes say about people choosing homosexuality because being gay is so very socially rewarding.

    Why on earth would anyone invite the truckloads of crap these threads attract to dump on their own blog just for the lulz and page hits? Oh yes, getting that extra 1/100 of a cent or so per page hit makes all the rape threats and stalkery emails worth it, I’m sure.

  106. carlie says

    Sorry, you really need it pointed out to you? You didn’t read Grothe’s comments either?

    So you aren’t acknowledging that you were wrong to think that I didn’t read his comment, and are doubling down with claiming again that I didn’t? Funny, I thought skeptics were the ones who didn’t deny reality.

  107. Munkhaus says

    carlie
    “I actually quoted and commented on it just a few comments after he wrote it. ”
    Then you ignored what he wrote about his working for equality in the movement. Or are you saying he’s lying or something?
    The skepticism I’m asking you to employ is to contemplate the possibility that DJ is *correct* when he talks about the excoriation in these posts and the promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking.
    Try it.

  108. Crommunist says

    I don’t “need it pointed out to me” so much as I think you’re full of shit and don’t actually know what a strawman argument is. I’m looking forward to you putting forth what you THINK is a strawman argument so that I can mock you for it.

    And yeah, you’re getting sarcasm and smartassery from me. People who have actual things get to say get actual responses. You’re just fun to play with cuz ur dum. I don’t need to score points on this comment thread – the people whose opinions I care about already respect me. I’m here mocking you because there’s nothing on TV and it’s too early for bed. It’s either this or Reddit, and I’ve seen enough advice animals for today.

  109. Munkhaus says

    Thibeult : “carlie: He formed his opinion long before reading anything here. He’s been fighting feminists tooth and nail for years.”

    For the record, this is a lie. That’s the Jason has descended to now, just lies.

  110. says

    Then you ignored what he wrote about his working for equality in the movement. Or are you saying he’s lying or something?
    The skepticism I’m asking you to employ is to contemplate the possibility that DJ is *correct* when he talks about the excoriation in these posts and the promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking.
    Try it.

    Hard to take that seriously when it’s basically a shaming tactic and seeking to out group people like Cristina away from the pure in group.

    This is what I was talking about kind of. The people who use rational and skeptical as a mantle from which they can judge and dismiss the lesser thinkers.

  111. Crommunist says

    @WeAreIng – no doubt, but I’m on some Usher shit. I move so quick, I’m even fast asleep.

  112. SkepticAtheist says

    @116 Jason Thibeault

    I’ve heard that term from others during the summer, because of the abusive tactics coming from this atmosphere, and they are correct. It’s spreading well in the atheist community, and it’s evident when reading these types of blogs. Munkhaus was correct in post 119.

    @129 Daz

    LOL! Good stuff! That’s funny! I wasn’t even thinking about it like that. It shows how you’re thinking, that every comment must be an attack on women, when I was thinking about brownshirt as in how these authoritarian blogs are ran, and how these accusations on others are made to vilify others. But just remember, you said it, I didn’t :D

  113. Crommunist says

    For the record, this is a lie. That’s the Jason has descended to now, just lies.

    LIES! LIES I TELL YOU! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THESE WILD ALLEGATIONS!

    I’m picturing the “rent is too damn high” guy right now.

  114. carlie says

    Then you ignored what he wrote about his working for equality in the movement. Or are you saying he’s lying or something?

    No, I didn’t. Doing some good things for a cause doesn’t give you magic protection from doing something stupid in another way that hurts that cause, and it sure as hell doesn’t give you magic protection from anyone calling you on whatever stupid thing you’ve done.

    The skepticism I’m asking you to employ is to contemplate the possibility that DJ is *correct* when he talks about the excoriation in these posts and the promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking.

    Why do you both call noting sexism promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking rather than promoting critical thinking about sexism? That’s like saying that telling everyone that Bigfoot is fake is promoting ingroup/outgroup thinking. Because, believe it or not, it’s pretty clear-cut that defending someone who says they’d like to kick a woman in the cunt and then basically calls her an attention whore for complaining about it isn’t a feminist action.

  115. says

    I’ve heard that term from others during the summer, because of the abusive tactics coming from this atmosphere, and they are correct. It’s spreading well in the atheist community, and it’s evident when reading these types of blogs.

    Not in the circles I’ve run in. Do I have to leave the atheist community as well now? Maybe the generalized secular humanists will grasp both concepts better.

  116. says

    SkepticAtheist

    It shows how you’re thinking, that every comment must be an attack on women, when I was thinking about brownshirt as in how these authoritarian blogs are ran

    So ‘authoritarian feminist’ isn’t just a slightly less obvious rewording of ‘feminazi’? You maybe want to take a quick look at your own thought processes, matey.

  117. says

    it’s pretty clear-cut that defending someone who says they’d like to kick a woman in the cunt and then basically calls her an attention whore for complaining about it isn’t a feminist action.

    But it is protecting an ingroup member!

  118. Munkhaus says

    “the people whose opinions I care about already respect me.”

    Woopee do! Respeck innit yeah?

    ” I’m here mocking you because there’s nothing on TV”

    A self-confessed “troll” as I believe you call them (although you lot use it to describe people who disagree with you). You’re certainly a funny little man.

  119. says

    @Ing

    A line from a Meteors song springs to mind: “I took a walk through your deepest thoughts/I didn’t even get my feet wet.”

  120. Crommunist says

    Re: me being a troll

    Oh it’s not that I don’t care about the conversation. Far from it, in fact. It’s just that your “contribution” doesn’t warrant a response above an 8th grade reading level. If someone with a serious question, rather than an axe to grind and a big bag of “skepticism ur doin it rong”, comes along, then I’ll grow up.

    Re: me being a funny little man

    Funny? Thanks! Man? Guilty. Little? Allow me to ostentatiously avoid making like a gojillion “big enough for your mom” jokes.

    Oh wait… shit I screwed up. DO-OVER!

  121. SkepticAtheist says

    @144 Daz

    It was obvious to YOU, which shows how you’re thinking. And thank you very much! You have proved the points about how someone can take a statement made in one context, and attempt to twist it to another. Darth Greta has thought you well. The dark side, I sense in you.

  122. Munkhaus says

    carlie:
    “Why do you both call noting sexism promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking rather than promoting critical thinking about sexism? ”

    One can do both. The ingroup/outgroup is the bullying,shunning and vilification of anyone that may disagree with “you” (you being the FFTB crowd). Again, it’s their in DJ’s comment if you care to read.

  123. says

    @SkepticAtheist: Cry me a river.

    You can make all the claims you want about these blogs making conspiracies to make people fall on traps by making sexist and misogynistic remarks.

    However, they are human beings with enough brain to make their own choices. They could choice not to make sexist/misogynistic remarks, but they didn’t. Ryan specifically could have easily chosen not to switch to violent threats, yet he did. He did after-all claim he wants to kick Greta and her supporters in the cunt all day. It certainly baffles that a guy who calls himself SkepticAtheist would feel the need to defend that…

  124. says

    SkepticAtheist

    Please, show me the context in which dismissing feminists as ‘authoritarian’ or ‘brownshirts’ rather than addressing the problem in hand (you know; threats of violence, framed in a sexist manner), can be read as anything but misogynistic. Myself, I’d have just admitted the faux-pas and apologised for giving the wrong impression. But, please, feel free to go on digging that hole if you want to.

  125. says

    Oh my gog, Crommunist and We Are Ing are making me cry.
    Thank you guys. You give me faith in the existence of awesome people.
    Like, legitimately. I am getting emotional with gratitude. I lost all faith in human goodness for a minute there.

    All I have to say is, there are always going to be total utter douchebags who are very loud and nasty and say inflammatory things and are generally not worthwhile (Re:Ryan Long- his comments are always so nasty and vitriolic… he’s a lost cause and only to be shuuuuuuuunned and mocked furiously).
    Then there are people who actually have a functioning brain cell or two to give to the movement. I have judged that DJ might be one of those people… Jegus I hope he backs off. I hope he sees he’s alienating people who like him… but that we’re willing to keep being his buddy if he stops being so short sighted. Come on guy, just let the clear cut losses go.

  126. llewelly says

    It is strinking that in this interview DJ Grothe treated ID promoter Michael Behe with a degree of politeness and consideration he refuses to grant to feminists.

  127. SkepticAtheist says

    @153 Daz

    I’m not defending male privileges. I was addressing the misunderstanding, and pointing out the injustice to Ryan.

    @154 vexorian

    Those were words spoken in sarcasm to the REPEATED assumptions made about him wanting to do that to women, not a violent threat. I stated that in my first comment on this thread and laid out exactly what happened (#109). If you still don’t understand, then you’re intentionally being ignorant to the context and the situation, most likely because you’re looking for someone to burn.

    @156

    It wasn’t even the issue of feminist that I was referring to. The context is as I’ve already stated in #140. Your version is a different pun on that statement, thanks for talking about it even more, and giving it more attention though. Perhaps it will catch on.

  128. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Never followed this blog before, but I wanted to throw in my support for Greta.

    I was one of those assholes who learned better through following this entire sexism debate, from elevatorgate on. Someone explained privilege to someone else, I happened to read it, and it clicked in my brain.

    Because of this, I can now recognize people like Munkhaus and SkepticAtheist for what they are. Which is good. I don’t want to even accidentally support them.

  129. Greta Christina says

    you cowardly pissant? (snip) you brainless fucking slug?

    1. Fuck you, DJ Grothe.

    Brownian @ #97 and Josh, Official SpokesGay @ #113: I hugely appreciate your support… but please remember my comment policy, and don’t engage in personal insults aimed at other commenters here. Please keep your criticisms aimed at ideas and behavior. Thanks.

    You’re just fun to play with cuz ur dum.

    Crommunist @ #136: I also hugely appreciate your support… but please, don’t deliberately goad the trolls.

    And everyone: My understanding is that Munkhaus is a known troll from other blogs. He hasn’t yet said or done anything here to merit being blocked; but unless you genuinely think he’s being sincere and/or think his comments merit response, I’d appreciate it if you just ignored him. Thanks.

  130. says

    SkepticAtheist

    To clarify, 153 was Ing, not me, although I agree with her/his comment anyway.

    My version was not a pun on that statement, it was a paraphrasing to show the inherent misogyny of the statement. Stripped of the sarcasm, it was an attempt (vain, as it turns out) to get you to rethink your attitude.

  131. Crommunist says

    I also hugely appreciate your support… but please, don’t deliberately goad the trolls.

    *Scuffs floor with toe* Sorry Ms. Christina…

  132. dkmuldoon says

    Count me among those rethinking their TAM plans, barring a change or heart by DJ (or, I suppose, a change of leadership by the JREF).

    It makes me sad that I just had to type that.

  133. says

    And there we have it at 160; proof that highlighting these matters and having vehement discussions about them doesn’t work… Oh, wait a sec…

  134. Munkhaus says

    “Munkhaus is a known troll from other blogs. ”

    The word troll has generally been thrown at me when people have been unable to come up with cogent arguments. It seems I’m on some sort of “list”.
    I’m trying to point that out to you all here that DJ has a point about the vilification and ingroup/outgroup. Ironically, that get’s me put into the outgroup and thus available for vilification.
    What do you think Greta? Maybe, just maybe there might be a blind spot in play here for you guys?
    Suggesting that has resulted in a tirade of abuse. What do you think about that, in relation to freethought, skepticism etc?

  135. A. Noyd says

    D.J. Grothe (#90)

    If I am wrong, and blog hits are no motivation in writing such posts, I will happily stand corrected.

    What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?

  136. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I hugely appreciate your support… but please remember my comment policy, and don’t engage in personal insults aimed at other commenters here. Please keep your criticisms aimed at ideas and behavior. Thanks.

    I’m sorry, Greta. I should have paid better attention to the etiquette expected here, and I’ll do better.

  137. Brad says

    But I’d certainly hope that these “call-out” posts against various people in skepticism for real or supposed sins do in fact generate a lot of hits, because if they do not, I see little other real-world pay-off.

    You want real-world payoff?

    The explosion of posts on sexism in the skeptical community over the last 6 months have been, for me:

    1. My “Feminism 101″: My gateway to an understanding of feminism, which is an area that I confess I had a profound amount of ignorance and misconceptions. Definitely opened my eyes in a lot of ways, and introduced me to the concept of my own male privilege, something I not only wasn’t aware of, but would likely have emphatically denied even existing. (Keys for me included “Schroedinger’s Rapist“, “Predator Redux“, the entire “FinallyFeminism101” blog, and the “Godless Bitches” podcast.)

    2. My introduction to articulate and persuasive skeptical and atheist writers like Greta, Jen, and Amanda. Prior to this I was hanging out primarily in the “skeptical end” of the skeptical/atheist blogosphere (if you know what I mean), but through a series of links, found Greta’s article Why We Have to Talk About This: Atheism, Sexism, and Blowing Up The Internet.

    3. The influence of Greta and other atheist bloggers have had a profound impact on my journey out of my life-long Evangelical Christian faith (a journey still currently in progress). Her arguments against religion and faith are some of the very best I’ve encountered, and have helped me overcome a number of key intellectual and emotional hurdles. I’m not quite ready to “come out” as a full-blown atheist, but at this point I think I more closely identify with her arguments than I do the sermons I still hear every week.

    It has certainly been a “real world payoff” for me.

  138. A. Noyd says

    D.J. Grothe (#90)

    [P]ublicly excoriating folks for not assenting to a view I hold is not how I am used to engaging in honest argumentation.

    Forgot I wanted to highlight this bit of astounding irony. Apparently, D.J.’s definition of “honest argumentation” allows for deciding for others what their motivations are and then scolding them for it.

  139. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Yeah, and the longer this goes on, the more people will have experiences like Brad’s and Laughing Coyote’s. What’s the downside again? An in-group/out-group dynamic?

    To be honest, I think that’s a good thing. Sexism is an unscientific, dangerous belief. One that a lot of men are in denial about, especially when it comes to male privilege. The ones that can’t wrap their minds around the fact that sexism and male privilege do exist are going to find themselves excluded. Because they aren’t capable of applying skeptical principles to their own beliefs. Really having a hard time seeing why this is bad.

  140. Munkhaus says

    Well, it seems none of you want to address any points brought up at all. It’s certainly interesting, from a neurological/psychological perspective. Deeply troubling for a community who purport to be reason based.
    I suppose on a postive note, if more of the followers of these blogs join the boycott (ie the rather sinister “join us” or else) then the people that go to TAM et al can actually get on with some skepticism.

    In that respect, more power to your elbow.

  141. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    What’s the downside again? An in-group/out-group dynamic?

    To be honest, I think that’s a good thing

    Me too. Will it “fracture the community?” Then let it be fractured. Is it divisive? Then let it divide. If there are natural fault lines that separate contradictory value systems, then may they break apart. I’d rather choose a side I can live with.

  142. says

    It’s already divided. There are plenty of skeptics who seem to be fine with the notion that skepticism was defined in 1976 on stone tablets, and that its purview never shall expand beyond the confines of paranormalism, cryptozoology, and alternative medicine. Their biggest concern is anti-vaccination, followed by Bigfoot. So has it always been, so must it always be.

    Personally, I’d like to see the notion of applying the skeptical method beyond “stuff that was on ‘In Search Of’” met with a little more acceptance, which is why I’m glad to find that the divide falls fairly neatly between the old guard of organizations and magazines and the new hotness of blogs and podcasts. Deciding not to renew my Skeptic subscription and no longer looking to TAM as “that super-expensive trip that I wish I could afford to make” saves an awful lot of time and money. And while the rest of us can apply critical thinking and rational inquiry and standards of evidence to religion and gender roles and political claims and whatever else we happen to come across, the old guard can continue patting themselves on the back for realizing that chupacabra probably doesn’t exist.

  143. Forbidden Snowflake says

    I’m not sure why in-group/out-group thinking is supposed to be wrong when the division isn’t based on arbitrary or bigoted criteria. Wasn’t marginalizing sexism the stated goal all along?

  144. Hekuni Cat says

    Thank you, Greta, for this wonderful post. I really appreciate all that you, Rebecca, Jen, Amanda, and others do in the fight against misogyny in the atheist/skeptic community.

    And thank you, Brad, for sharing your story. Like Josh said about, you made my week too.

  145. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Here are Munkhaus’ points:

    Aside from that, the witch hunt currently being conducted by FFTB at the moment is very distasteful. Fortunately, your numbers are barely in double figures.

    And how many of those hits are from Laden on your blog, and from you on his? Bustling around in your echo chambers, banning any new comers that do not conform to the dogma.

    Echo chamber, you guys are just looking for hits

    Grothe’s comments have been calm, polite and considered. The dribbled, mindless responses are just making his point about excoriation and the fomentation of controversy.

    In-group/out-group, you guys are just looking for hits

    It really doesn’t even cross your mind that it might actually hurt to be treated like shit for being female, and that it might actually be bad for the skeptical movement to dismissively treat half of humanity like shit, and that it might be a situation that people would like to change.”

    Yes amazing… and amazing straw man that you’ve built, 30 stories high. Think about group/out group thinking you show here. Think about what skepticism means.

    In-group/out-group, dismissing the idea that sexism might be a real thing

    “I actually quoted and commented on it just a few comments after he wrote it. ”
    Then you ignored what he wrote about his working for equality in the movement. Or are you saying he’s lying or something?
    The skepticism I’m asking you to employ is to contemplate the possibility that DJ is *correct* when he talks about the excoriation in these posts and the promotion of ingroup/outgroup thinking.

    In-group/out-group.

    That’s pretty much it.

    Your signal to noise ratio is embarrassingly low, Munkhaus. And your “points” have been addressed. It’s time for you to toddle along. Don’t you have some feminists to accuse of being mentally unbalanced?

  146. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ugh. Let’s let Munkhaus die with dignity, that gentle, slow Internet death from lack of oxygen.

  147. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Dignity? I’m pretty sure that ship is sailed, Josh.

    I’ve ripped farts more dignified.

  148. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Hey, I had enough respect for Munkhaus to go back through the thread and actually read his comments to determine if he might actually not be lying when he said his points hadn’t been addressed. That took, like, several minutes! More than five, definitely. Now THAT is respect. Of course, it only ended up revealing that he was totally full of horse puckey when he said he had unaddressed points, but that’s not my fault.

  149. DaveDodo007 says

    What to do?

    One side thinks there is too much sexism in the atheist/skeptic community and as I don’t attend these meeting I don’t know if this is true or not. The other side thinks you are overreacting or just doesn’t care about feminism anyway. The battle lines have been drawn and the heels have been dug in and it doesn’t look like anybodies prepared to budge an inch. You both can carry on with your blog flame wars indefinitely but what next? Do you boycott the said events, which means that whether you are right or wrong you will lose through your absence. Do you demand that the other side be thrown out of the skeptics meeting?

    Normally this situation would be intractable but I hold atheists and skeptics to a higher standard than other people (maybe that’s just me.) Is it all or nothing or can there be a comprised solution to this problem. Jaw jaw is better than war war as Churchill used to say. At least if you start talking to each other rather than shout past each other you may both start to realise that you still have a lot in common and that your views on many subjects are not that different from each other. Can there be an olive branch or even a truce while a couple from both sides talk to each other.

    Just trying to help but feel free to tell me to STFU and I will go away.

  150. Juju says

    Although I understand the reasoning/arguments on both sides of this issue, I am quite saddened that declaring whichever side I happen to agree with more is a death sentence to the other. This is a big reason why I, and I would guess other folks, do not actively participate in conversations of this nature.

    I would prefer not to be bullied and ostracized because of my OWN opinions, whether they are of the popular sort or not.

  151. Munkhaus says

    Well, I didn’t say *my* points SallySTrange. [if I were one of your number, imagine the extra abuse that would be inserted here]

    I’m referring to DJ’s balanced and polite comments, the excoriation, as well as the point of Benson being the one who brought up
    “guys wanting to kick us in the cunt over and over again”.
    Benson loves to bring these things up, rude words etc and pretend that someone with whom she disagrees has said it to her. This is disingenuous, as it is to deny that Ryan Long thought he was being accused of saying it and grew frustrated.
    It seems like a lot that post here *want* to frustrate people.

    DJGrothe:”Note that some of these posts don’t just disagree through reasoned arguments but engage in calls for boycotts, public punishment or public shaming — Zvan’s recent blog post claiming I was a sexist actually engaged in literal ad hominem, stating that I have a problem and the problem is “me,” as a person, as an example.”

    Good points. But let’s face it, as many of you commenters have shown with you boycott or else talk, and DJ is a misogynist, he cannot win unless he just says that he completely agrees with you. Some freethought. You’re familiar with the word Dogma?

    Incidently, I just had a look at PeeZus’ blog post… imagine my surprise to see the same commenters from here, posting the same comments. Some even just copy pasted.
    Keeps you busy I suppose, running around all the blogs that say the same thing, posting the same comments, perhaps with some variation of swearing and abuse.

    The Skeptic Community.

  152. bluharmony says

    I agree with Josh. Let them break. I’d rather spend time fighting actual sexism than on these ridiculous and vicious attacks on whatever male is considered to be the sexist of the hour. And I agree with DJ completely. If it weren’t for the hits and attention, I have no clue while these ill-informed, controversial, poorly-reasoned, attack posts would be written.

    It was a pleasure to see DJ handle this nonsense with so much class. Unlike the “feminists” here, he has actually done something real to increase the participation of women and minorities in the community, and for that I am grateful. If those claiming they won’t attend TAM because of DJ, then I surely will, because of DJ.

    As for the “baboons,” let me tell you something: repeating the same thing over and over again doesn’t make your “arguments” any more convincing. Evidence does. Try and figure out what that means and then go find some.

    Also please tell your friend PZ Myers that calling women “bitches” and “deranged” is both sexist and misogynistic. Furthermore, don’t equate your narrow view of feminism with all feminists or all women. Most of us don’t want you speaking for us and strongly disagree with your views and means of expressing them.

    Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Laden for allowing people to use his blog to link to my real name and home address in a hate post about me. Putting women in real danger of violence is so feminist! You’re truly a special man, Laden.

    Ta.

  153. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    DaveDodo007: I and several others used to be, not intentionally sexist, but privileged and blinded by said privilege to sexism.

    Actually, I was worse than that. Occasionally I was an actual misogynist. I’m a guy, with asperger’s syndrome, and social issues. Dating hasn’t been super easy for me. Very comforting to blame those ‘stupid shallow women’ rather than look at my own unconscious behavior. I bought into most of the stupid tropes. But something was wrong there, wasn’t it? I couldn’t figure it out until Elevatorgate happened. They explained privilege, feminism 101, and ‘schrodinger’s rapist.’

    What’s interesting is, since I’ve started ‘getting it’, for some reason girls have wanted me around more. Isn’t that weird? It’s almost like treating women as if they’re people too makes them want to spend more time around me or something.

    One problem, as I see it, is that the media has given us a very pathetic vision of feminism. Feminists hate men, all men, you see, so admitting that they have a point is like fraternizing with the enemy, or something. I used to buy into the stereotypical ‘shrieking feminazi castrating she-harpie’ crap. But that was before I even bothered talking to anyone who identified as ‘feminist’. Stupid me. But I know better now at least.

  154. A. Noyd says

    DaveDodo007 (#185)

    Is it all or nothing or can there be a comprised solution to this problem.

    Sure, let’s all agree to treat women as fully human, but only every other day. The rest of the time, we’ll threaten to kick them in the cunts.

  155. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Also please tell your friend PZ Myers that calling women “bitches” and “deranged” is both sexist and misogynistic. Furthermore, don’t equate your narrow view of feminism with all feminists or all women. Most of us don’t want you speaking for us and strongly disagree with your views and means of expressing them.

    Ah Bluharmony, you haven’t changed a bit. Still willing to lie, still desperate for the approval of people who don’t give a tin shit about you.

  156. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Although I understand the reasoning/arguments on both sides of this issue, I am quite saddened that declaring whichever side I happen to agree with more is a death sentence to the other.

    Then be saddened. If staking out a middle ground is important to you you’ll surely find an abundance of namby-pambies you’ll feel comfortable with.

  157. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Bluharmony:

    I agree with Josh. Let them break. I’d rather spend time fighting actual sexism than on these ridiculous and vicious attacks on whatever male is considered to be the sexist of the hour. And I agree with DJ completely.

    Don’t you dare. The group you’ve chosen to align with has exhibited some of the most craven and disgusting sexist bullshit I’ve ever seen. You don’t agree with me in anything other than the formal sense in which we both agree we’re on opposite sides.

    Your behavior disgusts me.

  158. says

    From DaveDodo007:

    Do you boycott the said events, which means that whether you are right or wrong you will lose through your absence.

    Perhaps “boycott” is a word with very official, organized-sounding connotations, but if enough people who object to such treatment of women within the skeptical community avoid the events–right or wrong–the skeptical community will lose from their absence. They’ll lose membership, they’ll lose audience, they’ll maybe even lose money. The people who avoid the events won’t lose; they’ll save their money and time and won’t have to support people who don’t fully respect women, and they can get all the information for free a little bit later anyway.

    I hold atheists and skeptics to a higher standard than other people (maybe that’s just me.) Is it all or nothing or can there be a comprised solution to this problem.

    You hold atheists to a higher standard? Then why aren’t you even holding them to the baseline standard of treating women like full participants? And what on earth could a compromised solution to the problem of not treating women like full participants be?

    From Juju:

    I would prefer not to be bullied and ostracized because of my OWN opinions, whether they are of the popular sort or not.

    No one should be bullied, and we all would prefer not to be ostracized for our opinions, but if people don’t like your opinions and prefer not to be around you, what makes you so special that they should have to keep your company? And isn’t better to at least be ostracized for what you believe than for aspects of yourself that are out of your control? (Like being a woman, for example.)

  159. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    When did PZ recently call any women ‘deranged’ or ‘bitches’? I’m trying to figure out if I’ve missed something recently, but that’s giving bluharmony too much credit. It’s far more likely she’s just lying.

  160. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    I’m trying to remember the exact details of the last time I talked to Bluharmony. It was pretty near when I first appeared on Pharyngula.

    I seem to remember a lot of snivelling about our ‘tone’. And dishonesty with a pinch of privilege… but beyond that my memory’s kinda fuzzy and I don’t wanna bother looking it up.

    I’m sure Bluharmony will remind me herself soon enough.

  161. says

    That’s ‘balance,’ ‘politeness’ and ‘class’ ascribed to DJ, all within two posts.

    Politeness ≠ correct
    class ≠ correct

    And anyone who’s seen behind the falsely ‘balanced’ reporting given to global warming deniers in the media, knows what balance is worth.

  162. Juju says

    @ Josh

    Why has turned into an “us versus them” sort of issue? Can someone not agree with points made by various people in this? I understand this is a heated issue, and rightly so, but it’s like everyone is sticking their fingers in their ears yelling, “LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you” rather than actually try to sort it out.

    @ Karen

    I never claimed to be so special that my opinions should be accepted by anyone, but my hope for the skeptic/atheist community is that they are one to reasonably discuss/debate things without resorting to bullying, name-calling, berating other folks who happen to disagree. Isn’t that the exact sort of thing we are trying to clean our hands of? That said, I wholeheartedly agree with your second statement.

  163. Aerik says

    Grothe, what the heck. You can’t say that people are only bringing up atheist/skeptic sexism in posts that are “to be fomented for the hits that result” — and deny that you’re claiming that people are manufacturing controversy. YOU JUST SAID THAT THEY ARE.

  164. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Why has turned into an “us versus them” sort of issue? Can someone not agree with points made by various people in this? I understand this is a heated issue, and rightly so, but it’s like everyone is sticking their fingers in their ears yelling, “LA LA LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you” rather than actually try to sort it out.

    Yeah. That’s totally it. It’s got no substance. Just la-la-la. Thanks.

  165. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Daz: Bluharmony does not care what the actual message is. She cares about ‘tone’. We do not coddle her tender widdle feewings, so we’re clearly wrong somehow. Of paramount importance is that no one uses naughty wangwidge to express themselves around Bluharmony.

    Also, she’s a blatant liar.

    You might take from this that I dislike bluharmony, but actually I find myself kinda feeling sorry for her. She’s like a puppy crawling to lick the boots of an uncaring master, if that makes any sense.

  166. says

    The Laughing Coyote

    Indeed, it’s a pitiful sight to see. Bit unfair on puppies, though. They, at least, eventually learn not to crap on the carpet.

  167. says

    Juju, these aren’t people ‘berating other folks who happen to disagree.’ They are people defending the making of sexist threats. If we want to talk about ‘harshness,’ which is the more harsh; a few shouty words, or a threat to ‘kick women in the cunt’? Please, get some perspective.

  168. DaveDodo007 says

    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa.)

    Not sure of the relevance of your post as I was just wondering if the rift could be healed or not?

    A. Noyd.

    Are you saying that at the skeptics meetings people threaten to kick you in (I can’t finish that phrase as it makes me shudder) really?

    KarenX.

    Then I suppose a boycott is one course of action you could take if you can get enough people to follow it. As I said I don’t go to the meeting and there are people who disagree with your position how I’m I to judge who is right or wrong. I would be saddened to see a split in the atheist/skeptic community but with the entrenched positions on both sides it’s looking more and more inevitable.

  169. nunya bidness says

    The truly sad part about fighting misanthropes online is that you’re denied the pure pleasure of watching your opponent’s eyes as they realize you’ve painted them into a corner and they can’t get out without admitting their folly. That moment when you see the gleam of triumph, as they notice that light at the end of the tunnel you’ve dangled in front of them, then the horror of realization that they are going to prove your point by grasping at their salvation. The wall created by the internet allows the scoundrel to simply walk away without acknowledging his embarrassment and more importantly allows that scoundrel change the argument without penalty. This entire discussion needs to happen face to face if it is ever going to be resolved.

  170. Mona says

    One thing that really, really baffles me about your comment, DJ Grothe – do you really think female atheist and secular bloggers should refrain from pointing out misoginy they experience or disagree with from their iwn allies in their blogs, because it alienates women from joining events and actively participating in the movement? Did it occur to you that what alienates women is the sexism itself, not people talking about it, and that for our own safety and happiness we secular women might have an interest in knowing what we have to expect being women in this community? People like Greta have made it clear to me why I do not have to regret not being able to participate in events like TAM at the moment. Not because of what they write or how often they pick up the issue of the sexism controversy in the secular and atheist movement in their blogs, but because of how they kerp gaving valid reason to address these problems, and I certainly don’t count blog traffic as a valid reason. I for my part would rather know where I am at, even if you preferred, ir so us my impression from your comment, the women would overlook some instances of sexism in their blogs.

  171. says

    Are you saying that at the skeptics meetings people threaten to kick you in (I can’t finish that phrase as it makes me shudder) really?

    Congratulations on proving that you didn’t even bother to read the OP before commenting.

  172. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Davedodo007: Well, I was kinda trying to say that ‘healing the rift’ means calling out misogyny where we see it, and treating women as equals. I can see I got distracted and did a bit of a poor job of it.

    Women make up half the human population. It pays to listen to them.

    If by ‘healing the rift’ you mean I should just agree to disagree with people who think threats of sexual violence can just be brushed off as ‘heat of the moment’, or that I should try to spare the feelings of people too attached to their own bullshit to see what they’re doing…. too fucking bad. Not gonna happen, not for this coyote.

  173. says

    @DaveDodo:

    how I’m I to judge who is right or wrong

    Here’s how.

    1. Decide whether women deserve to be treated like full participants in the skeptical movement.
    2. Identify who is not treating women like full participants.
    3. Identify who is treating women like full participants.
    4. Pick who you want to win and follow them when the schism happens.

    I am curious, though, what points women are making about being treated as full participants that you find are being disagreed with, and why you find them so compelling that you can’t decide right off who is right or wrong.

  174. DaveDodo007 says

    Daz.

    I read the OP though that was on a facebook page are you saying it also happens at skeptic meeting?

  175. says

    Juju

    Nobody’s said it happens at meetings. But (i) threats have been made, and we have no way of knowing how seriously meant they were, (ii) even if not meant seriously, do they constitute comments that you would defend, even lightly, as DJ has?, and (iii) the very fact they they were made points (yet again) to the fact that there is a serious problem which needs to be addressed.

    Oh, and (iv) the fact that DJ and others did defend them, however lightly, points to the fact that there’s a serious failure in the general perception of just how seriously awful such behaviour is.

  176. says

    … but if enough people who object to such treatment of women within the skeptical community avoid the events–right or wrong–the skeptical community will lose from their absence. They’ll lose membership, they’ll lose audience, they’ll maybe even lose money.

    Considering that the list of people pissed off at DJ includes some fairly prominent names — some of whom are regular attendees of TAM, if they have not actually been guest speakers or panelists — losing money is also a certainty.

    It is going to be a very interesting six months, to say the least.

  177. DaveDodo007 says

    KarenX.

    As I keep saying I have never attended a skeptics meeting, It could be the most sexist place on the planet for all I know. Though for every man and women that agrees with you there is a man and women who disagrees with you. Of course women should be treaded as human beings so do you have any data that shows that they are not? The schism wont affect me personally as I do not go to the meetings but I was hoping the skeptic community could avoid this en passe.

  178. says

    Oh, data! Such a pesky thing. Does women talking about their experiences ad nauseum count? Or else maybe this is the first time you’ve stumbled into this conversation about sexism within skepticism and you haven’t heard all the reports from women in skepticism about their experiences? Because those kinds of reports are everywhere–even in this post.

    Is there a minimum number of offenses you are looking for?

  179. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Davedodo007: What, the words of all the women who posted in this very thread mentioning that the skeptical community refusing to address misogyny makes them feel unsafe and uncomfortable isn’t enough data for you?

    I used to wonder why women always seemed to complain that no one listened to them….

  180. says

    We’ve all reported these incidences, all over the place. Here are the responses we get.

    Nuh uh.
    Men are just like that.
    Stop causing problems.
    It’s sometimes OK.
    You’re overreacting.
    Other women have it worse.

    This is all of us, writing, reporting these incidences. What specific response have we gotten from you?

    Prove it more.
    Those other people make a good argument that says you’re wrong.
    It doesn’t really matter to me anyway.

  181. says

    Anyone who makes threats like that should be banned from the meetings.

    Congratulations, you just joined the fight. Now all we need is a way to point such behaviour out, so as to raise folks’ consciousnesses. Ooh, I know! We could blog about it and point to it, as Greta has done. Yes, it may seem confrontational, but the alternative is just to let it pass uncommented. And that worked so well with religion for all those years…

  182. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Davedodo007: In my experience, women will tell you all about the sexism they experience, in society or in a particular group, but you have to be willing to listen.

    It’s not hard. You just flex your jaw muscle until your teeth touch each other. With your teeth firmly in contact, it’ll help prevent that urge to cut them off, minimize their experience, play ‘devil’s advocate’, and other things clueless privileged guys tend to do when women try to talk to them about these things.

    That’s part of why this feminism thing hasn’t been too hard for me to grasp. It jibes with stuff women have been telling me for years now. How can I possibly ignore all I’ve heard? It would be irrational to assume all those women were just trying to stir up controversy or get attention.

  183. Anon for this one says

    Slightly off-topic, but needs to be said: in my days as a karate fighter I was kicked just about everywhere, and being kicked “in the cunt” is no worse than being kicked anywhere else (in the nose is the worst). When men get kicked in the balls they curl up and weep, not just the kickee but all the other men in the room too.

    I learned karate because I had a violent childhood. I can assure you that (outside of a karate dojo) by the time they get around to kicking you, you are lying on the ground and not feeling much.

  184. A. Noyd says

    DaveDodo007 (#205)

    Are you saying that at the skeptics meetings people threaten to kick you in (I can’t finish that phrase as it makes me shudder) really?

    Are you saying that you’re so ill-informed that you think the main focus of posts like these is what happens at meetings and not how sexism is addressed in the skeptic/atheist community in general?

    I would be saddened to see a split in the atheist/skeptic community but with the entrenched positions on both sides it’s looking more and more inevitable.

    There’s always been this split. The difference is that more people are fighting back against the sexism instead of letting it drive them from the community. I can’t take your sadness seriously since this is something so many women have been living with whilst you’ve been enjoying the luxury of your obliviousness.

  185. says

    DJ Grothe
    Thank you for actually replying, I think many people were and are actually interested in your replies, because they care about you as an ally, JREF and TAM.
    But I think that they sadly miss the point again.
    You are taking a “both sides are doing wrong” approach. I’m not agreeing with it, but I am very familiar with this kind of approach.
    Here’s the problem:
    Until this very comment, as Greta lined out in the OP, the strongest word of condemnation you found for violent threats was “unfortunate”.
    This, combined with a lengthy sermon of how badly Greata, and Stephanie, and all the other people treated Ryan, you’re not convincing in your “both sides did wrong”.
    You’re giving the strong impression that the “both sides” is your get-ou-of-jail card played in advance, because you aren’t really going after both sides.

    You write plolite words, but you are not polite. You are writing very condescendingly, you are making big accusations, the fact that they come in nice long words doesn’t change that. The fact that you always use words to soften the message so you can weasel out doesn’t change that.
    You don’t know what you’re talking about:

    As a professional writer, maybe handling disagreement through public blogging and/or flogging is easiest or most natural for you; but publicly excoriating folks for not assenting to a view I hold is not how I am used to engaging in honest argumentation.

    You are accusing Great of not wanting to engage in honest argumentation. That’s a big thing to say.

    : that I believe some of the controversies in the atheist blogosphere (certainly not limited to topics related to feminism or sexism) appear to me to be fomented for the hits that result.

    That’s a pretty big accusation, too. You accuse people (and you almost never name names) of dividing uo the community in mala fide for their own profit. And they have told you repeatdly that they don’t and have given you their reasons. Why do you continue with that, and as somebody else said, what would you convince that this is not true, if the clear statements from those people didn’t?
    You even go on to claim:

    I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogs that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founder to this effect.

    You are a skeptic. You are familiar with conspiracy theories. Let me exchange some words for you to make it ring a bell:

    I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogsthe CIA that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founderthe president to this effect.

    What blog are you talking about?
    If you actually believe this and have evidence, why not give the blogger the chance to defend themselves against such an accusation instead of spreading misstrust?

    Another thing is that “your followers/fans” meme. It’s deeply offensive to anybody who happens to agree with Greta/Stephanie/Ophelia/Rebecca…, because you deny us our capacity for thinking for ourselves. We’ve been called sockpuppets, echo-chamber, hivemind, flock, dittoheads, fans, followers and so on.
    Everybody who agrees with the feminist bloggers is accused of being too stupid to think for themselves. It seems impossible that, and here I want to point out to the fact that a large number of their readers/commenters are actually women who are used to exactly that shit, we have witnessed such behaviour, that we have done our homework and educated ourselves and that we are actually capable of forming our own opinions and expressing them.
    If you disagree with us, disagree with us, but at least have the curtesy to disagree with us as people, not the Borg.

    All of these events are fine and worthwhile events, and I think women and everyone else should feel welcome and safe at all of them. I regret that you now fear for your safety at TAM. Call me biased, but I think TAM stands out for the quality of its program, and not only because half of the speakers were women.

    This is one big non-sequitur. You defend TAM against the concerns of personal saftey by saying it’s program is great. Nobody denied that. People said that they love it, but that they are now worried for their personal safety.
    If you went to a club, and then, for some reason feared for your personal safety due to homophobic behaviour, and the club-owner dismissed you by saying that the music is really great, would you feel that you were taken serious?
    That’s the problem women have. They are asking themselves: If anybody gropes me, and I complain, will their reaction be that they tell the guy that his behaviour was unfortunate and then go on lecturing me about how I shouldn’t have worn that skirt, smiled that much, thrown my hair back while laughing?

    You seem to be upset about the accusation of showing sexist behaviour.
    Good
    It shows that you care about it.
    But here’s the hint, and other men have given it to you, too:
    Stop dismissing things, start listening, start thinking.
    We all fuck up, but it becomes bad when you forget about the first rule of holes.

  186. says

    Oh, and another thing:
    About this “losing temper” after being “bullied”:
    People who actually understand and accept why such threats are seriously bad, why calling women “cunt” and “bitch” is really harmful don’t suddenly find it OK when they are in anger.
    To claim that seems to indicate that there’s only one very, very thin layer of Decent Human Being paint on a strong foundation of violent misogynist.
    I would not feel safe with somebody who only thinks that threatening women with sexualized violence is bad as long as they are perfectly calm and happy.

  187. Bruce Gorton says

    One of the things I like about the skeptic community is that we have these highly uncomfortable discussions.

    We aren’t so tied up in our respect for authorities that we agree with every one of their words and actions. A lot of us criticized Hitchens for his sexism and war hawkery, a lot of us disagreed strongly with Dawkins’ Dear Muslima.

    A lot of us are learning from the sexism wars, and learning to check our privilege as a result.

    Heck we even argued with Harris on moral philosophy and PZ Myers on whether or not atheism could be falsified.

    Think of that in contrast to the old charge of ditto-head-dom. We are in a painful phase of our community – where after a period of rapid growth in specific sectors we are dealing with hold-over prejudices and bigotries.

    And we really are dealing with them, we are launching flame wars, having the ugly side of our community and ourselves shown in its fullest light and striving ever to move forwards.

    We are demonstrating how skepticism can improve humanity. And while we are doing this, more people are becoming skeptics.

    Consider how with the rise of the atheist movement, there was the rise of the religious roar trying to drown us out. How desperate those churches with their empty pews are. It is the empty ship that makes the most noise.

    And consider the roar of misogyny in this light – that as they bluster and call those who argue against sexism bullies for highlighting their behaviour, that they are ashamed and afraid. They try to silence those who trumpet the source of their shame, but they fail because it is not a time for silence, the battle is joined and the feminist side of it is winning.

    And yes, the same old arguments are coming up repeatedly, but we must remember something that we learned in the early days of Internet atheism – the same old arguments to us, aren’t the same old arguments to people who haven’t encountered them before (As Greta had written in the past).

    So we reject those who would answer yes to questions one and two. We reject the idea that such argument within the movement is negative for the movement, we reject the idea that it will ever be the wrong time for such arguments.

    For we recognize that it is the right to have these arguments, the right to disregard the “prior contributions” of those on the other side of these arguments if they are wrong, the right to stand up for what is right in the face of overwhelming authority that defines and binds us as skeptics long before we can proclaim our atheism.

    If we are to consider allies before we consider what is correct, then we fail as skeptics. That we do not, is how we help each other achieve growth. We would be poor allies if we didn’t criticise each other.

    /meta

  188. says

    Are you really not aware that one of the most common ways to dismiss and trivialize serious women is to say that we’re just trying to get attention?

    I remember being a teenager in the mid 1970s saying that women should be allowed to do any job they’re capable of doing, and should be paid the same as a man. I was told several times that I didn’t really mean that – I was just looking for attention. Some things are very slow to change.

  189. StevoR says

    Is that [Heated internet arguing ed.] really one of the contexts that should generate sympathy for the person making the threats… and censure aimed at the person receiving them?
    Really?
    If not — then please, for the love of all that is beautiful in this world, say so. And say so unequivocally.

    Well said Greta. Hear. Hear.

    No, it is unequivocally wrong to say in the context of heated online arguments that women should be slapped. Or threatened with rape. With and without knives. Or that women (50% at least of Humanity remember!) should just shut up. Or that their experiences matter less and can be ignored, trivilised, diminished and mocked.

    Such hating on women is uncool, unacceptable, short-sighted, ultimately self-destructive and – d’uh! – disgustingly bigoted.

    It is bigoted when the Right does it.
    It is bigoted when the Left does it.
    It is bigoted when the Centre does it.
    It is bigoted when Muslims do it,
    It is bigoted when Hindus do it,
    It is bigoted when Christians do it,
    It is bigoted when when agnostics do it.
    It is bigoted when atheist do it
    It is bigoted when *ANYBODY* does it.

    Yes, it is bigoted even when Richard Dawkins or D.J. Grothe does it.

    These men owe you an apology. (Specifically here Ryan Grant Long & D.J. Grothe although it applies to any men who do or support in any way whatsoever the things mentioned above which are textbook misogyny.) Whether they eventually give Greta Christina that apology or not, they owe it. They need to think hard and reflect well and unflinchingly about themselves and their own misconduct. Then apologise and not ever repeat their behaviour or even come close to doing so.

    If they cannot accept & handle doing that, then, as far as I’m concerned, they can hand in their ‘Decent Human Being’ badges and get the hell out! I have nothing further to say for them and no further respect for them. None.

    If D.J. Grothe can’t “man up” (irony and sarcasm intended there) and admit unequivocally that HE GOT THIS WRONG and properly apologise and change things then he should resign or be fired whichever applies and he chooses. This is what I think and say.

    And I’m a white priviledged Australian male “learner” feminist. Coming from a sheltered life and background.

    *I* can see this and see is flippin’ axiomatic.

    Axiomatic in that all I’ve just written shouldn’t have to be.

    But it seems it does. :-(

    So we’ll all have to keep saying it UNTIL everyone gets it.

    Because it needs to be got. It really does. We want a better, more equal, more fair world right? Don’t we? We want everyone to be able to think and argue rationally and accept reality don’t we? We want, ultimately to be decent human beings who can be proud of ourselves don’t we?

  190. thomaspenn says

    I have been told by two people now who have been personally involved with one of the controversialist blogs that there has been explicit direction from that blog’s founder to this effect.

    I realize that I am tardy to the party, but I really think that this claim by DJ really requires some substantiation. I doubt it’s made up out of whole cloth, but I’m highly skeptical that it’s about any blogs relevant to the issue at hand.

    As others have pointed out, atheist-on-atheist discussions of privilege may bring heated comments, but they aren’t the best way to bring hits.

    Also this response seems pretty disingenuous:

    No, I do not think this [that feminist bloggers in the atheist/ skeptical movements are writing about sexism and misogyny, and pointing out examples of it in our communities, primarily so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic], nor did I ever say this. What I do think is precisely what I have said: that I believe some of the controversies in the atheist blogosphere (certainly not limited to topics related to feminism or sexism) appear to me to be fomented for the hits that result.

    Is he just disagreeing with the term “primarily”? Would his answer be yes if it said “that feminist bloggers in the atheist/ skeptical movements are OFTEN writing about sexism and misogyny, and pointing out examples of it in our communities, so we can manufacture controversy and draw traffic”? That’s not much better.

  191. Bernard Bumner says

    I want skepticism to flourish probably at least as much as you do, and I believe it is flourishing more now than ever, despite various internet controversies of past months.

    I wonder how many people have been lost to skepticism due to the drawing of lines, and how many people have decided to break their silence to lend their support? What does skepticism flourishing actually mean to D.J. Grothe? Is skepticism simply measured by JREF subscriptions and TAM ticket sales? Is that really how the world works?

    Activism is the strongest form of participation in changing the world. That activity may be through leadership and enacting policy change, but it can also be about confronting threats and changing opinion. Those who do the former should be careful not to dismiss the latter, lest they stop listening to those they claim to represent.

    What concerns the skeptical movement/community (such as it is) is whatever concerns it. Perhaps the worth of the movement is best tested by its ability to examine its own systemic failings and blind spots. Controversy is an inevitable consequence of skeptical examination of any popular ideology; the crucible in which ideas are tested to failure. Controversy and skepticism go hand-in-hand in a world so full of unexamined wisdom.

    Are the internet controversies of past months to be merely dismissed? Do they really not reflect the valid and important concerns of the constituency D.J. represents? I see a lot of prominent individuals and countless others expressing opinions one way or the other, and yet D.J. wishes to wave one side away as controversialists and the other as reactionists.

    If there is a bigger failure here than D.J. seeming to fall softly on the wrong side of this debate, it is that he has taken far more seriously any personal criticism directed at his response than he did the original facts of these internet controversies.

  192. carlie says

    I wonder how many people have been lost to skepticism due to the drawing of lines, and how many people have decided to break their silence to lend their support? What does skepticism flourishing actually mean to D.J. Grothe?

    Well, you know, more people would be willing to support feminists if we’d just stop being so strident. I guess if we’d just be a little more polite and, what’s the word, accommodating, we’d have allies just lining up to have our backs.

    Gee, where have I heard that argument before?

  193. learninglate says

    Among the many reasons I’m disappointed in DJ Grothe right now, the fact that he uses the term “ditto-heads” is just one, but honestly, that he’d take up a term coined by Rush Limbaugh for his followers is pretty repulsive. And to use it for people who happen to agree with someone on this issue that DJ disagrees with is incredibly insulting. Greta, and Stephanie too, I really appreciate all you’re doing. And Crommunist, I just have to say I have a big old crush on you right now.

  194. says

    @ Davedodo007 comment 185:

    Is it all or nothing or can there be a comprised solution to this problem. Jaw jaw is better than war war as Churchill used to say. At least if you start talking to each other rather than shout past each other you may both start to realise that you still have a lot in common and that your views on many subjects are not that different from each other.

    Women have been talking about this type of behaviour for years. Centuries. Probably millennia. If you haven’t heard it, it’s because you’re either not listening or you don’t want to hear it. Nothing has changed, so what you’re proposing is that nothing should change…which means women keep getting treated like an inferior class with no voice. Do you think that’s acceptable?

    There’s only so much talking that’s useful when the people enabling or participating in sexist behaviour use silencing techniques (as you have done), gaslighting, “Yes, but…” to change the subject because they don’t want to deal with the actual problem, telling us to not bring trouble on ourselves instead of addressing those who attack us (either verbally or physically)…and the list goes on. Do you think it’s totes ok for people to go around bashing LGBT people and calling them derogatory gay slurs? Do you think it’s totes ok to go around talking about “lynching” black people or forcing them to work on your farm? Do you think that Rosa Parks should have just STFU and gone to the back of the bus and not made a scene?

    Most importantly, if you think that no one should get to treat LGBT folks and people of colour in a bigoted fashion, why do you not think women deserve that same consideration as well?

    Do you think that an enormous societal change comes at no cost and no discomfort to a group that has to admit to treating another group very, very badly? Especially when that first group easily could change the way it treats the second group but refuses to do so?

    Here, read this. And take time to learn from a man if you’re not willing to listen to women.

  195. says

    I think I should have been more clear on this:

    “Women have been talking about this type of behaviour for years. Centuries. Probably millennia. If you haven’t heard it, it’s because you’re either not listening or you don’t want to hear it. Nothing has changed”

    What hasn’t changed is that we’re expected to be nice and polite and never make a fuss, and to always take everyone else’s feelings and needs into account before our own. What hasn’t changed is that men (and some women) use words like “pussy” and “bitch” and “cunt” to mean things that are weak, completely unpleasant, distasteful, ugly, unwanted, and inferior. What hasn’t changed is that if we are harmed, we are told that we bring it on ourselves instead of being supported against our attackers.

    What hasn’t changed is that some men still seem to think they have a ‘right’ to demand our attention and physical contact whether we want it or not…or that they have a right to demand our silence because they can’t be bothered to listen to us.

  196. says

    And it is grossly insulting to tell me, and to tell other feminist bloggers, that we’re doing this primarily to get attention.

    It’s also just plain hypocritical: these guys are adding to the shitstorm, then accusing YOU of creating a shitstorm to get attention? Have they forgotten that they’re perfectly capable of controlling the tone and content of their own comments?

    Just another case of overgrown boys claiming the privileges of manhood, while dodging the responsibilities and blaming wimmin and their feminine wiles for their own infantile actions.

    Oh, look, here’s DJ with his “answers”…

    (Responding to question #2): No, I do not think this, nor did I ever say this. What I do think is precisely what I have said: that I believe some of the controversies in the atheist blogosphere (certainly not limited to topics related to feminism or sexism) appear to me to be fomented for the hits that result.

    There you have it: first he says the feminist bloggers are NOT fomenting controversy to generate hits; then — in the very same sentence, no less — he says you ARE. What a fucking two-faced weasel! I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt — this being my first impression of him and all — but now there’s no doubt: he’s so fucking dishonest he can’t even be internally consistent within one sentence.

    If I am wrong, and blog hits are no motivation in writing such posts, I will happily stand corrected.

    And what would DJ accept as proof of the “right” motivation?

    But I’d certainly hope that these “call-out” posts against various people in skepticism for real or supposed sins do in fact generate a lot of hits, because if they do not, I see little other real-world pay-off.

    So if DJ agrees that it’s GOOD for such arguments to get a lot of hits, then why is he bitching about blogers who want to get a lot of hits? Again, he has a consistency problem.

    But for the record, I wrote Long a message that day and clearly stated, among other things, how out of line I thought he was to use such language, even if he or others felt he was deliberately provoked. I do not believe he disagrees.

    How does he KNOW that Long does not disagree? Did he demand, and get, an apology? Or is he just pretending he stood up effectively against bad behavior, without actually doing anything difficult or awkward?

    But I submit that in your passion, Greta, I think you are sometimes just too quick to vilify and make enemies…

    I’m not a regular reader here, but what I’ve seen so far bears no resemblance to this caricature. DJ’s accusations here lack credibility. (Oh, and he fails to back up this assertion with any specific examples.)

    (Note that some of these posts don’t just disagree through reasoned arguments but engage in calls for boycotts, public punishment or public shaming…)

    What’s wrong with that? Those are standard activist tactics. Is DJ saying it’s okay to discuss things politely, but not okay to take action to actually change anything?

    And now in comes bluharmony with her brownnosing sycophantic praise of DJ…

    I’d rather spend time fighting actual sexism than on these ridiculous and vicious attacks on whatever male is considered to be the sexist of the hour.

    What, a longstanding pattern of sexualized threats, blatant harassment, cyberbullying, and vicious hateful language isn’t “real sexism” to you? Once again, bluharmony proves herself to be a totally clueless, self-centered, uncaring twit.

  197. smhlle says

    People who have been traumatized are often hypervigilant. Anyone on this thread that really didn’t know that? People who have not been traumatized might try to be less dismissive. Having a less traumatic life is a privilege, not a marker of superior discernment.

    On the other hand, I think I hear DJ saying that he thinks guilt by association has gotten a bit extreme in some argument streams here. This may or may not be quantifiably true. However, I tend to agree with him that clicking a Facebook Like button for a lecture series is not the same as explicitly endorsing every statement ever stated in every lecture ever sponsored by said organization. Now the timing of his Liking in the middle of a controversy may have been unfortunate and may also have seemed intentionally pointed. (There could be a missing step here where feminists ask him to repudiate the rape as an evolutionary strategy meme if they believe he has hinted that he embraces it.)

  198. Munkhaus says

    ” but I really think that this claim by DJ really requires some substantiation.”

    Isn’t it funny that anecdote must be accepted WITHOUT question when it is Watson or some similar, yet because it’s DJ it is instantly dismissed. Sexism perhaps? No, just plain stupidity.

    Greta? How exactly do you not feel safe at TAM anymore? Don’t you think that comes across as a rather transparent lever that you’re brandishing at DJ?

  199. says

    Isn’t it funny that anecdote must be accepted WITHOUT question when it is Watson or some similar, yet because it’s DJ it is instantly dismissed. Sexism perhaps? No, just plain stupidity.

    For the kids at home:

    Something that happens to you is an experience.

    Something that someone tells you they heard from someone else is hearsay.

    Please note which one is not considered actual evidence of anything.

  200. DaveDodo007 says

    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa.)

    I’m sorry you seem to be under the impression that I live in some male bubble, apart for my partner, three older sisters, friends and work colleagues (biology labs are mostly women these days.) I grew up in the seventies and seen sexism in all its raw brutal glory(sic.) Not just the media but peoples attitudes and especially the sciences as my sister was told by her biology tutor that science wasn’t for girls and after her ‘A’ levels she just give up. I should have been the second biologist in my family and not the first. You don’t need lessons from feminism 101 in sexism when you where surrounded by it and it affected your loved ones.

    All I know is every atheist and skeptic I have ever met and I have meet loads are the most liberal fair minded people you could ever meet. Maybe it is different in the USA from the UK though I am not seeing the equivalence here. I’m a scientist and anecdotal evidence doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid (and nor should it.) If it is happening (at the meeting not the blogosphere because that is a free for all) then start collecting evidence for it, when you have hard data and facts then your complaints can no longer be ignored if the skeptic community lives up to its name.

  201. julian says

    All I know is every atheist and skeptic I have ever met and I have meet loads are the most liberal fair minded people you could ever meet.

    Really? All the ones I’ve met in real life are right wing jerks. Sure they’ll concede gay rights* but that’s as far as their concern for others goes.

    *Almost positive that’s just to spite the religious.

  202. DaveDodo007 says

    A. Noyd. #229

    Surely the skeptic meeting should go someway in setting the agenda for the rest to follow (its advice) if any advancement is to be achieved.

  203. Pteryxx says

    Isn’t it funny that anecdote must be accepted WITHOUT question when it is Watson or some similar, yet because it’s DJ it is instantly dismissed. Sexism perhaps? No, just plain stupidity.

    Watson’s claim: Some guy made an annoying pass at her.

    DJ’s claim: A blog founder is directing others (other bloggers? commenters?) to manufacture controversy.

    Which of these claims is more extraordinary? Which of these reported events is unusual?

  204. carlie says

    If it is happening (at the meeting not the blogosphere because that is a free for all) then start collecting evidence for it, when you have hard data and facts then your complaints can no longer be ignored if the skeptic community lives up to its name.

    Just because it hasn’t been presented to you on a gilt platter in this very thread doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been done.

  205. says

    So if anecdotes aren’t evidence,and writing about what happens to us in real life doesn’t count, what kind of data are you looking for? Do we have to observe it happening to someone else? If something happens to me and then the same thing happens to four different people at four different events, is that a pattern? Or just five anecdotes? Can we just report it or do we also need proof of some kind? And is there a minimum number of events you are looking for? How many women have to report how many offenses before they deserve attention?

    I’m sure you consider yourself a liberal, fair-minded person, but when people tell you about problems they’ve encountered unfairly just because they are women, you keep sending them back out to prove it more, and listening to other people’s assessment of what happened to them, and reminding us that you can’t see it anyway. Why?

    Finally, what on earth does science have to do with it? Why must people collect hard data for their request to be treated like full people be honored? Aren’t people worthy of being treated with respect regardless of science? Why do they have to prove they deserve it? What do interpersonal relationships have to do with skepticism in any country?

  206. carlie says

    …and when your metric is “people being sexist towards women”, then women saying “here’s an example of where someone was sexist towards me” counts as data.

  207. Jack Rawlinson says

    I think people can sometimes be blinded by their various passions. This is the in-group/out-group dynamic that I find unsettling about some of the atheist blogs — disagreement with some bloggers on various topics (not just feminism, to be sure) appears to be not at all well tolerated. It is these blogs by skeptics and atheists attacking others in skepticism that I think is an unfortunate turn in our movement(s) over the last year or so. (Note that some of these posts don’t just disagree through reasoned arguments but engage in calls for boycotts, public punishment or public shaming

    On this, I think he has a solid point. For example, the level of verbal abuse, lazy pigeon-holing and knee-jerk dismissiveness applied to anyone who even mildly questioned the absolute rightness of Rebecca Watson and her defenders in the two most recent spats involving her, was a particularly shameful case in point. When a group of alleged rationalists is loudly dismissing critics and questioners as “privileged white males” and “people who just don’t get it” I regard that as every bit as much of a problem as sexism. Some of the behaviour from the pro-Watson crowd – even, and perhaps especially here at Pharyngula – was extremely poor in this regard.

    I fear that insofar as there even is such a thing as an atheist “community” it is being fractured by internecine squabbling and clique-forming. And the saddest thing, for an old and long-time atheist like me, is that the most divisive of those cliques appear to be forming around subjects that aren’t even directly about atheism. Perhaps this is unsurprising as our numbers grow (and we bring our other pet issues and concerns with us) but I wish we would resolve to make 2012 a year to re-focus on what binds us all: our atheism and our resistance to the problems caused by religion.

  208. Brad says

    Greta? How exactly do you not feel safe at TAM anymore? Don’t you think that comes across as a rather transparent lever that you’re brandishing at DJ?

    Allow me to quote from her article above:

    I have no intention of going back to TAM because I don’t feel safe there. I don’t feel confident that D.J. Grothe takes threats of violence against public figures in this movement seriously: especially gender-based, sexualized threats of violence against female public figures. I have no way of knowing over the Internet whether violent language, aimed personally and in great anger at me and my readers, is just someone mouthing off or is a serious threat. I have to assume that there is at least the possibility that they are serious. And if I’m at TAM, and someone in the community escalates a disagreement with me into a personal grudge expressed by vitriolic, ugly, sexist language — and then escalates further into threats of sexualized violence against me and my readers — I don’t feel confident that D.J. would take them seriously.

    So if he doesn’t take this online comment/threat seriously, how can she have any confidence that he would take in-person threats any more seriously.

    I can only hope that he would take them more seriously, of course.

  209. says

    All I know is every atheist and skeptic I have ever met and I have meet loads are the most liberal fair minded people you could ever meet. Maybe it is different in the USA from the UK though I am not seeing the equivalence here. I’m a scientist and anecdotal evidence doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid (and nor should it.) If it is happening (at the meeting not the blogosphere because that is a free for all) then start collecting evidence for it, when you have hard data and facts then your complaints can no longer be ignored if the skeptic community lives up to its name.

    That’s spectacular. First, you make a sweeping generalisation based on a personal anecdote, then you point out you’re a scientist and you reject anecdata, and then you tell women you won’t believe their personal anecdotes without hard evidence.

    So, DaveDodo007, where’s your evidence/hard data that every atheist you’ve met is fair-minded and liberal? And what’s your definition of ‘loads’?

    Furthermore, can you tell us how many women spend time at atheist meetings you’ve been to, and whether or not they speak up often. We’ll need that documented too, of course – video would be most helpful, because with audio you won’t know if someone’s telling the truth about attendance numbers.

    Do you not see that it’s ridiculous to base your claims on anecdotes while rejecting other people’s anecdotes and demanding they present you with hard evidence?

  210. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    DaveDodo007 and Jack Rawlinson:

    It seems both of you have misunderstood what ‘privilege’ means. That’s the problem with discussing male privilege. People take it as an insult instead of a statement of fact.

    I am a privileged white male.

    I’m also a feminist, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still privileged. It only means that I am now aware of my own privilege and can try to take steps to minimize its effects. There is no shame in that.

    However I do believe that blithely marching along pretending you’re not privileged is shameful. Learn what privilege means in this context. To me, refusing to analyze one’s own privilege is looking more and more like those christians I meet, raised in the religion, who refuse to question it.

  211. says

    @Jack Rawlinson:

    Some of the behaviour from the pro-Watson crowd – even, and perhaps especially here at Pharyngula – was extremely poor in this regard.

    You’re not at Pharyngula, cupcake.

    Perhaps this is unsurprising as our numbers grow (and we bring our other pet issues and concerns with us) but I wish we would resolve to make 2012 a year to re-focus on what binds us all: our atheism and our resistance to the problems caused by religion.

    Like misogyny? Which is something that directly affects and harms more than 50% of the world’s population?

  212. says

    For example, the level of verbal abuse, lazy pigeon-holing and knee-jerk dismissiveness applied to anyone who even mildly questioned the absolute rightness of Rebecca Watson and her defenders in the two most recent spats involving her, was a particularly shameful case in point.

    That’s nowhere near as shameful as your blatant misrepresentation of the debate. The “verbal abuse” wasn’t directed at those who “even mildly questioned the absolute rightness of Rebecca Watson,” for the simple reason that there never was such “mild” questioning. ALL of the attacks on RW were dishonest, uninformed, over-the-top, and at a junior-high-mouth-breather level of pointless hatefulness. I followed the argument on several of Greg’s threads, and for awhile on ERV’s execrable “Monument” thread, and believe me, there was no “mild questioning” of RW, other than using “she was wrong about X” to excuse the aforementioned over-the-top hatefulness.

    I fear that insofar as there even is such a thing as an atheist “community” it is being fractured by internecine squabbling and clique-forming.

    You’re taking the standard “blame both sides”/”it takes two to tango” dodge, and it’s bullshit. The movement is being fractured by “leaders” like Dawkins taking unnecessary potshots at his female fellow atheists (some of whom, like RW, had called him a friend earlier), inciting and encouraging infantile displays of hatefulness against people who had done no wrong, and then hiding in his ivory tower and refusing to address the consequences of the attitude he encouraged.

  213. julian says

    our atheism and our resistance to the problems caused by religion.

    lol

    Atheists. Piss and moan about the problems caused by religion insisting it has infected almost all aspects of our lives. Refuse to recognize sexism exists within their own community.

  214. Pteryxx says

    Furthermore, can you tell us how many women spend time at atheist meetings you’ve been to, and whether or not they speak up often. We’ll need that documented too, of course – video would be most helpful, because with audio you won’t know if someone’s telling the truth about attendance numbers.

    IIRC, there IS such data for STEM conferences and classrooms, which provides some of the supporting evidence for chilly climate. Basically one would have to argue that those findings should not apply to atheist conferences.

  215. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Jack Rawlinson, you were absolutely unhinged over this. The extraordinary level of viciousness that dripped out of your mouth was breathtaking.

  216. Jack Rawlinson says

    @The Laughing Coyote: It seems both of you have misunderstood what ‘privilege’ means.

    No, I have not. Please don’t patronise me. I am almost 53 years old and have been a pretty full-on lefty, feminist and politically active person for most of my adult life. I know exactly what the connotations of that phrase are, and I know exactly how priviliged I myself am. What I objected to on the Watson threads was that this phrase was trotted out repeatedly as a “Shut up, that’s why” tactic. Something Greta has posted about rather magnificently elsewhere.

    @The Ys: You’re not at Pharyngula, cupcake.

    Goddamit, I told you I was old! I can’t be dealing with posting in two windows at once! NURSE!

  217. carlie says

    Furthermore, can you tell us how many women spend time at atheist meetings you’ve been to, and whether or not they speak up often.

    Ooo, ooo, and don’t forget you also have to tell us how many women don’t go to atheist meetings because it’s not worth the potential hassle of paying money and taking time off to go and then still being ignored anyway.

    IIRC, there IS such data for STEM conferences and classrooms, which provides some of the supporting evidence for chilly climate.

    Yep. I was about to start linking to some, but no, I won’t. Anybody can use google for their own damn selves; there’s no need for anyone here to play the secretary for Dave. Peer-reviewed studies show up on the first page of regular google results without even having to filter with google scholar. See, Dave, the internet exists and has a lot of information! All you have to do is look for it. Whining that you don’t know if there is any on a blog post, and expecting everyone else to go running off to find it for you, is kind of entitled behavior.

  218. Jack Rawlinson says

    @Josh, Official SpokesGay: “Jack Rawlinson, you were absolutely unhinged over this. The extraordinary level of viciousness that dripped out of your mouth was breathtaking.”

    Err, what? Are you sure you don’t have me confused with someone else?

  219. says

    @ Pteryxx:

    IIRC, there IS such data for STEM conferences and classrooms, which provides some of the supporting evidence for chilly climate. Basically one would have to argue that those findings should not apply to atheist conferences.

    I remember reading about that but apparently didn’t bookmark the article. It was a great study.

    And never fear – I think Dave will stretch his ingenuity to find at least two reasons for discounting any sort of actual data that helps prove our point. He’s already demonstrated that he’s allowed to use anecdata and we aren’t, so I’m nearly positive that he’ll figure out some sort of exclusive control over hard evidence as well.

  220. DaveDodo007 says

    Ys #241/242

    First of all I have never ask anyone to shut up the whole point of my posts are that both sides should keep talking to each other for what it’s worth. Are you really painting everyone on the other side to be equivalent to a racist sexist monster? I realise that using the word comprise in the context that I did was a mistake though I don’t think comprising in and of itself is a bad thing. I’m just worried that if skeptics can’t resolve a problem of this nature then what hope has the rest of humanity got.

  221. Jack Rawlinson says

    @julian quotes me and then adds, “Refuse to recognize sexism exists within their own community.”

    You see, this is exactly the sort of thing I (and, I suspect, Mr. Grothe) are talking about. Nowhere have I done any such thing. This is just a lazy, unfounded slur.

  222. carlie says

    Are you really painting everyone on the other side to be equivalent to a racist sexist monster?

    Yes.

    Because pointing out when someone says or does something sexist, and asking them to stop doing that, is painting them as a racist sexist monster.

    *eyeroll*

  223. julian says

    Wasn’t a slur, Mr. Rawlinson. Didn’t accuse you of anything. Notice how it said atheists as opposed to Jack Rawlinson?

  224. A. Noyd says

    Dave Dodo007 (#249)

    Surely the skeptic meeting should go someway in setting the agenda for the rest to follow (its advice) if any advancement is to be achieved.

    What the hell are you even talking about? I’m trying to point out that you’re wrong to put all the criticism of sexism in the skeptic/atheist movements into the context of what happens at meetings. When people talk about kicking women in the cunts, it doesn’t have to happen at a meeting to be wrong or worthy of criticsm.

    (#267)

    [T]he whole point of my posts are that both sides should keep talking to each other for what it’s worth.

    It’s worth absolutely nothing because you haven’t taken the time to learn what the fuck anyone is talking about. No one needs scolding from a militant fence-sitter who doesn’t even understand what the issues are. If you can’t be arsed to learn what the debate is about, then piss off.

  225. DaveDodo007 says

    Ys carlie and KarenX.

    I was just pointing out that I haven’t seen or experienced the problem at first hand (with atheists) I would never use that as evidence that the problem doesn’t exist and I used it simply as an awareness issue. When you are dealing with the skeptical community a community that is used to dismissing anecdotal evidence (its their forte) then another tactic is necessary.

  226. says

    Are you really painting everyone on the other side to be equivalent to a racist sexist monster?

    When someone’s behaviour is rooted in racist or sexist ideology, it is not intemperate or bad rhetoric to point that out. When someone dismisses complaints of sexism with “you’re just using that to get attention”, pointing out this fact is not failing to listen. There is no halfway point between wrong and right.

    The fact that people who make arguments grounded in privilege, sexism, racism, ableism, what-have-you, don’t like it when people point that out is immaterial. The fact that they stop listening when their privilege is pointed out to them is not the fault of those doing the pointing.

    So no, Jack Rawlinson, it is not “just as bad” when people point out privilege. Unrecognized white privilege is what drives most of the fights about racism in this community. Unrecognized male privilege is what drives most of the fights about sexism in this community. Dismissing bad arguments (and bad arguers) because of their privilege is no worse than refusing to explain evolutionary theory to everyone who demands to know why there are still monkeys. If you haven’t done the bare minimum work required to understand the fallacies that your position is built on, you do not deserve the patient instruction of the community every time you bring a shopworn canard to bear.

  227. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    DaveDodo007: I’m assuming you haven’t experienced the problem firsthand because you have a penis.

    This is privilege. We are living in a society where it wasn’t even a century ago that women weren’t allowed to vote. We still have a LONG way to go.

    I don’t think that women telling us about the sexism they experience is exactly an extraordinary claim. At this point, dismissing it as ‘anecdata’ is exactly that, dismissive.

    Almost every single woman I’ve ever dated has had a story for me. None of them were pleasant, though some were more unpleasant than others. But I didn’t actually SEE the guy forcing himself on her, so I guess I can just safely ignore it as ‘anecdata’, right?

    So what about the flipside? What about the guy who, when I mentioned to him a girl I dated who was reluctant to have vaginal sex, he laughed and said “Know what I do in those situations? I tell them we’re gonna play a little game called ‘Just The Tip.”

    Charming.

    I’m sorry if that anecdote disturbs anyone… it certainly disturbed me. What really disturbs me about it is, he wasn’t even your classic mental image of a ‘misogynist’. He was actually kind of a nice dude, and if directly asked, would have said he respected women without hesitation. But that doesn’t change the fact that what he said was monstrous.

  228. says

    Dave @267:

    First of all I have never ask anyone to shut up the whole point of my posts are that both sides should keep talking to each other for what it’s worth.

    You just demonstrated that you didn’t listen to anything I said.

    This is part of the climate we’re talking about – the fact that we are not listened to, our voices are talked over, and that men reject what we say because it doesn’t fit their perception of how the world works.

    Are you really painting everyone on the other side to be equivalent to a racist sexist monster?

    Congratulations, not only did you ignore most of what I said, you are now gaslighting me in order to avoid answering the questions I asked you about bigotry.

    I realise that using the word comprise in the context that I did was a mistake though I don’t think comprising in and of itself is a bad thing.

    As I said way up above – people have tried things your way. Nothing changed. So we’re either stuck with the current mess, or we can push harder for change. Note that you’re basically complaining about the fact that we didn’t just give up and stop bothering everyone, and you’d have known that if you paid the least attention to everyone else’s posts.

    I’m just worried that if skeptics can’t resolve a problem of this nature then what hope has the rest of humanity got.

    …you think you’re worried? Try being a woman and having to be on the receiving end of this crap, and being ignored, harassed, abused, belittled, and talked over by Men Who Know They Always Know More Than You About Everything If You Happen To Be A Woman.

  229. says

    Dave @272:

    I was just pointing out that I haven’t seen or experienced the problem at first hand (with atheists)

    The sad thing is that you probably have, but either didn’t recognise it or ignored it because you think it’s normal.

    If you’re at a meeting with a group of men and women, pay careful attention to how many times women speak up as versus the men, and pay very careful attention to how many times women get interrupted or talked over compared to the men…and then note who did the interrupting.

    Also pay attention to whether the women speak up again after they get interrupted a few times. My experience is that it’s mostly men talking by the end of a meeting because women get tired of getting interrupted every time they speak and so they stop attempting to make their voices heard.

    Chilly climate. Google it and do your own bloody research.

  230. says

    Ryan sounds like a car thief blaming people for leaving their expensive cars around. You could bait me all day and I wouldn’t reply with threats of sexist violence. But he leaps like a trout to a fly at the so-called bait — really just being called out on an initial incidence of sexist threats of violence.

  231. DaveDodo007 says

    A. Noyd. #271

    The other side thinks you are wrong so just shouting your wrong at each other isn’t going to get anybody anywhere. Hard data and facts can show you are right and you have the evidence to prove it. It would be nice if we where all born with our rights intact but a cursory glance at history shows us this is not the case, it’s not fair but it is reality an afraid. I don’t like being a fence sitter either though when two sides have seemingly irreconcilable differences that’s where I plan on staying as I don’t believe in absolutes.

  232. says

    I was just pointing out that I haven’t seen or experienced the problem at first hand (with atheists)

    Oh, you’ve experienced it, just not from the receiving side. You’ve been dishing it out since you started posting here. First it was, “Women, if it’s a problem that only affect you it’s not worthy of my attention.” That turned to, “Well, here’s my idea about how women should solve this problem of theirs I’ve never thought about.” (The idea was more talking.) It was also, “Plenty of people who haven’t experienced it either disagree with you, and their non-experience carries as much weight as a woman’s experience.” And then it was, “Well, obviously women aren’t very effective communicators and haven’t been talking in the right places.” (Online vs real-life.) And then it was, “Well, the evidence you give me of sexism happening to you is not evidence worthy of skeptics.” And then it was, “My anecdotes about the fellow men I’ve met in skepticism and atheism are OK but your anecdotes about the same men are not, because we’re all liberal and fair-minded.” And then, “It’s just how science works. You’ll have to prove to me that women are worthy of full respect before I support this demand.” And finally, “Gosh, ladies, you’re really bad at approaching this problem! Perhaps you should try to make us listen to your concerns in another way! But I won’t actually answer your questions about what would convince me in advance. I’ll just make sure I dismiss your experience on a case-by-case basis.”

  233. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    Yeah I’m about close to being ‘done’ with DaveDodo007.

    Religionists ‘think we’re wrong’ too. Like you, they also ignore any evidence presented to them.

  234. says

    Dave @278:

    I don’t like being a fence sitter either though when two sides have seemingly irreconcilable differences that’s where I plan on staying as I don’t believe in absolutes.

    What you’re saying then is that women do not have an absolute right to have the same rights men do…because that’s the subject we’re discussing here.

    The ‘irreconcilable differences’ involve one group harassing, abusing, stalking, or flat-out ignoring, dismissing and excluding the other group…which you tacitly condone by fence-sitting and refusing to speak out about it either way.

    Beyond tacit acceptance of the above, KarenX detailed every belittling, derisive, dismissive tactic you’ve used in this entire thread to convince women to stop making a fuss. I’d be surprised if many women bother speaking up around you if this is how you treat them – I certainly wouldn’t confide in a man who keeps telling me I’m wrong even though he claims to know nothing about the subject.

  235. DaveDodo007 says

    Ys 276.

    I don’t see any sexism there, you are just expecting people to past the ‘conch’ around. Meeting are not like that as there are assertive people of both sexes who will always dominate the proceeding. I’m not assertive myself and will only speak up if someone says something I object to otherwise I like hearing other peoples opinions.

  236. says

    I don’t see any sexism there, you are just expecting people to past the ‘conch’ around. Meeting are not like that as there are assertive people of both sexes who will always dominate the proceeding. I’m not assertive myself and will only speak up if someone says something I object to otherwise I like hearing other peoples opinions.

    Congrats on making yet another very dismissive statement. No “hey, I’ll try that” or “why do you think that would illuminate the issue?”, just “that’s not sexist”…and you attempt to make it clear that you already know everything I’m talking about here and that I’m wrong because I’m not you.

    Are you sure you’re a scientist?

  237. A. Noyd says

    DaveDodo007 (#278)

    The other side thinks you are wrong so just shouting your wrong at each other isn’t going to get anybody anywhere.

    You are not listening.

    That this is what you think is going on proves that. You’re useless and insulting and you said you’d leave if people told you to shut up. Well, I’m telling you to shut up. Now shoo.

    (P.S. Crommunist pwned your golden mean bullshit in the face. Too bad you didn’t notice that, either.)

  238. DaveDodo007 says

    Ys.

    What rights don’t you have? You want the right not to have to put up with boorish men, you want the right not to have to put up with assholes. Unfortunately being a dickhead isn’t illegal and I can’t see how you can make it so. Even shaming them wont work or trolls wouldn’t exist. Hell is other people and there is no other way round it.

  239. says

    KarenX

    Thanks for the painting link. Awesome.

    DaveDodo007

    Why do you keep referring to meetings, as if sexism displayed online is somehow lesser than that displayed offline? Personally, I find it more worrying: if so many men display such attitudes from the ‘safe-zone’ of their computer-chair, who don’t display it offline, that signals to me that a lot of men are actual sexists and know it, but hide it ‘real’ life because of social embarrassment. It’s a start, I suppose, but hardly a picture of glorious enlightenment.

  240. DaveDodo007 says

    Must scroll up to read Crommunist pwning me and by the way don’t equate not listening to not agreeing.

  241. says

    What are you doing, Dave?

    /HAL voice

    Too late to pretend you care about the subject and will listen to anything I say – you have already dismissed an entire thread full of women (and men) without actually bothering to learn what we’re talking about.

    For the sake of the women in your life, I hope you’ll learn to stop dismissing women’s voices when they present worldviews that conflict with your own.

    (That’s privilege, btw.)

  242. DaveDodo007 says

    Crommunist.

    and painting the ‘other’ as all bad with no redeeming features is a lesson from history we should all learn from.

  243. DaveDodo007 says

    Daz.

    Because online you can pick and choose where you visit and what people you want to communicate with, at a meeting this isn’t so.

  244. DaveDodo007 says

    Ys.

    The women in my life have no problem speaking up and highlighting any flaws I have. I expect you haven’t met many or any Scouse women.

  245. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    and painting the ‘other’ as all bad with no redeeming features is a lesson from history we should all learn from.

    Agreed. Good thing that’s not what we’re doing. No one has denied the good stuff DJ Grothe has done. We just don’t believe it means he gets a free pass on the bad stuff.

    I believe it was you in an earlier post (Though I could be mistaken, I really don’t feel like scrolling up and looking for it so apologies if mistaken) who said you hold the skeptical community to a higher standard?

    Well, that’s what we’re doing.

  246. says

    DaveDodo007

    Ah, so it’s less hurtful if a female reader comes across it accidentally, then? Or less sexist if the poor weak-minded women don’t actually see it?

    You started off on this thread as a sort of pearl-clutching fence-sitter. When did that turn to outright sexism?

  247. Wilt says

    There is a lot of work out there for skeptics. Endlessly playin gthe battle of the blog posts isn’t the only one. Go to TAM, look at the faces. The diversity, if nothinge else TAM has made more of an effort than almost any other group. DJ might have some insight on prejudice and intolerance, and even men hitting on you you don’t want to hit on you. Go take on Shermer and I’ll know you are brave. (opps sorry, he has lawyers, which is why he’s had a free pass).

  248. DaveDodo007 says

    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa.)

    Fair enough, I think defending Ryan and the hits comment was uncalled for though you are putting him in a untenable position by trying to make him take sides in this situation which is by no means cut and dried.

  249. Greta Christina says

    Once again, bluharmony proves herself to be a totally clueless, self-centered, uncaring twit.

    You’re useless and insulting and you said you’d leave if people told you to shut up. Well, I’m telling you to shut up. Now shoo.

    Raging Bee @ #243, A. Noyd @ #284: Please remember my comment policy, and don’t engage in personal insults aimed at other commenters here. Please keep your criticisms aimed at ideas and behavior. Thanks.

  250. Pteryxx says

    *shrug* I don’t mind being reflexively helpful to the poor poor men who can’t be bothered to Google data they KNOW doesn’t exist because IF IT DID THEY MIGHT BE WRONG.

    In the report Classroom Climate: A Chilly One for Women (Hall & Sandler, 1982), research conducted on differences in the educational system and the work force for males and females discussed the chilly climate and silent sexism in many university classrooms. To explain why some women become discouraged in the college classroom, researchers cited that professors’ overt behaviors such as disparaging, belittling, and crude remarks; obscene jokes; and remarks about physical appearance or clothing were undermining the women’s education. This PSEW study found approximately 30 different types of subtle behaviors which all tended to reinforce men’s confidence while undermining women’s. Female students believe that both male and female faculty call on men more often, use their names more frequently, give men more time to answer, and show more respect in their consideration of these responses. By their actions, the professors provide more positive reinforcement for men’s responses than women’s.

    Even in college or university classes in which women outnumber men, women are outtalked in class. Catherine Krupnick (1984, 1992) studied talented women at Harvard and found that they speak less and are interrupted more. She also studied the classroom dynamics of coed seminars that resulted from the decision to change Wheaton College to a coeducational environment. She had expected to find greater classroom equity than she had seen elsewhere because the student body and faculty were still predominately female. Her results showed the opposite however, as even when men made up just one to two ninths of the seminar classes she studied, they did one third to one half of the talking.

    From: External Barriers Experienced by Gifted and Talented Girls and Women (warning, it’s a huge literature review).

  251. DaveDodo007 says

    Daz. #294

    I’m no pearl clutcher as I can suffer slings and arrows of outrages fortune as much as anyone else. I just realise that this problem requires a more delicate touch as there has been enough abuse going around. So you want to police the Internet? Everyone soon learns what sites they don’t like and can easily avoid them in future.

  252. says

    DaveDodo007

    If you can think of another way to point out misogyny (or homophobia, or badly interpreted data, or cute kitten pictures) without pointing to it and explaining why it’s wrong, please feel free to contribute something positive by explaining it, instead of telling us what we’re allegedly doing wrong.

  253. DaveDodo007 says

    Daz. #300.

    As I have said If anyone at the meeting experiences misogyny report it to the organisation responsible for that meeting, collect data, document it and if it is as prevalent as you claim you will soon have enough evidence of it. I cannot stress enough that anecdotal evidence is anathema to the skeptical community, if this wasn’t the case we would all be refusing vaccines and having whip rounds to help cancer patients get cured by the Burzynski clinic. The skeptic community can’t ignore evidence or skeptic has no meaning.

  254. says

    DaveDodo007

    You are getting a bit tiresome. I’m finding it hard to believe that your apparent misunderstanding is not deliberate.

    Who owns the internet, Dave? Who do we report this behaviour to, when it happens online. We are not talking exclusively about what happens at physical, face to face meetings. Your ‘go to the police’ attitude works very well in a closed system like an organised meeting; less well in the open system that is the world, and not at all on the unregulated internet. We need to change attitudes and behaviours so that people don’t act that way. No amount of physical enforcement will do that. Indeed your approach, if applied too often, would be more likely to foster a sense of persecution.

  255. DaveDodo007 says

    Daz.#302.

    I can’t help you with the Internet I’m afraid as I have no control over it. You will have to complain to the individual sites themselves and hope they are amenable to your views.

  256. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    The skeptic community can’t ignore evidence or skeptic has no meaning.

    OK, I’ll bite. What is your evidence that these women are making it up? We’ve shown you plenty of evidence, but since we didn’t actually show you documentary footage of men sexually harassing women, you dismiss it as ‘anecdata’.

    I think you’re just choosing to ignore the evidence by claiming it’s not good enough. Much like the religionist going “Oh yeah? Well can you PROVE there’s no God?”

    I don’t think you’re arguing in good faith anymore. I don’t think you want to honestly examine your own privilege, or even consider that maybe all these women actually have a damn good point. But why limit it to just women? You’ve heard it from guys too.

    I’m gonna stop here, because anything else I have to say in this post is not appreciated or wanted by the owner of this blog.

  257. says

    DaveDodo007 @303

    Well, now you’ve admitted your profound ignorance as to what can be done about the problem under discussion, please shut up.

  258. Pteryxx says

    As I have said If anyone at the meeting experiences misogyny report it to the organisation responsible for that meeting, collect data, document it and if it is as prevalent as you claim you will soon have enough evidence of it.

    Which is special pleading that atheist/skeptic meetings constitute a separate category, such that findings of endemic sexism in advertising, schooling, media, workplaces, colleges, STEM fields, business, politics, religion, legal systems, and online communities, not to mention other conferences, should be presumed not to apply as the default hypothesis. Since atheists and skeptics cease to exist outside of meetings, I suppose.

  259. says

    Again, Dave implies that there CAN’T be anything on the internets that would contradict him!

    As I have said If anyone at the meeting experiences misogyny report it to the organisation responsible for that meeting, collect data, document it and if it is as prevalent as you claim you will soon have enough evidence of it.

    Yes, because nothing like that has ever been done before.

    Two seconds with Google provided me with this geek-related incident list that includes several atheist conventions. I’m sure there’s more…but you can do your own work to find it this time.

    I cannot stress enough that anecdotal evidence is anathema to the skeptical community…

    I cannot stress enough that failing to look at or acknowledge the non-anecdotal evidence we’ve provided you doesn’t do much for your image or credibility.

    And yes there are no statistics ANYWHERE about any kind of sexual harassment. EVER.

    …if this wasn’t the case we would all be refusing vaccines and having whip rounds to help cancer patients get cured by the Burzynski clinic.

    Oh sure, but when we gather women’s descriptions of what happened to them, that would be the evidence you refuse to accept…which is the problem we’re complaining about. Fortunately or unfortunately, words and groping generally don’t leave lasting physical evidence, which it seems would be the only evidence you would accept. Because anything short of serious physical harm doesn’t count, amirite?

    The skeptic community can’t ignore evidence or skeptic has no meaning.

    That’s something we agree on, but you’d be on the wrong end of that equation since you are, in fact, ignoring evidence to suit your personal biases. You refuse to Google for any information on what we’re discussing here, you apparently also refused to read the information Pteryxx posted on chilly climate. You’re having far too much fun dismissing women who’ve actually experienced the chilly climate, and who’ve been the victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape – because in your world, we either don’t exist or what we experienced didn’t actually happen since you weren’t there to witness it.

    You reject evidence presented by women in order to tell women we’re not experiencing what we think we’re experiencing, and to tell us that if we are, we’re doing it all wrong because obviously people would believe us if we just reported these events. Sure, that works!

    Let’s see what happens when women report a serious crime in the UK: “Only 6% of rapes reported to the police result in a successful conviction – and over two-thirds of cases are lost during the police investigation.”

    But those girls must not have told the truth or the police would’ve believed them and made sure the men who attacked them went to jail, amirite? They must not have had hard data or evidence, and of course everything women say is bullshit and should be ignored.

  260. Pteryxx says

    Oh sure, but when we gather women’s descriptions of what happened to them, that would be the evidence you refuse to accept…which is the problem we’re complaining about. Fortunately or unfortunately, words and groping generally don’t leave lasting physical evidence, which it seems would be the only evidence you would accept. Because anything short of serious physical harm doesn’t count, amirite?

    Maybe he wants women’s harassment to only count if two male witnesses will attest to it.

    Incidentally, one of my favorite things about these sexism-denial battles is all the new links and sources I can snarf up from other commenters. Thanks again, The Ys.

  261. says

    Incidentally, one of my favorite things about these sexism-denial battles is all the new links and sources I can snarf up from other commenters.

    Same here, Pteryxx. Thanks for the link to the chilly climate study – got it bookmarked for re-reading and future reference!

  262. A. Noyd says

    DaveDodo007 (#303)

    I can’t help you with the Internet I’m afraid as I have no control over it.

    Amazing fun fact: You have control over your contribution to what goes down on the internet. And currently, rather than being helpful, you are choosing to not listen, to talk down to us, and to tell us what we ought to do based on your failure to understand what people’s positions and goals are. You continue to do so even when several people have accused you of not listening and pointed out that your understanding is flawed. For instance, Daz should not have had to say (in #302) that “We are not talking exclusively about what happens at physical, face to face meetings.” I’d already told you that. (Notice that Pteryxx also points it out in #306.) It should mean something when people tell you repeatedly that you’re misinformed.

  263. DaveDodo007 says

    This is getting ridicules, where have I said sexism doesn’t exist? I’m a lefty liberal Guardian reader I have seen the reports, read the data and seen the statistics and I have eyes, sexism exists and only a fool would say otherwise. If the OP was about sexism in the world I would be agreeing with it 100%. The OP is about DJ Grothe and skeptic meetings and that is what I have been commenting on, if sexism exist at these meeting then you have the means to prove it. Why are you going off topic? Why the distraction?

  264. Pteryxx says

    if sexism exist at these meeting

    Newsflash: Atheists and skeptics are part of the world. (I’m pretty certain they meet there, too.)

  265. kami says

    Me too. Will it “fracture the community?” Then let it be fractured. Is it divisive? Then let it divide. If there are natural fault lines that separate contradictory value systems, then may they break apart. I’d rather choose a side I can live with.

    This doesn’t remind me of religious sectarianism at all.

  266. DaveDodo007 says

    Pteryxx.#312.

    I have said I hold atheist and skeptics as better people so I would like to see evidence of this please.

  267. A. Noyd says

    DaveDodo007 (#314)

    I have said I hold atheist and skeptics as better people so I would like to see evidence of this please.

    I see. Not only are you keen on riding the fallacy of the golden mean about like some show pony, you also apparently can’t distinguish between ideals and reality.

    Show us your evidence that skeptics and atheists are so much less prone to bigoted behavior that it’s reasonable to doubt sexism exists at skeptic/atheist meetings. Because the null hypothesis sure as fuck isn’t that atheists and skeptics are some breed of morally superior, more enlightened human.

  268. says

    DaveDodo007@#314:

    If you hold skeptics and atheists as “better people,” then why are you calling the skeptics here liars when they spell out the sexism to you time and time again? Or do you just assume that MALE skeptics and atheists are better people, and the women who make accusations are worse people?

  269. says

    @DaveDodo007 in #290:

    Because online you can pick and choose where you visit and what people you want to communicate with, at a meeting this isn’t so.

    But you do get to pick and choose which meetings to go to. And unfortunately, many women are choosing not to go to atheist meetings.

  270. says

    God damn. I make a post whenever a leader in athiesm/skepticism makes some stupid sexist remark, but it may be more useful to start documenting which ones haven’t said something misogynistic. I am sick of this shit already. I can think of very few non-female big name skeptics who haven’t said something deplorable about how sexism isn’t real or isn’t a big deal or outright called women gendered slurs.

    I also cannot believe people are just now boycotting tam. The last year I went (forever ago) featured a dude from the conference forcefully trying to make out with multiple women, all of them were really uncomfortable about it but there wasn’t any official way of informing the conference organizers about the sexually dangerous man. Even after the whole incident came out on the forums there was not any reporting system implemented. Then there was a talent show where the live chatting audience said shit like “allisons boobs should win” (allison being the woman who worked incredibly hard to organize the talent show that year, the comments about her body were said while she was being thanked for her work). The live chat was on a large screen so the entire audience was exposed to that sexist shit, and when my partner and I were the only ones shocked I thought perhaps no one else had seen. I asked around and people noticed, but did not care. This is on top of the shit I overheard at the various bars from TAMers and the creepy cloud of dudes following rebecca watson around each year.

  271. Dan says

    Why does anyone expect any other reaction from guys?

    The situation is this: You are saying “There is a problem, and it’s you, and we are going to have a dialogue where I tell you everything you’ve done wrong, I will tell you exactly why everything you say in your defense is wrong, and the correct response to this criticism will be immediate and unconditional acceptance of every single statement. Any attempt to argue or express discomfort will be vilified. Obey. Now. Completely change your personality and your behavior. Supinely admit your moral failure and your offenses. Begin to self-criticize and examine your every word and move from the view of the prosecution.

    If a woman feels uncomfortable, it’s because YOU did something wrong. There is no question of misinterpretation, because her statement of feeling uncomfortable is the only evidence needed to convict you of sexism with no appeal or parole.

    Yeah, this is really going to make things all better. And no, I don’t have a solution. There may not be one, other than segregation. But very few humans would react well to this kind of reeducation.

  272. DaveDodo007 says

    skepifem.

    Then there some evidence right there so present it to DJ Grothe and ask him what he is going to do about it. Also ask is there going to be a complaints system set up at the next meeting for reporting abuses. If there is a problem then there is a way of exposing that problem. DJ Grothe is not a mind reader if you don’t tell him he doesn’t know about it.

    I have been checking the complaints women have been making against the behaviour of the men at these meeting. I have also been checking the male demographics of the attendees. It’s just a cursory check but I’m seeing mostly men in scruffy jeans, unkempt beards and long hair wearing their favourite T-shirt with only two curry stains on it. They appear to be veterans of comic fairs and fantasy war game conventions. They seem to have little experience of women or being around women. Their ‘misogyny’ could be more clueless behaviour, inept posturing, false bravado and lack of etiquette with mixed company. Pathetic and boorish but hardly misogyny. Mere speculation of course though maybe a couple of sociologists might want to check out the next meeting.

  273. julian says

    My, non-existent god, Dan. Do you honestly think that’s what’s been said or are you aiming for the ‘most uncharitable comment of the year.’

  274. Pteryxx says

    No wonder Dan can’t understand anything women actually say when all he can hear is jackboots and jingling handcuffs.

  275. says

    DaveDodo007

    They appear to be veterans of comic fairs and fantasy war game conventions. They seem to have little experience of women or being around women. Their ‘misogyny’ could be more clueless behaviour, inept posturing, false bravado and lack of etiquette with mixed company.

    Godsdamnfuckingstupid* NO.
    You know, we’ve heard them all:
    -They are just gamers
    -They are just nerds
    -They are just testosterone-laden teenage boys
    -Yadda, yadda, yadda

    First of all, it absolutely does not matter why they’re holding dagerous and harmfull views about women. If all they know about women is from their experience of living in mum’s basement while playing Lara Croft it’s their fucking duty to educate themselves before interacting with other people. You know, I don’t think my life has included many interactions with Sub-Saharan Africans. If I started saying shit like “all blacks are heavily endowed”, “They all have a talent for rythm”, “they believe in Vodoo and sacrifice black chickens every other night”, would you excuse me on the fact that I haven’t met many in person or would you just tell me to stop that racist shit.

    Secondly, there’s no direct link between being a fantasy comic con gamer and holding dangerous misogynistic views. Know what, some of my best friends are fantasy comic con gamers. For heaven’s sake I am partly a fantasy gamer. Stop insulting them. And it’s no fucking excuse.

    Thirdly, it’s just not true.
    We get it all the time, including the “they’re probably just Aspies” bullshit. And when you look further, you get middle-age men with college degrees and allegedly a wife and kids.

    Why do you need to excuse their behaviour so badly, why do you need to close your eyes so firmly against the reality that those men just don’t see women as equal human beings with rights?

    *Is it OK if I just curse?

  276. says

    They appear to be veterans of comic fairs and fantasy war game conventions. They seem to have little experience of women or being around women. Their ‘misogyny’ could be more clueless behaviour, inept posturing, false bravado and lack of etiquette with mixed company.

    You can’t tell the difference between cluelessness and outright pants-on-head hatred of women? Even after the latter has been on relentless disgraceful display for MONTHS? As Conklin said to Bourne, “That’s not acceptable, soldier!”

    Seriously, boy, I know enough of the socially-inept-sci-fi-gamer-fantasy set to tell you that: a) they’re not THAT clueless about women; b) cluelessness does not automatically translate to outright bitterness and hatred…oh, and c) there are women in that set, and at least some of the guys in that set do have girlfriends, so I’m pretty sure you’re grossly overestimating their social ineptitude. There’s a lot of deeply-wired chauvanism and default stereotyping going on, as one of my LJ friends has documented; but the link between that and the totally insane eliminationist rhetoric I’ve seen at places like ERV is tenuous at best.

    Can’t you at least find an excuse that flies a little higher than a nuclear airplane?

  277. says

    And no, I don’t have a solution.

    Yeah, that pretty well sums up your mindset: you don’t want to hear about the problem, you’re happy to lecture others about how they should talk to you, but too damn lazy to actually understand what’s being said, let alone think of a solution.

    There may not be one, other than segregation.

    Wow, I’m impressed at how imaginitive you are. Not.

    But very few humans would react well to this kind of reeducation.

    “RE-education?” Did the lot we’re talking about here even get an education in the first place? (Or are you just using that word to equate uppity women to Pol Pot?) People do tend to react well to education, if it starts early enough.

  278. says

    Poor Dan… let’s take a look, shall we?

    Why does anyone expect any other reaction from guys?

    The obvious reason is because some men responded differently than the way you seem to think is the obvious way. And of course, because what is being said is not what you think is being said. More on that in a bit.

    The situation is this: You are saying “There is a problem, and it’s you, and we are going to have a dialogue where I tell you everything you’ve done wrong, I will tell you exactly why everything you say in your defense is wrong, and the correct response to this criticism will be immediate and unconditional acceptance of every single statement. Any attempt to argue or express discomfort will be vilified. Obey. Now. Completely change your personality and your behavior. Supinely admit your moral failure and your offenses. Begin to self-criticize and examine your every word and move from the view of the prosecution.

    That’s not the situation at all… unless the “you” in question is some sexist, misogynistic shit weasel. The fact that you identify yourself as the target of some much-needed correction is telling, don’t you think? That, and the fact that you’ve invented an entire false situation, that bears no relation to what anyone is saying, which seems to conveniently make it easy for you to dismiss it.

    One of the things that generally you can’t argue about with ANYONE is their subjective experiences of the world. You wouldn’t try to tell someone who likes Pepsi that they really hate it and like Coke instead, would you? So why do you think you have that right when it comes to matters that carry actual weight and import? And what does it say about you that you consider things like “don’t call people ‘cunts’ and ‘bitches’” or “don’t make threats of violence, even in ‘jest’” or “don’t make inappropriate sexual advances” to be an attack on your identity? Is that how you define manhood? “If I have to go a more than a day without threatening to kick a cunt, it feels like I’ve been castrated! I reserve the right as a man to demand sex from any woman, at any time!”

    Really? That’s your go-to?

    If a woman feels uncomfortable, it’s because YOU did something wrong. There is no question of misinterpretation, because her statement of feeling uncomfortable is the only evidence needed to convict you of sexism with no appeal or parole.

    As opposed to what? That if a woman feels uncomfortable, that’s the time for you to explain why she’s wrong, and tell her to lighten up and stop being such a frigid bitch? After all, there’s no way that she gets to decide for herself what her boundaries are, right?

    Yeah, this is really going to make things all better. And no, I don’t have a solution. There may not be one, other than segregation. But very few humans would react well to this kind of reeducation.

    Well, many of us were educated more or less correctly the first time, and understand that some behavior is appropriate and some isn’t. If your first reaction to someone claiming that they are being treated in a sexist manner is to assume that they are attacking all men for everything they do, dismiss their concerns out of hand, and go on the attack… maybe you do need some reeducation.

  279. says

    If a woman feels uncomfortable, it’s because YOU did something wrong. There is no question of misinterpretation, because her statement of feeling uncomfortable is the only evidence needed to convict you of sexism with no appeal or parole.

    That’s an interesting statement from someone who claims to understand feminist issues and to be upset over what happened to his sister’s career.

    When a guy who’s standing several feet away suddenly decides to move within a foot of me so he can stare down my shirt, he’s just doing it to be friendly, amirite? And when he gropes me in passing, that’s just social awkwardness and not actual disregard for me having the right to decide who’s allowed to touch my body. And when guys make obscene comments about my breasts as I walk past them, I should pity them for not knowing how to behave in public.

    Yeah, maybe they should just stop acting like entitled assholes.

  280. says

    Funny how times have changed. In my younger days — back when we had to walk through three feet of snow to play DnD using paper and books (and we liked it that way) — “socially awkward” people, like the gamers and sci-fi geeks, were ridiculed for being TOO RESPECTFUL of women, and were told to get out there and just make their desires known, otherwise they’d never get laid. Nowadays the assholes who refuse to accept any rules or constraints, and have no idea why they can’t just demand sex from anyone anytime, are the ones using “social awkwardness” as the excuse for their pathologically infantile behavior. Are some people really this divorced from reality, or is this just another incidence of scumbags trying to use “socially awkward” people as scapegoats?

  281. says

    Are some people really this divorced from reality, or is this just another incidence of scumbags trying to use “socially awkward” people as scapegoats?

    Yes, they’re trying to use them as scapegoats.

    I’m a mild Aspie, and my daughter is an Aspie too. I know other people who are Aspies, and we actually work at interacting with people because we care and we don’t want to go through life upsetting/pissing off everyone around us.

    Well, sometimes I do, but that’s usually after people demonstrate they don’t give a flying rat’s ass about me…and it’s not because I think I have a right to do whatever I want to other people without regard for the consequences.

  282. DaveDodo007 says

    Hmmm. I poked around the Internet for a few hours, read some anecdotes, throw in my own bias and make some sweeping generalisations and then come to a conclusion. How could that go wrong, ho I see, everything about the process was WRONG and people very kindly pointed it out to me. Yet I have spent my entire time here doing just this and been told that I should accept this line of reasoning and I’m at fault for not doing so. Anecdotes don’t count hard data and facts do.

  283. Pteryxx says

    Anecdotes don’t count hard data and facts do.

    “I do not keep him in ignorance. His ignorance is a fortress he has built himself and defended savagely.”

    -from Ship of Magic, Robin Hobb

  284. A. Noyd says

    @ DaveDodo007
    So we cannot use women’s experiences as evidence for the claim that women experience sexism at skeptic/atheist meetings (and everywhere else) because “anecdotes don’t count.”

    Yet it’s okay to explain away the apparent sexism of atheists and skeptics in those anecdotes as “clueless behavior” (as though it can’t be both) because you believe, based on nothing other than wishful thinking, that atheists and skeptics are better than other human beings.

    That’s not skepticism, it’s denialism.

  285. says

    Yet I have spent my entire time here doing just this and been told that I should accept this line of reasoning and I’m at fault for not doing so.

    Well, yeah, if you say stupid shit and then act all hurt and puzzled when we point out that you said stupid shit, and don’t admit that we might have valid points to make, you ARE kinda at fault for that.

  286. A. Noyd says

    @ Raging Bee
    It’s hard to tell because #333 is so atrociously written, but I think what he means is that he’s just been trying to enlighten us with the hard-won wisdom that anecdotes aren’t data. 

  287. peterooke says

    As I mentioned previously:

    I have to say that this does amuse me a bit.

    Not the sexism of course… but I note that the Church is often criticised for perceived sexism and yet this just proves that the problem does NOT lie in religion but rather within each and every one of us.

    We are all sinners. And only some of us acknowledge this fact.

    I commend you for this post. I know from experience that it can be tricky to face down the hordes. Afterwards you are invariably metaphorically drenched in the sickly bile and spittle that spews forth from the vitriolic ‘trolls’.

  288. sondra says

    Dan may be a clueless paranoid, but is there really no nonsexist way to argue that there is something wrong with the idea that someone`s FEELING that they are a victim makes it so? It just seems fundamentally flawed. We don`t prosecute businesses because someone FEELS they have been ripped off, we want to see evidence. If FEELINGS are the standard, then how can we really be against psychics? Their customers don`t FEEL ripped off.

    There is currently a situation in my office where a woman feels she being shunned by the men we work with. These men were actually responding to overheard complaints that she was uncomfortable when guys stopped to chat with her without a work-related reason. She made it known that she felt they were just chattng with her because of her looks. So they quit stopping by (although work-related communication has continued as before, both in person and in email)…and now she`s complaining of a “cold” work environment.

    I`m a woman and a feminist, and I`ve seen and fought against sexism my whole life. But I have to admit, I don`t see how these guys can win. They are not rude, leering perverts with no sense of personal space, they are in fact the most progressive and respectful men I`ve worked with. But because she FEELS that they were objectifying her, they responded by stopping the behavior she objected to. And now they are in danger of being disciplined…for responding to her wishes.

  289. Pteryxx says

    @sondra:

    Dan may be a clueless paranoid, but is there really no nonsexist way to argue that there is something wrong with the idea that someone`s FEELING that they are a victim makes it so? It just seems fundamentally flawed.

    When someone’s personal boundaries and sense of identity are being violated, their feeling IS what we have to go on. There won’t be any wounds or broken windows. Yet stereotype threat, chilly climate, harassment, and emotional abuse are still real phenomena, as are more familiar types of nonphysical harm such as intimidation, brainwashing, or fraud. I suggest reading up on consent and context; “The Gift of Fear” chapter on stalking is a good start. (To summarize: “Hi honey” over a telephone isn’t threatening from one happy spouse to another, but it’s definitely threatening from a spouse that the other has fled to a different state to avoid.)

    I`m a woman and a feminist, and I`ve seen and fought against sexism my whole life. But I have to admit, I don`t see how these guys can win.

    Anybody thought to ask *this woman* what she thinks would constitute a good work environment and for her to make some positive suggestions about how she’d like to be treated? Instead of playing guessing-game with the men as if she’s a black-box? Besides, if she DOESN’T make any positive suggestions, that’s a bad sign. (Women can be jerks, too.)

  290. says

    @sondra:

    Seems like at your job an attempt has been made to make your coworker feel comfortable. And like Pteryxx says, women can be jerks. They can also be wrong and oversensitive and/or giant pains in the ass. The only way to know for sure is to start out with the assumption that their complaints have at least some merit, work sincerely to correct the perceived issue, and then watch how the situation unfolds.

    Really you treat it like any other problem, right? You attack it almost scientific-like: change the variables and see how things play out, and eventually you find the variable that causes the problem. If people are making an honest attempt to accommodate someone, and there’s always a problem from that person, it might be the case that THEY are the problem. After all, if you keep changing the variables, and the person complaining is the only constant, you either have to believe that there’s some conspiracy against them or that they are just hard to get along with.

    Again though, that assumes honest dealings, taking the complaint seriously in the first place, and enforcing non-hostile work environments.

  291. jdup says

    Pteryxx and improbably Joe:

    It’s a very open workspace (I sit in the same low-walled cubey thing she does), and I’ve seen exactly what went on, and it’s just not case of sinister threats as some imply. These guys were talking no differently to her than they do to me, and they are perfectly polite and respectful. When she said it made her feel uncomfortable they stopped. Our office (a design firm) is a large open room with no fully enclosed spaces, so nasty glares and such would be noticed.

    The other women in the workspace have made attempts to point out that her complaints were reacted to positively (and in fact with a very sympathetic attitude). But she’s simply convinced that she’s now being ostracized. I think the issue is her seeing things that aren’t happening (and may very well be a result of past experiences…I think she’s quite sincere in her belief).

    The problem I’m pointing out is that as long as she feels this way the threat is still hanging over both these guys. If it eventually escalates into a formal complaint, and even if we testify on their behalf, their careers are basically going no further. I suppose they are just collateral damage, because withOUT procedures like this, abuses would be impossible to counter.

  292. Pteryxx says

    @sondra / jdup:

    How does any of that change my suggestion? Ask her (or have a manager ask her) what she thinks needs to be done to improve the work environment. That puts the onus on her to be proactive and clearly state her expectations. Document this meeting and the suggestions she makes. Honestly discuss why she feels uncomfortable and what could be done about it. If she has only complaints and fears, document that too. Maybe she needs more control over her environment, or there’s an underlying issue for counseling, or just having someone take her seriously might help. Or, she might just be a pain in the ass, in which case documenting this meeting will help ensure her good faith.

    Why are you focused on the threat to your good guys and whether there’s a way for them to “win” as in your post above? Focus on solving the problem, with an eye to protecting everyone involved.

  293. says

    Sondra

    If it eventually escalates into a formal complaint, and even if we testify on their behalf, their careers are basically going no further.

    I have to contest that claim. Because victims of workplace bullying have notorious difficulties being taken serious and having people take action against their bullies.
    It also smells dangerously close to “rape accusations ruin good guys’ lives” (I’m not saying you made that statement, I’m just pointing out to the underlying problem).
    As others have said, such problems need to be tackled sensibly and sensitively.
    In any way her feelings are real. They may be the result of a flawed interpretation, or a lack of relevant information, but they are real no less.
    Most people have been there more than once. Somebody hurts you deeply. Afterwards it turns out that there was some mistake, some missunderstanding, some human failure. If you talk about it, you can adress the grievances, you can avoid further hurting, but you can’t undo past hurt.
    But that doesn’t happen if the person who hurt you starts telling you that you should just stop it, there was no reason to be upset, stfu.
    Maybe that woman is just a pain in the ass. Maybe her perception is flawed. You mentioned past experiences, so maybe there’s a reason why her perception is flawed. You can only find out by adressing the problem, not by dismissing it.
    If her wishes can be reasonably met, the problem can be resolved. If they can’t, another way has to be found.
    But in no way should that example of somebody who may be a professional complainer, or who has been so deeply scarred that undeed her issues must be dealt with by a professional be used as a general indulgence for ignoring such issues in the future.

  294. Lemons says

    Long’s vicious “Fuck you Greta” post is repulsive but I agree with D.J. Grothe that the context of mutual escalation in the FB thread is relevant.

    Dismissing all caveats instantly by labelling as “Yes, but” isn’t helpful except in a simplifying rallying cry – provocation and mitigation are valid concepts.

    The later “WWJD?” “Slap the bitch?” is not a credible threat of violence. I understand Greta that you believe it is, but if you accepted that reasonable people might disagree then the collateral damage of DJ not treating it with acceptable seriousness would be diminished.

    Overall I believe DJ is the wrong target when faced with anger, accusations and misogynistic insults from Long.

    (Posting here rather than in “D.J. Grothe Replies …” as that heads off to other waters.)

  295. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Thanks, Steve, for letting everyone see exactly how UNjustified Ryan’s stated desire to slap a bitch and kick various peoples in the cunt/balls/micropenis really was.

  296. bluharmony says

    I agree with Lemons 100%. It’s important to discern the instigators from the responders when violence escalates, even in rhetoric. At least that’s how the justice system works. And at least compared to what the dittoheads have going here, it works quite well.

  297. bluharmony says

    @ Josh the Spokesgay:

    “Coyote – PZ never did. It’s incredible how low people will stoop.”

    The link to PZ’s article where he called women (particular women) bitches appears to have been removed. I will double check, but it used to be linked from SneerReview, where images of Rebecca writing “pussy” on men’s chests and allowing them to stuff money down her bra were displayed. The link to where he calls me deranged is on my private/public FB page and I will send it to you if you email me at gmail. My address is obvious. That particular incident, I believe, is still viewable to subscribers. My friends list is filled and only available to people I respect.

    I am not lying. This is the truth. Deal with it.

  298. bluharmony says

    Would you people like links to where PZ condones kicking people in the balls??? Those are all over the place.

  299. Lemons says

    (Yes thanks Steve Schuler; reading that, I meant the “Oh look” post as repulsive, where Long crossed a line beyond mutual accusations of trolling.)

  300. julian says

    Thanks, Steve, for letting everyone see exactly how UNjustified Ryan’s stated desire to slap a bitch and kick various peoples in the cunt/balls/micropenis really was.

    I know!

    He accuses poster Steven of saying he [Long] was in favor of rape, gets rightfully called out for such epic reading comprehension fail and then gets angry calling everyone posting trolls while never making an argument or point himself.

    And that’s ignoring his snide sniping early on when no one was responding to him.

    From my reading it was Long looking for a fight. Hell at one point he starts accusing other commentors of just looking for comments on their posts because they’re writers.

  301. julian says

    bluharmony, you have a very bad habit of going beyond what evidence you have allows you to say. You do not have evidence of PZ Myers calling particular women bitches nor do you have evidence that he feels that is appropriate.

    What’s more the link you provide is to a 6 year old blog post. A lot can change in a person in 6 years time. New issues cause us to refine (or completely abandon) our views. It’s hardly relevant to PZ Myers of today what he may have believed or said half a decade ago.

    This isn’t to dispute that past views and statments can lead to questions of how committed or honest someone is about their beliefs. But the piece you provide fails on almost every front. At most you have an example of when PZ Myers feels using bitch is appropriate.

    Please let me know if you’d like me to link to the live SGU podcast where RW calls people “twats”

    Yeah, she used to be a chill girl. I think that’s what attracted me to her site in the first place. I saw it as an area where I wouldn’t have to put up with those shrill feminists. But she changed (as she more or less admits in some of her videos) like many of us.

    Contrary to political opinion that isn’t a weakness. I would hope a group of skeptics would be able to realize that. We grow, we regress, we change. No one is static throughout their life.

  302. Anonymous says

    It’s come to my attention that comments supporting Mr. Grothe are not approved.

    Interesting.

  303. bluharmony says

    @Julian:

    PZ has used the word “bitches” in his blog and has made sexist comments on RW’s (see tickle fight post).

    PZ called me deranged this year, which amounts to dismissing an argument (which he didn’t bother to address) with a sexist slur (and an ad hominem attack).

    RW used the word “twat” in a podcast multiple times this year (DragonCon), admitted to calling someone that, and giggled about it.

    Do your research, please.

  304. echidna says

    Carlie #106:

    Let’s say there is a person who thinks that all the talk about sexism is blowing things out of proportion and focusing on trivial little things etc. Here are two ways that person could respond to this issue:

    “Hey ladies, you’re really blowing things out of proportion here and all you talk about is sexism. Can’t you give it a rest and shut up?”

    OR

    “Hey guys, the ladies keep harping on sexism all the time and it’s really annoying, so stop giving them anything to complain about in the first place, ok?”

    Interesting how none of the people with that opinion ever choose the second option.

    The sad thing is that there is a third option:
    “Hey guys, the ladies keep harping on sexism all the time and it’s really annoying, so let’s really give them something to complain about.”

  305. echidna says

    So am I right in thinking that people aren’t allowed to speak figuratively in skepticism?

    You would be right if you recognised that speaking figuratively assumes a shared background of culture and social conditions. For people without that shared background, a figurative comment is not as likely to be understood in the way that you meant it.

    You also need to understand that in real life, real threats are often delivered figuratively or ambiguously.

    Instead of assuming that you are not allowed to speak figuratively, think instead that there is a multiplier effect on the ambiguity of figurative speech when talking in a global forum.

  306. tm says

    Crommunist @ #136: I also hugely appreciate your support… but please, don’t deliberately goad the trolls.

    And everyone: My understanding is that Munkhaus is a known troll from other blogs.

    Munkhaus’ comments here were far more reasonable, rational, and fair-minded than Crommunist’s. You so disappoint me, Greta, with your ad hominem. You really would do well to consider that the extraordinarily rational and mature DJ Grothe has something important and valid to say about unsettling in-group/out-group dynamics: “disagreement with some bloggers on various topics (not just feminism, to be sure) appears to be not at all well tolerated”.

  307. tm says

    That’s nowhere near as shameful as your blatant misrepresentation of the debate. The “verbal abuse” wasn’t directed at those who “even mildly questioned the absolute rightness of Rebecca Watson,” for the simple reason that there never was such “mild” questioning. ALL of the attacks on RW were dishonest, uninformed, over-the-top, and at a junior-high-mouth-breather level of pointless hatefulness.

    And so it goes. The propagation of such “representations” leads to such things as ERV’s blog being labeled a “slimepit” and PZ vowing not to attend any conference where she is a speaker. Those of us who offered a different perception or even worse actually posted at ERV or other blogs that didn’t share the perception of Raging Bee above were quickly labeled “MRAs” (it took me a while to figure out that that was when I first saw it) and treated as equivalent to the worst of the misogynists who found their way to those blogs (and there were some doozies). In-group / out-group. And then above, some so totally and intellectually dishonestly miss the point of — and reinforce the point of — that phrase by treating it as a misogynist / anti-misogynist division.

    Greta, you’re a very intelligent person and I have great respect for you. I just hope that some day, you will come to better understand how the dynamic you are a part of leads to manufactured polarization that damages your own interests.

  308. tm says

    This is a community that, by and large, respects people for changing their mind and admitting they were wrong.

    But it doesn’t respect them for disagreeing that they are wrong and therefore not admitting to something that they don’t think is true.

    You attitude strikes me as very like parole boards who will let someone go if they admit they committed the crime, but consider a protestation of innocence to be an unacceptable lack of remorse for the crime committed.

  309. haggard says

    If you think those were actual threats of violence, i suggest you call the police, if not: continue acting like a professional victim.

  310. says

    Just to clarify because this page comes up on Google hits for my name – the NMcC on this thread is not me. I have never signed my name that way, and I will certainly not be responsible for the statements made by someone with a screen name that just happens to have a few letters similar to my name. It’s a pretty big leap to assume it’s me on that basis.

    Nancy McClernan

Trackbacks

  1. [...] If anyone thinks these things are in any way balanced between the people who have been harassing Rebecca–writing entire blogs dedicated to talking about her and the people who work with her, demanding that she be removed from The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, sending her threats–and the people who have expressed disgust with this behavior, they’ve got some work to do in critical thinking. And D.J. is well aware that the equivalence he’s suggesting is, at best, controversial. [...]

Leave a Reply