Quantcast

«

»

Jul 11 2012

Dawkins stabs at Skepchick over “Hug Me I’m Vaccinated” campaign

One of the most painful lessons I’ve learned over the past several months is that there are no heroes. There is always — always — some measure, small or large, of disappointment hiding behind all the awesome things that drew you to idolize one person or another.

Of course, while I always thought of Dawkins as a science popularizer and atheist first, and a humanist dead last, I figured this latest Great Sorting of the skeptical and atheist communities into those that are down with social justice causes and those that would rather entrench themselves in privilege would pretty much end exactly this way. The hyper-privileged folks nearest the top of our movement have pretty uniformly fallen on one side of this divide — the side that would rather not skeptically examine ideas like social conventions, consent, harassment policies and protecting the underprivileged.

So it’s absolutely no surprise to me that Dawkins has, again, sided against Skepchick — this time, instead of writing a “Dear Muslima” comment at Rebecca Watson (telling her that the sexism she encounters isn’t nearly as bad as female genital mutilation, so she should grow up or get a thicker skin), he’s stabbing at Skepchick the organization for a) being on board with the idea of harassment policies, and b) for having written a post last year offering free vaccinations with hugs as your reward.

[blackbirdpie id="223116208835272705"]

(How heartwarming is this Skepchick open invitation to “HUG ME at TAM”! http://tinyurl.com/6za5gxa . Spontaneous! Carefree! Rule-free! Delightful!)

He was asked to clarify by probably dozens of people — and dozens of people heaped derision at his “timely” reply to the issue in order to smear Skepchick’s credibility as hypocrites, even if it would damage the vaccination campaign in the process. He “clarified”:

[blackbirdpie id="223125658870611968"]

(I VERY strongly support the vaccine campaign. And I support spontaneous hugs governed by ordinary unwritten rules of politeness. Problem?)

The funny thing is, it doesn’t take a particularly sharp mind to be able to square that circle — first, put aside your predisposition that suddenly Skepchick is all about sex-negativity, or about requiring consent via consent forms written in triplicate, or any other antifeminist trope you’ve heard about them. Skepchick is very much a sex-positive organization. They are also very pro-consent. It is not difficult to be both — if you foster one, you pretty much must foster the other, because if you don’t, people will be almost invariably hurt.

He walked some of this back, because people got the wrong impression of what he was saying. Some people thought he does not support the efforts to increase herd immunity. So he said the following:

[blackbirdpie id="223144235589828608"]

(Please support http://hugmeimvaccinated.org . Epidemics are nonlinearly favoured if vax nos fall below a threshold. Spread the meme not the disease )

This was a good, strong message, and in isolation, absolutely correct. It’s just a shame that he decided to — now, suddenly, shortly before TAM 10, and using what he thinks is a gotcha moment from a blog post in 2011 — take this stab at Skepchick.

It is an emotive argument about the morality of expecting consent before actions are taken involving other people, and one predicated on paper-thin evidence. It is so far beneath Dawkins that it serves only to undercut his image as a rationalist in my eyes — not that I was any longer under any delusion that he is a pure rationalist. It is similar in scope and in vector to his last stab at a Skepchick, in suggesting that these unwritten rules are all it takes to prevent people from doing nasty things, and that anything that DOES happen must be dealt with via the panacea of a “thicker skin”.

Offering free, spontaneous hugs to people is perfectly fine. There was a very strong harassment policy at CONvergence, and a sur-policy for the FtB and Skepchick party rooms at the convention, and I got more hugs there than anywhere else at the entire convention. Every one of them was enthusiastically consented-to as far as I can tell, and if anyone was being significantly put-upon, they would have had every right and every recourse to ameliorate that situation.

Offering hugs as a reward for vaccination is a nice idea, but at the same time, it’s well within the rights of the person who gets a vaccine to forgo the hug. And in fact, some people are even bothered by the very offer of a hug, so those people must needs make that apparent before they partake in the free vaccination services offered, because the whole event is predicated on something that might be to them a trigger, if not a simple preference.

And setting the expectation that hugs are pre-consented (and in a limited fashion — the post he linked to says one hug per vaccination!) is absolutely not an undercutting of the idea that one needs to obtain consent before performing an action. The thing about consent is that it is often negotiated by the neurotypical without verbalizing or formalizing. One can offer a hug by opening one’s arms, and letting the other person approach if they choose. Neuro-atypical folks can explicitly request verbal consent if they are unskilled at those practices, as well. Even asking or motioning, though, crosses some people’s comfort barriers, so setting the expectation — verbally, via that blog post and via the title of the campaign — that hugs are on the table explicitly, and in advance, actually does people like that a huge service.

To be clear, and frank, I am seriously disheartened that Richard Dawkins feels the need to take swipes at Skepchick over concerns that completely buy into the least charitable framings of the issues at hand. I honestly thought that Dawkins would be more intellectually curious and rigorous than to conflate a demand for consent in the form of harassment policies, with sex-negativity in the form of deriding “spontaneity” and lionizing “unwritten rules”, the way he has in this instance. It’s terribly unskeptical, and it exposes a very large blind spot in an otherwise intelligent and rational actor.

I know there are no heroes. I just wish some of the people that I want to look up to, could stop proudly displaying the unheroic bits like so many peacock feathers.

240 comments

3 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Insert foot A in mouth B, flail about cluelessly when it goes wrong… ><

  2. 2
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m wondering what excuses his non-MRA apologists will have for him this time.

  3. 3
    julian

    If he’s going for friendly ribbing he seriously needs to work on his timing.

    Note: For those of you who don’t know, joking does not excuse you when the people you’re mocking aren’t laughing.

  4. 4
    Captaintripps

    And just when I thought things were kind of dying down for a bit Senor Dawkins comes on by to stir the pot. I’ve never read a single one of his books and only seen a few videos of him speaking, but I did accept his towering reputation at face value. After this and the Muslima thing, that Babel has fallen.

    I guess I can see why he might find all of this unimportant and that’s okay. I don’t see why he also needs to sneer at the folks who do; that’s not okay.

  5. 5
    tonyinbatavia

    You said it right, Jason. Dawkins is definitely no hero. What a douchey move.

  6. 6
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Why, oh why.
    Really, he has nothing to gain by this other than the approval of the worst of the worst.
    Or he’s just so far up in his ivory tower that just doesn’t notice whom he’s lending a hand.

  7. 7
    J. J. Ramsey

    Tabby Lavalamp says:

    I’m wondering what excuses his non-MRA apologists will have for him this time.

    It’s probably a reference to how the American Atheists’ policy is written such that hugging is discouraged, even among people for whom consent would obviously be implied.

  8. 8
    Alukonis, metal ninja

    Yeah, if you don’t think it’s important then maybe just don’t say anything about it. For example, I don’t give a crap about [insert popular sitcom here] so therefore when people talk about it I just go “pft” and ignore it. If you don’t think sexism is an important problem then stop whining about all these posts on sexism and go fly a kite or something.

    It’s like going to a Harry Potter party and loudly announcing you think the books are dumb, and then being all SURPRISED when the fans get angry at you! Just don’t go to the party, dood.

  9. 9
    UAJamie

    Just FYI: At all our Hug Me! vaccine clinics, we always ask “would you like a hug?” before hugging anyone who gets vaccinated. Additionally, any individual “hugger” can turn down giving a hug to anyone they feel uncomfortable with. Just because we are running the clinic doesn’t mean that anyone who gets vaccinated has automatic permission to hug us. We think offering a hug for a vaccine is a fun way to help save the world, but we also find it just as important to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable at our vaccine clinics.

    Thanks for the support!

  10. 10
    Jen

    *battens down the hatches*

  11. 11
    Raging Bee

    I guess I can see why he might find all of this unimportant and that’s okay.

    Alukonis beat me to it, so +1 to him/her: if you really don’t care about something, you’re perfectly free not to talk about it. Going out of your way to tell us you don’t care about something — instead of just talking about something you DO care about — is just asinine.

    In fairness, the first tweet isn’t as bad as the “Dear Muslima” fiasco; but it’s still pretty clumsy and clueless.

  12. 12
    Ouabache

    I know this is a horrible analogy but this is a bit like Dawkins not understanding the difference between a mutually consented hug and someone randomly coming up to you and humping your leg. I’m sure that plenty of who don’t mind random people humping their leg but I know that I would prefer to be asked first.

  13. 13
    michaeld

    Well I guess its always nice to know that being smart in one area doesn’t transfer over to other areas. Even in the most basic ways.

  14. 14
    Andrew Tripp

    He is a very strange, sad man. It’s like he’s got an annual “be a gigantic asshole” alarm set to go off.

  15. 15
    julian

    Munkhaus… This thread has gone downhill fast.

    @UAJamie

    I must donate! Where’s me wallet?

  16. 16
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    *facepalm*

    He could not been asshole about this. Really. He could have stopped at the link and said no more. Really.

    Way to go out of his way to be a dick.

    (besides, I don’t know where he’s been getting free offers for stuff, but you usually have the right to refuse…this isn’t any different)

  17. 17
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    I…what? SERIOUSLY?

    *sigh* I would headdesk but I already have a migraine. Dawkins has never actually been one of my heroes–I got into this whole atheism thing through my sister & Pharyngula, pretty much–but I still had a little shred of respect for him left over after Elevatorgate.

    A very tiny shred.

    That is now gone. Now I have to lump him in with people like Orson Scott Card–like some of the things he writes about, acknowledge his intelligence and importance to the community–sucks as a person.

  18. 18
    julian

    Donated a bit of pocket change. Sorry can’t afford more right now.

  19. 19
    Ace of Sevens

    It beggars belief that he could really think that Skepchick was opposed to hugs in general and he caught them in some sort of hypocrisy. All I can think of is he’s pissed off at Rebecca and going for whatever petty shots he can think of.

  20. 20
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Jason
    *dragging that over*

    I mentioned in my post the idea that neuro-atypical types might not be so fine, so verbalizing “hug me” is good.

    You are right, of course.
    But I see it like this: I want to hug person A.
    I open my arms and shout “Jasoooooon!”
    Person A, let’s just call him Jason doesn’t realize I’m inviting him for a hug:
    - He asks me “wanna hug!” -> The world is good.
    - He keeps quite, I don’t ask, no hug -> world isn’t a worse place.

  21. 21
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m spamming Munkhaus, julian, and adding yet another of his morphs to the growing list. He’s almost as bad as Hever at this point!

  22. 22
    UAJamie

    Thanks Julian!! We really appreciate it. Every dollar helps!

  23. 23
    Blake Stacey

    I wonder what it’s like to live in a world where everyone does adhere to those “unwritten rules of politeness”. Maybe Dawkins can send us a postcard.

  24. 24
    William Brinkman

    I’ve gotten hugs from Skepchicks in the past and it was no big deal, even from Rebecca. He clearly doesn’t know them very well.

    The only non-MRA defense I can think of is that he’s from a different generation, but having him pick a fight with the Skepchicks twice in a year and a half is a bit much.

    I’ll respect his science education work, and he is an inspiration to me in some areas. He’s also a human being, and one with some serious flaws, sadly.

  25. 25
    leni

    It reminds me a bit of the nude calendar thing. It’s like offering the hugs at a vax clinic necessarily implies hugging anyone anywhere under any circumstances is ok, thus the assumption of hypocrisy about the policies. Weird.

  26. 26
    Daniel Schealler

    I prefer to look at it not as a dissapointing display by a would-be hero, but rather as a reminder that expertise in X does not imply expertise in Y.

    The Selfish Gene is still a great book: In terms of science outreach on the subjects of evolution and biology, Dawkins kicks ass. He’s also really good at anti-religious polemic.

    Neither of those skill-sets should imply that he’s an expert or an authority on social topics such as racism or sexism. Outside of Dawkin’s personal domains of expertise he’s just another person and should be regarded as such.

    On the subject of social issues the only difference between Dawkins and any other speaker is that Dawkins’ voice is vastly amplified beyond his level of relevant expertise due to his success in science outreach and opposition to religion.

    I like how whenever Dawkins is asked a question on physics he always backpedals, eagerly pointing out that as a non-physicist he is not an expert in that field and that any response he could give would be incomplete and tentative.

    It’s a pity he doesn’t have the same attitude towards his lack of expertise regarding social issues.

  27. 27
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    If it’s a reference to American Atheists’ policy, then, Dawkins is deluded, and surrounded by other deluded types. Because where on Earth do people get that “hugs (ask first!)” means “no hugs”?

    And why is it bad to put in writing a basic rule of politeness like that?

    As I posted on the blog J. J. Ramsey linked, or instance, there are people (I am one) who feel triggered by being touched without invitation, often because they’ve suffered abuse or bullying in the past. Is it unthinkable to acknowledge it and to avoid making us feel unwelcome?

    Another thing: touching does not have the same significance across cultures. And I’m not thinking about very exotic extremes, but even just across different parts of Europe, for instance. So organizers have to take into account that at a given conference, they may have people from different countries, with whom they can’t rely on the usual cultural assumptions about personal space and non-verbal cues.

    And as Gilliel mentioned, for non-neurotypical people, putting words to the transaction may be useful too.

  28. 28
    markpursey

    I guess this means he’s still sore over the Muslima backlash, but at least it’s a more private snark this time since anyone not following the current ftbullies debacle will probably miss the reference.

  29. 29
    SallyStrange

    There are lots of ways to give consent for hugging.

    For example: Wearing a button that says “HUG ME I’M VACCINATED.”

    herp a derp, Mr. Dawkins!

  30. 30
    UAJamie

    @SamStrange: No, no, and no. Just because someone is wearing a button or t-shirt that says “Hug Me” on it doesn’t automatically give anyone who wants to permission to hug that person.

    We’ve had problems in the past with people using “hug me” shirts as the excuse to walk up to a girl wearing it and hug her without asking in order to cop a feel. This is highly inappropriate no matter what is written on your shirt.

    “Hug Me” shirts don’t give automatic permission. The normal rules of hugging still apply.

  31. 31
    Daniel Schealler

    @irenedelse

    Is it unthinkable to acknowledge it and to avoid making us feel unwelcome?

    I know that was probably a rhetorical question. But for what it’s worth: Absolutely not!

    I’m a natural hugger. I hug everybody – men, women, old people, young people, dogs. Especially dogs. :D

    I’d rather give a hug than a handshake. In the absence of either I get awkward about what to do with my hands when greeting someone or saying goodbye.

    But that said: It’s transparently obvious (to me at least) that not everyone is a hugger. So of course one has to ask first before hugging someone you don’t know. Asking verbally is okay, but I find that actually verbalizing the request “Can I give you a hug?” seems to put mild social pressure on the other person to say ‘okay’. So for me, moving slowly enough to let the other person react while observing their body language is my preferred form of ‘asking’.

    It’s usually pretty successful. The hug-averse have always been very clear to me with their body language in a ‘that’s nice but please don’t’ kind of way. And I’m normally clueless about how to interpret body language, so the comprehension bar is really low.

    And in the case of someone I have fore-knowledge about as being hug-averse, I try to remember to not even ‘ask’ in the first place.

    Furthermore: Mistakes happen. Sometimes I might make a hug-related faux pax. In which case, if called out on it, I’m always mortified and embarrassed and take responsibility and apologize immediately. That’s usually fine too so long as I remember not to do it again in the future.

    None of this is particularly hard to grasp as a concept.

    So I have to wonder…

    Do those sitting across from us not realize any of this? Do they disagree?

    Or do they agree with this notion of determining consent for physical contact, but fail to understand our own position on this topic so badly that they think that we have something against it?

    I’m just really confused by some of the push back we get over this kind of stuff given some of the people involved. Randoms on the internet I can accept… But Dawkins, Paula Kirby and even DJ Grothe give me serious WTF moments whenever they speak about these things.

  32. 32
    chigau (違う)

    If I am ever at an Event with Richard Dawkins, I intend to chew gum at him.
    Hard.
    Bubble gum.

  33. 33
    quietmarc

    To amplify what irenedelse says @28, there are lots of good reasons to get consent before any physical contact. People with severe arthritis, for example, or other chronic pain disorders might look “normal” to the average person but experience severe and debilitating pain from hugs, handshakes, etc. If you want someone to feel good, hurting them is not a great way to do that.

  34. 34
    'Tis Himself

    William Brinkman #25

    The only non-MRA defense I can think of is that he’s from a different generation,

    Dawkins is almost exactly seven years older than me and I never felt the urge to castigate women for not wanting to be sexually harassed. I think it’s more likely that, like all too many highly intelligent, well educated people, Dawkins has a sense of superiority that he needs to display from time to time.

  35. 35
    Greg Laden

    “…and I got more hugs there than anywhere else at the entire convention. …”

    Yes, and you got CONcrud, too I suspect. All this promiscuous hugging has a cost!

  36. 36
    Roger

    “It is so far beneath Dawkins that it serves only to undercut his image as a rationalist in my eyes — not that I was any longer under any delusion that he is a pure rationalist.”

    Is anyone “a pure rationalist”? Could anyone be “a pure rationalist”? if someone said they were “a pure rationalist” should we believe them or think they suffer from a major delusion?
    If someone posts on Twitter they aren’t giving a considered and rational opinion on something they have thought through but are giving an immediate response to someone else’s equally immediate remarks- “brainstorming” used to be the term. It’s also worth remembering that an elderly public-school-educated Englishman probably associates “hug”- both the word and the action- with very different images to young Americans.

  37. 37
    Magicthighs

    This is just a Dawkins-Kirby-Kazez-Blackford-Stangroom (what about married couples, do they have to ask for consent???) circle jerk right now. I’d waste more words on it, but I just can’t find the energy to, it’s just too stupid, really.

  38. 38
    Jeffrey Eldred

    Dawkins added plenty of positive publicity to the campaign while expressing his personal opinion that he does hugs differently, while using the most enthusiastic possible language in the latter and the most mild language possible in the latter. I don’t understand what the controversy is.

    Seriously I think skeptics just like complaining about each other’s tone.

  39. 39
    Sili

    I wonder what it’s like to live in a world where everyone does adhere to those “unwritten rules of politeness”. Maybe Dawkins can send us a postcard.

    Do you think people chew gum there?

  40. 40
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    Yes, and you got CONcrud, too I suspect. All this promiscuous hugging has a cost!

    I know I caught the crud big time, though I’m gonna blame the “Free High Fives” guys for it.

    And to clarify for SamStrange: Asking first, even with a free whatever on your body, is a really bloody good idea.

  41. 41
    iknklast

    I’ve seen a lot of people who seem to think there’s something bad about having permission before hugging – after all, who could dislike a hug? Me, that’s who, and people like Dawkins (and others) need to understand that.

    When I was growing up, hugging was painful – my family was brutal and violent, and nothing ended without pain, including hugs. In fact, hugs were often indulged in by my family for the sole purpose of inflicting pain. It took me 10 years of therapy to get to the point where I can now interact relatively normally, not cringing and running if I accidentally brush against someone. I still require my space, and I don’t like to be hugged.

    But, I will admit, no one performed FGM on me, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain about bruises, broken bones, and a totally broken spirit. After all, I’m not in a burka, and no one has thrown acid in my face (of course, my family is still unaware that I’m an atheist – for safety’s sake).

  42. 42
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Presumably a person who hated to be hugged would wear something else, such as the “Smile, I’m vaccinated button.”

    Dawkins just opened his mouth to change feet.

  43. 43
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    The problem with showing people up on top of a pedestal is that they have much further to fall when the nice shiny lustre wears off. I never had any expectations that Dawkins would fit some nice, tidy way into what I would regard is my ideal skeptic’s costume. It shouldn’t really be surprising that some of his reaction is still skewed by some of the stuffy, aristocratic thinking of an older English generation. He’s British, he’s white, he’s male. If even a fraction of the stuff they show historically in movies about boarding schools for boys in the UK is true, none of what he’s said or done should have caused anything but the expected eye-roll and rebuts saying ‘We don’t think that way any more, grandpa, and here’s why…’.

    He’s done a decent job of arguing and advocating and reasoning for atheism based on scientific evidence, which is his job. But I certainly wouldn’t ever have him on a panel to advance the goal of equal gender rights and similar issues. It’s obvious by his reactions that if he has to think about it, it only causes more uncomfortable responses. At his age, I doubt you would get much more than a ‘you’re probably right’ as an apology.

  44. 44
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I agree so hard with Markita Lynda’s last line in #43. That, and perhaps a need to get more attention as the biggest jackass in the movement, he may have been feeling threatened.

    I seriously don’t get how making sure physical contact is wanted is somehow a *bad* anti-fun thing, that will make it worse. Wouldn’t you want to know that something that’s supposed to be mutually enjoyable on as basic a level as a hug is actually so? I mean, I tend to enjoy hugs, but not if, say certain pain issues are acting up (oddly, hugs are excellent for the other pain issues), or if I’m having anxiety issues at the time. Asking means you’re not running the risk of pulling a violently startled me into your soft underbelly!

  45. 45
    petria

    Yeah Dawkins response has been disappointing but I really want to know why he and Paula Kirby and others are not ‘getting it’
    Over the last year many men have commented on FTB’s to talk about how they eventually ‘got it’ and I hear a lot of empathy in their story. I never hear much empathy from those who think that the sexual harrassment issue is a waste of time. Thunderfoot springs to mind.
    The other possible factor that I have been thinking about a lot lately is Autism and the disproportionately large percentage of Asbergers in the Atheist community. I suspect that I am also on the spectrum a bit and hope that I am in good company to bring this up. I have listened to some interviews with Will Gervais about his research on the brain and belief which fascinates me. A larger percent of people with Asbergers are men and very few people with Asbergers are religious.
    Another element to Asbergers is a lack of empathy. Obviously it’s complicated and many people with Asbergers clearly do feel empathy but I can’t help but wonder whether this is what’s causing some to deny that sexual harassment (among other worse behaviours) is a problem for society.
    I even know someone in the Atheist community who has Asbergers and has been sexually harrassed at a Meetup by a woman who did the ‘ol genital grab. Hideous behaviour! Strangely though, he recounted the story to me very briefly and had very little emotional response. I asked whether he was still upset by it and he wasn’t …at all. I didn’t understand. I would have been incensed and demanding policies, etc.. Now this fellow resides in Erv’s domain and rails against women like me. Prior to that he was hugely supportive of any role I played in organising events. He isn’t sexist (or should I say wasn’t!)( I have stopped attending and haven’t had any contact with him since) So yeah it has all got me to thinking about Asbergers and empathy and how maybe some people in our atheist community don’t have sympathy for people who suffer sexual harrassment because they just can’t. Really… maybe they just can’t ‘get it’
    I am not attempting to diagnose Asbergers as I am not qualified but over the last 3 years I feel like I have witnessed a lot of behaviour that would be explained by this syndrome. I really want to understand how some of our number have become so polarised against us over social justice issues.

  46. 46
    FreeThoughtBlogs - Reputation Down The Drain

    I don’t understand what the controversy is.

    The Baboons like to manfacture “controversy” because it equals blog hits. Lousy Canuck never has anything interesting to say, so he writes this laughable piece of garbage for the FC5 circle jerk brigade.

    YES, EVERYBODY IS LAUGHING AT YOU.

  47. 47
    FreeThoughtBlogs - Reputation Down The Drain

    Yeah Dawkins response has been disappointing but I really want to know why he and Paula Kirby and others are not ‘getting it’

    You keep pondering, while I sit back with the answer that it is because you are wrong, and Dawkins et al are right.

    Now get over it.

  48. 48
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    And as far as the age thing goes, well, HappiestDadist is less than a decade younger, and comes from a very redneck background, and somehow 100% understands that not everyone wants hugs, and that’s okay, and that even the ones who do have a say in the matter.

  49. 49
    carlie

    I wonder why it is that women always need to grow a thicker skin to deal with unwanted advances, but men never need to grow a thicker skin to deal with being told their advances may well be unwanted.

  50. 50
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Petria, that’s kind of a shitty thing to say. Asshole, rapist and predator are not parts of the autism spectrum. I have a damn lot of friends who are on the autism spectrum, and are actually diagnosed, and they seem to get empathy and the rules of consent just fine.

  51. 51
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    ReputationBlahBlahFap: And yet, for some reason, you’re here. Face it, dude: You’re on the wrong, losing side of history on this one. I only hope you realize your failure and ignorance and feel the shame you deserve.

  52. 52
    Jason Thibeault

    I definitely have CON crud (a.k.a,, nerdobacter). And I double-high-fived the pair of Free High Fives guys.

    Also, Greg, I gave you two hugs. TWO HUGS. DOOOOOOOOOMED!!!

    “Reputation Down The Drain”: WTF are you on about?

  53. 53
    carlie

    I am not attempting to diagnose Asbergers as I am not qualified but over the last 3 years I feel like I have witnessed a lot of behaviour that would be explained by this syndrome.

    Sigh. No. No, you haven’t. What you have witnessed is a lot of people who know exactly what they are doing, but are simply assholes.

  54. 54
    Jason Thibeault

    What carlie said @54. Aspergers syndrome does not adequately explain people actually going out of their way to take advantage of people. Aspergers generally leads people to being extremely careful to navigate social situations they’re unfamiliar with. Don’t assume that because someone is throwing punches that are ill-advised, that they have Aspergers, because it’s grossly unlikely these people would throw those punches at all if they were on the spectrum.

  55. 55
    elronxenu

    If Dawkins expected to show Skepchick as hypocrites, he missed the mark. Nobody’s being forced to give or receive a hug, without consent. The campaign is encouraging vaccination by encouraging hugging. It’s setting ground rules: giving or receiving a hug after being vaccinated is normal. Much like the harassment policy sets ground rules for behaviour in other parts of the event.

    As pointed out by ‘Tis, Dawkins’ age is no excuse for his behaviour. I think he should spend less time writing books and more time reading them – specifically books which challenge his privilege and sense of social order. Then he can begin to have an informed opinion on these issues.

  56. 56
    petria

    Carlie, I disagree. I do know some of these people and it isn’t assholerey. I have been mulling over this for a long time. I can spot the arseholes and I know when it really is misogyny but I do think that sometimes there are other factors in play.

  57. 57
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    petria: Nah, you’re really just being an ableist ass here, sorry to say. We’re not dealing with people who are just missing cues. We’re dealing with people who actively, aggressively hate the idea of there being a culture of consent that can be withdrawn, where women and minorities speak up.

  58. 58
    carlie

    Petria, I have never met a single adult on the spectrum who was not already exquisitely aware that they had differences from neurotypical people and whose response was to back down and be more reserved than normal in possible romantic situations. We’re talking about belligerent assholes who are whining that having a harassment policy is stupid and unnecessary. People on the spectrum do better when they have explicit rules to follow and are usually glad to have the instruction.

  59. 59
    petria

    HappiestSadist, Sorry if it all came out wrong. I did say that I know many people with Asbergers do feel empathy, I agree with you there. I haven’t claimed any correlation with rapists or predators. I have only claimed that the men and women I have spoken with who haven’t shown any signs of empathy also show some signs of being on the spectrum. I also said I suspect I am on the spectrum, my father definately is. I am genuinely interested in this topic.

  60. 60
    carlie

    And just to clarify that I’m not talking entirely out of my ass, I have a son with Asperger’s, so I’ve done a decent amount of research into development and behaviors on the autistic spectrum as well as living with someone who gives me one anecdotal example of it.

  61. 61
    petria

    Carlie, that’s a good point. I should rethink this and will. Although one point to clarify, I wasn’t saying that these types were perpetrating the harassment, but that they don’t understand why it is upsetting the rest of the community. Like Dawkins.

  62. 62
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    happiestsadist wrote:

    We’re dealing with people who actively, aggressively hate the idea of there being a culture of consent that can be withdrawn, where women and minorities speak up.

    The most recent incidents surrounding the convention policies against harassment demonstrate this to be true – to a frightening degree. Dudebros hate being cockblocked, y’all.

  63. 63
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Petria, you know what actually is correlated with a lack of empathy? Antisocial Personality Disorder, also known as sociopathy.

    And what Carlie said @ #59. That’s been my experience as well.

  64. 64
    carlie

    Petria – what you’re saying has a small possibility of being true, but only for people on the autism spectrum who have never interacted with other people (which would be a null set). They DO have empathy, just don’t quite get all of the things that trigger certain feelings in others. Most people on the spectrum really do want to fit in with everyone else and even without professional intervention tend to pick up on most of the major social cues along the way and learn what the appropriate responses to standard situations are supposed to be. So even if they don’t quite get why everyone else is upset about something, odds are that if they’re old enough to be using the internet they already know that when a large majority in a group expresses a certain feeling, arguing against them all having that feeling is not a great idea.

  65. 65
    petria

    Thanks Carlie
    I have often looked up Asbergers syndrome and empathy is one of the factors always listed as a problematic area. It’s possible that I have just taken a pretty simplistic view of this and applied it wonkily.

  66. 66
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    Thank you, Happiestsadist! And no thanks to you, Petria for that horrible bit of ableism. You didn’t even bother to find out how to spell ‘Asperger’s’.

    It’s a myth that any spectrumites are incapable of empathy and it’s a myth that responding to a situation in a different way than you would is necessarily pathological. It’s also a myth that most spectrumites are male. Diagnosis is easier for males because, so far, the criteria used have been based on how male spectrumites present, so female spectrumites mostly fly under the radar (but that could change. Just as the myth that heart disease is a male problem, because only typical male symptoms were listed, has changed).

    I know plenty of spectrumites (myself, husband and nearly all our friends-and-relations) and it is impossible to predict from knowing about that one trait whether someone will be an enthusiastic or reluctant hugger and/or with whom.

    We don’t generalise about NTs all being fluffy-brained social butterflies, so don’t generalise about us, please.

    And I heartily back the idea that ‘unwritten rules’ aren’t worth the ink used! We need effective policies in place because everybody has the ability to read some people but not others; and some people will read someone correctly but decide to override their wishes anyway. There needs to be a protocol for dealing with this situation.

    The minority of assholes must be reined in to make things more fun for the rest of us.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    P.S. I actually find it easier to turn down a verbal request for a hug, because I feel intense embarrassment on behalf of someone left standing with their arms open. But hugs are actually quite painful to me and I’m sure that even enthusiastic huggers don’t want to cause pain.

  67. 67
    petria

    Tigger, you are right about the spelling disaster…doh!
    I didn’t claim all on the spectrum are incapable of empathy, I was careful not to.

    Interesting point about females flying under the radar.

  68. 68
    Fionnabhair

    I don’t really have any heros in the atheist movement, which is probably for the best seeing as so many of the big names are assholes, and social justice issues have always been more important to me than what religion a person does or does not subscribe to, if they subscribe to one at all.

    I only ever bought one of Dawkins’ books, and frankly I have no desire to buy another. Now I’m of a mind to get rid of the one book I do have.

  69. 69
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Tigger_the_Wing: Thanks, I was trying not to overstep as someone who’s not on the ASD spectrum myself, while still being, you know, a person who’s really not impressed with the “aspies are empathy-free creeps!” meme. I just know and like a lot of people who are on the spectrum, and in my own experience, they tend to get it better than a damn lot of NT people about rules, boundaries, and touching. I like the idea of written rules to delineate things nice and clearly for those who don’t do so well with unwritten cues, and to make sure that there’s no plausible deniability for those who want to pretend they just don’t understand.

    I am a very enthusiastic hugger a fair bit of the time, and also a fan of your comments pretty much everywhere I see them, so I offer an internet fist-bump.

  70. 70
    Daniel Schealler

    @Tigger_the_Wing

    P.S. I actually find it easier to turn down a verbal request for a hug, because I feel intense embarrassment on behalf of someone left standing with their arms open.

    Noted, and thanks for pointing that out.

  71. 71
    Eristae

    Yes, because if a woman consents to be hugged under a specific circumstance of her own making and under her own control, she must actually be consenting to be randomly touched without warning, without consent, and without control.

    Clearly.

  72. 72
    Daniel Schealler

    @Fionnabhair

    I only ever bought one of Dawkins’ books, and frankly I have no desire to buy another. Now I’m of a mind to get rid of the one book I do have.

    Don’t get me wrong here: Your purchasing decisions and your use of your own personal property is entirely your own business.

    That said though, I’ve always been a bit confused by this attitude towards authors and their books. To me, a book is very distinct from its author and should stand on its own merits.

    I don’t like Dawkins very much on social issues. But The Selfish Gene is still one of my top three favorite and most recommended non-fiction books. Not because Dawkins wrote it, but because it’s just so highly educational.

    I can sympathize that if you find yourself disliking an author you might want to distance yourself from their works, on grounds that the validity of someone else’s experience is independent of whether or not I share or understand it. But I have a bit of trouble empathizing with it, because – well, I don’t share or understand that experience. It’s confusing.

    I’m already dangerously off topic, but a few final questions just out of curiosity:

    Which of Dawkin’s books do you have?

    How well did you like the book before you read about this particular issue (and/or the ‘bigger problems elsewhere’ thing directed at Rebecca however long ago)?

    What/how much has actually changed since?

    Feel free to neglect or reprimand if I’m ranging too far off the original topic.

  73. 73
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    Stop me if I’m derailing, but the “hugs or no” thing reminds me of another controversy in the anime convention circles surrounding ‘glomping’. A glomp is pretty much a surprise flying tackle, popular and better suited for animated works because well, no one’s getting hurt in anime. Unfortunately, some very wrong headed people thought it was okie-dokey to go to anime cons and doing this to real live people for the more ridiculous reasons i.e. “they’re in a costume of my favorite character!” (and don’t even get me started on folks who that smacking cosplayers and other folk with paddles without consent or a warning was a good idea. Many cons started banning the sale of those things because of it).

    When people started speaking up about it and against it and insisting cons do something about it, the backlash was amazing. Switch the genders (because oddly enough it was girls and women mostly guilty of this) and it was blatant examples of “well, look at what they’re wearing. What did they expect to happen?” or “you’re no fun at all” or “what’s the big deal, it’s just a little hug”. It got so fucked up that I had to stop reading some forums lest my brain explode.

    I’d bloody hope scifi and skeptical cons would have a more mature outlook on this. People who make light of consent really, to steal a phrase from the signs at CONvergence, harsh my squee.

  74. 74
    resident_alien

    Huh.I for one didn’t read “hug me,I’m vaccinated” as any invitation/consent at all,to me it read like they were jokingly refering to herd immunity.You know,”It’s safe to hug me,you won’t catch a bug from me/I won’t catch a bug from you.”
    Dawkins is being an arrogant arse here,which makes me sad.
    It’s like those “kiss me,I’m Irish” buttons people wear on St.Patrick’s Day,or those tacky “free mustache rides” t-shirts for guys with facial hair,only a total dildobrain would take those literally.

  75. 75
    Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^=

    *Grins and fist-bumps Happiestsadist in return*

    Actually, I’m rather embarassed that someone I admire is a fan of mine. Who, me? Thank you, you’ve made my day.

  76. 76
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Aww, mutual fanning! I’m also doing the embarrassed grin. :)

  77. 77
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    douchebong @skepdirt #13

    You are an ignorant ass.

    idiot 47, 48

    You are one lame troll. Poor show, there. Boring.

  78. 78
    Ike

    Since TAM already had an anti-harassment policy and that didn’t work because nobody believes women etc etc, why are harassment policies so important?

    I can’t tell if people think they make a difference or not.

  79. 79
    Max

    Or Dawkins stabs at strange hugs policy.

    Here is some of the most spectacular bullshit I’ve read in some time.
    “Of course, while I always thought of Dawkins as a science popularizer and atheist first, and a humanist dead last, I figured this latest Great Sorting of the skeptical and atheist communities into those that are down with social justice causes and those that would rather entrench themselves in privilege would pretty much end exactly this way. The hyper-privileged folks nearest the top of our movement have pretty uniformly fallen on one side of this divide — the side that would rather not skeptically examine ideas like social conventions, consent, harassment policies and protecting the underprivileged.”

    Do you really mean to say that you think Dawkins doesn’t deserve his humanist cred? That he isn’t “down with social justice?” Are you simply delusional? He may not agree with you on particular issues but this kind of purity policing seems beyond the pale. Dawkins has won at least one award, for his contributions and service to Humanism by the BHA. Did he not supply funds for childcare, has he not consistently argued for women through out his career? He has consistently questioned social convention too. He has championed the empowerment of women. Your characterization of Dawkins just doesn’t square with reality.

    “Great sorting?” What the fuck is this? Why can’t we just have disagreements with out all this us and them?

  80. 80
    Flewellyn

    Hiya, actual person with Aspergers here (officially diagnosed), and let me say, that whole “these guys may just have Aspergers” thing? 100% pure, all-natural, organically-grown, hand-picked, dry-roasted Columbian fail.

    Real Aspies generally have an acute understanding of the flaws in our social understanding. Some of us, like myself, compensate with a mixture of silliness, self-deprecation, and frank disclosure of our limitations. Others try to learn the rules by rote, and get very upset if they screw up. Hardly any (I have seen one) will try to excuse social faux pas with their diagnosis.

    And please, don’t whip out that “lack of empathy” canard. It was bullshit when Uta Frith came up with it in the 80s, it’s bullshit now, and forever more shall it remain the fetid, steaming leavings of the male of Bos taurus. Lack of automatic social learning does not equate with lack of empathy, and only someone lacking in empathy would come to that conclusion.

    Asshole is not on the autism spectrum, and I’ll thank people to stop pretending that it is.

  81. 81
    kraut

    The reaction to a little stab at skepchick, maybe not in the best taste, and everybody – again – thinks a hero has exposed his clay feet?
    Dawkins is human, and he makes mistakes. The reaction here is of thoroughly immature contributors who have a hard time realizing that the greatest have flaws, that this however does not diminish their accomplishments, but in the process of discovery they throw the gentlemen or lady onto their mental dustheap.

    And then there are those here who really think that those flaws diminish the livelong accomplishments of someone like Dawkins or Hitchens or whoever else they have a beef with, that they have the obligation to reject anything positive those have created.

    Those contributors only show one thing – a narrowness of mind only usually found in those they are wont to heartily condemn – fundamentalist of all stripes.
    And they do this, as I can gather from their responses, to elevate themselves and their own miserable little lives by ungraciously denying and denigrating the achievements of their “fallen” heroes.

    What a bunch of pathetic clowns, the “owner” of this blog, who blows a “stab” in a multi hundred word article out of all proportions, included.

  82. 82
    Sabura

    Not really surprised. The man is no feminist.

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2011/03/19/spinster-aunt-reads-comment-on-dawkins-website-wrinkles-lip/

  83. 83
    A 'Nym Too

    @Kraut – ooh sick burn brah.

    @Roger

    t’s also worth remembering that an elderly public-school-educated Englishman probably associates “hug”- both the word and the action- with very different images to young Americans.

    IDGI. The word means the same thing here as it does in the US. Fancy elaborating on what you meant?

  84. 84
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Another thing: touching does not have the same significance across cultures. And I’m not thinking about very exotic extremes, but even just across different parts of Europe, for instance. So organizers have to take into account that at a given conference, they may have people from different countries, with whom they can’t rely on the usual cultural assumptions about personal space and non-verbal cues.

    This.
    A lot of what’s “normal” to you depends on where you live. So, not only organizers, but people themselves should take care and be aware of this. A French person in Germany should be aware that kissing on the cheeks is NOT normal for friends in Germany, that it carries a great deal of intimacy, so they’re not rejected if people just shake their hand. Germans in France should be aware that this gesture does not carry a great intimacy.
    Both should give the other some fucking space.

    Tigger
    Interestingly, I find it easier to turn down non-verbal requests. But I think the problem lies elsewhere: The cultural pressure to say “yes”. The assumption that the feelings and needs of the person asking are greater and more important than yours, that it makes you an asshole to say no, whether in words or body-language.
    That has to change.

    The non-NT-defense
    I can’t hear it anymore, seriously.
    No, it’s not that I don’t understand the needs and difficulties of non-NT people, but whenever the “I don’t understand body-language” excuse comes up, it’s usually some ass who just looks for a get out of jail free card to violate people’s boundaries. Yes, some things are subtle, some things change across cultures. But seriously, they act as if they are totaly puzzled that somebody who nods means yes.
    That’s body-language, too!
    And yes, you can learn. You can learn to read the body-language of your pet and that’s a different species. And even your pet can learn yours! Have you ever noticed that dogs don’t get defensive because you bare your teeth at them AKA smile?

    Jeffrey Eldred
    What’s the problem? The problem is that his snark came 2 hours before the support, that he couldn’t just say “they want people to get vaccinated, that’s great, support them!” But had to say “those people are hypocrites*, but help thema anyway”
    *not true, btw

  85. 85
    kraut

    @Kraut – ooh sick burn brah

    If you have trouble contributing in a meaningful language – try again.

  86. 86
    kraut

    PS – you really confirm my image of the majority here nothing but pathetic clowns who take any chance of despising those they deem fallen heroes and deny them their achievements and accomplishments.

    PS – someone in need of flawless heroes is are already a pathetic insecure clown.

  87. 87
    Alex

    You are one pompous condescending sauerkraut, kraut. Calling those who are taking exception to dawkins childish or immature for doing so, while agreeing with them (“of course I knew all that, how childish of you to point it out”) looks like the classic “Im better than both sides and more rational, too” strategy for bolstering ones ego.

  88. 88
    ...

    Three, two, one….

    Aaaand – they’re off! The mad scramble of inconsequential anonymities to try to make themselves appear equal to people who’ve actually achieved something. A fine showing to start out with by Canuck with a heartfelt whinge about how twitter has disappointed him in one of the foremost evolutionary biologists and atheists of our time. I think we can chalk that up to a spiritual depth of three micrometers, but are there those that can become even shallower?

    Well, strong showing here from the other contestants. Gilly in particular pours the inanity on to eliminate the last traces of depth. Very good show old sport. Particularly like the accusations thrown at the disabled. Well done; the last molecules of class are evaporating.

    Still, I do not think this round of the FTB olympics will see anyone wrest the record from its current holder, but I all in all – very good show

  89. 89
    J. J. Ramsey

    Niki M:

    A glomp is pretty much a surprise flying tackle, popular and better suited for animated works because well, no one’s getting hurt in anime. Unfortunately, some very wrong headed people thought it was okie-dokey to go to anime cons and doing this to real live people for the more ridiculous reasons i.e. “they’re in a costume of my favorite character!”

    There’s a big difference between the sort of behavior that you’re talking about, though, and the sort of behavior that Blackford is talking about. Glomping strangers is generally not socially acceptable behavior. Aside from the potential for harm due to the whole “flying tackle” thing, it’s intrusive. The sort of behavior that Blackford is talking about not the sort of imposition that a glomp from nowhere is, for example, established friends hugging each other without explicitly verbally asking. It’s normal stuff.

  90. 90
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ohhhhhhhhhh, my very own most favourite troll is back!
    How, are you, how’s it been going? I was almost worried about you, haven’t heard from you in a while.
    Come here, have a cupcake.

  91. 91
    julian

    For the love of sanja’s constantly shifting body anatomy, hop off Dawkins’ nuts. He isn’t that great and hasn’t accomplished nearly so much as to be viewed as sacred as you asses see him.

    You’re like the dudebras who flame me for pointing out Chesty Puller was a racist.

    “Well it doesn’t diminish his accomplishments! He’s a real legend who’s done real things! You’re just a nobody.”

    Oh go fuck yourselves you irritating man children. He isn’t a hero of mine and I’ll damn well criticize the ass if I please.

  92. 92
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    J.J. Ramsey

    The sort of behavior that Blackford is talking about not the sort of imposition that a glomp from nowhere is, for example, established friends hugging each other without explicitly verbally asking. It’s normal stuff.

    Yep, and it seems like most people seem to agree that:
    -asking can be done in more than one way
    -established consents (we always hig when we meet) are not touched by this
    -clarification by AA would be in order
    So, can we get over with that?

  93. 93
    joel

    Are heroes our minor gods in disguise?

    You point to the “wish to look up to” sentiment (many of us share) at the beginning and in the last paragraph:

    “I know there are no heroes. I just wish some of the people that I want to look up to, could stop proudly displaying the unheroic bits like so many peacock feathers.”

    We may know there are no heroes but we still want them.

    This ‘wish’ seems to me the important thing to address and I am glad you did. This ‘wish’ is an impediment to clear thinking. It is similar to faith. Perhaps we want to put our faith in a person so we can relax our scrutiny for a bit. Too bad. We really can’t do that without undermining our skepticism.

    What is psychical source of this wish? Is it not similar to a religionists wish for a perfect god to believe in.?

    How does one disabuse oneself of the habit of hoping for as least some lesser gods?

  94. 94
    Siverly

    Roger @37
    Yes, quite. I’m an American living in Britain and ‘hugs!’ are sometimes seen as an expression between familiars, not strangers. Its just different.
    We’re all, at least part, of our age, culture and time.

  95. 95
    joel

    As a source for the desire for heroes and the disappointment in their imperfections, my money is on a resonance to the hopes and disappointments we experienced with the caregivers of our early childhoods.

  96. 96
    Raging Bee

    The mad scramble of inconsequential anonymities to try to make themselves appear equal to people who’ve actually achieved something.

    Isn’t that how the Catholic Church hierarchy reacted to all those “inconsequential anonymities” who complained about pedophile priests?

  97. 97
    joel

    Carlie at 50 Bingo!

  98. 98
    Claus Larsen

    I really cannot see how Dawkins deserves such treatment for an unconditional support. Instead of criticising him for something he did not do, why not just rejoice in the fact that the almost 400,000 people who reads his tweets now are aware of the campaign? That’s not a bad way to get publicity.

    What happens instead? His motives are immediately questioned, he just has to mean it sarcastically.

    When he makes it even more clear that he was not sarcastic, but was strongly in favor of it, more criticism is heaped upon him.

    It will be interesting to see the reaction to Derren Brown, who has just retweeted Dawkins’ supportive tweet. That’s more than one million more people who saw the endorsement. If there will be a reaction, of course.

  99. 99
    joel

    Jason, I want to again note your first:

    “One of the most painful lessons I’ve learned over the past several months is that there are no heroes.”

    and last sentences:

    “I know there are no heroes. I just wish some of the people that I want to look up to, could stop proudly displaying the unheroic bits like so many peacock feathers.”

    I believe that to be the theme of your post and that you used the Dawkins controversy as an illustration.

    The vast majority of comments were in reaction to your illustration and not to the theme that you began and ended with.

    I think the quantity and feelings displayed in these reactions illustrate the importance of your theme.

    A ‘painful lesson’? perhaps but in my view an extremely important one, and one not easy to fully own. And I am not speaking as one who claims to have successfully tanken it on board.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  100. 100
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    As a source for the desire for heroes and the disappointment in their imperfections, my money is on a resonance to the hopes and disappointments we experienced with the caregivers of our early childhoods.

    Please, stop playing evo-psych-armchair-scientist.
    How about the fact that our world is ripe with heroes? From the first fairy-tale to the latest movie.

  101. 101
    joel

    Giliell,

    Yes, the world is ‘rife’ as you put it with gods, heroes, fairytales etc.

    But some people are into it much more than others.

    What do you think is the source of differences? I will probably not want to censor your opinion if made in good faith, but only wish to consider it.

  102. 102
    Ckeenan

    I was planning on attending the FFRF conference this year because Dawkins is scheduled I am now rethinking this.

  103. 103
    Sarah

    Unbelievable! First Dawkins thinks that because he’s only dealing with some woman (not an important man like PZ who he has dealt with directly on many occasions, just someone to be ignored), someone who is barely known compared to his fame that he can just drop in a condescending swipe while PRETENDING to complement her, after he fucked things up by waltzing in to a discussion he didn’t understand WITHOUT taking the time to do the reading and understand what people are saying and just be a sarcastic mansplaining shipdit.

    Now we get a bunch of privileged dudes in here going “Come on! He was nice as well isn’t that enough for you?” or WORSE “It’s not even an insult, just calm down [you silly girl - implied], there’s nothing to make a fuss about.

    Seriously FUCK OFF.

  104. 104
    greg

    No he’s go a good point. Stop trying to pry way into this. He’s not a deity and never tried to be. There are many possible meanings to a tweet like this and it really doesn’t look for a second like he said anything less than cool.

  105. 105
    Claus Larsen

    Sarah,

    Let us set the emotional outbursts, harsh language and cries for exclusion of differing views aside, and instead take a look at the consequences of seeing Dawkins’ very clear support as an attack: Consider the close to a million-and-a-half people who are now aware of the campaign.

    What did they get out of this twitter-exchange? That Skepchicks think praising their efforts is really bashing them, and that Skepchicks cannot offer a simple apology, if they make a mistake.

    Almost one and a half million people could have been reached with a positive message, but are instead met with an avalanche of misunderstood outrage. I have rarely seen such a miserable example of a botched opportunity.

  106. 106
    greg

    What a dumbshit article. Stop trying to manufacture drama where there is none. Your interpretation is a crazy ass one that no person in a more sensible state of mind would adopt of these tweets.

  107. 107
    Jason Thibeault

    No. Dawkins’ “very clear support” came two hours after a sidelong swipe at Skepchick that came out of the blue, and people (including myself) still do not understand the motivation for the attack.

  108. 108
    Jason Thibeault

    Beyond that, Claus, after that show of support (which came two hours after the attack, note the timestamps!), Elyse, Women Thinking Inc., and Skepchick all thanked him for it.

  109. 109
    Tom Foss

    Ike @79:

    Since TAM already had an anti-harassment policy and that didn’t work because nobody believes women etc etc, why are harassment policies so important?

    TAM’s “policy” doesn’t appear to have been anything more than a paragraph in the program and on a blog post on the website. If they’d had anything even resembling the common and open-source policies that other organizations have been adapting and adopting, he would have had something more than “look at my survey!” to wave around as evidence.

    So, having a policy is a good start, but if it’s not properly implemented, it’s not much more than words on paper. It is, however, more than some conventions have or have had, and so that’s a starting point.

  110. 110
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    How did Dawkins *attack* Skepchick? He brought the campaign to the attention of his close to his half a million Twitter-followers, and made it clear that he strongly endorsed it, when asked for clarification.

  111. 111
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus: you are aware that I spent a thousand words in the post above the comments line examining exactly what he said that people are up in arms over, right? Asking a question that’s answered in the original post is tiresome at absolute best.

  112. 112
    kaboobie

    I’ll just put this here.

  113. 113
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    Fair enough. I really don’t think your interpretation (and others) is the correct one, so let us agree to disagree.

    What about Derren Brown?

  114. 114
    kaboobie

    Sorry, I should have specified that 114 was in response to Tom @ 111. The intervening posts were not there when I started.

    To add to the discussion at hand, I want to point out that a more recent Skepchick post than the year-old one Dawkins tweeted specifically talks about the TAM 2012 vaccine clinic, without emphasizing the “Hug Me” message quite as much. It’s clear to me that Dawkins chose his link very deliberately.

  115. 115
    ...

    No. Dawkins’ “very clear support” came two hours after a sidelong swipe at Skepchick that came out of the blue, and people (including myself) still do not understand the motivation for the attack.

    Yes, how dare the man be snarky towards someone who tried to blacklist him?

  116. 116
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Gilliel:

    Congratulations on getting your very own troll… o_@

    A lot of what’s “normal” to you depends on where you live. So, not only organizers, but people themselves should take care and be aware of this. A French person in Germany should be aware that kissing on the cheeks is NOT normal for friends in Germany, that it carries a great deal of intimacy, so they’re not rejected if people just shake their hand. Germans in France should be aware that this gesture does not carry a great intimacy.
    Both should give the other some fucking space.

    Oh, yes, the whole kissing thing in France! There’s even a whole lot of unwritten rules about it: for instance, it’s the “done” think between women, or between a man and a woman, but rarely between two men. And you kiss on the cheek (without straying to the lips!) but don’t hug while you do it– takes some experience, I can tell you. And I’m not even talking of regional variations.

    Funny thing is, even political leaders at the higher level can commit horrible blunders at international conferences. And it’s embarrassing that ex-president Sarkozy, for instance, was well-known for his excessive familiarity in this area. I cringed when I saw the photos of him patting the back of Angela Merkel as if they were old buddies! In his position, he had no excuses: advisers are there for a reason, shame on him for not listening!

  117. 117
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ … says:

    Yes, how dare the man be snarky towards someone who tried to blacklist him?

    And again with the “blacklist” canard! Nope, not even close. And to help refresh your memory, I suggest availing yourself of the link to Suirauqa’s digital archeology of the Elevatorgate that Jason thoughtfully provided in his latest post. You’ll find it here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2012/07/12/digital-archaeology-of-elevatorgate-a-timeline/

    No, no, don’t thank me.

  118. 118
    ...

    Skip it, kid. I heard it all before. I read her own writing on the subject. She called for boycotting his books, etc. In the same way that the current imbeciles here wanted D.J. Grothe fired. Same way you lot blacklisted Abbie Smith and tried to stir up trouble with her employer.

    What a mean little group of thugs this is.

  119. 119
    Jason Thibeault

    Saying that you’re not going to buy any books by a person on the topic of feminism is like my threatening you with boycotting your breakfast cereal line. (Assuming you don’t actually make a breakfast cereal line.)

  120. 120
    Jason Thibeault

    Also, please define “blacklist”. Because I suspect your understanding of the word is lacking.

  121. 121
    Max

    Sarah,
    Your post is full of quite a bit of baseless assumption:

    “Unbelievable! First Dawkins thinks that because he’s only dealing with some woman (not an important man like PZ who he has dealt with directly on many occasions, just someone to be ignored),”
    Massive, motive conjuring on your part here. And certainly not true. Dawkins has argued, and passionately about the empowerment of women. He clearly values women everywhere and in all movements. If anyone looks silly in the atheist gender wars, it isn’t Dawkins. He hasn’t moved to excommunicate members, or boycott them for holding different opinions than his. RDF still posts links to blogs like Greta Christina, Maryam Namazie, PZ and others.
    “someone who is barely known compared to his fame that he can just drop in a condescending swipe while PRETENDING to complement her, after he fucked things up by waltzing in to a discussion he didn’t understand WITHOUT taking the time to do the reading and understand what people are saying and just be a sarcastic mansplaining shipdit.”

    Dawkins didn’t “mansplain” he disagreed with Watson, and PZ and gave decent reasons for his disagreement. For this, Watson, and others heaped opprobrium on him, said he was the past etc. THere was the unfortunate hypocritical use of gendered slurs against Dawkins too. You will remember the high minded “Dear Dick” campaign? (Oh but that is just short for Richard, snicker, snicker) Also Dawkins didn’t pretend to compliment Watson. He said he supported their vaccination campaign, and sensible hugs.

    “Now we get a bunch of privileged dudes in here going “Come on! He was nice as well isn’t that enough for you?” or WORSE “It’s not even an insult, just calm down [you silly girl - implied], there’s nothing to make a fuss about.”

    Quite simply, no “silly girl” is implied. Not even a little bit. If you think there is something about which to complain do so. Dawkins was having a swipe at the hugs policy at AA, and maybe/probably having a little go at Skepchick. Again, given the tendency of Skepchick and its like minded legions to attribute the worst possible character traits to almost anyone who disagrees/opposes them the fact that Dawkins might have a critical word or two seems entirely predictable. In fact he has been much kinder about all this character assassination than, in my opinion, he should be.

    “Seriously FUCK OFF.”

    No. Why don’t you engage in a meaningful way? Stop demonizing people with whom you disagree. Stop dismissing opposing points of view with terms like mansplainin’ and mysoginist when they clearly don’t apply.

  122. 122
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus: considering that I said that the supportive tweet (two hours after the attack tweet) was in isolation absolutely correct and laudable, why would I attack Derren Brown for retweeting it? Again, this question would have been answered by my original post.

  123. 123
    ...

    Max,

    Let me save you a lot of pain around here:

    Massive, motive conjuring on your part here.

    That’s pretty standard. One of the first rules of the FTB lot is to assume the worst possible motive of anyone they disagree with. This has, as the Hitch put it, a way of turning any noisy moron into a major commentator.

    No. Why don’t you engage in a meaningful way?

    That’s not the way things are done in these parts. Haven’t you heard? Skepticism isn’t about evidence, but revealed dogma. It’s about the truth handed down, and no evidence is ever required, nor rational thought, just mindless following of the anointed few.

    Look, if you want rational discussion, stick with Namazie and Taslima. You won’t find it here.

    Dawkins didn’t “mansplain” he disagreed with Watson, and PZ and gave decent reasons for his disagreement. For this, Watson, and others heaped opprobrium on him, said he was the past etc. THere was the unfortunate hypocritical use of gendered slurs against Dawkins too. You will remember the high minded “Dear Dick” campaign? (Oh but that is just short for Richard, snicker, snicker)

    You will notice something interesting here. That, unlike watson or myers, Dawkins did not even bother to respond to this stuff. Why? Because he is secure in his own contribution. It is precisely because you are dealing with people who contribute nothing and never will that you get this stuff.

  124. 124
    Jason Thibeault

    , you do recognize how ironic it is that you’re making nothing but emotive arguments and conflating commenters with an entire community here, right? And that you’re disregarding all of the actual argumentation that went into the original post and many other comments to focus, laser-like, on one commenter who’s angry?

  125. 125
    Blake Stacey

    So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.

    Clearly, a blacklist of the darkest order!

    (For my own part, I wouldn’t recommend Dawkins’ books anyway, because I’ve found other writers more engaging on the topic of atheism, and his evolutionary theory is dully mired in arguments of half a century ago. But that’s just me.)

  126. 126
    ...

    Jason,

    I’ve hung around this site for a long time, so I know what this poor sod Max is going to go through. At the start you think, “Hey, great – a site devoted to thinking rationally and discussing things!”. Then he’ll find out that he doesn’t agree 100% with everything and try to discuss it. He’ll then start asking, helplessly, to be engaged rationally about points – that’s the stage he’s at right now. Finally, he’ll learn, as I did, that you might as well be on WorldNetDaily, arguing that Hawaii is not in Kenya, for all the reason you’ll get.

    I’ve gone through all that, so I’m just trying to save the kid some trouble.

  127. 127
    ...

    Blake, yes her antics are pathetic considering the stature of the person she’s trying to go up against. When it came to Abbie Smith, on the other hand, things were a lot nastier, because Miss Smith was more vulnerable. I don’t confuse impotence with virtue.

  128. 128
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    Not quite, since it did not include any reference to Derren. But thank you for your clarification.

  129. 129
    Tom Foss

    I love the “stature” argument, which we also saw with DJ. “How dare you call out someone who’s done so much etc.” Because arguments from authority are so much more valid when skeptics use them.

    It’s almost as rich as the willful ignorance of context and subtext, which fuels the whole “friends won’t be able to hug/what about married couples” slippery-sloping as well as the “I don’t see what’s objectionable about Dawkins’ tweets at all!” If there’s one thing I’m skeptical about, it’s that anyone calling themselves “skeptics” could be so obtuse without effort.

    @kaboobie: Enlightening and depressing. Good to see that the effort was barely a token, and that Kimbo Jones & Stephanie Zvan’s suspicions (roundly dismissed–”what makes you think they wouldn’t have one this year?”) were well-founded.

  130. 130
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    You wrote “Saying that you’re not going to buy any books by a person on the topic of feminism is like my threatening you with boycotting your breakfast cereal line. (Assuming you don’t actually make a breakfast cereal line.)”

    But Rebecca did not merely state that she would not buy Dawkins’ books and attend his lectures. She also encouraged others to do the same.

    That’s calling for a general boycott of Dawkins, is it not?

  131. 131
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus: fair point, while I still think I recall reading something expressly boycotting his books on feminism, I can’t find that now and the blockquote is pretty clear — Rebecca Watson personally will no longer add her weight to any of his activities (talks, books, etc).

    I note that she did not ask that others follow suit, though. Unless you believe skeptics are vulnerable to cults of personality (and there’s a lot of evidence in this very thread that that’s the case!), one cannot extrapolate from that a “call to boycott”.

  132. 132
    julian

    Christ. Anyone ever asks why I hate Dawkins can take a peak at his defenders.

  133. 133
    kaboobie

    Claus @ 130:

    A lot of people retweeted Dawkins’ supportive tweet. One RT I personally saw was from Tim Minchin. Do you expect Jason to chronicle every single retweet?

    I’m very glad this little incident ultimately resulted in exponentially greater exposure for hugmeimvaccinated.org. As Jason pointed out, Elyse replied to Dawkins on Twitter to thank him for his support, simply and unequivocally.

  134. 134
    Tom Foss

    Claus: I don’t think Rebecca called for a boycott. I can see how you’d get confused, though, what with strangely ambiguous statements like this:

    PPPS: Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact that I have no interest in giving this person any more of my money or attention. Other people have independently told me they’re doing the same. This is not an organized campaign, and no one is going to be vilified for continuing to give their own time and attention to Dawkins.

    The rampant ellipsis is having a gay old time conflating behavior that one does themselves and behavior that one has done to them.

  135. 135
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    I am afraid you are mistaken – she did in fact ask that others follow suit.

    Here is the actual quote:

    “So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.”
    http://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/
    (emphasis mine)

    That’s calling for a general boycott of Dawkins, is it not?

  136. 136
    Claus Larsen

    Tom,

    See my post above.

  137. 137
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m personally not going to recommend that you go see a Minnesota Twins game. But since I don’t really care about baseball, that lack of recommendation does not indicate that I’m recommending that you not see a Minnesota Twins game.

    Do you get the distinction yet, Claus? Because you’re hair-splitting, especially given the PS modifier that Tom Foss pointed out that you’re expressly denying exists by telling Tom Foss to read your blockquote — which came before that modifier.

  138. 138
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Crybaby Bigot Trolls:

    YES, EVERYBODY IS LAUGHING AT YOU.

    Translation: I HAVE NO FRIENDS, SO I TROLL FTB. BUT MY MOM SAYS I’M COOL!

    I really cannot see how Dawkins deserves such treatment for an unconditional support

    Translation: Have I injected my pointless stupid lies into this thread yet. Y’all know you can’t live without me wasting everyone’s time with bullshit.

    Let us set the emotional outbursts, harsh language and cries for exclusion of differing views aside

    Translation: be nice to me why I treat you like shit.

    Yes, how dare the man be snarky towards someone who tried to blacklist him?

    So we’ve gone from being “nobodies” to having the power to blacklist Dawkins. My how the mighty have risen!

    She called for boycotting his books, etc.

    Translation: I’m a shameless liar!

    ++

    Now for the actually worthwhile people on the thread:

    I wonder why it is that women always need to grow a thicker skin to deal with unwanted advances, but men never need to grow a thicker skin to deal with being told their advances may well be unwanted.

    LOL. Too right. It’s almost like they’re so sensitive and irrational that you just can’t talk to them. Funny how, talking about not liking creepy ass dudes treatingyou like their own personal petting zoo is the same as wanting to castrate all men and outlaw sex, but threatening rape and violence for MORE THAN A YEAR because one women said “don’t do that” in an effort to help the clueless stop being creepy ass dudes unintentionally, is totally rational and correct.

    LOL. They’re complete morons and I’m glad they have their own little angry bigot movement. Weed out the losers so I can meet someone cool at cons.

    And I agree with Fionnabhair – no gods, no masters and all that.

    100% pure, all-natural, organically-grown, hand-picked, dry-roasted Columbian fail.

    That is just a million pounds of win. Stealing!

  139. 139
    kaboobie

    I think there’s a difference between “I will not recommend that others attend his lectures” and “I will recommend that others not attend his lectures”. Kind of like atheists often distinguish between “I do not believe that there is a God” and “I believe that there is no God.”.

  140. 140
    Blake Stacey

    yes her antics are pathetic considering the stature of the person she’s trying to go up against.

    What you see as “pathetic”, I see as a measured, justifiable, proportionate response.

    When it came to Abbie Smith, on the other hand, things were a lot nastier, because Miss Smith was more vulnerable.

    Yes, that was a nasty business. The nastiness came from the person who injected lofty speech like “Rebeccunt Twatson” into the discourse.

  141. 141
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Dawkins didn’t “mansplain” he disagreed with Watson, and PZ and gave decent reasons for his disagreement. For this, Watson, and others heaped opprobrium on him, said he was the past etc. THere was the unfortunate hypocritical use of gendered slurs against Dawkins too. You will remember the high minded “Dear Dick” campaign? (Oh but that is just short for Richard, snicker, snicker) Also Dawkins didn’t pretend to compliment Watson. He said he supported their vaccination campaign, and sensible hugs.

    Where do I even start?
    You think that the “Dear Muslima” was a reasnable disagreement?
    In what universe
    And after that, his reasoning was that “elevators aren’t dangerous, they have buttons and doors!”, thereby showing his ignorance of the fact that assaults in elevators happen more often than one could wish for and that doors and buttons are fuck use to you if the agressor is standing in front of them.

  142. 142
    Claus Larsen

    You are mistaken, I am not splitting any hairs.

    According to Webster’s, a boycott is:

    “to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a person, store, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boycott

    A lengthier explanation can be found at Oxford Dictionaries:
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/boycott?q=boycott

    If that is not what Rebecca called for, what did she call for, then?

    Bear in mind that English is not my first language. I tend to pester those who have English as their first language to educate me on the subtleties. That is, after all, how you truly learn a language (besides the old joke about it being in bed, but…).

  143. 143
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Christ. Anyone ever asks why I hate Dawkins can take a peak at his defenders.

    nah. Dawkins deserves disrespect because he’s a one-trick pony who Dunnings his Kruger too much in public. And is too much of a complete coward to own up to his ignorance.

    That his mindless minions are also whiny bigots who Dunning their Krugers too much in public and troll every blog they can find that isn’t a member of the He-man Woman Haters Club isn’t his fault. That he attracts such people to worship him is. but he’s not sending them to be crybaby bigots peeing themselves all over FTB.

    . .. . or is he?

  144. 144
    Tom Foss

    Claus: I have never recommended that anyone attend a Zamfir concert, or purchase a Maserati. Am I engaged in a boycott of those things?

  145. 145
    Blake Stacey

    I love(*) that Rebecca Watson gets admonished for “naming and shaming” a person of lesser prominence in atheist/skeptic circles than herself (for the henious crime of quoting what that person wrote publicly under their own name), and is called “pathetic” for criticizing a person of greater “stature”. What a strange game: the only winning move must be not to play.

    (*) Footnote: this is sarcastic.

  146. 146
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Claus Larson
    At the moment I’m not recommending a hell lot of things, for example buying a Toyota. Do you think I just started a boycott?

  147. 147
    Tom Foss

    Claus: A little longer, you’re getting hung up on the difference between personally refusing to do something and calling for others to do the same. I suppose you could call what Rebecca said a “personal boycott,” but the term “boycott”–like “protest”–has connotations of something more organized, intentional, and group-oriented. Rebecca may be personally boycotting Dawkins, in a strict dictionary-definition sense of the word. She explicitly did not organize a boycott or encourage others to join in.

  148. 148
    Tom Foss

    @Blake Stacey: +1

  149. 149
    Claus Larsen

    Tom Foss,

    You said “I have never recommended that anyone attend a Zamfir concert, or purchase a Maserati. Am I engaged in a boycott of those things?”

    That’s a good point (which is the same as Giliell’s). The difference is that, while you have never recommended that anyone attend a Zamfir concert, or purchase a Maserati, have you recommended that people do not attend a Zamfir concert, or purchase a Maserati?

    If you have done the former, but not the latter, then you have not encouraged a boycott of either. But, if you did the latter, then you will have encouraged a boycott of either. Just as Rebecca recommended that others did not buy Dawkins’ books, or attended his lectures.

    Is this not correct?

    You also said “A little longer, you’re getting hung up on the difference between personally refusing to do something and calling for others to do the same. I suppose you could call what Rebecca said a “personal boycott,” but the term “boycott”–like “protest”–has connotations of something more organized, intentional, and group-oriented. Rebecca may be personally boycotting Dawkins, in a strict dictionary-definition sense of the word. She explicitly did not organize a boycott or encourage others to join in.”

    I am sorry, but what do you make of her statement “or recommend that others do the same”?

    How is that not encouraging others to join in on her personal boycott?

    PS. My post 144 was for Jason. Mea Culpa.

  150. 150
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus: I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt since you state that you are not a native English speaker. So let’s examine this sentence in its totality:

    I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same.

    Let’s rearrange it slightly — let’s take “attend his lectures” and use it to replace “do the same” (deleting the superfluous “or”):

    I will not recommend that others attend his lectures.

    Since this scans exactly like the former case we’re all using, and not the latter (e.g. “I will recommend that others not attend his lectures”), your argument is in fact hair-splitting and mistaking lack of recommendation for recommendation against.

  151. 151
    Tom Foss

    Claus:

    If you have done the former, but not the latter, then you have not encouraged a boycott of either. But, if you did the latter, then you will have encouraged a boycott of either. Just as Rebecca recommended that others did not buy Dawkins’ books, or attended his lectures.

    Is this not correct?

    No, it is not correct, and the reason why has been explained to you. Rebecca said: “I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same.” She is saying that she’s no longer going to recommend that others attend his lectures. Nowhere is she saying that she will tell people not to attend, and makes that explicit point later.

  152. 152
    Tom Foss

    I guess the word that’s getting hung up on here is “or.” Claus is reading it as ‘I will not attend his lectures [and] recommend that others do the same.’

    When, in fact, “or” is a different kind of conjunction, as Jason pointed out above. Removing the confusing conjunction and breaking out the clauses gives: ‘I will not attend his lectures. I will not recommend that others do the same.’

    Clearer?

  153. 153
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    (and, to some degree, Tom Foss)

    Thank you for your patience, but I think that much of this mess is due to misunderstandings, not just from non-English speaking people such as myself, but also from a general failing to parse what is meant to be said to what is perceived as having being said.

    So, in that vein, let us examine the sentence in its true totality, and not merely a part of it:

    “So many of you voiced what I had already been thinking: that this person who I always admired for his intelligence and compassion does not care about my experiences as an atheist woman and therefore will no longer be rewarded with my money, my praise, or my attention. I will no longer recommend his books to others, buy them as presents, or buy them for my own library. I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same. There are so many great scientists and thinkers out there that I don’t think my reading list will suffer.”

    I think we can all agree that Rebecca is lucidly clear about one thing: She has lost a personal hero, because he does not, according to Rebecca, care about her experiences as an atheist woman.

    Whatever one thinks of that reason, that is what has driven Rebecca to announce her intentions. So, what are those?

    1) Rebecca will not buy his books.
    2) Rebecca will not attend his lectures.

    Again, that much is unchallenged – by basically anyone, if I have followed the brouhaha correctly.

    Now, you could argue – as I think you do in your above post – that Rebecca calls for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures, but not of his books.

    If that is what you are saying, why on Earth would Rebecca encourage a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures, but not his books?

  154. 154
    Jason Thibeault

    Seriously, Claus? No, at this point, I have to assume you are arguing this way intentionally — after it’s been explained several times in several ways that nobody believes Rebecca is telling anyone else to do anything here, you still think we’re telling you that she’s telling people to do something?

    1) Rebecca will not buy his books
    2) Rebecca will not attend his lectures
    3) Rebecca will not tell others to attend his lectures

    It can also be implied that Rebecca will not tell others to buy his books, but not that she will actively campaign against people buying his books or attending his lectures.

    Just like my not telling you to do things does not amount to my registering disapproval if you do do those things, Rebecca is not calling for any kind of change in behaviour here on anyone else’s part — she is merely telegraphing a change in her own behaviour.

  155. 155
    Tom Foss

    Oh my fucking nonexistent god.

    Rebecca does not “call for” a boycott of anything. Here are her points, in a numbered format:
    1. Rebecca Watson will no longer give Dawkins her money.
    2. Rebecca Watson will no longer give Dawkins her praise.
    3. Rebecca Watson will no longer give Dawkins her attention.
    4. Rebecca Watson will no longer recommend Dawkins’ books to others.
    5. Rebecca Watson will no longer buy Dawkins’ books for others.
    6. Rebecca Watson will no longer buy Dawkins’ books for herself.
    7. Rebecca Watson will no longer attend Dawkins’ lectures.
    8. Rebecca Watson will no longer recommend that other people attend Dawkins’ lectures.

    The only places that “other people” enter into it are in cases where Rebecca Watson is doing something for/to them. She is not saying that she will tell other people not to buy his books or attend his lectures. Nowhere in the paragraph does she say that, and then she clarifies later for the people who have trouble “perceiving” what she meant: “Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact that I have no interest in giving this person any more of my money or attention.”

    If you’re “perceiving” something other than “Rebecca Watson posted her personal choice not to promote or support Dawkins anymore,” then you are perceiving something that is not there.

  156. 156
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    No, at this point, I have to assume you are arguing this way intentionally

    Yep. That’s what he’s done on every other blog, why would he change his time-wasting game now?

  157. 157
    roland72

    I can’t say I hate Dawkins, though I am disappointed at his failure to listen. He’s made quite a few mistakes due to this before – the Timonen thing and his support for A C Grayling’s weird private university spring to mind. The problem for him is that he is used to being right; on evolution and atheism I think he’s pretty much spot on. His inability to spot his wrongness here is not a huge surprise given that; but I will admit to having expected a bit better.

    Max said that Dawkins has “championed” women. It’s all very well for Dawkins to say that he supports women, but his actions recently have shown that his support is equivocal at best; I cite these tweets and “dear Muslima”. I don’t doubt that intellectually he believes in the equality of the sexes, but his not being able to fully appreciate how that would change his experience is part of what privilege means.

    But I still have copies of most of his books. I think he writes clearly and engagingly and hardly puts a foot wrong when in his areas of expertise, and I take great pleasure in re-reading them from time to time.

  158. 158
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    I can only refer you to her own words: “I will not attend his lectures or recommend that others do the same.”

    To me, that is a crystal clear call for a change in behavior on other people’s part. You do not see it this way, and I respect that. History, as always, will get the last word.

    However, the question still remains: If Rebecca calls for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures, but not of his books, why on Earth would she make that distinction? What is the difference between his books and his lectures?

  159. 159
    Claus Larsen

    Tom Foss,

    I am getting very conflicting messages here, from you and Jason.

    You say that Rebecca will no longer recommend Dawkins’ books to others.

    Jason says that Rebecca will not tell others to buy his books.

    Who is right here? You can’t both be.

  160. 160
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Max said that Dawkins has “championed” women.

    Becauase slimepitters define “championing” women as “haven’t beaten them up . . . yet”. it’s a very low bar a sexist sets for the ‘good’ treatment of women.

  161. 161
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus: “withholding a recommendation” and “not telling someone to do something” are identical descriptives. They can both be right because they are identical.

  162. 162
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    To me, that is a crystal clear call for a change in behavior on other people’s part.

    because you really, really, really want that to be true. But, it’s not. No matter how many times you repeat it.

  163. 163
    Jason Thibeault

    To “recommend something to someone” is to tell them about a thing and suggest that they would benefit from it. If she is not recommending books or lectures, she is not telling people about them. That is all.

    Either you’re REALLY bad at English (and your comments do not suggest that to me), or you’re being very disingenuous.

  164. 164
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    Yes, I understand that. I made that clear in my post # 151.

  165. 165
    roland72

    Claus, will you just listen please? If lots of people are telling you that you are wrong in an identical way, don’t you think that might be because, well, you’re wrong? In that way?

  166. 166
    Jason Thibeault

    However, the question still remains: If Rebecca calls for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures, but not of his books, why on Earth would she make that distinction? What is the difference between his books and his lectures?

    Yes, and I think if we grant this hypothetical, it exposes the fact that your reading of the statement is a misinterpretation. Why WOULD someone tell people to stop attending his lectures, but not say a word about reading his books? However, if you read it the way everyone else in the thread is reading it — that Rebecca will merely stop actively suggesting that people see his lectures — that logical fallacy entirely evaporates!

    So why do you cling to your misinterpretation when everyone’s telling you it’s wrong, and if you grant the misinterpretation, it makes other things problematic?

  167. 167
    Tom Foss

    Claus:

    You say that Rebecca will no longer recommend Dawkins’ books to others.

    Jason says that Rebecca will not tell others to buy his books.

    Who is right here? You can’t both be.

    Let’s try something new: what do you think “recommend” means?

    To me, that is a crystal clear call for a change in behavior on other people’s part. You do not see it this way, and I respect that. History, as always, will get the last word.

    If that’s so crystal clear, then what do you make of her postscript statement in the same post:

    Nope, I didn’t call for a boycott. I’m relaying the fact that I have no interest in giving this person any more of my money or attention. Other people have independently told me they’re doing the same. This is not an organized campaign, and no one is going to be vilified for continuing to give their own time and attention to Dawkins.

    Emphasis mine.

  168. 168
    roland72

    @ Illuminata – and I think there are a lot of people who really sincerely and truly believe that they champion women when they say it, but whose actions are at odds with their words. The Catholic Church at its slimiest and most sanctimonious says it champions women’s rights; of course the caveat is that women don’t get any say over what they do with their own bodies!

    I think some of the slimepitters are sincere when they say they support women’s rights – they just have never had to think through what that actually means. They don’t realise that the horrid uncomfortable feeling they get when called out on this is their resistance to giving up privilege kicking in; and whatever their conscious motivations may be, the effect of their actions is the same as if they were deliberately trying to keep women down. And this is the best of them! Not all of them are entitled to such a charitable interpretation.

    It’s not surprising they meet with an aggressive response from people (women, mostly) who have had to deal with this sort of thing for decades and decades. As someone whose views on this were rather unreconstructed a few years ago, I can tell you that it was the aggressive responses that made me think the most.

  169. 169
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    >#165 (I trust you will forgive the shorthand referral):

    I am not being disingenuous to any degree.

    Rebecca recommended that others do not attend his lectures (that much we agree on), and, I’ll take your word, that recommending is benefiting from it. Ergo, Rebecca is saying that people would benefit from not attending Dawkins’ lectures.

    Why it would be beneficial to people not to attend a world-class science communicator’s lectures, because he does not care about Rebecca’s experiences as an atheist woman, is beyond me, but – that’s me, I guess. YMMV.

    >#168:

    I fully get that Rebecca has called for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures. We all seem to agree on that.

    And, according to you, Rebecca will not tell others to buy his books. On that, I agree.

    You do not see this as Rebecca calling for a general boycott of Dawkins’ books. On that, I do not agree.

    So, that is where we are, at the present moment.

    How do we resolve this?

  170. 170
    Claus Larsen

    Tom Foss,

    I note that Rebecca says nothing of her own statement: “…or recommend that others do the same.” Whether that applies to Dawkins’ books, lectures, or both, is, as we have seen, up for interpretation.

    I do note that Rebecca is contradicting both you, Jason, and others here, when she says that she did not call for a boycott of anything. We have agreed here that Rebecca did in fact call for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures.

    Either you, Jason and others here are right, or Rebecca is.

  171. 171
    Jason Thibeault

    Rebecca recommended that others do not attend his lectures (that much we agree on)

    Wrong. I have disagreed with this, at length. As have others.

    Rebecca Watson has stated that she will stop recommending people to go to his lectures.

    The implication is that, previously, she has recommended that people see his lectures — actively told them to go to those lectures. She has signalled that she will stop actively telling people to see him. She has further clarified that she does not care if others do see his lectures, read him, pay him attention, etc.

    Rebecca Watson did not ever recommend that people NOT see his lectures. Not once.

    Why must you expressly lie about my clear statements in order to make it seem like you’re merely confused?

  172. 172
    Jason Thibeault

    We resolve it by you considering that because everyone keeps telling you you’re wrong about a point, you stop restating that point as though some of us agree with you.

    You either do this, Claus, or I take the microphone away because you’ve derailed this thread for far too long and you’ve driven out all semblance of actual discussion.

  173. 173
    roland72

    Claus, are you German? Do you understand the difference between:

    Rebecca macht keine Empfehlungen in bezug auf Dawkins’ Vorträge

    and

    Rebecca empfiehlt anderen, Dawkins’ Vorträge nicht zu besuchen

    ?

    The first one is simply not telling people to go. The second one is positively telling people to stay away. The first one is what Rebecca said, the second is not. I will admit that in German the moving of “nicht” does not alter the meaning of the sentence as much as moving “not” does in English – so

    Rebecca empfiehlt anderen nicht, Dawkins’ Vorträge zu besuchen

    reads more like a boycott than the literal translation into English. But please stop digging this hole for yourself (whether or not you’re German); listen to what everyone else on this thread is telling you!

  174. 174
    Tom Foss

    Claus:

    I note that Rebecca says nothing of her own statement: “…or recommend that others do the same.” Whether that applies to Dawkins’ books, lectures, or both, is, as we have seen, up for interpretation.

    No, it is not “up for interpretation” unless you are being willfully obtuse. It has been explained to you repeatedly why and how you are misreading what has been clearly written.

    I do note that Rebecca is contradicting both you, Jason, and others here, when she says that she did not call for a boycott of anything. We have agreed here that Rebecca did in fact call for a general boycott of Dawkins’ lectures.

    Either you, Jason and others here are right, or Rebecca is.

    I’m beginning to think your problems with English are greater than you suspect.

    Here’s a clue: Rebecca, Jason, and I all agree. Why are you the odd one out?

  175. 175
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    roland72: Reading your post, and digesting for a few moments, I’ll accept that. Its not uncommon for bigots to not realize they’re bigots.

    But, let me just point out that “I think some of the slimepitters are sincere when they say they support women’s rights – they just have never had to think through what that actually means.”, while probably true, doesn’t disagree with what I said (which, was clearly hyperbolic and deliberately so).

    They don’t beat up women or rape women so they’re not the bad guys! They supporters of women’s rights. . . until women’s rights are inconvenient to them. Or until a woman makes insanely impossible demands on them like “don’t call me that” or “stop groping me”. What man can live under such tyranny!

    And this, right here, is why I have such a good time mocking them. They’re all for women’s rights! They claim. Until a woman says, “Okay, cool. Could you stop calling me a cunt then?” and their response is “FEMNAZI CENSORSHIP MAN-HATER MISANDRY BITCH CUNT RUINING YOUR CAUSE DEEP RIFTS HIVEMIND WARBLEWARBLE RAAWWRR”

    But it’s women – and feminists, specifically – who are irrational and overly emotional. LOL

    You are spot on about the privilege aspect.

    Lastly, a question: since slimepitters (and other bigoty trolls) are always attempting to tone troll their way out of having to make an actual argument, insisting that women not being sufficiently nice to them is the reason they don’t support feminism, what was it about aggressive responses that made YOU rethink? (if you don’t mind my asking).

  176. 176
    Ike

    Watson did explicitly say: “But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire,”

    Implying that those who are not humanists and feminists will not find new, better voices. I.e., if you’re a humanist/feminist, then you’ll move on from Dawkins. That’s somewhat of a boycott calling…

  177. 177
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    And now, for some CONTEXT:

    “Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same, I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days. But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.”

    So, she was TALKING TO THE PEOPLE WHO ALREADY SAID THEY PLANNED TO DO THE SAME.

    Still not calling for a boycott.

  178. 178
    Tom Foss

    Ike: Keep stretching, and maybe you’ll grasp one of those straws someday.

    Illuminata: Absolutely. They’re fine with women’s rights and calling out misogyny and destructive patriarchal societies as long as it’s abstract. As soon as someone suggests that misogyny may be closer to home than the Middle East, that they may be contributing to patriarchy, it’s a different story.

  179. 179
    Ike

    The context doesn’t change the sentence. She still implicitly says those who move on are humanists and feminists, and those who do not move on are not humanists and feminists.

    Not ‘some of us humanists and feminists’ but ‘Those of us who ARE humanists and feminists’.

  180. 180
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Not ‘some of us humanists and feminists’ but ‘Those of us who ARE humanists and feminists’.

    Yeah – COMMENTING AT HER BLOG. Are you aware of the troll infestation her blog got because of her audacity to argue with King Dawkins? Here’s a hint: NONE of them were humanists and feminists.

    Keep scraping the bottom of the barrell though. I’m sure, if you keep trying really really hard, you’ll someday manufacture convincing proof that she’s the devil incarnate. Good luck!

  181. 181
    Ike

    Yeah, trying to prove she’s the devil incarnate is my aim.

    Those of us who are intelligent and wise will continue to not be her biggest fan.

  182. 182
    Raging Bee

    To me, that is a crystal clear call for a change in behavior on other people’s part.

    Yeah, well, it’s already been explained to you why your interpretation is wrong — countless times by several different commenters. And your total refusal to accept or understand what we’ve explained to you just proves how immature and dishonest you are.

    Implying that those who are not humanists and feminists will not find new, better voices. I.e., if you’re a humanist/feminist, then you’ll move on from Dawkins. That’s somewhat of a boycott calling…

    Oh looky, another Dawkins fanboy pretending to be smart and failing basic reading comprehension. News flash: if you replace “will” with “should” in the sentence you’re all upset about, THEN you’d have a call for a boycott — which is different from a prediction. If you don’t know the diference between those two small words, then you don’t belong on a grownup blog; and you sure as hell shouldn’t be trying to read at Dawkins’ level.

  183. 183
    roland72

    @ Illuminata – I think you’re right. How anti-women you can be without realising it is different for different people. The classic line is “I can’t be anti-women – I love women!” – but men who say that have a very different idea of what “love” means to rational people, and it normally means denying agency to women they find attractive – and denying existence to women they don’t. How to get someone to realise that is a difficult problem.

    How did I realise it? Well I remember thinking – a long time ago – that there wasn’t a problem with sexual inequality and that women who pointed out that this isn’t the case were moaning unnecessarily and generally making life inconvenient for everyone. I’ve always been incredibly conflict-averse, so rather than trying to argue the point if it came up, I simply didn’t talk about it. Growing up I had a couple of very strong feminist role-models (my mum and my best friend’s mum) who had no problem with pointing out ingrained sexism when they saw it; I was too timid to argue with them about it, even though I didn’t agree with them that it existed in the way they said, so their points brewed in my mind for years and years.

    Then I started to read Pharyngula, which I’ve been doing for four or five years now, and was initially startled by what I saw as an overly aggressive approach to men (and some women) who exhibited clueless sexism – but the thing I read (and I can’t remember when I read it first) which really made me think, was just – listen! Listen to what these women are saying.

    I realised that I hadn’t been listening, and that the likely reason for this was that I had internalised the idea that women weren’t worth listening to. Intellectually I realised this wasn’t a good reason not to listen, so I listened. And I realised that what these women were saying was consistent and believable, and I saw statements which I might have agreed with before as the clueless nonsense that they were. It’s made a difference to how I interact with women IRL as well. I don’t interrupt. I don’t know if I interrupted women more before – I think it’s quite likely – but I certainly don’t now. I shudder now to think how I treated some of my female friends at school. And if a woman has been used to this sort of treatment since that age it’s hardly surprising she’ll have a short fuse when confronted with it now; hence the aggressive approach on Pharyngula to clueless sexists. Fair enough, I say – though I’m still too conflict-averse to engage in it myself.

    Full disclosure – I’m a gay man; I used to think that gay men were misogyny-proof but I can hold myself up as an example that they’re not. I honestly can’t tell if not being sexually attracted to women has made a difference to this journey.

  184. 184
    Forbidden Snowflake

    While everyone argues about whether Watson called for a boycott (for the record: 1. Claus is WRONG 2. There’s nothing immoral with calling for a boycott, even though that isn’t what she did), I will just quickly note that the slimy little troll moved the goalposts from “blacklist” to “boycott” between 117 and 120, and is therefor either too stupid to tell the [vast] difference between those two terms, or is a shameless liar who imagines everyone else is stupid.

  185. 185
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Those of us who are intelligent and wise will continue to be her biggest fans.

    FTFU, bigot.

  186. 186
    Ike

    Thanks Illuminata, you really did!

  187. 187
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    roland72 – Thank you for that. 100000000%. You, and lurkers like you are the entire reason I personally engage trolls. Obviously, I’m not conflict-adverse. Not NOW. But I was. Back when I was a Chill Girl(tm), I would never have argued.

    Then, I had an abusive rapey boyfriend (now LONG an ex). Four years of that and now I couldn’t fucking care less if my arguing is seen as combative, unladylike or obnoxious. I personally feel that combating this bullshit online is just as important as donating time and money to like-minded orgs.

    if my being an obnoxious bitchybitch to bigot trolls helps some lurker arm themselves against bullshit arguments like we’ve seen here, or helps give someone even the slightest clue, or lets someone know they aren’t alone in being this deluge of horseshit bigotry* then I can die happy.

    To be clear, I’m not claiming credit for your transformation. I am just very happy to hear from another person who disproves the tone troll’s mantra. There’s a LOT of commenters at Pharyngula (and elsewhere) who’ve told similar stories to yours. Which is why the tone trolls get such a trouncing. We KNOW they are wrong. And cowardly.

    * to be clear, I’m not taling about just misogyny. Any bigotry that is directed towards disadvantaged/oppressed people.

  188. 188
    KarenX

    @178 Ike

    Watson did explicitly say: “But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire,”

    Implying that those who are not humanists and feminists will not find new, better voices. I.e., if you’re a humanist/feminist, then you’ll move on from Dawkins. That’s somewhat of a boycott calling…

    Yes, implying that those who are humanists and feminists will not find new, better voices because they see no need for them. But not somewhat of a boycott calling because those who are humanists and feminists will start recommending new people and stop recommending old people and not disrecommend anyone. See above.

    @181 Ike

    The context doesn’t change the sentence. She still implicitly says those who move on are humanists and feminists, and those who do not move on are not humanists and feminists.

    Not ‘some of us humanists and feminists’ but ‘Those of us who ARE humanists and feminists’.

    Yes. Those who do not move on are not humanists and feminists because they are demonstrating that they do not share the ideals of humanists and feminists. At least not the ideals of humanists and feminists as Watson understands them. So if you have a beef with that, it’s probably because the terms have not been defined here and people are riding on assumptions. But rather than playing semantic gotcha, you ought to be discussing what it means to be a feminist and humanist if it seems like Watson and others are saying something ridiculous or wrong. And I don’t know if that’s a topic for this thread or another post altogether, but that’s one place people might be talking around each other.

  189. 189
    Ike

    Watson understands them. So if you have a beef with that, it’s probably because the terms have not been defined here and people are riding on assumptions. But rather than playing semantic gotcha, you ought to be discussing what it means to be a feminist and humanist if it seems like Watson and others are saying something ridiculous or wrong.

    I didn’t agree with what Dawkins said. I don’t see the gain of comparing something somewhat bad to something very bad and so completely disregarding the somewhat bad thing. That just isn’t productive. If we lived our lives like that we wouldn’t get anywhere.

    Howe’er, Dawkins says lots of very good things and does lots of very good things, and to say that people who still like him do not share her ideals of humanism and feminism is, yes, ridiculous and wrong. He has done lots for humanism, and, by proxy (though it may not have been his main aim) feminism. She did say that people who don’t move on are not humanists and feminists. As hers and Dawkins’ audience is comprised of, presumably, humanists and feminists, that is as good as a boycott.

    I’m sure nobody can say, with integrity, that Watson and PZ Myers have got everything right ever but disowning them as not in keeping with new humanism and feminism would too be ridiculous.

  190. 190
    roland72

    Thanks for the kind words Illuminata. I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful relationship, but glad to hear you’ve made it out the other side.

    Tone trolls are a funny bunch. I’m all for a discussion having the right tone, but for me the frequency of “fuck” has nothing to do with it; a polite assertion of a toxic opinion drags down the tone of a conversation much more effectively than any amount of profanity in defence of a humane one.

    To be sure, I don’t agree with everything that’s said by the regulars on Pharyngula (though when pressed to think of an example, it’s actually quite hard to come up with one); but if I wanted to assert a contrary opinion I would make damn sure I had the facts and arguments to back it up. The fact that it’s such a bearpit is why.

    Over the last few days I’ve felt more confident commenting on FTB though… perhaps a foray into the bearpit might be a good idea :-)

  191. 191
    KarenX

    Ike,

    Clearly Watson has different ideas about what constitutes humanism and feminism than you do, which is why you are disagreeing with her division between herself and Dawkins. I don’t think anyone is denying that there is an overlap between what Watson and Dawkins consider to be humanism and feminism. But the fact that he has done some good is not really relevant if the bad she perceives him as doing outweighs it. It’s nice for those people that Dawkins has helped that he helped them, but it’s not so nice for those people who have been hurt by him.

    We can presume that Dawkin’s audience is comprised mostly of humanists and feminists, but I am skeptical of that. Very skeptical of that. I would like to see proof before I accept it. But before that, I would like to see a definition of humanism and feminism so everyone is on the same page.

  192. 192
    Ike

    KarenX,

    If we presume that liberating someone from religion increases the standing of women – which seems to be a strong correlation – then Dawkins has done an exceedingly high amount for feminism (with a loose definition of ‘making things better for women’).

    Everyone can be unimpressed with him as much as they want – but in the long and short of it, what he’s done, and what he continues to do, is a great asset to humanity. He’s obviously not going to be perfect, and I hate to use majority rules as a thing: but Dawkins has done far more for the atheist and skeptic movement than Watson, by affecting people both inside and out of it.

    And by extension, probably has affected the lives of a lot more women for good. Disowning him because he disagrees on a not particularly huge issue (blah blah blinded by privilege – but if we look at it, standing up and saying ‘I hate Dawkins’ and having many people in the atheist movement do it is not going to wonders for wider religious issues) seems petty and trivial.

  193. 193
    'Tis Himself

    Rebecca Watson has said, very specifically, that she is not calling for a boycott of Dawkins. So why are Claus and Ike trying so desperately to “prove” that she is?

  194. 194
    Ike

    I hate women and women are shit and really just the worst.

    I’m not a misogynist though.

    Is this roughly your point, ’tis?

  195. 195
    julian

    No, Ike. His point is

    “I will no longer buy X and would encourage you not to”

    =/=

    “Everyone must boycott X.”

    They are two different statements and while the sentiments are similar one is a call to action the other is just expressing someone’s feelings.

  196. 196
    'Tis Himself

    No, Ike, my point is that you’re twisting Rebecca’s words out of shape to “prove” she’s calling for a boycott of Dawkins when in reality she as said in as many words that she’s not calling for one.

    I’m not making any conjectures about your motives in lying about Watson. Perhaps you’re not lying but only incredibly stupid. So which is it? Are you lying or are you stupid? Or is there some other reason why you’re claiming something that has been denied by her?

  197. 197
    Ike

    Well, by definition, ‘A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons.’

  198. 198
    'Tis Himself

    She is personally boycotting Dawkins but is not telling anyone else to boycott your hero. So what’s your point?

  199. 199
    Ike

    It’s a tenuous line. Standing up and saying you hate something, and why, and announcing you are not going to involve yourself with that something, when you have a blog with thousands of readers, is basically a call for a boycott.

  200. 200
    KarenX

    If we presume that liberating someone from religion increases the standing of women – which seems to be a strong correlation – then Dawkins has done an exceedingly high amount for feminism (with a loose definition of ‘making things better for women’).

    Does it really seem to be a strong correlation? According to who? And based on what? And are you absolutely sure it’s atheism doing it? And is there evidence that there’s a transformation of values about gender roles when men drop religion? And what evidence can you point at to convince me? Because honestly I don’t see a huge portion of atheists fighting for the right of women to be fully included in the movement, and I do see a huge portion of atheists fighting back when women stake their claims.

    I hear this idea a lot–that religion causes misogyny/sexism/patriarchy–and it’s definitely a treasured gem in secular and atheist lore, but if this presumption is wrong, then how does Dawkins fare?

  201. 201
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    It’s a tenuous line. Standing up and saying you hate something, and why, and announcing you are not going to involve yourself with that something, when you have a blog with thousands of readers, is basically a call for a boycott.

    And so what? Even if she had actually advocated a boycott what’s wrong with that? What the fuck is your point? She should encourage people to buy his books and go see him speak despite the fact that he behaved like a stupid sexist ass to her in public? Or just keep her stupid mouth shut because he’s so important to “the movement”?

  202. 202
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Oh yeah,

    when you have a blog with thousands of readers

    You do know that The God Delusion alone has sold millions right? I don’t think the dear old professor need worry about fading into obscurity if a few thousand people stop patronizing him.

  203. 203
    Ike

    PZ Myers talked about that recently, Karen.

  204. 204
    KarenX

    Link, please?

  205. 205
    'Tis Himself

    It’s a tenuous line.

    And you’re trying to stretch it much farther than it’ll go.

    What’s your point? Why are you pretending that Watson is pushing something she explicitly denied doing? Why is this point so important to you that you have to lie about it? What’s in it for you?

  206. 206
    Tom Foss

    Ike:

    Everyone can be unimpressed with him as much as they want – but in the long and short of it, what he’s done, and what he continues to do, is a great asset to humanity. He’s obviously not going to be perfect, and I hate to use majority rules as a thing: but Dawkins has done far more for the atheist and skeptic movement than Watson, by affecting people both inside and out of it.

    Oh hey, it’s “Dear Muslima” in different clothing. Instead of “some people have it worse than you, so stop complaining,” it’s “Richard has done more than Rebecca, so you can’t complain.”

    Look, I agree that Dawkins has done some great things. But you don’t get to decide for anyone else what they spend their money on. We each do a little mental moral calculus when deciding who and what deserves our money. For instance, I won’t eat at Chik-Fil-A (oh shit, did I just call for a boycott?) because I don’t want my money to go to their support of overt Christianity and anti-gay political groups. The promise of decent fast-food chicken doesn’t outweigh that in my mind, but I know other liberal atheists who disagree. And that’s fine. Contrariwise, when I was in CA last winter, I gladly tried In-N-Out burger because the promise of figuring out what west coasters were raving about for so long outweighed my mild unease at having a cup with “John 3:16″ inconspicuously written on it. And that was my decision to make.

    Similarly, I’m kind of glad that “Penn & Teller: Bullshit” ended when it did, because I didn’t want to have to make the moral calculus of whether Penn’s overt libertarianism (and bad arguments in support of it) and involvement in the Mallorie Nasrallah affair outweighed my general enjoyment of (most episodes of) the series. I certainly didn’t buy his book, though. I’m probably done with Dawkins, too, over these increasingly depressing forays into feminist issues, where he displays a distinct resistance to having his consciousness raised. I have similar feelings about Hitchens and Harris over their uncomfortable stances re: Islam and so forth. I’m quite glad that DJ Grothe’s incompetence has removed the last real desires I had to someday scrape together enough money to go to TAM. I’d much rather spend my money supporting people whose views better match my own. And so I’ve donated to the SGU, I’ve gone to a lecture by Matt Dillahunty and Russell Glasser, I’ll buy PZ’s book and Greta Christina’s and Hemant Mehta’s next book, and so forth. And I’ve got an unread copy of John Loftus’s “Why I Became an Atheist” if anyone wants it, because I certainly don’t.

    Oh dear, look at all the boycotts I just called for.

    But it’s my money, and you don’t get to decide who and what I spend it on. You get to decide who and what you spend your money on. We might disagree on where to spend money, but you’re not going to change anyone’s mind by saying “but look at all the good X does!” I mean, I imagine that the majority of the Salvation Army’s money and the Boy Scouts of America’s money goes to doing good things that help humanity, but I won’t be dropping my change in the bellringer’s jar or going to the local troop’s car wash until the organizations stop doing bad things too.

    It doesn’t matter if the sandwich is mostly food with only a little bit of shit on it. I’d rather not spend my money to eat shit. Even if it’s only a little bit.

    And I think to some degree, folks like you understand this. Which is why, I think, you’re so desperate to turn “here’s my decision, but I’m not calling for a boycott” into “I AM TOTALLY CALLING FOR A BOYCOTT.” Because if you can make this not-a-boycott into a boycott, then suddenly it’s someone telling others how they should spend their money, and if they’re going to do that, then you can do it right back.

    But that’s not what it is. That is clearly, transparently, obviously not what it is. And so you’re sitting there saying “but the Salvation Army has done so much more for humanity than Richard Dawkins, and nobody’s perfect, so you should just put that book money in the red jar.”

  207. 207
    smhll

    You will remember the high minded “Dear Dick” campaign?

    “Dick” is a very mild term in the US. People unashamedly use it as their first name. Seven year olds can say it in front of their mothers and grandmothers without reproach. It’s milder than “balls” and “prick” and much milder than most other groin worlds. It was never one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.

    Also, did you read the letter? It was signed by about a hundred victims of molestation, assault and rape. The salutation is not really the point of the missive.
    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2011/07/letter-to-professor-dawkins-from.html

  208. 208
    Jason Thibeault

    smhll: fixed the link for you.

    People don’t care that it’s about victims of sexual harassment and assault telling Dawkins that his words were insensitive. They don’t care because DIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK. It’s a gotcha moment — an impolitic and emotive bit of anger (at worst — there’s good reason to believe Stephanie when she says she was calling him Dick as a diminutive form of his name, since she didn’t call him “Dear dick” but “Dear Dick”).

    It lets the dishonest interlocutors dismiss the fact that a hundred rape survivors said the thing that he claimed was “zero bad” was not, in fact, zero bad. Because if you make a rational argument with any hint of emotiveness behind your reason for doing so, you can be summarily dismissed by trolls and people with no shred of intellectual honesty.

  209. 209
    Claus Larsen

    Jason,

    When you allow another poster to call me a “slimy little troll”, “too stupid” and a “shameless little liar”, without intervening, it is clear that you see that as a worthwhile addition to the debate.

    I, however, do not, so it is time for me to back out.

  210. 210
    Roger

    A ‘Nym Too & Siverlry:
    Hugging was/is associated with acceptance and familiarity and the creation of acceptance and familiarity rather than sexuality among British people of a certain age and background. For example, a hug was a slang term for when a group of rugby players huddled together to plan tactics.

    IDGI=????

  211. 211
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    It’s a tenuous line. Standing up and saying you hate something, and why, and announcing you are not going to involve yourself with that something, when you have a blog with thousands of readers, is basically a call for a boycott.

    No. There is a difference between someone taking a personal, public stance and someone agitating for a community to launch a boycott. These are not the same things.

    It seems to me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that would only accept Rebecca’s stand if she had kept her views private. But as has been discussed a lot around FTB recently, no meaningful change has ever resulted from people staying quiet. So what this comes down to is your personal annoyance that this woman is not staying silent.

  212. 212
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    …It seems to me, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that *you* would only accept Rebecca’s stand if she had kept her views private…

    (Apologies, proofing FAIL)

  213. 213
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Claus:

    When you allow another poster to call me a “slimy little troll”, “too stupid” and a “shameless little liar”, without intervening, it is clear that you see that as a worthwhile addition to the debate.

    Here’s what I said:

    I will just quickly note that the slimy little troll moved the goalposts from “blacklist” to “boycott” between 117 and 120

    117 and 120 were both written by the same person, who went by “…” and who apparently isn’t you.
    So you read my comment, discussing the content and the author of these two comments, which were not written by you, and somehow reached the conclusion that I was talking about you? Why exactly?
    For the record, I don’t consider you a troll, just mistaken on a relatively minor point.

  214. 214
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Could we, probably, just an idea, look at what Rebecca has actually done in the last year?
    Like did she just fail to promote Dawkins or did she ever even say “I won’t go there because of Dawkins?”, let alone “you shouldn’t go there because of Dawkins”

  215. 215
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I, however, do not, so it is time for me to back out.

    What a perfectly cowardly excuse for refusing to admit you’re wrong.

  216. 216
    Raging Bee

    It’s a tenuous line.

    No, it’s not, you whiny jackass. The word “boycott” has a widely-understood meaning, and the only people pretending not to understand that meaning are the people still desperately trying to pretend RW is a horrible evil threat to…um…wait, what was she supposed to be a threat to again?

    And besides, as others have said, even if RW was calling for a boycott, so what? Your incessant harping on what RW said (while ignoring huge chunks of what she said) really shows how small-minded and dishonest you are.

    Seriously, Ike, if this is the most important complaint you can find time to harp on, maybe you should just admit you don’t have that much to say, and shut up already.

  217. 217
    Jason Thibeault

    Claus @211: it’s funny that your issues with English extend all the way to assuming that people who are definitely and demonstrably talking to others — who are not you — are actually insulting you personally. It’s further funny that, now that I’ve drawn the line and said either accept that you’ve misinterpreted the plain English or back out of the argument, you choose a manufactured bit of outrage with which to back out while claiming the moral high ground, as though anyone was directing those insults at you.

  218. 218
    chrisburke

    You’re surprised a privileged white-man of academia is out of touch?

  219. 219
    satanaugustine

    Is there some backstory behind this (aside from “Dear Muslima”) that makes it obvious that Dawkins’ tweet is indeed intended as a shot at the Skepchicks? His tweets read genuinely positive about the whole idea. That he mentions that the idea is “rule-free” is not necessarily an accusation that the Skepchicks are being hypocritical, at least not without some further evidence. Has he been complaining about the anti-harassment policies prior to this tweet? (And I am not conceding that he’s complaining about them now).

    The first tweet and the ones that followed read as supportive of both the vaccination and free hugs ideas. In lieu of any other information, reading Dawkins’ tweets as sarcastic gotchas aimed at the Skepchicks seems like an intentional attempt to read them in the worst light possible.

  220. 220
    Forbidden Snowflake

    satanaugustine: I disagree. The “rule-free” in the first tweet (who generally uses “rule-free” as a term of praise?) and the emphasis on “governed by ordinary unwritten rules of politeness” (as opposed to what?) in the second tweet, in the context of the policy wars, reads as a jab at policies to me. It’s Twitter: you don’t work a 50-letter clause into your statement unless you mean something by it.

  221. 221
    male voice

    In contrast to John Loftus other examples (http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.de/2012/06/why-does-thunderf00t-stay-at.html) this actually sends a mixed message about what is appropriate behaviour. Clearly you should not offer free hugs or any other intimate services as a reward for anything if you want to be taken seriously concerning unwanted touching.

    Also non-verbal consent is not acceptable. Non-verbal consent gives serial gropers an excuse since they can always claim that they “misread” the verbal cues of the girl.

  222. 222
    Max

    Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg
    Sorry I’m so late responding to your response to me.

    “Where do I even start?”
    I know where you will probably not start, and that is with any point of agreement between us. Nor, I will venture to guess, will you seriously deal with the real and obvious hypocrisy that seems to color FTB interactions with its critics.

    “You think that the “Dear Muslima” was a reasnable disagreement?
    In what universe.”

    Yes its as reasonable as anything snarky can be. Surely FTB, Skepchick, you and other supporters wouldn’t fault some one for using snark as a component of an argument? Because if you would then you would of course be demonstrating that hypocrisy many of us see in FTB, Skepchick and its supporters.
    Dawkins was pointing out that while uncomfortable, nothing happened to Rebecca. She said (and I paraphrase) no, not for me, elevator guy accepted this and that was that. He compared this to what he saw as real misogyny in the world. I will not get into “Elevatorgate” here. I’m not sure its important to the main point. We do all get bothered by people that we would rather not be bothered by, at times we would not prefer. I’m not sure if this is an issue of real sexism or not. Given what Rebecca described it could best be filed under inconsiderate, and tactless. Dawkins didn’t think what Watson experienced was misogyny, or even sexism, but human life. We are all free to dispute this, but I do think the scorn he received for having the temerity to disagree with Watson and others was uncalled for.

    “And after that, his reasoning was that “elevators aren’t dangerous, they have buttons and doors!”, thereby showing his ignorance of the fact that assaults in elevators happen more often than one could wish for and that doors and buttons are fuck use to you if the agressor is standing in front of them.”

    After some effort, I cannot find the above quote about elevators, danger, buttons and doors. I did find this. If you can provide the quoted phrase I would appreciate it.
    Dawkins: “The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that….Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behavior, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.”

    Dawkins simply doesn’t seem to think this is an instance of misogyny. He is not dismissing elevators as undangerous places. Or suggesting that they cannot become hard to get out of in a bad situation.

  223. 223
    Max

    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says:
    “Max said that Dawkins has “championed” women.”

    This is true. I did say this. Which is, I must say, a far cry from this.

    “Becauase slimepitters define “championing” women as “haven’t beaten them up . . . yet”. it’s a very low bar a sexist sets for the ‘good’ treatment of women.”

    Get fucked. Seriously. This is not how I, nor anyone I would consider a friend or comrade defines championing women. You really do need to grapple with what I am saying, and quit attributing to me ideas that I don’t hold, and would never support. Don’t construct straw men.

  224. 224
    Max

    Smhll,
    ““Dick” is a very mild term in the US. People unashamedly use it as their first name. Seven year olds can say it in front of their mothers and grandmothers without reproach. It’s milder than “balls” and “prick” and much milder than most other groin worlds. It was never one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.”

    That’s as may be. However for a group of people who claim gendered epithets are an evil, it smacks of more than slight hypocrisy to use one against someone. Your defense of its use here seems strange to me. In the use, when used as an epithet, dick, still makes people wince. When preceded by the words ‘suck’, and ‘my’ it is still cringe worthy in polite circles. As to whether balls, or prick are harsher, I suppose that is all in the ear of the beholder. I don’t think twat is all that terrible, but I dislike the word bitch. Everyone has a different reaction to these words regardless of what language mavens like George Carlin may think. The point is there was a hypocritical use of a gendered epithet. If you want people to take your values seriously, then you must also take them seriously.

    “Also, did you read the letter? It was signed by about a hundred victims of molestation, assault and rape. The salutation is not really the point of the missive.”
    That’s cool. They sent a letter that began with a gendered slur, to another person who has also survived sexual abuse. The salutation may not be the point of the letter, but it was indicative of the way some FTB/Skepchick personnel and supporters operate. Specifically what it demonstrated that the rules were for everyone else to follow, not the good guys (supporters of RW) The salutation demonstrated a lack of integrity.

  225. 225
    callistacat

    @Max

    Is “cracker” as bad as the n-word? You could say they’re both racial slurs, but you’d have to ignore the fact that African-Americans have been treated like they’re less than human for hundreds of years, and the n-word part of that history. It’s meant to dehumanize a group of people or an individual who is part of that group.

  226. 226
    Forbidden Snowflake
    “Becauase slimepitters define “championing” women as “haven’t beaten them up . . . yet”. it’s a very low bar a sexist sets for the ‘good’ treatment of women.”

    Get fucked. Seriously. This is not how I, nor anyone I would consider a friend or comrade defines championing women. You really do need to grapple with what I am saying, and quit attributing to me ideas that I don’t hold, and would never support. Don’t construct straw men.

    And yet you seem sympathetic to Dawkins’s claim that since EG didn’t do anything downright violent and criminal to Watson, she has nothing to complain about.

  227. 227
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Dawkins simply doesn’t seem to think this is an instance of misogyny.

    Everyone knows this, Max. Nobody claims that he said that misogyny is just fine. The convenient elisions in his retelling of the event and his complete dismissal of Watson’s perspective in favor of his own (LOL, so what if you get dozens of rape threats from strangers for the crime of having a blog? I say you’re wrong to feel nervous when a strange man goes out of his way to hit on you in a secluded space!) are what’s wrong with what he said.
    “I’m against sexism, but what you’re complaining about isn’t it, and I’m the man so I know better” —>sexism

    Also, the comment from Dawkins that you couldn’t find can be viewed here. Scroll down to the third screenshot.

  228. 228
    Crybabies

    Lousy Canuck jumped the gun. Now the folk who jumped in complaining have egg on their faces.

    Think before you open your gobs, next time.

  229. 229
    Tom Foss

    Crybabies has made a bunch of vague, unsupported statements using enough clichéd language to make an editor weep, yet not a single supporting detail, making them look like an incompetent troll.

    Think before you post a content-free comment next time.

  230. 230
    Max

    Forbidden,
    You said “And yet you seem sympathetic to Dawkins’s claim that since EG didn’t do anything downright violent and criminal to Watson, she has nothing to complain about.”

    I am not saying Watson had nothing about which to complain. I am not saying Dawkins was correct in saying that RW had nothing to complain about. I thought Elevator guide demonstrated a remarkable lack of tact, and/or good sense. I don’t think that this demonstrated any overt sexism, misogyny or male privilege. These kinds of uncomfortable scenarios happen all the time, and are perpetrated by both sexes. I am basing this on the details of Watson’s story not on things I imagine could have been said or that might have happened. Given a different set of details, of course, I would have a different opinion. I’m sympathetic to Dawkins because I think he has been subject to excessive venom, motive conjuring and often bad faith attempts at dealing with what he actually said. Now I think Dawkins should have measured his words more carefully, as it would’ve led to a less inflamed discussion of his point and the questions embedded in it.

    This is a far cry from the definition of championing women (having not beaten them yet) that was invented out of whole cloth, and then attributed to me, and I guess slimepitters (and perhaps Dawkins himself). Again I would ask readers to deal with what I am saying, not that which you imagine I am thinking.

  231. 231
    Max

    Forbidden, thanks for the link.

  232. 232
    Max

    callistacat”

    You ask me, “Is “cracker” as bad as the n-word? You could say they’re both racial slurs, but you’d have to ignore the fact that African-Americans have been treated like they’re less than human for hundreds of years, and the n-word part of that history.”

    They are both racial slurs, and even taking into account the atrocious history of racism and slavery in this country, that fact doesn’t change. I am not devaluing, or minimizing the experience of African-Americans by noting that that calling white people crackers is also a racial slur, “meant to dehumanize a group of people or an individual who is part of that group.” If we are going to say one is bad we probably shouldn’t condescend to another group and say well you have had it too rough to apply the rules you would have other people observe when interacting with you. Lets not apply double standards shamelessly. The same seems to be true of the term dick.

    Is dick worse than cunt? Is mick worse than wop, dago, nigger, kike etc? Is this really the discussion we want to be having? What gives you the right, or authority to decide who gets hurt by what term? Or what term in a category of bad is more acceptable to use than another? This is the same kind of behavior FTB/skepchick/supporters all decry when they see it in their critics. Why the double standard?

    Imagine if Ghandi or King had preached their non-violent message, but allowed for a little bit of violence to used in their favor. Maybe they wouldn’t burn down a house, or church, or a Klan meeting. King supporters would just beat the shit of out the occasional white southerner but not so bad that he couldn’t go to work the next day. Well which is worse, burning down an African American Church or beating the shit out of a white southerner occasionally? I suppose its the latter, but they are both a moral evil and should be avoided altogether . You can imagine, can’t you,how such hypocrisy would have set back the respective movements of Ghandi and King? I think the defense of of Dick, adn the occasional defense of bitch damages the crediblity of FTBers/Skepchick/supporters on this issue.

  233. 233
    callistacat

    @Max

    I don’t believe calling Richard Dawkins “Dick” is a-ok if it was meant in an insulting way. If his name wasn’t Richard, I would say it would be really rude and juvenile and out of line. I can’t say what the people who wrote that letter intended by using it, given that it *is* short for the name Richard.

    You’re bringing up violent scenarios that would obviously be equally wrong as if it’s equivalent. Call someone behaving like a jerk or asshole a “dick” is not in the same ballpark.

    If men find ‘dick’ offensive and dehumanizing then yes, you shouldn’t use it. But historically it’s not used to denote that men as a group are subhuman. I’m not deciding who should get hurt by the term, I honestly don’t find that most men think calling someone a dick is on the same level as the n-word or the b-word. I don’t use that term personally, but if I did and I was told it was hurtful I would stop using it, no arguments.

    I haven’t heard anyone say that Richard should be kicked in his [slang for private parts] for his opinions, which is done quite regularly by the people who claim people at the Free Thought Blogs are bullies.

  234. 234
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I thought Elevator guide demonstrated a remarkable lack of tact, and/or good sense. I don’t think that this demonstrated any overt sexism, misogyny or male privilege.

    Actually, he did display male privilege, by not considering how his come-on may be intimidating to her. But we’re not talking about him, we’re talking about Dawkins, and his display of obliviousness.

    I’m sympathetic to Dawkins because I think he has been subject to excessive venom, motive conjuring and often bad faith attempts at dealing with what he actually said.

    I think he has been subject to less venom than literally any other party in this debate. I also think that his original remarks leave little room for interpretation of his position. He obviously thinks so to, otherwise he would have qualified them or issued a follow-up statement.

    Now I think Dawkins should have measured his words more carefully, as it would’ve led to a less inflamed discussion of his point and the questions embedded in it.

    You are defending him as though he misspoke or chose his words poorly. That is not true. His lack of qualifying statement, apology or any kind of response to the hundreds who attempted to answer his questions suggest that he said exactly exactly what he meant and what he still believes. If he were anyone else, we would call what he did “drive-by trolling”.

  235. 235
    Keith Bowden

    I appreciate his knowledge, but his privilege leaks through even in his books. For instance, I love The Greatest Show On Earth, I’ve read it 3 times – but I always come up short at the comment that boils down to “why should we use local Chinese names for their cities when we have perfectly good English names for them?”

  236. 236
    John Haigh

    I must be missing something. This is the first lousy canuck post I have read.

    Did Dawkins write something other than the 3 tweets that was offensive?

    Or are we assuming his first tweet was being sarcastic and he wasn’t really being supportive?

    His second and third tweets seem to indicate that his first was intended to be taken literally; and he was supporting the get vaccinated, get a hug campaign.

  237. 237
    Jess3

    My conclusion from all this bullshit drama: Atheists are utterly socially inept, at least the ones in this “movement.” That goes for all sides of this. I’m done with this petty movement and its petty drama.

  238. 238
    Jess3

    All this anti/pro-feminist bullshit is just too much. How about simply acting like normal freaking human beings? Among many other things this movement lacks, that means being open to criticism, not taking disagreements, even about things you care deeply about, personally, respecting on another, and just being a kind person. If you all can’t even do that, this movement is doomed to be an extreme fringe.

  239. 239
    Lucky christian

    I am a christian and I want to tell you that I think that skepchick is a God sent person to destroy the antichrist Dawkins. Nobody in the world can do something about what is happening at the moment.
    The whole atheism movement will break into peaces!YES!!
    Dawkins gets defeated by his own people !! Thank you God! Thank God for Rebecca watson!

  240. 240
    HooliganHobo

    I figured this latest Great Sorting of the skeptical and atheist communities into those that are down with social justice causes and those that would rather entrench themselves in privilege would pretty much end exactly this way.

    Dissapointing to see this nonsense being peddled.

    This whole piece is nothing more than an incredibly biased attack on Dawkins.

  1. 241
    Skepchicks Jump To Conclusions, Get All Wet « SkepDirt

    [...] sore that his beloved home Freethoughtblogs got left out of this round of SkepDirt-worthy drama, so he’s blogged about his incredibly important feelings on this subject. Rate this:Share this:EmailLike this:LikeBe the [...]

  2. 242
    LousyThinker – More Mind Numbing Stupidity From FreeThoughtBlogs « What I learn…and do

    [...] Dawkins stabs at Skepchick over “Hug Me I’m Vaccinated” campaign [...]

  3. 243
    sThe 2012 Lousy Year In Review » Lousy Canuck

    [...] they require consent forms written in triplicate. Richard Dawkins made a sidelong stab at Skepchick over the vaccines-for-hugs campaigns they run, and I expressed my disappointment once again. The harassment policies campaign wound down to a [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>