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John Haught is a coward and a theologian

I’ve been in debates and arguments where I felt I missed the mark or didn’t do my best job, and I shrug and move on — and I also figure it’s all public and it’s all going to end up on youtube. It also ends up on youtube when I do a good job, which is a bit of a pain in the butt: I have to keep coming up with new talks because I know the crowd that listens to me tends to churn through internet content so thoroughly. It’s part of the job nowadays, I fear. Talks aren’t just public, they get preserved forever on the internet.

John Haught doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s because he’s a really, really old guy (why, he’s got to be a whole ten years older than me, and even has a few years on that geezer Coyne) and hasn’t kept up. Maybe it’s because he’s a Christian and thus unaware of the nature of the universe. Maybe it’s because he’s the opposite of a gentleman and a scholar. John Haught is suppressing the video of the debate he had with Jerry Coyne. He signed off on permission before the debate, but has now reneged, claiming he did poorly because of the presence of “Jerry’s groupies”, and that the event “failed to meet what I consider to be reasonable standards of fruitful academic exchange”. He got his ass kicked, in other words.

I find this deplorable and disgraceful. As I say, it’s a nuisance that I have to keep writing new talks because they get so thoroughly exposed on the internet, but that’s also a benefit: it means tens of thousands hear a talk that I gave to an in-person audience of only a few hundred, and it means my words are not only heard, but are open to criticism. That’s important. That’s also an obligation and responsibility of any public intellectual.

Oh, well, as it stands, that just means Jerry Coyne’s account of the debate is definitive.

By the way, it’s not just Haught that fails the test of a scholar: the Gaines Center at the University of Kentucky, which sponsored the debate and recorded it, must also be held accountable for going along with the craven suppression. Their reputation is being sacrificed on the altar of John Haught’s vanity — I’m not impressed.

Comments

  1. Simon says

    Ultimately it’s probably the Gaines Center that makes this call. If Haught signed a standard release form then they own the footage and can do what they want with it more or less.

  2. Father Ogvorbis, OM: Delightfully Machiavellian says

    Can anyone really view this turn of events with even a modicum of surprise?

  3. Snowshoe the Canuck says

    Everyone has the right to thought of in the best possible way. The founding fathers (or was that the moms?) said so. So John H should just STFU and no one will think he is a 1st class nutbar with an extra helping of stupid on the side.

  4. Flea says

    I think Coyne is being quite naive here. If he gave his permission to tape the debate he has, at least, the right to have a copy of that tape. If I were in his shoes I would ask a lawyer (a friend) to look into the matter. A simple letter from a lawyer can do wonders if the receiver is in the position of that Rabel guy.

  5. says

    They should post just Jerry’s parts, with an image of a empty chair and “nearer my god to thee” dubbed over the other guy (whose name I have already forgotten) … Problem solved. I only wanted to hear Jerry anyway.

  6. Smoochie says

    Warning: 90% off topic

    I come seeking advice, oh wise denizens of the Pharyngula comment boards.

    Which is the best book for a degree-educated (physics) atheist in search of a better understanding of evolution, and a dismantling of the canards thrown at it by those tiresomely irrepressible god-botherers:
    i) JC’s Why Evolution is True
    ii) RD’s The Greatest Show on Earth
    iii) Something else?

  7. Dennis S says

    I think one of the commenters on JC’s post had a great idea: re-create the debate with Mr. Deity and spread it wide and far – the Streisand Effect put to good use.

  8. Ruth/STL says

    My daughter is a senior and everyday college literature fills our mailbox. U of Kentucky goes into recycling. I won’t let her go to a state that is thinking of funding an ark. We live in the saner part of Missouri, but this sort of stuff goes on in the Ozarks, too. (She decided Morris is too far away).

  9. Jim Mauch says

    I am not a fan of debates but I do agree that if you are willing to subject yourself to the test you have to be willing to accept the grade.

  10. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Smoochie: The last chapter of Coyne is wonderful. I found the rest of it to be somewhat incoherent–if you already know what evolution is, it reads OK, but if you were coming with a blank slate, you might just end up confused. His use of the term “evolutionary theory” is self-inconsistent, and inconsistent with what most evolutionary scientists mean when they write “evolutionary theory”.

    Similarly, I’m not sure that the Dawkin’s is all that appropriate either, in that it doesn’t follow any very logical progression. From my point of view, anyway. Nonetheless, it seems more apt to a noob than the Coyne.

    However, if you have a university education in science, you shouldn’t have any trouble with a meatier tome. Ridley’s Evolution is used in many intro classes, is highly readable, and provides a comprehensive view of evolutionary theory that is very up to date. Doug Futuyma has produced a text of the same title. It is more mathy than the Ridley text, but that shouldn’t be a concern to anyone who was a student of physics.

  11. Kevin Anthoney says

    @10

    I’d go with The Blind Watchmaker. And read The Selfish Gene while you’re at it.

  12. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    I won’t let her go to a state that is thinking of funding an ark.

    Ruth/STL,

    You can do whatever you want, but that doesn’t sound like a very useful criterion.

  13. says

    Smoochie #10 – I’ve been reading The Logic of Chance by Eugene V. Koonan. It was a free kindle book recommended by PZ. I don’t know if this applies to you.

  14. says

    Apparently Rabel is getting a bit testy from being inundated with emails. From Coyne’s post:

    I have received an email from Dr. Rabel, asserting that I have instigated people to write him emails, and some of those emails have been abusive, calling him a coward and so on. I did not of course ask readers to write any emails, nor did I provide any email addresses. But if you write to Rabel on your own initiative, please be polite! There is no point in name-calling in such emails; the issue is one of free inquiry, and if you expect to achieve a result (and you won’t anyway, I suspect), you have to be polite. Anyway, he’s threatened legal action against me, so don’t make it worse!

    Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem for him if he hadn’t decided to side with Haught and suppressed the tape to begin with.

  15. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    The Ancestor’s Tale is very good. So is Climbing Mount Improbable

    I also like David Quammen’s writings on evolution, especially as applied to island biogeography in Flight of the Dodo.

    Nick Lane’s Life Ascending is also a completely worthwhile read.

  16. Smoochie says

    Thank you all!

    I’ve plumped for Coyne’s book as a starting point, and added a sprinkling of others to my embryonic Christmas list.
    (Even as a non-believer I like whole gift-giving thing – show me the loot!)

  17. Ruth/STL says

    #22

    I left out the smiley face-I meant it as a joke. Actually, we are looking at bio department standings, financial aid, study abroad programs and campus size to come up with our college list. UK is a good school, but not what she is looking for. My old school, Michigan isn’t on her list either.

  18. movinbutnotshakin says

    Once again, get someone to videotape the thing with their digital camera. You’re in Kentucky, after all, which is always 20 years behind everywhere else.

  19. Matthew says

    If you are a scientist, I wouldn’t recommend the Shubin book – it feels to me to be written for a lay audience. I haven’t read any of Coyne’s stuff (yet) but Dawkins is a fantastic writer.

  20. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @Smoochie

    Once you have thought about evolution for a while, maybe after reading one of the books mentioned above, I recommend reading the first edition of “On The Origin of Species”, for several reasons: It’s well-written, and since Darwin wrote it in order to convince his contemporaries of his ideas, it has a nice introduction on animal breeding with a segue into natural selection. RD has adopted the same approach in TGSOE. Secondly, you will be able to counter fundie creationists who make claims about what terrible or strange things Darwin has supposedly written by citing the source. Finally, Darwin has a discussion of potential problems one might have with the theory, and it is simply amusing that 150 years ago he has already addressed many of the “arguments” still trotted out by creationists today.
    However, it shouldn’t be the first book you read about evolution, since Darwin doesn’t know about how procreation and inheritance work, and therefore has some things very wrong there.

  21. Brownian says

    claiming he did poorly because of the presence of “Jerry’s groupies”

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy—oh fuck, we don’t have a handy advantage of numbers! Run, God, save yourself!”

  22. consciousness razor says

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy—oh fuck, we don’t have a handy advantage of numbers! Run, God, save yourself!”

    “For Haught so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten God, that whosoever believeth in him should not know the truth, but have everlasting idiocy.”

  23. raven says

    So, when is the pirate version going to show up?

    The rule seems to be that anything that can be or is videotaped, ends up on Youtube.

    Haught’s behavior in this case does speak volumes about his theology. Theology these days seems to be:

    Lies you can believe in!!! (if you are a decorticated frog).

  24. Ing says

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy—oh fuck, we don’t have a handy advantage of numbers! Run, God, save yourself!”

    “SHIT MALL COPS!!! MINIONS, RETREAT!!!”

  25. ManOutOfTime says

    I wonder what kind of language Dr. Coyne’s groupies were using that hurt Huffy Haught’s fee-fees so? I assume he’s used to being called a liar, charlatan, fraud, and coward. Presumably someone called him a pussy or something more vulgar. Personally, I’d rather be thought of as a pussy than a theologian,, but then that’s just me. He is a pussy, though.

  26. nazani14 says

    This should be a simple legal issue, resting entirely on the contest of the pre-debate paperwork. I don’t know if the legal owner of the recording can be forced to make it public, but if the participants in the debate signed waivers indicating their understanding that the recording would be made public, then they have no standing.

  27. raven says

    There must be a recording or transcript of the event. This is 2011.

    It might be fun to recreate the event with the script. Jerry C. could be played by Jerry C.

    Haught could be played by Bozo the clown, somebody in a Darth Cheney mask, or dressed up as a Crusader. Some imaginative and appropiate character.

    Then put that up on Youtube and dare them to sue you. Parody is protected speech.

  28. ManOutOfTime says

    Wait – it’s Dr. Rabel who’s being insulted. No opinion on him; he may or may not be a pussy like Haught.

  29. raven says

    If the recreation is too much trouble, it might be useful to get the transcript and post it someplace on the internet. An archive. Very little disappears after that, no matter what.

  30. Seeker of Reason and Amusement and Beer says

    Yeah, What Katherine Lorraine said…

    ’cause the kitties don’t appreciate it either. Isn’t wussie more descriptive anyway?

    Haught is the epitome of intellectual cowardice.
    I will be doing my part to support the email campaign.

    SofRandAandB

  31. Steve DeHaven says

    Dr. Coyne, as a consequence of Haught’s (mis)behavior, would you in the future insist upon contract language that gives either party the right to publish videos, independent of the wishes of the other party or parties? This would probably result in fewer debates, but wider dissemination of them.

    Or is this such an unusual occurrence that it’s not worth the extra legal haggling? If that’s the case, you’ll probably get much better mileage from Haught’s suppression than you’d get from the video itself. After all, “Banned in Boston” always grabs them in Peoria.

  32. kantalope says

    I would think that the head of Haught’s department and colleagues should be made aware of his actions:

    woodstock@georgetown.edu
    Gasper F. Lo Biondo Director Research Fellows lobiondg@georgetown.edu

    These people are listed as the chair and vice chair of the woodstock board of directors but no contact info with georgetown.

    Mr. Vincent A. Wolfington (Chair), Global Ambassador Concierge LLC, Washington, DC
    Ms. C. Maury Devine (Vice Chair), Washington, DC

    Maybe they would wonder why one of their fellows fears academic review?

  33. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    I guess this means I can continue to imagine Haught spent half the debate yelling at the audience to get off his damned lawn.

  34. kantalope says

    Tennis explains the lameness of Haught’s behavior: You can’t ask for a let after trying to make the play: Case 1. A player fails to make a good return. No call is made and the ball remains in play. May his opponent later claim the point after the rally has ended?

    Decision. No. The point may not be claimed if the players continue to play after he error has been made, provided the opponent was not hindered. (and you cannot hinder yourself, Mr. Haught)

    The rest of the fellows at Woodstock:

    John Borelli
    Ilia Delio, OSF
    Kevin FitzGerald, S.J.
    Jill Marie Gerschutz
    John Fontana
    John Haughey, S.J.

    Leon Hooper, S.J.
    Raymond Kemp
    Donald Kerwin
    Dolores Leckey
    Daniel Madigan, S.J.
    Thomas Michel, S.J.
    James Nolan
    Thomas Reese, S.J.
    Rita Rodriguez
    James Salmon, S.J.
    Nicole Schmitz-Moormann

    Their email addresses are hidden behind the firewall at Georgetown (unless someone from Georgetown accesses) But they can be contacted using the search at: http://contact.georgetown.edu/

  35. Lou Jost says

    It now looks like the debate was partly funded by the NEH, hence public in every sense. On top of that, Kentucky has a great freedom-of-information law (see Coyne’s post) that requires release of any document naming or talking about an individual, if that individual requests such documents. Coyne requested it; Rabel refused. This seems illegal.

  36. skephtic says

    “Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort says:
    1 November 2011 at 5:05 pm

    @ManOutOfTime:

    Can you quit with the “pussy” comment, please? You can call a person a coward without denigrating women at the same time.”

    The meaning “weak or cowardly person” has a separate etymology. Websters 1913 Revised Unabridged Dictionary lists this version of pussy as an alternate spelling of “pursy”, an otherwise obsolete English word meaning “fat and short-breathed; fat, short, and thick; swelled with pampering …”[1] The interpretation is often misconstrued, as it contains multiple meanings which some consider derogatory.[2] In fact, when pussy appears in the earlier 1828 edition of the dictionary, this definition is presented for the word, while the older pursy is simply offered as a “corrupt orthography”.

    Pursy (pronounced with a short u, and with the r slurred or silent) was in turn derived from an Old French word variously spelled pourcif, poulsif, poussif, meaning “to push, thrust, or heave”. In this sense, it is cognate with the modern French verb pousser, also meaning “to push”.

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Pussy

  37. Ing says

    FFS

    It doesn’t MATTER if it has a separate etymology. And in fact it doesn’t, it has a CONVERGING etymology.

  38. says

    Oh for FSM’s sake. Could we just once not have to deal with the “Pussy has nothing to do with denigrating women” etymology argument whenever it’s requested that someone please not use that word? No matter where it came from, the word in our current, modern context most certainly has to do with denigrating someone by comparing xe to female genitalia. There is a whole wide world of excellent and evocative insults available without having to resort to tired, gendered cliches (and yes, before anyone starts whining about it, the same request for refraining from using gendered insults also applies to use of the work “dick”).

  39. skephtic says

    Oh, good grief. Reminds me of when folks got all upset over the use of the word “niggardly”. I don’t say it might not be prudent to avoid words that some people may misinterpret, but giving into the objections of an ignorant mob really doesn’t seem all that appealing either. If people are going to object, they should at least do so in an informed basis and not spread misinformation. I think quoting the wiki without comment was a reasonable response to an objection that was at least in part misleading.

  40. says

    skephtic,

    who died and made you the arbiter of language?

    As anyone who has taken Ling 101 should be able to tell you, it’s the synchronic use of the speech community that matters, not what the speakers’ ancestors did. It could’ve meant “glorious meadow” in the 12th c. C.E. and it still wouldn’t matter…

  41. X X says

    Choosing one’s ad hominem is an art that should be left to the artist and not those who are wont to shoot from the hip, as it were. If the sum total of your correspondence with these fine gentlemen of academia is to call them names that are used most-often in schoolyards and by macho inebriates, why not try a different tack? There are enough ways to tell these fine gentlemen that you disagree with their actions and wish for them to change that you need not adopt puerility. If you want to make sure you aren’t mistaken, please do take it upon yourself to reference the etymological backstory you were intending, but don’t do this after-the-fact as though you carefully chose the insult when we all know you did not do such a thing. After all, insulting your enemies may make you feel good and clever and may win you accolades from your like-minded comrades-in-arms, but it distracts from the issue at hand unless it is done with the appropriate amount of art.

  42. skephtic says

    “pelamun says:
    1 November 2011 at 8:56 pm

    skephtic,

    who died and made you the arbiter of language?”

    If you can quote where I said anything remotely resembling that I’d love to see it. I’m personally more offended by the use falacious strawmen than I am by some random commenter’s choice of non-hoard approved nouns, this being a science and reason based forum and all. But that’s me.

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but giving into the objections of an ignorant mob really doesn’t seem all that appealing either.

    In this case, the ignorant mob is you. End of story. Stop using the word except for felines.

    I think quoting the wiki without comment was a reasonable response to an objection that was at least in part misleading.

    No, you were asked to stop using it since most folks here find the word sexist and misogynist. We don’t give a shit what you think about it. You are wrong.

  44. says

    skephtic, very easy

    I don’t say it might not be prudent to avoid words that some people may misinterpret, but giving into the objections of an ignorant mob really doesn’t seem all that appealing either.

    Contrary to what you seem to believe, etymology is not a valid argument governing synchronic language use.

  45. skephtic says

    “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says:
    1 November 2011 at 9:12 pm

    … End of story…

    … We don’t give a shit what you think about it. You are wrong.”

    I can’t say that you are really presenting yourself as an exemplar of decorum. I think you are estopped from making any claims about how to behave decorously in a forum.

    Anyway, I came over here because I’m hoping that this thread will generate as much interest as possible in getting the Coyne debate released. I’ve been looking forward to watching it ever since JAC announced his attendee on his blog website. :)

  46. says

    skephtic,

    your tone-trolling is noted.

    Might’ve wanted to make yourself familiar with how this blog works before coming here..

  47. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can’t say that you are really presenting yourself as an exemplar of decorum. I think you are estopped from making any claims about how to behave decorously in a forum.

    Who the fuck says this is a decorous forum? Not the regulars, not PZ, so why are you so intent upon pompously lying and bullshitting? Not making a good first or second impression.

  48. Nutella says

    @Alex

    “Darwin doesn’t know about how procreation and inheritance work”

    I’d say he knew fair bit about procreation. He had 10 children!

  49. fastlane says

    Oh dear, Nick “I was at Kitzmiller” Matske showed up and shit all over the thread at Coyne’s place.

    He always struck me as being smarter than that…..

  50. skephtic says

    “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says:
    1 November 2011 at 10:12 pm
    … so why are you so intent upon pompously lying and bullshitting? Not making a good first or second impression.”

    More strawmanning, with added ad hominem invective. Again, estoppel is not your friend. Your rudeness? Meh. Your strawman arguments in a forum about evidence and reason? Not really excusable. So if I meet your disapproval I’ll take that as a compliment.

    Meanwhile, I’m hoping that all this pressure doesn’t cause Haught and Rabel to dig in their heels even further–not that folks should let of the pressure.

  51. skephtic says

    “Might’ve wanted to make yourself familiar with how this blog works before coming here..”

    Yes, yes. I’m familiar with the concept of dog piling.

    I like PZ’s irreverence and occasional invective. His writing is funny and insightful and usually well backed up with substance. It is a style that not many can pull off, though. When someone only manages to copy the invective part and none none of the substance, such as when “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls” falsely called me a lying bullshitter, I think nit is reasonable to call him or her on it–regardless of “how this blog works.” Do you really disagree with that? Or is making straw man arguments and telling untruths ok so long as someone is swearing (but only hoard approved swear words)?

    So, how about that debate? Maybe they could just release the audio? I don’t really care about the visuals. An mp3 seems like it might work as a face-saving compromise, so Haught and Rabel could pretend that they hadn’t changed their minds about releasing the debate but only objected to “video.”

  52. says

    No, I was talking about the blog’s standards and practices. This isn’t a decorous blog, as Nerd rightly said. Your insistence on decorum is wrong, your claiming it was a decorous blog can be regarded as lying, or at the very least as presumptuous.

    As per the same standards and practices, gendered insults are discouraged. Many insults are not gendered, there is still plenty to choose from. That shouldn’t be too hard to grasp.

  53. says

    @skepthic:

    Fucking quote the paragraph DIRECTLY BELOW what you quoted, for Chrissake:

    The word pussy can also be used in a derogatory sense to refer to a male who is not considered sufficiently masculine (see Gender role). When used in this sense, it carries the implication of being easily fatigued, weak or cowardly.

    Men dominated by women (particularly their partners or spouses and at one time referred to as ‘Hen-pecked’) can be referred to as pussy-whipped (or simply whipped in slightly more polite society or media).

  54. skephtic says

    Your insistence on decorum is wrong, your claiming it was a decorous blog can be regarded as lying, or at the very least as presumptuous.

    Except that I didn’t insist that this blog be all decorous and saintly did I? That is yet another straw argument–there seems to be an abundance of straw about. My point was not about decorum in general but was rather that “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls” demands what he/she does in fact do. Being mean and insulting is great, but don’t dare use a word that people might be misinterpreted!!! I call people on hypocrisy and for using fallacies. I expect, regardless of decorum, that people should use valid arguments. Invective just for its own sake without a valid argument to back it up is cargo cult emulation of PZ’s essays.

  55. otrame says

    *sigh

    Here we go again. And no, I am not complaining. I think it’s important.

    skephtic, on this blog we dislike gendered insults. Okay? And when you use gendered insults or defend the use of gendered insults, you lose all chance at anyone actually paying any attention to what you want to say about the OP.

    In addition, complaining about “decorum” is definitely going to get you laughed at. Using the term “ad hominem” as if it is a synonym for “insult” will lower your standing here even more.

    This is a community. We have standards. You have fallen afoul of three of them. And this

    I think you are estopped from making any claims about how to behave decorously in a forum.

    makes an incorrect assumption. You seem to feel Nerd was complaining about you being indecorous. As you are about to find out, no one here cares about decorum. We do care about gendered insults. We have discussed this at truly enormous length in numerous threads. You will not change our minds about this. Trust me.

    Oh, and one more thing. Use of a fairly specialized legal term in casual conversation is at best condescending and at worst an attempt to sound erudite. The attempt fails.

  56. says

    Are you deliberately being obtuse, or just too stupid to understand that GENERAL insults are fine here, but no discriminatory ones, like along racial, or gender lines?

  57. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That is yet another straw argument–there seems to be an abundance of straw about.

    Your straw argument, not ours. But then, you are duplicitous, ignorant, and obtuse in your language.

  58. skephtic says

    “otrame says:
    2 November 2011 at 12:51 am
    … on this blog we dislike gendered insults. “

    I’m generally with you on that. But when folks mix their finely chosen outrage of choice with straw man attacks I’m rather negatively impressed. Substance is the key, so I’m not especially worried about tone that doesn’t affect substance. And I’m generally not down with gendered insults, but I’m also not down with misrepresentation and misinformation which is why I included the wiki without comment.

    However, I also think that in this invective filled free-for-all the hoard has, to some degree, reserved an anger for “gendered” insults in the way prisoners reserve a special dislike for pedophiles. I don’t say that such dislike isn’t deserved, but I think it is also a way for people to feel better about their own behavior by finding a pretty low bar to be above.

  59. skephtic says

    “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says:
    2 November 2011 at 1:11 am

    That is yet another straw argument–there seems to be an abundance of straw about.

    Your straw argument, not ours. But then, you are duplicitous, ignorant, and obtuse in your language.

    Again with the false and unfounded accusations of lying–and the continued use of the Royal, or collective, “we,” as if you are either royalty or a spokesperson. I rather suspect you are neither.

  60. Ing says

    However, I also think that in this invective filled free-for-all the hoard has, to some degree, reserved an anger for “gendered” insults in the way prisoners reserve a special dislike for pedophiles. I don’t say that such dislike isn’t deserved, but I think it is also a way for people to feel better about their own behavior by finding a pretty low bar to be above.

    No no no no no no no

    The pedophiles of pharlygunla are tone trolls.

    And fuck you.

  61. says

    skephtic, you don’t understand how language works. Etymology doesn’t have bearing on how the word is used today. And today it’s clearly a gendered insult, so stop obfuscating.

  62. Sally Strange, OM says

    lot o’ pussies in this thread. lot o’ dicks too.

    Inasmuch as there are persons who possess pussies and dicks, yes, I suppose that’s true. Kind of weird to reduce people to their genitalia, though, don’t you think?

    If you’re attributing weakness to pussies and insensitive belligerence to dicks, then no, not really.

    Actually, pedophiles get more respect than tone trolls around here.

  63. skephtic says

    “Ing says:
    2 November 2011 at 1:19 am

    The pedophiles of pharlygunla are tone trolls.

    And fuck you.”

    Thanks, but I’ll pass, sideways or not. I don’t even know you :-p

    Anyway, I’m more about substance–as I’ve noted in my posts. Funny how no body here is willing to call people out for straw arguments…

    Meanwhile, I don’t suppose you’ve noticed that by going all gun ho over “gendered” insults on people the hoard is doing its own tone trolling? Ironic, that.

    Meanwhile, back on topic. Does anyone concur that asking for the debate as an mp3 would be practical compromise to get a quicker result? I’d like the full video to be released, but getting an audio file would seem to be a good place to start, one that Haught and Rable have less ability to object to.

  64. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I rather suspect you are neither.

    And I suspect you aren’t smarter than the average regular here, so you could lose the attitude that you are the smartest person in the room. Try it, we might pay more attention to you…

  65. otrame says

    Nerd said

    Try it, we might pay more attention to you

    But then again, probably not. Arrogance gets a low grade around here.

  66. Tweece says

    pelamun says:

    And today it’s clearly a gendered insult, so stop obfuscating.

    Actually, no it’s not. Not even if you declare it “clearly” so. It means coward. Sometimes words have more than one meaning. You can equate cowardice with women if you like, but not everyone who uses the word “pussy” is forced to do so.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Actually, no it’s not. Not even if you declare it “clearly” so. It means coward. Sometimes words have more than one meaning. You can equate cowardice with women if you like, but not everyone who uses the word “pussy” is forced to do so.

    You miss the point. It is word, like several others, that the regulars prefer not to be used here except in reference to felines (in this case). What part of that are you having trouble with??? We don’t care what you think. We have discussed the matter over months and have reached a decision on all such words. If you use it, you will be called out, and the thread will degenerate to that topic. And you will lose.

  68. says

    Also, Tweece doesn’t understand the concept of “connotation”.

    To a certain extent, arguments such as “cunt” being neutral in certain dialects and “pussy” as well might hold, though I believe there is more evidence for the former than the latter. However, this doesn’t happen by you declaring you only use it in a neutral way. Words are used in a context, and come with their baggage, such as their connotation.

    That said, it doesn’t matter if there’s a dialect of English that uses “cunt” in a neutral way. We have an international forum here and if a given term is a gendered or racial insult in any given dialect of English, it won’t be accepted here.

    That’s been the accepted linguistic practice here.

  69. Tweece says

    pelamun says:
    That’s been the accepted linguistic practice here.

    Point taken that that’s the consensus in this particular forum. However, I don’t agree with it. So I guess I won’t post here anymore. You must be happy about that.

  70. says

    You must be happy about that.

    Can’t say I’d care either way. So far the only impression you’ve made (based on this thread) is to raise a stink about semantics, even though the community has been over this a myriad times before.

    I personally don’t like using insults much, but when I started posting here, I had to accept too that it’s part of the culture here. So what? There are plenty of other websites out there if you can’t accept it.

  71. Tweece says

    So far the only impression you’ve made (based on this thread) is to raise a stink about semantics, even though the community has been over this a myriad times before.

    I don’t really want to raise a stink about semantics, myself. I just don’t like seeing other people getting chewed out for failing to self-censor over what I consider a silly connotation. I might understand if folk were throwin’ around the n-word in a non-academic context, but “pussy”? It doesn’t even mean woman, it means vagina! Which, yeah, there’s a connection there, but those are two very different things. I dunno, honestly, this is my first encounter with the connection going past vaginas all the way to women (I don’t normally read too far down the comments). But whatevs, I concede the point.

  72. says

    Any place you move to has its own set of conventions, and the locals won’t change everything just for you, the newcomer.
    Why not just accept it and start making constructive arguments.
    I mean this thread is really about something completely different.

  73. jenkins says

    Why not just accept it and start making constructive arguments.
    I mean this thread is really about something completely different.

    But like, how many other words are out there that would have a similar effect that I wouldn’t expect? I’d feel weird having to constantly check myself in case somebody more sensitive than me would take offense. It just doesn’t seem like a friendly place for a foul-mouthed bastard.

    Shit I just offended people born out of wedlock. Nerts.

  74. says

    I’d feel weird having to constantly check myself in case somebody more sensitive than me would take offense. It just doesn’t seem like a friendly place for a foul-mouthed bastard.

    You’re asking the wrong person because I’m not that much into that kind of language. But I’m told “fuck” works pretty well in a variety of constructions.

    Also the most common cases are gendered insults, and because of the shit storm that happened after E-Gate, people here have become very sensitive and trigger happy about that kind of language.

    Other types of discriminatory insults, people might discuss them in a more comprehensive manner.

  75. says

    Didn’t really care before, but now that it’s been pulled I really want to see it.

    What’s the point of having public discussions if they aren’t shared with the public?

  76. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m going to take a risk. I’ve read a bunch, but I started from the bottom…and then glanced through the top 20-25 posts, but I’m sure that I’ve missed at least 30.

    I wanted to re-rail this. The taping consent is not necessary – it’s a public venue. The “consent” to record is really just a signature releasing any claim of intellectual property on the recording itself.

    Thus the recording is not owned in any way by Haught. It doesn’t matter what he does or doesn’t think that they will do with it. It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t know their intentions before hand. He doesn’t own the recording. The people who do own the recording can do with it what they like. Make it public, lock it in a safe, or even create an art installation by mounting a flat panel constantly running the recording over a urinal marked “women only” that occupies a position in the center of the largest lawn on campus, with no walls or curtains to make use of such a urinal more private…or to lessen the awkwardness of standing in front of the monitor to view the debate. All or none of these uses is perfectly acceptable because Haught does not own the recording.

    Why do I stress this? To make the following argument:

    Haught’s success in controlling what the IP owner does with this tape sets a precedent. The precedent is this, that someone who doesn’t own the IP to a recording of a public happening can effectively negate its existence if that person perceives that the audience better appreciated the arguments of the other side.

    Since every debate that clearly establishes truth would have a “winning” side, then that means that the more convincing, the more useful in establishing truth a debate position is, the more likely it is to never see the light of day.

    This not only frustrates the academic endeavor, it frustrates the search for truth itself.

    Now lets throw in the kicker: the Gaines Center is funded by my tax dollars – and the tax dollars of every US citizen, every US resident, and/or every person who gets dividends from a company that profitably operates in the US. We paid taxes to make it possible to operate the Gaines Center and to have this debate. Now we are not only being denied access to the product of our investment, but the money Gaines Center has been given is being used to set a precedent that is antithetical to the public interest in the most insidious way.

    This. Must. Not. Stand.

    We can complain to the National Endowment for the Humanities – and we should, every one of us who cares about frustrating this attempt to set such a horrible precedent. I am refraining from complaining immediately to give Rabel a chance to change his mind. But I will complain if this is not soon reversed. I urge others to seriously think about this post and whether or not they would choose to complain should Rabel continue to take this stand against truth.

  77. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Tweece (93):
    I just don’t like seeing other people getting chewed out for failing to self-censor over what I consider a silly connotation.

    Skephtic (83):
    I don’t suppose you’ve noticed that by going all gun ho over “gendered” insults on people the hoard is doing its own tone trolling? Ironic, that.

    Skephtic (77):
    However, I also think that in this invective filled free-for-all the hoard has, to some degree, reserved an anger for “gendered” insults in the way prisoners reserve a special dislike for pedophiles. I don’t say that such dislike isn’t deserved, but I think it is also a way for people to feel better about their own behavior by finding a pretty low bar to be above.

    This isn’t about “silly connotations”.

    This is not “tone trolling”.

    This is about sexism. Sexism is an important issue. It’s not the current topic at hand, and having to address it again makes people on this thread cranky – even crankier when paired with sexism than they would be at sexism alone.

    Sexism causes far too much damage in the world for sexism to be dismissed as a “silly connotation”. No one was saying you should be more upbeat during your criticism (or more downbeat in your praise). They were saying you should use words whose use give power to sexism. You may not wish to give power to sexism, but the ongoing use of such insults **does** give power to sexism.

    We fight sexism here. You can call that tone trolling, but you’d be wrong. In fact, the very fact that you dismiss efforts to fight sexism within Pharyngula as “a way for people to feel better about their own behavior by finding a pretty low bar to be above” or “getting chewed out for failing to self-censor over what I consider a silly connotation” shows that you seriously misunderstand what sexism is and why we oppose it. “But I’m generally against gendered insults” comes much closer to being an effort to make oneself feel better when caught at bad behavior.

    If you can’t understand how gendered insults contribute to sexism, I’d suggest that you shut the fuck up until you do.

    And if you want to jump in anyway to defend gendered insults as not being that bad or as being very useful when the insulter doesn’t consciously intend to reinforce sexism, even tho’ that lack of conscious intent is entirely undermined by the fact that the insulter is choosing a gendered insult?

    Well, at that point I would suggest you shut the fuck up *a little bit harder*.

  78. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    ” should NOT use words whose use give power to sexism”

    FTFM

  79. Paul says

    what about “wanker” is that a gendered insult? Let me put it in a sentence so you clearly understand the context: “you are all a bunch of wanna-be-intellectual wankers”.

  80. says

    @Paul:

    “Wanker” is a gendered insult – as is “dick” and “prick.”

    We don’t use any of them here, I call people on gendered insults when I see them. I also call people when they refer to things like I see sometimes where they say things like “he does [blank] because he has a little penis.”

    There are so many more words and terminologies one can use without denigrating women, men, GLBT persons, and different races.

    So there, that’s been said, I think we should get on topic now.

  81. glub says

    Talks aren’t just public, they get preserved forever on the internet.

    You betcha naked one. Every bit of dribble you drool Paul. No hiding it.

  82. says

    I have sent a polite, but firm, email to Dr. Rabel (contact information to be found here) directly, arguing for the release of the video.
    Since the Gaines Center holds the video, it makes more sense to me to put pressure on them, rather than one who is professionally dishonest.

  83. says

    Unless you know something about assholes that we don’t, yes. “Asshat” and “assclam” have also passed legal mustard*.

    Douches are considered evil and thus douchebag, douche-nozzle, etc., can be used with impunity.

    *A phrase actually used in the Asbury Park Press.

  84. Sally Strange, OM says

    I disagree about wanker. Anyone can wank. I enjoy using “wanker” as an insult and will continue to do so.

  85. Ing says

    @Kathrine

    I’m taking a guess that Paul is the banned Paul and that was an excuse to troll.

  86. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    @Crip Dyke 98

    Well said. I particularly enjoyed your usage of the verb “to frustrate”.

    ———————-
    Off Topics:

    Concerning Wanker: I (m) do dislike it as a direct insult directed at a male, because I really think that in this context it is a sexist insult. However, I would enjoy further using it in different context, such as “Academic theology is nothing but an intellectual wankfest”, or such, because here it is a (admittedly gendered) metaphor comparing masturbation to other activities.

    @Nutella

    I’d say he knew fair bit about procreation. He had 10 children!

    Drat! I realized that the moment I had submitted :)

    @Tweece

    You must be happy about that.

    You know what this >< is? The web's smallest virtual violin, playing the web's virtually saddest tune.

    Back OT:

    Why do I have the suspicion that

  87. Alex, Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Why do I have the suspicion that Mr. Rabel is not entirely unreligious, and lets his own faith interfere with academic matters here?