Two takes on CFI’s non-statement you should read

Kaoru Nigisa at Reasonable Conversation discusses the non-statement made by CFI, including this about the mythologizing that the antifeminist quarters have included in their “Skeptic Women” petition in support of Ron Lindsay’s strawmanning and lack of comprehension about the conference and conversations he was hosting:

We are aware of a campaign, headed by Amanda Marcotte and others, to remove Ronald A. Lindsay from his position as CEO of the Center for Inquiry. We do not support this effort.

Where? Where has anybody, Amanda Marcotte or otherwise, lead a “campaign” for Ron Lindsay to be fired? Everybody I have read has asked for an apology, either from him or on his behalf. And who is calling to interfere with the careers of people? This is completely made up nonsense, a collection of hyperbolic ghost stories told by anti-feminists to justify their harassment tactics. The point of this letter is just to tell the world that the undersigned don’t have any problems with people treating others horribly. They’re fine, so why should they give a shit about anybody else?

Basically, this is weapons grade projection.

And at CFI On Campus, Seth Kurtenbach channels his inner fifth grader to explain why the statement by CFI is less than adequate:

In the second paragraph, we learn that the CFI Board has a wish. A wish is a want, or a desire. Some people believe wishes come true under certain circumstances. For instance, some people believe a genie can make a wish come true. Other people believe wishing upon a star makes your wishes come true. I don’t believe in those things, but maybe the Board does.

The CFI Board’s wish is to express unhappiness. Unhappiness is a lot like sadness. This is a very sad wish. Why is the Board sad? Because of a controversy about their women’s conference. I wonder who did this to them? Whoever did controversy to them must be pretty mean, because it makes the Board wish to express unhappiness. The people who made this controversy must have a problem with women. I hope the Board’s wish comes true, so that they can express this unhappiness, and the people behind this controversy can feel ashamed! Maybe I will wish upon a star that their wish will come true.

People are rightfully upset that the CEO of CFI, Ron Lindsay, brought the feminism conversation’s equivalent of a creationist accusation that evolution is undercut by Piltdown Man to a convention where everyone damn well knew it was a fallacious argument on a number of grounds. They are upset that Lindsay had the temerity to bring up falsehoods and straw dummies in the opening speech for a convention he was holding, in order to chastise the participants over things that are patently wrong. They are upset that he left a fundraising dinner to call one of the speakers comparable to a totalitarian fascist country. They are upset that his lack of professionalism, not to mention his lack of knowledge on the topic, overshadowed the speakers that everyone was there to hear. They are upset that the CFI board’s statement threw the conference itself under the bus by saying that there was controversy surrounding the conference, rather than surrounding their CEO’s actions.

If it takes a fifth grader’s explanation to make that plainer than everyone has made it so far, I more than welcome this contribution to the dialogue.

CFI’s board statement re Women In Secularism 2 #wiscfi

I’m pretty super-busy right now, and can’t really fully respond myself, but I wanted you all to know that CFI has released a statement about Women In Secularism 2 and the controversy surrounding Ron Lindsay’s complete lack of understanding of the movement, feminism, or the place where the actual conversation was at. It’s here, and since they’ve disabled comments (as is their undeniable right), I’m copying it here so you can feel free to weigh in on what you think about it.

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2.

CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.

That’s it.

No mention of any sort of disapprobation for said CEO’s actions in creating the controversy ex nihilo. Just unhappiness.

We’re unhappy too. That’s why we’d like an apology that acknowledges what exactly was done, by whom, and to whom, to cause this “controversy”. That’s what we asked for — an apology, and assurance that WiS3 will happen. That’s it. That’s not too fucking difficult is it?

(I can hear the howls from the haters now: “GOD, THEY SAID THEY WERE UNHAPPY, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM THEM? YOU FEMINISTS ARE NEVER HAPPY WITH ANYTHING!!”)

Miri posts longer “in brief” thoughts here.

A scene that plays out all too often in my life as well.

Over at Pharyngula, on the thread discussing the Silverman / Vacula deba[cle|te], screechymonkey posted the most delicious proof of the femispiracy ever. I present it without comment.

I just didn’t notice the cult-like hold my fat, lumpy, old body had on the libidos of the young women in the group. [– PZ]

Don’t be silly. The attraction isn’t physical. It’s just that feminists completely forget their misandrist, anti-sex dogma and go ga-ga for any man who recites feminist talking points. I can’t tell you how many times the following scene has happened to me:

Me: “Hello”
Shrieking Feminist Harpy: “HELLO? How dare you say hello to me, you oppressive tool of the patriarchy! Security!”
[security guards arrive, women of course, because companies are now afraid to hire men for fear of being sued by Feminazis]
Guard 1: “What seems to be the problem here? Is this penis-haver oppressing you?”
SFH: “Yes! He just came up and started speaking to me! And he was looking at me, too! I think — [sniffs] — I think he was about to [whispering] ask me for coffee”
Guard 1: “That’s a violation of article IX, Section 2, paragraph (b), clause 6 of the Anti-Harassment Policy.”
Guard 2: “You’re going to have to come with us!”
Me: “Wait…”
[pause]
Guard 1: “What?”
Me: “No, really, I meant wait a second while I check my privilege. Done now, thanks. You see, I think she heard me say ‘hello,’ but what I really meant to say was ‘sorry.’ As in, ‘sorry for being part of the patriarchy.’ Of course, intent doesn’t matter, and the fact that I thought I heard myself say ‘hello’ is probably just due to my privilege, so I’m sure she is correct. Please take me away and punish me for the sins of all men.”
SFH: “Ooh, tell me more!” [flutters eyelashes]
Guard 1: [cooing] “I didn’t know you were an ally!”
Guard 2: “Maybe we can all ‘punish’ each other for the sins of all men”
Me: “Sure, why don’t we go somewhere private and discuss… intersectionality?”

The contact form is now changed…

Ed got annoyed after one too many letters like this:

Name: kristopher kusch
Comment: I would start off by saying that even though I disagree with your faith, I do respect that you have one. Faith is believing in things that you cant see,so with that thought yes by definition people who believe in Jesus are opperating in faith. The fact that you haven’t seen him and dont believe in him follows that same amount of faith. I would add that my heart isn’t to prove you wrong. What I’m asking you to consider is this, is it possible that you are angry with God.

SNIP.

My only response to this, was “*sigh*”.

So, because of his annoyance, the contact form has been modified to be for technical support only. I included the language he gave me verbatim. (With a slight tweak to retain the “we will do whatever we want with the info you put in this form, be warned” language I inserted the first time around. You know, the language that gives me carte blanche to post this.)

The full rant is below the fold, if you’re interested.
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Help Celia and son keep their home

One of the best and simultaneously worst aspects about having a voice on a reasonably popular blog network is that I can direct my meager audience to good causes. Why’s that bad, you ask? It’s not, in and of itself. The problem comes when people I know come to me with good causes that break my damned heart.

DuWayne Brayton, a long-time friend and a very good man, pointed me to a mini-fundraiser he’s running for a friend of his. I know DuWayne to be measured and almost obstinate when it comes to asking for help. So when he asks, it’s serious.

And yeah, this is pretty damned serious.

Celia is an awesome woman with a goofy, wonderful son, both of whom have autism spectrum disorders. She has struggled a great deal of her adult life to maintain a reasonable living situation for herself and since he was born, her rather silly son. Unfortunately she hit a major bump in the road that started when a combination of her and her son getting sick and her car breaking down rather cut into school and work. She lost her financial aid, her job and her best means for finding a job in a town with limited public transportation.

She almost lost her apartment and power last month. Now the situation is even more dire. She has no food, no power and ten days to come up with *this* months rent. Her son is staying elsewhere, but she is stuck in a house with no power and a whole lot of worries. She is in desperate need and has talked of very a very permanent solution to her problems. It is *that* dire.

The individual story is one thing. The fact that this happens over and over, that people are living that close to insolvency and that any single event with a financial impact could throw a child’s world into chaos, is something completely different. It’s galling. It’s demotivating. It’s heartbreaking.

We can fix this one. But how do we fix them all? What’ll it take to convince people to fix the nearly non-existent safety net, the massive gulfs of inequality between the rich and the poor? People like Celia and her son don’t deserve this kind of turnabout, caused by no moral failings except our society’s. To put Celia in a position where she honestly feels that the last resort of suicide is her best option — that’s damning of all of us.

Isn’t the point of society to help one another, to keep this sort of tragedy from playing out over and over again?

News from down under: the TRUE skeptical women side with the guys!

Something funny happened in my and Stephanie’s trackbacks today. On Adelaide Atheists’ Meetup group, one of their male members wrote up a post asking women to endorse the Skeptic Women petition. The thread was titled, “I wish to promote the statement below issued by a group of women atheists/(true) skeptics and ask women to consider supporting their position.”

Let’s ignore the “no true skeptic” for a brief moment here, and the fact that the two women replying both strongly disagreed — and that the poster and two other guys argued with them, explaining to them why they’re wrong.

Stop laughing.
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Pat Robertson’s take on youth suicide

He starts out unusually level-headed, concerned about something that is actually true and actually a very big problem — kids committing suicide. He correctly identifies pressure as one of the reasons. But then he goes off the rails on a spectacular fashion. Never mind that most of the pressure causing suicide is the stigma that forces them into the closet because they’re different from everyone else in one way, shape or form — no, Pat thinks it’s something else causing their premature self-inflicted deaths.

Is Uncle Pat just a motivated reasoner, trying to avoid any sort of blame for this “pressure” put on kids after all the damnation and hellfire he’s called down on gays (and feminists and atheists and liberals et cetera et cetera), or has a long life steeped in Jesus Juice actually pickled his brain?

Objectification vs idealization in video games

Escapist’s Jimquisition explains the difference.

I love that he caps it off with an exhortation to thank God for him. If I didn’t like the guy, I’d be tempted to say something like “you’ve just handed us undeniable proof of a lack of gods.”

And don’t forget that any suggestion that we have strong female protagonists in the gaming world will be met with a torrent of entitled bullshit.

Humanist Views: Canada and Humanism

Last night, I taped an episode of Humanist Views with Scott Lohman of Humanists of Minnesota.

I haven’t had a chance to re-watch it and see exactly how I present on this program — I’m sure there are verbal missteps in there, and I just hope I didn’t say anything egregiously offensive to anyone. I do know that the lights were very warm and very bright, and I got the very distinct sense that my thin head fuzz wasn’t enough to keep it from being reflective. I did check to see that voices and movement aligns later in the re-encode, so at least it should be watchable. I think I turned on automatic closed captioning (I’m a Youtoob noob), so that’ll be a fun reason to re-watch it later.

Humanist Views’ opening sequence is very hilariously 90s, but that just makes ‘em all the more charming to me.

Weird login redirect issue should be fixed

Some folks have complained that when clicking on the FtB logo above the comment forms at any blog where anonymous comments are allowed, they were being redirected to a presently-useless dashboard page and had to manually navigate back to the thread they wanted to post at. This isn’t the behaviour exhibited on blogs that require sign-in — the login links send you back to the post you were at, after logging in via the WordPress login form.

I’ve committed a change on the live site that should fix this, constructing the “log in” link added by the theme, identically to how the Graphene-stock link is constructed. As an added kindness, I’ve also changed the top “Account Dashboard” icon (the WordPress icon) to go to the blog’s dashboard, rather than the whole site’s, just in case you happen to be a subscriber / submitter / author. Regular users shouldn’t be affected, but I’m letting you know regardless.

I’ve tested these changes, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve covered all border cases. If there are issues, let me know here please.