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Feb 01 2013

There can be no Khitomer Accord

There has been a stirring as of late in the blogosphere. Lee Moore, the host of a podcast co-hosted by Reap Paden, has taken it upon himself to attempt to broker a peace treaty, a ceasefire, a breaking of bread and a healing of the divide between the two sides of the Great Rift — between the feminists on the one side, and the antifeminists (and those claiming the name “feminist” for their libertarian laissez-faire cargo cult “equity feminism”) on the other. A sort of Khitomer Accord, if you will indulge the Star Trek reference. Of course, this would depend on either “side” being a cohesive unit, with leaders or any ability to encourage conformity among its self-identified members. In a leaderless movement such as ours, a movement where leaders viewed with awe and reverence by some are equally eyed with suspicion by others, such a gambit is doomed to fail.

But what really strikes me as misguided about the whole effort is that, from the outset of this conversation, everyone is using terms differently. And not just terms of art — we’re all working with different definitions on just about everything of substance! We talk of attacks, of slurs, of in-fighting, of trolls and witch-hunts and censorship and co-opting of movements. We talk of inclusiveness and privilege and exclusiveness and tribalism. And every one of these words means something completely different to one another.

But let’s start with the core term at issue here: what exactly constitutes “in-fighting” to both sides in this argument?

Khitomer Conference from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. If you expect this to happen in our community, you're delusional. (via Memory-Alpha

Khitomer Conference from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. If you expect this to happen in our communities, you’re delusional.
(via Memory-Alpha

To those on our side, who have been put through one wringer after another just for daring to discuss feminism in our own forums, “in-fighting” comes in the form of the attacks we’ve endured. For the high crime of saying “guys, don’t do that” in reference to some predatory behaviour she experienced, Rebecca Watson was subjected to insane and disproportionate volumes of harassment, trolling, attacks, and vitriol. Anyone trying to legitimately argue with the thesis of “guys, don’t do that” without attacking in this manner, has likewise been (correctly) called out on sexist behaviour — maybe not behaviour as egregiously or unequivocally sexist as, say, rape threats or slurs, but it is definitely sexist behaviour to question a person relating an ordinary event just because said event was the genesis for a point you disagree with viscerally. It is certainly sexist behaviour to treat a woman’s word as less trustable than a man making an equivalently frequent claim — “I went to the store” is every bit as likely for a man as “I was made to feel uncomfortable by someone’s advances despite my stated desire to be left alone” is to a woman, but nobody launches years-long “skeptical” campaigns about a guy’s claim that he went to a store.

But the problem with telling them so, is that the people called out on the sexist behaviour of being “skeptical” of such claims apparently have the understanding that sexist behaviour is horrible, without really knowing what sexism is. They’ve evidently internalized the concept of sexism as comprising only the blatant sorts of sexism that involve slurs and harassment. So, they — folks like Justin Vacula — believe themselves to be above that layer of the problem, and they take umbrage at being lumped in with the most egregious folks who use slurs liberally — folks like Franc Hoggle or Reap Paden. They feel so, so much butt-hurt over being called “misogynist” or “sexist” that they shut out all discussion and double down on their actions, rallying with the “cunt”-criers and folks who think screaming “fucking bitch” over and over is reasonable discourse. They often mistake “that thing you said was sexist” for “you’re a sexist”, in much the same way that Jay Smooth points out that it’s very difficult to get someone to hear what you’re actually saying when you tell them that a thing they said sounds racist.

So then you get the kind of polarization that really preys on our own internal cognitive biases against taking criticism for what it is — the idea that when someone criticizes a thing you said as being impolitic in a particular regard, that they are “tarring” you or engaging in “witch-hunts”.

It has come to a point where attacking a sexist trope as sexist, means you’re attacking the person as sexist. And that calling someone sexist is a far worse crime than calling someone a cunt.

It has come to a point where documenting for all to see the abuse you’re getting is “playing the professional victim” (or alternately, “eating cat food”). And objecting to that abuse, why, that’s harassment!

It has come to a point where putting a commenter in moderation for abusing the discourse is “censorship” and “shutting down the debate” and “groupthink”, even if their words are enshrined, intact, on your page for all time, and everyone can see that they offered no actual argumentation to back up their mere gainsaying.

It has come to a point where big names like Michael Shermer can’t take mild criticism for a thing he said and probably didn’t even intend the way it came out, turning the debate instead into feminist Nazis hunting down various factions of ideologues, in his so-called defense essays that are more hyperbole and emotion than logic and reason.

It has come to the point where the event wherein a group of people expressing their own identities as both atheist and involved in some social justice movement, taking a name for themselves, and then withdrawing to their own pocket community, is treated like an attempt at co-opting the entire movement and turning everyone into something they’re not.

There is much resistance to the idea of coupling atheism and skepticism with any kind of moral judgements about particular actions, even though both movements are themselves social justice movements that do in fact carry moral judgement about a great many things. There is push-back against someone’s particular ideologies ever being examined critically and skeptically. One side thinks the other is guilty of this, suggesting that feminism can’t stand up to critical scrutiny. In my experience, this has been largely projection. A vocal subset of the atheist and skeptic communities are extremely wary of, and react with much volatility to, the idea that sexism might exist in our communities in large enough proportions to drive women away (however large or small that sexism problem might actually be). They question the existence of privilege, despite the concept having a strong sociological body of evidence, even while they defend less tenured scientific concepts like evolutionary psychology. They fixate on individuals, they hound them, they attack everything they say, following them from space to space and demanding the right to do so without consequences. They make life miserable for certain individuals, and they admit doing so, thinking themselves Brave Heroes and the Saviours of Tribe X.

And then still others question the validity of these hounders’ and harassers’ community credentials — they claim that these people screaming vile obscenities at a woman in the movement can’t possibly be anything but background trolling such as you’d experience on Reddit or Twitter, but then one has but to look at the other comments made from these accounts on other matters to see that many of them claim to be great leaders in our community and have the sorts of histories to prove their tenure.

So, with all that as background, we’re looking at a fundamental reality rift between the antifeminists and other such folks who generally think feminism is an encroaching cancer in our community, and the feminists who fight for the “no-soul” of the secular movements. The fact that these feminists and various social justice advocates are so numerous in our community that we can take petitions to our leaders asking them to enact strong harassment policies and take strong stands on social justice issues to improve and widen the reach of our secular movements, boasting several orders of magnitude more signatures than oppositional petitions demanding that we stop “silencing dissent” (a petition laudable in actually laying out its arguments for once, even if evidently so very few members of our communities agree!), tells me that we are winning.

Let me say that again. We are winning this battle. The evidence is all right there.

But we incur heavy losses from the battle fatigue. We drive away potential allies. People like Jen McCreight, who, while a skeptic and an atheist, places a much higher priority on fighting other injustices that affect her more acutely and directly and as such has backed away from the community even where we want to support her. I can think of a dozen allies like her — some of whom would rather not be used as examples — who got caught in splash damage, who got attacked by the members of the community. Attacked by these members whom some would disavow as “just trolls” and not really part of our community, others would rally around as “fighting the good fight,” and still others point out are the very problem we’re fighting to ameliorate.

These allies get driven out because the environment is too toxic to contain their voices, to add their distinctiveness to our collective consciousnesses and raise awareness of other issues stemming from the same lacks of skepticism and cognitive biases that we fight when we debunk psychics and argue against creationists. Sexism and racism and transphobia and homophobia are all every bit as worthy of targets for our skepticism and scientific inquiry as religion and traditional skeptical targets, especially since fighting them might improve the toxicity of our internal culture. They are every bit as worthy an adversary for our ire and for our rooting out and removing from our communities, because they cause every bit as much — in many cases, more even — real tangible demonstrable harm to individuals in our society, both at large and in the proximate sense.

When some third party steps in and calls for cease-fires, bear in mind that on our side of the rift, we’re firing at a target worthy of attack. If there are people with outmoded memes in our community, like the sexist idea that atheist and skeptical activism is a “guy thing” for instance, and we criticize those memes (and thus by that transitive cognitive bias we’re “attacking” the people as well), we are not engaging in a witch-hunt. Any pretension at claiming that particular victim mantle is the real instance of acting the professional victim. Forget people documenting the actual abuse they’ve received being the professional victims — the ones who truly profit from playing victim are the people who are called out on minor transgressions acting as though they’re being excommunicated by high priests of a feminist cult.

At this point, unless people could start actually using the same words to mean the same things, you’ll never see the kind of peace you’re looking for, Lee Moore. Here are some acceptable terms that Stephanie’s laid out for having a discussion with any of the other side of the rift’s supposed leaders, but I guarantee they’re unattainable in the kinds of numbers one would need to make an actual difference in the discourse, and would thus be for naught. See, anyone attempting to speak for everyone on either side of this debate will be rightly shot down as not representative of the whole argument or of anyone on their side but themselves — therefore, you might win a discussion with Stephanie, but that wins you nothing like a peace accord. And yet, nobody on our side of the rift has any pretensions that they can broker any kind of deal between feminists and antifeminists, any more than we could broker a deal between matter and antimatter.

I’ve been proposing that these great rifts have existed since the beginning, since we all started to coalesce as a relatively coherent “community” (though I still contend we are a loosely interlocked set of communities instead — a united federation of allied communities), and we’re only just now mapping out the boundaries of these great rifts. The problem presently seems to be, the rifts are too permeable. People on one side of the rift are too able to enter into and attack others’ spaces.

People on this side of those rifts generally want to be left alone by the folks on the other side, who swarm to feast on the flesh of the bloggers who dare criticize one of our movements’ “leaders”; we generally want to be left in peace and to let our contributions to freethought — in providing critical analysis of some of the things our leaders say — stand or fall on their own merits, without incurring undue levels of vitriol. The folks on the other side of those rifts generally want our leaders to remain sacrosanct and inviolate and above all reproach for saying things that are demonstrably harmful to an underprivileged class; generally, they want the liberty to be able to say anything, damaging or not, without repercussions. They want to be free of that one last meddlesome repercussion of people calling bullshit when they see bullshit coming from people who supposedly represent them. They claim to represent those who will not stand for censorship, and they prove it by trying to censor us and make certain topics taboo lest we bring down more harassment as a result. They want the repercussions to be entirely disproportionate and one-sided — for them to be the sole arbiters of who incurs what repercussions for saying which things, while we just want the freedom to say the things that we want and accept the reasonable repercussions as a result. Reasonable repercussions, meaning counter-criticism, for instance; not death and rape threats and howls of conspiracy and witch-hunts.

This is an intractable problem, presented the way it’s been so far. You’ll never have a Khitomer Accord in this scenario, with the two sides forming a strong alliance and teaming up to fight the big fights and respectfully washing their hands of other political issues between themselves. First, this assumes that the two factions are of equal power and influence and, hell, assumes that both sides are objectively equally right. This is not the case, demonstrably. And second, this assumes that we would put aside our differences and respect the cultures of people who engage in the very sort of nonsense that we fight so hard in other areas. We cannot, will not, stand idly by while people claiming to be allies in secularism do things that harm our own side’s members.

The best you can hope for is a Treaty of Algeron. A Neutral Zone could be erected between us such that if either side enters, it could be considered an act of war. Adam Lee has a fairly decent idea of what such a zone’s shape might be. In short: don’t act sexist or misogynist, and we won’t call you sexist or misogynist in return. We already have such an agreement in place in other skeptical domains. Don’t peddle woo, we won’t call you a woo-peddler. Don’t promote anti-evolution junk science to pump up your god’s image, and we won’t call you a creationist. Don’t say ridiculous racist shit, we won’t call you racist. It shouldn’t be that hard. Stop your antisocial behaviour, and we’ll stop pointing it out.

And it’s not like we’re not already gunshy on actually calling misogyny misogyny, what with the antifeminist sentiment so prevalent on the internet and so quick to jump up and say “but they totally don’t look like Yosemite Sam jumping up and down and screaming ‘I hates those wimmenz’, so they can’t be misogynist!” Hell, I’ve had to be corrected on this gunshyness myself. We’re all prone to that cognitive error, to making that mistake.

The fact that people are damaging discourse by pretending calling out an instance of misogyny is a witch-hunt, though, ain’t helping cure us of that particular cognitive bias! And the terrible fact that you’re comparing being called sexist to being burned at the stake for being an uppity woman is as richly ironic as if you called being chastised for saying something racist a “lynching”.

If you stop firing at us, at feminists and social justice advocates in general and at women in particular, then all the firing will stop. What you perceive as “firing” from our side is actually us pointing out each of your volleys.

211 comments

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  1. 1
    jay

    Wow. That was a lot of words.

    Turing test failure though.

    :(

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    jay/Jacques Cuze/Oliver Crangle:

    Oh? Tell me more. Why do you feel that way?

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I get the distinct impression that a lot of this is fear-based, since the positions constantly being defended against critical scrutiny, like sexism and racism and right-wing political views, simply can’t stand up when challenged. And that goes double for what happens to these people when their behavior and attitudes are judged against almost any modern, mainstream ethical standard.

  4. 4
    Jafafa Hots

    I was just gonna say that.

  5. 5
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    To add just a bit… they cheer when an atheist presents a theist with any decent “you can be good without God” argument. But as soon as someone turns around and adds “and we SHOULD be good without God, right?” that’s just a bridge to far. “Goodness” is awesome in principle, but actually being expected to put it into practice is totalitarian ideological slavery or some such libertarian blather.

  6. 6
    Lee Moore

    Greetings from the peace effort.

    (I love the star trek references btw)

    I would very much like the chance to speak with you on this subject in private. You can reach me at
    theatheistnews @ gmail dot com

  7. 7
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Hey, Lee. Have you got an example of a decent person who’s an antifeminist yet? I asked for one over at Ophelia’s, but you never came back. How about it? You claimed that some of them are decent people, show us one.

  8. 8
    Aratina Cage

    I’m still near the top in reading this, but since the theme is Star Trek…

    We talk of inclusiveness and privilege and exclusiveness and tribalism.

    I’m not saying you’re doing it here, but because of the possibility of contrast with the Star Trek universe, I would like to register my complaint here over the usage of the words “tribal” and “tribalism” as words with negative connotations. Imagine the Federation using the Klingon word for “House” as a stereotype for awful group behavior; it would be starkly specieist of them to do that. The Klingons would be furious! So what does everyone think it looks like to see a bunch of people who aren’t members of a tribe constantly using “tribal” and “tribalism” as some sort of put down for people on the other side of some schism? I would like people to think about their usage of that word in that way a little more than they have been, that’s all. I do believe there are better words out there for that kind of behavior–words that don’t have such kinds of nasty implications.

  9. 9
    michaeld

    Reading that title I keep hearing the klingon Ambassador in star trek 4 the phraseing is just too similar….

    Unfortunately I think I agree with the post. The klingon empire and the federation had a lot of similar ground and desires despite their distrust. I’m really not sure there’s enough common ground at this point for any lasting solution. But by all means try Lee….

  10. 10
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    I love how the dynamic always works out, in the skeptical community or the world at large: the problem is always the Left and radical Left, the people pointing out what is wrong with the status quo and calling for the Right (the supporters of the status quo) to abandon their failed arguments and stop holding us back. When the Right pushes the radical Left out of the picture, that’s simply removing ‘irresponsible’ ideas because they might be dangerous to society. When the Left tries to push the radical Right out for being wrong, that’s “silencing dissent”, or (to quote Steven Novella) “a desire to purge … those with a differing political outlook”. It doesn’t matter what aspect of the radical Right it is, it doesn’t matter what they support, it doesn’t matter how wrong they are or even if their arguments are one step (that being context) removed from creationists’; we can’t attack the radical Right, but the radical Right is allowed to attack us with impunity. The radical-rightists will act like they are on some righteous crusade, aided and abetted by “moderates” like Novella who will gladly sweep the radical-rightists’ wrongness and abusiveness under the rug.

    Thus is born everything from the myth of the “liberal media” necessitating a wave of right-wing think tanks and policy wonks to shut any remotely leftist political views out of the public discourse, to this dogma of no-applying-skepticism-to-politics. It’s about protecting the Right and their bad ideas from the criticism they deserve, because right-wingers get scary when you put them on the hot seat.

    Personally, I think it’s high time we turned a nice skeptical spotlight on right-wing and libertarian ‘skeptics’ like Shermer. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is where a lot of the opposition to feminism and social justice comes from =/

  11. 11
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    addendum: and, has anyone else noticed the inherent red-baiting in some of the cries about “purges” and “Stasi” and what not? The insinuation is that following leftist values will inevitably lead us to be like Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. It’s made way more obvious by the libertarians, who refer to pretty much anyone who isn’t a libertarian as a ‘socialist’ =/

  12. 12
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    jay/Jacques Cuze/Oliver Crangle, a pissant, wrote:

    Wow. That was a lot of words.

    I know, right? And some of them, like, had lots of syllables. Oh, the huge manatee!

  13. 13
    Hunt

    The fact that people are damaging discourse by pretending calling out an instance of misogyny is a witch-hunt, though, ain’t helping cure us of that particular cognitive bias!

    So now Shermer has been upgraded from Category 3 to misogynist. Color me surprised.

  14. 14
    noelplum99

    I got the part in your blog that amounted to ‘we don’t need to talk because we are winning anyway’ but I think you may as well have saved yourself a couple of hours and left it at that.

    For my part I see a lot of people happy to trash the prospect of discussion, of thrashing things out, but precious little in the way of alternatives. At least you make a case for an alternative, the pragmatic approach of generals across the ages which is that you don’t talk whilever you feel the odds are in your favour.

    I will be frank: the odds are in your favour. Not because there is this huge groundswell of support behind you (work through the ratios of likes and dislikes to total views for any Tf00t video on the subjecty to see the number of signatures for any online petition is dwarfed) but because you are fuelled by political ideologies that will see you through. Put simply: you care more. At the end of the day, if you turn every conference and convention into a Socialist Workers Party meeting my ire would be mitigated by the fact i have absolutely no intention of attending such a thing in any event and that, i think, is the feeling of many. Put simply, those who see themselves as activists and typical conference attendees are the more politically active and politically motivated – they are typical petition signers and well equipped for a war of attrition. Maybe some of the libertarians will hold out the longest but for those of us more politically moderate we will probably just, eventually, keep ourselves to ourselves and allow you guys to talk amongst yourselves.

    Personally speaking though, i approve of these dialogues and see great merit in them. I see, via Thetruepooka on YouTube, that PZ Myers is to take part in a debate with C0nc0rdance, Pooka himself and Theskepticalheretic on free speech and associated issues. This is just the kind of thing I think is really positive. People on both sides will tune in and see that those they take issue with don’t actually have horns coming out the tops of their heads and a chance for individuals to clarify perceived differences of opinion, rather than the adversarial nature of responses via blogs/videos whereby context and nuance cannot be clarified at the time.

    Jim

  15. 15
    michaeld

    @Hunt

    I think this is part of the problem. Going from X said something misogynistic so X is a misogynist. While that certainly can be true there are all sorts of cognitive biases and cultural baggage that we all have which needs to be considered. That pattern leads to well I’m not a misogynist so they must be wrong and then defensiveness. Instead what we should have is did I say something offensive by not thinking it through, did this have other implications beyond my intent, can I listen to you and see if you have a point because if so I need to be more careful with my language in the future.

    Your train of thought leads to defensiveness and lashing out when what is really needed is reflective thought on the matter.

    “Remember this well, there shall be no peace as [long as knee jerk defensiveness] lives” in our minds and more reflective thought isn’t engaged in. There got the star trek IV reference in ;p

  16. 16
    VeritasKnight

    So…does that make you General Chang, Jason?

  17. 17
    Eamon Knight

    to add their distinctiveness to our collective consciousnesses

    I see what you did there, and are you sure that’s really the reference you wanted to invoke? Expect a barrage of trolling about “FTBorg” trying to stifle individuality…..

  18. 18
    Kevin

    The way I see it, many people on that side of the neutral who self-identify as “skeptics” are basically just wankers who got into this because they wanted to make themselves feel more important than they are by making fun of people who believe in Bigfoot.

    And there was some synergy with people who use skepticism as a critical-thinking tool. My skepticism about the existence of gods coincides with my skepticism about the existence of Bigfoot. Frankly, the Bigfoot stuff is boring to me, but it’s often the price of admission, as it were.

    But then, we started goring their oxen. Women should be treated as equals and not condescended to, harassed, or otherwise made to feel like they don’t belong. “WHAT!?!??!!!!eleventy!!!! We should totes be able to make fun of womenz becuz reazons.”

    The puffed-ego “skeptics” were never really “skeptics” in the sense of using critical thinking skills to attack a problem. They were bullies. Using their alleged “superior intellects” to laugh at people they considered beneath themselves. No wonder there’s a strong anti-feminist undercurrent there. There’s a strong anti-human undercurrent there.

    They’re small-minded bigots. Period.

    I said this earlier, and I’ll repeat. I think we should move on. Block who you need to block, ignore those you feel you should ignore, and report to the authorities those who cannot take ‘no’ for an answer under the existing cyber-stalking laws. And that’s it. Make their already tiny world smaller. And smaller. And smaller.

    By engaging with them, you’re feeding into their whole over-inflated sense of self-importance that is the root cause of the issue.

  19. 19
    Jason Thibeault

    Ah, noelplum. Your inability to read is by now no doubt legendary, but I am especially amused that you stopped reading halfway through.

    Not only did I not “trash” the idea of discussions, but I also explained that the type of peace being sought can’t be achieved, as well as offered an alternative sort of peace that CAN be struck.

    Discussion between a few of us will not result in people peeling away from either side. We don’t have leaders, not an ability to whip our “troops” into compliance. So all we can do is declare what things result in what actions.

    But here, let me “trash” the idea of discussions for you a little, mostly because it’s identical, in my eyes, to Dawkins turning down William Lane Craig because it benefits Craig’s CV, but not Dawkins’.

    Your side is happy to proclaim witch-hunts and censorship when we tell people not to hurt others via sexist, racist or homophobic attacks. Our side is happy to keep pointing these attacks out. Do you think this situation can change via a debate? Do you think you can get on stage and Gish-gallop us into silence? Do you think a debate serves anyone, does anything but legitimize the patently illegitimate stance that people should be free to slur one another like crazy without the mild repercussion of someone else calling them out on it?

  20. 20
    noelplum99

    You know every side in every such debate there has ever been has always been utterly conviced it is the other chap who is in the wrong. That is no position from which to start: you start by listening not by accusing.

    I found it interesting you mention Dawkins turning down WLC because I never believed his stated reasons for a single moment. Craig is an awfully tricky opponent and requires a huge amount of effort to tackle. Truth be told, I think Dawkins steers a wide berth round Craig because he realises that without investing sufficient time to tool up to the extent Craig has done he will end up tied in philosophical knots.

    As far as your neutral zone is concerned I think it is a non-starter because the two sides are not in agreement over what is acceptable. I call someone a ‘cock; you find it objectionabele as you abhor ‘gendered slurs’; you call someone a ‘misogynist’ I find that objectionable because I abhor smearing via equivocation. I think these issues are much better discussed, if not to a conclusion but at least to properly thrash out the concerns and see how they are genuinely felt, than by a ‘neutral zone’ which won’t last five minutes.

  21. 21
    Kevin

    In the spirit of following my own advice, noelplum is one of those whose posts I have chosen to ignore for several months now.

    I will continue to do so.

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    What would you have us give up for this peace, noelplum? You realize that one side sees the other as “firing” upon them when they point out sexism and suggest that such sexism is damaging to the community, and the other side sees “firing” when they’re the recipients of targeted harassment campaigns of mockery, slurs, derision, and frothing seething hatred.

    We’re not going to stop pointing out sexism. We don’t have anything to lose here. You could stop firing at us, and then all the actual “firing” would end.

    But you’re not going to do that, because you’re utterly convinced that “free speech”, e.g. the freedom to seek us out and slur us to our faces, is being abridged. And you think that WE’RE doing the slurring, calling misogyny misogyny, and calling sexism sexism.

    News flash: calling a racist racist isn’t mean. Calling a homophobe a homophobe isn’t mean. Calling a woo-peddler a woo-peddler isn’t mean. Calling a sexist a sexist, isn’t mean.

  23. 23
    Jason Thibeault

    And are you seriously lauding WLC’s tactics here? Because it means that all you need is a sufficiently obfuscatory debater and your side will “tie us in philosophical knots” too?

  24. 24
    Jason Thibeault

    Kevin: noelplum is one of those people I have in moderation, meaning I let him out only when I have the time or wherewithal to deal with him myself. I do not expect that the people I put in moderation be dealt with by other commenters, though you’re free to ignore or take a crack at him as you wish.

    To facilitate your ignoring these certain people, there is apparently a Greasemonkey script for Pharyngula somewhere that you can put certain users on ignore. I expect it would work here too, since the theme’s very nearly the same.

  25. 25
    noelplum99

    PS: (and I don’t give a crap whether this passes your moderation or not – I make my comments for your eyes only, if i wanted an exchange with anyone else I wouldn’t do it in a space where I am held like some fucking caged animal for each and every comment) The real disagreement I have about your side are not about witch-hunts, censorship or tripe about what fucking shoes Greta Christina buys (as far as I am concerned she can spend what she likes how she likes and her banning me in no way alters how i feel on that) but about the bigger picture: the entitled sense of ownership you all have over conventions and conferences (your campaigning for a change for harassment policies is fine but when others campaign against it they are told ‘why not go and run your own meetings?’); the shit-trick you all pulled attempting to co-opt atheism itself into your socio-political interests via the ambiguously and misleadingly named atheism+ (which sounds a thousand times more like a new word for strident or strong atheism than anything to do with social justice ffs); the lack of concern shown, especially by PZ Myers, for skeptics organisations who want to steer clear of contentious subjects that could overwhelm their aims or damage their goals.
    I suppose you reject those as real concerns because as a politically motivated idealog you regard the ends as inevitably justifying the means.

  26. 26
    noelplum99

    And you think that WE’RE doing the slurring, calling misogyny misogyny, and calling sexism sexism.

    Oh fuck off Jason. You have redefined misogyny and then simply go by your own definition knowing the smearing that results. Misogyny is typically, by the public at large, regarded as a pretty extreme position and is usually limited to the hatred or dislike of women as an entire group. I accept that definitions can change, that dictionary definitions simply play catch-up with usage patterns, but when you take a word that has very negative connotations and start liberally applying it here there and everywhere then, unless you are as thick as pigshit, you have to know exactly the game that results. maybe we can redefine all penetrative sex as rape and the simple love as children as paedophilia then (assuming you have such sex and love children) I can blithely tell you not to take offence as I label you a rapist and a paedophile because ‘look, the definitions I use here don’t mean what you think they do’. It is an objectionable and odious game you are playing and damned right i can understand why people get annoyed by it – just as I have every single time I have been labelled a misogynist by a commenter on these boards.
    Mud stick Jason, but you are a political animal and you know the game you are playing here. My advice is to take the fucking halo off your head, along with the rest of us (myself included) and accept that there are things to be thrashed out.

  27. 27
    Jason Thibeault

    LOL. What halo? I’m far from perfect. I’ve had to be corrected on shitty things I’ve said. I accepted that the things I said were shitty, and I’ve endeavoured not to do it again.

    I’ll let the rest of your nonsense stand because it’s fairly self-evidently hyperbole and argument from consequences. It’s also mischaracterizing most of the harassment policies campaign, and playing into the antifeminist memes that being called misogynist is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person. I’m sure commenters will pick those arguments to their bones, because that’s what people do around here — provide critical analysis of half-baked ideas (mine included).

    If you really want your comments to be for my eyes only, that can be arranged. It would spare you the indignity of having your arguments torn apart and having the sexism underlying them exposed to the world. Since you think being called a misogynist is the worst thing in the world, I’d only be doing you a favour by not releasing anything further.

  28. 28
    noelplum99

    And are you seriously lauding WLC’s tactics here?

    I am saying he is good at what he does, same as Dennett admits he is, same as Hariss admits he is, same as Hitchens admits he is.

    His ‘tactics’ are to be ultra well prepared for anything you are likely to throw at him, to bat on the offensive throughout the debate (so you keep defending your position rather than challenging his) and to mould and steer the debate to his own advantage. I think the guy is a dishonest shit who says things he doesn’t even believe himself, but he does what he does very well and he has made some very distinguished people look exceeding silly over they years (such as Atkins first exchange with him, where Atkins was woefully underprepared for what Craig would throw his way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vnjNbe5lyE )

    One thing i find most disheartening about life is how easy it is to make a convincing sounding argument for even the most batchit crazy nonsense (not having a dig here, thinking aside from our disputes). I musty have watched a couple of dozen Kent Hovind debates over the years and even with his outlandish takes on creationissm and evolutionary theory, the degree to which he has prepared has often overwhelmed his opponents, professors and scholars in the biological sciences etc, because they have come along with only a fraction of the preparation he has made. For every claim they rebutt he can reel off ten new ones in the same time frame.

    Okay, i have said my piece here and sat in moderation long enough, bye for now jason
    jim

  29. 29
    Jason Thibeault

    I agree that WLC is good at what he does, and what he does is dishonest argumentation — the sort I am quick to throw into moderation if it appears on my own blog.

    And yes, I’m having a dig at you with that. Even though every one of your posts was approved, unaltered, and stands testament to exactly why I threw you in moderation in the first place.

    Bye!

  30. 30
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Jason:

    I agree that WLC is good at what he does, and what he does is dishonest argumentation — the sort I am quick to throw into moderation if it appears on my own blog.

    And yes, I’m having a dig at you with that. Even though every one of your posts was approved, unaltered, and stands testament to exactly why I threw you in moderation in the first place.

    Yeah, it is “interesting” that noelplum’s comments are a veritable Gish Gallop of falsehoods based on dishonest reinterpretations of reality. We don’t need to fisk his stupidity again, it has been done not only to his posts, but dozens of other posts from dozens of other lying anti-types. It is the same nonsense about feminism stealing skepticism, harassment policies hijacking conferences, social justice destroying the purity of atheism, yadda yadda yadda.

    And how do you “make peace” and “find middle ground” with people who are not arguing honestly or from a reality-based position? Should we accept a mutually-pleasing set of half-truths, a mix of our reality and their lies?

  31. 31
    Ben Zvan

    the entitled sense of ownership you all have over conventions and conferences (your campaigning for a change for harassment policies is fine but when others campaign against it they are told ‘why not go and run your own meetings?’)

    Wait…wanting an environment where all atheists and skeptics—instead of just the chosen few—feel safe and welcome is an “entitled sense of ownership?” That’s a stretch.

  32. 32
    George W.

    I agree with much of what you wrote here Jason, but I’m a bit more optimistic of what the outcome of good faith talks might accomplish.
    I’m of the opinion that the vast majority of the people on the other side of the fence can not and will not allow themselves to be seen defending the worst of the behaviors that go on inside their tribe. This is why they always hold the “best parts” of the slymepit on a pedestal and downplay the horrid stuff. This is why they always brush aside worst behavior as something on the fringes.
    I don’t think Justin is going to want to defend the kind of behavior that characterizes the majority of the gripes of the “FtBullies”. I think that good faith talks will force people who are walking the tightrope between being part of that group and not party to that behavior to choose between justifying bad behavior or deligitimizing the bullies. That, I’m sure, is Stephanie’s point in her “terms”.
    The problem is that both sides (and please don’t take that as equivocation) have a habit of letting behavior slip when the offender lies on their side of the divide, and then we end up back in another stupid flame war. If anything is to be made of an effort to reach across the isle, it will mean being extra diligent in calling out commenters who stoke the fires- even when they are for all intents and purposes correct.

  33. 33
    ronjaaddams-moring

    I wonder how many of the people who throw a fit like “OMFSM, you dared to *criticize* me!” have bought into the Five Geek Social Fallacies, likely without realizing it. Especially #2 seems relevant:

    Friends Accept Me As I Am … This seems straightforward and reasonable. It’s important for people to have a space where they feel safe and accepted. Ideally, everyone’s social group would be a safe haven. When people who rely too heavily upon that refuge feel insecure in that haven, however, a commendable ideal mutates into its pathological form, GSF2.

    Carriers of GSF2 believe that since a friend accepts them as they are, anyone who criticizes them is not their friend. Thus, they can’t take criticism from friends — criticism is experienced as a treacherous betrayal of the friendship, no matter how inappropriate the criticized behavior may be.

    Conversely, most carriers will never criticize a friend under any circumstances; the duty to be supportive trumps any impulse to point out unacceptable behavior.

    GSF2 has extensive consequences within a group…

    More at plausiblydeniable dot com

  34. 34
    Kim Rippere (President of Secular Woman)

    Thank you for writing this. Truly it is appreciated and needed.

    I also applaud the attempts to find a peace or an accord . . . just so long as women (and some men) are no longer the subject of harassment, vilification, and that we see a significant reduction in sexism (institutional and other) in our community.

    May the voices that are loud and against diversity find a way to tolerate that some see feminism and atheism/secular intimately intertwined.

  35. 35
    Elsa Roberts

    Thank you for writing this. It lays out so well the false equivalencies being bandied about. Both sides to not have equally valid points. MRAs and these “equity feminists” have been peddling sexist, anti-woman garbage, and pretending otherwise is absurd.

  36. 36
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Setar

    addendum: and, has anyone else noticed the inherent red-baiting in some of the cries about “purges” and “Stasi” and what not? The insinuation is that following leftist values will inevitably lead us to be like Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. It’s made way more obvious by the libertarians, who refer to pretty much anyone who isn’t a libertarian as a ‘socialist’ =/

    I hear ‘statist’ a lot more often, but the use the terms interchangeably. As for red-baiting, I’ve noticed that a lot of American right-wing rhetoric hasn’t actually changed at all since sometime around the Carter administration; they still rant about ‘cradle to grave welfare’ despite Clinton’s gutting the welfare programs they refer to, ‘Affirmative action hiring quotas’ (ended sometime in the early 80s, IIRC), communist agitators (those do still exist, I’m on their mailing list, but I can’t recall the last time they had any measurable social traction), ‘gun-grabbing liberals’ (Ok, this one has a little more currency, but between the AWB in 1994 and the present, there has been pretty much nothing but an increase of gun rights, especially at the Federal level) etc.

  37. 37
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    George W., I’m afraid there will be an issue with finding good faith. Haven’t seen it yet. The middle-person hopeful(s) may have it, but that doesn’t confer it to the side which has as a defining feature and rather central problem a surfeit of bad faith.

  38. 38
    Steersman

    Commendable that you identify the problem, or a significant aspect of it, as the tendency for each side to see “every one of these words [as meaning] something completely different to [the other’s]”. But curious and not a little problematic that you fail to see, for one example of a whole raft of them, that “predatory behaviour” is a case in point.

    In addition, seems to me the question of ElevatorGate is less a question, at least to more than a few, of “relating an ordinary event” than of trying to impose a rather idiosyncratic and highly questionable moral “article of faith” on all and sundry.

  39. 39
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes indeed Steersman — the people on the other side of the rift are completely and pointedly misunderstanding the concept of predatory behaviour, the concept of gaslighting, or any other feminist concepts. I’m gratified that you’ve also identified this as a problem, but I hope that means you intend on doing something about it by educating yourselves instead of taking the most hyperbolic and ridiculous interpretations possible.

  40. 40
    Feline

    You have redefined misogyny and then simply go by your own definition knowing the smearing that results.

    This has been a perpetual whine among the pits, but here’s the thing: The definition used among people who actually know shit has always been broad enough to include more things than “I hate women this much”. To me they are the ones trying to redefine the word. No cookies for figuring out why they’d do it.

  41. 41
    George W.

    F,
    I wouldn’t disagree with you that good faith is hard to come by in all this; I just don’t think that that is not a good reason to try and be the ones who show it first.
    The feeling around many parts of “my side” is “Fuck it, these people won’t ever behave long enough to have meaningful conversation.”- I think that that argument is probably true but of no real value.
    Why can’t we be the ones who play the “good faith” card and let them blow it up? Why can’t we over-moderate our posts for a while and keep our flippant attacks at a minimum- forcing them to live up to their word?

    I’m not suggesting that they are approaching this in good faith, I’m suggesting that if we mind our actions instead of just reacting to their bad faith- we force them to change their preferred narrative.
    So we are clear, I am not suggesting that we put ourselves on permanent “Rainbows and Ponies”, but that we try to take away their long range ammunition and force a close quarters battle.
    The whole thing might fall apart and revert back to flame wars- but at least you take away their claim that we never even tried.
    Maybe I’m tone trolling, maybe I’m talking strategy- I don’t know. I certainly don’t want to tell people who have taken the brunt of the shit what they ought to do from my relatively comfortable armchair. We absolutely do not have to be the ones to take the high ground, I’m suggesting that as a strategy- the high ground isn’t the worst place to be.

  42. 42
    Steersman

    Neither I nor, I expect, many of my “fellow travellers” are disputing that “predatory behaviour” exists; only that I, at least, question that the term is applicable to ElevatorGate. And that the use of the term constitutes some of the “poisoning of the well” which is, quite arguably, one of the roots of this “Great Rift”.

    But “hyperbolic interpretations”? You mean like Ophelia Benson’s hatchet-job, based on outright lying, on Michael Shermer from which followed the accusations from Brayton, Christina, and Myers, among others, that his “[atheism], it’s more of a guy thing” was egregiously sexist? Pray tell, why is it that absolutely no one on FTB has actually managed to even address, much less disprove, the contention that, at least by the dictionary definition, Shermer’s phrase absolutely does not qualify as sexism? You’re welcome to try, but the criteria are “manifesting discrimination” – did Shermer say that women were to be restricted from joining atheist groups or conventions? – or “promoting a stereotype” – and simply identifying a gender disparity simply does not qualify, at least if you are prepared to concede that noting that there are 10 times as many men in prison as women does not qualify as a sexist remark.

    Seems to me that part of the problem is that many – on both sides, although more on the FTB side – have a tendency to categorical thinking and an inability to use and to recognize the limitations of analogies. For instance, as I’ve argued over on Atheist Asshole’s YouTube video criticizing Ophelia Benson, Benson’s analogy between Nazi Germany and TAM was hardly asserting – as some on “our” side seem to have concluded – that D.J. Grothe was Hitler incarnate. All she really said, which had at least some credibility, was, in effect and principle though not in scale, that the supposed harassment of women at TAM was to the ongoing repression of Jews in Nazi Germany as various Freethought Bloggers speaking out about that supposed harassment in the first case was to the Jews in the second case speaking among themselves about their repression. But if she – and various FTB bloggers and commentariat – wish to have that analogy accepted then they can’t very well bitch and complain and have recourse to the “fainting couch” when Paula Kirby talks about “feminazis” being analogous to “grammar-nazis” or when Michael Shermer makes reference to Martin Niemöller’s “First they came for the communists ….”

    Seems to me to be an awful lot of “sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander” floating about ….

  43. 43
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    noelplum wrote:

    I am saying he is good at what he does, same as Dennett admits he is, same as Hariss admits he is, same as Hitchens admits he is.

    You admire someone for their profound intellectual dishonesty, well-hidden behind a wall of obfuscation? That’s very telling. That you and your side combine this kind of approach with the online tactics of David Markuze/Mabus suggests you’re far closer to the obsessed Christian mindset, despite your insistence on being True Skeptics™.

  44. 44
    Jason Thibeault

    I am again agog that you consider Ophelia’s mild chastisement of underlying sexist memes extant in our community, with Shermer’s quote (with full context) provided as an example, a “hatchet-job, based on outright lying, on Michael Shermer”. Would you prefer a vague “don’t be a sexist” version of Phil Plait’s DBaD speech? One that gives no specifics whatsoever, such that you can proclaim that all we have is faith and no actual examples?

    Sounds a lot like a no-win scenario to me, when we all might win if you simply start learning the language you keep trying to borrow.

  45. 45
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Jason wrote:

    Would you prefer a vague “don’t be a sexist” version of Phil Plait’s DBaD speech? One that gives no specifics whatsoever, such that you can proclaim that all we have is faith and no actual examples?

    That’s exactly what they’ve been doing.

    If you don’t provide details then you’re accused of inventing the problem (“Is Elevator Guy even real? I remain skeptical without evidence.”) and if you do name names then you’re a boycotting Feminazi Femistasi witch-hunter going on a purge (“ZOMG! You’re trying to force [insert one of Dawkins/Harris/Shermer here] out of the movement and to stop him writing and speaking at conferences! You want to ruin his CAREER!”).

    And it’s bullshit.

  46. 46
    jenniferphillips

    Oh Steersman, surely the scores of comments you laid down on Ed’s post was enough space for you to air your grievances against Ophelia’s ACTIONABLE DEFAMATION!!!!!11 of poor Michael Shermer.

  47. 47
    Ophelia Benson

    Ugh. The mildew pit version taken as accurate yet again.

    Benson’s analogy between Nazi Germany and TAM was hardly asserting – as some on “our” side seem to have concluded – that D.J. Grothe was Hitler incarnate. All she really said, which had at least some credibility, was, in effect and principle though not in scale, that the supposed harassment of women at TAM was to the ongoing repression of Jews in Nazi Germany as various Freethought Bloggers speaking out about that supposed harassment in the first case was to the Jews in the second case speaking among themselves about their repression.

    I didn’t make an analogy between Nazi Germany and TAM – I wasn’t talking about TAM. I was talking about DJ Grothe and what he said about women talking about harassment. DJ Grothe and TAM are not one and the same thing, you know! They’re not even the same kind of thing. DJ Grothe is a person and TAM is a meeting. And no, I was not comparing the harassment of women at TAM, supposed or otherwise, to the repression of Jews in Nazi Germany. Dead wrong.

    The analogy was DJ blaming women for talking about harassment to someone blaming Jews in 1936 Germany.

    Jesus. They nitpick and comma-dice to the tune of thousands of words and they can’t even get the basic facts right.

  48. 48
    Ophelia Benson

    Here is what I said. Exactly what I said, not a new and improved version of what I said invented by the mildew people.

    Responding to DJ Grothe’s “a climate where women — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe” quoted by Rebecca,

    I said:

    As Jews in Germany circa 1936 might have created “a climate where Jews — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe.” As the Southern Poverty Law Center creates a climate where people who are the object of systematic vocal hatred end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe. That’s not to compare TAM with Nazi Germany or racist pockets of the US, of course, but then Rebecca didn’t name TAM in the item DJ quoted, either; she (or rather USA Today, indirectly quoting her) said “the freethought community.”

    See? I compared a stupid and unpleasant thing that Grothe said to various hypothetical things that someone might have said in other situations. (Yes, the examples were too strong, and I later took them back, but that’s a different subject.)

    That is NOT the same thing as making “an analogy between TAM and Nazi Germany.” Jeezis. Learn to read.

  49. 49
    johngreg

    Lee Moore … has taken it upon himself to attempt to broker a peace treaty … between the two sides of the Great Rift — between the feminists on the one side, and the antifeminists (and those claiming the name “feminist” for their libertarian laissez-faire cargo cult “equity feminism”) on the other.

    This is one of your most used, and least fair practice: You consistently try to poison the well with falsehoods. The majority of the people you call anti-feminists, at least in regard to the Slymepit, do not disagree with feminism so much as they disagree with the methodolgy proposed by most the FfTB / Skepchick.org / A+ blog hosts and commentariat to move forward with; we also tend to replace the term feminism with humanism because we see the world in general as vastly discriminatory towards the vast majority of human beings, not just women. A long time ago I listed some 5, or 6, or so primary tenets of my so-called feminist beliefs, only one of which, as I recall, you actually disagreed with (the phrasing I used in my comment about wage differentials between men and women yu thought unfairly framed the argument).

    But what really strikes me as misguided about the whole effort is that, from the outset of this conversation, everyone is using terms differently…. And every one of these words means something completely different to one another.

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly with you on that. What I do not agree with is your arrogant presumption that only your side (and I will admit to not liking the term, side, but it fits within the narrative, so….) uses the right words with the right definitions, and that is simply not true. Both sides misuse some words, and what your side does that I feel is most damaging, and something we try rigorously to avoid, is a rther constant remanufacturing / redefining of key terms on an almost weekly basis simply to counter any use of the word by the other side. That’s arrogant and dishonest rhetorical trickery.

    They feel so, so much butt-hurt over being called “misogynist” or “sexist” that they shut out all discussion and double down on their actions….

    No, Jason, we do not feel so, so much butthurt — and it is always your gallant band of FfFTB bloggers who shut out all discussion through your ludicrous and draconian editorial policies. Cripes, you want a discussion? Havve the balls to post at the Pit. However, what we do feel is that your ever-changing defintion of the terms sexism and mysogyny have become, through the endless shifts in meaning and usage, almost meaningless and are clearly used simply to dismiss, belittle, and insult folks you do not like. I would argue that most of the people who post at the Pit would agree, in general terms, with most what you and other FfTB bloggers consider the most mportant tenets of femism — although none of ever really spell it out except to say fundamtenally bullshit things like the Pitters do not believe women are peopl. The main difference between us is two-fold:

    1. We tend to replace the word woman, when discussing inequities, and replace it with people.

    2. While agreeing that there is sexism in much of the world, though probably least of all in most major Western democracies, we tend to disagree quite strongly with you guys as to the degree and the method to counter it.

    And those are, in my opinion, the two primary differences. That does not make us anti-feminist; it simply means we have different dfinitions and different methodolgies. Lastly, it is completely disengenuous to continue to paint the Pit people as so toxic; it is from FfTB where actual real-world threats of violence, and career and academic damages, and so forth, actually stem.

    The problem presently seems to be, the rifts are too permeable. People on one side of the rift are too able to enter into and attack others’ spaces.

    I honestly do not understand how you can say something like that with a straight face. You and most of FfTB have banned most of the Pit people who have tried to dialogue and debate with you, and the rest have, for the most part, simply given up trying to even bother carrying on a discussion with the raging harpies of the FfTB commentariat. We are permeable; like I say, grow some balls and post on the Pit.

    People on this side of those rifts generally want to be left alone by the folks on the other side, who swarm to feast on the flesh of the bloggers who dare criticize one of our movements’ “leaders”; we generally want to be left in peace and to let our contributions to freethought — in providing critical analysis of some of the things our leaders say — stand or fall on their own merits, without incurring undue levels of vitriol.

    What you really want, Jason, is to be free to say anything you want, about anyone or any topic, to define it soley as you see fit, and to do so without any meaningful disagreement or dissent. You want total control of the argument, which is a deeply dishonest and unrealistic position to hold. And no, the Pit loves repercussions, disagreement, and dissent; that is quite specifically why the Pit is freely open to all. Again, no, Jason, we do not try to censor you; we try to ridicule you and to point out the hypocrisy and deceit that pours forth from FfTB, Skepchick.org, and the A+ land of the dead and dying. But censor you? Nah.

  50. 50
    Steersman

    Jason Thibeault said (#44):

    I am again agog that you consider Ophelia’s mild chastisement of underlying sexist memes extant in our community, with Shermer’s quote (with full context) provided as an example ….

    And my jaw just hit the floor that you – and so many others – fail to see that, while Ophelia might well have, generally speaking, a reasonable and credible argument against sexism – as do, I might add, many if not most in “The Pit”, it is egregiously bad logic if not bad judgement to use Shermer’s statement as an “example” of sexism unless you and she and Christina and Brayton and Myers, et al., have first proven that the statement so qualifies. Which I note you have declined the challenge to do so.

    Though many here seem to be of a different frame of mind, you most definitely cannot use a pink swan as proof of the contention, the hypothesis in some case of inductive reasoning, that all swans are white.

    In addition and relative to your example of “Phil Plait’s bad speech”, I certainly don’t have any objection to the use of examples, although in passing I might ask why you would think otherwise. But what I do object to is the use of supposed examples that don’t meet the minimal requirement of exhibiting the attribute – “sexism”, “whiteness of swans”, etc. – that is supposedly the target of the syllogistic argument. Particularly when there are plently of such examples that are quite credible – you could take a look at this chapter from Pinker’s The Blank Slate for cases of that latter attribute, not to mention a refutation of your aspersion on the “cargo cult of equity feminism”.

    However, that you are apparently unable to address the logic of my reasoning on this point and related ones probably qualifies as prima facie evidence as to why this attempt to heal “The Great Rift” is likely to be stillborn. And on that attempt I have to say that FTB has to take lion’s share of the responsibility for that consequence.

  51. 51
    Steersman

    Jennifer Phillips said (#46):

    Oh Steersman, surely the scores of comments you laid down on Ed’s post was enough space for you to air your grievances against Ophelia’s ACTIONABLE DEFAMATION!!!!!11 of poor Michael Shermer.

    It will be enough when someone in this rather benighted neck of the woods actually has the intestinal fortitude to actually address my contention that Shermer’s statement does not qualify as sexist by the dictionary definition of the word. Curious that no one yet has managed that task.

  52. 52
    Hunt

    I think this is part of the problem. Going from X said something misogynistic so X is a misogynist.

    One key point of the debate (that apparently isn’t going to happen) is just what constitutes misogyny. I tend to align more toward the side that sees misogyny as a pretty unambiguous thing that is deliberately expressed. To a large extent this precludes the subconscious expression of misogyny. I realize this is a controversial position, but in other words, either you are a woman hater, or you are not. There may be a little gray area there, but there isn’t a lot of wiggle room, in contrast to sexism, where there is large latitude in expression and a strong subconsciousness component.

    This is a long way of saying that I don’t think the distinction you mention is all that significant. A person who says something that is truly misogynistic is probably a genuine misogynist.

  53. 53
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    So Steersman is another liar for “septic-cism .” Rotten to the fucking CORE. I guess we all look bad once everything we do is misrepresented, but I can’t see how any of the ‘pitters can be particularly proud of themselves since they have to make up everything they believe out of whole cloth.

  54. 54
    Jason Thibeault

    Let a bunch of whargarbl out of moderation because it’s exemplar of just exactly why there can be no peace — we’re apparently baby-boiling nazis to people like John Greg.

    Losing my patience with the “arguments” the other side keep presenting, all of which amount to a) lying about what we say; b) calling US the liars. It’s not like our words are malleable and are changing from one minute to the next — we’re saying the same damn thing every time, and you’re still demonstrably lying about us (as Ophelia ably points out). Why isn’t the truth sufficient to damn us with, if we’re so horrible? Why all the hyperbole and embellishment and fabricating from whole cloth?

    You know why we don’t point-by-point dissect every one of your gish-gallops, guys? Because it’s not worth our time. When there’s so little correlation between reality and your claims, what is there to rebut? I honestly sometimes feel like you throw whatever shit accusations you can at the wall just so you can make us refute them out loud.

    Expect further whargarbl to stay in moderation, for a while at least. This kind of general malevolence loses its charm rather quickly, I must say.

  55. 55
    Jason Thibeault

    You and most of FfTB have banned most of the Pit people who have tried to dialogue and debate with you

    Prove it. Aren’t YOU banned too?

  56. 56
    carlie

    I would very much like the chance to speak with you on this subject in private.

    In private?

    In private?

    IN PRIVATE?

    Why the hell do you think this should be done in private? After you’ve been dogging people trying to get them to come onto a podcast with you, why on earth do you think this ought to be a private conversation? Are you completely unwilling to have any discussion at all that is not entirely on your turf and under your own terms? What could possibly be “private” about this argument at this point?

  57. 57
    Jason Thibeault

    it is egregiously bad logic if not bad judgement to use Shermer’s statement as an “example” of sexism unless you and she and Christina and Brayton and Myers, et al., have first proven that the statement so qualifies. Which I note you have declined the challenge to do so.

    That’s because it’s self-evident. “You know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    Unless “guy” means “person”, and Shermer was NOT describing why there are apparently more guys in vocal skepticism than girls, I don’t know how you could cut it any other way. I suspect it’s up to you to prove that this is describing a real phenomenon, as opposed to a stereotype. The null hypothesis here, faced with a statement so cut and dry about one sex being superior to another in some regard, is that it’s sexist — that’s the plain English reading of the phrasing. I don’t know of anything but the most tortured explanations that might suggest that it’s NOT sexist. What are your explanations?

    Hell, even Sean Faircloth Sean Carroll (oops) tried to backpedal for him on that point.

  58. 58
    Edward Gemmer

    This debate isn’t about feminism, or sexism, or racism. It is about the extent people in our community treat other people like garbage. Every time you call someone stupid because they disagree with you, or call someone sexist because they disagree with you, or (for crying out loud) call someone a rapist because they disagree with you, you are making the atheist community look like a bunch of dopes. If that is your goal, have at it.

  59. 59
    Jason Thibeault

    Edward Gemmer wins the lack of self-awareness no-prize. Let’s turn this around.

    Every time you call someone a cunt because they disagree with you, or call someone a fucking bitch because they disagree with you, or make a parody Twitter account to trick people into believing they’re saying something they’re not because they disagree with you, or call someone fat because they disagree with you, or photoshop pictures of them into awful and entirely humorless cruel debasements, you’re making the atheist community look like a bunch of fucking asshats.

    Contrariwise, every time you call someone a sexist for repeatedly using sexist slurs or doing sexist things and refusing to back down on their absolute right to do so, you’re improving the community that tiny little bit. Making casual sexism actually incur a social cost (because it doesn’t normally) is not a bad thing, it’s a decidedly and unequivocally GOOD thing.

  60. 60
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Jason, maybe a new rule that is someone says something about “you only did/said X because someone disagreed with you”, you insist that they explain the disagreement or you ban them permanently? Because the reality is that when someone says something like “you call someone sexist because they disagree with you” they always leave out the little details, like the fact that you “disagree with them” about the humor in rape jokes, or you “disagree with them” that it is acceptable to call women “bitches” and “cunts”, or you “disagree with them” about whether or not it is OK to ignore a woman’s stated revocation of consent. Sure, it is about stuff we disagree on… we thick sexism is horrible and rotten, and they disagree.

  61. 61
    jenniferphillips

    Improbable Joe, I would tweak that ever-so-slightly. Most of them do seem to agree that sexism is horrible and rotten. They simply don’t believe that any of the things you named qualify as sexism.

  62. 62
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    jenniferphillips:

    True enough. They’ve constructed a ridiculous straw-sexist who lives in a treehouse and has a “he-man woman haters club” sign posted. As long as they have never punched a woman in the face, or said the words “I hate all women” then they can never ever be accused of sexism.

    They do that because they are sexist, and because they are not very intelligent. I’m sure they only see the second part as insulting, which proves both parts to be true.

  63. 63
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Well, noelplum did indicate he and his pals admired William Lane Craig’s tactics; ’twas nice of a couple of them to come along and prove him right.

  64. 64
    Great American Satan

    It was worth reading the dogshit at 58 to get to the awesome at 59. Perfect summary of the situation. Fuck the mildew! Thanks, Ja Thib. :-)

  65. 65
    Jason Thibeault

    That’s a pretty singular shortened form of my name. Can’t say’s I’ve ever heard it before. Heh.

  66. 66
    LykeX

    The majority of the people you call anti-feminists, at least in regard to the Slymepit, do not disagree with feminism so much as they disagree with the methodolgy proposed by most the FfTB / Skepchick.org / A+ blog hosts and commentariat to move forward with

    But you didn’t think giving any specific examples might be helpful? Okay, you disagree over methodology but precisely what methods do you have a problem with?

    what your side does that I feel is most damaging, and something we try rigorously to avoid, is a rther constant remanufacturing / redefining of key terms on an almost weekly basis

    We do that on a weekly basis, yet you can’t give a single example of it? You don’t even specify which key terms you’re referring to.

    This vague crap neither furthers understanding nor allows for any real discussion to follow. Without specifics, how am I supposed to respond? What could I possibly say? I’m not even sure what exactly you’re referring to.
    It’s possible that you have a point and it’s possible that you’re just talking out of your ass. I can’t tell which because you didn’t give me the information necessary to tell.

    it is from FfTB where actual real-world threats of violence … actually stem.

    Citation right fucking now or you’re a dirty, rotten liar. This is a direct accusation of not only unethical, but actually criminal behavior. You better be able to back it up.

  67. 67
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    LykeX wrote:

    Citation right fucking now or you’re a dirty, rotten liar.

    Remember, one of the mildew mob’s unwritten commandments is ‘thou shalt use false equivalence as often as thou see fit’ – and this is one area where they take that commandment very, very seriously.

    Full disclosure: they usually cite me being an angry asshole (which I was) and telling someone to die in a fire; that this is one comment made by one commenter to one other anonymous commenter (whose nym I don’t recall). I realised what I said was wrong, admitted as such, and have not made any comments of that kind to anyone else, anywhere else.

    While they’re right to point that out as an asshole move on my part (I’m not going to deny it), it’s profoundly dishonest to compare it to the co-ordinated campaign of hate and intimidation they are still engaging in, with multiple individuals posting/tweeting at multiple bloggers, all of whom use their real names, having never admitted the wrongness of doing so.

    So, yeah. Don’t expect a substantive reply; they don’t have the capacity.

  68. 68
    LykeX

    @Wowbagger

    Actually, I’m amazed that there’s even that much of a factual basis to the claim. I feel I should respond to this, so here are a few thoughts:

    1) It was, as you mention, an asshole move. Shit happens. As always, your character is not determined by how many mistake you make, but by how you react once you’ve made them.
    2) Despite all that, characterizing “go die in a fire” as a “real-world threat of violence” is a bit of a stretch.
    3) The Slymepit crowd has said much worse things in a much more directly threatening way. I’m reminded of that one comment Rebecca got, which said “you deserve to be raped, tortured and killed.”
    4) You disavowed it. I have on multiple occasions, most recently here, asked slymepitters about the quoted statements above and they have yet to disavow it. Possible some have, but not the ones I’ve talked to.

  69. 69
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    LykeX, none of the individual Slymepitters has the courage. I know they can’t all approve of the sort of things that Stephanie has documented in her recent blog post on the vile tactics they engage in. But they know that if they speak out against it or any of the other dishonest, cowardly or underhanded things they’re doing, they’ll be booted out and then given the same treatment.

    Fear is a powerful motivator.

  70. 70
    ragarth

    I’m curious as to how much of the nastiness in this feminism/sexism debate within the atheist community is a product of internet culture injecting itself into our own. A great deal of the highly inflammatory stuff bears more resemblance to 4chan than anything else, and this makes me wonder how much of the division and polarization is the product of brainless bastards trying to get lulz.

    Is it possible that the slimepit is atheism’s 4chan?

  71. 71
    Jason Thibeault

    I see a lot of bawwing in moderation that I’m not letting pitters out of moderation to call us all liars for various things. Most especially that there’s anything like sexism over there, or that the sexism isn’t called out, or that there’s some kind of strong community response to any of it. I would say, how about instead of demanding that WE post links to where you were asshats (here’s a small sampling of just what you’ve said about Stephanie, for instance), how about you instead post to links where YOU dissented with that bullshit and said it was unacceptable?

    Of course, anyone could do this. They could go to all the links to your forum that Stephanie provided and start scrolling down looking for people dissenting. If you find any, report back.

  72. 72
    Jason Thibeault

    Meanwhile, just so everyone knows, I’m going to go back to doing the things that make them give me nicknames like “Thimbledick” (yeah, THAT’S not sexist! Not even misandry!). I’m going to ignore their plaintive wails against my moderation wall (which are never accompanied by actual argumentation), and the half-dozen or so incoming hits from their domain I get every time I post something feminism-related. They’re shut out of these conversations not for disagreeing, but for being raging assholes while doing it. Please, feel free to disagree with me folks, just be civil about it.

  73. 73
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’m going to try really hard not to shout “Disagreeing? DISAGREEING?!?!?!” at my monitor, but I’m not likely to be successful.

  74. 74
    jenniferphillips

    So I took one for the team. I followed some of Stephanie’s links to the pit last night and read some of the surrounding comments. There were, indeed, a few posters who said they found, for example, that Jerry Conlon’s acid comment was out of bounds (example). Of course others in that discussion were suggesting that Jerry Conlon was a fake account created by the baboons, that Ophelia was baiting people *hoping* for just such a reaction, that it was just a joke, etc. etc. A range of responses, in other words, a minority (but non-zero) number of which were disapproving.

    I skipped to the end of the current conversation and became acquainted with a commenter named ‘SomeDumbGuy’ who apparently doesn’t like Amanda Marcotte very much–based on the fact that he concluded his comment with the phrase ‘Fuck her. Fuck her. Kill her. Dump her in a ditch’. This actually did get some negative attention from the mod and a couple of other posters. That was at 11PM PST last night. This morning, the offensive phrase written by SDG that I reproduced above has been miraculously modified to read “Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her on the cheeks”.

    Not being an obsessive, thought policing stalker, I did not think to produce a screen shot of the original. However, evidence of the original content can still be gleaned from the reactions on that page (see, for example, here)

    It goes without saying that this evidence isn’t going to fly with the True Skeptics, but I know what I saw.

  75. 75
    Edward Gemmer

    Contrariwise, every time you call someone a sexist for repeatedly using sexist slurs or doing sexist things and refusing to back down on their absolute right to do so, you’re improving the community that tiny little bit. Making casual sexism actually incur a social cost (because it doesn’t normally) is not a bad thing, it’s a decidedly and unequivocally GOOD thing.

    I doubt this. The FTB seems like part of the right wing of the atheist community. It is more about thinking a certain way, following certain rules, and if you think that way and follow those rules, you are a wonderful person. For example, if you use the b word, you are a sexist and anything we do to you is justified. Is this that much different from the idea that if you have premarital sex, you are a slut, or if you show your face, you deserve to be raped? No, they are rigid, unthinking rules, but they do provide a framework for people to live, I guess.

    Having watching some of this, I do think there are just different types of people that gravitate to different groups. The Slymepit is unquestionably more liberal and more free than FtB, but that’s just the way it is. I would rather see a hundred raunchy photoshops than hear yet another sermon about privilege, but that’s why I like the Daily Show and not The O’Reilly Factor. Like Republicans and Democrats, people just find their group and stay there. The atheist community is not much different, though certainly I for one hoped it could be.

  76. 76
    Jason Thibeault

    Ahahaha! Oh Edward Gemmer. I’m going to keep you around for a good long while, I think, just for that exposure I’ll get, to the parallel universe wherein sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and slurring “the other” correlates with Freethought Blogs, as opposed to that bastion of progressiveness that is The Slymepit. What an inverted worldview you have.

  77. 77
    Jason Thibeault

    No, Pitchguest, you won’t be let out of moderation because, again, you’re tiresome. I will note your disapproval of Jerry Conlon and that threat jenniferphillips noted; I’m glad that others (according to you) further disapproved. Strange, though, that things like the acid throwing at Ophelia are now so interwoven into your narrative that your folks make memes about it (“I’m kind of a cunt when I’m on acid” over a picture of a prune), and include it in the abuse thrown at Ophelia for daring to point out his shitbaggery.

    If you folks don’t want to walk away from bullshit like that, but instead adamantly defend these folks’ right to post that bullshit in your spaces, THAT’S why people think the atheist community is full of shitbags. Defend their right to say bullshit, fine, but allow the bullshit in your space and you’re complicit.

    I defend your right to have your slimepit where bullshit I find unacceptable has a place to be. Don’t call yourselves a better community for allowing it. And don’t tar the rest of the movement with said bullshit, please. You’re a tiny minority; you’re our Westboro Baptist Church. You’re why theists can say atheists have no morals. And you can keep being complete assholes in your own space. There’s nothing to discuss here.

  78. 78
    carlie

    For example, if you use the b word, you are a sexist

    No, if you use it, you are performing a sexist action.

    and anything we do to you is justified.

    Such as? What are the terrible things that we do to people who say sexist things? I’m pretty sure that all I’ve ever seen is…asking that person to stop because they’re saying sexist things.

  79. 79
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Edward Gemmer, it is funny how you talk like every reactionary right-winger from Rush Limbaugh down… and you think you’re a liberal because you say “free speech” a lot?

  80. 80
    Edward Gemmer

    Ahahaha! Oh Edward Gemmer. I’m going to keep you around for a good long while, I think, just for that exposure

    Well good, I like your website.

  81. 81
    Hank_Says

    [Slymepit:] you’re our Westboro Baptist Church

    Fucking A.

    Although at least the Westboro nutfucks tend to show up in person, get laughed at and then go home. The Pit-stains follow their targets all over the goddam web: blogs, twitter, facebook, reddit etc. It’s almost as if the Westboros are the ones with behavioural standards.

  82. 82
    Edward Gemmer

    to the parallel universe wherein sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and slurring “the other” correlates with Freethought Blogs, as opposed to that bastion of progressiveness that is The Slymepit. What an inverted worldview you have.

    Hey, it may be inverted, but I believe it. In the atheist community, looking at American politics, liberals seem to be by far the majority. there are a handful of libertarians, and a couple of others. We are awfully quick to dismiss the opinions of people with whom we disagree. But dismissing people based on minor differences – well, wasn’t overcoming that the entire goal of the civil rights movement? I’m not a huge fan of the atheism plus movement, not because I don’t believe in social justice, but because it seems to double down on race and gender and sexuality as being the most important part of our value as human beings. Excessive focus on race and gender? Not exactly what I would consider left-wing politics. So, yes, it is inverted, but I don’t think it is wrong.

  83. 83
    Hank_Says

    82:

    Hey, it may be inverted, but I believe it

    And … that settles it?

    I’m not a huge fan of the atheism plus movement, not because I don’t believe in social justice, but because it seems to double down on race and gender and sexuality as being the most important part of our value as human beings. Excessive focus on race and gender? Not exactly what I would consider left-wing politics. So, yes, it is inverted, but I don’t think it is wrong.

    In what way is it excessive (and how would “excessive” focus on race/gender/sexuality not be “left wing”, considering that any focus on those issues routinely attracts accusations from the right of ultra-left hippy socialism)? Seems no more excessive than Regular Atheism(tm)’s focus on the usual approved issues like secular government/schools, proper science education et al; it rather seems like an expansion of Regular Atheism to include these important social justice goals.

  84. 84
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Edward Gemmer is adorable, isn’t he? He’s like Rush Limbaugh, Jr. He’s going to say that same idiotic nonsense about political correctness and hate speech and thought police, but he’s going to claim to be a liberal because he hates his father while being the same person. He’ll think that taking the opposite position of decent people is automatically correct, but he’ll stupidly get the political orientation wrong because he’s even dumber than Rush Sr.

  85. 85
    carlie

    But dismissing people based on minor differences

    Edward, have you looked at what they do? Look at it. Let that sink in. That’s just what they’ve done in the last couple of months, to one single person. That’s the kind of activity and “discourse” you’re talking about. That is not a “minor difference”.

    Excessive focus on race and gender?

    Yeah, that’s what they’re doing. We wouldn’t have to focus on race and gender if they’d stop trying to bludgeon us with it at every turn.

  86. 86
    Edward Gemmer

    In what way is it excessive (and how would “excessive” focus on race/gender/sexuality not be “left wing”, considering that any focus on those issues routinely attracts accusations from the right of ultra-left hippy socialism)? Seems no more excessive than Regular Atheism(tm)’s focus on the usual approved issues like secular government/schools, proper science education et al; it rather seems like an expansion of Regular Atheism to include these important social justice goals.

    Race, gender, and sexuality are fine to focus on. I’m certainly happy to see efforts to promote more diversity in the community. Lots of atheists want to see that, because remember, most of us are pretty liberal on the American political train. Where things go awry is the demonization of anyone who doesn’t agree with the approved messages. I even looked at the Atheism Plus forum, where they have a giant thread devoted to arguments you aren’t allowed to make there, few of which have much to do with atheism. Between the thought policing and the meanness displayed towards people not in the group, it reminds me of church. Church is not a left wing institution, even though lots of Democrats go to church.

  87. 87
    Edward Gemmer

    Edward, have you looked at what they do? Look at it. Let that sink in. That’s just what they’ve done in the last couple of months, to one single person. That’s the kind of activity and “discourse” you’re talking about. That is not a “minor difference”.

    See, this is what I’m talking about. I see people cracking jokes, and you see harassment. That’s pretty tame compared to what you might see on the LSU fark board. I don’t get offended by good fat jokes. I’m only offended by bad ones. Does this make me right and you wrong? No, it makes us different, which may be why there are various places on the interwebs to talk and we don’t have to talk in the same ones.

  88. 88
    Raging Bee

    I was about to compose a long comment summing up my thoughts on this whole “accord” thing…and then I thought, screw it. Talking to the MRAs, Pittizens, and other harassers and hatemongers is a waste of time and energy; and talking about the very idea of “discussing” any sort of “accord” with them is also a waste of time and energy.

    We don’t need to “discuss” anything with ignorant, hateful, uneducable pond-scum. We need to be duscussing real issues with people who are affected by those issues and are likely to at least understand what we have to say about them.

    If we want to talk about feminism, misogyny, and issues affecting women’s freedom and safety, we should be talking to (and about) the women affected by such issues, and other people willing to at least listen, if not help. We don’t need to bother with a minority of hardcore haters; we need to reach out to the mainstream, and thus do our part to isolate the haters. The haters prove every day that there’s no use talking TO them; and since we can’t kill them or disenfranchise them, the best alternative left is to talk AROUND them.

    There are plenty of people we can reach out to who share at least some of our basic values and priorities, both theist and atheist. We should be talking to people who might support us, not those who consistently (and mindlessly) oppose us no matter what we say or do.

  89. 89
    Raging Bee

    I don’t get offended by good fat jokes. I’m only offended by bad ones. Does this make me right and you wrong? No, it makes us different…

    Gemmer, do you actually think that’s a grown-up thing to say? I used to hear that crap from junior-high mouth-breathers relentlessly bullying whoever they thought they could bully without consequences, and pretending their latest insulting “joke” was the height of cleverness. I used to BE one of those mouth-breathers, so I know pointless infantile nonsense when I hear it. Been there, done that, grew up a little, found less embarrassing ways to get attention. Do you really think you’re fooling anyone?

    This is why there’s no point in “discussing” anything with the Pittiful Pittizens: half of them are simply incapable of acting like grownups, and the other half don’t want to.

  90. 90
    carlie

    I see people cracking jokes, and you see harassment

    That’s the most intelligence-free kind of joking there is.
    But fine. Where do you see any discourse, then? What valid points have they made about, well, anything?

  91. 91
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    I see people cracking jokes, and you see harassment.

    I just… WHAT? If you crack jokes at someone’s expense in a very personal and invasive manner, using body-shaming and misogynistic (and yes, “cunt” is misogynistic) terminology, that is harassment! What don’t you get about that?

    Jeez, no wonder we have no hope for anybody who calls the Pit their home.

  92. 92
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    How about this? “I see people ribbing each other, and you see bullying.” or “I see people standing up for their honest religious beliefs, and you see homophobia.”

    You know, there are definitions for words. In my examples above, “bullying” has a very specific definition, and your interpretation of such hypothetical events has no bearing on whether or not said events are a true example of bullying (or homophobia, etc.) or not.

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (and many other sources), to harass means “to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct”. Verbal can, and often does, include online statements directed at a particular individual. Guess what THIS is an example of? Yup, that’s right: harassment.

  93. 93
    Raging Bee

    Every time you call someone stupid because they disagree with you, or call someone sexist because they disagree with you, or (for crying out loud) call someone a rapist because they disagree with you, you are making the atheist community look like a bunch of dopes.

    But when Gemmer tries to justify “good fat jokes” and pretend that makes him a “man” of “taste,” that makes the atheist community look like the smartest people who ever lived, right?

    Thanks for your concern, Gemmer, but we really don’t need a lying asshole like you to tell us what does or does not make the atheist community look intelligent.

  94. 94
    Edward Gemmer

    Gemmer, do you actually think that’s a grown-up thing to say?

    I don’t know. I’m grown up, but we always have more growing to do. My point is that I like good jokes. On the internet, there are lots people making lots of jokes, and most of them probably aren’t that good. That doesn’t mean we need to end humor. I can’t say I’m very sympathetic to Ms. Zvan, who I don’t know at all, but it does appear she started some sort of internet movement to get rid of Justin Vacula from some other agency, so it does appear she likes to bully people too. I am more offended by internet campaigns over fat jokes. That’s just who I am, and my brief time in the atheist internet community has taught me that there are different sorts of people in the world. Coming to appreciate them isn’t always easy, but I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s part of the never-ending process of growing up.

    Where do you see any discourse, then? What valid points have they made about, well, anything?

    If by they you mean the Slymepit, I guess it depended on what you are looking for. I haven’t posted there much but I did have some interesting conversations with people who identify as mens right movement people, who were polite and challenged my views and made me refine what I was thinking. They are a pretty diverse bunch, which I like because there is always someone who disagrees with you. When I’m arguing with people, I tend to work a lot harder to prove my points and figure things out. Otherwise, I get lazy and watch too much Maury Povich.

    If you crack jokes at someone’s expense in a very personal and invasive manner, using body-shaming and misogynistic (and yes, “cunt” is misogynistic) terminology, that is harassment! What don’t you get about that?

    I recall a Jay Leno skit where he pretended to be Rush Limbaugh and spent the whole time eating whip cream from the can. I laughed, and I’m not sorry for all the body-shaming harassment Rush got. At the Slymepit they are always making fun of Justin Vacula’s mustache. I laugh at that too. I’m definitely in the camp that appreciates humor more than constant worry about offending someone. We’ve all got lines though, and I can see where you have drawn yours.

    But when Gemmer tries to justify “good fat jokes” and pretend that makes him a “man” of “taste,” that makes the atheist community look like the smartest people who ever lived, right?

    Thanks for your concern, Gemmer, but we really don’t need a lying asshole like you to tell us what does or does not make the atheist community look intelligent.

    I doubt what I do affects anyone’s perception of the atheist community, because I’m not that important. However, I am trying to develop ideas about it. I’m pretty attached to being an Atheist for Jesus. That being said, what am I lying about? I’m trying to be honest about my opinions of things. I just discovered all this stuff a few weeks ago, and have spent more time learning about how all the atheists hate each other instead of anything that resembles a movement or strong community. I do feel that constant sniping makes the community look petty, and the tendency to treat people like garbage makes people feel unwelcome. Calling me a lying asshole doesn’t make me feel particularly welcome.

  95. 95
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    I recall a Jay Leno skit where he pretended to be Rush Limbaugh and spent the whole time eating whip cream from the can. I laughed, and I’m not sorry for all the body-shaming harassment Rush got.

    Then you fail to see how despicable that is. I abhor body-shaming no matter who the target is. Any decent human being should. It’s like saying, “It’s OK to call a black person a nigger, as long as that person is a horrible person.”

    Nope, sorry. You are right, however, in one thing: you definitely have some growing up to do.

  96. 96
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    And, no, making fun of somebody’s mustache is not the same as making fun of somebody’s weight… or race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or what-have-you. I seriously hope you don’t need somebody to explain to you why that is the case.

  97. 97
    Raging Bee

    They are a pretty diverse bunch, which I like because there is always someone who disagrees with you. When I’m arguing with people, I tend to work a lot harder to prove my points and figure things out. Otherwise, I get lazy and watch too much Maury Povich.

    Pure ridiculous mealy-mouthed bullshit. Do you really think your empty anecdote means anything, on a thread that started with photographic evidence of how the Pitty Party really behave?

    And you wonder why I call you a lying asshole? You haven’t even proved your anecdote is true, let alone that it’s representative of what normally goes on there.

    (And besides, if the Pitters are so willing to argue like adults, why are they so unwilling to give up the infantile crap?)

    I recall a Jay Leno skit where he pretended to be Rush Limbaugh and spent the whole time eating whip cream from the can. I laughed…

    Your “sense” of “humor” is pretty infantile. I, for one, moved on from such crude fat jokes somewhere between grade-school and junior-high.

    … and I’m not sorry for all the body-shaming harassment Rush got.

    Do you really think Rush got even one percent of the harrassment and over-the-top hostility that people like Stephanie get, from both the Pit and other sources? Do you really think Rush is as exposed to the hate as most women who don’t have “jobs” spouting nonsense in windowless enclaves are exposed to?

    And do you really think something is harmless just because you think it’s funny?

  98. 98
    Raging Bee

    I just discovered all this stuff a few weeks ago, and have spent more time learning about how all the atheists hate each other instead of anything that resembles a movement or strong community.

    In other words, you’re new here, and you’re only paying attention to the stuff that reinforces your prejudices. If you really want to learn something, you can start by noticing that there’s a LOT more going on at FTB than this thread. I just counted THIRTY-SIX blogs listed in the blogroll above. How many of them have you had a look at?

    And how can you expect us to believe you’re “learning” about all this hate, when all your comments here are devoted to excusing the same hate — and absolutely nothing else?

  99. 99
    carlie

    So Edward, here’s today’s example. What are your thoughts?

  100. 100
    carlie

    And I’d also like your thoughts on this comment at that piece:

    I’m sure this has been pointed out, but you have a fun dilemma with posting examples of online harassment:
    Withhold examples, and you’re lying. “I haven’t seen any evidence of this so-called harassment!”
    Give examples, and you’re a drama queen, professional victim, &c, &c, &c.

    Seems a no-win situation.

    So? What do you think they should do?

  101. 101
    Raging Bee

    carlie: I predict his “thoughts” will be something along the lines of “I just had a reasonable discussion in the same place last Tuesday, and we all have different standards of what that means, so shut up.”

  102. 102
    Raging Bee

    I don’t know.

    You don’t know what constitutes grown-up behavior? And you actually think you sound credible here?

  103. 103
    Edward Gemmer

    Then you fail to see how despicable that is. I abhor body-shaming no matter who the target is. Any decent human being should. It’s like saying, “It’s OK to call a black person a nigger, as long as that person is a horrible person.”

    Well, (1) you may abhor body shaming, but that doesn’t mean every decent human being does, and (2) I don’t recommend dropping n-bombs on people, but I also watched and very much enjoyed Chappelle’s Show, which was quite free with that (as well as several other things). So maybe I just enjoy infantile humor. Either way I’m not writing off the body as yet another thing that is taboo and we should never talk about in a humorous way.

    And, no, making fun of somebody’s mustache is not the same as making fun of somebody’s weight… or race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or what-have-you. I seriously hope you don’t need somebody to explain to you why that is the case.

    Actually I do. If body-shaming is a terrible thing, I’m not sure why some parts of the body get off scott free.

    In other words, you’re new here, and you’re only paying attention to the stuff that reinforces your prejudices. If you really want to learn something, you can start by noticing that there’s a LOT more going on at FTB than this thread. I just counted THIRTY-SIX blogs listed in the blogroll above. How many of them have you had a look at?

    Not exactly. I had no idea how prickly things were until I got banned from Pharyngula, ironically because I was interested in talking about a very unprivileged class: criminals.

    So Edward, here’s today’s example. What are your thoughts?

    I don’t get the joke. There are better dirty Ms Paint drawings around. If you like college football, try Prevail and Ride, though warning NSFW.

    So? What do you think they should do?

    I like what she did – post a link and try to draw a picture of a sloth. Where I disagree with her is the excessive victimhood of it. Is everyone who has a mean picture of them a “victim.” A victim of what? Mean pictures? Obama has entire pornos made in his image – is he a victim of the porn industry? I get called names here: am I a victim of mean people calling me names? When one points out an annoyance, one points out an annoyance. When one points out an annoyance then talks about how terribly hard it is to be them, well, that is embracing the role of being a victim. I know a bit about victims because I work with criminals and actually see and have to question victims. Some of them embrace the role more than others. It is an interesting phenomenon.

  104. 104
    smhll

    I can’t say I’m very sympathetic to Ms. Zvan, who I don’t know at all, but it does appear she started some sort of internet movement to get rid of Justin Vacula from some other agency, so it does appear she likes to bully people too.

    Sounds like you haven’t read her blog, even on the day she posted the entire petition (which was quite matter-of-fact) and yet you have an opinion of her behavior based on hearsay. You are not on the fast track to becoming a good skeptic if that’s a sample of how you make up your mind.

  105. 105
    LykeX

    @Edward Gemmer

    I’ve already spent all my patience for today, so I’ll keep it brief; you’re coming off as a disingenuous asshole who simply wants to protect his perceived right to trash other people and recents the fact that somebody might tell him to stop.

    For example, I wonder if you really, honestly can’t tell the difference between mutual kidding about body parts or functions and body shaming. One’s funny, the other isn’t. It’s as simple as the difference between laughing with and laughing at. It’s not a complicated matter and if you really don’t understand it, you need to shut the fuck up until you get to third grade.
    The other option is that you’re a fucking scumbag who’s simply pretending not to understand it, so that you can continue to act like an asshole and pretend it’s everybody else’s fault that they can’t see what a “funny” guy you really are.

    Whether that’s accurate or not I can’t tell, nor do I care. It’s the impression you give. You can take that under advisement or not.

  106. 106
    Jason Thibeault

    Funny how the narrative in the political media is generally, X right-winger says Y thing about Z ethnic group; the Left balks at such slurs; the Right complains about the “PC culture”. And here Edward Gemmer thinks that that dynamic is completely inverted.

  107. 107
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes, I know, he’s said more ridiculous stuff since, but I’m still stuck on that point.

  108. 108
    Edward Gemmer

    Do you really think Rush got even one percent of the harrassment and over-the-top hostility that people like Stephanie get, from both the Pit and other sources?

    Interesting thought. I am absolutely no supporter of Rush Limbagh because he is a blowhard who says outrageous things for money, and he’s not even funny about it, just mean and awful. But I don’t think there is any question that he has gotten much more harassment than any of these people. Just off the top of my head, I know that Al Franken wrote a bestselling book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot” (which I enjoyed). Also, the state of Florida pursued him pretty hard to get a prescription drug charge, even taking some pretty unusual steps to secure some evidence. I imagine if I have no problems calling him names, then thousands and thousands of other people do too. So I’m fairly certain he gets more harassment than any atheist, probably. Whether it is deserved or not, well, that’s a different question.

  109. 109
    Edward Gemmer

    I’ve already spent all my patience for today, so I’ll keep it brief; you’re coming off as a disingenuous asshole who simply wants to protect his perceived right to trash other people and recents the fact that somebody might tell him to stop.

    For example, I wonder if you really, honestly can’t tell the difference between mutual kidding about body parts or functions and body shaming. One’s funny, the other isn’t. It’s as simple as the difference between laughing with and laughing at. It’s not a complicated matter and if you really don’t understand it, you need to shut the fuck up until you get to third grade.

    I’m clearly not explaining myself well. For one, I don’t think I’ve trashed anyone on this thread, and I generally don’t trash people for any reason (though it is known to happen). In fact, the reason I don’t generally like the Atheist Plus stuff is because of the excessive amount of trashing of people. If I ask a question, or say something someone disagrees with, it seems the first impulse of half the people is to insult me. That stuff is pretty common on the interwebs, but what is very hard for me to fathom is why it is so widely tolerated in the same thread bashing others for being insulting. To me, just pick one – either insults are fine and dandy or their not. But that’s me, and my entire point of posting here is to agree with the initial post, which is there isn’t going to be some sort of peace treaty that everyone is happy with.

    Funny how the narrative in the political media is generally, X right-winger says Y thing about Z ethnic group; the Left balks at such slurs; the Right complains about the “PC culture”. And here Edward Gemmer thinks that that dynamic is completely inverted.

    Yep. It’s my thought that valuing diversity and free speech are liberal things. The atheism plus has some good qualities, no doubt, but too often it seems intent on excluding people and limiting conversation. I compare it to a church because it operates like a church. There is a certain way you have to think, and certain things you never say. Followers even have a form of confession where they talk about all the things they’ve done as privileged people that were so awful. But if they follow all the prescribed actions, they pile on anyone who doesn’t do those things or has the audacity to question them. Just substitute “sexist” for “sinner”, and they are practically indistinguishable.

    I feel like I’m getting a little preachy myself. That’s not my intent. It’s just that I agree – there may be groups that just don’t play well with each other in the atheist community. Talking about it won’t help. You are going to think your way and think I’m wrong and I’m going to think my way and think you’re wrong, and that’s that. An agree to disagree may be the best that there is going to be, but I thank you for not banning me because I enjoy talking about it.

  110. 110
    LykeX

    To me, just pick one – either insults are fine and dandy or their not

    Or insulting someone for what they do or say is fine, while insulting them for what they are is not. But hey, who wants fine distinctions when you can have broad, sweeping generalizations instead?

  111. 111
    Edward Gemmer

    Or insulting someone for what they do or say is fine, while insulting them for what they are is not. But hey, who wants fine distinctions when you can have broad, sweeping generalizations instead?

    Well, ok. How do we decide what someone is or isn’t? Is being racist who someone is? Is being Christian the way someone is? Yes, I know, people can change and do or say different things. What about people with anger issues? What about pedophiles? They clearly have some wiring that has gone wrong. Is it wrong to insult them? I’m not trying to be cute, but it seems to me that bright line rules for insults are generally hard to keep track of.

  112. 112
    LykeX

    Not hard at all. Again, what they do, not what they are.
    I don’t care if you are a racist, as long as you don’t act like it. It’s what you say and do that cause problems. What you think is only relevant insofar that it affects your actions. Even actions are only relevant insofar that they affect other people.
    What about people with anger issues? Well, what about them? The problem isn’t that the person has anger issues, it’s what they they do as a result that matters. Do they seek therapy and deal with it or do they just go around beating the crap out of others? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

  113. 113
    carlie

    I’m clearly not explaining myself well

    Oh, you’re explaining yourself perfectly well. Possibly better than you even mean to.

  114. 114
    SallyStrange

    Is being racist who someone is?

    Maybe, but since nobody’s a telepath, we’ll never know. Anyway, nobody cares unless they say or do racist things.

    Is being Christian the way someone is?

    Maybe, but since nobody’s a telepath, we’ll never know. And it’s really not a problem unless the “Christian things” they do involve attempting to force other people to follow their religious laws, promoting anti-science curricula in classrooms, persecuting LGBT people, etc. If the Christian things they do involve praying and donating to charity, well, it’s not a problem, is it? And if all Christians restrained themselves to actions like that, which help rather than harm other people, there’d probably be no atheist movement.

    Yes, I know, people can change and do or say different things.

    So, you just answered your own rhetorical question–people change. Ergo those things which they change–like holding racist views, saying racist things, or attempting to turn the USA into a theocracy are not things people ARE, they are things people DO.

    What about people with anger issues?

    What about them? They either learn to deal with their anger positively or they are excluded from prosocial activities.

    What about pedophiles?

    What about them? They either learn to deal with their proclivities in ways that don’t harm children or they go to jail.

    They clearly have some wiring that has gone wrong. Is it wrong to insult them?

    I’m not sure that science has established that it’s a definite wiring thing, but either way, it depends on the content of the insult. Calling a pedophile a faggot because he chooses to rape boys rather than girls is right out–it does more damage to the population of innocent gay men who would never molest a child than it does to the pedophile himself. Of course, if we are to use pit logic here, calling a pedophile a pedophile is an insult because being a pedophile is a Bad Thing, and if we see a pedophile writing about how much he would really like to rape a child, and because of that we label him a pedophile, we are Suppressing His Freeze Peach. Unless we have proof positive that he has actually raped a child, it’s bullying and witch-hunting to draw the conclusion that he’s a pedophile and labeling him thus is an abridgment of his right to Freely Speak about the upside of child molestation. You may think I’m exaggerating but really I’m not.)

    I’m not trying to be cute, but it seems to me that bright line rules for insults are generally hard to keep track of.

    Good you’re not trying, because you’re not at all cute. It’s pretty simple, but only if you grok empathy. I’m not getting the impression that you do. General guideline for those intellectually- or empathy-impaired: stick to insulting people by comparing them to inanimate objects and you should be golden. Like “dildo”. Personally I’m a big fan of dildos, so to me it’s nonsensical as an insult, but at least dildos aren’t a marginalized subgroup of the population and so you won’t need to worry about contributing to their marginalization.

  115. 115
    smhll

    “What someone is” means inherent qualities, not volitional choices.

  116. 116
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes, very amusing. Someone is inherently racist, so pointing out their racism is the greater offense? Much like how people say misogynist or sexist things, and when called on it, react as though they’ve been accused of being a sexist parody of Yosemite Sam screaming “I hates them wimmins” when all we really said was “that thing you said was sexist”?

    Pedophilia is a different story. It’s possible wires are crossed, and one must not damn them for that fact alone — some pedophiles realize it and take measures to keep themselves from ever hurting children. But the fact is, if we express tolerance for that as though it’s an immutable fact, children can be and will be hurt. This is a disorder with consequences and the correct thing to do, while not vilifying the pedophile, is to ensure they do not hurt children. If they do not themselves recognize the conflict and will not engage in treatment for the disorder, then they should be isolated from children.

    And we do this in society right now. The same society that generally frowns upon (overt) racism, (overt) sexism, or (overt) homophobia. Except, of course, in some pockets. Some sad, religiously-steeped pockets.

    The pedophilia question is entirely unlike someone attacking someone else for being black, or being a woman, or being overweight, or being gay, or being misassigned a gender at birth. All of which we strive to avoid, because we happen to WANT diversity on this side of the rift, and therefore want to avoid discouraging it by alienating folks who aren’t cis white hetero males.

    Your brand of “free speech” being what it is, e.g. a demand for the right to be offensive to minorities and underprivileged folks, does not encourage that diversity, so your inverted worldview falls again.

  117. 117
    Edward Gemmer

    Maybe, but since nobody’s a telepath, we’ll never know.

    Maybe we won’t, but then, every time you insult someone for being racist, sexist, or religulous (if that’s a word), you are risking insulting someone based on who they are, which is something bad I’ve just been told.

    I love sports, but one of the more interesting things to see is watching what happens when a rival fan comes on to another team’s page. Almost immediately, with provocation or not, the person is insulted based solely on their standing as rooting for another team, even though everyone involved loves football. You can also watch this on political websites. You can see it here, too. What’s hard to figure out are the insults based on some “threat of the outsider” v. insults based on something substantive.

    Personally I’m a big fan of dildos, so to me it’s nonsensical as an insult, but at least dildos aren’t a marginalized subgroup of the population and so you won’t need to worry about contributing to their marginalization.

    I’m not that worried about that in the first place. Does this make me a bad person? My daughters are black, and marginalized according to you, but also work to make sure they are in the best school district in my area. I work in a relatively low-paying job representing criminals, all of them in poverty and most of them among the most unprivileged people you could ever meet. But I don’t feel that using various words marginalizes anyone. Life is full of mysteries.

    “What someone is” means inherent qualities, not volitional choices.

    Maybe so. Someone chooses to rob a bank. Someone chooses to eat too much. Someone chooses to have premarital sex. Someone chooses to burn a cross in a yard. Someone chooses to drink too much. Choices are in abundance.

    Someone is inherently racist, so pointing out their racism is the greater offense?

    I don’t know about all that. Look, what does all this “atheist in-fighting” consist of? Essentially, people saying lots of mean things about each other. Fat, stupid, sexist, racist, yadda, yadda the list goes on. Everyone making the insults feel they are justified in making their insults. You feel justified calling people sexist because you think they are being sexist. Some slymepit people feel justified making fat jokes because she is fat and is mean to people. I assume Ms. Zvan doesn’t feel she is mean to people, so she feels justified calling people names because they are insulting her for no reason. Self-reflection isn’t particularly strong among when we can hurt each other’s feelings.

    Your brand of “free speech” being what it is, e.g. a demand for the right to be offensive to minorities and underprivileged folks, does not encourage that diversity, so your inverted worldview falls again.

    It isn’t a demand for anything. Free speech isn’t a brand; it just is. Everyone supports it, and everyone has a limit on when they think it shouldn’t be practiced. Under the first amendment (in America), the government can’t regulate, say, your right to say you don’t like the president. You can be put in jail for saying you want to kill the president. There is the fire in the crowded theater. There is the 2 Live Crew and indecency. Deleting the n word and the b word from our culture would also eliminate a lot of things I enjoy, from The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn to Chappelle’s Show. On the scale of life, I’m not comfortable with ideals about deleting words, even if said words are offensive to some people.

    When it comes down to it, fat jokes and Paint pictures just don’t offend me that much. I am more offended by Adam Lee casually calling people rapists and people calling everyone stupid are offensive to me. We all get offended by different things, and clearly, our communities aren’t especially worried about offending people. It’s just the targets that we disagree on.

  118. 118
    Jason Thibeault

    I am more offended by Adam Lee casually calling people rapists

    Citation fucking well needed.

  119. 119
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Edward Gemmer wrote:

    When it comes down to it, fat jokes and Paint pictures just don’t offend me that much.

    Here’s a novel thought: try contemplating the idea that there are people who aren’t you. No, really. Take your time. Once you’ve managed that and pondered the implications, maybe you’ll be able to grasp what’s going on here.

  120. 120
    Raging Bee

    For one, I don’t think I’ve trashed anyone on this thread…

    Who cares what you think? You already admitted you don’t know if bragging about your appreciation of fat jokes is grownup behavior; and before that you admitted you couldn’t distinguish humor from insulting harassment. And on top of all that, you suck at using [blockquote] (or anything else) to separate your own words from what you’re quoting. Your pants-on-head cluelessness is reaching epic proportions, so what you think doesn’t mean squat.

    And to be exact, pretending that your appreciation of fat jokes is as important as the feelings of people who find themselves the butt of such jokes, may not be “trashing” in the strictest sense of the word — but it’s a very reasonable facsimile thereof. Quite frankly, I’ve never met someone so self-important who had so little on his mind. All this bloviation just to talk about your love of “good” fat jokes? Even among self-important attention-hogging trolls you’re a disgrace.

  121. 121
    Jason Thibeault

    I actually care what he thinks, Raging Bee, mostly because I feel this absurd need to plumb the depths of this Bizarro outlook on the skeptical/secular landscape.

  122. 122
    Raging Bee

    I had no idea how prickly things were until I got banned from Pharyngula, ironically because I was interested in talking about a very unprivileged class: criminals.

    I know for a fact that PZ himself has talked about criminals and suspected criminals, and commenters have talked about criminals without being banned — so I’m pretty sure you’re lying about why you were really banned. If you were banned at all, that is.

  123. 123
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    For the curious here is the thread PZ cites in the Dungeon for banning Gemmer: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/01/neither-bullied-nor-cajoled/

    Ctrl-F “gemmer” gives 99 results, quite a few of which seem to be him acting obnoxious. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mention anything about “criminals” until comment #125, where he appears to be trying to draw an equivalence between putting a person in jail and banning them from a blog.

    The rest of his comments are basically a bunch of whining which, I would say, are accurately characterized by PZ at #299:

    Gemmer has taken a thread about how women ought to be respected as equals and invaluable contributors to atheism, and turned it into a thread about how he, a white man, is so damned oppressed.

  124. 124
    Edward Gemmer

    Citation fucking well needed.

    I think you linked it. In his tweet longer about things he talks about how we just shouldn’t threaten to rape women or touch them and also we should support free child care at conventions. I read that an I admit, it pissed me off. Who the hell is this guy? Where does he get off suggesting I’m a rapist, or a creeper? I’d love free health care at conventions – I might actually go to one. But yeah, I wasn’t a fan of his on that count. And yes, I understand you don’t think he meant that with his twit longer and we feel differently about all of that. Either way, I hated it. There was also the undercurrent of that racist ideology of the black boogeyman out to get you. People are unsafe! Because of this vague threat out there! That stuff is probably personal to me, though.

    Here’s a novel thought: try contemplating the idea that there are people who aren’t you. No, really. Take your time. Once you’ve managed that and pondered the implications, maybe you’ll be able to grasp what’s going on here.

    Noted. Still don’t get that excited about the b-word.

    Who cares what you think?

    It’s a good question. Mostly no one, I would guess. Still, isn’t consideration for the thoughts of others the entire basis for this? I don’t like excessive insults because they hurt people’s feelings. It just seems ugly to me. But clearly what I feel is ugly is not the same as you. It’s the side effect of diversity – people don’t all feel the same way about everything, nor should they.

    I know for a fact that PZ himself has talked about criminals and suspected criminals, and commenters have talked about criminals without being banned — so I’m pretty sure you’re lying about why you were really banned. If you were banned at all, that is.

    Oh I’m definitely banned. PZ listed the reason as me being an oppressed white male, though I don’t feel that way and that’s not at all what I was talking about. I was trying to talk about crime and males and why males commit so much crime, a topic important to me because I represent criminals. I think this got taken as me wanting to talk about men’s rights and whatnot – this was before I fully understood all the fighting in the community so maybe I came off that way.

  125. 125
    Jason Thibeault

    No. No, you don’t get to do that. WHO did he call a rapist, specifically? You can’t say “don’t rape” is an accusation that everyone who reads it is a rapist.

  126. 126
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    PZ listed the reason as me being an oppressed white male, though I don’t feel that way and that’s not at all what I was talking about. I was trying to talk about crime and males and why males commit so much crime, a topic important to me because I represent criminals.

    If that’s what you think happened then you are seriously living in bizzaro-world. Or you are terrible at communicating. Or quite possibly both. I’ll let other interested observers read the thread and decide for themselves.

  127. 127
    Edward Gemmer

    Ctrl-F “gemmer” gives 99 results, quite a few of which seem to be him acting obnoxious. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mention anything about “criminals” until comment #125, where he appears to be trying to draw an equivalence between putting a person in jail and banning them from a blog.

    No doubt I was being obnoxious. It’s my natural defense mechanism for being called stupid. However, there were multiple threads I posted in, and I think I was pretty clear who I was and what I was interested in. By that thread I had been called stupid so many times I started talking about that instead. no doubt, I was unprepared for the amount of vitriol atheist sites tend to have.

  128. 128
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Edward Gemmer wrote:

    Noted. Still don’t get that excited about the b-word.

    Then you haven’t thought about it enough. Keep trying. Here’s an analogy that might help: what’s the difference between a billionaire losing a dollar bill and someone beneath the poverty line losing a dollar bill when the amount lost is exactly the same?

    No doubt I was being obnoxious. It’s my natural defense mechanism for being called stupid.

    Funny, most reasonable people’s ‘defence mechanism’ is to consider whether what they did to be called stupid was, in fact, stupid.

  129. 129
    carlie

    You can’t say “don’t rape” is an accusation that everyone who reads it is a rapist.

    I’m sure he’s going back to Schroedinger’s rapist again. Because they can’t seem to figure out that “someone who doesn’t know you doesn’t know if you’re a rapist or not” doesn’t mean “you’re a rapist”. I really don’t understand the mindblock there.

    I was trying to talk about crime and males

    In a thread that was about neither. You were trying to hijack a conversation about something else entirely by flooding the thread with your own comments. You were being a boor.

  130. 130
    Edward Gemmer

    No. No, you don’t get to do that. WHO did he call a rapist, specifically? You can’t say “don’t rape” is an accusation that everyone who reads it is a rapist.

    I can only tell you how it came off to me – basically that everyone he disagreed with wasn’t worth his time until they stopped raping and stalking. I thought it was an ignorant and stupid and offensive thing to say. I’m guessing you don’t feel that way, which is further reason we probably won’t have a Khitomer Accord of Atheists even though we probably agree on a great many things.

    I’m sure he’s going back to Schroedinger’s rapist again. Because they can’t seem to figure out that “someone who doesn’t know you doesn’t know if you’re a rapist or not” doesn’t mean “you’re a rapist”. I really don’t understand the mindblock there.

    I don’t know what he is referring to. I don’t know nothing about no Schroedinger. But casually calling someone a rapist or suggesting they might be a rapist is repulsive. So if you are going to do it, be clear what you mean. For example, in the Shapely Prose post, the author is very clear that while she is talking about rape and a fear of rape, she is aware that the man in question is probably not a rapist, and instead she is talking about her personal fear of it. I don’t know what the point of Adam Lee saying don’t rape was, other than to offend everyone who reads it.

  131. 131
    carlie

    But casually calling someone a rapist or suggesting they might be a rapist is repulsive.

    Ok, then, who did?

    I don’t know what the point of Adam Lee saying don’t rape was, other than to offend everyone who reads it.

    Wait wait wait. You’re saying it’s offensive to people to tell them not to do bad things???????

  132. 132
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Edward Gemmer,

    Have you ever seen that Woodsy Owl commercial that says “give a hoot, don’t pollute”? If so, did it cause you to go into a similarly stupid rage that the United States Forest Service accused you personally of destroying the wilderness? Do you call your local radio and television stations in a blind fury every time they show a PSA advising people in general that they should or shouldn’t do certain things, because how dare they accuse the great Edward Gemmer of having any flaws?

    Are you that big of a narcissist, or that poor of a thinker?

  133. 133
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    What you seem to fail to understand, Gemmer, is that it doesn’t matter whether body-shaming, harassment, etc. offends you… it matters whether or not it offends the actual target of said shaming, harassment, as well as whether this fosters an environment where said shaming/harassment/etc. is more easily tolerated and thus more prevalent.

    But, no, what’s more important is your freedom to enjoy crude humor.

  134. 134
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    To clarify: it doesn’t matter whether these acts offend you, while in a position of privilege and while not being the direct target of said acts.

  135. 135
    SallyStrange

    No doubt I was being obnoxious. It’s my natural defense mechanism for being called stupid.

    Only stupid people have that reaction to being called stupid.

  136. 136
    SallyStrange

    basically that everyone he disagreed with wasn’t worth his time until they stopped raping and stalking.

    Wait, wait… you appear to be saying that Adam should consider people worth his time even if they are raping and stalking.

    It’s probably just a miscommuncation caused by your abject stupidity.

    Please, get more obnoxious now. Dance, puppet, dance!

  137. 137
    SallyStrange

    Are you that big of a narcissist

    Research shows that narcissism is highly correlated with misogyny.

  138. 138
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Goddamnit Sally, if you don’t produce a pie chart, you know the hyper-skeptics won’t believe you. :)

  139. 139
    Stephanie Zvan

    Gemmer, what exactly about saying I’m fat is funny?

  140. 140
    Jason Thibeault

    Edward Gemmer has a lot of problems with rules and consequences, it seems. A prohibition against rape (among many other much milder things), on penalty of being excluded from conversation or being called a sexist or misogynist, is a bridge too far for him. I would suggest that he never take up law, where he might encounter other rules and delineated punishments for them — what? He’s a self-professed lawyer??

    Oh, that must be so difficult for you, Gemmer. Feeling like you’re told every day that you’re all manners of criminal. That cognitive bias must be debilitating.

    But at least you can chuckle about fat bitches.

  141. 141
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    He also does not like to be called stupid. Gemmer thinks that shows a bias against stupid people.

  142. 142
    Jason Thibeault

    I think I can almost parse it. Insults against HIM are a travesty. Insults against NOT-HIM are free speech and liberal hilarity.

  143. 143
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    This is why many of us don’t even want to bother with people such as yourself, Gemmer… if you fail to see the basics, such as why body-shaming and other forms of harassment are bad, then what logical common ground can we possibly have on which to form discussion of issues such as sexism and misogyny? What possible hope is there? I equate things like this — all the time — to creationists. They can’t even come to an agreement that it’s OK to not know certain things (like the origin of the universe), or even basic rules of logic, such as “if there is no evidence for X, it is unreasonable to believe in X”. We need common ground. And it’s plain to see which of us refuses to allow for reality to at least seep in a little.

  144. 144
    Edward Gemmer

    Wait wait wait. You’re saying it’s offensive to people to tell them not to do bad things???????

    Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is extremely offensive, as his tweet was. Here’s an example: Imagine if you go to a store and people are coming and going. The manager singles you out and tells you not to steal. You may not be offended by that, but I imagine some would be. Not every action is going to have the same effect on everyone everywhere.

    What you seem to fail to understand, Gemmer, is that it doesn’t matter whether body-shaming, harassment, etc. offends you… it matters whether or not it offends the actual target of said shaming, harassment, as well as whether this fosters an environment where said shaming/harassment/etc. is more easily tolerated and thus more prevalent.

    But, no, what’s more important is your freedom to enjoy crude humor.

    If it doesn’t matter if the action offends me, why should I care at all? Let’s take the n-word. I’m not personally offended by that word. It triggers very little emotion in me at all. But I’m aware that many, many people are offended by that word and so I don’t use it, because I’m not out trying to offend everyone. However, I also greatly enjoyed Chappelle’s Show, which used the word to great comic effect. It was funny. I would rather enjoy Chappelle’s Show rather than not have anyone use the n word. That’s the spectrum I’m on when it comes to words that offend people. I’m also aware that not everyone agrees. It’s hard for me to see there is one right way to think about the issue, and in fact I hate the idea that there is one right way to think about words that offend people. But as a general rule, I’m pro-word.

    Gemmer, what exactly about saying I’m fat is funny?

    Calling you fat isn’t funny at all. It is insulting and boring. However, saying someone is fat in a clever way may be funny. Why? I don’t know. I’m no psychologist and I can’t explain humor. Why do you laugh at, well, anything?

    <b.Edward Gemmer has a lot of problems with rules and consequences, it seems. A prohibition against rape (among many other much milder things), on penalty of being excluded from conversation or being called a sexist or misogynist, is a bridge too far for him. I would suggest that he never take up law, where he might encounter other rules and delineated punishments for them — what? He’s a self-professed lawyer??

    Maybe. Maybe I think causally tossing out rape accusations is an awful thing to do that insults me, you, women, men, and rape victims. The one group it doesn’t insult is actual rapists, who have just had their crimes compared to disagreeing about whether atheist communities should have harassment policies. I hate, hate, hated his tweet. However, it isn’t my job to convince you to be offended by it. I don’t care. I’m telling you how it made me feel. Speaking up when someone says something out of line – well, isn’t that a big part of the atheism plus community? Maybe I shouldn’t be offended. Taking less offense to things is a goal everyone could probably work on.

    We need common ground. And it’s plain to see which of us refuses to allow for reality to at least seep in a little.

    I’m all for common ground. I am trying to be honest about my feelings, and about my positions. However, you probably aren’t going to convince me that every fat joke ever made was some sort of crime against humanity. My perspective may be screwed, because I work with people who have committed crimes against humanity. Maybe not – one thing that I do believe is that it’s ok to be honest. If something offends you, fine. That may signal a problem with another person, it may signal there is a problem with you, or it may be both. Instead of ferreting out the source of every slight discomfort, I’m all for people talking and expressing how they feel and hopefully being able to accept each other. But I’m not particularly optimistic that this is something that is going to happen. The need to isolate and dismiss other people is strong, as you can see on just about every internet message board everywhere.

  145. 145
    sisu

    Gemmer, what exactly about saying I’m fat is funny?

    My guess would be that he thinks it’s funny because it’s not about him. Plus, body snark is totes witty and clever, and not in the least bit lazy.

  146. 146
    Edward Gemmer

    My guess would be that he thinks it’s funny because it’s not about him. Plus, body snark is totes witty and clever, and not in the least bit lazy.

    I’ve seen this several times. I’ve been insulted several times here and it doesn’t particularly bother me, though I suspect it is a driving force behind a lot of the sniping back and forth among atheists. But as for me, have at it. If you come up with one I like or really offends me, I’ll let you know.

  147. 147
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Plus, I guess EG is going to keep referencing the “casual rape accusations” that exist nowhere except in his feeble imagination? These folks always cling to their dumbest lies, don’t they?

  148. 148
    Jason Thibeault

    Indeed. I still wonder whether he balks at being called a thief when he reads criminal property theft laws, or being called a negligent parent when he reads about negligence laws. Those damn law books, casually calling everyone who reads them thieves and negligent parents!

  149. 149
    LykeX

    Here’s an example: Imagine if you go to a store and people are coming and going. The manager singles you out and tells you not to steal

    I’m waiting with breathless anticipation for you to explain how you were singled out.

    And don’t hide behind “it was just an example.” If you weren’t singled out, then the example is irrelevant, since the whole point of the example is the singling out of an individual. Are you also offended by those shops that have a “shoplifters will be reported to the police” signs? Do you also feel that such signs target you personally?

  150. 150
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I wonder if he calls the police station every time he sees a patrol car out, and attacks the cops for accusing him of a crime. Or same thing when he walks into a bank with security cameras: “TURN THOSE CAMERAS AWAY FROM ME! Why are you treating me like a bank robber? I have done nothing wrong, and your surveillance implies that you think I’m capable of robbing a bank! HOW DARE YOU!”

  151. 151
    SallyStrange

    I would rather enjoy Chappelle’s Show rather than not have anyone use the n word.

    False dichotomy.

    However, you probably aren’t going to convince me that every fat joke ever made was some sort of crime against humanity.

    Straw man.

    Maybe I think causally tossing out rape accusations is an awful thing to do that insults me, you, women, men, and rape victims.

    Outright fabrication.

    Your witness, ladies and gentlemen.

  152. 152
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Imagine if you go to a store and people are coming and going. The manager singles you out and tells you not to steal.

    Wait, who “singled you out” and told you not to rape people?

  153. 153
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Imagine you go to a store and there’s a sign saying “Thiefs will be prosecuted” and “Please have your
    handbag ready for inspection”.
    Funny, I don’t feel particularly prosecuted when the cashier asks me to lift my bag/ basket for a moment so they can see underneath. Poor Edward seems to have issues to big for us to solve.

  154. 154
    Edward Gemmer

    Funny, I don’t feel particularly prosecuted when the cashier asks me to lift my bag/ basket for a moment so they can see underneath. Poor Edward seems to have issues to big for us to solve.

    Maybe. A seemingly unusual number of clients have weird traffic citations such as jaywalking and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or forgetting to use a turn signal when changing lanes. One might suspect that their race or appearance contributes to these odd stops, but I’ll pass on your suggestion that maybe they have issues too big for us to solve.

    One thing that is interesting is the total dismissal that I have any legitimate complaint or anything to be offended about. Is this categorically different from people who claim offense from some possibly racist or sexist act? The dismissal of their feelings happen, too. Which categories are acceptable for feeling offense?

  155. 155
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Who singled you out?

  156. 156
    Jason Thibeault

    I do happen to think that calling people stupid does some amount of splash damage (specifically to people who are less privileged with education), but certainly not as a personal slur. I’m perfectly willing to call you obtuse, mendacious and ass-backward in your philosophies, but not stupid, if only because there are people with less education than you who may be unfairly insulted despite being markedly better thinkers.

  157. 157
    Jason Thibeault

    And yes. Unless you’re going to point out who singled you out to call you a rapist, this conversation is over.

  158. 158
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    One might suspect that their race or appearance contributes to these odd stops

    (I hope Jason will forgive me for being so horribly blunt, but the specimen seems resistant to “listening”)

    HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS RELATE TO YOU!? Or, for the matter any other commenter on a blog? WHERE, WHEN, and BY WHOM were you “singled out?” How does this have ANYTHING to do with “race or appearance?”

    QUESTIONS! Can you answer them!?

  159. 159
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    One thing that is interesting is the total dismissal that I have any legitimate complaint or anything to be offended about.

    That’s because you haven’t shown a damn thing. Nobody has asked you whether you stopped beating your wife.

    Maybe. A seemingly unusual number of clients have weird traffic citations such as jaywalking and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or forgetting to use a turn signal when changing lanes. One might suspect that their race or appearance contributes to these odd stops, but I’ll pass on your suggestion that maybe they have issues too big for us to solve.

    Can I keep the straw? I have rabbits to feed…
    You are complaining about the equivalent of the signs “Be a good example to children, don’t jaywalk” and make it sound like you’re actually a member of a prosecuted minority who actually gets harassed by the police for petty offences.
    Again, you’re whining and you’re apropriating the experiences of underprivileged people for your own ends. That’s despicable.

  160. 160
    Edward Gemmer

    And yes. Unless you’re going to point out who singled you out to call you a rapist, this conversation is over.

    Since I never claimed anyone singled me out, I find this statement odd. Since my personal feelings were questioned, I attempted to compare this situation with another so that it might make more sense. Clearly I failed to explain myself properly. My main point was that I was offended by Adam Lee’s tweet about how if people like Justin Vacula just wouldn’t rape or stalk and be against free child care, he could act with some civility. And that’s that. I understand and am perfectly comfortable with the fact that you aren’t going to feel about it the same way I am.

    You are complaining about the equivalent of the signs “Be a good example to children, don’t jaywalk” and make it sound like you’re actually a member of a prosecuted minority who actually gets harassed by the police for petty offences.

    I don’t recall complaining about any signs nor claiming I’m being harassed by the police.

  161. 161
    SallyStrange

    Since I never claimed anyone singled me out

    More lying. Either people are accusing you, specifically you, of being a rapist, in which case, yes, go ahead and be offended, or they aren’t, in which case no. You don’t get to complain about general proclamations that rape is bad and people shouldn’t do it.

  162. 162
    SallyStrange

    I don’t recall complaining about any signs nor claiming I’m being harassed by the police.

    Ahh, the stupidity again. No, nobody said you did that. What happened was that people drew the analogy between you reading a blog post about how rape is bad and concluding that you’re being accused of rape, and you reading a sign noting that stealing is prohibited and concluding that you’re being accused of theft. And you brought up the police harassment of minorities as if it had something to do with anything, why? Obfuscation or maybe just sheer incoherence and ineptitude, who knows.

  163. 163
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    I never claimed anyone singled me out

    You clearly implied it.

    I don’t recall complaining about any signs nor claiming I’m being harassed by the police.

    Yet you were obviously drawing a comparison to people who are, unfairly, subjected to such harassment. Why would you make that comparison? If you are not claiming that it is analogous to your own situation the why else would you mention it? That is a sincere question.

    WHAT FUCKING RELEVANCE DOES YOUR “EXAMPLE” HAVE?

  164. 164
    SallyStrange

    Adam Lee’s tweet about how if people like Justin Vacula just wouldn’t rape or stalk and be against free child care,

    So… Adam Lee said that Justin Vacula is a rapist and a stalker, huh?

    Something tells me that the citation for this will not be forthcoming.

  165. 165
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’m trying to figure out how something that didn’t actually happen to JV means that EG gets to be offended and make up shit and make really strong false insinuations that he can’t back up.

  166. 166
    LykeX

    One might suspect that their race or appearance contributes to these odd stops, but I’ll pass on your suggestion that maybe they have issues too big for us to solve

    This is the kind of thing that makes me think that maybe Eddie is not as stupid as he seems, but is trolling. That little twist seems to me more indicative of deliberate distortion than simple cluelesness.
    If a person is being singled out due to race, that is obviously not the same as a general rule or statement applied to anyone and the attempt to twist the sentiment into sounding racist is so disingenuous that I can only assume that it’s intentional.

    Since I never claimed anyone singled me out…

    The implication of your example was quite clear and, in fact, central to the point. If you agree that you were never singled out, then what was the point of your example, which was explicitly about somebody being singled out?

  167. 167
    LykeX

    Let’s make it really simple:

    Carlie:

    You’re saying it’s offensive to people to tell them not to do bad things???

    Edward Gemmer:

    Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is extremely offensive, as his tweet was. Here’s an example: Imagine if you go to a store and people are coming and going. The manager singles you out and tells you not to steal. You may not be offended by that, but I imagine some would be

    My emphasis. Please explain, if you agree that you were never singled out, how this example at all relates to this discussion.

  168. 168
    carlie

    Edward, did you realize that you contradicted yourself in the same comment?

    Sometimes it is extremely offensive, as his tweet was. Here’s an example: Imagine if you go to a store and people are coming and going. The manager singles you out and tells you not to steal. You may not be offended by that, but I imagine some would be. Not every action is going to have the same effect on everyone everywhere.

    [...]

    It’s hard for me to see there is one right way to think about the issue, and in fact I hate the idea that there is one right way to think about words that offend people. But as a general rule, I’m pro-word.

    First you said that sometimes people can be extremely offended by others saying things like “don’t be a rapist”, and that’s terrible. That even if another person doesn’t take that statement as offensive, the first one was terribly offended and that means the other person (in this case Adam) shouldn’t be saying it.

    Then, when it comes to fat jokes and using slurs and the like, suddenly it’s free speech everywhere and if someone is offended they just don’t understand that other people aren’t offended, and therefore the offended person should just shut up and roll with it.

    So which is it? Adam should apologize for saying something that offended a few people, even though others didn’t take it as offensive, or Stephanie should chill out and not worry about all the things said that offended her, because others don’t see that as offensive?

  169. 169
    Edward Gemmer

    My emphasis. Please explain, if you agree that you were never singled out, how this example at all relates to this discussion.

    Sure. The point of the example is to show a situation where it would seem weird and arbitrary as to why you were being singled out and while not specifically accused of a crime, treated as if you were. I think it is plain to see that many people would be offended by the store owners actions. The Adam Lee tweet was, as far as I can tell, the conditions he might impose before he would speak to Justin Vacula (or perhaps anyone on “the other side”. Since I find myself on this side, I took it as aimed at me just as much as anyone else. I took the tweet to suggest that anyone who disagrees with him is akin to someone who rapes, stalks, and whatever else evil things you can imagine.

  170. 170
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    disingeuous lying fuckwad: (emphasis mine)

    The point of the example is to show a situation where it would seem weird and arbitrary as to why you were being singled out and while not specifically accused of a crime, treated as if you were.

    Again, no one has singled you out. What the fuck does this have to do with anything?

  171. 171
    carlie

    The point of the example is to show a situation where it would seem weird and arbitrary as to why you were being singled out and while not specifically accused of a crime, treated as if you were. I think it is plain to see that many people would be offended by the store owners actions.

    And again, how is this somehow a terrible thing that should be avoided, whereas if the store owner followed you around the store, made snide comments about everything you put in your cart, told you how fat you were, drew a mustache on your driver’s license when you showed it to them at the cash register, and then insinuated you were too stupid to know how much change you should get back, you should be able to “take a joke” rather than being offended?

  172. 172
    Edward Gemmer

    So which is it? Adam should apologize for saying something that offended a few people, even though others didn’t take it as offensive, or Stephanie should chill out and not worry about all the things said that offended her, because others don’t see that as offensive?

    Now, this is a really, really good question. I don’t know. Clearly I get offended by some things, as much as I try to avoid it. Clearly other people get offended by different things as well. It would be hypocritical of me to say he shouldn’t say this or shouldn’t say that and in the same breathe say he should say whatever he wants. So…

    I don’t know. One thought is that this idea of being offended is part of life. I read his tweet and I got really ticked. It was a real emotion. It didn’t feel great, but it did move me to write about it on the internet. Perhaps this notion that ridding the world of everything that causes some negative emotion is not the most worthwhile goal. Rates of depression in America seem to be increasing despite everyone’s best efforts to protect their children from anything harsh. Suicide rates are not decreasing. I’m not depressed because of anything Adam Lee said (and in fact not depressed at all), but it did tick me off.

    I guess I’d say that encouraging more honesty among people, and discouraging the demonization of people, are pretty simple things. Such rules would probably lead to more racist and sexist comments, but also lead to more understanding and perhaps acceptance among various groups. I don’t know, I can’t prove it.

  173. 173
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    EDWARD GEMMER:
    Who singled you out? If you admit that no one ever did then what is the purpose of your anology to being singled out by a shopkeeper?

  174. 174
    LykeX

    The point of the example is to show a situation where it would seem weird and arbitrary as to why you were being singled out…

    But since you agree you were never singled out, how is the example relevant?

  175. 175
    Jason Thibeault

    I guess I’d say that encouraging more honesty among people, and discouraging the demonization of people, are pretty simple things.

    Indeed. This is why we aren’t saying “walk away from all the people at the Slyme Pit”, we’re saying “repudiate this sort of bullshit that you see on the slimepit”.

    There are important differences: one, people can change. The people are not the people’s actions, and they can easily recognize those actions as harmful and repudiate them. Two, the Slyme Pit is a website. The slimepit is an ethos: an ethos involving a shared experience of having been banned from various things by various feminists and feeling marginalized as a result, then taking out their frustration in very hate-filled and vitriolic ways, proving why someone might be willing to ban them from various conversations.

    If you’re willing to look at the cognitive dissonance of “if you don’t want to be called sexist, don’t do anything on this list of sexist things and people won’t call you sexist any more” and zero in, with laser-like precision, on the one item in the list that you personally don’t do and are offended by the implication, then you’re hyper-fixated on your own emotions and ignoring the emotions of everyone else involved.

    And since you deal with laws every day, where if someone breaks a law there are set punishments, having a set of rules for discussion with one individual surely shouldn’t be that unfamiliar. There’s no reason you should look at that list and say “stop accusing me of all those things” unless you feel as though you’re actually being explicitly targeted — or you have a guilty conscience about some of them.

    If you do any of that laundry list of things, Adam Lee doesn’t consider you worth discussing with. If you don’t do any of those things, then you shouldn’t end up being called sexist or misogynist in the first place, so where’s your loss?

  176. 176
    Edward Gemmer

    If you do any of that laundry list of things, Adam Lee doesn’t consider you worth discussing with. If you don’t do any of those things, then you shouldn’t end up being called sexist or misogynist in the first place, so where’s your loss?

    I have no loss, other than my feelings. Similarly, calling someone fat does not make them lose out on anything, nor does calling someone some sexist or racist slur cost them anything but perhaps some hurt feelings. If hurt feelings are irrelevant, then what is all the fuss about?

  177. 177
    Edward Gemmer

    If you admit that no one ever did then what is the purpose of your anology to being singled out by a shopkeeper?

    To show a situation that can be offensive where no one is actually accused of doing everything.

  178. 178
    Stephanie Zvan

    Similarly, calling someone fat does not make them lose out on anything, nor does calling someone some sexist or racist slur cost them anything but perhaps some hurt feelings. If hurt feelings are irrelevant, then what is all the fuss about?

    It’s not about hurt feelings. It’s about being told that if one is going to participate, one has to participate with people who abuse them. It’s about shutting out everyone in the groups that receive abuse who isn’t willing to put up with the abuse.

    Speaking of which, Jason, I won’t be commenting here while you keep your pet.

  179. 179
    Stephanie Zvan

    Or to put the expected outcome out for everyone to see, please let me know when you tired of this guy who thinks it’s funny to laugh at people calling me fat by the oh-so-clever means of posting a picture of a fat person and saying it’s me.

  180. 180
    Jason Thibeault

    Fair enough Stephanie, he’s growing quite tiresome on my end as well. But I have one last bit of duplicity to wring from him here.

    Edward, don’t post elsewhere on this blog. Especially not on posts by my wife. You’re on a short leash here. You get to keep posting here until I am done with you.

    You said “calling someone fat doesn’t make them lose out on anything”. But that’s not in question — I said “if you don’t do things, you won’t be called sexist and thus where’s your loss?” That means, if you DO do those things, and you lose out on the opportunity to speak to Adam Lee, then that’s because you broke his rules for whom he considers a good-faith arguer.

    Here you’re arguing on the one hand that you should be able to call people fat, and simultaneously that someone “calling you sexist” (who isn’t actually) hurt your feelings. Either you should be okay with people calling you sexist (especially when they aren’t), or you should respect people ‘s feelings Edit: FULL STOP and not call them fat.

    Especially not if by doing so you’re hurting a whole class of people who are overweight for whatever reason outside their control. Or that you’re attacking people for being “overweight” who aren’t actually, only by some societally ingrained standard of beauty that none of us could acheive. Therefore, most of the time you’re calling someone fat, trying to shame them for some kind of moral failing of not being attractive to *you*, you’re flat incorrect. And the rest of the time you’re just being an asshole and doing damage to the whole class of people for no reason whatsoever.

    You’re doing damage to people by demanding your right to call them fat. That behaviour is actually quite bigoted, and calling you a bigot for demanding that right might hurt your feelings, but it’s absolutely and unequivocally correct.

    Either you stop calling people names and thus don’t get called a bigot, or you continue calling people names and accept that people will call you a bigot. You do not get to slice it both ways.

  181. 181
    Jason Thibeault

    To show a situation that can be offensive where no one is actually accused of doing everything.

    Your situation is offensive because the shopkeeper singled you out. Your calling someone fat is doubly offensive because you’re targeting a specific person, and you’re hurting everyone who’s not a societally-accepted weight. Adam Lee’s list is a reply to the request for a cease-fire — it is a list of terms by which he will stop “firing” by calling people sexist and misogynist, in return for people stopping doing a list of things that he (correctly) deems sexist or misogynist. If you feel personally hurt by this, then is it because you did one of those things? Or is it because you were called sexist by Adam and yet you’re not aware of doing one of them? This seems fundamental to why you’re so butthurt.

  182. 182
    Raging Bee

    But since you agree you were never singled out, how is the example relevant?

    It’s relevant because everything is all about him!!! Even when he’s not being singled out, he’s being singled out, because he’s the only person worth talking to. That’s what makes it so tough to be the center of his universe, donchaknow.

  183. 183
    carlie

    And it’s not just emotional hurt – it has been well-documented that people who are overweight get passed over for promotions and raises, are trusted less, and get poor medical treatment from doctors. All those fat jokes simply reinforce that kind of behavior and make it acceptable.

  184. 184
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Disengenuos Gemmer

    To show a situation that can be offensive where no one is actually accused of doing everything.

    We all get that, fuckstick. The question is HOW THE FUCK IS IT RELEVANT TO YOU? Or, for that matter, to THIS FUCKING CONVERSATION?

    Are you capable of answering a straightforward fucking question?

  185. 185
    Jason Thibeault

    YES. Though, I didn’t say “hurt their feelings”, just “hurt them”. That clarification is well warranted and I endorse it wholeheartedly.

    So you either get to hurt people and get told off for it, or you stop hurting people and you stop getting told off for it. Again, I say — you don’t get to slice it both ways. You don’t get to both hurt people and inure yourself against criticism for it.

  186. 186
    Jason Thibeault

    Actually, I correct myself. I did say “respect people’s feelings and not call them fat”. I shall strike the “feelings” from that comment.

  187. 187
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I have no loss, other than my feelings. Similarly, calling someone fat does not make them lose out on anything, nor does calling someone some sexist or racist slur cost them anything but perhaps some hurt feelings. If hurt feelings are irrelevant, then what is all the fuss about?

    Isn’t it funny that some hours ago you compare yourself reading a general message that says “don’t rape” to people who are actually harassed and marginalized for their skin colour or gender and now you claim that people don’t lose anything by being marginalized.
    But you of course are horribly marginalized by somebody making a general statement not directly about you…

  188. 188
    LykeX
    If you admit that no one ever did then what is the purpose of your anology to being singled out by a shopkeeper?

    To show a situation that can be offensive where no one is actually accused of doing everything

    But the whole reason that situation is offensive is because the person’s being singled out. Take that away and it’s no longer offensive and the “being singled out” part is exactly where this scenario differs from your situation.
    All you’ve done is to illustrate the difference between your situation and something genuinely offensive.

  189. 189
    Edward Gemmer

    Speaking of which, Jason, I won’t be commenting here while you keep your pet.

    Edward, don’t post elsewhere on this blog. Especially not on posts by my wife. You’re on a short leash here. You get to keep posting here until I am done with you.

    LOL, you guys are a trip. Look, if you don’t want me to post here, just say so. I’m not trying to insult people, and as far as I can figure it, the most offensive thing I’ve said is that I’m not offended by fat jokes. Guess what, I am fat, so it’s not like I don’t understand the plight of fat people. I’m getting married in June and so I have to try and get in some sort of shape, so maybe I can leave it all behind.

    But that all being said, this exchange hits at the heart of all the issues everyone complains about. One person feels some sort of offense, so she calls me a “pet,” and now I’m not supposed comment on other subjects, because…I’m not offended by fat jokes? And some person will refuse to comment on your blog as long as there is someone there who isn’t offended by fat jokes?

    This is why there will be no cease-fire or Khitomer Accord or whatever you’d like to call it. People can’t just talk and ask each other questions and appreciate different point of views and different feelings. No, no, if you don’t have the “right” feelings, you are a pariah and deserve whatever scorn someone can muster. You can go on and on about sexism and racism and fatty-ism or whatever other ‘ism floats your boat on that particular day. It stills comes down to you think your “right,” and it’s ok to do whatever you want to those that are “wrong,” even if it amounts to doing the same thing you were complaining about in the first place. I would imagine you wouldn’t take it kindly if I started spouting off about how I won’t post here as long as there are women, or black people, or fat people, or people with mustaches, or whatever other division you can think of. That would sound arbitrary and silly, and I would deserve all sorts of scorn. But I’m not sure why “someone not offended by fat jokes” is somehow and important class of people that we need to isolate and scorn.

    Or is it because you were called sexist by Adam and yet you’re not aware of doing one of them? This seems fundamental to why you’re so butthurt.

    I’m butthurt because his tweet ignorantly assumes things about people that are not true.

    So you either get to hurt people and get told off for it, or you stop hurting people and you stop getting told off for it. Again, I say — you don’t get to slice it both ways. You don’t get to both hurt people and inure yourself against criticism for it.

    I tend to agree, at least in theory. But then, this doesn’t really match reality, does it. We don’t really mind offending people at all. Clearly, she’s ok with hurting people’s feelings, and she doesn’t like having her feelings hurt. This makes her a human being. We all are looking out for #1, and go around offending people and being offended and on and on. Is there some sort of solution that makes everyone happy? No. But perhaps being more open to diversity and differing people and points of view is a good thing. I think that’s something that has been shown throughout history.

  190. 190
    Raging Bee

    Oh I’m definitely banned. PZ listed the reason as me being an oppressed white male…

    First you say you were banned for talking about criminals; now you change your story and say you were banned for a totally different — yet equally implausible — reason.

    Gemmer, you’re nothing but a pathological liar, and an amazingly stupid one at that. Either that, or you have some kind of real developmental disability, and you should either get help for it, or at least admit it and adopt some measures to compensate.

  191. 191
    Anthony K

    Now here’s a bit of stupidity:

    Here’s a novel thought: try contemplating the idea that there are people who aren’t you. No, really. Take your time. Once you’ve managed that and pondered the implications, maybe you’ll be able to grasp what’s going on here.

    Noted. Still don’t get that excited about the b-word.

    And

    Clearly I get offended by some things, as much as I try to avoid it. Clearly other people get offended by different things as well.

    Edward, you’re terrible at thinking, and you’re incredibly selfish and self-centred.

    That latter part kinda really does make you a shitty person.

  192. 192
    Jason Thibeault

    Released @189 from moderation.

    If I don’t want you to post here, Edward Gemmer, I will say so. I’m putting restrictions on where you can post because you have a tendency of turning threads into all about you, and I won’t have it happen on more than one at a time. In fact, it’s likely at the end of this conversation I’ll say “you’re done here” because you’re not adding anything to any conversation and you’re doing a piss-poor job of defending your hypotheses to begin with, so I keep you here at my leisure for the purposes of showing why your worldview is counterproductive to your stated goals of diversity.

    No, here, you get to defend why you have an absolute right to call people fat via ridiculous juvenile photoshops and still get to demand their attention for “civil discourse”. Here, you get to explain why fat-shaming people is okay if you perceive them to be “mean”, when we’re telling you that even if we think YOU’RE mean, we’re still not going to fat-shame you because it DAMAGES ALL OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE, not just you.

    The reason there can be no Khitomer Accord — by which I mean, a strong alliance where the Federation and the Klingons put aside their differences to fight mutual enemies — is because your “differences” are in whom you’re willing to hurt for teh lolz. When some of those groups of people are the very people we’re trying to make this space welcoming toward, you’re working against us, and we won’t stand for it. When you demand civil discourse about our differences with the same people you’re harassing and making fun of and hurting repeatedly, your demands are nothing short of entitlement — and making STOPPING those hideous acts contingent on us talking to you is horrible. We don’t want to talk to you as a price to you leaving us alone — we want you to leave us alone. If you were interested in defending your ideas without pulling the bullshit on us, you would have done that first, and would have “agreed to disagree” and walked away when people called your sexist attitudes sexist. But no, you had to get together into a collective and ramp up the harassment, the photoshops, the parody accounts, the bullying, the lying and mischaracterization and character assassination.

    And then after all that, THEN you come in demanding a ceasefire — and all the concessions have to be made on our side. We stop calling out sexism and misogyny, THEN you’ll stop harassing us (and go back to being sexist and misogynistic and antifeminist and all manners of woo). In other words, we give up our community and give it all to you. You won’t settle for anything less than the total annihilation of all feminist thought in the freethought movement — and once we all start accepting your right to call people like Stephanie fat because she’s a fucking bitch who wants to destroy TAM (by making harassment policies that prevent your sorts of behaviour), that’s when you’ll finally stop harassing us.

    No.

    That will not happen.

    End of.

  193. 193
    Timid Atheist

    No, no, if you don’t have the “right” feelings, you are a pariah and deserve whatever scorn someone can muster.

    This has been mentioned by Edward Gemmer in a few different ways in this comment thread. I’m a bit confused by this assertion. If you’d be so kind as to explain how being intersectional with racism, feminism, etc. equates to a demand for “right” feelings, I’d appreciate it.

    I personally don’t care if you aren’t offended by fat jokes. I’m fat and I rarely pay attention to fat jokes. That doesn’t mean I think it’s okay for people to make fun of people for being fat. Or for being gay, or for being non-white. It’s not about personal feelings, it’s about caring that you’re hurting someone else.

    The fact that you don’t think of others when coming across jokes at other people’s expense is a luxury you can indulge in. You get to ignore those things because they don’t affect you personally.

    And yet, when someone claims they they won’t tolerate misogyny or someone who condones rape when talking to people, you become personally offended. Without seeing Adam Lee’s comment, I don’t know the context. I can’t comment further than to say that to personally be offended by that seems a very odd reaction considering you weren’t personally addressed in Adam Lee’s tweet. If you’re not personally affected by fat jokes, despite being fat, why would Adam Lee’s comment be different? Your commentary about it being personally offensive to you doesn’t fit with the rest of your assertions.

    I’m trying for benefit of the doubt, but I’ve often seen men, usually white and cis, that aren’t offended by racism, sexism, etc. yet become outraged when they come across comments that tell men (who are the majority of rapists, despite women being a small percentage of rapists) that rape is bad or that misogyny isn’t right.

    When one’s privilege is challenge, one tends to go on the defensive. I’ve done it myself. Doesn’t mean your feelings are wrong, just your basis for those feelings. You shouldn’t go out of your way to give examples of how you’re not racist when it’s pretty obvious that isn’t the problem. (I have black children! I’m marrying a black person! My best friend is black!) You don’t get a boy scout badge for having black people in your life if you’re white. You get to claim to be a decent person by not using your white privilege to pretend people of color don’t have it worse off.

    I sort of lost my way with that comment. My apologies if something is unclear.

  194. 194
    Arakiba

    The douchebag men in the atheist movement who can’t take being called out on their sexism or racism make me laugh. These little princes who think their you-know-what don’t stink and they can say anything and do anything without repercussions are hilarious, because they’re all cowards. That’s why they talk so big online, where they know nobody’s going to give them the beatings they so richly deserve.

  195. 195
    jenniferphillips

    Yuck, Arakiba. Violence is not the right response at all.

  196. 196
    Edward Gemmer

    No, here, you get to defend why you have an absolute right to call people fat via ridiculous juvenile photoshops and still get to demand their attention for “civil discourse”. Here, you get to explain why fat-shaming people is okay if you perceive them to be “mean”, when we’re telling you that even if we think YOU’RE mean, we’re still not going to fat-shame you because it DAMAGES ALL OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE, not just you.

    It’s not that I want some absolute right to call people fat. I don’t tend to call people fat at all. However, I guess what I’m saying is that there is a cost/benefit ratio to everything. Say we end all fat jokes. That would include, ending, say, the funny bit on Letterman where Chris Christie ate a donut. Jokes are fun, and it isn’t required that they hurt people’s feelings. In fact, learning to deal with jokes is a major part of growing up. So ending all fat jokes would, yes, lead to less hurt feelings, but it would also take some enjoyment out of life. This line is the same for pretty much all jokes, because most of them have some potential to cause hurt feelings and some potential to be funny. Where is the line on where a joke shouldn’t be told? There isn’t a right answer – I’m not a particularly sensitive person, so it’s pretty far for me. I don’t care if someone has some hurt feelings from time to time – I don’t think life is made more enjoyable by never having hurt feelings. In fact, I think the opposite – having negative experiences from time to time is an important and essential part of life. That doesn’t mean I think insulting people for no reason is a good thing, but it also means I’m not going to stand on a soapbox so Letterman can’t tell fat jokes about Chris Christie.

    If you’d be so kind as to explain how being intersectional with racism, feminism, etc. equates to a demand for “right” feelings, I’d appreciate it.

    That isn’t a demand for the “right” feelings. What is a demand for the right feelings can be seen in this thread, where I said I was offended by Adam Lee’s tweet and I’m not offended by every fat joke nor the b-word. I fully realize that not everyone here feels the same way. But because I feel differently, I get called all sorts of things. It’s a symptom of racism and sexism, and every other ‘ism, which boils down to drawing differences between people or groups then insulting or dismissing them based on those differences. So it feels empty when a person on one hand demands an end to the insults that big people suffer and in the same breathe insult someone because they don’t agree with them.

    <b.If you’re not personally affected by fat jokes, despite being fat, why would Adam Lee’s comment be different? Your commentary about it being personally offensive to you doesn’t fit with the rest of your assertions.

    I don’t know for sure, and I certainly wouldn’t say it makes some logical, coherent sense. Feelings often don’t make that sort of sense – which is why we consider feelings a separate category from formal logic. I pointed to some reasons that it might be offensive, but I can’t say for sure. However, trying to apply some sort of logical rigor to it is, IMO, misguided. Why are people attracted to each other? Why people beat their partners. There are probably reasons, but it is tough to make sense of them in a case-by-case basis.

    You don’t get a boy scout badge for having black people in your life if you’re white.

    Nor do I want one. But I do want people to quit telling me how unprivileged by daughters are when they are a hell of a lot more privileged than most. And I’m sure I do get defensive. Everyone here gets defensive. It may be about privilege, or the time of day, or anything else – people don’t like being challenged, which is one reason why the insults fly when people are challenged. It’s a fact of life, which is perhaps one reason I don’t get offended by people calling me stupid here, as it says more about them than it does about me.

  197. 197
    Jason Thibeault

    I didn’t have time to produce a full reply to this last Gemmer comment that I’ve released from moderation, nor do I have time now. I’m releasing it so you folks can go to town on it.

  198. 198
    SallyStrange

    I’m weeping in sorrowful anticipation of a sad, sad world where Jay Leno no longer jokes about Chris Christie’s weight.

    Oh, the huge manatee!

  199. 199
    carlie

    I don’t care if someone has some hurt feelings from time to time – I don’t think life is made more enjoyable by never having hurt feelings. In fact, I think the opposite – having negative experiences from time to time is an important and essential part of life.

    So nobody should give a shit that you got offended by Adam’s comment, then? Awesome.

  200. 200
    LykeX

    So ending all fat jokes would, yes, lead to less hurt feelings, but it would also take some enjoyment out of life

    As would the ending of all homicides and rapes and thefts and…

    so it feels empty when a person on one hand demands an end to the insults that big people suffer and in the same breathe insult someone because they don’t agree with them.

    You’re actually going with the “you’re being intolerant of my intolerance” defense?

    I’m bored now. Can we feed him to the sharks already?

  201. 201
    Jason Thibeault

    Yes, what, OH WHAT, could we possibly say about Chris Christie if we were reduced to being unable to make a donut-eating joke about him!? IF ONLY THERE WERE OTHER THINGS ABOUT HIM THAT WERE ACTUAL MORAL FAILINGS!!!

  202. 202
    Edward Gemmer

    So nobody should give a shit that you got offended by Adam’s comment, then? Awesome.

    Well, that’s up to you, isn’t it? I don’t expect you to care a lot, which is kind of my point. Don’t tell me how important it is that we respect everyone’s feelings and at the same time dismiss the feelings of everyone who disagrees with you. The other point is that, hey, there are people out there who don’t have all the same emotions and feelings and opinions and experiences than you do. This really isn’t that bad a thing, and if you consider yourself someone who embraces diversity, then you crave it.

    You’re actually going with the “you’re being intolerant of my intolerance” defense?

    Nope. I’m not being intolerant towards anyone. You are the one apparently declaring certain thoughts and opinions and groups of people as being unacceptable, and your defense to this is to declare them “intolerant.” Come on, that’s just lazy. If you want to be intolerant, be intolerant, but don’t gussy it up with lots of buzzwords about privilege and the like. You don’t like these people, and you don’t like me, and that’s that. I get it. But don’t try and have your cake (I’m a tolerant person!) and eat it too (these people should be obliterated from society, or at least this blog!).

    Yes, what, OH WHAT, could we possibly say about Chris Christie if we were reduced to being unable to make a donut-eating joke about him!? IF ONLY THERE WERE OTHER THINGS ABOUT HIM THAT WERE ACTUAL MORAL FAILINGS!!!

    Now don’t argue like a creationist. You know the type – the one who picks at some arcane aspect of evolution (Piltdown man was a hoax!) and then declare the entire theory of evolution as preposterous. The very minute details are mostly unimportant. The main point is that jokes often offend people. Lots of things offend people. There are very few statements in the world that don’t offend someone. Trying to eliminate everything that offends someone can lead to a very dull, stale, boring, depressing world. This may or may not be related to the fact that many people are depressed. You may disagree, but let’s try not to get bogged down in details about Chris Christie.

  203. 203
    Jason Thibeault

    You are the one apparently declaring certain thoughts and opinions and groups of people as being unacceptable

    Yes, if those “thoughts and opinions” amount to “we should attack and harass people for being different”, and if those “groups of people” are “people who like to harass and attack people for being different”. You’re telling us we’re being intolerant of your intolerance.

    Don’t tell me how important it is that we respect everyone’s feelings and at the same time dismiss the feelings of everyone who disagrees with you.

    Except we’ve already said that fat-shaming culture demonstrably hurts people, not people’s feelings — remember, I struck that part of my comment. Overweight people in a fat-shaming culture are at objective disadvantages that they would otherwise not be at if there didn’t exist cultural biases against being overweight, where being overweight is conflated with a moral failing.

    On the other hand, being intolerant of people’s intolerances objectively improves a community.

    Now don’t argue like a creationist.

    By saying that being fat isn’t a moral failing, but having terrible political views that demonstrably harm people (like Chris Christie does) IS? Wow. Some creationist I am, demanding that people stop holding views that are proven by evidence to rend society.

    If I have to live in a dull and humourless world in order to live in one where people like you won’t attack people like Stephanie over some kind of perceived moral failing because she weighs more than the societally-prescribed standard, where people *must* be taken seriously in their rebuttals to her nuanced argumentation that amount to “hee hee here’s a fat person having sex, it must be Stephanie”, then good. I’ll happily live in such a drab and humourless world. I’ll happily live in a world where intolerance isn’t tolerated.

    I strongly suspect that this is a false dichotomy though. Humour exists that doesn’t hurt anyone. Humour exists that acknowledges the darker parts of human society and holds up a mirror to it. And it doesn’t even do splash damage.

    You’re done here, Edward. As promised, I’m telling you when I’m fed up with your dishonest argumentation and your inability to confront points that have been made a dozen times by a dozen people in a dozen ways. It’s really nice that you’ve delineated all the ways in which you’re a terrible human being, lacking in any measure of empathy, and still think YOU’RE the LIBERAL here. Slow fucking clap.

  204. 204
    LykeX

    Nope. I’m not being intolerant towards anyone.

    Do you have a general problem with understanding analogies? Your own analogy was so horribly flawed that you’ve given up on defending it and are apparently hoping we’ll just forget about it, and when I make an analogy, you try to worm out of it by taking it literally.

    The point wasn’t that you’re intolerant. The point was that you’re equating people who insult others for what they are (which is a bad thing), with people who insult those people for those very bad things they do. In that sense, your argument is exactly parallel to those that equate racists and anti-racists, claiming that they’re equally intolerant.
    Of course, you know that. You’re simply being a dishonest little shit, as is clearly your MO.

  205. 205
    Edward Gemmer

    You’re done here, Edward. As promised, I’m telling you when I’m fed up with your dishonest argumentation and your inability to confront points that have been made a dozen times by a dozen people in a dozen ways.

    Well, your site, your rules. But I doubt you can actually point to examples of me being dishonest. I’ll go back to working with neglected children in poverty and you can go back to typing about how people like me are causing all the problems with the world. Nice social justice, that.

  206. 206
    Jason Thibeault

    Well, “typing about how people like me are causing all the problems with the world” is a lie of gross exaggeration, for starters.

  207. 207
    Jason Thibeault

    Folks, feel free to work backward. I don’t care about showing this guy up any more at this point. What a self-centred, self-righteous, mendacious fuck.

  208. 208
    Raging Bee

    What Jason said. After all the time we spent arguing with this asshole, all he does is retreat into his own bubble to argue with what he IMAGINES we said. “End all fat jokes?” Who the fuck advocated that?

    But I doubt you can actually point to examples of me being dishonest.

    That’s ALL we’ve been doing, and he’s ignored all of them.

    And I love how he waited until he was totally discredited before bragging about helping poor people. Yeah, real believable, that.

  209. 209
    SallyStrange

    Not just neglected children. Neglected children… in poverty!

    I guess all my arguments are invalid.

  210. 210
    Hank_Says

    Jason, just ban Gemmer’s lying, obtuse, vacuous arse for not blockquoting. It’s as irritating as shit with glass in it.

    See? It’s not fucking rocket surgery.

  211. 211
    John Horstman

    Oh Edward Gemmer, that’s an ad hominem defense (it’s not just for attack!): doing good things doesn’t make your ‘arguments’ valid. Nor do a few good acts make you not a Bad Person in terms of your net impact. The Catholic Church has brought food to neglected children in poverty, but then they’ve also operated a massive international child-rape ring, enabled the Holocaust, enslaved women (and oppressed them in countless other ways ranging from “almost as bad” to “looks like a picnic compared to rape or slavery”), backed chattel-enslavement of Black people, etc. I’ll assume you’ve never committed serial rape for generations nor enabled genocide – your harmful actions are not nearly as bad as those of the CC – but the principle is the same, and your use of the “I help poor children!” defense is too perfect to pass on the analogy.

    Oops, I just noticed you said “working with neglected children in poverty”, not “helping”. I apologize for mischaracterizing your statement; by “working with” you could very well have meant “harming immensely”, and I’d hate to unfairly accuse you of any sort of empathy or compassion.

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