Botanical Wednesday: Pumpkin spiral »« A reminder of my email change

Wheeee! <BOOM!> Here we go again!

Oh, this is going to be spectacular. Rebecca Watson just published a very good article about sexism in the skeptic community in Slate, and the comment thread there is already off and running with raging hemorrhoids whining at her. Expect it to spread further.

Her closing paragraph, though, explains why we have to revisit this again and again.

I also believe that old line about sunlight being the best disinfectant. Ignoring bullies does not make them go away. For the most part, the people harassing us aren’t just fishing for a reaction—they want our silence. They’re angry that feminist thought has a platform in “their community.” What they don’t get is that it’s also my community.

Zap! Light up the whole goddamn place!

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Zap! Light up the whole goddamn place!

    *Brings out the stage lights from the storeroom*

  2. says

    The organizers of the conference, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)…allowed the man to attend the conference and did nothing to reassure me.

    I either didn’t know this at the time or had forgotten it. Wow.

  3. says

    SC – yes that’s exactly what I said – I can’t remember if I didn’t know or knew and forgot. I think if you and I both say that, we probably didn’t know.

  4. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Oh boy. How long before the Slimepitters and MRA’s come out of the woodwork?

    I do agree with Rebecca. Shining a light on sexism and calling it out-is far preferable to not saying anything at all.

  5. Dick the Damned says

    The problem is that, while many of us in the freethought community have a well-developed ethical sense, there’s a sizeable minority, the MRAs, that lack that.

    After being involved with Humanism for nearly 50 years, in two countries, I’ve not encountered that kind of sexist behaviour at Humanist events. But i guess Humanism wouldn’t interest people who are selfish jerks.

  6. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    This is going to be a loooong night.

  7. chigau (棒や石) says

    I can’t cope with the commenting system at Slate.
    I guess I’ll just wait to see if any of Them come over here.

  8. says

    Yes, I saw your remark just after I posted my comment. I don’t think I’d have forgotten that. I remember the comment from Grothe or someone there following that tweet, stating that people should know that if they assault (and I believe it did use that word) someone they’ll be ejected and won’t have their money refunded. I remember responding to the effect that in the case of an assault they should call the police, and that this looked essentially like conference attendance came with one free assault (the second part I might have said later, but I thought it at the time). I suspect I’d remember knowing at the time that the person who’d publicly announced his intention to assault someone was allowed to attend.

  9. reliwhat says

    Thats the problem you get when you create a homogeneous community like the skeptic community. It creates a mob mentality, every that disagrees with them is attacked, whether they’re from the outside or the inside. There’s no argument, there’s no desire to know more, to understand, it’s all about the feeling of being right, which is why they’re will never be progress, unless they open up more.

  10. says

    Her critics can say what they like, but one thing that is clear is that here’s a person not afraid to put herself in the firing line to fight the good fight… To steal a christian turn of phrase… ;-)

  11. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Thats the problem you get when you create a homogeneous community like the skeptic community. It creates a mob mentality,

    This is a stupid thing to say. You should go sit in the corner.

  12. viajera says

    Maude, I hate the way comments load over there. So hard to follow a conversation.

    The trolls have certainly come out in force.

  13. says

    “Thats the problem you get when you create a homogeneous community like the skeptic community. It creates a mob mentality, every that disagrees with them is attacked, whether they’re from the outside or the inside. There’s no argument, there’s no desire to know more, to understand, it’s all about the feeling of being right, which is why they’re will never be progress, unless they open up more.”

    Yes, the skeptic “community” is notoriously homogeneous… the hell?

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It creates a mob mentality, every that disagrees with them is attacked, whether they’re from the outside or the inside.

    What is being attacked? The failure of some people to act like mature adults and respect all their peers equally. Why shouldn’t that be attacked?

  15. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    reliwhat:

    What homogeneous community would that be? The community that rejects Abrahamic patriarchy as a toxic leftover from relgion? The community that says there is no god but the men need sandwiches? The community that insists that, since women in Islamic countries have it worse, women in the west should shut up? You realize that all three of those communities (and far more) exist as part of the atheist community?

    PZed has created a site that stands up for women’s rights as a part of his ideal of atheism. A+ers have created a community in which social issues, including all genders and sexes, and economic issues are a part of the atheist community. If you choose not to be a part of those communities, find a different community.

    It creates a mob mentality, every that disagrees with them is attacked, whether they’re from the outside or the inside. There’s no argument, there’s no desire to know more, to understand, it’s all about the feeling of being right, which is why they’re will never be progress, unless they open up more.

    Where is this ‘attack’ of which you speak? When someone comes here spouting misogynist bullshit, supporting the religious paradigmatic patriarchy, using gendered insults, they are presented with reasons why they are wrong. Some (including me!) have taken a hard look at what is appropriate. Some have decided, as you have, that they do not need to listen to women, or gays, or lesbians, or any other group that is denied full access to all social and civil rights by the dominant patriarchy. Nothing I can do will change your mind.

    To quote a great regicide: I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken?

  16. hockeybob says

    I don’t have any popcorn, but I do have a box of Cheez-Its that I can share.

    (But none for reliwhatastupidfuckwit – they don’t deserve any.)

  17. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    From Slate, by Joshua Cox:

    LOL she starts of the article about 9/11 truthers. Looks like we have a religious atheist here. Putting faith in the government and corporate news, much? Look who believes the 19 hijacker conspiracy theory…

    How is it any hallmark of a skeptic to not question the official story? It also looks like SOME atheists would rather blame religion because it fits their worldview rather than take their own advice about looking at the evidence.

    She even admits she majored in BS. Is your trolldar going off yet?

    Just how many ‘sceptics’ aren’t sceptics at all? Are we really dealing with a set of people who believe that they’re part of the community but who aren’t really and yet are being represented as a part of the misogynist subculture because they actively represent themselves as so being? It’s seriously annoying that randoms on the internet can potentially inflate the misogyny within the community. We really don’t need more than there is.

    If anyone ever doubted that the problem is societal, all anyone has to do is read comments in a thread about misogyny to see that misogynists exists everywhere and are highly motivated by their misogyny.

  18. Beatrice, anti-imperialist anti-racist Islamophobiaphobic leftist says

    hockeybob,

    re:popcorn
    Here, have some of mine. I made it to snack on while watching The Walking Dead, but the carnage here will probably be more entertaining.

  19. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Umm …I understood reliwhat’s comment to be talking about the preponderance of white men in the community and how those who differ from them are attacked and that there’s not really a will to expand the community …

    That makes sense. I don’t know about the other interpretations. Only reliwhat can clarify.

  20. sharculese says

    Tony, #7

    Oh boy. How long before the Slimepitters and MRA’s come out of the woodwork?

    When I scrolled through the comments earlier there was a debate going on where people were seriously arguing that ‘misogynist’ was a worse insult than the c-word, so…

  21. kevinkirkpatrick says

    After being involved with Humanism for nearly 50 years, in two countries, I’ve not encountered that kind of sexist behaviour at Humanist events. But i guess Humanism wouldn’t interest people who are selfish jerks

    Hi Dick the Damned,

    Just wanted to point out that your experience of sexism as Humanist events is not an accurate predictor of the actual prevelancy of sexist behavior. Sort of like my commenting, “I’ve worked in Chicago all my life and haven’t encountered any road rage; I guess Chicago just doesn’t attract rude drivers like other cities”, while neglecting to mention that I work from home and rarely travel outside the suburbs.

    That’s not to say that sexism DOES exist in the Humanist communities of which you’re a part. But if you really want to make a case that sexism does not occur at Humanist events, your case would be tremendously strengthened with:
    1) open, well-advertised, and clear policies explaining how to report unwanted attention / harassment / intimidating behavior (and stating how such behavior will be addressed)
    2) statements from attendees (men and women) endorsing said policies and affirming that with such policies in place, they feel absolutely confident that any non-consensual attention can be reported and dealt with directly and definitively
    3) In light of something like #1 and #2, having events go off with no reported harassment during or after.

    Of course, you can’t prove a negative; but it seems to me that something like this kind of evidence would be far more reassuring to a woman than a man saying “well, I’ve never seen any sexism at these events”.

    In the same vein, if I was trying to convince a black friend that my company is a discrimination-free environment; I’m sure he’d be very reassured by my pointing out all of the zero-tolerance policies; all the avenues for handling discrimination; and giving him contact info of some of the black people I work with (who could candidly tell him whether they felt it was truly a “safe” workplace). I don’t think he’d be tremendously reassured by my stating, “I’ve worked there for 10 years and never encountered any racism” (I’m white).

    Is my point making any sense?

  22. says

    “It’s seriously annoying that randoms on the internet can potentially inflate the misogyny within the community”

    Misogyny is pervasive and pointless. It’s in every community. More in some than in others, but still there.

    “If anyone ever doubted that the problem is societal, all anyone has to do is read comments in a thread about misogyny to see that misogynists exists everywhere and are highly motivated by their misogyny.”

    A clear truth.

  23. says

    @Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze–

    Shining a light on sexism and calling it out-is far preferable to not saying anything at all.

    From what perspective? Not if you’re Rebecca Watson, it isn’t. Or from the perspective of any woman who is the target of vicious misogyny.

    Oh wait, what woman isn’t? (ERV? LOL)

  24. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Reliwhat, as usual, you no idea what the fuck is being discussed.

    For once, show some intelligence and shut the fuck up.

  25. chigau (棒や石) says

    Stella
    Under the comment box is the word ‘Live’
    Click that to pause the constant updating.

  26. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Thomathy, some advise; do not ask reliwhat to clarify. You will not like the attempt.

  27. Stella says

    Under the comment box is the word ‘Live’
    Click that to pause the constant updating.

    Thank you so much, chigau,

    Stella

  28. LuminiferousEthan says

    @Stella #21

    There is a little button right at the top of the comments section (right under where you would put your own comment) that by default says “Live”. Click on it and this will change to “Paused”.

  29. anuran says

    Your Humble Amphibian ducked into the comments section at Slate.

    There was a lot of mansplainers, tone trolls, personal attacks, “just shut up”, “Oh, her poor victim” and MRAs.

    There was also a lot of supportive comments. More than what I’ve seen in the general skeptic community.

  30. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar, I guess I’ll take your word for it but evidence of its veracity may be forthcoming since I already asked.

    In the case that you are right, well …sorry?

  31. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Umm …thanks for the repetition, michaelolsen.

  32. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Thomathy, I will keep this brief because I do not want to derail. Reliwhat turned a defense of The Amazing Athiest’s mocking of a teen suicide to a attempt of show it was justified via Kantian ethics. He also claims that he is just asking questions.

    Yes, he is JAQing off.

    If I comment on this thread again, it will be on topic.

  33. reliwhat says

    @ogvorbis

    “Some have decided, as you have, that they do not need to listen to women, or gays, or lesbians, or any other group that is denied full access to all social and civil rights by the dominant patriarchy. Nothing I can do will change your mind.”

    See, case in point. Somehow, i’m now ignoring the opinion of women, gays, lesbians. Thats what i get on every blog. Just because i disagree with what seems to be the main ideology, i’m automatically wrong.

    @ redhead
    Some people say things like “What is being attacked? The failure of some people to act like mature adults and respect all their peers equally. Why shouldn’t that be attacked?”. How do you know???? i used to think abortions were fine, that no one should worry about it, then i saw a documentary about the abortion problem in russia, and i understood why people were worried about that issue. Being against abortion was deemed wrong, so everything that came out against abortion was dismissed, regardless of its value. So, im not saying im against abortions, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Same thing applies with every other issue.

  34. reliwhat says

    @ janine

    the topic was how the skeptic community was sexist. My point was that the community wasn’t diverse enough, as far as ideology, and that this cause people to ignore points, like the ones rebecca was trying to make. I also used that to explain the hate she received. So no, i’m not off topic.

  35. chigau (棒や石) says

    [meta]
    If you type
    <blockquote>paste quoted text here</blockquote>
    this will result.

    paste quoted text here

    It will make your comments easier to read.

  36. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Fuckface, the problem of misogyny in the skeptic and atheist communities is not because of the lack of diversity. It is because to many people within it are misogynists and too many others just let it slide.

    You do not understand what Rebecca Watson is saying.

    I am not at all surprised by that.

  37. reliwhat says

    @Chigau

    IM KEEPIN IT REAL MY MAN, cant be using those tool the man has given you. You gotta stick it to the man, man. So keep it real, dog. Old school quotation like they show you in french literature classes. Had to take the class, might as well use it. :)

  38. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    the topic was how the skeptic community was sexist. My point was that the community wasn’t diverse enough,

    Something you’ve asserted outside any relation to reality.

    What is diverse “enough”?

  39. says

    Brouht to you by Reliwhat:

    “@ogvorbis

    “Some have decided, as you have, that they do not need to listen to women, or gays, or lesbians, or any other group that is denied full access to all social and civil rights by the dominant patriarchy. Nothing I can do will change your mind.”

    See, case in point. Somehow, i’m now ignoring the opinion of women, gays, lesbians. Thats what i get on every blog. Just because i disagree with what seems to be the main ideology, i’m automatically wrong.”

    The main ideology being mutual respect and equality. Ignroing of course that there is no main, let alone an ideology.

    “@ redhead
    Some people say things like “What is being attacked? The failure of some people to act like mature adults and respect all their peers equally. Why shouldn’t that be attacked?”. How do you know???? i used to think abortions were fine, that no one should worry about it, then i saw a documentary about the abortion problem in russia, and i understood why people were worried about that issue. Being against abortion was deemed wrong, so everything that came out against abortion was dismissed, regardless of its value. So, im not saying im against abortions, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Same thing applies with every other issue.””

    Look, buddy, if you can’t tell the difference between your newborn daughter and the water..- Wait, value? What are these arguments against abortion that are valuable? Please make them new and imaginative.

  40. says

    By taking the conversation out of the skeptical community, she certainly has shone some serious light on the issue. The mansplaining nastyness will be exposed to a much wider audience.

    Good for her.

  41. reliwhat says

    @ Janine

    so much hate janine, so much hate. Take one of them chill pills. I’m just arguing about the issue. If every one agreed with you every time, it would get boring. AMARIGHT???

    and i never said that rebecca agreed with what i said, or that i thought that what she meant was what i said.

  42. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar, it seems my interpretation was correct and that I needn’t be dismayed by the clarification. I see nothing at all problematic with what reliwhat wrote on the topic. The community, at least in it’s upper echelons, as acknowledged by pretty much everyone, is hardly diverse, even ideologically, to the extent that feminism and issues like misogyny can be ignored or deemed unimportant. I actually think that’s accurate.

    I have no opinion on whatever else reliwhat has said on other topics, not having read any of it and while I accept what you said at face value, this is on point.

  43. says

    Hey, guess what, reliwhat? You need to chill. And to help you out, I’m hereby confining you to the Thunderdome, where your asshattery can be avoided by those who find it tedious, and shredded by those who revel in battle. Don’t post anywhere else. Confine yourself to Thunderdome. The next step in your descent is banning.

  44. kathrynr says

    The problem isn’t with the individual on the elevator; it is with those who think what he did was in any way appropriate.

  45. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    i used to think abortions were fine, that no one should worry about it, then i saw a documentary about the abortion problem in russia, and i understood why people were worried about that issue. Being against abortion was deemed wrong, so everything that came out against abortion was dismissed, regardless of its value. So, im not saying im against abortions, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Same thing applies with every other issue.

    Explain what the ‘problem’ in Russia is supposed to have been.

    If the ‘problem’ is that there were ‘too many’ abortions, then there wasn’t a problem with abortion at all.

    If the ‘problem’ is that abortions were unsafe, then there still isn’t a problem with abortion, but rather one with safe access.

    In fact, there’s no scenario where abortion, self-determination, would be the ‘problem’. That would necessarily have to be something else, since there’s nothing at all wrong with the concept nor the practice of abortion.

  46. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar, that is, I had no opinion until I read what other stuff might be uttered by reliwhat. The abortion stuff is confused nonsense. We can’t expect consistency, but at least there was a useful clarification made of that one comment.

    I guess I’ll be half-sorry. If I can have a moment of self-pity, I’m half-sorry I had to read anything other than the two relevant comments or that I responded to the irrelevant one.

  47. unclefrogy says

    I’m not sure that the root of the problem is not that the skeptic movement and the subsequent gatherings are not diverse enough as it is that some people (white men? (boys)) who self identify as skeptics are not as skeptical as they think but are really just contrary to any perceived authority other than their own and their own personal unquestioned assumptions and unexamined beliefs.
    They come off as hyper defensive almost to the point of paranoia, in many ways they seem just like the religious in thought and action. Just as irrational and boring to talk to.
    They think Skepticism is and should be full of people just like themselves and freak out when they discover it is not and think it (The Movement) is being attacked or threatened when it is only their own perceptions that are confronting the reality that they could be mistaken or wrong which they simply can not accept.

    uncle frogy

  48. says

    It is amazing to me that well over a year later, the timbre of the comments over on Slate are virtually identical to the comments made on the morning that RW posted the original video, minus some of the more overtly misogynistic language. It really cements the fact that this is a cultural issue, rather than something that can be written off as certain individuals “disagreeing” with feminism and decency.

  49. reliwhat says

    @ michaelolsen

    in this case, i’m referring to late term abortions, which were or are common in russia (i don’t know the situation now, i saw the documentary long ago). The problem was that too many late term abortion happened and it was taking it’s toll on doctors. And this is not an argument against abortion, it’s something that makes abortions look bad, thats different, because the pro-choice position mainly talks about early abortions. A thing like that could get “thrown away with the bath water”, because, as i said, it makes abortions look bad, but, in reality, it has value. Indeed, a lawyer named JP White used that point to show that it was immoral to allow abortions only when the ethics committee of the hospital thought it was ok. The reason was, most of the time, the ethics committee would take too much time to make its decision, which would result in late term abortions. And that led to a legislation allowing abortion clinics to exist, even though abortions were illegal.

    but please, don’t make me go off topic again. Janine will get mad.

  50. says

    cool, it helps everyone in the thread easily parse what you are saying.

    I know. And I’d have done it to begin with had I known how. So thanks. And I think this is the first time in a long while where an Internet “thanks” wasn’t sarcastic.

  51. pixelfish says

    My favourite (and by favourite, I mean, most eyerolling) comments are the ones wherein some schmuck doesn’t bother to read anything else on this, does no research, and brightly declares, “Have any of you considered that the young man in question may have difficulties socialising/Aspergers/etc?”

    No, sir, none of us considered that for even half a sec–oh, wait, no, here there’s pages and pages of discussion debating that exact thing and rejecting it for the red herring that it is.

  52. Louis says

    Rebecca Watson is someone I would very much like to buy a beer. In a totally non-Elevator sense. If there is anyone that has suffered the “tender” mercies of a torrent of misogynists, it’s her. I suspect she has broad enough shoulders and tough enough skin, but a supportive beer is a supportive beer.

    {Sigh}

    I suppose we have all been too nice to each other for a while. It’s about time we kicked a little arse.

    {Rolls up sleeves}

    Louis

  53. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    but please, don’t make me go off topic again. Janine will get mad.

    Fuckface, it is not my “anger” that you should worry about. It is the wraith of the owner of this blog. Scroll up to #56.

    Read it and chill out…MAN!

  54. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    My favourite (and by favourite, I mean, most eyerolling) comments are the ones wherein some schmuck doesn’t bother to read anything else on this, does no research, and brightly declares, “Have any of you considered that the young man in question may have difficulties socialising/Aspergers/etc?”

    And this makes everything even worse. Those of us who are paying attention have read a lot of accounts of people with Aspergers who explain that they tend to be very careful about social interactions because it does not come to them easily.

  55. says

    “Fuckface, it is not my “anger” that you should worry about. It is the wraith of the owner of this blog. Scroll up to #56.

    Read it and chill out…MAN!”

    I think you mean “wrath”, but then, the thought of the vengeful ghost of PZ IS very frightening.

  56. reliwhat says

    @ michealolsen

    sry, english is not my first language. I know i’m sometimes hard to understand.

    My point was, do not disregard an information because it seems to go against what you believe (i’m not saying you personally do, it was a reference to my previous post). The analogy was that legislation was passed to help the pro-choice movement by using a pro-life argument. That argument had value, because most people (and maybe i’m wrong) believe that, at a certain point in the pregnancy, it’s wrong to “kill” the baby. Using that, the defense lawyer convinced the jury that it would be more moral to abort the baby before this happens.

    here’s link to the trailer http://www.killinggirlsmovie.com/trailer/

  57. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    “Have any of you considered that the young man in question may have difficulties socialising/Aspergers/etc?”

    I think about 1/4(?) of the comments in the epic 3d5k misogython discussed just that. It came up about every 100th comment as if it was a totally new idea and would be responsible for a quarter of the conversation until the next one was due. That one pissed me off, pisses me off, and will continue to piss me off.

  58. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Oops! I am afraid that with my typo, I have proved that there is a clear division of the mind and body.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My point was that the community wasn’t diverse enough, as far as ideology, and that this cause people to ignore points,

    Then why are you constantly espousing a narrow presuppositional ideology for everything? Gee, you aren’t that broad minded.

    then i saw a documentary about the abortion problem in russia, and i understood why people were worried about that issue.

    Gee, you responded to propergander, without taking it with a proper grain of salt. I take everything you assert with a grain of salt the size of Wyoming. It probably won’t/doesn’t stand up to true critical scrutiny.

  60. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Bye-bye, reliwhat. It has not been nice to know you.

    (Puts on a raincoat to protect herself from the splatter for when the banhammer comes down.)

  61. pixelfish says

    @Janine: One of the things that bugs me is that they never ask if the woman being propositioned might have social anxiety or Aspergers herself or be struggling with the need to figure out if the situation is threatening or merely feels threatening, and thus undermining her own safety instincts. As somebody who audits nearly every interaction for “Did I fuck up/offend/read this wrong?” I find situations like this particularly fraught. Either way I read the situation, I will be A) a suspicious untrusting clueless harpy or B) putting myself in danger. Of course, I always go for option A, but the after-auditing of my decisions isn’t always a pretty process. :(

  62. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My point was, do not disregard an information because it seems to go against what you believe

    In other words, swallow it whole without questioning the source, the reliability of said source, other facts, etc. True skeptics do ask those questions, and don’t accept just one source to get to the truth. But you on the other hand…

  63. mandrellian says

    reliwhat, go and read that bright red text in comment # 56 and fuck off to the Thunderdome.

    Or keep blathering and get yourself and your obtuse little mind banned. Either result is fine.

  64. says

    Reliwhat, I have unraveled you… You are, indeed, a relic. And I’m geting bored with your ARG before even seing the video. You’re the worst publicist ever.

  65. vaiyt says

    The analogy was that legislation was passed to help the pro-choice movement by using a pro-life argument. That argument had value, because most people (and maybe i’m wrong) believe that, at a certain point in the pregnancy, it’s wrong to “kill” the baby. Using that, the defense lawyer convinced the jury that it would be more moral to abort the baby before this happens.

    But that’s a bad argument. It’s a bad argument because it still doesn’t allow the woman to terminate the pregnancy beyond whatever arbitrary point common wisdom decided to be “the point beyond which it’s wrong to ‘kill the baby’” (a point which anti-choicers try to push further and further back). It doesn’t help us get any further in letting women have full bodily autonomy.

  66. says

    Wheeee boom indeed. Nothing substantial to say yet, as I need to go back and read these new posts, but I see this exploded as expected. Just before I left the house this post went up and there were 4 comments. Now there are 94. I think I want to cry.

  67. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    skeptifem, seems reliwhat was just very stupid. My only experience with reliwhat is here and the Thunderdome, just now though.

  68. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    skeptifem:
    Janine and I have had multiple interactions with reliwhat. I can’t speak for her, but I suspect she and I share similar views on that individual. Those views are not positive.

  69. says

    On reliwhat: like others have mentioned I do remember seeing the name a few times and my impressions are not good, but to be honest I cannot remember the exact threads or what was said. Right now I am in no mood to search the archives to see just what was being said. I am not saddened to see them gone.

  70. eric says

    Wow, what a feeding frenzy. The article is 7 hours old and the comments section is still ‘moving’ (being added to) several centimeters every minute. 3000+ comments = one every 10 seconds.

    Most are – unsurprisingly – repeats of the same ‘ol same ‘ol.

  71. says

    Thanks Tony. I after I started reading the first one I realized who they were. Yeah, I am not going to weep over this.

    I thought the comments had exploded here but I guess it was mainly a response to reliwhat, the Slate posters have not really made it here. After reading a few of the comments there I am actually kind of glad this has not yet happened. It was painful, it was almost as bad as reading comments on Youtube.

  72. leftwingfox says

    I’m starting to think that news comment sections like Slate should be limit comments to three posts per person. All you need is one or two posters flooding the forums to unbalance the entire discussion.

  73. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Travis, we had a lot of that shit at Slate happen here last year. Part of the reason why there is now a Slyme Pit. We were not at all accommodating to those “allies” who wanted to be able to call a bitch a cunt.

  74. says

    Janine, I was here for that and remember how bad it was but lately I have not been exposed to it as much. Sadly I have a harder and harder time confronting it and going to the various blog posts and articles that PZ links to because it tires me out so much. My tolerance level for reading that type of stuff has plummeted.

  75. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Travis:
    No need to feel bad about that. Everyone’s ability to take that kind of crap is different. There’s nothing wrong with your tolerance level diminishing.

  76. Jonathan, Foot In Mouth says

    @Janine .73: And then we read about business like this and just facepalm. Maybe mutter something about why nerds used to never talk to the opposite sex in the first place, because after all this, it takes me some thinking to quantify what, exactly, elevatorman did wrong.
    On the surface, to me, it initially seemed like something I’d think to do if I ever found somebody in my immediate meatspace interesting–take advantage of a moment of privacy to create my own “safe space” where the question and the answer would be between us. At the risk of mansplaining, I honestly wonder if this is the problem–there’s a small detail about the encounter that makes it creepy, and without it–and it did take me a few readings to spot it–it comes off as something completely different.
    Now, I’m putting this forward, not to educate you poor, silly, ladies with my penis-borne insight, but to verify it with people I respect as my intellectual superiors. I wholly expect that I’m the last person in the room to figure this out, and I just want to make sure I’m not barrelling off in the wrong direction:
    He followed Ms. Watson into the elevator. Followed.
    This isn’t a shy, awkward everygeek timidly asking an obviously out-of-his-league girl out, only to be cruelly shot down by the man-hating harpy ice queen succubitch lesbian parthenobaby of Valerie Solanas and Madeline Murray O’Hair. The dude (for he was, without any doubt, a member of that base and vile caste) didn’t use a naturally occurring moment of privacy–he deliberately isolated Ms. Watson. That’s the part nobody talks about. That’s the part that makes his behavior predatory.
    Am I close? Warm? Cold?

  77. mythbri says

    @Jonathan

    The dude (for he was, without any doubt, a member of that base and vile caste) didn’t use a naturally occurring moment of privacy–he deliberately isolated Ms. Watson. That’s the part nobody talks about. That’s the part that makes his behavior predatory.
    Am I close? Warm? Cold?

    Actually people talk about it quite a bit, and there are other people who dismiss it as “hysterical” and “misandrist”, because women are all irrational bundles of anxiety who believe that every man will rape them.

    Sigh.

    And don’t be surprised if no one here is interested in discussing the topic in a civil manner – you have to understand that this conversation has happened over and over and OVER and OVER again for the last year, since Watson first said “Guys, don’t do that.”

    I would suggest trying to find and read some of those conversations, so that you can see what ground (LOTS) has already been covered.

  78. says

    Yes, the skeptic “community” is notoriously homogeneous… the hell?

    It *is* mostly middle class white dudes, but I don’t think Reliwhat has the sense to have a problem with that.

    Hey Sharculese!

    The problem is that, while many of us in the freethought community have a well-developed ethical sense, there’s a sizeable minority, the MRAs, that lack that.

    MRAs aren’t really that big… the problem isn’t really them. The problem is that society as a whole is sexist (and racist, heterosexist, cissexist, ableist, classist…), and that the predominantly middle class white dudes haven’t really seen fit to change that.

    Again: Nerds had harrassment policies before I was born. The Skeptic community had a hissyfit about their adoption in 2012. I don’t see why I should think it’s just a minority with issues. Unless ‘not opposing compatriots saying stupid shit’ isn’t an issue, I suppose.

  79. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Logged in and read the comments.

    My word!

    Those “criticizing” Rebecca might as well be supporters of the Donald, demanding that their stupidity be acknowledged as fact RIGHT NOW or else… something REAL bad!

    What total and obvious assholes! And that was EVERY negative comment I read (12 – I couldn’t take anymore) on the Slate article!

    Where are these assholes when in physical form? Do they only solidify to molest women on elevators?

    I knew the MR stuff was unpleasant, but they might as well be the KKK in attitude and intelligence. And methods.

  80. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Kind of a good question–the only people I’ve seen like that offline are the occasional well-meaning ignoramus. Are they just not in my social class? Do they live in particular locations I don’t go? Or do they just keep it bottled up in public to help keep up the persecuted minority delusions?

  81. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    @scott – Think of it as a mixed blessing. It at least means we’re going more mainstream, which is the point, isn’t it? Think of all the Randian jackoffs who self-identify as atheists. Come to think of it, they’re probably a lot of the same people who think they’re skeptical, but kept all the stupid prejudices that religion gave them.

  82. Lyn M: Necrodunker of death, nothing but net says

    @ pixelfish #80

    I find situations like this particularly fraught. Either way I read the situation, I will be A) a suspicious untrusting clueless harpy or B) putting myself in danger. Of course, I always go for option A, but the after-auditing of my decisions isn’t always a pretty process. :(

    Well said. I agree that A) is usually the better option, however, I have no more evidence than you do, I imagine. Worrying about possibly having been “too [insert incorrect behavior while being female]” is depressing. At the same time, I know that one’s behavior will not magically prevent being assaulted.

    At this stage of my life, I tend to think, “Oh, the heck with it. There were two people in that interaction, and I tried my best.” Still think of stuff like that and cringe, though, about my own behavior.

    Now imagine all that, with added bunches of comments from people who feel free to offer their views in colourful terms, over and over. I don’t know how the heck Rebecca can stand it.

  83. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    I’m wondering how long it will take for someone to show up here, refer to the comments at the Slate article, and talk about how both sides are at fault.

    Not sure if the false equivalency or the social disability is more annoying.

  84. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    jonathan @108:
    I’m not a woman, but I think you’ve hit the ball, but not out of the park (please forgive the baseball analogy). Yes, Elevator Guy was creepy, but the presumption on his part that *that* environment was the proper place to ask RW such a question is the bigger issue. Early morning hours. Enclosed space. No one else around. Asking a woman back to his room?
    Shades of Schrodinger’s Rapist.
    I’m not saying EG was a rapist. I don’t have enough evidence to support such an assertion. I also don’t believe Rebecca Watson said anything that implied she thought he was a rapist.
    I recommend reading the link. Please don’t enter with expectations. Read for comprehension.

  85. says

    @108 I’ll oblige thee, Jonathan.

    The dude (for he was, without any doubt, a member of that base and vile caste) didn’t use a naturally occurring moment of privacy–he deliberately isolated Ms. Watson. That’s the part nobody talks about. That’s the part that makes his behavior predatory.

    EG may not have been intentionally predatory. Guys just aren’t taught to put aside their privilege and look at things from a woman’s point of view, and sometimes do things that they wouldn’t do if they knew better. That was Rebecca’s whole point with her video: to explain to the empathetic but not aware, that this kind of behaviour is, for many women at best creepy, at worst, extremely scary. Of course, the vile caste don’t give a shit about women as people, they only care about controlling them and doing whatever they want.

    For the record, the mistakes (or deliberately predatory actions) EG made:

    1. Rebecca had given a public talk earlier that day saying “I don’t like to be hit on when I’m at conferences.” This clear statement was ignored.

    2. Rebecca said in the bar “I’m tired now and want to go to bed.” This clear statement was ignored.

    3. He followed her into an isolated, closed off area.

    4. This was at 4 am, a time when people who might help would ordinarily be asleep, thus further isolating. Also, it’s in unfamiliar surroundings for her, something which he must have known.

    5. He propositioned her there, forcing her to a) refuse in a location where she couldn’t easily get away or b) humour him until she had some means of escape (this might easily be construed by a predatory man as “leading him on” and result in heightened aggression at a later refusal).

  86. says

    It’s funny, but I just found myself bargaining based on the first paragraph of Rebecca’s article. Even after a year of following the situation.

    “Surely, the bad-guy skeptics are the ‘other’ skeptics,” I told myself. “They’re the 9-11 ‘truthers’, the HIV denialists, and all the rest. Surely, these aren’t the rational skeptics…are they?”

    I want it to be true. There’s no delusion like self-delusion, I guess.

  87. jedibear says

    I actually get the “maybe he was awkward” argument.

    Because, you see, I was actually an awkward asshole once. And I made a few people pretty uncomfortable (and embarrassed myself pretty badly) before I figured out what I was doing wrong.

    Afterward, I was very sorry, but you don’t get to take stuff like that back. I can excuse it with “dumb kid” all I want, but that doesn’t make those experiences go away. Nobody’s obliged even to forgive me.

    And that brings me around to the point. It doesn’t matter what his malfunction was. It matters that it was a malfunction and that calling it out as such was the right thing to do, whether he was an awkward asshole or just a regular asshole.

    So, again, good on Rebecca. Now that I understand what she faces, she’s my hero for standing up against it and continuing to call attention to it.

  88. says

    @121: Of course, EG has never come out and revealed himself (that I’m aware of), so we’re likely to never know.

    However, he’s the smallest part of the issue. The issue is not his behavior. It’s the venom that Rebecca and others have been exposed to for the simple observation that guys shouldn’t act like that. A simple enough request.

    It the hundreds of clueless others that I worry about, not EG.

  89. says

    Because, you see, I was actually an awkward asshole once. And I made a few people pretty uncomfortable (and embarrassed myself pretty badly) before I figured out what I was doing wrong.

    A good person wants to learn what they’re doing wrong and wants to stop being an asshole. Therefore, when someone points out what they (or someone like them) is doing wrong, they self-examine and feel gratitude toward the person pointing it out. No one is demanding perfection. We expect that people will be dense about certain things or act in sexist ways. The real problem here though, is the resistance. The assholes that want to keep the status quo and will fight with everything in the misogynist arsenal to keep it that way. The ones who say there’s no problem, that feminists are divisive or a distraction from the mission’s purity. The ones who spew sexist slurs and rape threats, and show glee when those speaking out are suffering from depression or cancer. There’s nothing innocent or awkward about them.

  90. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    @jedi, that’s exactly what I meant. It’s so easy for an awkward, geeky type to project, to not see EG and instead see yourself in middle school. Well, myself in middle school if I had actually been interested in girls at all in middle school. My awkward-with-girls phase was more freshman year of college–I once wound up creeping some poor classmate out by essentially elevatoring her by the door of the girls’ bathroom… in an attempt to apologize privately to her for some earlier incident where I thought I must have creeped her out. Turned out she hadn’t noticed at all. Cue forehead imprints on the wall, nervous laughter on both sides, back to early American history.

  91. alebuhn says

    I completely fail to understand how one can read Rebecca Watson’s present article and then proceed to disagree with her. She carefully builds an entirely reasonable case and even goes out of her way to phrase it in the most clear-headed way possible, but the hate-spewing troglodytes still come out in full force one second later. But then, I don’t understand quite a few other things either.

    What got me most was that when I read it, the first commenter on the list was one who called her out for being a “self-promoter”. Quite apart from the fact that I would expect a self-proclaimed skeptic to recognize their own ad hominem fallacy, I am fairly sure they would not say the same about a man who behaved in all ways exactly like RW.

  92. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    They aren’t thinking–too caught up in their own privilege to do anything but feel attacked.

  93. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Still loving how “guys don’t do that” is being completely twisted, changed, misunderstood and misrepresented.

  94. Ichthyic says

    reliwhat, in a moment of ALMOST clarity exclaimed…

    See, case in point. Somehow, i’m now ignoring the opinion of women, gays, lesbians. Thats what i get on every blog.

    so… so close to self awareness.

    alas, twas not to be.

  95. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    I completely fail to understand how one can read Rebecca Watson’s present article and then proceed to disagree with her.

    There are, unfortunately, some within the atheist and sceptic community for whom absolutist denial of any sexism and/or misogyny has become ‘what they are known for’ on the web. I remember, back in middle and high school, students who would rise to prominence by picking on someone. Bullying the other student became their calling card, their cause, what they were known for. Some of them kept this behaviour up for years, long after whatever it was that started the bullying had been forgotten or become a non-issue. The students continued the abusive behaviour because, if they stopped, they were afraid no one would know who they were.

    I wonder how many, including slymepitters, are so well known among their peers for hating Rebecca Watson that any change in behaviour would, in their eyes, cause them to disappear. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour in any way, but it really does remind me of some of the cliquish nonsense from middle school.

  96. Amphiox says

    re 125;

    For these slimepitters it is easy – if Rebecca Watson wrote it, they must scream and howl.

    The are the most pathetic and odious type of bigots of all. The kind of cowards that oppress the most vulnerable and least powerful minorities of all – the minority of one.

    They are bullies to the last. Their screeching over Amanda Todd was most telling. Because they are the same ilk as the bullies that drove her to suicide.

  97. Nepenthe says

    Reliwhat, for the love of all that is not holy, use fucking capital letters, standard punctuation and some semblance of grammar.

    Jesus Horatio Christ, your material is inane enough without having to translate it from teen-on-a-cell-phone-speak.

  98. curtnelson says

    Dawkins’ “seal of approval”? RW is saying that RD made his Dear Muslima comment after seeing the abuse she was being subjected to? It was my sense that she got all the hate after his comment, after she made her own post about Dawkins.

  99. Ichthyic says

    It was my sense that she got all the hate after his comment

    your sense needs adjustment then. Elevatorgate started before Dawkins jumped in the pool.

  100. Ichthyic says

    Reliwhat, for the love of all that is not holy, use fucking capital letters, standard punctuation and some semblance of grammar.

    for those of us who are cell-phone challenged, please don’t make that a requirement.

    have you ever spent time trying to type on those things?

    ugh.

  101. says

    The students continued the abusive behaviour because, if they stopped, they were afraid no one would know who they were.

    I wonder how many, including slymepitters, are so well known among their peers for hating Rebecca Watson that any change in behaviour would, in their eyes, cause them to disappear.

    That’s a very good point. I’d say that’s a well-founded fear. Almost once a week I learn the name of someone I’d rather not know exists solely because they’ve publicly attacked a woman/feminist on their blog, YT channel, podcast, or whatever. The names all tend to blend together, and they’re all entirely forgettable.

  102. Nepenthe says

    @135

    But look at how well you’re doing! You have apostrophes! I never saw reliwhat use an apostrophe. My phone doesn’t even have an apostrophe.

  103. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    It was my sense that she got all the hate after his comment, after she made her own post about Dawkins.

    Dawkin’s ‘Dear Muslima’ comment was made during the 3 day, 5,000+ comment thread. About 1/3 of the way into it. So, just at Pharyngula, the hatefest against Rebecca Watson had already been going on for quite a while before Dawkins posted that piece of dreck. So you sense of timing is way off. Way, way off.

  104. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    I wonder how many, including slymepitters, are so well known among their peers for hating Rebecca Watson that any change in behaviour would, in their eyes, cause them to disappear.

    Makes sense. These people want to be heard, want to be agreed with and seen to be sensible and insightful by their peers. Simply repeating what have (sadly) become the same atheist talking points (religion bad and stupid! atheism good and smart!) just isn’t working for them anymore; there are too many doing that for them to feel like they’re distinguishing themselves.

    And, as I’ve said a couple of times before, it’s the unfortunate by-product of having told people that, in order for the collective voice of atheism to be noticed, they need to share their opinions as loudly and as frequently as possible.

  105. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Ogvorbis @139:

    5,000 comment thread?
    Damn. I had no idea how big it grew. Let me guess, the vast majority were MRA’s bashing Rebecca?

  106. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    @wowbagger: I think at least part of the problem is people like you, who’ve forgotten why they’re here. Religion is the cause of all the problems A+ is based on combating–sexism, racism, capitalism, it’s all part of the same stupid complex of ancient nonsense, and that’s why atheists are best equipped to deal with it.

  107. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    5,000 comment thread?
    Damn. I had no idea how big it grew. Let me guess, the vast majority were MRA’s bashing Rebecca?

    I think PZed rebooted the thread a couple of times but, yeah, about 5,000 comments in 3 days. I think I waded in a few times but it was gut wrenching. I think all of us took turns.

    I was on the thread when Dawkins dropped that idiotic ‘Dear Muslima’ comment and it took about one or two hundred comments to verify that yes, it really was him. It was just so unbelievable.

    The comments ran the gamut — RW is trying to make humans go extinct, RW claimed she was raped, RW destroyed the future of a poor innocent student, EG had Aspergers, and on and on and on and on. I think that is why a lot of us here have a really short fuse when someone starts playing games, or JAQing off, about women’s rights.

  108. John Morales says

    Tony:

    Let me guess, the vast majority were MRA’s bashing Rebecca?

    Nope.

    (You’re not that familiar with Pharyngula comment threads, are ya? :) )

  109. says

    Since I have been following integralmath for some time on youtube, this post by you PZ confirms to me that he has been spot on.

    It is so sad that Hitchens is no longer with us. It is still true that women are not funny.

    PZ you could not carry Hitchens galoshes.

    Goodbye.

  110. Rob says

    @136 Nepenthe

    Sry guys, didn’t read the whole thread before the yelling.

    De nada, this thread was gaining on my speed of reading for a while.

    @57 kathrynr

    The problem isn’t with the individual on the elevator; it is with those who think what he did was in any way appropriate.

    Comments 121-125 – Yes yes yes. In my teens I was awkward – far too awkward to bother girls. In my late teens/early 20′s I was still awkward and almost certainly strayed into asshat at times. I like to tell my self it was asshat-lite. I like to think I have improved and grown, but I still burn with shame at the memory of some uncomfortable moments. Being genuinely awkward is a reason for behaviour, not an excuse for carrying on that way. I have family members and acquaintances who have Aspergers. Most are very aware of their social limitations and go to great lengths to avoid awkward moments. I know two who I feel ‘play’ on their condition, which is at the milder end of the spectrum, frankly to get away with behaviour that most of us cannot. Looking at wider friends and family I note that the ones who I feel are playing it up are surrounded by people who say “they can’t help it” while the rest tend to be gently brought up short. Anecdotal I know so grain of salt.

    I’ve come to the view that most people want to interact in society and be constructive, but that a significant minority resent society and what they see as it’s rules and restrictions. they resent that someone else might tell them what to do or how to behave. They absolutely do not want to have any mistake or poor behaviour of any sort pointed out to them EVER.

    These are the people who try to carve out a power and influence niche for themselves and then use that power and influence primarily to maintain that position. Any good they achieve along the way is largely incidental. They can be theists, atheists, ‘skeptics’, man, woman gay or straight. Often libertarian, seldom liberal (as I understand the phrases).

    The one defining characteristic is that if you disagree there is no rational discussion, they set out to demean, bully and silence you and anyone who supports you using the meanest tactics they can. I’ve never changed the mind of a person like that and I’ve only seen them shut-up when they face real world recriminations for their actions.

    It’s a subset of these people (I use the term loosely) who have been hounding the feminists, and especially the female feminists, in the movement. They do it because progress is being made and that progress will eventually marginalise them within the atheist/skeptical community, albeit too slowly.

    Apologies for hogging thread length and if I have over explained stuff regulars take for granted.

  111. says

    Let me guess, the vast majority were MRA’s bashing Rebecca?

    there were a few of those egging things on (some outright calling RW a liar), but it seemed to mostly be the same 5 objections reposted by 10,000 dudes. That is how I remember it anyway.

    Each dude felt that what they had to say must be really important and that they had some unique insight to clear up all this business about sexism right away. The conclusion was generally that RW was reacting incorrectly, as was anyone who stood with her. The overwhelming sense of self importance is one of the more annoying things taught to boys in our culture- they grow up thinking that their 5 minutes pondering feminism is automatically worth discussing.

  112. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    skeptifem:

    Your recollection is much more accurate than mine. It did seem like the same things, again and again and again, for the whole damn thread.

  113. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Jonathan wrote:

    Religion is the cause of all the problems A+ is based on combating–sexism, racism, capitalism, it’s all part of the same stupid complex of ancient nonsense, and that’s why atheists are best equipped to deal with it.

    Two years ago I’ve had agreed with you. Now, not so much. If religion were the only problem, there’s be no need for A+, because A+ is a reaction by atheists to atheists who don’t give a toss about social justice. What excuse do they have for being sexist assholes if they aren’t religious?

    No small number of atheists have indiciated, overtly or covertly, that they have no interest in combating any of those things if it isn’t more about making religion look bad (having convinced themselves that they must be better by comparison) than it is about the people being negatively affected by it.

    These people have a chance to make things better for other – others who are their allies against religion – here and now, and yet they don’t. The responses to pretty much everything Rebecca Watson writes is evidence of that.

    And if you for a second think that if we got rid of religion there world would suddenly become an egalitarian paradise, you’ve not been paying attention.

  114. John Morales says

    thadpeters, you’ve said goodbye before you’ve said hello.

    (Backwards, you are)

    It is still true that women are not funny.

    You’re in denial about the existence of popular and successful female comedians.

    (Reality is scary to you, eh?)

  115. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Come back thadpeters!

    We could have been such great friends.

    Also, I want to learn from you what else women are not good at. I need to learn my limitations.

  116. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Your recollection is much more accurate than mine. It did seem like the same things, again and again and again, for the whole damn thread.

    Yep:
    1) Anything any woman says must be taken with hyperskepticism.
    2) Anything any feminist says must be taken with hyperskepticism.
    3) Anything I say must be swallowed as is and accepted as truth.
    4) If you don’t believe me you don’t understand how to do skepticism.
    5) I don’t have to listen to any of you to know I’m right.

    Feel free add further numbers.

  117. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Isn’t that the sort of person that’s responsible for most everything wrong with the world? These guys (and they ARE usually guys…) are everywhere in the upper echelons–have been since the dawn of civilization. Two thousand years ago, they beat Tiberius Gracchus to death with chair legs rather than let him get credit for the reforms that would have saved Rome by marginalizing their power and endangering their wealth–and they’re doing their best to break Obama right now. Privileged jackoffs who think they earned what their ancestors stole, and invent constructs like race and gender and divinity to divide us and give themselves excuses to take out their urges on us.

  118. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I have read it. It a lot of ways, Hitchens was a complete ass.

    And I can see you really respected the ass part of Hitchins.

  119. says

    1) Anything any woman says must be taken with hyperskepticism.
    2) Anything any feminist says must be taken with hyperskepticism.
    3) Anything I say must be swallowed as is and accepted as truth.
    4) If you don’t believe me you don’t understand how to do skepticism.
    5) I don’t have to listen to any of you to know I’m right.

    Feel free add further numbers.

    6) what about elevator guy and his feelings?

  120. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Jonathon, I would not be so quick to place Barack Obama as the defender of the disenfranchised.

  121. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    @wowbagger: They aren’t. At least, not completely–they’re like that Stedman guy, residually contaminated with the cultural debris that religiosity carries with it. That’s what religion does–it absorbs ideas that make it stronger, and perpetuates them.

  122. carlie says

    The problem isn’t with the individual on the elevator; it is with those who think what he did was in any way appropriate.

    And with those who think that the real problem was that she stated that she did not like such attention. How dare she reject advances that a man offered to her! Didn’t she know this was a compliment? Didn’t she know this was him being nice to her? How could she be so cold?

  123. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    And yeah, @janine, I know alllllllll about Obama. But he’s the closest thing we have right now, and cheezum crackers, are They terrified of him. You can see all that debris I was talking about swirling around the whole campaign–the constant invocation of religion and race hatred, the appeals to the inherent virtue of the privileged, the subtle courting of people who think Lord of the Rings was about black people. It’s all one great big complex, and Obama, mass murdering black evangelical capitalist that he is, is still the biggest threat to it we have. I’m still not sure I can vote for him–I live in Illinois, so it’s not like it matters.

  124. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Jonathon, I am assuming you remember the circus that was Alan Keyes moving to Illinois in order to run against Barack Obama for the Senate seat. (The Illinois Republican Party seriously thought about recruiting former Chicago Bears coach to run against Obama. Illinois politics is seriously weird.)

  125. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    thadpeters:

    It is still true that women are not funny.

    Where’s your qualifier that states this is only your opinion? Also, I’d like to see some evidence that you’ve encountered enough of the women on this planet to make such a bold claim.

    Myself, I find some women to be funny and some women to not be funny.
    I also find some men are funny while others are not (you fall in the “not” category”).

  126. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    Sorry, @janine–in ’04, I was busy reading Michael Moore and ranting to my parents about how obviously an inside job 9/11 was. Thank god I was too young to vote back then… I’d probably have gone for Kohn.

  127. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Janine:

    I need to learn my limitations.

    Isn’t that one of the core messages in the Bible?
    You can have mine if you want to read up on the limits YahWallah created for women.

  128. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is still true that women are not funny.

    Some are very funny, just as many men comedians need humor training. Personally, I’ll take Rita Rudner over most male comedians.

  129. Ichthyic says

    It is still true that women are not funny.

    I’ll bite.

    think about this for a couple of minutes… use google if you have to.

    Now then, name at least one woman comedian you have actually laughed at.

    Because I know you have.

  130. Ichthyic says

    Also, I want to learn from you what else women are not good at. I need to learn my limitations.</i.

    LOL

    …and subscribe to his newsletter?

  131. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Janine:

    Who the fuck made Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey the kings of comedy?

    Jack Black and Ben Stiller.

  132. Ichthyic says

    weird. for some reason, half the time when i submit, it strips the closing half of the last tag off.

  133. Ichthyic says

    I have not log out yet Janine but this may be helpful to you:

    strangely, I did not find Hitchens poor grasp of armchair Evopsych to be particularly enlightening.

    what exactly did you find useful in it in defining your own position on the subject of humor?

    that it’s funny you can’t get a date?

  134. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tony, I think I will find a corner, curl up and weep.

    Ben Stiller cannot be redeemed by Janeane Garofalo any more.

  135. Ichthyic says

    My phone doesn’t even have an apostrophe.

    sure it does, it is right… er, wait a sec…

    ah, it’s right here!

    see?

  136. Ichthyic says

    …all you have to do is find the symbol key, then press it twice to get the list of symbols, then use your scroll keys to scroll over to the symbol for apostrophe, then press select, then type.

    see how easy that was?

    *wipes sweat off brow*

  137. says

    I’m hilarious, I laugh at myself all the time. Hitch mentioned that men are funny to get sex. Well, in that case, lock up any adult that gets a kid to crack up. Anyway, if Hitch never rocked his head back and gave an all out HA! because of something a woman said or did, I’ll allow that he did not find women funny. As for myself, hilarity is not limited by gender or my desire to get some.

  138. nonpersonhobofico says

    Mostly a lurker here. But GAH! I shouldn’t have read that thread before bedtime. I’m going to be up all night having imaginary arguments in my head.

    Why is it so difficult for (mostly middle-class white) men to see their position of privilege?

    I know insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but it really seems to me that skeptics need more skepticism (the RW kind). Or less hubris.

  139. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Why is it so difficult for (mostly middle-class white) men to see their position of privilege?

    Because we have been privileged for so long that our privilege seems unremarkable and normal; as if this is the way it has always been and always will be. And it takes either a really big shock or a shitload of introspection for us to drag ourselves out of unexamined privilege. And yes, I am one of those middle-aged college-educated middle-class straight men.

  140. Rob says

    Why is it so difficult for (mostly middle-class white) men to see their position of privilege?

    Because we have been privileged for so long that our privilege seems unremarkable and normal; as if this is the way it has always been and always will be.

    Quite. It’s just ‘there’, as unchanging and immutable as the flat earth and the crystal spheres. One day, in a better future, it will be regarded with the same derision-tinged-with-sadness as those concepts and for similar reasons.

  141. vaiyt says

    @143: Evidence seems to indicate otherwise – that not believing in god is no guarantee of anything.

  142. Jonathan, der Ewige Noobe says

    I still don’t get it. I mean, I get the basic idea–wealthy and conventionally attractive cis hetero vanilla white christian males get treated better than anyone else. But… maybe this is just me being pedantic, but all the specific examples I usually see don’t strike me as privilege favoring the in-group, but prejudice stigmatizing the out-group.
    For example, as a white male, as long as I keep my religion and sexual proclivities a secret, I get treated by default like a law-abiding citizen, whereas a black man has subtle social hurdles he needs to pass to prove he isn’t a gun-toting gang-banger. I get that this is unfair, and in a perfect world we’d be treated as equals until proven otherwise–but in this perfect world, it’s my colleague who gets treated like me, not me who gets treated like him. Again, it’s a tiny distinction, and it’s probably just pedantry on my part, but it nags me. Most of the time I just go with the crowd and use the common usage.

  143. says

    No, no, Janine, I’m quite glad that thadpeters has said goodbye.

    If there are any other galoots here who are so lacking in discrimination and taste that they would actually follow that dishonest sleaze integralmath, could you please do us all a favor and also say goodbye right now? Your talents are needed to shout down the holes in outhouses.

  144. vaiyt says

    @182:

    Privilege always comes with a cost to the un-privileged.

    White cis hetero males get the privilege of being treated as full individual human beings because they’re “the default”, with no cultural strings attached. Anything that’s not-”white cis hetero male” is judged by the parameters of their not-white-cis-hetero-maleness.
    They get the privilege of having their opinions taken seriously on any issue, which means their opinions get prevalence over others’.
    They get the privilege of having mainstream culture cater to their interests, relegating others to marginal roles.

    So yeah, it’s not so cut and dry that it’s just about the non-privileged getting dragged down. We have to attack the unearned preference that some groups get over others as well.

  145. says

    If there are any other galoots here who are so lacking in discrimination and taste that they would actually follow that dishonest sleaze integralmath, could you please do us all a favor and also say goodbye right now?

    Refresh my memory – integralmath?

  146. says

    Personally, I’ll take Rita Rudner over most male comedians.

    That helicopter line was pretty funny.

    I’ve got a weakness for Mary Mack. Her style is a bit weird, so it may not work for everybody, but I really like her.

  147. Forbidden Snowflake says

    People, people, you simply don’t understand how it works.
    Woman doesn’t enjoy sexist jokes made by men ->> she’s a humorless feminist
    Man doesn’t enjoy jokes by women ->> women aren’t funny

  148. opposablethumbs says

    Forbidden Snowflake #192

    Woman doesn’t enjoy sexist jokes made by men ->> she’s a humorless feminist
    Man doesn’t enjoy jokes by women ->> women aren’t funny

    And she’s a ball-breaking man-hating frigid lesbian in need of a good seeing to raping, of course.

    Now I have to wash my mouth out. And bleach my brain. I feel sick just typing that shit.

  149. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Since I have been following integralmath for some time on youtube,

    if anytime was appropriate for guilt by association…

  150. eric says

    Jonathan @182:

    in a perfect world we’d be treated as equals until proven otherwise–but in this perfect world, it’s my colleague who gets treated like me, not me who gets treated like him. Again, it’s a tiny distinction, and it’s probably just pedantry on my part, but it nags me.

    Vaiyt @186:

    So yeah, it’s not so cut and dry that it’s just about the non-privileged getting dragged down. We have to attack the unearned preference that some groups get over others as well.

    If someone reports harassment at a convention, I want their complaint taken seriously regardless of their race, sex, etc. If someone is considering asking me out, I want them (the asker) to take a moment before they approach to empathize with my position and ask themselves if this is socially appropriate – again regardless of my race, sex, etc.

    So (just IMO) Jonathan has the right take on this. We really want to give the respect a few get now to everyone.

    Sure, you can argue that white males haven’t earned the respect they get. But should we be demanding that people earn the right to have their claims of harassment taken seriously? I’d say no. Likewise with EG, should we be demanding that people we want to approach earn the right to the asker’s empathy? Again no. The people we want to approach with an offer – any offer – should get our respect and consideration as a default.

    I’d rather live in a world where every person claiming harassment is taken seriously, and nobody has to earn that. Where you have to do something to lose credibility, not do something to gain it. And I’d like to live in a world where every approachee is given automatic respect by the approacher, rather than having to earn it.

  151. vaiyt says

    I think you’re reading a bit too much in what I wrote. The previous paragraph was supposed to qualify how privilege props up some groups at the expense of others.

    What’s “unearned” about privilege is the right to have your opinions be heard over others’, the right to be treated as culturally neutral while everybody else is seen as a deviation from you, and so on.

    It’s not just that men get to be heard by default, their opinions are also more valued than the opinions of women. Entertainment products aren’t only discriminating against minorities, they’re promoting the white point of view as the only one that matters.

    That’s what makes the privileged angry and defensive. Destroying their privilege means they do lose something – the unearned preference they get over everyone else.

  152. eric says

    Vaiyt – Okay, I see what you’re saying. You’re using tearing down privilege = removing relative benefit, not = removing the trust or empathy that a few currently get. I think I just read your tearing down language and was immediately reminded of Gandhi’s comment about an eye for an eye, and why that sort of tearing down is not the way to go.

  153. says

    I’m just so proud of Rebecca. Her frustration is palpable. This paragraph just straight-up hurts:

    …skeptical women are being bullied out of the spotlight and even out of their homes. My fellow writer on Skepchick, Amy Davis Roth, moved after her home address was posted on a forum dedicated to hating feminist skeptics. In September, blogger Greta Christina wrote that “when I open my mouth to talk about anything more controversial than Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipes or Six More Atheists Who Are Totally Awesome, I can expect a barrage of hatred, abuse, humiliation, death threats, rape threats, and more.” And Jen McCreight stopped blogging and accepting speaking engagements altogether. “I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few),” she wrote. “I just can’t take it anymore.”

    Most of all, I admire Rebecca’s courage. More proof that individuals can and do make a difference.

  154. ulgaa says

    Lilly Tomlin. Madeline Kahn. Wanda Sykes. Carol Burnett.

    To say women are not/can not be funny is just insane.

  155. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Hell, Jane Curtin was absolutely hilarious. But I guess that doesn’t count.

  156. abb3w says

    Short form: the sexism issue looks potentially a symptom of a larger and more general issue.

    Longer form: Atheists tend low-RWA, which tends to reduce one set of personality traits often considered problems, and strongly correlated to prejudice against groups considered “dangerous”. However, SDO tends correlated to groups considered “derogated” (IE: social inferiors), is uncorrelated to religiosity, indicating a base expectation for high-SDO as least as much as the overall population; and SDO is correlated to sex, which the 2:1 ratio historically common among self-identified atheists suggests SDO may be higher than in the US overall.

    In addition to prejudice and religiosity, High-RWA appears to correlate to difficulty with syllogistic-type formal reasoning, understanding empirical proof, higher preference for seeking confirmatory evidence over considering alternate views as a response to doubts, greater compartmentalization of worldviews, and greater difficulty noticing personal inconsistencies… which seem traits atheists associate stereotypically to the religious. High-SDO, in contrast, correlates to low empathy, avarice for power, amorality, and manipulative/exploitative personalities… which seem traits the religious associate stereotypically to the godless, and which some of Pharyngula’s Commentariat associate to “MRA”s. On the upside, SDO seems almost entirely environmental rather than genetic — a learned response, that other learning has the potential to change.

    It still subjectively seems an important issue for Rebecca Watson to keep raising.

    (More background on RWA/SDO, see Altemeyer, then hit up Google Scholar. Anyone who wishes to “note my concern” can go note my related comments in a thread a few days back.)

  157. says

    Gandhi’s comment about an eye for an eye, and why that sort of tearing down is not the way to go.

    I swear every time I hear someone pull that out of context I want to punch Ghandi in the face.

    Maybe you want to think about the specific situation Gandhi was talking about huh? Ie vengeance and collective retribution/punishment.

    Remember you asshole you can’t respond negativly to me at all calling you a fucking shit stain, remember what Gandhi said, be the bigger man

  158. says

    Hint: People who want to get rid of or tear down privilege don’t want everyone to be treated equally like crap.They want everyone to be treated equally as default human beings.

    Privilege means “private law,” as in one rule for them, another for the rest of us. Breaking down privilege means breaking down the barrier that prevents the non-privileged from having access to those benefits the privileged take for granted. Sometimes, that can’t be done pragmatically (e.g. not everyone can have their prayer or anti-prayer recited before the high school football game–there wouldn’t be enough time), so the only way to give everyone a level ground is to remove the benefit (in my example, this means in order that no one religion is favoured, everyone’s has to be removed). Sometimes it means having to do something extra to compensate for those in the less privileged position (e.g. in order that the person in a wheelchair can have the same access to a building as the privileged people, we need to build a ramp; in order to ensure that women and minorities aren’t being overlooked in filling public positions or positions of authority, you might have to have hiring quotas). Sometimes it just means making a conscious effort to treat the non-privileged with the same level of respect you unconsciously afford to the privileged (e.g. not interrupting when they speak and listening to what they say).

    Not only people who are in the privileged group have to do this stuff, either. We’re all conditioned to uphold the privilege of the privileged classes. For example, I’m a woman and a feminist, raised by a feminist mother, and yet I catch myself being sexist all the time. It takes active, constant work to fight these conditioned responses.

  159. abb3w says

    @203, Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine”

    Look you pulled this shit before and need a citation.

    For atheists tending low-RWA? Try Altemeyer and Hunsberger’s Atheists: a groundbreaking study of America’s nonbelievers, ISBN 1-591-02413-7. The table on page 127 gives the handiest overview on that; it’s nearly a linear response between sub-samples. A footnote on page 101 notes for their main sample, “Right-Wing Authoritarianism scores: Atheists = 53.1 (21.4), Fundamentalists = 133.8 (20.1), t=19.6, p < 0.001″ for means, standard deviations, and significance. That’s roughly a four-sigma difference between religious fundamentalists and atheists.

    The relation is also mentioned in the previously linked Altemeyer source; footnote 14 on page 149 notes RWA positively correlated 0.74 to the Religious Fundamentalism scale he helped develop, and 0.89 to evangelical measure developed by George Barna. (The latter is barely short of the 0.95 internal consistency correlation of the RWA measure.)

    There’s an independent mention the basic high/relationship of RWA and religiosity in (doi: 10.1080/10478400903028573), though that doesn’t give the numerical correlations.

    Incidentally, this result is for Western (specifically, Canadian) atheists. While there’s at least some non-western examples in the literature (apparently from Ghana), it almost certainly doesn’t hold for those in the former USSR or in Communist China. However, it’s the ones in Western Culture that seem predominant in the situation with Rebecca Watson, so that limit isn’t that relevant to this particular case.

  160. Ze Madmax says

    abb3w @ 206:

    I would be somewhat skeptical of the claim that atheists are low-RWA, given that the data from the Hunsberger and Altemeyer book was derived from a rather non-representative sample (i.e., the atheist data they present* was mostly older (50+), better educated individuals who were involved with their local atheist group).

    Thus, it may be that that particular sample was low-RWA, but I’m skeptical as to its representativeness of North American atheism in general.


    *If I remember correctly. It’s been a while since I read the book and I don’t have it handy

  161. abb3w says

    @207, Ze Madmax

    *If I remember correctly. It’s been a while since I read the book and I don’t have it handy

    I’m cheating with a stashed PDF. There were two source samples; the book does not present median RWA on the atheists from the American groups. The data I pointed at is from the atheists and fundamentalists (and, in the table, those between) among the larger sample of parents of the Manitoba college students, against which the Americans were contrasted. As a study of parents of college students, it’s not quite as good as a full-blown random sample, but it’s not one of college students directly.

    But yes, it’s possible atheists who join groups, go to conventions, et cetera differ from the godless scattered in the wild of the overall population. In support of such skepticism, the American atheist groups tended to have higher religious ethnocentricism than the ungrouped Manitoba godless. This could result from relatively increased RWA and prejudice against the religious being considered dangerous groups, or from increased SDO and prejudice against the religious being considered a derogated group. Or something else, like Americans having a higher innate asshole tendency than Canadians, or educational differences between Canadian parent sample and American Atheists AND education having an effect independent from SDO/RWA shifts that result. Or a mix of these.

    My conjecture is associated with higher-SDO to atheists in groups than the feral godless, but they didn’t measure SDO in any of those samples. However, the “herding cats” idiom would seem to point against high-RWA tendencies of atheist groups; and I’m not aware of studies showing either of the other links. It’s not the only possibility, but high-SDO does seem the Bayesian inference.

  162. Ichthyic says

    Thus, it may be that that particular sample was low-RWA, but I’m skeptical as to its representativeness of North American atheism in general.,/i>

    aside from what abb3w added, the very idea of atheism as a unifying system fails, unlike religion.

    just with THAT in mind, it seems very unlikely you will find similar proportions of RWA’s (or even LWA’s) within those professing atheism as you will those professing any specific religion.

    just stands to reason.

  163. Ichthyic says

    ..that said, I’m sure you will find SOME RWA representation within already formed, relatively coherent atheist communities… like for example those frequenting skeptics conferences.

    an RWA will be attracted to any behavior that increases group cohesiveness.

    but I would say that in this case, it’s NOT the atheism that is the dogma around which RWAs might flock within an atheist community, which is very UNLIKE the way that religious dogma works to attract and align RWAs.

    If you’re thinking about comparing the fracas that has been the response to A+ from detractors, I do agree there seems to be an element of authoritarian behavior on the part of a lot of the detractors. The “Slimepit” often seems overwhelmingly filled with people exhibiting classic authoritarian personalities, for example. However, none of that has anything to do with atheism itself.

  164. Ichthyic says

    …The way I view it, if you look at an entire country, say, you’re going to at any given time find around 20-30% of the population that would test high RWA. That personality trait will gravitate towards ANY ideology or group construct that facilitates group cohesiveness, regardless of what the specific ideology entails.

    Atheism, as an ideology is pretty simplistic and does not tend to facilitate group cohesiveness, but that doesn’t limit people from forming groups with specific interests within the broader scope of having identified as atheist. Within that substructure, you WILL find constructions that facilitate the kind of group cohesiveness and tribalism someone with an RWA personality will be attracted to.

    this, again, has nothing to do with identifying as an atheist in and of itself. You simply CANNOT compare atheism to any organized religion on the face of it.

    Thus, while Atemeyer indeed found that those identifying as “atheist” scored lower on the RWA scale, IMO, what should rather be read into that is not “positive identification with atheism”, but rather “negative association with organized religion”.

    Hence, for example, if you take the gallup polls that show 20% of Americans now identify as “None” wrt to religion, I think you would find a similar distribution of RWAs as if you took the subsample of that that identifies as strictly atheist.

  165. abb3w says

    @209, Ichthyic:

    [I]t seems very unlikely you will find similar proportions of RWA’s (or even LWA’s) within those professing atheism as you will those professing any specific religion.

    So, there’s two senses of LWA. The first would simply refer to one of Altemeyer’s RWA’s who happens to take authorities from the relative political left rather than the political right. In the US, that’s uncommon, because of our history; but Communist party supporters in the (just-former) USSR tended high-RWA. As far as the research is concerned, such “LWAs” are just another kind of RWA. A few of the journal references to LWA don’t seem to understand that the sense of “right” in RWA is related to the sense from “writ” of law, rather than political right. In particular, (doi:10.1016/j.postcomstud.2011.10.006) is an example of someone who apparently just doesn’t get that Soviet Communists were RWA, not LWA. The vastly low scores for RWA among the atheist sample leave this sense of LWAs seem likely rare even relative to most religious groups.

    The other sense involves individuals with a high degree of submission to leaders dedicated to the overthrow of established authority. They appear to be multiple-expletive rare in the overall population; Altemeyer never found any. However, the one study that did find them (doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2006.00532.x) turned them up traces in politically left-wing activist groups. (Stalinists, more so even than anarchists.) As the atheist/secularist/skeptic groups are oriented to dethroning the conventional role of religion in society, it seems likely they’d be more common than in society overall, though likely still rare.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    I’m sure you will find SOME RWA representation within already formed, relatively coherent atheist communities… like for example those frequenting skeptics conferences.

    an RWA will be attracted to any behavior that increases group cohesiveness.

    Well, it’s rare even among atheists to fully bottom out the RWA scale. But, yes, I’d expect RWA to be slightly higher among such communities than ungrouped atheists.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    but I would say that in this case, it’s NOT the atheism that is the dogma around which RWAs might flock within an atheist community, which is very UNLIKE the way that religious dogma works to attract and align RWAs.

    This is where some of the nuances get tricky. While Communism is very different from the varieties of atheism here in the West, it is still a variety of atheism, and was clearly linked to high-RWA in the Soviet Union. In so far as atheism gets associated with any dogma, such dogma can serve to attract and align. This would appear the case whether the dogma is acceptance of the scientific method, of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, of Nietzsche’s “Quest for Power” Nihilism… or of the feminism of the Atheism+ movement.

    Mind you, I happen to agree far more with the Feminists than with their opposition. However, my asking some questions about fundamental basis has previously yielded responses I’d call remarkably hostile. It seemed more a reaction to the questions as challenge to authority than challenge to dominance, but I could be wrong; it might be either, both, or neither.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    If you’re thinking about comparing the fracas that has been the response to A+ from detractors, I do agree there seems to be an element of authoritarian behavior on the part of a lot of the detractors. The “Slimepit” often seems overwhelmingly filled with people exhibiting classic authoritarian personalities, for example.

    I’m no longer regular enough to be familiar with the “Slimepit” slang; Googling suggests ERV and Abbie Smith blog. If so, I’m again not particularly familar. My impression, however, from one or two tidbits quoted in Pharyngula posts is that the personalities show more signs of high-SDO (specifically, low empathy and emphasis on personal power) than high-RWA per se. Furthermore, the language of the Atheism+ opponents I’ve spotted elsewhere seems to be primarily focused more on the derogation of women than considering them as threat. However, there is some overlap; my guess would be that the rape threat language probably comes more from those above-median RWA relative to the mean for the high-SDO.

    So, not the classic authoritarian personality of the follower (RWA), but the near-classic authoritarian personality of the would-be-leader (SDO).

    @211, Ichthyic:

    The way I view it, if you look at an entire country, say, you’re going to at any given time find around 20-30% of the population that would test high RWA.

    Altemeyer mostly used a top-quarter standard, I think. Personally, I’m more inclined to a one-sigma threshold, which would be about the top 15%, but that’s an arbitrary cut-off. It’s a relative scale; as such, talking “high-RWA” makes less sense than talking “higher-RWA”.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    Atheism, as an ideology is pretty simplistic and does not tend to facilitate group cohesiveness, but that doesn’t limit people from forming groups with specific interests within the broader scope of having identified as atheist.

    Atheism isn’t so much an ideology as a class of ideologies, including Marxist Communism, Randite Capitalism, Secular Humanism, and perhaps nascently Atheism+.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    this, again, has nothing to do with identifying as an atheist in and of itself. You simply CANNOT compare atheism to any organized religion on the face of it.

    Pedantically, of course one can; it’s just that such a comparison finds lots of fundamental differences. (Sorry, this is another bête noire of mine.)

    I’m fond of using Cannon’s “Six Ways” framework. Attempting to cast western Atheism in such framework, expression the Way of Intellectual Inquiry is pretty obvious, what with the interest in scientific (and occasionally, mathematical) research, plus the passion for hairsplitting debate. Way of Shamanic Mediation requires some distortion of Cannon’s framework, but the number of atheists who are big fans of science-based engineering and medicine to Get Amazing Shit Done can be bodged to fit (with cool implications for how the relative frequency of effectiveness).

    Way of Devotion seems to show up only in so far as fellow-beings are also considered “personal manifestations of ultimate reality°“, in Cannon’s phrasing. (Possibly a mercantilist atheist of the “most toys wins” variety might include owned stuff as well as fellow-beings.) Way of Sacred Ritual mostly exists in deliberately silly mockeries, though I suppose assorted conferences might be examples with a massive stretch. Way of Mystic Quest even seems completely missing.

    The Way of Right Action, however, is not so much absent, as disunited. Marxist Communist Atheists (rare, but not extinct) use one style. Randite Capitalists, another. Atheism+ potentially gives yet another. As such, the object of comparison is not to “Atheism” generally, any more than “Theism” is the same as “organized religion”. Rather, the same-type comparison would seem to be involving these particular clusters of “Right Action” types under the umbrella of atheism, to particular organized religious groups under theism… which might explain “dictionary atheism” as a response, seeking to avoid inconvenient complications.

    @211, Ichthyic:

    Thus, while Atemeyer indeed found that those identifying as “atheist” scored lower on the RWA scale, IMO, what should rather be read into that is not “positive identification with atheism”, but rather “negative association with organized religion”.

    Actually, even more narrowly: negative acceptance of the existence of God. The “negative association with organized religion” would seem a broader category that would also encompass two additional categories he used — Agnostics and Inactive Believers. Together, these three probably encompass a category roughly similar to the Gallup/GSS/Pew/etc “Nones”. The composition is likely similar to the Pew Atheist/Agnostic/NothingInParticular, but not quite the same. Altemeyer’s survey starts out by asking about Atheist/Agnostic/Believer with a question defining them in terms of belief; Pew and the others, by asking about religious identification.

    It’s very possible an association with organized irreligion might be higher RWA than the just plain unassociated. (“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”)

    @211, Ichthyic:

    Hence, for example, if you take the gallup polls that show 20% of Americans now identify as “None” wrt to religion, I think you would find a similar distribution of RWAs as if you took the subsample of that that identifies as strictly atheist.

    Likely similar, but slightly higher. In Altemeyer’s study, Agnostics ran about one sigma higher, Inactives another half sigma.

    Please note, though, my current focus isn’t so much on the RWAs as on the SDOs. Subjectively, while both look to be problems, the RWAs look to be one with a multi-decade time scale before the negative traits can be expected to be even half as detrimental to the atheist sub-culture as they are to the overall culture, while the SDOs look to have reached or exceeded that threshold.

    But evidently, this isn’t something most folk around here are interested in engaging with — certainly not at the length I am. Oh, well.

  166. says

    Michaelolsen @74

    Wrath is entirely appropriate for what PZ does inflict, at times, however the ghostly form is “Wraith”. Despite my Scottish ancestry, I’ve made the same mistake in the past.

    This thread is very interesting. I’ve yet to attend any skeptic meetings (no CME credits, right?) however you see the same behavior at almost every professional society meeting.

    Remember the “old” saying—“Legends in their own mind”. It carries over into behavior as well.

  167. gworroll says

    I didn’t realize they had let that creep attend TAM. How did I miss that? Then again, with the amount of shit going her way at the time, I suppose it’s inevitable that I’d miss some of it.

    Seriously… what the hell? Did no one on their management team bring up the liability disaster if he had tried something? Ignoring a problem is bad enough, but I can’t read this as anything other than utter contempt. A spin on “constructive dismissal” perhaps.

    Anyways, the article was good. Hopefully it does some good, though I don’t expect it to anytime soon. You’d think skeptics would be well aware of how irrationally set in their beliefs people can be, and check that in themselves. I try to at least.

  168. says

    abb3w@213

    Whew. Just downloaded “The Authoritarians” from the University of Manitoba website. Some reading for the weekend.

    Authoritarianism is not only a philosophical construct but is also a psychological phenomenon, though whether hardwired (nature) versus acquired (nurture) is still debatable. I suspect it’s a bit of both. This is not my specialty, but I try to keep up with the current literature when I can.

    There is, I believe, a certain overlap between authoritarianism and sociopathic disorders, with tilts toward either end of this spectrum.

    I enjoyed your post and hope others did as well. Clear, concise and to the point, or the acronym CCTTP.

  169. Ichthyic says

    Just downloaded “The Authoritarians” from the University of Manitoba website. Some reading for the weekend.

    have fun. It’s a real eye opener.

  170. Ichthyic says

    The other sense involves individuals with a high degree of submission to leaders dedicated to the overthrow of established authority.

    this was the definition of LWA I was aware of and have used.

  171. Ichthyic says

    But evidently, this isn’t something most folk around here are interested in engaging with — certainly not at the length I am. Oh, well.

    I fucking am. I rather thing untangling the pyschology and sociology surround these issues is the key to restoring progressive ideals around the world.

    I don’t think society will ever really move forward WITHOUT understanding these concepts; rather we will endlessly cycle around empowering authoritarians, which move us into a relative “dark age” that we then have to start over again with, then another cycle of empowerment begins…

    I see patterns documented for hundreds of years to support this; you see very similar things happening now, as happened around the same time in the last century.

    so… where would you suggest we continue discussing this?

    If not here, I’m game for any other way. email?

  172. abb3w says

    @216, grumpypathdoc:

    Authoritarianism is not only a philosophical construct but is also a psychological phenomenon, though whether hardwired (nature) versus acquired (nurture) is still debatable. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

    “Genetic factors accounted for about 50% and unshared environment for 35% of the phenotypic variance; either common environment or assortative mating could explain the remaining reliable variance.” — (doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00048-3)

    So, looks to be major contributions from both, but genes more than environment. Though it’s only one study, so more evidence might change that.

    @216, grumpypathdoc:

    I enjoyed your post and hope others did as well.

    Thank you.

    @216, grumpypathdoc:

    Clear, concise and to the point, or the acronym CCTTP.

    The thought is nice, and maybe two out of three, but
    “concise”?

    @218, Ichthyic :

    this was the definition of LWA I was aware of and have used.

    Ah. Then, as suggested, I’d expect LWAs still rare among atheists and atheist groups, but a hair less rare than the overall population. Either way, insignificant in impact.

    @219, Ichthyic :

    If not here, I’m game for any other way. email?

    Probably the best option.

  173. Ichthyic says

    @abb3w:

    fisheyphotos AT hotmail DOT com

    we’ll swap references and chat.

    this is a subject that has gained a lot of interest for me over the last 6 months or so.

  174. Ichthyic says

    hotmail is what I always use whenever I post an address publicly, then i switch to my private address.

    I have yet to get ANY spam on my private address :)