Update: Ron Lindsay posted a transcript of his remarks, which is good because this liveblog doesn’t do the actual words spoken justice. I need to emphasize that this man used his opening remarks to tell women to stop being so forceful about getting people to stop talking over them and listening to them for once. That may not have been his intent, but it was the undeniable effect of the words, on their face, not misinterpretable.
Ron Lindsay: as a conference organizer and public speaker, perhaps this might help. Have you considered that when someone says “shut up and listen”, maybe that’s someone telling you — possibly for the nth time — that you’re over your allotted time and are chewing into the next person’s chance to speak? Have you considered that perhaps “shut up and listen” is an admonition against dominating the dialogue and turning it into a monologue, and advice on how to begin the process of listening to others?
1:30: Lauren Becker opens the conference!
CFI and Lauren (the Benevolent Dictator and Time Overlord) are very happy we all had the guts to show up and profess our lack of belief.
Q&A is being done by card/pen, write our questions and raise hands to give to staff and Lauren will read the questions from the floor.
Handing off to Ron Lindsay, who begins with a reading from 1st Timothy about women being transgressors who will be saved by bearing children. Calls of “bullshit” and guffaws from the crowd.
Speculation that patriarchy came into being with the hunter gatherer societies. Oppression of women has been part of human society for thousands of years, and the restoration of women’s rights have only been happening for the last few centuries. Religion often provides rationales for why women should be subordinated; that’s why these groups recognize the overlaps between irreligion and feminism.
Questions were raised at last WiS conference — what ARE the overlaps between religion and feminism? Ron Lindsay discusses his original luke-warm reception to Atheism Plus, his sadness that some proponents said A+ is supposed to be divisive, but he’s become “more sanguine” since. Worried about A+ being unable to focus on specific issues, says that A+ers are unable to focus on every social justice movement at the same time, so how does the group choose its targets? Some proponents of feminism say that patriarchy can’t be ended without ending capitalism — Andrew Tripp nods vigorously, Ron Lindsay acknowledges this.
Merely calling yourself a feminist doesn’t make you one, mention of “sister punishers” and “fake feminists”, but certainly not every feminist believes in the same thing, so there are divides among feminists. (Well, yeah. And there are in fact people who claim to be feminists who are not — just look at those “equity feminists” stealing the word like cargo-cultists.)
Lindsay says that the concept of privilege “has some validity”, but that it can be abused, used as a just so story when privilege might be “one explanation” but there might be other factors at play. Okay, sure, That’s absolutely true, But then he devolves into a rant against straw feminists using privilege as a “dogma” to get people to “shut up and listen”. I’m clutching my keyboard at the moment.
“Enforced silence is always and everywhere in opposition to truth”, and “enforced silence deprives someone of their humanity”. Call back to the 1st Timothy quote at the beginning — that depriving women of their voices dehumanizes them, but silencing people by saying “shut up and listen” is also bad.
Apparently Ron went over time. Adam Lee had a question but he hadn’t written it down on his card. Oops!
I have to disagree with a lot of this. Ron, what about when people are dominating the conversation and refusing to let women discuss these ideas by talking so damn much and not letting women actually do any talking themselves? Can a woman tell a conversation-dominating man to shut up and listen to them? That’s sort of the problem here, you know. The problem your conference is trying to defray.