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That’s not a “response”, Michael, it’s a “denial”

Ophelia Benson called out Michael Shermer for a sexist remark he made. Now Michael Shermer responds. Well, actually, he jinks and jitters to avoid the issue, and tries a grand distraction: “Hey, look over there! It’s tribalism!”

Here’s what Shermer was caught saying in a video discussion about why women aren’t participating as much in the skeptical movement:

It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

You know what? That is a great big hairy naked sexist remark. It’s a plain assumption that men are intrinsically better suited to leading skepticism and atheism. You can’t get much plainer than “It’s more of a guy thing.”

A good response would have been to admit that he’d made an unthinking, stupid remark and that he’d like to retract it. But that’s not what he does. Instead, he argues that he really does think the split in participation is 50/50, and points to TAM as having roughly equal numbers of men and women speaking.

Need I point out that the reason gender ratios have been improving is because people like Ophelia and Rebecca Watson and Greta Christina and Jen McCreight have been pointing out the discrimination for years, and have provided lists of excellent women and minority speakers, and conference organizers, rather than doubling down and denying the problem, have been receptive and made strong efforts to correct the bias?

Oh. So I guess it’s not a guy thing, and you were wrong, Michael. It might have been cleverer of you to just say, “I was wrong, I made a sexist remark, the evidence shows that it’s not a guy thing.” A column in which he recognized his own sexism and talked about conscious efforts to improve would have been a good and respectful step forward.

But no. Instead he goes shopping for quotes from friends to show that he was right. He asked Cara Santa Maria about this issue, and she says it’s harder to find women willing to get in front of a camera on these issues, and that women atheists are often singled out as particularly brave.

Why is that, I wonder? That’s an interesting observation. Why doesn’t Shermer follow through on that? Because it seems to me that that’s an important fact: it is harder for women to come out, to be prominent in atheist and skeptical circles. We could split the possibilities into two broad categories: it’s the fault of the women — skepticism just isn’t a gal thing — or we could lay the problem on the environment of the skeptical movement. Shermer is just going to take the lazy option of blaming the women, because the alternative would require hard work by leaders of the skeptical movement to address.

And then he brings in Harriet Hall, who also makes a sexist remark.

I think it is unreasonable to expect that equal numbers of men and women will be attracted to every sphere of human endeavor. Science has shown that real differences exist. We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles, then let the chips fall where they may.

So sex differences are real, and we should just pretend that we don’t see sex and gender everywhere we look? This sounds so much like the argument common among clueless white people that they don’t see color. Yeah, you do. Every one of us has preconceptions about people made on the basis of sex and race. You don’t progress by pretending that stereotypes and perception don’t shape how we judge people.

Hall should know this. We see it in science, too, where women and men have initially equivalent interest in following the field, and then women are actively discouraged from pursuing the higher ranks of their discipline. We know this; there are many studies demonstrating a sex bias in refereeing papers, in promotion and tenure, in cultural attitudes about competence. You don’t overcome those by just telling everyone there is no barrier to women and men applying for the jobs in equal numbers.

By the way, I hate the phrase “Science has shown” followed by some irrelevant fact. Science has shown that men and women have differences, true: women have vulvas and breasts, men have penises and hairier bodies. Science has not shown that women have significantly different cognitive abilities. Lady brains do not lack a skeptical module that gentlemen brains have.

And that’s really the big problem here. There is no reason anywhere to think that women have less capacity for critical thinking, or that they are intrinsically more gullible and therefore more likely to be religious, or that they are less rational and so less suited to careers in science. Shermer is talking about the skeptical movement, a pursuit dedicated to fostering greater critical thinking. Why would you argue that women have less capacity or less to gain from that? Because that’s what they’re doing, pinning the blame for less participation on the women themselves.

Oh, man, then Shermer obliviously steps right into the race issue.

Benson makes a strong case that something other than misogyny may be at work here, when she asks rhetorically if I would make the same argument about race. I would, yes, because I do not believe that the fact that the secular community does not contain the precise percentage of blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans as in the general population, means that all of us in the secular community are racists, explicitly or implicitly. A variance from perfect demographic symmetry does not necessarily correspond to racist attitudes. It just means that the world is not perfectly divided up according to population demographics, and people have different interests and causes. There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population (in gender, in age and socio-economic class, or in height, weight, or any number of other variables for that matter), so short of some other evidence of bigotry, racism, and misogyny, there is no need to go in search of demons to exorcise.

Errm, yes, actually, it does mean that. Secularism itself shouldn’t be an issue for just us white folks; it’s a universal concern. The grand issues that we put front and center in our various movements — atheism, skepticism, science — really are concerns for every human being. It’s all the associated baggage that we drag in that makes us implicitly racist — we talk about White Men’s Problems all the time, we always, as white people, address the grander topics of skepticism and atheism from the narrower perspective of our particular cultural biases.

White men aren’t really all that concerned about our male children having a very high likelihood of being thrown in prison for minor drug offenses; we middle class white folk are not so concerned about economic disparities as the poor people who can’t afford to attend a conference; male organizers aren’t as aware of the problems of finding child care as women, who are saddled with most of the child-rearing obligations, are. These are implicit biases in our views. This is racism, classism, sexism.

Seriously, every one of us is racist as fuck. We can’t help it.

But denying it makes it worse. And being conscious of our biases and giving other voices a chance to speak is how we make it better.

For years, I’ve been saying that the way to make conferences and the movement as a whole less biased towards male concerns is to ask women what matters to them, and to listen and respond, rather than telling the little ladies what they need to hear. It’s the same with race. If you’re white, you’re racist, and you’ve typically got little appreciation of the experience of being black; so instead of saying, “I’m not racist, how would you like to speak on our panel about Bigfoot hunting and UFOs?” you just ask black people what’s important to them, what they’d like to talk about, what are skeptical/atheist issues of concern in their community?

Shrugging your shoulders and saying that there is nothing wrong with our values being different than those of the black community, or the Hispanic community, or those of women is an open admission that you aren’t working under the banner of Secularism, but under the banner of White Man’s Secularism. You are making an implicitly sexist/racist remark when you blandly insist that what ought to be a truly catholic movement to improve humanity is just fine if it somehow fails to engage the concerns of non-white non-male people as much as it does us.

I could go on at length about Shermer’s other complaint: that the “invectosphere” called him names. He doesn’t get to complain about that at all with respect to Ophelia, who has been under a ferocious invective assault for the last few years; that he complains about being called a “jackass” is pathetic and feeble when you compare it to the non-stop abuse Ophelia, Jen, Greta, Rebecca, and just about every woman participant in this argument gets flooded with online. And he especially doesn’t get to complain because right now his comment section is full of the very same people who obsess over these women and who spew the most disgusting sexist insults at them…and they now see him as a fellow hero fighting against feminst tribalism.

Comments

  1. vaiyt says

    We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles,

    And by “level the playing field”, he means “do nothing, because if I, White Man, can’t see any obstacle, there isn’t any! (and minorities/women are just less capable than White Man)”.

    I spit on his face.

  2. borax says

    Speaking as a white straight male, I’m tired of the white straight male centric attitude that dominates western culture.

  3. rq says

    Wow.
    I read a few of the comments on Michael Shermer’s article, and they’re a real treat – Justin Vacula, a 24-year-old skeptical prodigy? Must have missed something.

  4. Beatrice says

    Really, there is absolutely nothing curious about the fact that white men are prevalent in public skepticism and atheism?

    Even if he wants to deny that there is anything in his community that might prove unwelcoming to women or POC, he can’t possibly deny the patriarchal thinking inherent to religion that keeps a tighter rein on women and makes it more difficult for them to step away from religion. Or, and here I am on a bit shakier ground (being white and not from US or a country that sees huge numbers of POC or immigrants), many POC coming together in religious communities as an answer to racism of predominantly white countries they live in? Then you have immigrants, who bring their culture and religion to a new country and, thanks in part to rejection and xenophobia, have a need to hold onto their cultural and with it religious beliefs tighter than they might do without living in a hostile environment.

  5. karmacat says

    It’s not very skeptical of him to make all those assumptions about why there aren’t more women and minorities. As a skeptic, shouldn’t he be looking at this more scientifically. Oh, never mind. Obviously, hypocricy knows no bounds….

  6. eric says

    Seriously, every one of us is racist as fuck. We can’t help it.

    IMO inherent racism is (in many cases) the symptom, not the disease. Everyone of us is egotistically selfist as fuck. Because of that, we tend to see the problems of people not like us as less important. But it’s not just race: its age, sex, class, family, religious sect, you name it. In any way our brains pigeonhole people, we will consciously or unconsciously count the people in the different pigeonholes less important than the people in our own pigeonholes.

    I see reducing this selfism as a three-pronged attack. The first is to try and reduce the pigeonholing. We probably can’t get rid of it altogether, but we can at least reduce it. Second: to try and be more aware of our own potential biases and actively try and overcome them. Actively use brainpower to try and put yourself in another person’s position, etc. To “do the mental exercise,” instead of just talking about how one should not be biased. Prongs one and two sort of assume one’s biases are subconscious and you’re at least trying to be non-racist (etc.). Prong three is to address the other sort of bias. Its simply: social opposition to conscious and overt bias. Speak up when you see it; apologize when you do it.

  7. says

    Yeah, you know the slymers will be out in force on this one…and Shermer won’t give a damn about their history of vicious misogyny and hate because they’ll be calling him a “brave hero”.

  8. barfy says

    yes, you really are racist as fuck.
    oh, and sexist, too.
    All of which seems to make you particularly adept at pointing it out in others. Bully for you.

    I read Shermer’s reply, and found it wanting in exactly the same way you did.

    It would be nice if people could simply apologize for saying something stupid. You could lead the charge!

  9. iknklast says

    Just yesterday, I was talking to a man who was retired from where I work, and showed up for an awards ceremony. I knew this man, because he is a prominent individual in our community, and regularly involves himself in civic events. Overall, seems a nice guy.

    This man, an architect, quickly realized he had to explain to me, a biologist (and a woman), how evolution works, because I thought it worked through a myriad of different processes, and I didn’t understand that women are “more” hardwired than men – we’re hardwired for lady things. Native Americans are hardwired for Native American things and can’t fit into white societies. Black Americans are hardwired for black things, and hate white people because of it. White men, apparently, are the only ones who have so little hardwiring that they can be flexible and adapt to all sorts of environments, and do all the things that are so important for society.

    Then, as it to demonstrate how much MORE he knows about biology than a biologist (because woman brain, which is hard wired for not biology), he trots out the big guns, and informs me that “Erich Van Daniken said…” He then says, you may not accept van Daniken…I told him I was not aware of any reputable scientist who accepted van Daniken. He basically let me know that he was more aware of who was reputable in science than I (because he is in his 70s, and is a veteran marine who was in Korea and therefore more competent at Biology than a 52 year old woman who has a Ph.D. in Biology).

    Thanks. I’ve been wanting to vent. This seemed like the place.

  10. Ogvorbis: 300-year-old Woodcut says

    Damn, PZed. You’re good.

    So, Barfy, PZed needs to apologize for being aware of the effect that the culture of sexism, racism and xenophobia had on him?

  11. iiandyiiii says

    Someone educate me please! I can see the sexism in the first statement (the “guy thing” one) by Shermer (and I’m really surprised he didn’t apologize for it), but I don’t understand how the one by Harriet Hall is sexist.

  12. chigau (test) says

    Why is it when asked to try for a more level playing field,, They™ so often respond with variations on the theme of ‘exactly equal numbers’ or ‘perfectly reflect the demographic’?
    Who’s asking for perfection?

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

    He’s anti-racist, donchakno. He debunks the Bigfoot, Wendigo, & the Chupacabra!

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

    @Andy – 14

    “science has shown” that differences exist between men and women.

    Sure.

    Science could be used to systematically observe that more women than men walking past some designated point on a designated street are wearing high heels, or smiling, or sport college degrees, or whatever.

    But what does that have to do with being willing to have a conversation about critical thinking or about an area in which critical thinking is too rarely applied? Has “science shown” that?

    Harriet is appealing to irrelevant facts available to common sense (differences exist!) and asserting that because differences exist, there is no reason to assume that gender roles/sexism (or even investigate whether they) have anything to do with the existence of **one particular difference**.

    Women have boobies, therefore let’s not worry about the fact that we have a boys club.

    Does that make it clear?

  15. chigau (test) says

    One of the problems with Harriet Hall’s statement is that the topic was not professional football but rather participating in the skeptic movement.
    Sex differences are more likely to apply to only one of those.

  16. iiandyiiii says

    @Crip Dyke – 18

    Yes, that is more helpful. Thank you very much. This also helps me understand why Shermer’s statement about race is particularly wrong- he doesn’t say “science has shown”, but he seems to be using (assumed) cultural/societal differences between races in the same sense that Hall used “science has shown”, which would be equally irrelevant to why there is such a disparity.

  17. devoniansplit says

    PZ, this is awful commentating and even worse reporting. Go watch the damn video and see what Michael ACTUALLY says after this quote? I thought we left quote mining to the creationists…?

  18. Sili says

    I could go on at length about Shermer’s other complaint: that the “invectosphere” called him names.

    But but but! Man fee-fees are so much more sensitive than these brutish women, who squeeze watermelons through hosepipes without so much as a by-your-leave.

    You really are being most unfair to poor, innocent St. Shermer.

  19. Josh, Exasperated SpokesGay says

    Really important—Shermer left out the fact that Ophelia dropped out because she received threatening emails that DJ Grothe didn’t take seriously (no, the fact that they turned out not to be actual threats of violence later does not make Ophelia’s anxiety unreasonable). That’s shocking. And deplorable.

  20. jose says

    I agree 100% with the Harriet Hall quote! Ensure there are no obstacles. But this is where right and left part ways. The right hopes to ensure that by doing nothing – if some people discriminate, the invisible hand will drive them out of business. But that’s not what happens, is it? Think how pre-existing conditions were dealt with by either approach in the health insurance business. The laissez faire approach ended up with lots of companies denying care. They had to be commanded by a democratic government to quit doing that.

    Libertarians in particular feel the field is already leveled and the chips already fell; that people generally are where they wish—or deserve—to be. In other words, there are more boys because it’s a boy thing. A white boy thing. African Americans just have different hobbies, such as being poor and getting arrested.

    I believe this is another instance of a political debate that goes back a few centuries. In this case the issue is sex rather than economic class, but the underlying arguments aren’t that different. Left and right.

  21. Anthony K says

    I could go on at length about Shermer’s other complaint: that the “invectosphere” called him names.

    Wait, Dr. “Pirates didn’t kill everyone therefore self-organizing bottom-up libertarian economies for everybody!” is upset that the behaviour of a bunch of people on the Internet is less than well-regulated?

    Libertarians, people. Give them all a big hand!

  22. says

    @iiandyiiii at #14
    Harriet Hall’s statement is pretty much the essence of libertarian racism/sexism etc, a system that discriminates passively yet quite effectively. Look at it this way…

    Science has shown that real differences exist. We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles, then let the chips fall where they may.

    Regardless of whether “science” has shown any such damn fool thing, Harriet is being indirectly sexist because she is asserting the privilege of deciding what a level playing field looks like, and then declaring baffled surprise when her arbitrary and perhaps misinformed definition of level ends up with lots of chips falling in the gutter. Letting the chips fall where they may sounds even handed and reasonable, but it is incredibly deceptive because the people being disadvantaged are not being allowed to testify as to the evenness of the chips landing area.

  23. devoniansplit says

    Also, PZ – you say, “If you’re white, you’re racist,” – an exceptionally stupid thing to say, perhaps you should retract it?

  24. says

    It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

    You know what? That is a great big hairy naked sexist remark. It’s a plain assumption that men are intrinsically better suited to leading skepticism and atheism. You can’t get much plainer than “It’s more of a guy thing.

    I agree that Shermer’s response is sexist, though it seems that he doesn’t think it is and that he is trying to be fair with the issue. He’s failing and I suspect it’s because of unconscious privilege rather than malice. Regardless it is a good thing to point this out so he has an opportunity to change, and all of us get that opportunnity to reexamine our own unconscious “ism’s”.

    PZ’s statement however (that I’ve bolded above) is something I question as nothing in Shermer’s statement seems to plainly imply that men are “better” only that in his opinion men are more drawn to speaking at these and other events. I disagree with Shermer’s opinion but I also disagree with PZ’s assertion that Shermer implied a value judgment.
    I’d appreciate knowing how PZ and other’s came to this conclusion that his statement meant men are better suited to leading skepticism and atheism. I’d submit that this is more an example of the reader’s uncouncious sexism projected on to Shermer than his own. This isn’t a defense of Shermer’s remark, only that we should be prepaired to examine ourselves as well.

  25. says

    A number of your points were brought up a couple of months ago on the last day of CSICon, during the coffee and conversation portion. Unfortunately you and Stephanie weren’t able to stick around for it. Debbie Goddard made an excellent argument pointing out the “white man’s secularism” issue, but I got the impression that the panel wasn’t eager to delve deeply into the problem. I’m not the kind of skeptic that buys into non-overlapping magisteria when it comes to issues like skepticism and its application to social concerns but from my experiences at CSICon, our first such con, I got the distinct impression that many name-brand skeptics feel this way. I’m not sure what to make of it really.

  26. Abdul Alhazred says

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

  27. Ashley F. Miller says

    Yeah, you know the slymers will be out in force on this one…and Shermer won’t give a damn about their history of vicious misogyny and hate because they’ll be calling him a ‘brave hero’.

    Shermer won’t give a damn because he’s one of the most misogynistic, sexual harrassmenty people in the movement, I imagine he would feel right at home with their history.

  28. rowanvt says

    @29-

    It’s not a stupid thing to say at all. The United States is utterly seeped in racism. My mother did her best to raise me ‘color blind’. Do I treat people of ethnicities other than white differently than I treat white people? No. Because judging people based on their level of melanin is stupid.

    However, deep inside my brain, the cultural racism exists. Not that long ago I was having an internal debate against the stupid apologetics of a person who claimed that things were only ‘bad’ if society deemed them that way. A sentence flit through my brain “Most people in the states thought slavery was okay, so therefore it was?”

    That sentence gave me a jolt and I said aloud “Holy shit, that is so racist.” And it is.

  29. Ze Madmax says

    devonian split @ #29:

    Also, PZ – you say, “If you’re white, you’re racist,” – an exceptionally stupid thing to say, perhaps you should retract it?

    It’s not stupid. Although an expanded version (e.g., “If you live in a hierarchical society, you’re racist”) would be more accurate, there is nothing wrong with his statement. The problem can occur if you assume that this means there is something inherent to white people that makes them racist, rather that understanding that there is an intrinsic motivation to support unequal, hierarchical arrangements* and white people tend to be the ones that benefit the most from these arrangements.


    *More on the subject, for anyone interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_justification

    Abdul Alhazred @ #32:

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

    1. That is way more stupid than anyone should have to endure this early in the morning.

    2. I wasn’t aware “believers in God” or “spiritual types” weren’t allowed in the skeptic movement. I’d be willing to bet there’s a fair share of skeptics who are nevertheless religious/spiritual. If you meant to say the atheist movement, that’d be as useful as making people who aren’t interested in higher ed go to college, because whaddya know, demographics!

  30. Anthony K says

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

    I see you don’t remember the accommodationist wars, when skeptics insisted that religion be off limits for criticism, lest we drive away religious skeptics and lose support for the important work of denying Bigfoot.

  31. consciousness razor says

    PZ’s statement however (that I’ve bolded above) is something I question as nothing in Shermer’s statement seems to plainly imply that men are “better” only that in his opinion men are more drawn to speaking at these and other events.

    For reference:

    It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

    Those are things which by definition make them “better suited to leading” the movement (which doesn’t necessarily imply “better” in every way). Because leadership in any sense requires, at minimum, active participation of some sort. However, women do actively participate in numerous ways, and when given the opportunity they will talk about it, go to shows and conferences, etc.

    Also, men are supposedly “intellectually active,” meaning they actually think about it, which implies it’s not a “woman thing” to think about it. But of course that is also false — patently absurd, really.

    I disagree with Shermer’s opinion but I also disagree with PZ’s assertion that Shermer implied a value judgment.

    Since it’s a given in this context that the atheist and skeptic movements are good things, that participating in them and thinking about these issues are good things, it obviously is a value judgment.

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

    @Devonian split

    I dont’ think PZ should retract it. If you are raised in a white dominated culture, you will inevitably absorb the biases of that culture to a greater or lesser degree. Whether you embrace them consciously or merely adsorb them onto your list of heuristic rules (availability heuristic is a particularly relevant one here) is not relevant to PZ’s point. In fact, his whole point is that malice is not necessary for racism to exist.

    I suspect that the fundamental disagreement is that you define racism and racist differently from how PZ and I do. I might define them as, respectively:

    1. a pattern of action, perception, and belief that consistently biases outcomes across a large segment of a society based on race. Further, it is not racism if the bias is within a subculture fighting a larger cultural bias. It is racism if it biases outcomes towards the support of those already racially privileged.

    2. someone who particpates in the pattern of racism.

    In these and similar definitions, there is no need to assert frothing, avowed, conscious hatred. It focuses on effects not motivations, as intent is not magic. And it gives those of good will a tool to help end racism: does it tend to reinforce existing racial privilege? Don’t do it.

    Note that the answers can be quite complex. While affirmative action of various types can be quite useful, in a given context a specific type of action, say, quotas in hiring or contracting, can be anti-racist or racist.

    Note further, that this disallows wilful ignorance as a defence. A reaction such as “I didn’t know word X was horrifically racist. Therefore, your criticism of my use of word X is completely unfair!” is rendered quite obviously counterproductive under these definitions, but completely absolves one of responsibility if the definition of racism depends on wilfull, conscious hatred.

    Which definition will be more likely to get US, UK, NZ, AUS, SA, & CAN societies past their current racial difficulties and which definition is more likely to exacerbate tension by absolving persons of harmful actions in a way that feels dramatically unfair to the victimized?

    In other words:
    Racism. It’s a real problem, not a mythological demonic force unseen in the modern world. So suck it, douchgabbers.

  33. says

    PZ, are you deliberately putting Slyme-bait into your articles? (That is comments deliberately worded in such a way as to drive them into a frenzy of outrage and quote mining.)

  34. says

    I think it is unreasonable to expect that equal numbers of men and women will be attracted to every sphere of human endeavor.

    Was that said by the former female flight-surgeon? The one who didn’t accept that a job like flight-surgeon is a “guy job”? I’m a big fan of Hall’s writing on sciencebasedmedicine and elsewhere but it does seem like she’s forgetting to look in her mirror.

  35. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

    Of all the stupid shit I’ve read this morning, this takes the Glowing Cake of Dumbfuckery.

  36. says

    Anthony K @#35

    That is a remarkably accurate summation of the panel’s opinion at the conference I was just speaking about. One of the speakers thanked the board for keeping criticism of religious ideas out of the conference and in response to that they basically affirmed your statement. It would push too many of their members away if they criticized such deeply held beliefs. There are just too many “perfectly good skeptics” that are religious.

  37. says

    Excellent post again, PZ. Posts like this are the reason I started commenting here.

    Abdul Alhazred #32:

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not how affirmative action actually works. It sounds to me like you’re implying that affirmative action means accepting otherwise unqualified people into a program based solely on their demographics. If that is indeed what you’re suggesting, you can go fuck yourself.

    FuriousGreg #30

    PZ’s statement however (that I’ve bolded above) is something I question as nothing in Shermer’s statement seems to plainly imply that men are “better” only that in his opinion men are more drawn to speaking at these and other events.

    Shermer said that women aren’t “intellectually active about it.” In what way could that not mean that men are more “intellectually active” about skepticism than women are? And in what universe is that not a value judgement?

  38. Sili says

    Richard Dawkins’ comment boggles the mind. How can he not see that he’s describing Shermer, himself?

  39. says

    Where did Richard Dawkins comment? There’s some guy calling himself “Richard Dworkins”, but I very much doubt it has anything to do with the real Dawkins.

  40. Anthony K says

    only that in his opinion men are more drawn to speaking at these and other events

    Skepticism fail.

  41. freemage says

    Why is that, I wonder? That’s an interesting observation. Why doesn’t Shermer follow through on that? Because it seems to me that that’s an important fact: it is harder for women to come out, to be prominent in atheist and skeptical circles. We could split the possibilities into two broad categories: it’s the fault of the women — skepticism just isn’t a gal thing — or we could lay the problem on the environment of the skeptical movement.

    You missed a third possibility in your assessment, here–that it’s the fault of the environment outside the skeptical movement that makes it less likely for women and POCs to join, because society is structured in such a way as to make the cost of being an open atheist or skeptic higher for members of unprivileged groups (because so much of their available support network is intrinsically tied to religious practice), even for those who theoretically would benefit greatly from a diminished role of religion in society in the long run.

    Of course, acknowledging that fact and addressing it within the skeptical community could at least ameliorate the problem, so I suppose it still falls into the “problem in the skeptical community” category, at least in part.

  42. Anthony K says

    Of course, acknowledging that fact and addressing it within the skeptical community could at least ameliorate the problem, so I suppose it still falls into the “problem in the skeptical community” category, at least in part.

    The more this is attempted, the more it is apparent that this environmental issue extends to within the movement itself.

  43. jose says

    Sort of unable to get over it. We’re actually discussing whether women and the rest of the races are naturally dumber. Is this real life?

  44. says

    I am a current Member of a local Freethought Association, we have had Mr. Shermer come and speak at one of our events. I saw no indication of Misogyny, nor can I say that our group is patriarchal, or in fact more male than female. I believe our group splits about 60/40 towards women. So all of the arguments here are simply silly, emotional reaction to a quote not taken in context. But thats what you get ob Nlogs… self important, self aggrandizement.

  45. tychabrahe says

    The problem with public atheism is the same problem with literature.

    It is expected that men will want to read books about men: Repairman Jack, Jack Ryan, Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, Myron Bolitar and Win Lockwood, all the male protagonists in John Grisham’s books. Women also often want to read about men.

    However, it is not expected that men will want to read about women. VI Warshawski and Stephanie Plum and Kinsey Millhone and all of the cozy mysteries featuring sewing circles or caterers or candy shop owners or interior decorators or book clubs are not intended to appeal to men. Men it is assumed, don’t want to read books with women protagonists. Harry Potter is for boys and girls, So Much to Tell You is for girls alone.

    Similarly, if a male atheist stands up and says something, everyone, male and female, is supposed to take note. Some will agree, and some will disagree, but it is not expected that people will say that his opinions are irrelevant to their lives because he is male. Oh, maybe he is in a niche subgenre—as I am childfree, the work of Dale McGowan isn’t usually germane to my life—but if it is irrelevant to me, it is because of what he does rather than what he is.

    But if a female atheist presents, there are many people who think her opinions and issues and concerns are irrelevant *because* she is a woman. Some people really think that the needs of women do not concern those who are not women, as if liberty and justice could be granted to a few people only but a society could still be called free and fair.

    This applies across the spectrum. Black atheists are seen to benefit from the ideas of White atheists, but the issues of Black atheists are too tied to their “Blackness” to benefit those who aren’t Black. Gay atheists are seen to benefit from the ideas of straight atheists, but the issues of gay atheists are too tied to their homosexuality to benefit those who aren’t gay.

    Maybe I’m too much of a mathematician. I keep thinking of functions like y = a(x – b)^2 + c. If you are measuring under the curve, it’s obvious that you can increase the area by increasing a or b. But nothing works as well to increase the area like bumping up c. Raise the baseline for everyone, and you do the most good. It does me no good to see rights for myself as an atheist if my POC/gay/trans/disabled brothers and sisters are not equally blessed.

  46. Anthony K says

    I saw no indication of Misogyny, nor can I say that our group is patriarchal, or in fact more male than female. I believe our group splits about 60/40 towards women.

    Homeopathy cured my backache.

    Of course, that’s only my personal observation.

    So all of the arguments here are simply silly, emotional reaction to a quote not taken in context.

    Here’s a topic for your next freethought meeting: Conclusions in Argument, and When They Are Unwarranted by the Premises.

  47. consciousness razor says

    Of course, acknowledging that fact and addressing it within the skeptical community could at least ameliorate the problem, so I suppose it still falls into the “problem in the skeptical community” category, at least in part.

    Not just in part. If the skeptic community doesn’t make the environment better than the (negative) environment of the broader cultures “outside” it (more like including it), that is entirely a problem of the environment of the skeptical community, because there is no need for ours to be just as bad or worse than society as a whole. Explaining why it’s just as bad or worse (assuming it is) does not make us any less responsible for our own actions in our own community. We can be better, and to whatever extent we can be, we should; likewise, to whatever extent it is our problem because we’re not doing what we should, that is entirely our problem. Shifting the responsibility to “society” isn’t going to make us any better.

  48. says

    I am a current Member of a local Freethought Association, we have had Mr. Shermer come and speak at one of our events. I saw no indication of Misogyny, nor can I say that our group is patriarchal, or in fact more male than female. I believe our group splits about 60/40 towards women. So all of the arguments here are simply silly, emotional reaction to a quote not taken in context.

    A skeptic literally using the “HOMEOPATHY WORKED FOR ME!!!!” argument. You should find a new FTA as they clearly have failed you on the basics

  49. Beatrice says

    I just got a job. I’m a woman and I’m going to get the exact same amount of money as a man in my position. OMG that must mean that discrimination of women in the work force doesn’t exist and the pay gap is totally made up shit!

    Hint, nedcarter: what you and I have are two anecdotes. They don’t disprove a wider theory, they are just little exceptions

  50. Anthony K says

    Is this real life?

    No, just skepticism. Fortunately, it’s only occasionally related to real life, as nedcarter aptly demonstrates.

  51. bcskeptic says

    I hope Michael Shermer does the right thing, steps back, realizes the sexist bias in his comments, and takes reasoned steps to correct his attitudes. I’ve followed his columns and activities over the years and have alot of respect for him, but that has been notched down somewhat now.

    I don’t want him telling my daughters they can’t do something because they are women. How stupid to think such things! And for those dumb fucks out there who continue to threaten and abuse women, well, well, fucking stop it–you’re as bad as the religious faith-heads!

    Bravo PZ. Bravo. Keep pushing it in their faces.

  52. vaiyt says

    @FuriousGreg:

    He’s failing and I suspect it’s because of unconscious privilege rather than malice.

    It’s still sexist.

    PZ’s statement however (that I’ve bolded above) is something I question as nothing in Shermer’s statement seems to plainly imply that men are “better” only that in his opinion men are more drawn to speaking at these and other events.

    Here, let me spell it out in BIG LETTERS since you have privilege blinders jammed into your eyes:

    “IT’S MORE OF A GUY THING [TO WANT TO TALK AND BE ACTIVE ABOUT SKEPTICISM]” -> IT’S LESS OF A GIRL THING.

    HE EITHER THINKS WOMEN ARE LESS SUITED TO BE SKEPTICS, OR HE KNOWS THERE’S LESS INCENTIVE FOR WOMEN TO SPEAK UP AND DOESN’T FEEL LIKE DOING ANYTHING TO FIX IT.

  53. artymorty says

    devoniansplit, the video you linked to isn’t even the one we’re discussing.

    Shermer made his “guy thing” comment in an after-show Q&A which is separate from the episode of The Point you posted.

    Try watching the damn clip yourself before you scold others for not watching it.

    HERE’s the video we’re discussing. (The relevant segment begins around 11:40; Shermer’s comment is at about 12:15)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E5pmvv_-Lew

  54. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    This is rich. I think my favourite part is the implied sex and gender binaries.

    Between ‘fluffy lady brains’ and ‘this is men’s work’, I don’t know where I’d fit in, let alone where some of the non-binary regulars here would fit in in this movement.

    Unless I’m reading Shermer wrong, he is saying, in so many words, that these secular movements, atheism and scepticism, really are communities for cis-gendered, hetero, white men, and that those who aren’t are the special snowflakes of their respective minority groups.

    Does Shermer really think that the problem, if he considers minority groups’ under-representation in these communities a problem, is that of the minorities’ and not an institutional problem that can be corrected by cis-gendered, hetero, white men? If so, I’m dumbfounded.

  55. says

    Ok not only did you not give me a time stamp you gave me the wrong fucking video jack ass. I just wasted an hour and a half trying to verify your fucking point for you. So in the future find your damn sources first and leave a god damn time stamp. If someone makes a point its up to them to back it up.

    It’s in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5pmvv_-Lew and the question starts at 11:51 and ends about 14:41

    So here’s a transcript of that part of the video

    Michael: I think it probably really is 50:50. It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

    Cara: It’s who’s outspoken about it. Why do you think it’s more of a guy thing cause I don’t get it cause for me its a me thing and I’m a girl so I dunno why other girl’s don’t see it as a girl thing.

    Sean caroll: But there’s self reinforcement because then we don’t invite women to give talks at the atheist convention and then we don’t know who they are. I think the men here need to do some positive out reach to bring up and support the women who are willing to talk about it and interested in the subject and I think AJ’s video was fantastic.

    Cara: Yeah the video on the long form the video of this episode we heard from aj johnson it was a really great video you should check it out.

    ugh ok I can’t do this people who transcribe videos I will buy you a drink of our choice should we ever meet cause I am not cut out for the tedium. Anyway theres the video and the time stamp.

    To paraphrase michael’s contribution to the rest.
    Michael goes on to point out there were lots of women speakers at tam last year. a few asides and says that he thinks men try to justify their religious beliefs more and women are more intune with the real reason people believe in religion the emotional comforts it provides.

    None of that particularly changes my view of what he said. If you can find a good defense in there now you have the right video and a time stamp so you can pull it out and explain your case instead of dumping the wrong video on our laps and telling us to go find your point for you.

    If you want a longer discussion of my views on michael shermer you can find it in this video here (just wait for it you’ll come to it eventually…..) http://www.twitch.tv/db_high/b/341810796

  56. iknklast says

    Fortunately, it’s only occasionally related to real life, as nedcarter aptly demonstrates

    Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the real world as women (or trans), “only occasionally” almost always…maybe as much as a dozen (or more) times a day on a good day.

    See my comment above. This is a DAILY occurrence for me, as my associate dean rewrites class exercises (without having any experience in my field – these go in the trash once considered). My male students make it clear they have more qualification to speak in any field, even one they haven’t studied, than a female with an advanced degree, research, and years of experience in the field. From deviously subtle to oblivious to blatently obvious, this is a regular fact of life, not just a one-off comment by a prominent male skeptic. This surrounds us EVERY DAY.

  57. says

    I see artymorty noticed it as well while I was working on my response. Aside artymorty is that a reference to the film without a clue? If so good movie ^.^

  58. Abdul Alhazred says

    @43

    I’m pretty sure that’s not how affirmative action actually works. It sounds to me like you’re implying that affirmative action means accepting otherwise unqualified people into a program based solely on their demographics. If that is indeed what you’re suggesting, you can go fuck yourself.

    Or you could just photoshop them into the group pictures, like many colleges do.

  59. says

    @Abdul:

    How about some affirmative action in the skeptic movement?

    Let in a few believers in God who are otherwise the required demographics.
    Or at least a few “spiritual” types.

    This is asinine, but I’ll respond anyway because I’m procrastinating on a paper. The skeptic/atheist movement is for people who are skeptics and atheists. Being a believer in God prevents you from being an atheist and, arguably, a skeptic, too.

    On the other hand, there is nothing about the skeptic/atheist movement that inherently means that women and POC do not belong or have no reason to want to join. Absolutely nothing. Women can be skeptics and atheists. POC can be skeptics and atheists. Therefore, there is no good reason why women and POC should not be proportionally represented in the skeptic/atheist movement.

    Does this make sense?

  60. Sili says

    I hope Michael Shermer does the right thing, steps back, realizes the sexist bias in his comments, and takes reasoned steps to correct his attitudes.

    Can I get a pony while we’re at it?

  61. myuido says

    @michaeld , Post 62

    Really? After watching the video i’m really struggling to see what the fuss is all about. Unfortunately when we transcribe we lose subtleties, he’s smiling and nodding while Cara Santa Maria responds with it “being about a me thing”. He is agreeing, he brings TAM up. He obviously doesn’t think it should be just a guy thing or that women are ill-equipped to handle critical thinking, or any such nonsense.

    I don’t get the impression from that video that he’s against females participating in the atheist/skeptic movement, nor that he thinks its just a natural thing that can’t be changed. I really think PZ and Ophelia were wrong about this and way too trigger happy.

  62. Rey Fox says

    and they now see him as a fellow hero fighting against feminst tribalism.

    I pity those fellows. So few safe spaces for them. Just Shermer’s blog, and Coyne’s blog, and Loftus’ blog network, and Dawkins’ blog, and and…so few bolt holes from the ravening femihorde.

    what ought to be a truly catholic movement

    Hee hee.

    I keep thinking of functions like y = a(x – b)^2 + c. If you are measuring under the curve, it’s obvious that you can increase the area by increasing a or b. But nothing works as well to increase the area like bumping up c.

    Math analogy. I like.

    Or you could just photoshop them into the group pictures, like many colleges do.

    Way to sidestep the refutation of your earlier remark by making another dumb glib remark.

  63. Anthony K says

    Unfortunately, for those of us who live in the real world as women (or trans), “only occasionally” almost always…maybe as much as a dozen (or more) times a day on a good day.

    Sorry iknklast, I wrote poorly. I meant to say that it’s only occasional that skeptics intersect with the real world.

    I did not mean to imply that sexism or transphobia aren’t constant, pressing problems in the real world.

    My fault. It was a poor thought to begin with, poorly written. My apologies.

  64. frog says

    I learned a long time ago that if you don’t want to be called a jackass, don’t act like a jackass. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

    And the corollary lesson: If someone thinks you are a jackass, but you stand by your ideas/position/whatever that prompted that assessment, then own your fucking jackassery. Say out loud, “Yes, I think [this thing]. If that makes me a jackass, I’m comfortable with that.”

    You don’t get to be upset because people don’t like you. You are not owed universal hugs and puppies from everyone.

    That Mr. Shermer can’t bring himself to repeat plainly, “Yes, I think men are inherently more skeptical and more willing to speak out than women,” means he knows he’s wrong. Poor dude is stuck in the maze of societally-trained sexism of his brain and can’t see the forest for the trees.

  65. Abdul Alhazred says

    BTW. There is no skeptical “movement”.

    Therefore there is no racial or gender disparity in something that does not exist.

    Organizations exist, yes. And may well be racist and sexist.

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

    @ Sili –

    As long as we’re getting ponies, I want mine to be BLUE.

    NATURAL blue.

  67. consciousness razor says

    BTW. There is no skeptical “movement”.

    Therefore there is no racial or gender disparity in something that does not exist.

    Organizations exist, yes. And may well be racist and sexist.

    Irrelevant bullshit. Is that all you have?

  68. Emrysmyrddin says

    Commenting before I read the other comments, so I’m sure I’m repeating things, but: YES TO ALL OF THIS. Why the fuck can’t others see this subconscious (but sometimes bloody wilful) blindness to anything but the Default Straight White Man?
    I currently have a Facebook feed flooded with ‘Ah, that Shermer, he’s a great guy and he totally gets it’ and I just want to hide in fear of these people – these otherwise upstanding, nice people, who can’t get their heads around the fact that it’s Not All About Them. Because they’re the ones who’ll bystander effect any problems away. These people genuinely inspire fear in me because they’re unwilling to examine themselves and their own biases even for a minute.

  69. says

    @myuido

    And I might agree with you if that came through in his post today. Instead we have complete blind to the various reasons women and minorities may not feel comfortable taking a more active role in the community when they agree with us. This is not to suggest that this is an active thing he’s pushing so much as a his own preconceptions that he’s not taking the time to think about. As others have pointed out he didn’t even mention why Ophelia dropped out of TAM for example. No mention of the threats and abuse women are getting for speaking out. Leadership in the movement is just more of a guy thing for him until we get some survey showing otherwise (cause we don’t have any evidence to the contrary right now do we?).

  70. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    BTW. There is no skeptical “movement”.

    Therefore there is no racial or gender disparity in something that does not exist.

    Organizations exist, yes. And may well be racist and sexist.

    1st rule of holes applies here.

  71. Abdul Alhazred says

    Irrelevant bullshit. Is that all you have?

    What exactly do you want? Proof that every single affirmative action hire is unqualified?

    Or some other strawman?

    My main offense appears to be not taking you seriously, in which case guilty as charged.

  72. Abdul Alhazred says

    Nope. Those movements exist, have a history of doing big things, and continue to be of consequence.

  73. myuido says

    @micheald, Post 83

    [i]As others have pointed out he didn’t even mention why Ophelia dropped out of TAM for example[/i]

    Perhaps he just doesn’t know about this, or follow these blogs as closely as some would like. It still seems over-the-top to make out that he’s being sexist, misogynistic or just not concerned with the gender disparity at conferences.

  74. frog says

    Seriously, all Mr. Shermer has to say is, “I was being glib and spoke poorly.” Or even (and perhaps more accurately?) that he was being ironic and it didn’t fly right, a textbook example of Scalzi’s Law regarding the failure mode of clever.

    He acknowledges a few seconds after his fateful comment that women seem to be coming out more, speaking more at conferences, and that this is a good thing. So he needs to ask himself–and perhaps clarify–if he really meant the “guy thing” statement or not.

    And if it was intended ironically, then he needs to ask himself why lots of people didn’t find it funny. It doesn’t seem entirely sarcastic/ironic to me, but perhaps he just failed to tune his voice properly. Lots of people would love to pull off Dick Cavett levels of “deadpan,” but it’s nearly impossible for mere mortals.

  75. left0ver1under says

    Dawkins, Watson, Shermer…it goes to show that being smart doesn’t stop people from saying or doing something regrettable. Remember Jen McCreight’s poll and her disagreement with PZ Myers about it?

    Humans aren’t made out of clay but sometimes our feet are.

  76. consciousness razor says

    My main offense appears to be not taking you seriously irrelevant bullshitting, in which case guilty as charged.

    Can you read?

  77. says

    In all fairness, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Harriet Hall was a pioneer. She was one of the first female flight surgeons in the Air Force and dealt with more blatant and entrenched sexism than the vast majority of readers here can possibly imagine. Just a bit of background.

  78. Josh, Exasperated SpokesGay says

    Oh yes. Harriett Hall, tough as nails. If she can do it anyone can. Stop whining, girls. If my second-wave feminist self can put up with it so can you. Stop being such a victim.

    Just a bit of background.

    Being a pioneer doesn’t make her right on this issue, Orac.

  79. angelhearts2002 says

    we really enjoy your atheist blog

    do a search for pharyngula on ytube

    the video about the *mental case*

  80. Emrysmyrddin says

    *monocle*

    In Blighty, it’s known as “Pull the ladder up, Jack, I’m all right!”

    /monocle

  81. paulpeters says

    Frst f ll PZ wht gvs y th rght t spk n bhlf f wmn r bt wht wmn wnt? Y dn’t knw wht t s lk t b wmn. Y cn’t ndrstnd n th sm lvl. Y knw wht tht mks y? prrt. prrt cn snd smrt t tms bt t rlly hs n d bt th mssg t s rlyng. t smply cn’t grsp th thnkng bhnd wht t s syng. Nw f smn tchs prrt t sy smthng tht s ncrrct th prrt sn’t gnn sy ” cn’t sy tht bcs t’s nt tr” t s t dmb t knw ny bttr. Tht’s y n ths sbjct nd mst thrs cncrnng scl ntrctn. Y r nt spkng frm th hrt r frm xprnc r flng, y r jst mkng ns rlly. Y hv srrndd yrslf wth ppl wh mk y fl ll wrm nd fzzy s y g n sqwkng thnkng t’s ll gd bcs s mny rnd y r nddng n grmnt. Whn smn dsn’t nd lng? Tss m nt th dngn ( trm mst ftn sd by ppl nt bndg nd S∓M ddn’t y knw tht PZ? knky fll )
    PZ Myrs y r twt. Why r thr mstly gys t hvy mtl cncrt? Bcs grls r SLLY nt s nt mtl s gys. Bfr ny f y myrs mrns chms n lt m mk t clr –THR R XCPTNS T LMST VRY SCL RL– tht s bcs s mny vrbls cm nt ply. Bt gnrlly gys r mr nt mtl. Tht’s nt bcs grls r t scrd t lstn t mtl. Thy rn’t frd t s gng t d thm hrm, thy my vn lk mtl bt thy dn’t gt nt t s dply s bys d. Thr r jst smthngs tht r mr pplng t n sx thn th thr. Wmn r nt mvs tht shw nrtrng nd mtn mr thn gys r. t’s nt bcs gys ht wmn nd r tryng t hrt thm by nt wtchng thr mv rntls. Y dn’t sm t grsp ths cncpt PZ. t’s ky fr n grp t b rprsntd mr thn nthr s lng s n n s bng kpt t by ny thr grp. Shrmr shwd h hs gd rlstc grsp n thngs, vn dmttng sm f th qstns r nt sly nswrd bt shwng n ntrst n fndng ths nswrs. Y thnk y hv ll th nswrs lrdy PZ. Y r th Ry Cmfrt f fmnsm. t’s ths msgynsts!! Thy r th rsn fr vrythng! vry bhvr y cn’t xpln r dn’t pprv f s rslt f msgyny r prvlg. Scl sss r nt tht sly slvd PZ. Jst lk sqd wsn’t crtd by gd snppng hs fngrs. Scl prblms nd t b xmnd nd tstd nd thr my nt b n clr nswr thr my b svrl nswrs nd nn f thm wrng. knw y dn’t gt t bt lt f ppl d r cn grsp t. Tht s why y nd yr bnd f mrry nddng mrns r dmd t wst tm htng nd jdgng ll by yrslvs. Shrmr xplnd t t y nd t wnt rght vr yr mpty sqwkng hd. Wk p lrdy. H nthny! r y stll ptng? G nd ply wth yr pssy n frnt f th mrrr fr whl myb?? Y dd sy t m “lt’s s wht y gt” ddn’t y? nd thn y cmpln…..ngrt. h, thr’s hl n th dngn wll btw mght wnn ptch tht p.

  82. omnicrom says

    @Abdul Alhazred

    Please explain what you’re on about. I’m putting forth a small amount of effort to try and figure out what you’re angry and sardonic about and I can’t quite catch your issue. Your comment @74 makes no sense to me because it appears to be written from a different frame of reference or understanding. You’re bitching about Affirmative Action as though it’s a dog whistle, which it isn’t on the blog. The Commenters here are likely to support Affirmative Action if it improves diversity but recognize that it’s often flawed and imperfect. I’m probably opening the floodgates but I do not think the same way as you do on Affirmative Action, so go on, discuss it.

  83. says

    I think the issue here is what exactly the words “intellectually active” mean. I think in Dr. Shermer’s case, it’s fairly clear that he meant “active” as in “publically active” or “known publically for their skepticism”. Now, I think if you asked him “Could that simply be your availability heuristic, and there really are just as many women in the public sphere?” that he would agree that it could be. However (assuming we agree that he meant women who are in the public eye) the information used in the availability heuristic is the same as the information one uses to judge whether someone is well known, they use the same data.

    I think it’s changing the goal posts if you make the comment about the distribution of women and men in skepticism period, because that is not the topic under consideration. I think if you asked him whether there are roughly equal numbers of men or women *willing* to publically speak, that he would agree there are. Obviously I can’t tell what he’s thinking, and I can only look at what he actually said, so I think maybe he should clarify this a bit better. I definitely think it wasn’t a clearly written article.

  84. Josh, Exasperated SpokesGay says

    You know what that makes you? A parrot. A parrot can sound smart at times but it really has no idea about the message it is relaying

    You know what that makes you? A potpie. A potpie can taste delicious at times but it really has no idea what it’s talking about.

  85. consciousness razor says

    Nope. Those movements exist, have a history of doing big things, and continue to be of consequence.

    If the people we refer to as “the skeptical movement” do not have a history of doing big things and continue to be of consequence, then those people we refer to do not exist? How is this not a blindingly obvious use-mention error?

    Or are we having a verbal dispute, because you don’t call them a “movement” because of your definition, because your definitions are right? If that’s the sophistry we’re dealing with, how is it not irrelevant bullshit?

  86. omnicrom says

    Paulpeters that was a charming cavalcade random angry shit. Would you like to calm down and explain why you can’t support Women’s Rights if you’re a man? I mean there’s some real discussion on how men can be Feminists but you’re just here to point fingers and shout so calm down and discuss or fuck off.

  87. Josh, Exasperated SpokesGay says

    Whoops. . .sorry omnicrom. You’re not a potpie (but don’t type like one:)

  88. says

    @orac

    That was kind of the point, as a pioneer she should know something about people being kept out of jobs because of preconceived expectations.

    @myuido

    Go read Ian cromwell’s post. The correct response when you say something sexist is to stop think about it and own up to it. You don’t have to be a stereotypical sexist/racist etc to say, think or do something insensitive or stupid. But we should all be able to reflect on what we say when we’re called on it.

    @Abdul Alhazred

    The skeptical movement has still had some sucessess and frankly I didn’t know you had to suceed to be a movement.

  89. Anthony K says

    Hi anthony! are you still pouting?

    I smell slyme

    They’re completely obsessed with me. It’s almost as if they have nothing else relevant to talk about.

    Sockpuppet, you know that purpose I gave to your otherwise meaningless life?

    You’re very welcome.

  90. Anthony K says

    Paulpeters is dpitman, possible Reap Paden.

    You can tell. The “uasdfkhasfdl kL JKglkja anbgry skedptic mash!!!JHLPO!” style of argumentation is a giveaway.

  91. says

    paulpeters:

    First of all PZ what gives you the right to speak … about what women want?

    Women are into movies that show nurturing and emotion more than guys are…

    They really are getting stupider, aren’t they?

  92. Anthony K says

    That is why you and your band of merry nodding morons are doomed to waste time hating and judging all by yourselves.

    How many photoshops of me have you made today?

    Be honest now.

  93. myuido says

    @micheald, Post 108

    @myuido

    Go read Ian cromwell’s post. The correct response when you say something sexist is to stop think about it and own up to it. You don’t have to be a stereotypical sexist/racist etc to say, think or do something insensitive or stupid. But we should all be able to reflect on what we say when we’re called on it.

    Any chance you could link me it? I assume that Ian Cromwell is Crommunist but I don’t read much of his stuff and so don’t know what it might be titled.

    I still don’t see it as particularly insensitive or stupid. Its an off-the-cuff remark about the reality of the situation right now. At the moment it does seem to be mostly a guy thing. PZ says that all the time.

  94. Josh, Exasperated SpokesGay says

    How many photoshops of me have you made today?

    At least one, cuz I bought a signed original.

  95. marksletten says

    If you’re white, you’re racist…

    It would be helpful, PZ, if you would expound on this, because I couldn’t disagree with you more. I would agree that if you’re white you’re more advantaged, and might not be aware that you’re advantaged. But I think most people view the term “racist” as indicative of a person who believes in the fundamental superiority of one race over another.

    I may be white and privileged, and not necessarily fully aware of the privilege I enjoy, but I in no way believe any race (or gender, age, political affiliation, creed, etc.) is inherently superior to any other.

    BTW, when Richard Dawkins suggested Rebecca Watson shouldn’t complain about the way she was treated by a man in an elevator by pointing out how much more horribly Muslim women are treated in their society he was roundly (and rightly) excoriated here and elsewhere.

    What’s different about that and your suggestion Shermer shouldn’t complain about his treatment because Ophelia has been treated much worse?

  96. Anthony K says

    They really are getting stupider, aren’t they?

    Let’s not go that far. They do spend hours talking about me, and I am a very worthy subject.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Amusing how MRA supporters like PP have nothing but ATTITUDE and OPINION. No real facts and evidence to convince real skeptics of their position. They think bad attempts at being sarcastic is an argument instead of showing the world how ignorant and egotistical they are. Pathetic behavior. Must be a genetic flaw that EP can find some adaptation for with their sophistimicated sophistry.

  98. myuido says

    @micheald, Post 108

    Nevermind about the communist link. I’ve just read it. I think i’d be better off responding to his post in his thread though. Maybe tomorrow.

  99. Anthony K says

    For those who are confused, this:

    Hi anthony! are you still pouting?

    Is Reap’s followup to his doxxing of me (note this the next time the whiny little coward fucks try to pretend they’ve got the moral upper hand):

    Speaking of the idiot brownian. I think it is hilarious that they giggle like schoolgirls because we all call browian Ian Brown. Soooooooo.. let’s do this instead…. we can call him Anthony K. I wonder how that makes him feel. It’s always better when the play-field is level and now maybe Anthony has lost that little bit of anonymity that was enabling him to be a gigantic fuckhead. Now he can be accountable for his words. Like when he told me I was too dumb to be a skeptic. You really should be more careful who you sat that shit to Anthony

    Why, Reap, that feels just fine. It is my name, of course, which you can plainly see right next to my avatar.

  100. rrede says

    It’s not only tribalism; it’s a WITCH-HUNT.

    He really went there.

    The first subhead is A Secular Malleus Maleficarium.

    He uses “witch hunt” (or its plural) four times.

    So in his construction of things, Ophelia Benson is apparently the Grand Inquisitor hunting down innocent (male atheists) to burn at the stake, like witches.

    Helped presumably by the other feminists/inquisitors.

    He’s taking one of the most blatant examples of historical oppression of women in Europe and….casting himself as the VICTIM.

    I had to read that three times before believing it, and yep, lots of denial, ducking, and false equivalencies.

    It’s not always that the original statement is that bad–but the defensive rhetoric tends to show even more sexism and racism, providing even more evidence.

    For the witch trials….I think I’ll go back to my student papers. They’re looking better by contrast.

  101. runicmadhamster says

    PZ Myers wrote:
    White men aren’t really all that concerned about our male children having a very high likelihood of being thrown in prison for minor drug offenses; we middle class white folk are not so concerned about economic disparities as the poor people who can’t afford to attend a conference; male organizers aren’t as aware of the problems of finding child care as women, who are saddled with most of the child-rearing obligations, are. These are implicit biases in our views. This is racism, classism, sexism.

    Seriously, every one of us is racist as fuck. We can’t help it.

    First PZ is speaking for all white men here, this cannot be seen in any other light, he doesnt say Some white men, or Most white me, he just says white men. Now i can say with certainty that there are white men out there who are very concerned about their kids being thrown in prison for minor drug offenses, who care a great deal about economic disparities as the poor people, and who are very aware of the problems of finding child care.

    This sweeping generalization that “White Men”tm dont care about all the things mentioned is offensive, PZ should not presume to be able to talk no behalf of all White Men. Humanity is diverse, and the colour of your skin does not shape your views on issues

  102. Anthony K says

    Paulpeters is dpitman, possible Reap Paden.

    puppeteer

    It is Reap Paden, using ‘nyms for anonymity because he believes in a levelled playing field.

  103. jacksonp says

    Where is all the vitriol for Sean Carroll? After all, he said almost verbatim the same thing as Harriet Hall. Could it be some people are immune from criticism or that no one bothered to watch the original source?

  104. says

    @jacksonp, well I’m not saying that makes him immune from criticism, just trying to give a guess as to why some people might overlook his remarks as being sexist.

  105. says

    Science has shown that men and women have differences, true: women have vulvas and breasts, men have penises and hairier bodies

    I’d imagine you could expect some pretty strong pushback on this point.

    If you’re white, you’re racist…

    And I’ve got to confess, I’m really not a fan of this statement either. Expressed this way, it is open to a bunch of interpretations, most of which are false. It is not the case, for example, that white people are racist whereas other people are not (at least under most definitions of racism, including the ones that I prefer). There are lateral forms of racism, most of which find their roots within a white supremacist framework, but have nothing at all to do with white people.

    I can interpret your intent generously here, but even then it still rubs me decidedly the wrong way.

  106. sharkjack says

    from the OP:

    women have vulvas and breasts, men have penises and hairier bodies

    isn’t the idea that gender is determined by secondary sexual characteristics itself also sexist? I know PZ doesn’t actually hold this view, but it just shows how easily those things seep through.

    Other than that, even when taking Shermer’s comment in the best of light, it is still sexist.
    At best he is saying ‘women aren’t inherently less active, but they currently are because of the society in which we live and we have to make sure there are no roadblocks but that’s all we have to do.’
    This means that he’d go after active showing of bias in a selection procedure (which is often far easier said than done), but he’d refuse to correct for any passive biases that can be shown to remain.

    Neither skepticism, nor atheism, nor speaking your mind are inherently guy things, inasfar as that is even a useful description, considering how much of what gender is, is influenced by the way society views gender.

  107. says

    @sharkjack, read my first comment. I don’t think he was saying “women aren’t inherently less active, but they currently are because of the society in which we live”, I think he was saying “women aren’t less interested in or less capable of speaking publically about atheism/skepticism/etc… but they are doing it less regardless of these facts, or they aren’t as well known”. Now you could respond to that by saying that he is wrong, and he is using his availability heuristic (seeing more men speakers, and thinking that means there are more men speakers), which is something I think he should address. The second part “less well known” can be judged by the availability heuristic though, and it simply means that women skeptics aren’t as well known as men skeptics, which is true.

  108. Ze Madmax says

    Abdul Alzhared @ #74:

    You know what affirmative action is.

    So do I.

    Evidence suggests otherwise.

    Orac @ #92

    In all fairness, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Harriet Hall was a pioneer. She was one of the first female flight surgeons in the Air Force and dealt with more blatant and entrenched sexism than the vast majority of readers here can possibly imagine. Just a bit of background.

    Just because somebody experienced (and fought against) systemic discrimination it doesn’t meant that they are unable to maintain systemic discrimination themselves. I could make the opposite case: Hall’s experiences fighting sexism feed into a motivation for systemic justification, because clearly if she could break through institutionalized bigotry, then anyone can, and therefore the problem is with the people complaining about institutionalized bigotry.

    Instead of, you know, trying to fight against the fucking bigoted institutions.

  109. says

    Jacksonp

    Well Sean caroll did say ” …should have just as much opportunity as the men. And I think right now maybe they don’t either for institutional reasons or may just its not their place reasons due to social pressures and we should work to reduce those pressures. ” which I think is closer to the reason for the lack of women participating. Also he doesn’t at any point bring up the idea that the differences between the sexes is real and science has proven it.

    But assuming he said exactly what Hall did this post was about Shermer’s post not the video. So is it really surprising the focus of the discussion is the reply?

  110. Ze Madmax says

    Gah. Blockquote fail @#134. It should read:

    Orac @ #92

    In all fairness, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Harriet Hall was a pioneer. She was one of the first female flight surgeons in the Air Force and dealt with more blatant and entrenched sexism than the vast majority of readers here can possibly imagine. Just a bit of background.

    Just because somebody experienced (and fought against) systemic discrimination it doesn’t meant that they are unable to maintain systemic discrimination themselves. I could make the opposite case: Hall’s experiences fighting sexism feed into a motivation for systemic justification, because clearly if she could break through institutionalized bigotry, then anyone can, and therefore the problem is with the people complaining about institutionalized bigotry.

    Instead of, you know, trying to fight against the fucking bigoted institutions.

  111. runicmadhamster says

    @ Crommunist

    Not trolling, what i meant was being born with darker skin doesnt automatically determine your stance on issues

  112. Rey Fox says

    BTW. There is no skeptical “movement”.

    When all else fails #2: Deny everything.

    And yes, the paulpeters fellow is dpitman, or whoever he really is. The bit about PZ not knowing about “social interaction” is another tell. He seems to think that this well-known professor who speaks publically all year and hangs out at all the social events afterwards until hours unbefitting of his age knows less about social interaction than some obsessed and typing-challenged internet poo-flinger.

  113. Rey Fox says

    I still don’t see it as particularly insensitive or stupid. Its an off-the-cuff remark about the reality of the situation right now.

    Did you read this post? If it was an off-the-cuff remark, he could have explained it as such. Instead, he doubled down on his faulty premises.

  114. says

    Crommunist:

    BTW, #124 is proooobably Mabus.

    By Jove, you’re right. The same account has a very similar comment aimed at Ed Brayton.

    You know what’s funny? (Or perhaps sad?) I read Mabus’s comment thinking that it was yet another MRA. These people blur into one. They seem to have nothing in their lives but incoherent rage.

  115. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    BTW, #124 is proooobably Mabus.

    Isn’t he currently located in a place that makes that a bit difficult?

  116. myuido says

    @Rey Fox, Post 139

    Yes I have read his article. I didn’t need to though to see that it’s an off-the-cuff remark. In the video linked by michaeld which apparently sparked this controversy – you can see it’s an off-the-cuff remark. He’s responding to a question that the host has received via email.

  117. says

    @#140/141

    We have picked up a number of these kinds of messages from someone imploring people to search Youtube for a video (rather than posting the link). This is a tactic Mabus used before, posting long and rambling videos to YouTube and then trying to drive up his hitcount by spamming atheists. You’ll also notice it has nothing to do with the post being commented on, except in very general terms, and parts of it seem to contradict other parts – another Mabus hallmark.

    As far as whether or not his current status with the legal system makes it impossible for him to do this, I’m not exactly bowled over by how well the Montreal police handled it the first time, and apparently others have been targeted by abuse via e-mail as recently as earlier this week. So yeah, I’m not POSITIVE it’s Mabus, but I’m pretty sure.

  118. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    We have picked up a number of these kinds of messages from someone imploring people to search Youtube for a video (rather than posting the link). This is a tactic Mabus used before, posting long and rambling videos to YouTube and then trying to drive up his hitcount by spamming atheists. You’ll also notice it has nothing to do with the post being commented on, except in very general terms, and parts of it seem to contradict other parts – another Mabus hallmark.

    No I get this. My twitter account and when I cared, blog, were constantly full of this type of thing from him. I just thought he was currently incarcerated.

    Then again I’m not sure what kind of internet access he’d have on the inside. You’d think that would kind of be a thing they’d consider restricting access to because of why he’s there.

    If he’s there.

    But not a big deal, just was wondering. It could very well be him.

  119. says

    It’s interesting. I hadn’t heard of the authors of that pink-preference study someone linked to earlier in the week, so I looked up the first, Anya Hurlbert. She’s married to Matt Ridley, I wasn’t surprised to learn. There seems to be a connection between libertarianism (and the various forms of denialism that tends to entail) and evo psych (and the arrogant, hypercredulous sexism and racism that tends to entail), and both seem to have an affinity for the atheist/skeptic movement. I’m not sure exactly what the root of the connection is. It seems to have something to do not primarily (or not entirely) with the content of the attitudes but more with a certain self-image: they see themselves making their arguments as bold, pioneering individualists, defying the oppressive PC social forces (the reality is quite different – their efforts serve to maintain the unjust status quo).

    It still surprises me when they’re people in categories – women, gay people, Jewish people – that have been denied opportunities because of unjust systems and prejudices and then told that it’s due to their innate interests and aptitudes. I’m not surprised about Shermer specifically, though. He even wrecked Denying History, an otherwise solid book, with this nonsense.

    For Squidmas, I’m asking for deeper rifts.

  120. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    In all fairness, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Harriet Hall was a pioneer. She was one of the first female flight surgeons in the Air Force and dealt with more blatant and entrenched sexism than the vast majority of readers here can possibly imagine. Just a bit of background.

    A lot of the pioneering second wave feminists also did not and could not understand lesbian issues and actively worked against them.

    And a lot of pioneering lesbian activists did not and could not understand transgendered people and actively worked against them.

    Being a pioneer for a righteous cause does not automatically transfer rightness to other positions.

  121. says

    I think it probably really is 50:50. It’s who wants gets to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

    Fixed that for you, Shermer. It’s really a lot easier for a white guy to get TV appearances, speaking tours, etc, etc. Which is pretty much exactly the problme being discussed here which Shermer is denying exists.
    freemage #48

    (because so much of their available support network is intrinsically tied to religious practice),

    And this right here is why so many Christians are so opposed to a government provided social safety net. “It replaces God with Government.” Specifically, it means that people aren’t totally dependent on the church for their support, and thus can’t be compelled to toe the church line by threats of removing said help.

  122. runicmadhamster says

    @ SC (Salty Current), OM

    I am hoping for less rifts, for a quick resolution to the problems that are plaguing the movement, resolutions that leave all involved fairly pleased with the outcome. Why would you want more rifts? That would only lead to more anger, more division, it would only make things worse. I dont want to see that happen to this movement.

  123. says

    Michael goes on to point out there were lots of women speakers at tam last year. a few asides and says that he thinks men try to justify their religious beliefs more and women are more intune with the real reason people believe in religion the emotional comforts it provides.

    FFS.

  124. runicmadhamster says

    @ Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Damn thats dishonest, talk about taking a guys words and twisting them to get them to say what you want them to say. Bad move, bad tactic.

  125. jose says

    I think the substantive issue is how to level the field. Does everybody agree with that?

    Shermer gives credit to Grothe when he says women scared women into not attending TAM by overblowing the harassment issue and therefore they shouldn’t be so incendiary about harassment. But more people went to Skepticon than last year, not less, and the harassment policy for that one was clear. So if women got scared away from attending, why did they attend Skepticon? Maybe it was something specific about TAM rather than a general discouragement.

    Apart from that, Shermer doesn’t think having lots of female speakers is a bad thing; you know how people oppose affirmative action because they think it’s all about picking dumb people over smart people. He’s nothing like that. The other guy in the video suggested people could do more active outreach to other collectives and Shermer didn’t object to that.

    I think we can steelman Shermer’s idea that “it’s a boy thing” by looking at it the same way we say atheism used to be an old white man thing. Doesn’t mean it HAS to be like that. Doesn’t mean women are inherently less of this or more of that. We can change things, and Shermer says so in his response, that he’s happy it’s no longer only grumpy WASPs in atheism. I think more outreach is needed; him, not so much. So that’s a disagreement. But there is a lot of common ground as well upon which we can build.

    About those disagreements, I believe if we asked Shermer what he thinks about Skepticon’s clear harassment policy, he wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing. Perhaps he would argue it wasn’t necessary but I must not speculate. The point is he’s not going to actively fight against the establishment of those policies in events, and that’s because he’s a skeptic and he can see with his own eyes Skepticon did well this year. No harm done then, right? We may disagree on matters of policy and that’s all right.

    Bottom line, I’d really like to keep Shermer as a firm ally against the dangers of religion and pseudoscience despite disagreements about different issues such as harassment and skepticism’s demographics (and libertarianism!!). He’s not really the enemy, is he? But that’s a discussion to have, perhaps at the next convention! I’d like to hear his ideas about Skepticon. “Hablando se entiende la gente”.

  126. says

    I wasn’t trying to claim that Shermer actually meant that. I’m pointing out the fallacies in his thinking which led him to say what he said instead. The statemetne which I posted is factually correct, and would serve as a starting point for substantive discussion of why that is the case. What Shermer actually said dismisses the problem as nonexistent, and thus not worth further discussion, and his response to Ophelia reinforces that. The corrected statement is an example of the kind of the we should be hearing when prominent male members of the skeptic movement are asked questions like that, rather than what we usually dohear, which is crap like what Shermer was saying.

  127. says

    I am hoping for less rifts, for a quick resolution to the problems that are plaguing the movement, resolutions that leave all involved fairly pleased with the outcome.

    I’ll be pleased with the outcome of not having anything to do with these people.

    Why would you want more rifts?

    I want the existing rifts to widen to the point that I don’t have to read their remarks on blogs I like.

    That would only lead to more anger, more division, it would only make things worse.

    I disagree. (And again, I welcome division from that crowd.)

    I dont want to see that happen to this movement.

    To the extent that it’s already happened, it’s a good and necessary thing, and I want to see more of it.

  128. ChasCPeterson says

    There seems to be a connection between libertarianism (and the various forms of denialism that tends to entail) and evo psych (and the arrogant, hypercredulous sexism and racism that tends to entail)

    pretty sciencey stuff there

  129. Nathair says

    @angelhearts2002

    talk about feminism while PREACHING RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE – you are the ULTIMATE HYPOCRITE

    I will ignore the incredibly important point that people =/= ideas because, even without that, there is no hypocrisy (certainly not ULTIMATE HYPOCRISY) in saying that women and ideas should be given equal opportunities to succeed. Your actual complaint, I can only assume, is that certain ideas which you personally cherish have been given the opportunity to prove their worth, failed miserably and are now becoming more and more widely acknowledged as Bad Ideas.

    Why should we “tolerate” bad ideas?

  130. says

    @jose, or we could burn all of our bridges over a single sentence that someone said which has multiple interpretations, and then try and deduce all kinds of things about said person’s personality and ideas based on that sentence. Or, you know, we could try and figure out what Shermer actually thinks, and ask him to clarify some things without being hostile about it. For example, I would ask him, does he mean “there is a roughly uniform distribution of men and women in the skeptic community, but that distribution is skewed towards men when we look at public speakers/convention attendees/etc.. because women are less interested in doing that” or “there is a roughly uniform distribution of men and women in the skeptic community, but that distribution is skewed towards men when we look at public speakers/convention attendees/etc.. because women are not given the opportunity to do that, or they are frightened into doing that because of harrassment”. The first one could be argued against by saying Shermer is using the availability heuristic and assuming that because he can conjure up examples of women not speaking because they are less interested that it implies that is the reason *all* women are not doing it. I think if you were to ask him this he would agree that it’s possible he’s wrong. If he says that he meant the second…well, I don’t see the problem with that, although some people might argue that it’s unhelpful because it doesn’t posit a solution (I would say that it was a ten second portion of an entire panel though, so he doesn’t have time to).

  131. ChasCPeterson says

    it was a made-up correlation pulled out of your ass to make some sort of rhetorical political point.

  132. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Nathair, it seems that this is Mabus. As much as many of us will engage with trolls, it is pointless to do so with him. He is a person with real mental problem and parents who dismiss his actions.

  133. Anthony K says

    we could burn all of our bridges

    That sounds like a most excellent solution to the problem of trolls.

    Count me in.

  134. runicmadhamster says

    @ SC (Salty Current), OM

    Well i disagree.For instance would you put Shermer on the side opposite yours? Would you put Hitchens? Dawkins? Or would you put them on your side, or perhaps we should make a new side……..

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening. Now clearly people threaten and insult others online arent people who we want but the problem is that those arent the only types of people being put on the other side. I want this movement to be healed and fixed, to included anyone who wants to be in it and be open and welcoming to all.

  135. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    Prove it. Cite some peer-reviewed evidence, or STFU.

  136. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Why, yes runicmadhamster, I want allies who think that I am not their equal, that my concerns are not worth paying attention to.

    The solution to making allies; shut up.

  137. consciousness razor says

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    Aww, poor, pathetic atheist movement. I feel so bad for it.

    Attention, bigots, trolls and assholes of all stripes: We need to strengthen the atheist movement together, because as we all know, that’s really what’s important. So come over and give us a hug. How about a round of Kumbaya?

  138. runicmadhamster says

    @ strange gods before me

    You want me to provide evidence that a divided movement is less effective than a (for lack of a better word) whole movement? And why the hostility

  139. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    to included anyone who wants to be in it and be open and welcoming to all.

    That’s the problem right there; I don’t want bigots of any sort in this movement. The movement can’t be open and welcoming to all. There are some people whose company is mutually exclusive out there.

    It’s true, anyone can be an atheist. It’s also true that I don’t have to be at all involved with just any atheist. I choose the movement that SC and others claim.

    What I don’t understand is why the bloody bigots can’t just back off? They can call themselves sceptics and atheists and freethinkers all they want, they can do it within their own communities, within their own movements.

    You know, for instance, that not all feminists actually agree? That there are deep rifts in the meta-movement, that there are categories and sub-categories? The same goes for any movement and it’s not necessarily a weakness (I actually would contend that more often than not deep rifts are rather invisible on a practical level). We can have that too, and I want it.

  140. Tethys says

    I still don’t see it as particularly insensitive or stupid. Its an off-the-cuff remark about the reality of the situation right now.

    How is it possible to miss the blatant insensitivity and stupidity that is contained in the words “It’s a guy thing.”?

    Why would you defend a skeptic who makes stupid, sexist “off the cuff” remarks?

  141. runicmadhamster says

    @ consciousness razor

    Not even remotely in the realm of what i was saying, I am concerned that people who arent bigots, trolls and assholes are being booted, rejected, ostracized from the movement, all because people misunderstand what they are saying.

  142. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Who wants to take runicmadhamster by the hand to explain the idea behind A+?

  143. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    You want me to provide evidence that a divided movement is less effective than a (for lack of a better word) whole movement?

    That would be nice. Even better would be if you’d provide evidence that a movement divided on issue A is less effective at addressing issue B.

    Still better would be if you’d account for the fact that being “united” on issue A means lots of women don’t want to have anything to do with the movement at all — i.e. there is no such thing as not being divided, you just prefer to divide us differently.

    And why the hostility

    “cite the peer reviewed evidence or STFU” is a trope around here, courtesy of Nerd. Don’t take it personally. But seriously, please do it or shut the fuck up.

  144. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says

    Why would you defend a skeptic who makes stupid, sexist “off the cuff” remarks?

    I’ll gladly defend someone who makes a stupid, off the cuff sexist remark. However, if, when presented with what was said, and why it was wrong, that individual decides to double down, defending the remark, explaining the remark away, or otherwise denying that the comment was bad, not so much.

  145. consciousness razor says

    You want me to provide evidence that a divided movement is less effective than a (for lack of a better word) whole movement?

    Sure a movement without bigots and assholes is more effective than one with it, unless the desired effect is bigotry and assholerey. Bigger isn’t always better.

    And why the hostility

    Because it’s a stupid idea which has the problem reversed, which we’ve heard numerous times before.

  146. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Why no, runicmadhamster, I am not willing to take one for the “team” of atheists. I will not have them, in the name of unity and strength against religion, deny me my humanity and basic rights and freedoms even if it is “just” (roll eyes” via invective, but thanks ever so much for asking.

  147. Anthony K says

    I am concerned that people who arent bigots, trolls and assholes are being booted, rejected, ostracized from the movement, all because people misunderstand what they are saying.

    Oh, if only that were true.

  148. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says

    Addendum to my #173:

    And I will defend someone who makes a mistake, and recognizes the statement as a mistake, because I have done it myself. I have been, on more than one occasion, on this blog, blindly privileged, sexist, misogynist, fat shaming, etc. And when I either realize what I did, or have it pointed out to me, I own up to my mistake, apologize, and try not to let it happen again.

    But, I guess I’m just not skeptical enough for certain groups.

  149. says

    We see it in science, too, where women and men have initially equivalent interest in following the field, and then women are actively discouraged from pursuing the higher ranks of their discipline. We know this; there are many studies demonstrating a sex bias in refereeing papers, in promotion and tenure, in cultural attitudes about competence. You don’t overcome those by just telling everyone there is no barrier to women and men applying for the jobs in equal numbers.

    THE point. Thank you.

  150. jose says

    To be frank, I too interpreted the “intellectually active” as being an active person in the intellectual arena, meaning writing books, making presentations, teaching, going to debates, etc. Being an active person with respect to the intellectual part of the movement.

    The wording is unfortunate and I think he’s wrong about the reasons why women participate less (I think the field is not levelled and it can’t be levelled without a version of affirmative action as well as local, grassroots outreach, meaning for example that atheist organizations need to have people who know Spanish), but the statement that women participate less is something the FTB people have been talking about and trying to fix. Again, there is lots of common ground.

    I mean it’s just old Michael Shermer, not freakin’ Ayn Rand.

  151. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    runicmadhamster,

    Not only do I consider Richard Dawkins on a side opposite mine, I would love to never hear about him again.

    Go talk at him, get him to retract and say he’s so for his Dear Muslima comment, and then I’d be cautiously optimistic — there’d still be a lot more for him to retract and say he’s sorry for, but that would be a start. He could at least begin to signal that he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side anymore.

  152. says

    I agree 100% with the Harriet Hall quote! Ensure there are no obstacles. But this is where right and left part ways.

    No, actually the disagreement already starts at the question what preventable obstacles are.
    I think that the fact how pink crap, useless princesses and non-sciency things are pushed upon my daughters tilts the playing-field.
    People like Harriet Hall on the other hand think that as long as I’m not forced to buy pink and legally llowed to buy blue everything is fine and dandy.

    +++
    Marcus Ramun

    Was that said by the former female flight-surgeon? The one who didn’t accept that a job like flight-surgeon is a “guy job”? I’m a big fan of Hall’s writing on sciencebasedmedicine and elsewhere but it does seem like she’s forgetting to look in her mirror.

    Well, I guess it makes her all special. You know, being attracted to a field you’re supposed to be crap at, making it against all odds.
    I think that explains a lot about her attitude and that of other similar women.

    Ahh, and I see Orac @92 enlightening us to things we already knew and are, quite frankly, irrelevant.
    +++

    I saw no indication of Misogyny, nor can I say that our group is patriarchal

    That’s always kind of cute coming from somebody apparently identifying as male…

    paulpeters

    First of all PZ what gives you the right to speak on behalf of women or about what women want?

    He did? Oh, wait, he didn’t. He recognized a sexist argument.

    You don’t know what it is like to be a woman. You can’t understand on the same level. You know what that makes you? A parrot

    Why do you hate men so much?
    Why do you think that they are such empathy-free and stupid creatures that they just can’t understand?

    Toss em into the dungeon ( a term most often used by people into bondage and S&M didn’t you know that PZ? kinky fella )

    A) Is that supposed to be an insult?
    B) Not really, it’s much better known from RPGs

    Because girls are USUALLY not as into metal as guys.

    And I guess the reason for this is pink?
    Or is it because girls are children while guys are already adults and therefore allowed in?

    Women are into movies that show nurturing and emotion more than guys are.

    Because vervets.

    I have a question:
    Why is not using paragraphs apparently a guy thing?

    Weskerfoot

    I think the issue here is what exactly the words “intellectually active” mean. I think in Dr. Shermer’s case, it’s fairly clear that he meant “active” as in “publically active” or “known publically for their skepticism”.

    Is there any reason apart from you desperately wanting Shermer to look good for radically redifining the word “intellectually”?
    You know, when people mean “publicly active”, those are usually the words they use…

    marksletten

    It would be helpful, PZ, if you would expound on this, because I couldn’t disagree with you more. I would agree that if you’re white you’re more advantaged, and might not be aware that you’re advantaged. But I think most people view the term “racist” as indicative of a person who believes in the fundamental superiority of one race over another.

    It doesn’t mean you’re A racist. It means you hold (often unconscious) attitudes and opinions based on race. Sometimes you will do something, or think something and not even recognize that it is racist. Sure you stepped back when that guy entered the room because he’s huge, nt because he’s black, and so on…

    runicmadhamster

    First PZ is speaking for all white men here, this cannot be seen in any other light, he doesnt say Some white men, or Most white me, he just says white men.

    And if you knew how language worked (or were a bit more honest), you would have realized that PZ didn’t say ALL white men.
    Dogs have 4 legs, good ears and a wonderful sense of smell.
    See, general statement and nobody would argue that it’s untrue because of the existence of a 3 legged deaf dog who can’t smell its own ass.
    In short: go play with the other preschoolers.

  153. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    Fairly obvious typo, but:

    … say he’s so[rry] for his Dear Muslima comment …

  154. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    I mean it’s just old Michael Shermer, not freakin’ Ayn Rand.

    Yeah, great, Michael Shermer who wrote a section of one of his books about how Ayn Rand was the wrong kind of libertarian.

  155. Ze Madmax says

    runicmadhamster @ #162:

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    If a movement’s strength relies on acquiescing to the status quo, on ignoring systemic discrimination, on promoting bullshit ideas that support cultural biases rather than facts, then such a movement deserves to die.

    to included anyone who wants to be in it and be open and welcoming to all.

    Except that right now, it isn’t. And Shermer’s comments mean that it’s only open and welcoming to a subset of the total population (i.e., white cis-straight men), a subset that historically has enjoyed massive advantages over other groups. So your kumbaya bullshit is basically making the movement LESS welcoming to a fuckton of people.

  156. says

    Is there any reason apart from you desperately wanting Shermer to look good for radically redifining the word “intellectually”?
    You know, when people mean “publicly active”, those are usually the words they use…

    I don’t desperately want him to look good. I admit that I could be wrong, he could mean intellectually active as in “a thinking individual”, but I find it hard to reconcile that with the rest of the sentence. I’d rather focus on his claim that the reason for the skewed distribution is because women don’t want to do it, which I’ve previously said could be due to a bias on his part (availability heuristic).

  157. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says

    [META]

    If a movement’s strength relies on acquiescing to the status quo, on ignoring systemic discrimination, on promoting bullshit ideas that support cultural biases rather than facts, then such a movement deserves to die.

    Excellent description of the modern GOP. [/META]

  158. Anthony K says

    Why is not using paragraphs apparently a guy thing?

    It’s not. That’s a Reap Paden thing. He can’t very well masturbate and hit the enter key, now can he?

  159. says

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    Lie back and think of the movement, baby

    Tell you what, I have zero interest in the success of any movement that thinks that my concerns can be dealt with when all the “important” stuff is done and somebody could spare a second from patting themselves on their backs.

    weskerfoot

    I’d rather focus on his claim that the reason for the skewed distribution is because women don’t want to do it,

    A) That would be “willing to be active” or something like that.
    B) How would that mae it much better? So, instead of reinforcing the stereotype that we’re intellectually inferior he reinforces the one that we just don’t care about things that aren’t pink…

  160. says

    .For instance would you put Shermer on the side opposite yours? Would you put Hitchens? Dawkins?

    yes, yes, sometimes.

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening

    if the atheist movement cannot function without the bigots, then maybe i don’t quite care whether it survives this “cutting and dividing”

    I am concerned that people who arent bigots, trolls and assholes are being booted, rejected, ostracized from the movement

    your concern is noted. I see no evidence for that being the case however; what I do see is constant denial of recurrent bigotry on the part of various idolized folks in the atheism movement. I mean, it’s not like Shermer has been a pro-feminist dude who just slipped up this once.

  161. Emrysmyrddin says

    Not even remotely in the realm of what i was saying, I am concerned that people who arent bigots, trolls and assholes are being booted, rejected, ostracized from the movement, all because people misunderstand what they are saying.

    If this people are misunderstood, they have plenty of web space in which to clarify their views. If they are mistaken, then an acknowledgement of their error is the gold standard of scepticism. Do you disagree?
    .
    If these people maintain that they were understood and that they were not mistaken in their views, then I want nothing to do with them or their publications. I will not attend an event run by them, nor recommend their works. This is my personal approach to people who think that by my very gender I am inherently ‘less able’ or ‘less inclined’ to perform a task, who think that by merely knowing me as female would then extrapolate my capabilities, my interests, my life.
    .

    Would you want to hang around people who considered you, however subconsciously, as lesser? Would you want to hang around people who consciously thought that you were lesser, to the point of continuous jokes and put-downs about just how inferior you were?
    .

    Why the hell should I?
    .
    And yes, that includes bloody Richard Dawkins.

  162. says

    A) That would be “willing to be active” or something like that.
    B) How would that mae it much better? So, instead of reinforcing the stereotype that we’re intellectually inferior he reinforces the one that we just don’t care about things that aren’t pink…

    Make what better? I’m saying that he thinks women don’t want to publically speak because he is able to think of examples where women didn’t do some public speaking event because they just didn’t want to, or something like that. The problem with this is that the examples he comes up with don’t necessarily correspond to the real reason for the overall disparity (availability heuristic). I’m willing to bet he would admit this if you asked him, although I can’t say for sure he would (maybe he really is sexist, I don’t know).

    “he reinforces the one that we just don’t care about things that aren’t pink…”

    I’m not sure how this is relevant. Could you explain what you mean by that?

  163. says

    Wait. So when have Shermer and Dawkins been evicted from the skeptic movement? How could such a thing be done? Who is trying to do such a thing?

    You know, if we really were on a witch hunt, Shermer would be tied to a stick and set on fire, metaphorically. But that isn’t going to happen, and everyone knows it: at the end of the day, Shermer will still have Skeptic magazine, will still be writing and selling books, will still be invited to speak at conferences. It makes the histrionics at criticizing the guy look a little bit silly, don’t you think?

  164. Nathair says

    Nathair, it seems that this is Mabus.

    Ah, I can’t keep up with him anymore… must be getting old.

    this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    A pure Atheist Movement is just meaningless wheel spinning anyway. Where exactly does the pure I-don’t-believe-you movement move ?

    I’ll put my efforts into secularism, equal rights, social justice and skepticism and if doing that weakens your I-don’t-believe-you “movement” then I’m afraid I’m not about to lose any sleep over it.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am concerned that people who arent bigots, trolls and assholes are being booted, rejected, ostracized from the movement, all because people misunderstand what they are saying.

    Sorry troll, we understand exactly what they are saying. And want no part of what they are saying. What part of that are you having trouble with, so I can explain it to you in words of one syllable or less with the help of a clue-by-four.

  166. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    But, but, but…witch hunt! I have been so looking forward to tying people to stakes and lighting them up! And confiscating their properties.

  167. says

    weskerfoot
    OK, trying hard to understand what you are saying, because it’s obvious that you aren’t understanding what I am saying.
    So you say that he meant “intellectually active” in the sense of “there’s women who just don’t want to speak publicly”.
    Well, apart from the fact that I don’t buy it, your argument seems to be that he had some personal experience of women who don’t want ti speak which he then extrapolated onto ALL the female population.
    That’s still just plain stupid sexism, which assumes that there aren’t many women in X because women just aren’t interested in this by their nature.
    So, it’s still the same old sexism, just a different meme.

    Anyway, I’m off to bed now

  168. says

    it was a made-up correlation pulled out of your as

    sure; because there aren’t any articles in EP journals about how EP is consistent with the libertarian flavor of feminism, but not the non-libertarian flavors.

    It’s a casual observation, like the Salem hypothesis; but it’s not made up.

  169. says

    @Gilliel, you keep thinking that I am defending him, I’m not defending him with that argument at all, I’m giving a reason why he’s wrong to say that.

  170. Anthony K says

    Nicely put.

    I liked Nathair’s following paragraph even more:

    I’ll put my efforts into secularism, equal rights, social justice and skepticism and if doing that weakens your I-don’t-believe-you “movement” then I’m afraid I’m not about to lose any sleep over it.

  171. cuervodecuero says

    All the ‘deep rifts’ sound like the privilege critique equivalent of ripping dirty bandages off, followed by indignant complaints about why couldn’t it be peeled off a little at a time and not soaked in peroxide first and not right now and there was nothing septic about the bandage in the first place?

  172. nms says

    Wait. So when have Shermer and Dawkins been evicted from the skeptic movement? How could such a thing be done?

    Change the locks?

  173. lostintime says

    There’s still a lot of sexism in the skeptical community and I couldn’t disagree more with the ‘argument’ presented here by Michael Shermer. The fact that he then tries to justify his sexism by telling an anecdote that contradicts his first statement is just frustrating and weird. (Surely the fact that there was 50/50 participation at TAM refutes his assertion that women are less active about wanting to speak at conferences)? PZ is right to keep fighting against the casual (and sometimes very deliberate and vocal) misogyny that is still taking place in the skeptical movement.

    As for the “if you’re white, you’re racist” remark, I understand the point that we can’t know what it’s like to experience the world from a disadvantaged position if we’re not in that position, but I wouldn’t say that this makes all white people intrinsically racist. It just seems like the wrong word to me, but then maybe he has a point.

  174. says

    I wouldn’t say that this makes all white people intrinsically racist

    it doesn’t make them intrinsically racist, but privilege tends to make people commit “colorblind racism” (or equivalents); it’s less about privilege though, and more about the fact that if you grow up in a racist culture, you will absorb a lot of racist “common knowledge” without ever knowing it for racist garbage. If that shit is never challenged and you alter your thinking-patterns, you end up racist; and white folks are more susceptible to becoming racist like that because it’s less likely that the “common sense” garbage will be challenged in their lives (this is where privilege comes into this, partially)

  175. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    sure; because there aren’t any articles in EP journals about how EP is consistent with the libertarian flavor of feminism, but not the non-libertarian flavors.

    And GODDAMN.

    I mean, I honestly did not expect to see that shit. I don’t know why, but it surprised me.

    Now, it might be a shitty article. It might be wrong about what EP entails. A non-libertarian pro-feminist EP-defender like Chas might look at it and say this is a terrible argument and they are wrong. But for fuck’s sake, the fact that that article was written and published is a travesty. Talk about politicizing science!

  176. vaiyt says

    No this cutting and dividing of the Atheist movement leads only to its weakening.

    Making bigots feel unwelcome = DEEP RIFTS

    Making women feel unwelcome = “it’s just a guy thing”

    I want nothing to do with a “movement” that puts the feelings of bigots over the concerns of women. End of discussion.

  177. says

    it was a made-up correlation pulled out of your ass

    I said it seems to be the case. If I had time I’d do a study. I suspect there is a real correlation, but I didn’t think it unethical to make the observation publicly given that none of these are historically or contemporarily oppressed groups that are at all likely to be harmed by it. The opposite is true of women, black people, poor people, gay people, about whom proponents of evo psych will recklessly and callously make claims based on the flimsiest of evidence (or counter to it). Funny how you seem to have no objection to that.

    to make some sort of rhetorical political point.

    It’s possible that I have some motivations of which I’m not conscious, but I don’t know what that would be. I’ve made no secret of my position on evo psych and libertarianism, and my opinion of the atheist-skeptic-freethinking movement (the good parts) is obviously positive. So I’m not trying to smear any of them by suggesting a connection or affinity. I don’t know what that political point would be.

    (By the way, you seem fairly obsessed with the word rhetoric. You overuse it, employ it lazily, and seem blind to the often absurdly overblown rhetoric of evo psych and the like (“Science has shown…” is a perfect example; the claim of dispassionate, objective science is another; there are many). It’s tiresome.)

    ***

    For instance would you put Shermer on the side opposite yours? Would you put Hitchens? Dawkins?

    What Jadehawk said. (Since Hitchens is dead, it’s pretty much moot.)

    If all of the comments had been restored, I’d point you to what I’ve said about each over the past few years. I don’t care what Shermer has to say, about anything. There was one subject on which I was interested enough to read his book, and I read it.

  178. says

    For fuck’s sake.

    For everyone whining about the rifts in the atheist/ skeptical movements: shut the fuck up. You’re basically saying that women, PoC, LGBTQ people, etc can go screw because we’re making the bigots uncomfortable. The rifts become important when they impact white, straight, cis- dudes and no one else matters.

    *spits*

    PZ OP

    men have… hairier bodies.

    Speak for yourself. I’m gloriously hairy– more so than several men I know.

  179. ChasCPeterson says

    because there aren’t any articles in EP journals about how EP is consistent with the libertarian flavor of feminism, but not the non-libertarian flavors.

    That’s a bizarre and twisted claim.
    I assume you must be talking about this? Because otherwise I have no clue what you’re talking about. Since you merely referenced vague “articles” [plural sic.] without citing or linking anything.
    About which:
    a) N=1
    b) it’s “commentary”, i.e. one guy’s opinion.
    c) it never even uses the word ‘libertarian’ once.
    For your claim to be true-ish, all self-identified “equity feminists” would have to be libertarians. This is empirically false.
    (Did you read the article? The author merely claims that any sort of feminism that includes as doctrine the a priori idea that all gender roles and sex-specific behaviors are cultural constructs is incompatible with the core ideas of EP. That seems uncontroversial, even if you discount the equity/gender feminism dichotomy.)

  180. says

    I love how “It’s a guy thing” and “Science has shown that real differences exist” and “There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population” and so on aren’t seen as part of the “playing field.”* I mean, it’s not like hearing such statements from leaders in a movement has any effect or anything.

    *I’ll note in passing that I HATE that phrase used metaphorically.

  181. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    For your claim to be true-ish, all self-identified “equity feminists” would have to be libertarians.

    You have a bad memory.

    And no. For the claim to be true, self-described “equity feminists” might be working from a definition written by a libertarian. And/or libertarians might be disproportionately overrepresented among self-described “equity feminists”.

  182. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    (Did you read the article? The author

    chose to use Sommers’s political jargon for his groupings.

  183. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Yep.

    This is my favorite PZM style of writing, and very unusually I can see nothing to even quibble about.

    Those who oppose him on this matter really should take stock of their positions, ‘cos they’re simply going to be shown to have been obviously wrong.

  184. says

    Audley:

    For fuck’s sake.

    For everyone whining about the rifts in the atheist/ skeptical movements: shut the fuck up. You’re basically saying that women, PoC, LGBTQ people, etc can go screw because we’re making the bigots uncomfortable. The rifts become important when they impact white, straight, cis- dudes and no one else matters.

    *spits*

    Nthed. Strongly.

  185. joed says

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UJlNRODZHA
    Tim Wise in Seattle, about a 1 hour talk on White Privilege.
    Every one can learn from this but “white” people can learn more.
    If we are in the process of growing and learning as human beings then every day is a struggle to overcome the crap we learn as young people.
    the great majority of white people I know refuse to even admit to their privilege in the shitty amerikan society. Most white men say something to the effect that they like their privilege and want more of it. To hear this is a heart breaker some times. They haven’t got a clue.
    If Shermer was where I thought he was then he would at some point admit his “guy thing” is sexist and he would gladly and easily(yes, easily) make amends.
    It may be years before he can do this. He may never be able.
    We are all fools at times. But, fighting the crap is the worthwhile battle.

  186. John Morales says

    [meta]

    ‘movement’ and ‘community’ are not synonyms and they are both polysemous, and not all their senses are monolithic.

    In particular, I consider that the skeptical movement generally refers to the social force exerted by the growing number of people that advocate rationalism and empirical epistemology as a basis for decision-making (the which doesn’t mean that many such people plainly do not practice what they preach in every sphere of endeavour) rather than any specific organisation.

  187. marcantony says

    This is my first post ever here. I’ve been a reader of Pharyngula for going on 5yrs. But even though I am an ardent feminist (and a white male, born in the south), this whole cat fighting mess has given me an aversion to this site. I’m not discounting every idea or aspect of it all – I’m just saying I feel you and others (on both sides) are going about it ALL WRONG.

    I wish you all could find a more productive means to deal with these issues than pitting the secular community against each other. That’s all.

    Best.

  188. rashreflection says

    I come back here for the first time in a while and see nothing has changed.

    Let’s cut to the chase and respond to the “why can’t we all just get along” crowd: I do not want libertarians to be part of any movement I care about, as their diagnoses of problems and proposed solutions do not square with a skeptical outlook or a concern about the well-being of the oppressed. Along similar lines, I also do not want people who say things like “Islam is one of the greatest evils in our world today”, or any non-Muslims who think they know what is best for the Muslim world, to be part of any movement I care about; the idea that certain religions predispose one to acts of terrorism more than others has been pretty soundly refuted by actual peer-reviewed research on the matter.

    The fact that even some “social justice” skeptics still haven’t cast out the likes of Dawkins, Shermer, Harris, & Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a major reason I have become increasingly disappointed in this movement. Even in this very discussion I have seen a good deal of valuing “skepticism” more highly than racial/gender/class equality, and frankly that isn’t very skeptical.

  189. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I wish you all could find a more productive means to deal with these issues than pitting the secular community against each other. That’s all.

    Well, why aren’t you being constructive and coming up with a true solution? One that will get the slymepitters off their MRA bullshit for example. This whole kumbaya shit will not go anywhere, but it seems to be all the accommodationists have.

  190. bishoptakesknight says

    Nothing Michael Shermer said was sexist. What he said was a stereotype without discriminatory intent. The difference is huge. “All black people can dance.” is a stereotype that may or may not be true, but is not discriminatory in any way. “All black people can dance and, as a person of power, I refuse to hire black people.” This is a stereotype + discrimination which makes it racist, or just extreme jealousy. Seriously, who wouldn’t like to be able to dance.
    What he said was a quick generalization to a rather stupid question. The question implies that because atheist groups are mostly represented in public by old white guys that there is something stopping women or actual minorities from joining or speaking up. Inequality of outcome in no way demonstrates inequality of opportunity. Also, you should not expect demographic similarity within all groups. If that was reasonable twenty percent of the NBA would be Chinese.
    Is there a reason for the difference between the percentage of female atheist activists and the general female population? Yes. Are the old white guys we now have somehow at fault for the disparity? I doubt it. It would take some actual data to make me believe that atheist men are seeking to suppress women’s involvement.
    Now for the hateful nonsense I’ve read in this blog and in the comments. I am really tired of having to apologize for being born both white and male. I am neither racist nor sexist. I have never disadvantaged anyone. I have never judged anyone for anything that wasn’t an actual negative trait that they could correct. So in future, if it’s not too much trouble, could I not be judged by the color and presence of my penis? I know most white men would thank you for being tolerant.

  191. Ze Madmax says

    marcanthony @ #219:

    I’m not discounting every idea or aspect of it all – I’m just saying I feel you and others (on both sides) are going about it ALL WRONG.

    Then by all means, go forth and go about it the right way. I’m sure your astounding success will put “both sides” to shame one day.

  192. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    bishoptakesknight,

    I am really tired of having to apologize for being born both white and male.

    Bullshit.

    Nobody is telling you to apologize for either.

  193. Tethys says

    But even though I am an ardent feminist (and a white male, born in the south), this whole cat fighting mess has given me an aversion to this site.

    An ardent feminist would not use the term cat fighting.

    /the more you know

  194. joed says

    @220, rashreflection,

    The fact that even some “social justice” skeptics still haven’t cast out the likes of Dawkins,…

    What’s wrong with Dawkins? I know Sam Harris is just sorta’ skeptical but I didn’t know about Dawkins too!

  195. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    bishoptakesknight:

    What he said was a SEXIST stereotype without discriminatory intent.

    FTFY.

  196. curtisnelson says

    The premise here is that females and males are identical mentally and so the suggestion that they aren’t is sexist.

    The sexes differ by a whole chromosome; they’re certainly different physically; most females are sexually attracted to males and vice versa (a mental difference); and there are all the anecdotal observations that suggest girls and boys have basically different likes and dislikes.

    Why is it insulting to think there are mental differences between the sexes?

  197. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    The premise here is that females and males are identical mentally

    Liar.

  198. John Morales says

    bishoptakesknight:

    Nothing Michael Shermer said was sexist. What he said was a stereotype without discriminatory intent. The difference is huge. “All black people can dance.” is a stereotype that may or may not be true, but is not discriminatory in any way. “All black people can dance and, as a person of power, I refuse to hire black people.” This is a stereotype + discrimination which makes it racist, or just extreme jealousy. Seriously, who wouldn’t like to be able to dance.

    What?

    You might try you know, it’s more of a black person thing if you want your analogy to be apposite, and then expound as to how it’s not racist in that form so that the original likewise is not sexist.

  199. says

    “Science has shown that men and women have differences, true: women have vulvas and breasts, men have penises and hairier bodies.”

    The overall point that you’re making, that there’s no biological difference between genders that would make one gender inherently better at skepticism than another, is something I’m with you on 100%.

    It is worth pointing out, though, that sex and gender don’t actually work this way. There’s more to sex than what genitals a person has. There are plenty of intersex and trans people who fall outside the “boy=penis, girl=vagina” heuristic, either because they happen to be men without penises or women without vaginas or because their sex chromosomes say, “XY!” but their androgen insensitivity says “Woman!” and while your overall point (about women being excluded from skeptic movements not by their sex but by SEXISM) totally stands, I know that you want to be a friend to trans and intersex people, and so I wanted to point this out as the kind of thing that doesn’t live up to your intentions.

    There’s more to sex and gender than genitals and there’s more to genitals than boys with penises and girls with vaginas. Rock on, party hard, still love you, but please do avoid the cissexism in the future.

  200. joed says

    @222, bishoptakesknight
    If you watch the Tim Wise video at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UJlNRODZHA
    you will possibly understand what white privilege is and the advantage it offers you in the u s society. Your statement that you are neither racist or sexist and have never disadvantaged anyone is a denial of your white privileged status.
    Like PZ said, “But denying it makes it worse. And being conscious of our biases and giving other voices a chance to speak is how we make it better.”
    Just try to watch the Wise video and next time you walk into a store at the same time as a afroamerican ask yourself who the security is going to keep their eye on.

  201. Ze Madmax says

    curtisnelson @ #229:

    The sexes differ by a whole chromosome

    A WHOLE CHROMOSOME? Holy shit! That’s like… huge! I HAD NO IDEA. EVERYBODY STOP THE PRESSES: WE GOT A HOT ONE IN HERE.

    they’re certainly different physically

    Which is completely irrelevant to the current discussion.

    most females are sexually attracted to males and vice versa (a mental difference)

    Except that your “difference” vanishes when you describe this as “most people are attracted to individuals of the opposite sex.” Is almost as if you’re trying to justify your biases in the laziest possible ways.

    and there are all the anecdotal observations that suggest girls and boys have basically different likes and dislikes.

    And I am yet to see evidence that suggests a biological basis (rather than a cultural basis) for these “different likes and dislikes,” shitty evo-psych notwithstanding.

  202. Matt Penfold says

    But even though I am an ardent feminist (and a white male, born in the south),

    The south of where ? The south of England, the south of Wales, the South of France, the south of Germany, the south of Spain ….

    The fact you think the telling us you were born in the south means anything unless you also say the south of where says a lot about how much you think about things,

  203. Matt Penfold says

    Why is it insulting to think there are mental differences between the sexes?

    It is not so much insulting as ignorant. There is no evidence that men and women differ significantly when it comes to mental capacity.

    Although, now I think about it, your insistence on professing your ignorance is rather insulting,. Can you offer any explanation as to why you were insulting ?

  204. says

    bishoptakesknight:

    I am really tired of having to apologize for being born both white and male.

    As a white guy, I’ve never once been asked to apologize for being white or male. Perhaps you should be a little less paranoid.

  205. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    curtisnelson:

    and there are all the anecdotal observations that suggest girls and boys have basically different likes and dislikes.

    Anecdotes do not count as evidence.
    Not to mention that girls and boys having different likes and dislikes means absolutely *nothing*.

    Why is it insulting to think there are mental differences between the sexes?

    Do you have any evidence to show that there *are* mental differences between the sexes? Or are you assuming that as your starting point and moving on from there?

  206. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    marcantony:

    . I’m not discounting every idea or aspect of it all – I’m just saying I feel you and others (on both sides) are going about it ALL WRONG.

    And you’re totes the guy to tell us how to do it the right way?
    Instructing us soon, you will be?

    (I’ll add that there’s more than one way to argue a point. Different approaches work with different people.)

  207. No Light says

    Audley:

    For fuck’s sake.

    For everyone whining about the rifts in the atheist/ skeptical movements: shut the fuck up. You’re basically saying that women, PoC, LGBTQ people, etc can go screw because we’re making the bigots uncomfortable. The rifts become important when they impact white, straight, cis- dudes and no one else matters.

    Fucking PREACH IT!

    *throws roses*

    I’m sick of majority-group members assuming everyone is in their demographic, of slurs and insults that rely on denying the basic humanity of certain marginalised people.

    I’m tired of the microaggressions that, with every nick, remind me that I’m less than.

    So nice of Orac to stan for HH and lecture us silly wimmenz about. how speshul she is. Cos, y’know, we girls don’t read sciencey blogs, so we just assumed she was a hairdresser or professional puppy-cuddler like the rest of us, teehee!

    Stick to Burzynski-busting Dr Blinky Box. If you can’t see that Renee Hendricks Harriet Hall still had the benefit of considerable privilege, then you’re missing the point.

    There’s a reason many feminists and womanists don’t trust second wavers. HH should be on a shiny plinth with “This, right here” engraved on a brass faceplate.

  208. sharkjack says

    @238 Me neither, and I’ve even gone so far as to post on the atheism plus forum… multiple times. Nobody has ever asked anything remotely like that there, even though I’m a young white heterocexual cis male.

    @240 He said bye, which means one of two things. He’s either going to be gone (unlikely but it’s possible I guess), or he’s going to keep coming back, remark how what you guys are saying to him is not productive and helpful and stuff, claim to leave again and keep going in an endless loop until he gets banned or confined or both.

    I have near perfect confidence he won’t answer your question. All it takes to prove me wrong is a single post to answer a single question. Will Marcantoni be up to the challenge?

  209. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    @242:

    I have near perfect confidence he won’t answer your question. All it takes to prove me wrong is a single post to answer a single question. Will Marcantoni be up to the challenge?

    The winner of this bet gets a free space of the cupcake bingo card…

  210. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    I have to say that I’ve got no problem whatsoever with increasing the rifts between people who put being inclusive, decent human beings is a priority over the orgy of backslapping self-congratulation over not believing in Bigfoot and being totes smarter than those dumb ‘ol religious folk that seems to be a priority for a significant (vocally, at least) proportion of the so-called atheist/skeptic movement.

    As has been noted, if atheism needs the non-privileged to kiss the ass of the privileged in order to survive then it deserves to flicker and die.

  211. says

    Curtis:
    It’s “insulting” to claim there are different mental abilities between the sexes because that argument had been used since the dawn of fucking history to reinforce men’s power/control and to keep women “in their place”.

    Try this thought experiment: say this out loud and report back to us what other people’s reactions are. “Why is it insulting to think there are mental differences between the races?”

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

    runicmadhamster:

    healing the larger movement can only be done – if it’s going to be done – by acknowledging differences and talking through them. It won’t be accomplished by one group rendering another group invisible by asserting a unified movement when there isn’t one. In fact, we had some discussion about that around transsexual and transgender folk and whether there is or should be a trans* movement. Quite a bit of discussion as I recall.

    Theme song for the OldWhiteDudesThatLoveTheirOwnPrivileges’ Skeptical Movement to the rest of us:

    This ain’t a good time
    But when is it ever
    I know the perfect time
    And baby that’s never…

    You can hurt me any other day, pick a fight
    But not on monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday night
    And not the weekend [n?]either, cause I got a song to write
    I promise i’mma hear you out when the time is right
    Let’s have a talk, august 7, 2099
    At your place or mine?

    This ain’t a good time
    But when is it ever
    I know the perfect time
    And baby that’s never

  213. says

    Final word for all those people upset that we’d dare to criticize skeptical and atheist big shots:

    I’ll believe you when you shut up and stop criticizing me. And Ophelia. And Rebecca.

    Somehow, the only people to be defended from the horror of criticism turn out to be people who are anti-feminist.

  214. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    As I said on Twitter: for people who claim they don’t hold religious beliefs, atheists sure do fight very hard to make sure (some of) their idols are considered infallible, esp. when it comes to foot-shooting privilege denial and related asshattery.

  215. bishoptakesknight says

    @hyperdeath & sharkjack you will likely never get a polite request for apology. What you will get is a nagging complaint or accusation about your gender or ethnicity. When you reply “What does this have to do with me? I have not caused you harm.” You are told you are part of the problem. This is the prod for apology. Similar to when my wife says her hair is wrong for whatever reason I am supposed to know, after my years of training, that this means I have not complemented her appearance enough lately. Because I love her, this manipulation does not offend me. On the other hand, I am offended at the notion that I am sexist for behaving male or racist for failing to pay reparations to black people for slavery. Both have happened within the past week.
    As for everyone else that simply replied privilege or linked to videos or posts about privilege, I appreciate that you believe this, but please know that you’re wrong. I wish you folks could see beyond skin color and gender long enough to see that every person is an individual with a unique life and experience. As one of the 30 white boys in a predominantly poor black school I shared all the disadvantages of my black friends plus one extra. They never had their ass kicked for singing James Brown tunes in the hall. Oh, one more I just remembered, I couldn’t get a girl to talk to my “narrow pink ass.” I have been followed in stores. I have eaten pavement with a white cop’s knee in my spine. I am simply the wrong kind of white boy to share the supposed privilege my stats “should” have guaranteed. Go ahead and keep fighting the patriarchy dragon for having to many privileges. Just don’t be surprised if your head explodes in the face of real sexism or racism. I can’t believe I have to say this still. It is wrong to judge people by the color of their skin or the content of their underpants and what they choose to do with those organs with consenting partners.

  216. says

    Michael Shermer‏ twits:

    PZ: women & blacks don’t want prostrate pity of white males; they just want to be thought of as people. Period. Drop the race/sex obsession.

    Bravo [link]: “When it comes to promoting women in secularism I believe the onus is on me as a woman to put myself out there.”

  217. w00dview says

    I am really tired of having to apologize for being born both white and male.

    Who are these people who demand you apologize for being white and male? Seriously. Who are they? Do they roam around the streets in gangs looking for white men to harass? Do they shout honky at you? Do they claim you are bad at dancing? Is there actually a systemic prejudice against white males that I am unaware of? What actual persecution have you suffered because you possess a white skin and a penis? What alternate fucking reality do you occupy? Because I’m a white male and I seem to have gone through life with few obstacles and have never been made to feel ashamed of my skin colour or my penis. So please, do tell us more about this weird parallel dimension where white men are a persecuted minority.

  218. says

    I am simply the wrong kind of white boy to share the supposed privilege my stats “should” have guaranteed.

    This sentence ^ shows you don’t understand the concept of privilege.

    Just don’t be surprised if your head explodes in the face of real sexism or racism.

    I’m female, bisexual and mixed race. I’m also 55 years old and childfree. I know quite a lot about sexism and racism. I know about ageism, too. Don’t try your “hey, you people don’t know what real sexism or racism is like, man!” here. That’s just going to keep on backfiring in your face.

  219. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Bishop, link to the discussion where you were “prodded”, in whatever way, to apologize for being a white male. Supply the context that is necessary to evaluate your claims.
    ***
    re Shermer’s twits via SC @250.

    Fuck you Shermer. As has been said upthread, someone making an off the cuff* sexist remark is understandable (still shitty, but understandable), considering the sexist culture we live in. But Shermer reveals himself to be an utter asshole by doubling down repeatedly.

    *not that I necessarily think his comment qualifies as off the cuff (it was during an interview, when most people think about what they are saying because their words WILL be relayed to others., and because he has a history of being somewhat of an ass).

  220. bishoptakesknight says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal Please explain. Be sure to use small words because I apparently didn’t understand the posts I was linked to.

  221. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Shithead Shermer,

    Drop the race/sex obsession.

    Yeah PZ, don’t you know that you are a white male? Racism and misogyny don’t affect you personally, why would you possibly give a fuck?

    Dispelling Bigfoot myths though, that is FUCKING IMPORTANT TO WHITE DUDES!!11! We need all the help we can get with bigfoot; the skepticism tent MUST include the bigots, otherwise…

  222. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal Please explain. Be sure to use small words because I apparently didn’t understand the posts I was linked to.

    I know you said that facetiously, but seriously Caine, do use small words. Bishop is one dumb fuck.

  223. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    As for everyone else that simply replied privilege or linked to videos or posts about privilege, I appreciate that you believe this, but please know that you’re wrong…[anecdote of personal experiences].

    This is your critique of the concept of privilege? Skepticism, you’re doing it rong.

  224. says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal Please explain. Be sure to use small words because I apparently didn’t understand the posts I was linked to.

    It’s rather obvious you didn’t understand the posts you were linked to, I’d say you didn’t even manage to click a link, given your complete incomprehension of the concept.

    I was not remotely rude to you, and yet all you offer up is more whine. There are places on the ‘net for “misunderstood”, whinging, privileged men. This isn’t one of them.

  225. jose says

    Seriously, is the desire to dislike the guy so intense? Here are a few things Shermer believes:

    – Women are not dumber than men;
    – Women haven’t got less intellectually active brains than men;
    – Women should not be sexually harassed at conventions;
    – Women should be as free as men to participate in skepticism if they so wish;
    – Atheism shouldn’t be only a white boy topic and including more collectives is a good thing.

    The disagreement comes when we ask how to go about approaching those issues. He has personally brought skepticism to a lot of people. As far as I know he never attempted to discourage the Women in Secularism conference or Skepticon’s policies or anything like that. He’s not a destructive force. Yes, he disagrees on how to go about the demographics problem of skepticism and he may be wrong. So let’s have that debate, no? Rachel Maddow has debates with people who think gay marriage should be banned by a constitutional amendment and abortion be made illegal in all cases. She debated Rand Paul and got him to change his mind on the civil rights act, or at least to say he supported it because of how bad she made him look. And omg that interview with that crazy person from Oregon, the most awful thing I’ve seen on a news show but it was necessary and ultimately positive.

    We don’t need to think his ideas are good; but all this I’m reading about not wanting to ever see him again or to have to do anything with him because of this response? What are you going to do when you face someone who truly hates you and actively works to keep you away? Because that’s the majority of the US right there. Will you just go live in the mountains?

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

    When it comes to promoting women in secularism I believe the onus is on me as a woman to put myself out there

    And the onus is on others to take positive steps to remove oppressive dynamics that we know from research bias search processes that affect your evaluation as a speaker.

  227. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yes, he disagrees on how to go about the demographics problem of skepticism and he may be [is] wrong.

    Fixed that for you. Debate starts with that null hypothesis. Go for it loser.

  228. caveatimperator says

    For those who keep insisting that there are significant differences between the sexes, which is very dubious, you’re forgetting one thing.

    Just because the current social order has “sorted” sexes in a certain way does NOT, by any means, make that social order acceptable. It didn’t make institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia acceptable, and it doesn’t make the implicit, unconscious kind acceptable either.

    Our industrialized society exists because we, as a species, chose to move beyond our baser urges and superstitions and recreate the world. We’ve reshaped the world socially as well as technologically.

    Furthermore, we’re the skeptics. We’re supposed to be the more enlightened ones. That’s the whole point of the socially-conscious skepticism movements, like A+. That’s why we’re the ones fighting against people who say “we’re done progressing,” when we aren’t done at all.

  229. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Woo_Monster:
    bishop wasn’t doing skepticism. That ridiculous demonstration of ignorance wrt privilege was him ripping a *massive* Starfart…
    ****
    Bishop:
    Go read up on privilege.
    As a man, you have greater societal privileges over women.
    As a heterosexual, society gives you advantages over queers.
    As a white man, you have advantages that black and latino men do not have.
    Presuming you are able bodied, society grants you privileges it does not grant those who are disabled.
    You need to understand what privilege is first.

  230. John Morales says

    bishoptakesknight:

    On the other hand, I am offended at the notion that I am sexist for behaving male …

    “behaving male”?

    That you use that unironically is prima facie evidence of your sexism.

    … or racist for failing to pay reparations to black people for slavery.

    I’m willing to bet that you have misunderstood what people have told you, and that you have denied that black people (particularly in America) have historically been subjected to the cruellest of societal injustices, and that acknowledging that the result of such injustice yet affects them, and that reparation (even if symbolic, such as supporting affirmative action initiatives) is the a test of whether one acknowledges this reality and is willing to help atone for it.

  231. says

    We don’t need to think his ideas are good; but all this I’m reading about not wanting to ever see him again or to have to do anything with him because of this response? What are you going to do when you face someone who truly hates you and actively works to keep you away? Because that’s the majority of the US right there. Will you just go live in the mountains?

    Oh FFS, spare us, please. Many of us regulars have long experience with Shermer, this isn’t a dismissal out of hand. When Shermer says something obviously sexist, then doubles down (and triples down…), he should be called out on it, noisily. Personally, I have no use for Shermer. Also, Jose, just because a person believes a few good things doesn’t grant them magical immunity from being a compleat asswipe on other subjects.

    One more time, I have faced people who have truly hated me for some reason or another, just like many of us face people who truly hate us for the simple crime of, oh say, blogging while female.

  232. curtnelson says

    You hear mental differences between males and females and understand that females are being called inferior. They’re not. Nor are males inferior. It seems likely (for the reasons I mentioned) that there are mental differences between females and males – good or bad only depending on what you value. That may be a fact whether or not it reminds you of the bogus reasoning men use to put women down.

    Why are there fewer girls playing with dump trucks in the sand box? Maybe because they aren’t as interested in that as boys are. That’s what I hear MS saying – that women may not be as interested in “the skeptical movement” as men. It’s not a value judgement. Maybe it is because the skeptic men have been treating the women horribly. I don’t know, but ripping into MS for speculating the way he did is dumb.

  233. John Morales says

    Jose:

    Here are a few things Shermer believes:
     
    – Women are not dumber than men;
    – Women haven’t got less intellectually active brains than men;
    – Women should not be sexually harassed at conventions;
    – Women should be as free as men to participate in skepticism if they so wish;
    – Atheism shouldn’t be only a white boy topic and including more collectives is a good thing.

    Here’s another: It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.

    (Guess to which item of that expanded list the OP refers?)

    Yes, he disagrees on how to go about the demographics problem of skepticism and he may be wrong. So let’s have that debate, no?

    What he disagrees with is the idea that it’s not “more of a guy thing”, and that is precisely what this post is about.

    (Duh)

  234. Koshka says

    Similar to when my wife says her hair is wrong for whatever reason I am supposed to know, after my years of training, that this means I have not complemented her appearance enough lately. Because I love her, this manipulation does not offend me.

    Why do you call label your wife wanting a compliment ‘manipulation’. That is a pretty intense word. Do you tell her that you think she is manipulating you? I find this anecdote creepy.

    On the other hand, I am offended at the notion that I am sexist for behaving male

    That would be you are sexist for behaving sexist. Just because male behaviour is typical, it does not mean that it is not sexist.

    or racist for failing to pay reparations to black people for slavery.

    Can you give more context where someone asked you to pay reparations for slavery. I have seen other people use this line but they never give details.

  235. jacklewis says

    Some simple facts:
    In Ophelia’s article (about 4 months after the “The point” show), there isn’t any link to the video or transcript from which the infamous quote was graciously cherry picked. That’s a bit lame.
    Thankfully Shermer (who at least perhaps will now know that he is officially a member of the “them” not us group joining other greats) does post a link where he actually states that he thinks it’s 50/50 before saying these terribly hurtful four words (it’s a guy thing) and then seconds later goes on to say that there were more women than men speakers at TAM (what an asshole!). The only one that seems to accept the validity of the original question is the host that mentions how hard it was for her to find a women to show up to speak about atheism… how hard she tried is not specified. Still she does not make for a good target, I guess nor any of the other guests.
    Off course neither Shermer nor anyone else on the show states or implies that women are stupid, but why let basic English understanding interfere with one’s predispositions for victim hood?
    One has to be a complete caricature of a half rational sentient being to make anything out of this and to request an apology on top of it.

  236. says

    I don’t know, but ripping into MS for speculating the way he did is dumb.

    “Lay back and enjoy the sexism, Dear.”

    Jesus fucking Christ. You don’t know, but you’re prepared to call everyone dumb because of your own fucking ignorance.

  237. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    jose:
    Shermer’s comment “…it’s a guy thing.” is where the sexism is most apparent. At a bare minimum, he is saying women aren’t into skepticism (it is a guy thing to him. Women do not speak up about skepticism (he thinks this is something guys do, not women). Going to conventions isn’t a woman thing, it is something guys do.
    None of those statements are true.
    That he believes they are true shows how deep sexist ideas have insinuated themselves into human culture.

  238. bishoptakesknight says

    @Woo_Monster Sorry, these situations happened real world, face to face. So no links are possible. As for context situation one. I was called sexist by my wife for stopping on a channel to look at a tattoo. In the long shot it was revealed that the person that owned the tattoo was a woman and she was nude. Because I didn’t freak out and start mashing buttons on the remote like a teen caught looking at porn, she accused me of being a sexist pig. Later when she was less angry I was able to explain to her that as a painter my interest was in the art. Even my appreciation for nude people is now colored through that lens rather than my male procreation drive. She wanted an apology for making her feel bad but soon realized the fault was in her reaction and not my lack of action.
    The second instance was with a regular customer I often talk politics with. I was honest with her about not voting for Obama and her ability to think rationally and her years of prior knowledge of me went out the window. By the end of the “discussion” I was the descendant of a slave owner who directly owned her ancestor. And for this I should pay higher taxes, a specific tax in fact. One that would distribute my evil money to all black people. This has since been resolved and I am glad not to have lost a friend over emotional nonsense.
    I don’t disbelieve patriarchy and privilege because of personal experience, though my life was decidedly unprivileged. I disbelieve because the evidence does not meet my standard. I don’t believe knowing something is true for a sample of people reflects the truth for all people with similar physical descriptions. I would like to ask, aside from not agreeing with you, what makes me a “dumb fuck”?

  239. says

    One has to be a complete caricature of a half rational sentient being to make anything out of this and to request an apology on top of it.

    Golly, is this supposed to make us feel better about skepticism being “a guy thing”?*

    *In seriousness, don’t respond. You aren’t too bright.

  240. vaiyt says

    The premise here is that females and males are identical mentally and so the suggestion that they aren’t is sexist.

    The premise is that assholes like you and Michael think “being visible in the atheist/skeptic movement” is a fucking genetic trait linked to the Y chromosome. Or, more likely, you don’t think through what you say because post-hoc explanations for why women are held down in some fields make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  241. Koshka says

    bishoptakesknight,
    Perhaps you should consider why your wife got angry. Maybe there are other instances where you have acted in a sexist manner. Or perhaps it was just all her fault.

    You also write off your black friends issues with words such as ‘her ability to think rationally” and “emotional nonsense”. Maybe you should try to put yourself in her position. Or do you deny that black people do in fact suffer discrimination?

    Generally you paint a picture that you are surrounded by people who simply dont function at your level. It must be great to be you.

  242. Rodney Nelson says

    I would like to ask, aside from not agreeing with you, what makes me a “dumb fuck”?

    Your refusal to admit your privilege because it “doesn’t meet [your] standards.” Any other simple questions you need answered?

  243. bishoptakesknight says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal I am open to some explanation if you want your claim of my having white male privilege to be heard. A reply that says I am too dumb to open a link and that I am whining is hardly persuasive. If I had privilege in life it should be demonstrable in some way. Those are the examples I am looking for. Not a claim about what happens to some or even most white men. Thanks.

  244. John Morales says

    jacklewis (my emphasis):

    Thankfully Shermer (who at least perhaps will now know that he is officially a member of the “them” not us group joining other greats) does post a link where he actually states that he thinks it’s 50/50 before saying these terribly hurtful four words (it’s a guy thing) and then seconds later goes on to say that there were more women than men speakers at TAM (what an asshole!).

    You are thankful for nothing.

    Leaving aside that people aren’t saying it’s hurtful, but that it’s plain wrong, how does it work when more women than men speakers supposedly supports the contention that so doing is “a guy thing”?

    (Let’s see… it’s a guy thing, though it’s a 50/50 thing, though more women than men participated in the adduced example. Gotcha :) )

  245. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I would like to ask, aside from not agreeing with you, what makes me a “dumb fuck”?

    Your first starfart comment revealed your ignorance,

    Nothing Michael Shermer said was sexist. What he said was a stereotype without discriminatory intent. The difference is huge.

    This is wrong. Shermer bandied a sexist stereotype that, irregardless of if it was intentionally discriminatory, was sexist.

    And your snarky comment to Caine,

    Be sure to use small words because I apparently didn’t understand the posts I was linked to.

    was amazingly stupid. You clearly do not grok how privilege works, yet you act condescending about your incomprehension anyways. Do your own fucking homework (start with wikipedia or google, or whatever, just educate your ignorant self).

  246. says

    Koshka:

    Generally you paint a picture that you are surrounded by people who simply dont function at your level. It must be great to be you.

    Psssst, I think such subtlety is, um, not to the level bishop functions at – going to sail waaaaay overhead.

  247. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    Astonishing. The methods people are using to to ‘explain’ why what Shermer said was huh-uh totes not sexist are straight out of the biblical inerrancy playbook.

    So much for skepticism.

  248. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    If I had privilege in life it should be demonstrable in some way. Those are the examples I am looking for. Not a claim about what happens to some or even most white men. Thanks.

    Here you go,

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

    Some of those are claims about what happens to most men, but any apply directly to YOU.

    You are welcome, lazy asshole.

  249. jose says

    Caine,
    Yes! Called out. Just like you’re calling me out right now. We’re talking. Nobody has immunity. I am encouraging debate ffs, not granting immunity. Granting immunity would mean no debate could be had at all! You know where I come from. Read my comment charitably, will you?

    Hitchens denied waterboarding was torture until he himself got wateboarded. That changed his mind. And how is it possible for Obama to cut deals with republicans? The same guys who said kicking him out was priority number 1 over the economy and everyhing else?

    He has doubled down in this response indeed, and I agree about calling him out on it, but he’s being open and sincere. He’s not sleazy and disingenuous like for example the person who registered “atheismplus” on twitter and uses it to disparage that initiative. Or the creationists who willingly lie about fossils. Now that’s the kind of person you can’t have a dialogue with. But speaking your mind honestly (plus the common ground I mentioned earlier – makes things easier), for me, automatically qualifies you for a seat at the debate, regardless of how wrong your ideas may be. We’re honorable people: let’s talk about the issues.

    But anyway, I’m not the king of the world or anything. People will do what they think is best and that’s all. What I wrote was only my take, how I would respond to him because I personally think his contributions to skepticism are very valuable.

  250. says

    Wowbagger:

    Astonishing. The methods people are using to to ‘explain’ why what Shermer said was huh-uh totes not sexist are straight out of the biblical inerrancy playbook.

    Gotta say my fave is

    “Nothing Michael Shermer said was sexist. What he said was a stereotype without discriminatory intent. The difference is huge.”

    The sheer idiocy that contains could spawn papers.

  251. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    how I would respond to him because I personally think his contributions to skepticism are very valuable.

    Whereas others of us look at him as a liability… Get over yourself.

  252. says

    Jose:

    Read my comment charitably, will you?

    I read what you wrote. That’s as charitable as it’s going to get.

    but he’s being open and sincere.

    I disagree. As I said, many of us have long experience of and with Shermer. He’s a person who tends to be extremely attached to bits of pure idiocy and repeatedly fails at defending that attachment. He also has no problems shoving his head up his arse and refusing any attempt to see things from a different perspective. He has a great deal of respect for his own opinions and if that comes at the cost of denigrating women, he has no difficulty with it.

  253. says

    Hit submit too soon.

    Jose:

    We’re honorable people: let’s talk about the issues.

    Shermer is being a sexist twit. That’s the issue. This is the sort of everyday sexism which keeps encouraging and enabling toxic sexism. That’s the issue. Brushing this sort of thing off or handwaving it away because “hey, he’s done some good” is not fucking helping. At all. That’s the issue. And it has fuck all to do with being ‘honorable’. If you’re going to say something like that, you can’t defend Shermer, as his being a sexist twit is not honorable or decent.

    I personally think his contributions to skepticism are very valuable.

    That’s your opinion and you’re free to hold it. Hug it and call it George for all I care. I disagree with you. Simple enough.

  254. bishoptakesknight says

    I understand privilege just fine I just look at people as individuals. A group does not have a singular set of traits, behaviors, or conditions unless those things are specifically described in the definition of the group. If I say a person is black I have not said anything about their gender, economic class, religious affiliation, education level, or biases. I say I am white and male and PZ responds ,not directly to me but our shared skin tone and gender, that I am a racist. A filthy privileged racist. Who must become feminist or is a woman hating bigot. Probably even a rapist or at least a potential rapist. This is wrong and it is prejudice. I don’t think you can demonstrate such claims about a complete stranger.

  255. consciousness razor says

    bishoptakesknight:

    As for everyone else that simply replied privilege or linked to videos or posts about privilege, I appreciate that you believe this, but please know that you’re wrong. I wish you folks could see beyond skin color and gender long enough to see that every person is an individual with a unique life and experience.

    The concept of privilege isn’t about disregarding individual life experiences, so you can’t cite an individual life experience and expect to show how it’s wrong. It’s also not about seeing only skin color, gender, etc.

    It’s about recognizing the advantages many people have because of their skin color, gender or other traits. You may not have had all or some of those advantages at some point in your life (or at every point), but that does not imply many others with the same traits do systematically get those advantages, which is what privilege is actually about.

    It’s not about trading anecdotes and pretending we can “falsify” them with one another, which is stupid enough all by itself.

    As for context situation one. I was called sexist by my wife for stopping on a channel to look at a tattoo. [blah blah blah]

    So your wife said something. This has to do with feminists or feminism how?

    I was honest with her about not voting for Obama

    Says a lot more than you want it to say. I mean, if you want to have any credibility.

  256. consciousness razor says

    me:

    You may not have had all or some of those advantages at some point in your life (or at every point), but that does not imply many others with the same traits do NOT systematically get those advantages, which is what privilege is actually about.

    Fixed.

  257. says

    Bishop, it’s great that you see people as individuals.

    Unfortunately, if you refuse to acknowledge that society treats some kinds of people differently than other kinds of people for terrible reasons, and often in life-ruining ways, you are going to have a lot of friends who get royally screwed over and you’ll be no use to them because you won’t know why these things are happening to them. We have to see gender so that we can actually examine data about whether it’s still a reason some people get screwed over and why. We have to see race in order to see racism. It will be responsible and helpful for individuals to be color-blind once “ignoring race” is no longer a cute euphemism for “ignoring racism” and “ignoring gender” is no longer a cute euphemism for “pretending away sexism.”

    So I get that a woman was mean to you once and maybe a neighbor girl didn’t share the Nintendo controller or go to prom with you because you’re white, but that doesn’t mean that the oppression of women and people of color is not a statistical reality in this country. What I find particularly sad is that your temporary, small, and quite limited experience of being a numerical minority did not give you a shred of empathy for women or people of color in broader global culture.

  258. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    bishoptakesknight wrote:

    I understand privilege just fine I just look at people as individuals.

    Yeah, because that’s how societies and cultures work. Good grief. Do you not realise this is almost exactly as stupid a thing to say as asking why, if evolution happened, there are still monkeys?

  259. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    bishoptakesknight:
    If you are white, you have unearned privilege.
    If you are male, you have unearned privilege.
    The same holds true if you are able bodied and heterosexual.
    You don’t control your privilege. It is unearned and conferred upon you by society. Here are some examples of male privilege (for all that you claim to understand the concept, it is painfully clear you do not):
    (From Woo_Monster’s link @284)

    26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).

    27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).

    28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).

    29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.

    30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.

    31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

    32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.

    33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.

    34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.

    35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.

    36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.

    37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.

    38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).

    39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.

    40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.

  260. Koshka says

    I say I am white and male and PZ responds ,not directly to me but our shared skin tone and gender, that I am a racist. A filthy privileged racist.

    I see we have reached the stage of simply making shit up.

  261. consciousness razor says

    I understand privilege just fine I just look at people as individuals.

    This reads to me like “I understand privilege just fine. I just mischaracterize it intentionally and don’t want to acknowledge that I or anyone else has it.”

    If it doesn’t mean that, it’s a contradiction. But really, the first seems way worse to me. You’re better off not understanding it, dipshit.

  262. Koshka says

    You don’t control your privilege. It is unearned and conferred upon you by society.

    And also, before we hear more bleating about having to apologise for being male and white (and straight), you are not personally at fault for having privilege.
    You should, however, be able to realise you actually have it.

  263. wytchy says

    @Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞: Hivemind much? :)

    @bishop: Your claim to understand privilege but, “look at the individual” means that you either don’t understand privilege or you’re purposefully ignoring it, because it’s to the advantage of privileged groups to ignore it. I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it’s the former, but I’m having trouble believing that you’re that ignorant.

  264. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    I am a man who is able bodied. Society grants me two types of privilege.
    I am a gay POC. I am disadvantaged by society on two levels.

    [They do not cancel each other out]

    ___
    Is it too early to discuss how one can have advantages and disadvantages at the same time? Should we stick with the tedious Intro to Privilege 101 course?

  265. bishoptakesknight says

    @xenologer
    I can see that some people look at groups as a whole machine of statistically indistinguishable cogs. I refuse to participate. If more people did the problem could be solved. The only two groups that have ever held true power IMO are the wealthy, mostly men, and socially desirable women. The monied individuals that often inherited their power and have no compassion for those without, get to determine how every other person lives through resource distribution. The desirable women on the other hand control everything from how men are supposed to dress to how many offspring he can have. The wealthy men use the desires of the women to weed out their competition making it difficult to afford to be desired by the females. This causes the next generation of poor men having even poorer children because we will sacrifice every dime and break our bodies to be desired by women.
    I need no reminder that some people are racists and some are sexist. I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged. Way to handle first timers to your site. Anyhow Michael Shermer’s comment was as wrong and sexist as saying “Football” is a guy thing. It is a factually wrong stereotype that is said and rarely has malicious intent. Anyhow goodnight all, love to stay but I have work in six hours.

  266. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    bishoptakesknight wrote:

    I can see that some people look at groups as a whole machine of statistically indistinguishable cogs. I refuse to participate. If more people did the problem could be solved.

    Jesus. What a pompous, ignorant jackass you are.

  267. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    If you weren’t such a defensive asshat in denial, that wouldn’t have happened. You caused your reception. Acknowledge your responsibility like an adult.

  268. John Morales says

    [meta]

    bishoptakesknight:

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    Bullshit.

    (You could in principle prove me wrong merely by citing the disparaging comment(s) — but I damn well know you shan’t because you can’t)

    Way to handle first timers to your site.

    Welcome to Pharyngula! ;)

  269. wytchy says

    @bishop: So you go from saying that you look at every person as an individual snowflake, to generalizing that wealthy men and attractive women are the ones in control of everything, and generations fail to advance because men are spending all their monies trying to reel in a beauty? Your post couldn’t be anymore incoherent if you tried. You are a damn jackass.

  270. consciousness razor says

    I can see that some people look at groups as a whole machine of statistically indistinguishable cogs.

    When you’re sitting on top of Ignorant Mountain, you can see all sorts of people. Of course, they’re imaginary, but I’m sure it’s still a nice view. There must be psychoactive mushrooms up there or something.

  271. thepint says

    Bishoptakesknight – a lot of people are really trying to get the concept of privilege and how it works through to you, so on the off chance that one more link might do it, I urge you to give John Scalzi’s excellent piece (and subsequent follow ups) comparing straight white male privilege to difficulty settings in gaming a read.

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/17/lowest-difficulty-setting-follow-up/
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/23/final-notes-for-lowest-difficulty-setting/

    You might want to drop the defensive posturing long enough to actually learn something.

  272. says

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    Wrong. Your willful ignorance was disparaged.

    Who must become feminist or is a woman hating bigot.

    Do you have a problem with women’s equality? That’s really the only valid reason for eschewing the label of feminist. There are lots of other reasons, based on propaganda and lies spread by women-haters. Anti-racist and racist are also pretty much your only two options. Due to structural bias, apathy and indifference end up supporting inequality. Absence of intent on your part does not remove the practical effects of ignoring injustice. That’s why it’s called “injustice” and “inequality.” Assigning the label means accepting that you have to do something about it.

    I suppose that’s why people are so reluctant to recognize sexism when it’s right in front of them–say, for example, when a very well-known author and promoter of skepticism and atheism states that public appearances and “intellectual activity,” whatever that means, are “a guy thing.”

  273. DLC says

    The problem here is Shermer isn’t describing a known fact, he’s relating his anecdote that not as many women are showing up to skeptic events as men are, and taking that to mean that women just aren’t interested in the subject. But there isn’t any valid data to back that up. If not as many women are showing up at skeptical events it does not necessarily follow that they aren’t interested, but that the skeptical movement isn’t taking more pains to attract more women.

  274. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    bishop: saying football is “a guy thing” is sexist too. That statement ignores the reality that women enjoy football too and shouldn’t be ignored when discussing who enjoys the sport. The statement also implies that footbal is “for guys”, which reinforces gender stereotypes, which is ::drumroll:: … sexist!

  275. Koshka says

    Anyhow goodnight all, love to stay but I have work in six hours.

    Presumably you had more disparaging stories about your wife to tell.

    Oh well – I am sure some other arsehole will take your place.

  276. bargearse says

    The monied individuals that often inherited their power and have no compassion for those without, get to determine how every other person lives through resource distribution. The desirable women on the other hand control everything from how men are supposed to dress to how many offspring he can have. The wealthy men use the desires of the women to weed out their competition making it difficult to afford to be desired by the females. This causes the next generation of poor men having even poorer children because we will sacrifice every dime and break our bodies to be desired by women.

    Umm…what? It’s like the timecube guy gave up on physics and took a stab at sociology.

  277. says

    Bishop:
    “I take people as individuals” sounds fantastic. Really! It sounds all egalitarian and shit. But to give you some examples:

    On the whole, women earn ¾ of the salary that men do. Does this mean every woman earns less? Certainly not. But it’s still a problem.

    Women are also much more likely to be victims of sexual assault/rape than men. If every woman hasn’t been attacked, does this mean there’s no problem?

    Single moms are more likely to be impoverished than, well, just about everyone else. But some are doing okay and I’m sure you can figure out where this is going.

    So tell me. How does one address society’s ills on a purely individual level?

  278. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    So tell me. How does one address society’s ills …

    Oh, oh, I know! We must manipulate the monied desirable women to make the world better.

    Based on what Bishop has said, this looks like the only possible way we could achieve anything

  279. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    bishoptakesknight @306 is the most pungent bit of starflatulence I have whiffed in a while.

  280. says

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    Bishoptakesknight’s very first comment ever on this site was at 4:59pm today, in comment #222.

    Please, anyone, try to find that comment that disparaged his race and sex any time after that. I looked, it doesn’t seem to exist.

  281. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Not seeing it.
    Methinks bishop takes a nap would be a good course of action (come back tomorrow with more of your privilege denial).

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

    @Tony:

    Is it too early to discuss how one can have advantages and disadvantages at the same time? Should we stick with the tedious Intro to Privilege 101 course?

    I like this essay by Diana Courvant, “Speaking of Privilege”. It’s in _This Bridge We Call Home_ (Anzaldua, editor). I don’t have access just now, but it’s a trans woman’s discussion of privileges she does have and doesn’t have – at the same time.

    I don’t have access to it now, but maybe this weekend or next week I could find it & upload it. Unless it’s already online somewhere.

  283. F [disappearing] says

    Individuals exist, and I can see them, too.

    Populations, groups, systems, and cultures also exist. Individuals do not exist outside them, nor cancel them out. Do not be stupid about this.

    ……….

    What Shermer really said in the video (the right video): I think it is quite clear, and his comment is unmitigated by preceding sentences which may have a vaguely similar color at a distance, but are irrelevant.

    But let’s play a game. Let’s pretend we all got Shermer’s comment wrong somehow. Now, explain his response article. Explain it so that he does not look like the full-of-shit king of logical fallacies and obfuscation. Like he’s not a smart person believing a weird thing that he can’t even see as questionable, not even when it’s pointed out.

  284. Emrysmyrddin says

    Bloody hell. These people call themselves sceptics and blather on about ‘it’s only a totally harmless, non-malicious stereotype, jeez’.
    .
    Well, guess what, arses, propagating stereotypes has a powerful and negative effect. Wow. Who’da thunk?
    .
    For example, now, I would be nervous in the presence of Michael Shermer. Knowing his views that scepticism ‘is a guy thing’, I would (completely involuntarily) feel put in the spotlight, worry about what I am saying, doing, how I am acting – because I would suspect that if I fucked up, or made a mistake, I would be yet another females-are-less-sceptical data point in his erroneous bullshit, rather than Just Another Non-Gendered Human Being Who Fucked Up.
    .
    This is basic and repeatedly demonstrated psychology. A Level Psychology at the teenage level in the UK. Do your damned research.

  285. omnicrom says

    Bishoptakesknight clearly feels that pointing out that he is granted privilege is exactly the same as being asked to apologize for being a White Male.

    Of course it isn’t at all, but Bishoptakesknight comes off as a raging egomaniac who assumes that any reference to society’s unfair tilt in favor of White Males is a personal accusal against him for being White and Male. It’s the same complex that occurs when someone points out that everyone is partially responsible for pollution, the egomaniacs take it as a direct, personal attack on their lifestyle and vow to fight the imagined conspiracy that wants them to become better people. After all, the raging egomaniac sees themselves as generally good and any effort to get them to change is a personal affront.

    Bishoptakesknight you are free to dispute my painting you as a raging egomaniac, in fact I encourage you to set the record straight. The first step to demonstrating you aren’t thin-skinned and overinflated is to recognize that no one here has disparaged you on the basis of being White or Male. You have been disparaged solely for coming off as a self-righteous ass and for your self-aggrandizing about how much better things would be if only more people acted like you.

  286. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Crip Dyke:
    I actually meant discussing more than 101 level with bishop. He isn’t ready for that though.
    However, given that I spent some time looking at the other examples of privilege at the link [by Woo_Monster] the article you recommend sounds intriguing.

  287. chigau (test) says

    Catchup for almost 300 comments was a sore trial.
    Well done, (almost) everyone.
    I really liked this:
    bargearse #317

    Umm…what? It’s like the timecube guy gave up on physics and took a stab at sociology.

  288. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    bishoptakesknight,

    you will likely never get a polite request for apology. What you will get is a nagging complaint or accusation about your gender or ethnicity.

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    Since it is a demonstrable fact that your race and sex were not disparaged, it is apparent that you are inventing these “nagging complaints or accusations” out of whole cloth.

    Likely what happens is: someone who isn’t a white man wants to talk about racism or sexism they’ve experienced, and they mistakenly figure maybe they can chat with you about it, and then you use this as a pretext to take offense.

    When you reply “What does this have to do with me? I have not caused you harm.”

    Like right here. Don’t do that shit! Try to empathize instead. Say something that shows you’re listening, and don’t twist the conversation around to be about yourself. If you don’t know what else to say, try “damn, that shouldn’t have happened to you, that was wrong.”

    You are told you are part of the problem.

    Consider: that might have something to do with how you reply. Your words and actions, not your race or gender per se. I’m a white man too but I am not told I’m part of the problem. I think this is because I don’t react like a self-centered shit when people talk about race or gender around me.

    Anyhow goodnight all, love to stay but I have work in six hours.

    That’s great! I’m glad you’re employed in this economy. By the way, here’s a sample of how your race is likely to benefit you in the workforce:

    http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html

  289. brucegorton says

    We could split the possibilities into two broad categories: it’s the fault of the women — skepticism just isn’t a gal thing — or we could lay the problem on the environment of the skeptical movement.

    I think that is mistaken, because it leaves off a third possibility – that the environment the skeptical movement takes place in (as opposed to the environment of the specific movement) tends to hold women to a much, much higher standard than it does men, particularly women who take controversial positions.

    Or at least that is what I have noticed on most issues.

    Which is sort of what was going through my head when I read this bit:

    We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles, then let the chips fall where they may.

    The entire continent the playing field rests on is at a 45 degree tilt in men’s favour.

    And it means the need to still a lot of the momentum a lot of us (as in, men) are taking into the skeptical movement – we have been running down that continent all our lives, some of us aren’t as good at stopping as others, and the people who are “on the other side” of that playing field may just be a bit tired of the constant up-hill they have been facing all their lives. They aren’t that keen on getting run over.

    Simply leveling the playing field is not enough. We need to level that continent, and recognize that the sodding playing field is only the beginning.

  290. says

    weskerfoot
    OK, fair enough. I still have a different interpretation but, well, whatever.

    bishoptakesknight

    Nothing Michael Shermer said was sexist. What he said was a stereotype without discriminatory intent. The difference is huge. “All black people can dance.” is a stereotype that may or may not be true, but is not discriminatory in any way. “All black people can dance and, as a person of power, I refuse to hire black people.” This is a stereotype + discrimination which makes it racist, or just extreme jealousy. Seriously, who wouldn’t like to be able to dance.

    Here’s an idea. Get off, learn waht the terms mean, come back and join the adults in discussion.
    1.) A stereotype that makes generalized comments about people based on their perceived gender is sexist: Without taking the individual in account you’re making assumptions about them. Given that this is combined with the defining power that still resides with men (or white people), it’s an exercise of that power.
    2.) Attributing something positive to men and not to women is pretty harmful, wouldn’t you say?

    The question implies that because atheist groups are mostly represented in public by old white guys that there is something stopping women or actual minorities from joining or speaking up.

    There is and it’s people like you. Also, not being invited because organizers already filled the slots with white guys is something, too.

    Inequality of outcome in no way demonstrates inequality of opportunity.

    Take Christina Hoff Sommers and stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    It would take some actual data to make me believe that atheist men are seeking to suppress women’s involvement.

    A) You clearly show that you don’t understand shit, since nobody is talking about that big conspiracy you think we believe in.
    B) If you were actually involed in this you would have seen that there are actually indeed men (not all, not even most) who would really, really like women to shut up if they say something critical.

    I am really tired of having to apologize for being born both white and male.

    Is that you, Al?
    Or given from your style, Reap?

    I wish you folks could see beyond skin color and gender long enough to see that every person is an individual with a unique life and experience.

    Jolly good to know when all people see when they meet me is that I’m a woman and then think that they already know enough about me.
    You’re an idiot. The world is neither colour- nor genderblind, there’s real harm and discrimination out there based on those factors and if you just act like there weren’t, you’re supporting the status quo.

    curtisnelson

    Why is it insulting to think there are mental differences between the sexes?

    Because you lack the data to back it up.
    And because it usually reinforces the harmful stereotypes that hurt girls and women and profit boys and men that are supported by your anecdotal evidence.

    You hear mental differences between males and females and understand that females are being called inferior.

    A) You have to fucking demonstrate them first
    B) Seperate but equal holy shit and of course we’re going to totally believe that this time the differences will be decided such that women get a decent share of those things that provide you advantages in the world.

    good or bad only depending on what you value

    There’s nothing bad about being a housewife, honey. Somebody has to care fio the kids and you’re really doing a good job at it. Having a career as an engineer is simply a guy thing, it’s not better, although of course I get a decent salary, prestige, public recognition and independence while you get some patronizing, pocket money and my dick.

    Why are there fewer girls playing with dump trucks in the sand box? Maybe because they aren’t as interested in that as boys are.

    Or maybe it’s just because nobody has ever given them a fucking dump truck. Hell you are stupid. As if children were given all sorts of toys and showed examples of children of all genders playing with all sorts of toys and then just chose what they liked better.

    Tony

    Not to mention that girls and boys having different likes and dislikes means absolutely *nothing*.

    Oh, but didn’t you know that the people who make those observations grow children in a vat and then have them raised by wolves so that when they throw them into a toystore at age 6 they can truely observe what toys boys and girls actually prefer by their nature?
    How can you think that those people make their observations on kids who have been gendered and given gender-coded things from before they were born!

    public anouncement
    I hereby refuse to read any comment written by people who don’t know how to use the “enter” key. Suck it.

  291. ksolway says

    There’s absolutely no reason to think that men and women are mentally equal. Men and women are adapted for different tasks, and our daily experience tells us that men and women are mentally extremely different, generally speaking. We are effectively completely different species, and it is sexism to discriminate both sexes as being the same or similar.

  292. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    There’s absolutely no reason to think that men and women are mentally equal. Men and women are adapted for different tasks, and our daily experience tells us that men and women are mentally extremely different, generally speaking. We are effectively completely different species, and it is sexism to discriminate both sexes as being the same or similar.

    Yeah. Sure. And as sure as you provide some form of backup for your mindless assertations, I’ll maybe take you more seriously. Until then, I’ll be pointing and laughing at you from over here.

  293. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Damn. “And as sure as you provide…” should be “And as soon as you provide…”

  294. says

    @ ksolway

    FIFY:

    {to be read aloud in Hendrick Verwoerd accent}


    There’s absolutely no reason to think that Whites and Blacks are mentally equal. Whites and Blacks are adapted for different tasks, and our daily experience tells us that Whites and Blacks are mentally extremely different, generally speaking. We are effectively completely different species, and it is racism to discriminate both races as being the same or similar.

    Struggling with the accent? Here, listen to the Ou Baas:

    Link

  295. judithsanders says

    Quick, someone hand him binders full of atheist women who have published, appeared as speakers at public events, and been on TV and radio shows.

  296. w00dview says

    My god, bishoptakesknight has to be the whiniest person I have seen comment on this site for a long time.

    My wife was angry at me for looking at a naked woman on TV. WAAAAH I’M SO OPPRESSED FOR BEING MALE!
    My friend thought my reasons for not voting for Obama were racist. WAAAAHH I’M SO OPPRESSED FOR BEING WHITE!

    Shit like this almost makes me miss when delusional godbots filled the comments with jackassery.

    It’s the same complex that occurs when someone points out that everyone is partially responsible for pollution, the egomaniacs take it as a direct, personal attack on their lifestyle and vow to fight the imagined conspiracy that wants them to become better people. After all, the raging egomaniac sees themselves as generally good and any effort to get them to change is a personal affront.

    This actually explains the mindset behind anti-environmentalist attitudes quite well. And just as misogynists whine that feminists hate all men, anti-environmentalists whinge that environmentalists must hate all of humanity!

  297. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Isn’t ksolway one of them troll peoples you all have mentioned? His post was useless and brought nothing to the conversation.

  298. kate_waters says

    So at 341 comments in and all I can see is rational and reasonable women, poc’s, non-binaries and the like relating their lived experiences while a bunch of white d00dz cry about how unfair it is that they have to listen to stuff that’s not totally about white d00dz.

    In other words: The same shit we face every single fucking day.

    Well white d00dz, you’ve got a metric fuckton more crying to do before this is all said and done. Stay hydrated, okay? Wouldn’t want you suddenly collapsing from lack of fluids just when my Magical Misandry Machine* needs a fill-up.

    *It runs on the tears of oppressed white d00dz, you see.

  299. says

    So at 341 comments in and all I can see is rational and reasonable women, poc’s, non-binaries and the like relating their lived experiences while a bunch of white d00dz cry about how unfair it is that they have to listen to stuff that’s not totally about white d00dz.

    Are we allowed to start hating white dudes yet?

    I’ve met more dudes than I can count who have straight-up told me that they don’t like women–all three and a half billion of us, apparently–because one girl was mean to them in high school or their mom was crazy or the poor sap dumb enough to marry their sexist ass turned out to be dumb or insecure (quelle surprise) or some other fucking anecdote involving ONE individual woman, like this is actually a real true legitimate excuse to have problems with women as a class. Meanwhile I’m getting fucking sick and tired of having to bend over backwards repeatedly telling myself that white men don’t suck, it’s just that, like, 90% of them make the rest look bad and that’s no reason to prejudge the other 10% or so.

    I don’t actually want to turn into the bitter evil man-hating feminazi of legend, because I am committed to being a marginally decent person even if it is more effort than sucking tremendously at life, but if I did do so, would it really be that fucking unreasonable?

  300. kate_waters says

    It’s not about hating men. d00dz are your typical white, cis, heteronormative male who has steeped in privilege for so long the stain goes to the bone yet refuses to even so much as acknowledge those privileges exist for them.

    Hate the d00dz, not the dudes.

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

    Y’know, the MRAs think that we feminists hate men, when Holy F*n Physiology, Batman! Ksolway thinks that human men have more in common with male chimps who love to fling poo than human women talking about social problems on the internet.

    Or, wait…

  302. kate_waters says

    @Crip Dyke

    I’ve never understood that whole “Feminists hate men” trope. Feminists tend (in my experience) to think men are evolved, thinking, feeling people who are hurt by the patriarchy, too.

    I think the problem the MRAs have is misandry. I honestly think they’re the ones who hate men. They reduce men to unfeeling screwing machines that have no hope, no joy and no light in their lives. When a feminist comes along and tells them that everything they bought into doesn’t have to be the “way it is” they freak out because they can’t imagine their entire world-view isn’t the complete and total truth for everyone everywhere.

    Okay, misandry and unchecked ego. But mostly misandry.

  303. bishoptakesknight says

    @Koshka didn’t get a chance to respond to you last night so I will start here.

    “Why do you call label your wife wanting a compliment ‘manipulation’. That is a pretty intense word. Do you tell her that you think she is manipulating you? I find this anecdote creepy.”
    I don’t mean manipulation in a negative way. I only mean skillful persuasion. No, I don’t tell my wife I think she is manipulating me. All this would accomplish is a failure on my part to give my wife something she wanted, at no cost to me or us, and possibly make her think I was accusing her of doing something wrong.

    “That would be you are sexist for behaving sexist. Just because male behavior is typical, it does not mean that it is not sexist.”
    Viewing a naked woman is not sexist behavior. Even if I was watching the program for the purposes of sexual stimulation it would not be sexist. Finding someone attractive is not the same as discrimination based on sex. Sexiness is a positive trait.
    Similarly saying something is “a guy thing.” is not sexist. It places no value on the thing or people in question. It just means that historically you have noticed more men preferring that activity.

  304. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Thinking critically is a guy thing.
    Being competent is a guy thing.
    Being humorous and a good speaker is a guy thing.

    Woa, woa, don’t think these statements are sexist. I am not explicitly placing any value on thinking critically, being competent, or being a good, funny speaker.

  305. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Tell us more about the monied desirable women who secretly control the whole world, dipshit.

  306. anteprepro says

    Finding someone attractive is not the same as discrimination based on sex. Sexiness is a positive trait.
    Similarly saying something is “a guy thing.” is not sexist. It places no value on the thing or people in question

    Michael Shermer, a skeptic, speaking to an audience of skeptics, says skepticism is “a guy thing” but doesn’t explicitly say that skepticism is a positive trait, so it isn’t sexist. Suuuuuuure.

  307. Sili says

    I know I shouldn’t speculate, but it’s hard not assume that Shermer has something to do with the grapewine warnings to female speakers at skeptic conferences that were circulating a while back.

  308. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I know I shouldn’t speculate, but it’s hard not assume that Shermer has something to do with the grapewine warnings to female speakers at skeptic conferences that were circulating a while back.

    I’ve got no qualms about speculating. Based on his words, Michael Shermer comes off to me as a creeper.

  309. bishoptakesknight says

    “Perhaps you should consider why your wife got angry. Maybe there are other instances where you have acted in a sexist manner. Or perhaps it was just all her fault.”
    No, it is the social construct that says, as a man, I must be a horny cheater without control or remorse, that is at fault.

    “You also write off your black friends issues with words such as ‘her ability to think rationally” and “emotional nonsense”. Maybe you should try to put yourself in her position. Or do you deny black people do in fact suffer discrimination?” I don’t try and pretend to understand her situation, unlike people who claim to know the life of all of white mandom. All I would be able to muster is a crude and insulting caricature. I am well aware that black people, women, and people with unusual sexualities face discrimination on those grounds. Often by white men. Sometimes by people of other groups for just as stupid a reason. Black churchgoers voting against homosexuals in California comes to mind. This in no way excuses the thinking that a vote not cast for Obama = a vote for Romney or against black people in general. I have never voted for president because I have yet to see a politician at the federal level I agree with. I stick to local elections.

    “Generally you paint a picture that you are surrounded by people who simply don’t function at your level. It must be great to be you.” I don’t believe I am a special intellect. My entire education began when I was sixteen. Finally overcoming severe dyslexia with the help of my future wife. Truthfully, it was a plate of cold crap to be me until that year. Not whining, just a fact.

  310. says

    We could split the possibilities into two broad categories: it’s the fault of the women — skepticism just isn’t a gal thing — or we could lay the problem on the environment of the skeptical movement.

    Or we could stop playing the blame game entirely and seeing this as an issue to be considered in terms of someone, or some group, being at ‘fault’.

    Is there really a problem if dicing society one way or another shows one group to be more interested (for whatever reason, I am not claiming innate interests here) in something than another? Is it really the ‘fault’ of young people that they are underrepresented each year at the Chelsea Flower Show – or is it just that young people give less of a fuck about gardening?

    I propose that the reason you, Ophelia and even Michael give so much of a shit about the balance here, and not at a car show, fashion show, or Rhianna concert is that the fact we are all (i include myself in this) nerdy bastards with nerdy interests means that nerdy conferences dealing with atheism and skepticism are seen as somehow too important just to allow attendance to fall where the actual interest lies.

    Personally speaking, I couldn’t give a crap if 99% of attendees and speakers were female if that was simply as a result of 99% of the people interested being female. What i do know, from YT analytics, is that around 90% of viewers watching my videos on religion and atheism are male, and that the same is true for female YT’ers. Given that YT itself has plenty of female users (they just look at different things) and that watching videos anonymously precludes any possibility of bullying, I really can’t see on what grounds you feel justified in viewing 50:50 representation as reflecting the actual interest (same with Shermer saying the same) and to aim for 50:50 is simply to create a manufactured outcome for political ideological purposes.

    Jim
    **awaiting ad homs and misrepresentations**

  311. Sili says

    We are effectively completely different species

    Stupidest. Comment. of 2012.

    Doesn’t that make all the MRAs sodomites? In the bestiality sense, of course.

  312. chigau (Chiggers) says

    bishoptakesknight
    If you type
    <blockquote>paste quoted text here</blockquote>
    this will result.

    paste quoted text here

    It will make your comments easier to read.
    It will not help you make sense.

  313. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Similarly saying something is “a guy thing.” is not sexist. It places no value on the thing or people in question. It just means that historically you have noticed more men preferring that activity.

    No, what it means is “don’t worry your ladybrainz about it, as it is irrelevant to you”. We know how to read statements like that. Being a dude and all, and seeing how the misogynists use it to dismiss womenz.

  314. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Read those links yet Bishop?
    Found that quote to back up this statement yet?

    I was on this site for less than twenty minutes before my race and sex were disparaged.

    Do you comprehend how it can be harmful to spread gender-stereotypes (regardless of discriminatory intent)?

    Who am I kidding? Of course not.

    ***
    Bishop, do yourself a favor and learn how to use paragraph breaks and blockquote. And go educate yourself on feminism 101 stuff before you smugly parade about with your pants around your ankles. You are embarrassing to watch.

  315. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Or we could stop playing the blame game entirely and seeing this as an issue to be considered in terms of someone, or some group, being at ‘fault’

    Like you aren’t playing a game pretending no one is at fault? Your kumbaya bullshit should be left where it belongs, in the toilet.

  316. bishoptakesknight says

    @Woo_Monster,
    “Thinking critically is a guy thing.
    Being competent is a guy thing.
    Being humorous and a good speaker is a guy thing.

    Woa, woa, don’t think these statements are sexist. I am not explicitly placing any value on thinking critically, being competent, or being a good, funny speaker.”
    MS never said any of these things. Only viewing the world through a lens that tints every man, sexist until proven innocent, can yield this outcome from what he said. The question was essentially why do you think women are less active about evangelizing skepticism at the national or conference level. His answer to that had nothing to do with female competence and everything to do with their willingness. I personally don’t think less of people who choose not to act on non critical matters, for whatever reason. Cara herself, had a hard time tracking more females with her shared priorities. Not a crime to point it out.

  317. says

    My favorite bit is where Shermer says that women don’t stand up and speak up, that’s a guy thing… and then his very next move is to tell feminists speaking up that they are wrong and should stop standing up and speaking up.

  318. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    MS never said any of these things.

    No, what he said was, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    Only viewing the world through a lens that tints every man, sexist until proven innocent, can yield this outcome from what he said.

    What the fuck is this? Is this supposed to be an argument? Shermer said, essentially, that being a vocal, intellectually active, skeptic is a “guy thing”. Pretty sure I don’t need to see all men as sexist to appreciate that THAT specific remark is sexist.

    Shermer, in his non-responsive response to Ophelia, also said,

    Benson makes a strong case that something other than misogyny may be at work here, when she asks rhetorically if I would make the same argument about race. I would, yes, because I do not believe that the fact that the secular community does not contain the precise percentage of blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans as in the general population, means that all of us in the secular community are racists, explicitly or implicitly

    So, apparently he also would stand behind,

    It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a whites thing.

    Would you also stand behind that statement (without doing some sort of re-write of it in your head)?
    ***
    I’m done wasting my time with you. You got nothing but mockery from here on out until you show that you have made a good-faith effort to comprehend the points being made. Show that you have read the links kindly provided for you. Then, I will entertain your stupidity more. Show that you are not deliberately ignorant on concepts such as privilege, and then you will get more than pointing and laughing.

  319. says

    Nerd @362

    One thing I can always be sure of is an idiotic response from you. I recall our first encounter, do you? I had been ‘called out’ on the issue of not condemning threats against female bloggers, to which i linked as evidence i had publically condemned such threats, to a video whereby i sit facing the camera giving an explicit and unconditional condemnation and explaining to the thousands of people who viewed it just why such threats are harmful and likely to cause distress. Do you remember that Nerd? What i will never forget – take to my deathbed – was your response: that the only thing that classes as ‘evidence’ is a peer-reviewed paper and informed me to cite something via Google Scholar.
    I can link you the conversation if you need to refresh your mind or have a good old belly laugh at yourself.

    Anyway, I digress. On this occasion it seems you have plumped for misrepresentation rather than ad hominem attack. this is what you wrote:

    Like you aren’t playing a game pretending no one is at fault?

    The problem with your response is that i did no such thing. PZ Myers was the one using exclusionary language, limiting the considerations only and exclusively to those involving the idea of ‘fault’.
    I certainly didn’t exclude PZ’s categories but simply laid another possibility alongside them.
    Of course we could ALL just grow the fuck up a bit, PZ included, and accept that there could be multiple things going on here, such that convention attendances other than a 50:50 ratio could be the result of a bit of discrimination, a bit of sexism, a bit of overarching culture and a bit of innate differences between the sexes. Or is that all just too mind-blowing to even entertain, even as a speculative alternative?

    Jim.

  320. anteprepro says

    MS never said any of these things.

    Fuck you are dense. They were making fun of your inane argument that you need to explicitly say that a trait is positive/negative.

  321. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Only viewing the world through a lens that tints every man, sexist until proven innocent, can yield this outcome from what he said.

    Keep lying to your self cupcake. When you shoot yourself in the foot as MS did, apologizing and shutting the fuck up is what proves you aren’t a sexist. Just like with your MRA drivel. Apologize for not shutting the fuck up and listening. You do know how to listen, don’t you? It all starts with closing your mouth and opening your mind.

  322. bishoptakesknight says

    White men aren’t really all that concerned about our male children having a very high likelihood of being thrown in prison for minor drug offenses; we middle class white folk are not so concerned about economic disparities as the poor people who can’t afford to attend a conference; male organizers aren’t as aware of the problems of finding child care as women, who are saddled with most of the child-rearing obligations, are. These are implicit biases in our views. This is racism, classism, sexism.

    Seriously, every one of us is racist as fuck. We can’t help it.

    This is why I formed an account. I truly believe all of these remarks are untrue of myself and most male skeptics I know. Flat out telling someone what they care about based on their race or gender is disparaging.

    I also apologize for not using your comment section to everyone’s liking. I am not a professional commenter as some here seem to be. I’m lucky to have time to read a blog never mind commenting on one.

  323. anteprepro says

    This is why I formed an account. I truly believe all of these remarks are untrue of myself and most male skeptics I know.

    You. Are. A. Fucking. Idiot.

    The first sentence you quoted refers to the fact that African Americans are disproportionately imprisoned for drug offenses due to biases at both police and courtroom levels. African Americans would be more concerned with that possibility than white people in general.

    The second sentence is explicitly creating a distinction between middle class and poor. Poor people, in general, have to worry about money problems more than middle class people.

    The third sentence is about the fact that women are expected to take care of child care, to the extent that women who have divorced are expected to keep the children. This isn’t a fact that is denied: This is a fact that MRAs whine about, because this expectation that women are child-rearers means that men rarely win custody battles.

    Why do you object to these quotes? Because you don’t understand that PZ saying “group A has to worry about X more than group B” is not saying “group B never has to worry about X” (nor saying “group A always has to worry about X”)? Or because you are simply ignorant of the facts? I’m betting on both.

  324. anteprepro says

    I’m lucky to have time to read a blog never mind commenting on one.

    “One man’s luck is another man’s shoveling shit”

  325. says

    I truly believe all of these remarks are untrue of myself and most male skeptics I know.

    Poor old black cat.
    Seriously, if you’re as paranoid about your kids being jailed for smoking pot as black paranets rightfully have to be you’re paranoid, because we know that black people are sentenced more often and more heavily than whites.
    And, if you’re actually middle class, are 200$ for you the choice between some fancy clothes and a conference or are they the choice between food and a conference?
    Oh, and are you actually the main caregiver of your children?

  326. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I truly believe all of these remarks are untrue of myself and most male skeptics I know. Flat out telling someone what they care about based on their race or gender is disparaging.

    And here you are telling us what we must believe. We don’t tell you what to believe. Just that we don’t believe a word you say due to your obvious unrecognized and aknowledged white male privilege. I know all about it cupcake. I’m a white male with an AARP card. And I’ve never apologized for having privilege, but I constantly am on guard to not use it to demean other people and women, whereas you unthinkingly demean others by using yours.

  327. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    …there could be multiple things going on here, such that convention attendances other than a 50:50 ratio could be the result of a bit of discrimination, a bit of sexism, a bit of overarching culture and a bit of innate differences between the sexes.

    Yep, more of the same. Wimmenz are innately less suited towards skepticism. Fuck you, Jim.

    Or is that all just too mind-blowing to even entertain, even as a speculative alternative?

    Yeah, so fucking mind-blowing. You are so DARING and BRAVE to claim that women are pre-disposed to be less skeptical. Hey Jim, do you also want to weigh in on Shermer’s response, wherein he claimed his comment could very well be extended to race. Jim, do you agree that skepticism is also more of a whites thing?
    ***
    I thought ksolway’s comment @333 was the stupidest of the thread, but Jim insisting that he is blowing our minds by perpetuating the evidence-free sexist stereotype that men and women are innately mentally different, may just take the cake.

  328. Rodney Nelson says

    I see bishoptakesknight is either too stupid or too egotistical to use blockquotes even after they’ve been shown to him.

    So which are you, bishop, stupid or egotistical?

  329. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One thing I can always be sure of is an idiotic response from you.

    And one thing I can always be sure of is an idiotic post by you.

    Of course we could ALL just grow the fuck up a bit,

    Why don’t you start by realizing your kumbaya bullshit should be taken elsewhere, where the people don’t listen to anybody else? Why don’t you realize nobody is buying your message? Why don’t you realize you aren’t the smartest person posting, and are in fact near the bottom on solid arguments?

  330. bishoptakesknight says

    Hey Rodney I thought I did OK at comment 369. but from now on I won’t bother since it is not appreciated.

  331. Tethys says

    Flat out telling someone what they care about based on their race or gender is disparaging.

    Well then I suppose its good that PZ didn’t write about what white men care about. The sentence says implicit bias idiot, do try to work on your reading comprehension.

    I also apologize for not using your comment section to everyone’s liking. I am not a professional commenter as some here seem to be. I’m lucky to have time to read a blog never mind commenting on one

    Well, aren’t you a passive-aggressive piece of narcissistic shit. Tell us some more how your wife was so unreasonable to be upset at you looking at naked women (not that there is anything wrong with that) and how you justified it as “I’m only looking at the art.”, like the lying pile of puke that you seem to be.

  332. bishoptakesknight says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems. Just like I don’t see race relations getting any better when all people want to discuss is white on black racism. I don’t yet have children but if I stay in my home town I would certainly be just as afraid of my children being caught with drugs. Mainly because drug laws are unfair to everyone and secondly because around here the average dealer is carrying way worse thing than pot. Something doesn’t have to directly hurt me for me to care about it. Maybe more than the person it is happening to.

  333. kate_waters says

    VROOM! VROOM! Oooh, lots of fuel for the Magical Misandry Machine. VROOM! VROOM!

    “…but-but-but I’m not like that!”

    “…but that can’t be sexist because it’s something I’d say!”

    “…why don’t you ladies/poc/gay/non-binary people just shut up and let the men tell you what it is you see, think and feel every day… for through the lens of my “WHITE MALENESS” I can correctly interpret these golden tablets of your lived experience into a sacred text that says EXACTLY WHAT I THINK IT OUGHT TO SAY AND NOTHING ELSE.”

    Douchewads, the lot of you.

    Then you get the ones who keep on crying about misandry and reverse racism and how they don’t have male privilege because they don’t have a Ferrari and a mansion in which to store their many fedoras.

    Mmmmm… Delicious d00d tears. So sweet and satisfying.

  334. Tethys says

    noelplum

    innate differences between the sexes. Or is that all just too mind-blowing to even entertain, even as a speculative alternative?

    Fuck, but you are a clueless dood. There are no innate differences in intellectual ability between the sexes.
    None! Nada! Nil! Zip! Get this fact through your dense skull!

    Then you can quit with your ‘splaining about how MS didn’t really mean his sexist comment in a sexist way, and can’t we all just get along.

    I have no desire to get along with sexist asswipes, and a white dood ‘splaining why I should just ignore their hostile bullshit is adding insult to injury. I am officially done ignoring that shit, and if you really want to live in a world where there is true equality, YOU need to stop ignoring that shit too!

  335. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    Sorry, you aren’t neutral, only pretend to be. We both know that. Quit lying to yourself, then quit lying to us. Your verbiage is that of an MRA fuckwitted idjit. You haven’t fooled me, and you denial only reinforces my conclusion. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Hiding your head in the sand on male privilege and pretending all is equal is hiding your head in the sand. The only way to fix things it acknowledge the problem, find a proper solution, and go forward. You can’t acknowlege the problem, therefore you can’t supply a solution. Just cover for your misogyny.

  336. says

    Woo @374

    So you plumped for a personal attack as well as misrepresentation?

    You ranted this:

    Yep, more of the same. Wimmenz are innately less suited towards skepticism. Fuck you, Jim.

    Perhaps you could highlight for me where I said women were ‘less suited’? You seem either unable or unwilling to differentiate between interest and capability or sufficiently judgemental and prejudiced that you simply assume that people you place in a particular pigeonhole will definitively be referring to issues of capability rather than issues of interest or preference if they suggest that an innate component could concievably be involved.

    perpetuating the evidence-free sexist stereotype that men and women are innately mentally different

    I didn’t say they were innately different (which in any case you misrepresent, yet a-fucking-gain when you say ‘innately mentally different) I left ipen the possibility.

    Perhaps you could justify on what grounds you perpetuate your evidence free assertion that men and women could not be innately mentally different?
    Does your reasoning apply to all mammals, or are we the sole special case in the animal kingdom or what?

    One last question, if I may. I think everyone agrees that testosterone affects behaviour – this is something we can test, after all. Given that men and women have different amounts of this hormone, how does that tally with your assertion that there are no innate behavioural differences between men and women (or, at the very least, verbally assault those who you think do propose the possibility of such an innate component)?
    If I can say in advance, the only way to tally these two would be to say that males need test to balance their behaviours to that of women (in other words, w/o test there would be differences in innate behaviour between men and women and test simply erases that difference) but then test levels vary throught a man’s lifespan so i cannot even see how that hypothesis would work. I just wondered what your thoughts are here, since you resolutely refuse to even contend that there could be some innate behavioural difference between the sexes?

    Jim the Brave

  337. anteprepro says

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    Fuck. Naive and/or disingenuous egalitarianism. Here’s a pro-tip, you ignorant fucking slymewad: The path to equality isn’t also attained by pretending that a historically oppressed is ALREADY ON EQUAL FOOTING with a historically powerful, influential group.

    You aren’t really egalitarian if you demand equal treatment of groups when some of those groups have been handicapped for a very long time. You aren’t really egalitarian if you demand equal treatment in vague terms while ignoring and refusing to oppose the specific ways in which these groups really aren’t actually treated equally. And fuck your implication that MRA-ism and feminism are comparable.

  338. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    IOW, you and reality aren’t very close friends.

  339. thepint says

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems. Just like I don’t see race relations getting any better when all people want to discuss is white on black racism.

    You DO realize that your entire premise doesn’t work because in the real world, no one starts on an inherently level playing field, right? Because of things like institutionalized inequalities due to racism, inherited wealth, systematic discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, and so forth? Hence how the concept of privilege works and how some of us have more forms of social privilege than others and how, because of how social privilege works, we’re often blind to the fact that we have it? So the only way we’re going to fix those problems stemming from privilege and institutionalized forms of oppression and inequalities is to, you know, talk about them and focus on them, no matter how uncomfortable it makes those who happen to have said various forms of privilege.

    Not that hard to understand. Unless you’re determined to stick your fingers in your ears and continue to sing kumbaya and all that, because if you don’t, you’re going to have to face some very uncomfortable truths about the world and your place in it.

  340. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    Colorblind, delusional fuckwittery.

    Just like I don’t see race relations getting any better when all people want to discuss is white on black racism.

    But what about teh white oppression? Why is everyone focusing on minorities, won’t someone look out for the white people? Like I said, we’ve got one dumb fuck here.

    I don’t yet have children but if I stay in my home town I would certainly be just as afraid of my children being caught with drugs.

    You are ignorant. Drug offense sentencing is stricter on non-whites. Do you understand the concept of sentencing disparities? If you did, you wouldn’t have made the above-quoted asinine remark.

    Mainly because drug laws are unfair to everyone..

    Yeah, they are just MORE unfair to non-whites. Funny that.

    Something doesn’t have to directly hurt me for me to care about it. Maybe more than the person it is happening to.

    Do you think disparate sentencing, based on race, is acceptable?
    ***

    Mmmmm… Delicious d00d tears. So sweet and satisfying.

    Nom, nom, nom.

  341. anteprepro says

    Perhaps you could justify on what grounds you perpetuate your evidence free assertion that men and women could not be innately mentally different?

    The null hypothesis (?)

  342. says

    Nerd @376

    Why don’t you realize you aren’t the smartest person posting, and are in fact near the bottom on solid arguments?

    Oh, let me tell you that is something I am only TOO aware of. That is why it is always such a relief to see a reply from your good self :)

    Tehys @381

    Why don’t you realize you aren’t the smartest person posting, and are in fact near the bottom on solid arguments?

    I just refer you to my reply above to Woo, because you make exactly the same misrepresentation (your prejudice assumes i was referring to capability and not interest or preference.

    I have no desire to get along with sexist asswipes, and a white dood ‘splaining

    One of the things which does irk me about Pharyngula is that comments such as this one, that make irrelevant reference to my sex and skin tone, are tolerated so readily: why are you bringing my race into this?
    Why don’t you simply address what I have said rather than seek to personally attack the person making the argument?

    Jim.

  343. says

    For the record – Jack Lewis @ 270 –

    Some simple facts:
    In Ophelia’s article (about 4 months after the “The point” show), there isn’t any link to the video or transcript from which the infamous quote was graciously cherry picked. That’s a bit lame.

    It’s a column for a magazine. You don’t put links in those. As for a transcript – I transcribed it myself, so the relevant bit of the transcript is there.

  344. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    I guess noelplum99 enjoys coming here dazzling us with his understanding of sexism, patriarchy and misogyny.
    I was hoping he would take my ‘fuck off’ comment to mean ‘do not come back’. At least not until you recognize where you are wrong.

  345. says

    I’ve usually held Michael Shermer to a certain level of regard, but his comments amount to a level of backpedaling that to the least seems “breathtaking”.

    Judging from the comments on this post, let alone the previous posts on any and all topics posted here, there is no dearth of female opinions on the topics of atheism or secularism. The XX’s can hold their own to the XY’s anytime.

    Shermer needs to show some stats. Otherwise STFU.

  346. says

    @389
    When we observe other mammals we see differences between the sexes in terms of behaviour that are not clouded by culture in the same way they are with humans. I am thinking off the top of my head and other than cetaceans I can’t think of another group of mammals that doesn’t observe some innate behavioural difference (and that, i presume, just shows my ignorance of cetaceans)

    So your ‘null hypothesis’ is that homo sapiens are unlike other mammals? Have I got that right?
    Why would this be your expectation?

    Jim.

  347. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Shermer needs to show some stats. Otherwise STFU.

    Asking for evidence, instead of taking his opinon as gospel? WITCH HUNT!!!!!!!

  348. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why don’t you simply address what I have said rather than seek to personally attack the person making the argument?

    Maybe it would help if you made a real argument with evidence, and not just the OPINION of somebody who doesn’t think very well, or explains themselves very well? Look in the mirror. You aren’t that good at what you are trying to do.

    Three questions for you:
    1) What did you hope to accomplish when you started posting here?
    2) How well are you suceeding (be honest)?
    3) If you aren’t, why are you still here other than sheer stubborness on your part?

  349. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Aaaaaand Jim doesn’t understand what it means when someone says ‘white dood splainin’. Hint: it is about your race, just not the way you think.

  350. says

    Tony @392

    wrote:

    I was hoping he would take my ‘fuck off’ comment to mean ‘do not come back’. At least not until you recognize where you are wrong.

    If I don’t come back Tony, how will I ever be ‘schooled’ in my errors without the benefit of your sage council?
    unfortunately, most of your schooling so far has merely amounted to telling me what a massive wanker I am, which is something i was well aware of years before i ever posted here.

    Jim

  351. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So your ‘null hypothesis’ is that homo sapiens are unlike other mammals? Have I got that right?
    Why would this be your expectation?

    Gee, look at what sets humans apart…You appear clueless about said implications, or where to find the evidence. Typical idiocy expected from you…

  352. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    unfortunately, most of your schooling so far has merely amounted to telling me what a massive wanker I am, which is something i was well aware of years before i ever posted here.

    And you keep proving time and time again with nothing but attitude in your posts.

  353. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I am anti MRA for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    I am anti-homophobic for the same reason I am anti-gay-rights. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one sexuality’s problems.

    The problem, bishoptakesknight, is that equality is not what you think it is.

  354. Tethys says

    noelplum

    You borked your blockquote, so I’m not sure what I am being referred to.

    Your race and gender are pertinent to this discussion. I haven’t watched any of your videos, but it is easy to guess your race based on the drivel that you are posting.

  355. says

    Nerd @398

    i like the questions, though I realise answering them will lead to the inevitable accusation that i am making this thread ‘all about me’ so i will make this my last response for a while:

    1) What did you hope to accomplish when you started posting here?

    I wanted to have my say. i had read a part of PZ’s blog which i particularly took exception to and, like most people, knew i would feel some catharsis in writing my objections to it.

    2) How well are you suceeding (be honest)?

    Good question and I will try and be honest. I have made vids for over four years now and up until recently never talked about issues such as these (ok, i did once, one video in nearly 200). The vast majority of what i did was deal with religion, ranging from philosophical problems with abrahamic monotheistic cionceptions of God, biblical source criticism, scientific problems and how they impact on faith (such as assessing the viability – or lack of- of an immaterial soul and how that precludes an afterlife and how that, in turn, impacts on the possibility on omnibenevolence by denying the possibility of reparation). the reason i am telling you this is because in all that I was well aware that the believers who watched those videos (and there have been a fair number as YT is more of a mixed audience than here) are not about to go ‘oh yes, by golly he is right’ but what I DID always hope is that I would represent my perspective as well as i can and maybe soften a few hardened resolves along the way.
    So I don’t hold out any hope whatsoever of swaying any of you here. Really I don’t.
    If you have read what i have said and understand it better than the strawmen you send back my way imply then I am happy with that. the only time when I really feel I am not ‘succeeding’ is when i keep reading the same distortion of what I intended with the words i used (such as here, reading my mention of a possible innate factor as me claiming there is definitively an innate factor and that this will be some kind of weakness of abilities amongst women – neither of which i said and neither of which i meant) and that is the only time i get a bit disheartened. That is as honest as i can be on that.

    3) If you aren’t, why are you still here other than sheer stubborness on your part?

    I hope my answers to the last two questions makes this question seem less relevant than it did when you wrote it.

    Ok, I will ‘fuck off’ now, so as not to dominate the discussion or make it ‘all about me’ (something I have been accused of here a couple of times)

    Jim
    (liked the monty python reference thethys btw, was thinking the same thing when i wrote ‘the brave)

  356. bishoptakesknight says

    “privilege: the power to define reality for everybody, and expect your definition to stick.”_ Tim Wise
    This is the exact delusion most of you folks are living in.

    1. Assert patriarchy, privilege, and inherited white power is true.
    2. Back it up with stats that purposefully ignore the other side of the argument.
    3. Bash everyone who doesn’t fall in line.
    4. Claim victory on the grounds of superior morality.

    You now have the privilege to instantly be right about anything related to gender, sex, or sexuality.
    Just like religious people.
    Some people are born privileged, but they are not all white, they are not all male, and there is certainly no conspiracy to keep those people from failing. All, while making sure no one else succeeds.

  357. anteprepro says

    So your ‘null hypothesis’ is that homo sapiens are unlike other mammals?

    And yours is that women are unlike men? I’m fairly certain mine is closer to reality, in that sex differences within species are closer to none than differences between species. And the null hypothesis that women are unlike men until proven the same, because of sex differences in completely different species, is a fairly convoluted way of approaching sex differences in humans.

  358. anteprepro says

    Bishop is in dire need of 101 level education on the issues here. It wouldn’t take, of course, but that just further shows how much it is needed.

  359. thepint says

    Facepalms at bishoptakesknight’s entire comment at 406.

    I’m going to take one more stab at this before stabbing myself in the hand with a fork instead of responding to your drivel next time (because it will hurt less) – read up on intersectionality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality, http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality.

    To wit: “Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within society, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and religion-based bigotry, do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.”

    Of course, not that anyone here has been saying any differently, but since that’s flown right over your head, I’m probably wasting my breath anyway.

  360. thepint says

    And did you even bother reading Scalzi’s piece on “Straight White Privilege: Lowest Difficulty Setting” because he really did lay it out in some of the simplest and easiest terms to follow, and using difficulty settings in gaming to illustrate how privilege works as a concept really was an excellent metaphor.

  361. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    bishoptakesknight, please provide a context and link for that quote by Tim Wise, because I do not believe it to be a statement ever uttered or written by Tim Wise.

    You obviously don’t understand privilege. Perhaps Tim Wise can help you to understand White Privilege specifically? He does write about that at length, seemingly in contradiction to the unsubstantiated quote you’ve provided. You can apply the general concept of white privilege to the concept of privilege as a whole.

  362. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    It’s not just about racism and white privilege that Tim Wise writes about either, he’s written on other topics dealing with other kinds of privilege and indeed, with intersectionality.

    Seriously, bishoptakesknight, you’re either lying (maliciously) or you’re really stupid. You seriously need to substantiate that alleged Tim Wise quote or retract it altogether.

  363. bishoptakesknight says

    @thepint

    I did read the piece on “Straight White Privilege: Lowest Difficulty Setting”. I just didn’t agree with the assumption that starting out poor, white, and male was somehow going to be easier than starting off hispanic and middle class, or black and wealthy. It just doesn’t ring true. Money=Power=Privilege in our culture and minority money spends equal to mine.
    It is a good illustration of the point though.

  364. Stacy says

    and there is certainly no conspiracy to keep those people from failing.

    bishoptakesknight, privilege is a systemic thing. Most people aren’t really consciously aware of it, or of the assumptions and stereotypes that oil the system.

    You should stop thinking of privilege as if it’s an accusation that you or other white men are bad people who’ve never suffered and who are deliberately trying to oppress others. That’s not the point at all. It’s just that all other things being equal in many circumstances you have a step up (that you never asked for and likely aren’t even aware of.)

    We’ve all got issues and problems; some of those issues and problems are cultural and systemic. Being aware of privilege means we pay more attention to the way society is set up; we notice when other people have to deal with shit we mostly don’t, as a matter of course. When we’re the ones dealing with the shit, we realize it’s something more than just a personal problem.

  365. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    bishoptakesknight: “2. Back it up with stats that purposefully ignore the other side of the argument.”

    Uh, Dude, you lost me there. What other side of the argument would that be? The side with no statistics or evidence? Because it is a documented fact that government housing and transportation policies extending into the ’80s are responsible for about half a million dollars of difference in wealth between black and white families. This doesn’t even consider the effects of Jim Crow, of the deprivation of higher education the wealth discrepancy had–just the housing policies alone!

    Likewise, the effects of policies on gender inequality are documented. That means FACT. Start producing some facts of your own, Cupcake.

  366. says

    I did read the piece on “Straight White Privilege: Lowest Difficulty Setting”. I just didn’t agree with the assumption that starting out poor, white, and male was somehow going to be easier than starting off hispanic and middle class, or black and wealthy. It just doesn’t ring true.

    So, you actually didn’t read it.
    Or you didn’t understand it, that’s a possibility, too.

  367. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    I just didn’t agree with the assumption that starting out poor, white, and male was somehow going to be easier than starting off hispanic and middle class, or black and wealthy.

    That’s not an assumption of the article. The article does not presume that. The article also doesn’t deal with intersectionality. It’s meant to be a basic education piece about straight, white male privilege for people who otherwise know nothing about it. You may have read the piece, but if you did, you read it poorly and apparently blind to the tone and purpose of it. It is not a damned treatise.

  368. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Bishop:
    I am trying here. I really am. But you do not seem interested in reading any of the information any of us have provided. Now you openly state that you are not in favor of equality for women. Are you as equally disdainful of the pursuit of equal rights for queers? For trans*folks? For all minorities?
    Part of your privilege is on display here. It is painful to watch you dismiss the very real problems minorities face.

  369. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    bishoptakesknight,
    Given that you have shown an utter ignorance of the FACTS surrounding gender, race, etc. inequality, do you think that maybe you might want to reconsider your contention that you have no race/gender bias? I mean, how can you hope to understand where another person is coming from if you don’t know where they’ve been?

  370. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says

    I just didn’t agree with the assumption that starting out poor, white, and male was somehow going to be easier than starting off hispanic and middle class, or black and wealthy.

    Last time I drove through North Carolina, at 10mph above the posted speed limit (which was the flow of traffic — no faster, no slower) I saw a dozen cars pulled over at various points by the state police. Nine of those cars, cars sometimes fancier than my ’08 Taurus, were driven by people of colour. And six of those cars, the driver was out of the car while the troopers searched the vehicle. None of the three driven by whites were being searched. When I was in high school, a friend and I took a trip down to Virginia to pick up some hay. On the way down, we roared past a car driven by an older black man, passing him in a no-passing zone. Sure enough, there was a sheriff’s car coming the other way. Darrell began to pull over, but the sheriff settled in behind the older black man and pulled him over. I can drive through a crackertown down south and not worry too much about being pulled over unless I do something stupid.

    But white privilege is a myth, right?

  371. ezekiel says

    What a load of shit. I’ve never seen such obvious quote-mining and context-hiding in all my life. Let’s look at each of these terrible, terrible mysogynistic quotes one at a time:
     
    “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”
     
    Poorly worded perhaps, but he’s essentially just saying “More guys tend to do this”. You can argue this is sexist or whatever, but if it is in fact true that guys tend to be more “active” than women, then so be it. This statement isn’t evidence of deep-seated mysogyny – it’s simply an observation on the current state of things. No suggestion is made on how to change this – it is simply an observation, and as much as you may disagree with it, this observation is very likely to be true.
     
    “I think it is unreasonable to expect that equal numbers of men and women will be attracted to every sphere of human endeavor. Science has shown that real differences exist. We should level the playing field and ensure there are no preventable obstacles, then let the chips fall where they may.”
     
    I’m not seeing sexism here either, because it quite simply is unreasonable to expect equal numbers of men and women to be attracted to every possible role. However, in this instance, Harriet actually suggests that we should “level the playing field” in order to address the imbalance, which is an entirely admirable proposition.
     
    As a software engineer, I have worked with alarmingly few women over the years, but those that I have worked with have produced code of no lesser or greater quality than the men. There is no intellectual reason for so few women entering the field, but there may well be a percieved “old boys club” attitude within the field. However, when Harriet suggests “levelling the playing field”, she is presumably referring to the eradication of these attitudes and making the path to professional software engineering as easy for women as it is for men. This is a laudable goal and I applaud anyone that takes steps to ensuring “there are no preventable obstacles”.
     
    HOWEVER, even if these goals of perfectly equal opportunity were achieved, there is no way to ensure that equal numbers of men and women will become software engineers. As she correctly states, “real differences exist” and it may be the case that women are perhaps just not as interested in these careers, generally and very broadly speaking. I am not for a minute suggesting this to actually *be* the case, I am simply suggesting that in a perfect utopia where all things are equal, software engineering may still attract more males then females, due to “real differences” that we simply don’t understand yet.
     
    “Benson makes a strong case that something other than misogyny may be at work here, when she asks rhetorically if I would make the same argument about race. I would, yes, because I do not believe that the fact that the secular community does not contain the precise percentage of blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans as in the general population, means that all of us in the secular community are racists, explicitly or implicitly. A variance from perfect demographic symmetry does not necessarily correspond to racist attitudes. It just means that the world is not perfectly divided up according to population demographics, and people have different interests and causes. There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population (in gender, in age and socio-economic class, or in height, weight, or any number of other variables for that matter), so short of some other evidence of bigotry, racism, and misogyny, there is no need to go in search of demons to exorcise.”
     
    In this quote, Shermer is basically saying what I said a few paragraphs earlier – Just because the general population demographics appear one way, does not mean that every club, organization, school or group is going to be made up of the exact same proportions. It’s ridiculous to think so.
     
    This whole article is nothing but the next volley in an ongoing civil war within the secular community and quite frankly it is an embarassment to everyone involved. The whole thing is as ridiculous as the Fox News “War on Terror”. Mysogynists are the new boogie-man – you could be living next-door to a potential rapist!! It’s garbage, absolute garbage and it is doing nothing for the atheist/secular community as a whole.
     
    Youtube is filled with back and forth “he-said, she-said” trash. Blogs are nothing more than propaganda pieces, lambasting our own with hate and unfounded accusations. There is a wedge being driven through the community and with every lame blog post that quote-mines and de-contextualizes innocent statements, washes them through the spin-cycle and craps them out as absolute evidence of rapist-level mysogyny, the community fractures just a little more.
     
    It’s sickening. Stop it. And grow the fuck up, all of you.
     
    Ezekiel
    @fictionfaith

  372. bishoptakesknight says

    @Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    http://youtu.be/_UJlNRODZHA

    Sorry, couldn’t find the link above. This page is getting kind of long. Also I don’t know how to make a link out of it. It is about 3/4 of the way through the video when he is talking about refugees.

    He only supplied the definition, directed at white people of course. I noticed the logic seemed similar to my experience with “feminist privilege”.

  373. thepint says

    starting out poor, white, and male was somehow going to be easier than starting off hispanic and middle class, or black and wealthy. It just doesn’t ring true. Money=Power=Privilege in our culture and minority money spends equal to mine.

    If you think that’s the point, then you’re still missing it. Without derailing the discussion here, there was a lot of good discussion on Scalzi’s threads about how money/economics can affect one’s stats (and if you go on his blog, he explains in the 2 follow up pieces he wrote why he didn’t include money in his original piece, which stuck exclusively to highlighting how being “white, straight and male” = “lowest difficulty setting” in the game, which, as he pointed out in his piece, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll win, just that the game you’re playing is going to start out inherently different than for someone who isn’t straight, white and male.

    If you had the time, I’d recommend not only reading Scalzi’s two follow ups, but the ENTIRETY of the threads for all three pieces, because the commentariat there is extremely erudite on the topic and Scalzi engages with commenters and keeps his threads very, very focused (and he Does Not Tolerate idiocy on his blog, either).

    Money is not the great equalizer, and who you are in this culture, ie – being straight or LGBTQ, being married or single, being a person of color or white, being religious or not being a man or a woman, etc., etc., can have a VERY GREAT DEAL TO DO with how much money you are able to acquire and how easily you are able to acquire it.

    Which is where intersectionality comes into play – different forms of systemic oppressions enter the game as you continue to play (to continue the metaphor) – one can be male, straight, and black, or straight, white and female. There are inherent societal privileges I get for being straight, married and possessing a higher education and coming from an upper middle class background, but there are sure as hell oppressions I’m subjected to for being a woman, a person of color, an atheist and childfree, just to name a few.

  374. Tethys says

    *sigh*

    Yet another complete doucheweasel has come in to splain some more how sexist comment really isn’t a sexist comment and we are all just so immature for noticing the sexism.

    The signature line is the only factual information.

    Ezekiel must have taken a flaming wheel to the cranium.

  375. thepint says

    Tethys – You’re surprised? I wish I was, but by now, it’s become tediously and disappointingly predictable.

  376. bishoptakesknight says

    Tony

    Being against feminism is not the same as against equality for women. I am for an equal chance for everyone. Some will succeed, some will fail. The problem is about wealth and power. Both are problems of a poorly used government.

  377. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    More to the point, if you do not see the suffering of queers, women, the disabled or the poor and you continually refuse to read for comprehension the materials offered, I throw my hands up. You are part of the problem. You refuse to see how your actions contribute to systemic discrimination and bigotry. Instead of realizing that there are many issues of inequality in society, you would rather remain in yout bubble of privilege WHILE PEOPLE FUCKING SUFFER. By FSM you are an apathetic shithead.

  378. Tethys says

    thepint

    I’m not at all surprised. I do have a hard time grokking how they keep rejecting the factual information in favor of their biased opinion. Ezekials opinion in particular reads as “derp a derp a derpie doo.

    Thanks for spelling my ‘nym correctly!

  379. chigau (Chiggers) says

    …go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it…

    I person must be invited to do these things.

  380. Ze Madmax says

    exekiel @ #421

    It’s sickening. Stop it. And grow the fuck up, all of you.

    You know what’s sickening? That some random asshole (i.e., you) waltzes in here, ignorant of the MOUNTAINS OF FUCKING EVIDENCE* that suggest the skeptic/atheist movement has a problem in which women/POCs/LGBT people feel unwelcome to it, and suggests that people who are talking about this issue, and trying to create a more inclusive environment for voices that have been historically silenced should shut up because apparently equality is a childish thing (or why else would you tell us to “grow the fuck up”).

    I’ll repeat what others have said before. If the skeptic movement believes that separating itself from assholes that support systemic inequality because it’s good for them/the way it’s always been/not really an issue** then the movement DESERVES TO DIE. The JREF, the Dawkins Foundation, the whole fucking movement should just wither away.

    Because all this bullshit about Bigfoot and UFOs and making fun of psychics is getting in the way of the real issues. And if a so-called skeptic is unable to see beyond the FUCKING OBVIOUS (i.e., Bigfoot et al.) and at least try to understand what systemic inequality is, how it works, and how is maintained, then what good are they? Just another bunch of self-centered assholes that think they’re smart because they reject God and UFOs?

    Well congratu-fucking-lations, skeptics! Now please go away and take your idiotic navel gazing and bigotry apologia somewhere else.

    ___
    * No, I’m not giving you any links. There’s Google, there’s Wikipedia. Do your fucking homework.

    ** In political psychology, there’s a concept called ‘System Justification.’ Look it up***. Learn. Until then, shut the fuck up.

    *** For those with access to peer-reviewed journals, the original article is this one:

    Jost, J. T., & Banaji, M. R. (1994). The role of stereotyping in system-justification and the production of false consciousness. British Journal Of Social Psychology, 33(1), 1-27. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8309.1994.tb01008.x

    And a good follow-up:

    Jost, J. T., Banaji, M. R., & Nosek, B. A. (2004). A Decade of System Justification Theory: Accumulated Evidence of Conscious and Unconscious Bolstering of the Status Quo. Political Psychology, 25(6), 881-919.

  381. Emrysmyrddin says

    clouded by culture in the same way they are with humans.

    Just…y’know…repeating this here. From an acorn grows an oak. Try, just try. Squeeze that brain hard. Connect…the…points…you can do it, buddy.

  382. ezekiel says

    I don’t see the software engineering community tearing itself apart like this, even though it has long been a male-dominated industry.

    Certainly there are issues, but simply *observing* that more males than females participate in conferences- for whatever reason – doesn’t make Shermer a mysogynist.

    I don’t know why this is so hard to understand, other than the fact that it makes for a good drama and 400+ comments…

  383. bishoptakesknight says

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I mean, how can you hope to understand where another person is coming from if you don’t know where they’ve been?

    I ask, if I want to know the person better. I don’t just assign point values to their hardships based on how many different kinds of minority groups can claim them. You might find it a handy rule of thumb. I don’t. Oppression is not owned by any group. Anyone can be oppressed.

  384. says

    Certainly there are issues, but simply *observing* that more males than females participate in conferences- for whatever reason – doesn’t make Shermer a mysogynist.

    Jesus fucking Christ, where do all you dense ones come from, the same vat? Stating that something is “a guy thing” is not an observation. As for your “for whatever reason” – we know the reasons. We’ve been discussing the reasons for well over a year now. One of the reasons would be idiots with attitudes like Shermer. Another reason is the refusal to deal with harassment issues on the part of some conference organizers (TAM). Another is the refusal to acknowledge that people other than older white guys have contributions to make to skepticism. And it goes on and on.

  385. lostintime says

    Kate Waters:
    (Waaay back at 349)

    I’ve never understood that whole “Feminists hate men” trope. Feminists tend (in my experience) to think men are evolved, thinking, feeling people who are hurt by the patriarchy, too.

    Good point! That’s something about feminism that I think should be emphasised more often. Some people don’t seem to realise that feminism is not a zero sum game and that challenging patriarchy is beneficial to men in so many ways. It’s something I never hear MRAs mention for some reason.

  386. ezekiel says

    FFS…. what if Shermer had said, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s a thing that guys tend to do more than women”.

    Is he still a mysogynist?

    Because it seems to me that you’re all looking so hard for boogie-men that you’ve convinced yourselves they’re hiding in every shadow.

  387. Tethys says

    Certainly there are issues, but simply *observing* that more males than females participate in conferences stating that “it’s a guy thing”- for whatever reason – doesn’t make is hard proof that Shermer a mysogynist misogynist.

    FIFY ezekiel

    I don’t know why this is so hard to understand. Maybe its because your male brain is too fluffy to comprehend complex subjects like privilege.

  388. chigau (Chiggers) says

    Just because someone calls something a “community” doesn’t make it a community.
    You cannot have rifts in something that was never conjoined to begin with.

    .
    What do we want?
    Deeper rifts!
    When do we want them?
    Now!

  389. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    I don’t see the software engineering community tearing itself apart like this, even though it has long been a male-dominated industry.

    Firstly: There are companies that don’t subscribe to the old “let funky* dudebros be funky dudebros” business model.

    Secondly: No-one is tearing anything apart. Some of us are trying to clean our little corner of the house. And try to discourage the guys and girls that insists that shitting on the floor is ok.

    Thirdly: I hate to build on stereotype, but I seldom see software engineers as the paradigm of a wholesome community.

    (*”funky” is not in any way meant to describe sense of style or style of music in this sentence.It’s the other kind of funky)

  390. consciousness razor says

    Being against feminism is not the same as against equality for women.

    Because words mean whatever you and misogynists assholes think they mean and what no one else thinks they mean.

    feminism noun
    1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

    Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.

    So being against feminism quite obviously does mean you’re against equality for women.

    I am for an equal chance for everyone.

    This is evidently false.

    Some will succeed, some will fail.

    This is irrelevant.

    Why bring up “success” when talking about feminism, or equality in general? Do you think feminism means “success for all women” instead of “equality for all women”? If so, why the fuck don’t you learn a single fucking thing about feminism before you start telling us all about it and how you’re against it?

    The problem is about wealth and power.

    There is more than one problem. Misogyny is a problem.

    Both are problems of a poorly used government.

    What does this even mean? Does it relate to why you wanted Romney to win rather than Obama? Because somehow a Romney government wouldn’t have been “poorly used”?

  391. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    bishoptakesknight,

    I am anti MRA

    I guess I have partially misjudged you. That much is a sensible position.

    for the same reason I am anti feminist. I don’t see a path to equality by focusing on one genders problems.

    Here I propose that you have misunderstood much of feminism.

    Feminists qua feminists do care about men’s problems as well: http://brutereason.net/2012/09/20/in-brief-do-feminists-care-about-mens-issues-a-handy-list/

    Will you now acknowledge your error?

    You’re wrong about a lot of other stuff too, but if you can acknowledge this error (or point to another comment in this thread where you’ve acknowledged another error) then it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with you.

  392. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    bishoptakesknight, you are a disgusting liar. Tim Wise never said anything of the sort. Retract that quote.

  393. Emrysmyrddin says

    Did all you idiots miss the link to ‘Stereotype Threat’ upthread? Here, I’ll be nice, and link it again.
    .
    Shermer merely stating that ‘it’s [scepticism, being intellectually active, public speaking] a guy thing’ actively perpetuates the trends that keep scepticism an ‘old white guy’ movement. By signalling this stereotype threat you actively put off the very people that you want to attract. You create and perpetuate the current fact that scepticism is currently an ‘old white guy’ movement. You make it into that and keep it that way because you put the rest of us off with your language, attitudes and behaviours. I don’t care if you don’t see anything wrong; you’re making it wrong by altering our preferences in favour of staying the hell away from you.

  394. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Bishop: given that feminism is a movement seeking full political, social and economic equality for women, if you stand against that you do oppose equality for women.

  395. says

    nms:

    Mysogyny – the belief that women are dirty?

    This must link back to arcus’s theory of menstruation = filthy, therefor women are unsuited for many things, such as combat. Yep.

  396. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    I don’t see the software engineering community tearing itself apart like this

    Right, right.

    Go ask Richard Stallman to talk about the open source movement.

    (NB: this is not an attack on Stallman. I respect him and agree with his position. This is simply a recognition that he is openly divisive. And there’s nothing wrong with that.)

  397. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    So your ‘null hypothesis’ is that homo sapiens are unlike other mammals? Have I got that right?
    Why would this be your expectation? – noelplum99

    First, if you’re going to use scientific terminology to make your point sound sciency, it’s a good idea to get it right. It’s Homo sapiens: both the upper-case initial letter of the generic name, and the italics, are required. Second, there’s a bit of a hint toward the answer in what you wrote earlier in the same comment:

    When we observe other mammals we see differences between the sexes in terms of behaviour that are not clouded by culture in the same way they are with humans.

    Now since you’re evidently not very bright, I’ll spell it out for you: the hypertrophy of culture in our species means that we are very limited in the extent to which we can legitimately extrapolate from what we see in other mammals when we consider behaviour, and specifically, behavioural differences between the sexes. With very limited exceptions, such as breastfeeding, there is no human behaviour unique to one sex, and even breastfeeding and similar examples are heavily influenced by culture in a way that has no parallel in other species.

    I am simply suggesting that in a perfect utopia where all things are equal, software engineering may still attract more males then females, due to “real differences” that we simply don’t understand yet. – ezekiel

    Or it might attract more women than men – but of course, that possibility didn’t even occur to you (and don’t pretend now that it did: if it had, you would have mentioned it). The thing is, we’re so vastly remote from that utopia that we really have no idea.

    Mysogynists are the new boogie-man – you could be living next-door to a potential rapist!! It’s garbage, absolute garbage and it is doing nothing for the atheist/secular community as a whole.

    Blogs are nothing more than propaganda pieces, lambasting our own with hate and unfounded accusations. There is a wedge being driven through the community and with every lame blog post that quote-mines and de-contextualizes innocent statements, washes them through the spin-cycle and craps them out as absolute evidence of rapist-level mysogyny, the community fractures just a little more.

    It’s sickening. Stop it. And grow the fuck up, all of you.

    How odd that while pontificating about the cause of community fractures, and being sickened, you have not a word to say about the 18-month campaign of hatred, lies and threats against Rebecca Watson, and anyone who has expressed support for her. And of course you could be living next door to a potential rapist, or indeed an actual one; that’s simple, uncontroversial fact, except to pinheaded misogynists like you. You do know that rapists don’t have their identity as such tattooed on the forehead?

    I’ll just end by saying that I have absolutely no desire to be counted in the same community as you or those who share your views.

  398. slow17motion says

    I find it disturbing that so many people on a place called “freethoughtblogs” simply ATTACK when someone presents a view that does not gel with the majority here. I’ve been watching the thoughtless and insulting responses to noelplum99’s posts, and I must say, they do not impress.

    Perhaps the most disturbing thing I’ve found is a lack of self-awareness. So many on these forums claim to advocate social justice–however, so many of you dismiss anything that is said to be unfair to men? I’ve seen many on here claim not to be racist, but then (on this very thread) bring skin tone into the conversation when the person posting is white. Are some of you so entrenched in your beliefs that you will actually assert that there are no differences (aside from the strictly biological differences) between men and women? What happened to feminists advocating equal rights? Shouldn’t MRA issues be feminist issues as well?

    I find it utterly ridiculous to call it sexist when someone makes an observation that more men attracted to certain fields than women. Real differences between the sexes exist! Look at the big deal that was made when during the olympics a woman swam faster than a man for 1/8 of an overall race. The man finished faster than the woman by just under 30 seconds. However, when talking about athletes it’s sexist to point out that typically men fare better than women? It’s sexist to assert that men and women might have some biological motivations behind their career or life choices?

    Presenting ideas for discussion is not sexist. It’s not sexist to say something is a “guy thing” if the majority of people who participate are men! Now, that’s not to say that he phrased his comment wisely… But man, are people ever ready to jump down his throat with such little provocation! Did you even consider his perspective before discounting him offhand?

    It’s fair to disagree with someone, but do you people even consider other opinions before you swarm? Jim/noelplum99 is a pretty thoughtful, decent guy. From what I understand he’s a firefighter and a firm supporter of many of the same causes as the rest of you. He seems like a decent guy. So why all the venom? Why not have a civil conversation before calling him a sexist pig or whatever other insults you can come up with (not many of which are very original).

    This reminds me of a paper I wrote back in college. The professor disagreed with some of my opinions and wrote at the top: “I’d expect more from a gay man.”

    My response was: “What would you expect from a gay man? What would a gay man be expected to believe in?”

    So many of you on this forum are no different than that professor. The sad thing is, many of you lack the ability to see exactly how hypocritical you’ve become.

    Of course, I’m just another white dude posting, right?

  399. says

    Bishoptakesknight:

    I have left comments for you in here before, but it looks like you’ve gotten pretty swamped so I’m not surprised that you haven’t gotten around to them. What I wanted to add to the chorus of other people trying to explain it to you is that “privileged” and “oppressed” are not mutually exclusive categories that a person either is or is not in based on some kind of Net Oppression Score.

    I think that you are thinking of it this way, which is probably causing some of the misunderstanding. I am a white person. I’ve also been a poor person, I’ve been a religious minority in a location that was deeply small-town “tell their kids not to so much as talk to the devil-worshipping witch” prejudiced against religious minorities, I am a woman, but I am also still white. I am still able-bodied. I still have privileges because of the fact that my demographics mean there’s some stuff I just haven’t really had to deal with as regularly or severely as some others.

    Class privilege or disprivilege isn’t everything, but even if it were? The situation is more complicated than who’s born into which social class. Race, gender, orientation, religion, etcetera all have the potential to act as barriers to upward mobility, which means that even if we were going to accept your apparent premise that the world is only unfair to people based on class but is otherwise completely just… even if we’re going to say that class privilege is the only real kind, class privilege is still often distributed based on factors like race, gender, orientation, etcetera, with the general (not in every case, but as an overall statistical reality) effect of making it easier for the “right” kinds of people to have money.

    I am not sure how many ways to state this. You don’t cease to be privileged as a man by being poor. You don’t cease to be privileged as a white person by having a chronic illness. You don’t cease to be privileged as a straight person by being a person of color or a woman or a poor person.

    Whether I am privileged as a white person is a totally separate question from whether I am or ever have been marginalized in some other way along some other axis. This isn’t a game where you place an X on the timeline between “Privilege” or “Marginalization” based on a net score. Every demographic has its own axis, and the reason we continue paying attention to demographics is so that we’ll be in a position to know whether those demographics are still causing people problems.

    I know that you think bigotry is bad and that you don’t think people ought to be screwed over because of things they can’t help like what family they were born into or what gender they were assigned at birth. What I am saying (multiple times at this point) is that if you try to be willfully blind to all demographics while those demographics still make people targets of bigotry, you are making yourself useless in the fight against bigotry of all kinds, because you are steadfastly refusing to see who’s got what kinds of targets painted on their back.

    When we pay attention to a group’s ability to retain women, sometimes we are looking for things like forces within the group that tend to specifically alienate women. Like… say… an environment of persistent and sheltered sexual harassment.

    Ignoring people’s demographics entirely will someday be the responsible thing to do. For now, though, we still need to figure out the exact ways in which some people get dicked over because of who or what they are, and we’re going to need to keep checking those figures to make sure that the measures we take actually are helping. We are not being bigoted when we check for correlations between certain demographics and certain injustices. We are trying to build a just society, and this is us checking our work.

  400. says

    I’ve been watching the thoughtless and insulting responses to noelplum99′s posts, and I must say, they do not impress.

    Fair enough, as no one here has been the least impressed with noelplum99/Jim’s constant sexism, assorted idiocy and complete inability to argue.

    Seriously, going by a single thread around here won’t get you anywhere. We’ve been discussing and arguing these issues for years and we see many of the same fuckwits in one thread after another, saying the same old bullshit over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

  401. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Being against feminism is not the same as against equality for women.

    Actually yes, as the goal feminism is the actual equality of women to men. You pretend lip service to the concept while maintaining your privileged position. You have privilege. To say you don’t is a lie. Simple test. Go into a car showroom with your wife to buy a car for the wife. Who does the saleperson approach, you or the wife? They talk to the male like they make the decision. Male privilege at work, whether you believe it or not. I believe it, as I’ve seen it in action.

  402. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    I find it disturbing that so many people on a place called “freethoughtblogs” simply ATTACK when someone presents a view that does not gel with the majority here.

    I find it disturbing that you use the term “freethought” as a part of your argument* without the slightest hint that you’ve bothered to find out what it actually means in this context.

    (*I use the word “argument” extremely loosely here of course)

  403. says

    Tony:

    I was thinking of arcus’ idiocy too.

    Hard not to think of it, or noelplum99/Jim’s absolute idiocy in that thread, arguing that douching isn’t sexist because military. A fine pair of fuckwits.

  404. kate_waters says

    @slow17motion:

    Your d00d tears have been collected and added to the tank. Thank you for your contribution. You can go back to ignoring everything but what the white d00dz say.

    Also: You may want to apply some ointment to your butthurt. Getting your ass chapped like taht has to hurt something awful.

    …and if you’re wondering why I won’t take the crap you say seriously, perhaps you ought to go back upthread and read some of the “Privilege 101″ links that have been helpfully and thoughtfully provided by people who shouldn’t have to do anything other than explain their lived experience to you. Thankfully, lots of those 101’s were written by white men, so WHITE D00DZ such as yourself won’t feel all icky and weird because they had to read wimmins words.

  405. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    What exactly is with the appearance of these few very stupid gay men who align so closely with the MRAs and assorted other bigots? Are they analogous with chill chicks?

    I know stupid is a cloak anyone can put on, but I’m still surprised and incredibly angered.

  406. marcantony says

    “Final word for all those people upset that we’d dare to criticize skeptical and atheist big shots:

    I’ll believe you when you shut up and stop criticizing me. And Ophelia. And Rebecca.

    Somehow, the only people to be defended from the horror of criticism turn out to be people who are anti-feminist.”

    Bullshit PZ. I came here and made the first post of my life on this site after five years of quiet reading. I didn’t try to make it a profound, superbly intelligent comment, I simply stated, respectfully, how the manner in which you and yours *** as well as those on the opposite extreme end of the spectrum (extreme behavior, not ideas) *** has given me an aversion to the site.

    I got jumped by a handful of commenters, basically being told to shut up and suck my thumb…oh, and that I’m not actually a feminist from a few people. And then you come on and say this nonsense. If only you knew, from the tons of people like me, what this all looks like.

    I am a REAL mother fucking feminist. I have written hundreds of letters to my senators, governor, congressmen, etc over the past few years. I have paired up with a girl friend of mine and gone to their offices and spent a shitload of our personal time waiting to get a word in. And I don’t even want to know how many hours spent arguing with MRA asswads on YouTube. And yet I have never once – until right this very second – to feel the slightest need to point any of this out. To what is, in essence, beat my chest about being something I should not need to prove a fuking thing to asshats like you and all these in-club/out-club jackasses who love nothing more than to pounce on a decent person like myself for saying something like I did.

    If you didn’t notice….before ever saying the first word of criticism towards you (and an extremely light and respectful bit of it, I might add)…I had spent untold hours doing the real gruntwork, as well as countless hours arguing with MRAs on YouTube since well before this whole BS errupted.

    So to come here, make as respectful of a critical comment as I knew how to make, and get jumped and then get told by you I essentially have no cred at all now I have levied a single critical comment towards this side of the fence?

    Well I only speak for myself and in the world of internet arguing this will be invisible and I’m well aware of it, but for now PZ, fuck you. And fuck all you poser asshats. You are a bunch of bandwagon *douchenozzles*.

    *Specifically used verbiage to cue up a couple shitsticks to say “haha! that’s proof you’re not a feminist” and just reinforce my point.

    PZ, you’re a brilliant person and you’ve done more than I ever will and I have mad respect…. but this gorilla combat stuff is misplaced and backfiring when so many people like myself are being fired at. Step up and be the bigger person. Get the same message out, but without sparking all this vitriol. Use comedy, use mockery, etc but stop engaging in what is essentially a non-violent witchunt.

    So yeah, f’off. Now I’m headed to YT to argue with MRAs.

  407. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    You may want to apply some ointment to your butthurt

    You know, it’s homophobic to reduce gay men to basic sex acts and use that as a point of insult.

    *removes tongue from cheek*

  408. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    @449:
    No, you are a clueless white DOODBRO with all the trappings of an MRA. Read and comprehend the various links in this thread. Then come back.
    And noelplum99 is a sexist shithead. Defending him here says as much as Al Stefanelli defending the Slymepit.

  409. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I find it disturbing that so many people on a place called “freethoughtblogs” simply ATTACK when someone presents a view that does not gel with the majority here. I’ve been watching the thoughtless and insulting responses to noelplum99′s posts, and I must say, they do not impress.

    Neither does your attempt at ATTITUDE impress. Beside, frethought doesn’t mean believe whatever some fool tells you. It means you have to ability to look beyond the rhetoric to the EVIDENCE. The MRA fuckwits never, ever, present evidence. Just snark and attitude. So, why should I take anything they say as anything other than abject fuckwittery. OPINION is not evidence, nor does it need to be respected if it doesn’t jive with reality.

  410. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    marcantony, this isn’t about you.

    That was a very pathetic rant though. Good work!

  411. says

    Thomathy:

    Are they analogous with chill chicks?

    Well, MaxH the frat boy certainly was the equivalent of a chill girl. (He was in a thread back on Pharyngula Sciborg). He defended all frat boy behaviour, including them joking about him being a faggot and so forth. Some people aren’t just swimming in sexism like the rest of us, they breathe it in by the lungful every day and tell themselves it’s oxygen.

  412. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    What exactly is with the appearance of these few very stupid gay men who align so closely with the MRAs and assorted other bigots? Are they analogous with chill chicks?

    Not very analogous.

    A woman siding with patriarchy is trying to negotiate with the source of her own oppression, at the expense of other women. This is tragic.

    A gay man siding with MRAs is not necessarily negotiating with his own oppressors. (While some MRAs are also homophobic, some are not; homophobia is not a necessary component of MRAism like patriarchy is.) He is simply fighting to protect his own male privilege. This is evil.

  413. says

    Thomathy:

    You know, it’s homophobic to reduce gay men to basic sex acts and use that as a point of insult.

    *removes tongue from cheek*

    Actually, I think it was decided that butthurt counted as a gendered slur, so we don’t use it around here. At least I don’t recall seeing it used for ages.

  414. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    So to come here, make as respectful of a critical comment as I knew how to make, and get jumped and then get told by you I essentially have no cred at all now I have levied a single critical comment towards this side of the fence?

    A critical comment would have included some actual reasons for your stance, not just a simple assertion that you are a feminist, and an appeal to people to shut up.

    Bring actual arguments and people will jump at your arguments, not at you.

  415. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    You may want to apply some ointment to your butthurt

    You know, it’s homophobic to reduce gay men to basic sex acts and use that as a point of insult.

    *removes tongue from cheek*

    It is in fact a homophobic insult, I despise it and wish people would stop using it.

  416. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Where oh where has my cookie gone?
    Where oh where can it be?
    Look! Above at number 460-
    It’s in the hand of marcantony.

    Guess we do not have to give him a cookie for all his hard work.

  417. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Yeah, I remember him, Caine. Ugh!

    I have to wonder how that sort of guy squares up his beliefs about gay rights with the misogynist stupidity. I wonder, but then I don’t actually want to hear an explanation from one of them. It’s a sickness of mine, I admit. I’m curious, but I’m too put off by what I may discover to actually want to know. It’s not like the wonder at the universe or of something pleasant. It’s like the wonder at whether there really is a monster under the bed, except the prospect of finding out isn’t terrifying, it’s sickening.

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

    Ezekiel –

    We dealt with the “science says…so let the chips fall where they may” comment upthread.

    It’s here.

    You can also just read the first 20 comments to get a lot of your questions answered…but no, you think people should read 400 comments to get to your outrageously perfect wisdom, but you can’t be bothered to read 5% of the thread b/c no one here is smart enough to know even one on-topic fact of which you aren’t already throroughly aware and which you haven’t already thoroughly explored for its implications.

    Your genius knows no bounds.

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

    No, really. It has no knowledge of any boundaries. You’re not even smart & educated enough to know that your intellect has limits – in pretty much any area. Let’s see, according to Dunning-Krueger, that would put you at what percentile in human intelligence?

    Let’s see.

    Nothin times nothin. Carry the nothin…

  420. says

    marcantony:

    after five years of quiet reading.

    If I had a dollar for every fuckwit who starts out with the above. Does it not occur to you that it’s obvious you’re lying? If you have actually been reading for five years, it’s been highly selective reading and you magically missed all the posts and very long threads on sexism and/or feminism. You seem to be completely unaware of 3D5K (E-gate). You seem to be completely unaware of all the posts/threads on what’s wrong with atheist/skepticism meetings and what can be done to fix those problems and so on.

    What that means to those of us who have been active on Pharyngula for years is that the only objective you have is to whine and you’re attempting to use “I’ve been a faithful reader for X amount of time” as some sort of authority. Bad move.

  421. Tethys says

    marcantony

    And fuck all you poser asshats. You are a bunch of bandwagon *douchenozzles*.

    *Specifically used verbiage to cue up a couple shitsticks to say “haha! that’s proof you’re not a feminist” and just reinforce my point.

    Poor oppressed marc claims to have read this blog for years, yet thinks the term douchnozzles is sexist.

    I guess that makes him either a liar, or appallingly stupid, or an appallingly stupid liar.

    ps to marc: f.u.c.k.o.f.f.a.s.s.h.a.t.

  422. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    SGBM ॐ, you’re absolutely right. For some reason I wasn’t considering it as such, having excused it as equivalent to asshole or douche as equal opportunity, but of course, butthurt comes specifically from a reference to anal sex, particularly between men and how that’d be a painful, demasculating thing.

    My tongue is rather placed firmly away from my cheek now. My remark would be better served if I had done slightly more thinking rather than attempting to make light in a thread that desperately needs some. At least I had good intentions, even if I lack magic powers*.

    *Now, that, that’s comic gold.

  423. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    marcantony,

    Your first comment was a ludicrous false equivalence between PZ and those who’ve been running an obsessive campaign of hatred, lies and threats for 18 months. I don’t see anyone responding by telling you to shut up, or that you’re not a feminist, although I admit I’ve not read every comment, and just searched for your name. Now you come back with a longer whine, and a completely unverifiable claim about what a great feminist you are. Why the fuck should anyone pay you any mind, or believe you’re anything other than a concern troll?

    BTW, “douchenozzle” is a perfectly acceptable, non-misogynist insult. If you don’t understand why, try thinking about it for a bit.

  424. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    Righto. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I’m angry with you or kate_waters. I’m not; I just hate the word and I didn’t want to see it go unchallenged.

  425. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Caine, missed your comment. You’re right, refer to my #478, include yourself, since you were first to point it out.

  426. says

    And fuck all you poser asshats. You are a bunch of bandwagon *douchenozzles*.

    *Specifically used verbiage to cue up a couple shitsticks to say “haha! that’s proof you’re not a feminist” and just reinforce my point.

    And you’ve been reading for 5 years, eh? Liar, liar, all flagrante. Gee, however did you miss the recent post “Douche defends douching”? In this community, douchebag and all variants are considered to be perfectly acceptable insults. The fact that you think it would prove a person to be not be a feminist exposes your sexism (along with everything else you write.) Douching is an anti-woman action and it’s physically harmful to women.

    You aren’t the brightest bulb. You might want to consider remaining quiet before you prove to all and sundry that you are a dyed in the wool idiot.

  427. chigau (Chiggers) says

    marcantony #460
    How could you have been reading comments on Pharyngula for 5+ years and not know what the reaction would be to your #219?

  428. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    SGBM ॐ , of course not. I sensed no anger. And, along with Caine, you’re totally right to not let it go unchallenged. I can hardly believe that I actually noticed it, reduced it to its basic premise and still thought that it could be used acceptably. That was some powerful subconscious action there.

  429. kate_waters says

    @strange gods:

    Oh, crap. I always thought it was more about the chapped ass thing… like diaper rash in an infant.

    I did not realize how that expression came about and now that I know I won’t use it anymore.

    Thanks for letting me know!

  430. Tethys says

    Caine

    Actually, I think it was decided that butthurt counted as a gendered slur, so we don’t use it around here.

    SG

    It is in fact a homophobic insult, I despise it and wish people would stop using it.

    I’ve always disliked the term. Happy to know it has been added to the off limits slurs pile.

  431. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Where did bishoptakesknight go? He still owes Tim Wise an apology, the bloody liar.

  432. ezekiel says

    This is ridiculous.

    It’s like the worst kind of clique / old-boys-club that you all want to rail against so badly.

    It’s actually quite surreal, in a Twilight Zone kind of way.

  433. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How could you have been reading comments on Pharyngula for 5+ years and not know what the reaction would be to your #219?

    It’s a part of the MRA script for chiding their victims, pretending to have been a long time reader when this is their first time at the blog. Along with disappointed with political/social threads, stick to science, going downhill, etc. When I see that idea appear in a post, I know where it is most likely coming from.

  434. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    ezekiel, thanks for the observation. Is there a reason you’re sticking around?

  435. Anthony K says

    Same reason that traffic slows down to take a good look at an accident.

    It’s frankly refreshing to read someone describe themself as a useless asshole, clogging up the works.

  436. kate_waters says

    Oh ezekiel, your tears have not gone unnoticed. Neither has your pearl clutching or your tone trolling.

    Which is to say it’s been noticed, but I don’t think anyone feel particularly sympathetic towards you for it.

    FWIW, maybe you ought to stop trying to make this all about you and let it be about the people who aren’t d00dz.

    You might, if you pay attention and check your ego, learn something valuable about the world around you.

    …or you could just keep crying your d00d tears so I can continue to bulldoze the manosphere in my Magical Misandry Machine.

  437. strange gods before me ॐ rational skeptic seeking truth for friendship, possibly more says

    kate_waters: I believe there is a genuine polysemy going on, so that the term does sometimes get transmitted from one person who does not think of it as sexual, to another who consequently thinks the same. But if you go searching for it “in the wild” you’ll find that in those cases when a referent is made explicit, it is much more often homophobic. And so I caution people not to use it at all, to avoid giving readers/listeners the impression that the homophobic referent is okay to use.

  438. thepint says

    kate_waters:

    my Magical Misandry Machine

    Are you selling any and for how much? I am interested in subscribing to your newsletter…

  439. Utakata says

    @ezetroll

    /delurking

    I don’t see someone trolling ignorance on the subject a sign of maturity either. So why don’t you grow up, before telling others too, lol?

    …back to lurking.

  440. Gnumann+, nothing gnu under the sun (but the name sticks) says

    This is ridiculous.

    It’s like the worst kind of clique / old-boys-club that you all want to rail against so badly.

    It’s actually quite surreal, in a Twilight Zone kind of way.

    Welcome to the outgroup experience.

    The slight sense of surreality will go away (along with a legion of your other personal problems) if you actually employ any wits and sense of empathy you might possess and grok why you are received with well-deserved scorn.

    Wits and empathy are of course not qualities your ilk always possess in sufficient measure. If you suspect this might be applicable in your case, you might want to just shut the fuck up.