So that’s why they’re so angry! »« Time with those we love is too often taken for granted

Once again, the Lord has made my enemies ridiculous

When I asked anti-feminists to support their opinions, I had expectations from past experience that they would fail miserably. I didn’t realize how badly they would flop, however. 760+ comments, and not one could present a reasonable argument: no explanation for why they oppose feminism, no evidence that feminism is bad, but lots of non sequiturs and emotionalism. I’m beginning to think that this anti-feminism stuff resembles a religious cult, and doesn’t belong in either skepticism or atheism.

Wait! While people were commenting pointlessly, Al Stefanelli made a video. I’m sure that delivered.

Nope, sorry, it’s an angry ranty video that accuses FtB of being a nazi-like anti-caucasion anti-man cult that is driving people away from atheism — there’s no evidence given for this remarkable assertion, and he couldn’t even be bothered to deliver any specifics on what horrible awful evil things we’ve done to have such extreme effects on the entirety of atheism, but poor mad Al is very upset about it all.

I think it’s settled. That fringe mob of people screaming at FtB because they’re so danged feminist aren’t rational. They’re just stupid assholes.


Maybe I should take that back. Stephanie has just posted a series of twitter comments rationally rebutting her ideology.

<reads comments; views animated gifs>

Whoops, no. I think my opinion of them just plummeted further, something I hadn’t thought possible.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s an angry rant about how bad angry rants are.

    This is sort of like the old mailing list meltdowns where someone would say “me too!” And another person would criticize them for wasting bandwidth, only to be curb-stomped for also wasting bandwidth, etc. Hilarity ensues!

    I watched The Hobbit on saturday and was daydreaming how funny it would be if Jackson had one of the trolls in the troll-fight scene take one of the others to task for being divisive and elitist. Or wasting bandwidth.

  2. says

    Stefanelli:

    including real feminists

    Oh FFS. I’m past tired of this No True Feminist crap. Just once, I want one of these gold-plated idiots to define, in concise, clear terms exactly what constitutes a “real” feminist.

    <spits>

  3. says

    @Caine:

    I’ll spare you, cause I can describe it:

    A real feminist is one who doesn’t want to make women superior to men. They don’t pay attention to tiny slights like being called a ‘bitch’ or silly things like that. They look to help women in other societies like the Middle East and Africa achieve equality like we have here in America, since women are truly equal here in America. If they fight for true equality in America, they’re not real feminists cause they have it so good here.

  4. ChasCPeterson says

    He spits out! evry clause of every sentence! with snarling contempt! for his ideological enemies!! It’s like a bad Bill O’Reilly impression.
    My favorite line: “They routinely call for the shunning of many!”

    And once again I have to observe that the video platform is probably not this person’s best choice. I found the lights reflecting off his glasses, pate, and spittle very distracting.

  5. says

    @Caine:

    Pretty much. A real feminist is someone who doesn’t have to make a person recognize their own privileged nature. I know this because I used to think that way back in high school and college. I used to think that feminists were just being hyper-critical and wanting more special rights compared to men. I honestly gave the “dear Muslima” response to a few people – basically “at least you’re not in the Middle East.”

    Thankfully the last year or so of college and Pharyngula helped me realize that women still have it shitty in the US.

  6. says

    I’m so glad a straight cis guy like Al is here to defend Real Feminism™ and The LGBT Community from all us… you know… women, queers and trans folk.

    Also, did anyone else’s brain just scream “holy fuck he’s going into straight up white-supremacist territory!” at that “the entire caucasian race!” comment?

  7. says

    So, FTB has “marginalized groups, including ‘real’ feminists, the LGBT community … and they appear to have an unhealthy vendetta against men in general and, as it appears, the entire Caucasian race …”

    Ah, I didn’t know this was a racial issue … in fact, I didn’t know that the “nonsectarian activism” considered “race,” much less the so-called “Caucasian race,” as an important topic … in fact, I didn’t know that rational, scientifically oriented people, would even speak about “races” when discussing H. sapiens. Silly me! I guess that’s why I stopped listening about 45 seconds in.

  8. says

    Chas:

    My favorite line: “They routinely call for the shunning of many!”

    :Snort:

    Natalie:

    Also, did anyone else’s brain just scream “holy fuck he’s going into straight up white-supremacist territory!” at that “the entire caucasian race!” comment?

    This is an extension of his belief that all the terrible, mean harpies are insistent that he apologize for existing while white and having a penis. All those poor, oppressed white penis people have no one to fight for them, you see, so Al has taken up the call.

  9. mildlymagnificent says

    Also, did anyone else’s brain just scream “holy fuck he’s going into straight up white-supremacist territory!” at that “the entire caucasian race!” comment?

    Nuh! I thought this is a man who openly states he doesn’t understand Schrodinger’s Rapist. What’s the betting there are other things he doesn’t know he doesn’t understand, like, say, privilege. I put a comment at Ophelia’s on this. And of course being an arrogant member of the FtB echo chamber, mindless PZ worshipping cabal, I’m absolutely certain that I am absolutely right on this and no-one can ever say anything at all to disabuse me of this opinion.

    (Except perhaps some facts to counter it.)

  10. says

    I think it’s settled. That fringe mob of people screaming at FtB because they’re so danged feminist aren’t rational. They’re just stupid assholes.

    Sometimes it’s really that simple.

  11. says

    I’ve trying to lurk lately, because sticking my nose into this crap is incredibly stressful, but given the way this mess has been going lately I want to point out a couple tiny issues now to nip them in the bud before the slymers get their hands on them.

    ——–

    PZ,

    poor mad Al

    You might want to tweak this — given the way things have been going lately, I suspect it will get quotemined as a mental health slur rather than a reference to anger.

    ——–
    Chas,

    And once again I have to observe that the video platform is probably not this person’s best choice. I found the lights reflecting off his glasses, pate, and spittle very distracting.

    I know you probably didn’t mean it this way, but it comes off (to me) as an appearance slur, which I suspect the slymers would love to trumpet as an example of FTB hypocrisy.

    ——–

    Sorry if this sounds yucky and presumptuous coming from a lurker. :/

  12. says

    I guess it’s a short step in the right direction to acknowledge that lots of very different kinds of people with very different views can all self-identify as feminists, but the use of the adjective “real” (without any follow through) adds a short step that takes him over the cliff. Do we call the “other” feminists fake, unreal or surreal? And who gets to makes these rules?

    Re: What Natalie Reed wrote #8:
    I remember a professor in grad school explained that the word “race” has no scientific leg to stand on and that as a social construct he found it pernicious and not deserving further discussion in his classroom. He went on to tell us that, not kidding, anyone who used the word “race” without placing it in quotation marks (as part of discussing how other people took the term seriously, but not the writer) and not referring to people attempting to reach a finish line first would flunk the course. No negotiation, no second chances.

  13. jose says

    From an upvoted comment to the video:
    “I can say without a doubt they (FTB – not all but a good majority) have no love for anyone who believes men should have rights as well.”

    PZ, why do you have no love for your own rights? We can begin with the right to vote, for instance. Will you explain to your audience what’s so wrong about voting? Sorry but this commenter totally figured you out, now you have to come clean.

  14. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    To the tune of Challenge Of the Superfriends:
    Banded together from remote regions of the Internet
    Are a bakers dozen of the most annoying anti-feminists of all time
    The Legion of Slyme
    Dedicated to a single objective: the elimination of Atheism Plus
    Only one group dares to challenge this underwhelming threat: The FreeThoughtBloggers
    […]
    It’s The FreeThoughtBloggers vs The Legion of Slyme
    This is The Challenge of PZ Myers!
    (Hey, he gets the blame for everything anyways)

  15. says

    Anne C. Hanna:

    You might want to tweak this — given the way things have been going lately, I suspect it will get quotemined as a mental health slur rather than a reference to anger.

    I realize you mean well, but you sound an awful lot like the people we had in another thread explaining that feminism would possibly be okay if we never did or said anything which could be painted in a negative light.

    Personally, I don’t care in the slightest how those in a certain pit paint or twist things. It also doesn’t matter in the least what someone says or how they say it – they’ll find a way to howl and whine over it anyway.

  16. says

    I hate the whole Caucasian thing anyway, the very word is redolent of white supremacy. No, light-skinned peoples did not all originate in the Caucasus mountains, sweeping ever Westward from there to conquer and bring enlightenment first to Europe and then to North America, as they pursued their glorious Manifest Destiny. We’re not “Caucasians.”

  17. ChasCPeterson says

    I wear glasses too, but if I was to make a talking-head video of myself* I’d make sure my eyes weren’t obscured by glare as I read my angry words off of my computer monitor.
    But OK, the ‘pate’ crack was unnecessary.

    *don’t worry

  18. says

    Caine, I can see why it might have come off as me trying to suggest that people shouldn’t say anything at all, or as if I was making creepy “not-a-threat”s like the slymer trolls sometimes do. That’s a communications fail on my part. I was trying to soften what I said by suggesting that others might find some excuse to take those comments badly when I should’ve been more forthright and just said that *I* didn’t like either of those comments, no matter how well-intended they may have been.

    I really loathe this slymepit nonsense, and the rare occasions where they actually seem to have a fraction of a sliver of a point piss me off to no end, so I’d like to head that off by giving PZ and Chas a chance to retract/edit these two particular things in advance of the slymers coming upon them. I happened to wind up reading bits of the slymepit earlier today when I was backtracing some links trying to figure out what the hell this newest blowup is about, and it just made me feel like I had cockroaches crawling all over my brain. The less of that I have to see, the better.

    Also, although I’ve been lurking mostly lately, I want to mention that I’m not new to this game, and I’m not on the slymer side. I can post links to past tussles I’ve gotten into with them if you need my bonafides. I’ve been lurking precisely because I get too invested in fighting this stuff and it impedes my ability to get other work done. So, sorry if I came off wrong myself. :/

  19. says

    What! You promised me this was a forum where brown people can come and destroy whitey using scathing internet prose…

    Do you know why I write such long articles? Well do you???

    Because then white people with laptops will place their laptops on their laps slowly reducing their sperm count and motility… thus reducing fertility and thus allowing us to overcome…

    And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky slymepitters… *Shakes fist*

    I will get you next time… NEXT TIME!!!

  20. says

    @Caine

    And remember it’s pronounced Pahsty. (bad joke about cornish food away!)

    Chortles The more I read of Avicenna’s the more I like him :P

  21. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Anne C. Hanna:

    [1] I really loathe this slymepit nonsense, and the rare occasions where they actually seem to have a fraction of a sliver of a point piss me off to no end, so I’d like to head that off by giving PZ and Chas a chance to retract/edit these two particular things in advance of the slymers coming upon them. [2] I happened to wind up reading bits of the slymepit earlier today when I was backtracing some links trying to figure out what the hell this newest blowup is about, and it just made me feel like I had cockroaches crawling all over my brain. [3] The less of that I have to see, the better.

    I can see how 3 follows from 2, but not how 2 follows from 1.

    Also (and apparently unlike you) I don’t think PZ is so unaware either of what he’s written or of how it may come across that he needs a heads-up.

    Also, although I’ve been lurking mostly lately, I want to mention that I’m not new to this game, and I’m not on the slymer side. I can post links to past tussles I’ve gotten into with them if you need my bonafides.

    No need.

  22. says

    Anne C. Hanna:

    if you need my bonafides

    I don’t, I remember you from when you last posted. That wasn’t my point at all. I simply don’t care about what those in the pit will twist and turn, because they’ll find a way to do it no matter what. As for you finding those remarks distasteful, that’s fine.

    Avicenna:

    Because then white people with laptops will place their laptops on their laps slowly reducing their sperm count and motility… thus reducing fertility and thus allowing us to overcome…

    Yes, it’s amazing how all white people with laptops have penises.

  23. says

    michaeld remarked,Facts and attempts at well supported arguments seem to be in short supply tonight.

    That’s not unusual.

    Far too many don’t seem to care about reaching their goal, if in fact they have one that’s anywhere near well defined. If they were focussed on results, they’d be busily (and calmly) building alliances, not endlessly venting their spleens in public forums.

    They often remind me of the rightest of rignt wing republicans. :-)

  24. says

    Chas, thanks for walking back the pate comment.

    John, if PZ is aware of how his use of the phrase “poor mad Al” sounds, that seems to make things worse, not better, unless my dip into the slymepit has somehow damaged my irony sensors.

    Caine, fair enough.

    Anyway, I don’t want to make this any more about me than it has already become or otherwise derail any further, so I’ll quit. Sorry for my clumsiness.

  25. John Morales says

    Anne, as I see it PZ is being deliberately and unapologetically both playful (see my emphasis below; a punnish semantic shift) and provocative (yes, the insinuation is that Al is not in his right mind) in that portion of that denouncement:

    Nope, sorry, it’s an angry ranty video that accuses FtB of being a nazi-like anti-caucasion anti-man cult that is driving people away from atheism — there’s no evidence given for this remarkable assertion, and he couldn’t even be bothered to deliver any specifics on what horrible awful evil things we’ve done to have such extreme effects on the entirety of atheism, but poor mad Al is very upset about it all.

  26. says

    Argh, John, I really really don’t want to do this. What I want is, “Oops, that was a mistake, let’s walk that back,” like I’ve been taught is the Pharyngula way when one accidentally says something insensitive.

    ‘Cause, here’s the thing: given Al’s past soul-baring about his own mental illness issues, playfully insinuating that he’s not in his right mind in these rather hostile circumstances is just straight-up not cool. And that’s why I said it’s *worse* if PZ did it on purpose, not better.

    I do not like what Al is doing, but the whole argument here from day one has been that just because one person is a jerk, that doesn’t make it okay to use slurs that do splash damage. Please don’t defend this. Please let’s not make this into yet another big stupid time-wasting discussion that could’ve just been averted by saying, “Yeah, okay, not the best choice of words.” Please?

  27. damiki says

    I have a strong suspicion that you’re not taking their angry rants seriously.

    All you have to do is turn on the TV and listen to the all the old white men reciting in extensive detail how bad this country is for old white men, and how we really don’t have a voice.

    I’m a 50+, straight, CIS, white dude, and let me tell you, guys like me have got it worse than any other group in the universe…because people are mean…like saying we don’t have it worse than any other group…and not believing us when we say we do…and feminists…

  28. brendiggg says

    @ Avicenna

    Your efforts are unnecessary. The sheer bonking power of you brownies will ensure global domination. I recognised this early and married a brown lady and have brown boys because when you so-called “people” take the planet from us you might go easy on my lily-white ass.

  29. says

    Gah! I am a spanner… I faffed up the quotes what it should say is…

    Yes, it’s amazing how all white people with laptops have penises.

    You forgot the second argument that Al makes which is FTB’s hatred of men…

    Fuck The Patriarchy! My plan is perfectly designed to target our sole hated demographics… Absence of Melanin and Testicles.

  30. says

    poor mad Al

    It would appear that’s a fairly accurate description, judging from what the guy spit forth there.

    I have to say I’m amazed. From Shermer to Hoggle, there seems to be a large number of atheists who just cannot wrap their heads around the simple fact that women are people, and when it is pointed out to them that this is so, they start screaming and calling those who dare to point it out to them “anti-man” and “anti-“, it’s truly a thing of wonder.

    All that skepticism goes out the door in a heartbeat, and these skeptically trained brains seem to melt and malfunction when faced with the immense task of performing just a tiny bit of introspection, or questioning their dearly-held beliefs. It’s revealing, and it’s embarrassing to witness.

  31. ChasCPeterson says

    At this time, I’d like to issue a routine call for the shunning of many.
    End routine call.

  32. says

    rorschach,

    It would appear that’s a fairly accurate description, judging from what the guy spit forth there.

    D00d, no. Mentally ill =/= privilege-oblivious. There are plenty of people here who have experienced and continue to experience various forms of mental illness without them using it as an excuse to get ragey about teh ebil feminazis. Please don’t use slurs that do collateral damage to them.

    I think the real problem here is that, for all we skeptic-y types pride ourselves on being open to evidence and logic and changing our minds when we’re proven to be wrong, it’s still a damn hard thing to do. And all this social justice/Atheism+ stuff is right there at the rock face bringing to light all the different things that most of us are wrong about to some degree and in some way. So it’s not entirely surprising that as this community works harder and harder at getting it right, the process is exposing more and more people’s nasty little sticking points that they just can’t accept they’re wrong about. And when one of those sticking points is hit, you get these jagged breaks, with corresponding peculiar realignments of allegiances. That’s no excuse for taking refuge from one’s errors in the Slymepit, of course, but my point is that even if it were *appropriate* to blame Al’s turn to the Slyme Side on “madness”, it’s probably not accurate to do so.

  33. says

    D00d, no. Mentally ill =/= privilege-oblivious.

    Sorry, I should have explained it better. I’m taking “mad” here to mean angry or ragey, not mentally ill. That seemed obvious to me from the context, and the person who wrote it.

  34. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    rorscach:
    I think you almost hit the nail on the head. I think some of the ‘pitters consider themselves champions of social justice in general and even feminism to an extent. Where they trip up is thinking women don’t have it that bad. As if 90% [random number] of the work on women’s rights is done. These are people who don’t accept patriarchy or privilege. Their blinders are on and their privilege is showing. So when they see us talking about how much more work there is to do, they choose-for whatever reason-to reject our viewpoint. I also think there is some degree of refusal to accept that they could in any way be enabling sexism and misogyny. Basically, they have to be right. If they are not right and we are, that would devastate them. So instead of realizing-as many of us have-that we all have sexist or racist views and working to change them, they opt to remain in their bubble of certainty.

  35. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Anne:
    I, too, agree with the interpretation of mad = angry/raging.
    I do see where you are coming from though.

  36. says

    Also, in re the, “Why can’t they accept that women are people?” question…

    I think they *believe* that they accept that women are people, but the problem is that they don’t (and generally refuse to) think about all the implications that this fact has for how they should act. It’s as if they were to accept the fundamental axioms of set theory, but then refuse to go through the work necessary to derive anything useful from them, or even to accept the results of other people’s derivations.

    I suspect this why many of them so angrily protest, “I *am* a feminist!”, or, “Of course I think women should have equal rights!”. They really don’t understand, or even want to understand, that there’s more to the struggle for women’s rights than the simple unadorned statement of support for equality, just as there’s more to set theory than the Zermelo axioms. (Alternate analogy: there’s a hell of a lot more to science than just the fundamental laws of physics, even though everything we study ultimately arises from those laws.)

    It’s kind of a weird way of looking at things, tho. You’d think supposedly science-loving types would know better than to refuse to address the higher-order consequences of a principle just because those consequences are complicated and hard to think about.

  37. yubal says

    I haven’T found the time yet to post this third party argument i was mentioning. Just one thing up front. Feminism is a default position not one that needs justification . Unless you are not a humanist. Like atheism.

  38. says

    Tony and rorschach, fair enough about “mad”, and I hope you’re correct. But given that the post is about someone who actually does have some experience with mental illness in his life, I still think it was an ill-chosen wording on PZ’s part, regardless of how it was intended.

  39. says

    Oh, and you “don’t achieve equality by taking away things from any other group”
    Yes, dear Al, slavery should somehow have been ended without taking away white people’s right to own people and without making them lose their property.
    And really, the rights of women should somehow have been advanced without taking aways husbamds’ rights to their wives’ money, to have sex with them whenever they wanted and to decide whether or not a woman was allowed to have a job.
    Such cruelties and unjustices against white men!
    And somehow we should be able to ensure womens’ rights to go about their lives without being harrased without somehow telling guys not to harras them and to take away their penis-given right to impose their sexuality on any woman any time as they see fit.
    I’m looking forward to solutions to that problem.
    Oh, well, I guess it’s “stop being so damn hysterical, bitches!”

  40. rumleech says

    “driving people away from atheism” If that’s all it take then I suspect they weren’t very atheist to begin with.

  41. says

    The message from the court ruling that overturned Prop 8 in California seems to apply to these flame wars:

    “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights…”

  42. Maureen Brian says

    Anne C Hanna,

    How is it I have never seen you pop up in a thread in which assorted creeps are spreading abuse, derogatory terms, half-baked argument and general disparagement around like lime mortar? You know the sort well enough, clearly, the immature with under-used brains, the insecure, the Natural-Leader-Type guy who has never in his 50 years at the top been challenged – never, I tell you, and certainly not by a mere woman. Never a word about that!

    Admittedly, you are able to construct a sentence better than most of them but it is my belief that you are a tone troll.

  43. roland says

    So if you’re not a nazi-like anti-caucasion anti-man cult, can you please publish a link to one, because the whole time I’ve been under the impression that this was it, and now I don’t know where to go.

  44. mnb0 says

    I don’t get these guys. I have experienced feminism in The Netherlands since a teenager. It hasn’t affected my masculinity, whatever that is, in the least. What’s so hard about equal rights? Again already as a teenager I saw the advantages for the straight white mail I am: shared responsibilities, less risk to fail etc. For this you only need common sense, you don’t have to be a feminist. Perhaps that’s their problem.

  45. says

    Admittedly, you are able to construct a sentence better than most of them but it is my belief that you are a tone troll.

    I disagree. I think Anne’s complaint is a relevant one. I’m not aware of the details, but if Al really does have a well-known history of mental illness, the “mad” phrasing is probably best avoided.

  46. Matt Penfold says

    I think you almost hit the nail on the head. I think some of the ‘pitters consider themselves champions of social justice in general and even feminism to an extent. Where they trip up is thinking women don’t have it that bad. As if 90% [random number] of the work on women’s rights is done

    They seem to think that because women in the US, (and in other developed countries )do not have it as bad as women in other parts of the world, then the sexism and discrimination faced by women in the US does not matter, and that nothing much need to be done about it.

    They also seem to think that because developed countries generally have laws protecting women against discrimination that this somehow means the battle for equality has been won. Whereas in reality having such laws in place is just the start of the battle.

  47. Maureen Brian says

    No, LykeX. The word “mad” has two possible meanings – insane and angry. PZ has been very clear which sense he was using in a very specific context.

    If you were to trawl the internet for the past 18 months – take a calculator with you! – you’d find any number of times when the sanity of women was really being questioned. As with Anne, I don’t remember you making much of a fuss then.

    Social justice, you know, is only just if it applies to applies to everybody. I await with interest your screed on Al’s implication that everyone around here is a Nazi.

  48. vaiyt says

    See Whitey Man cry. Cry, Whitey Man, cry. Your tears are delicious.

    @58:

    “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights…”

    Good to know we’re on the same page.

  49. says

    @Maureen Brian

    Lots of words have multiple meanings. Whether PZ was sufficiently clear is a personal judgment. Mentally ill people are demonized often enough, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be a little careful and perhaps use word which are not as open to other interpretations. Social justice is also relevant with regards to people with mental illness.

    I’m not interested in diverging from the discussion of women’s rights. That’s not why I commented. I simply wanted to address another issue which had already been brought up here. An issue I think matters and that I’d expect people around here to care about too.

    You don’t think there was anything problematic about that comment. You think it was perfectly clear. I ask you to consider that maybe it wasn’t clear to everybody else. I consider this analogous to the low-level discrimination that flies just under the radar. It’s just innocuous enough that you don’t feel like commenting on it, but it still grates on you when you hear it on a regular basis.
    For a moment, try to read that line again, but forget that it was PZ who wrote it. Imagine that it was written by someone with a history of slamming mentally ill people. Imagine such a person referring to a person with known mental illness as “poor, mad Al.” See how it suddenly feels kinda icky? That’s what I’m getting at.
    Now, sure, context. I know that PZ didn’t mean that. I’m not trying to paint him as a monster. I’m simply trying to say that maybe we could avoid that in the future. Maybe if you mean “angry”, you could say “angry”. Maybe if you’re referring to a person with a mental illness, you could avoid terms like “mad”, “crazy”, “nuts”, etc.
    Granted, if a person is looking for something to take out of context, there’s no way to avoid it. You could certainly get bogged down in an eternal struggle to constantly avoid this word or that. However, I think it’s relevant to just point to it and say “Hey, look out for that,” especially when it has already been brought up and rejected.

    And as for whether you remember me, that’s really your problem. If you like, feel free to look around this network for what I’ve written (here and AXP, mostly). You could also check my (all too rarely updated) blog, which is linked in my profile. I’m not hiding.

    Anyway, since this is getting off-topic, I’m content to let it drop at this point.

    I await with interest your screed on Al’s implication that everyone around here is a Nazi.

    What’s there to say? The guy’s an asshole. I didn’t actually watch the whole video. He threw around a lot of invective, but there was no real content. I found myself going “such as…” a lot. It got boring real fast.

  50. carlie says

    For what it’s worth, the phrasing of “poor mad so-and-so” is one that has often been used when meaning mad to be insane. It’s a subtle possible jab, but it’s not out of line to suggest some people would see it that way.

    These are people who don’t accept patriarchy or privilege. Their blinders are on and their privilege is showing. So when they see us talking about how much more work there is to do, they choose-for whatever reason-to reject our viewpoint

    It occurred to me while commenting at Ophelia’s just now that this is in some ways similar to the difference between expressed racism in the south and northern US in the early-mid 1900s, from what I’ve read about it. Racism was very overt in the south, but when black people moved to the north they found that there was still just as much racism, but it was couched in more polite terms and was more hidden, and therefore more difficult to notice and avoid or combat. That would make those people you mention similar to northerners who happily say “we don’t have any racism!” because they don’t have any “whites only” signs on their drinking fountains, without noticing that they never seem to hire any black people, and think it’s natural that the police arrest black people ten times more often than white people, etc.

  51. vaiyt says

    @69:

    when black people moved to the north they found that there was still just as much racism, but it was couched in more polite terms and was more hidden, and therefore more difficult to notice and avoid or combat. That would make those people you mention similar to northerners who happily say “we don’t have any racism!” because they don’t have any “whites only” signs on their drinking fountains, without noticing that they never seem to hire any black people, and think it’s natural that the police arrest black people ten times more often than white people, etc.

    Welcome to my country.

  52. says

    @Anne C Hanna in #51:

    I think they *believe* that they accept that women are people, but the problem is that they don’t (and generally refuse to) think about all the implications that this fact has for how they should act.

    Sounds about right to me, but I think there’s more to it. They want to present themselves as the “reasonable middle”, and distance themselves from MRA’s and “real misogynists”. However, all their notions about what feminism is, what feminists want, etc, don’t come from feminists, they come from the MRA’s and anti-feminists. This one-sided view of feminism makes us very suspicious about their self-professed “reasonable middle” position – we can trace where their ideas came from, and it’s not the middle. It’s the same thing as libertarians distancing themselves from conservatives and the right wing, yet all their ideas about liberalism and especially socialism come from the very right of the spectrum. Or agnostics claiming the golden middle between believers and atheists, and yet they have all the misconceptions of atheists that are common among Christians. I think all of these phenomena are caused by the same type of dynamics.

  53. jose says

    I think it’s not fair to say there wasn’t one legit response. Verbose Stoic made an effort, he wasn’t an asshole, he explained his reasons with honesty and without hate. We don’t have to think his ideas are good, but that’s different from saying all the responses were garbage.

    His response could even be an example of what a disagreement on the issues is, useful to compare it to this video and to the stuff at Almost Diamonds. They are qualitatively different.

  54. Nepenthe says

    [OT]

    Vaiyt, you keep talking about your country and I’ve been trying to figure out what it is based on the details you’ve given, but I’m at a loss still. Big hint plz?

  55. Real Science says

    Did you really just claim a victory after banning a group of 400+ members from posting? Are you really a teacher? Please tell me people are not wasting time learning science from someone who can come to the conclusions you have here. Do you really think that if you post it then it becomes true as if by magic? What if a researcher doesn’t like the letter ‘S’. Then every time she is conducting a study she automatically throws out any possible results starting with the letter ‘S’ because of her own bias. She then claims to have made a major breakthrough as a result of that study What is it that scares you about the slymepit PZ? Afraid you can’t hold your own if you come up against them in a public forum that you don’t control? You have huddled into a little cocoon all nice and cozy protected from any counter arguments insulated from debates. The creationists were easy so you went after them. Isn’t that what animals do? Weaker ones will look for the easy prey because they can’t take down a healthy opponent. You should be embarrassed. I wonder what your peers say about you after you leave the room that must be quite a contrast to what you imagine they say. I wonder what word is used to describe you most often. “Childish”? “Imbecilic”? “Delusional”? PZ try to keep in mind there is a rather large (and growing) vocal group of critics calling you out on every bullshit thing you do/say. They don’t censor anyone in their forum, everyone is welcome to post and all are accountable for their words. There is no need for censorship if the truth is your goal. Do you really think your readers can’t think and figure it out for themselves? How low is the opinion you have of your readers anyway?

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Verbose Stoic made an effort, he wasn’t an asshole, he explained his reasons with honesty and without hate. We don’t have to think his ideas are good, but that’s different from saying all the responses were garbage.

    Actually, it was garbage. The minute he went on and on about chivalry being the main component of patriarchy, instead of figuring out what it really meant, it was garbage. And he produced no citations to back up its claims. If you consider pure philosophy worth anything, it was an effort.

  57. says

    @Real Science

    1) Drop the censorship nonsense. This is a private site. PZ can ban whoever he wants, for whatever reason he wants and it’s not censorship. Just like I can’t paint my political slogans n your front door, PZ is entirely within his rights to limit what kinds of posts are made here.

    2) Slymepitters aren’t actually prohibited from posting. It would be ludicrously easy to make a new account and simply not tell anyone that you’re form the slymepit. You would then be free to make your serious, rational arguments.
    There are only two possible reasons why the good arguments don’t show up: Either the slymepitters are voluntarily refusing to post those arguments, or they just don’t exist.

    3) Your post is dangerously low on actual content. Your point was that the good arguments are being sifted out by PZ’s ban policy, but I think that point would be more believable if you showed a minimal ability to write a decent argument yourself.

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Did you really just claim a victory after banning a group of 400+ members from posting?

    Did you just show attitude and ignorance typical of the Slymepit?

    Do you really think your readers can’t think and figure it out for themselves? How low is the opinion you have of your readers anyway?

    Yep Slymepitter. Typical rant. Nothing but attitude, not skeptical at all about what the MRA fuckwits say, thinks it knows skepticism better than those of us practicing it for 25+ years. Not one citation to back up its stupidity, and its vain attempt at sarcasm showing its lack of thinking skills.

    Slymeptitters, you can spot them by the irrational, illogical, and unskeptical script they follow.

  59. says

    OOO real science JUST what I’ve been looking for! If anyone can meet the kinds of burdon’s of proof instead of emotional poorly substantiated arguments. I know you’re our man (figure of speechly of course, you may or may not be a man).

  60. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What Real Science (not doing science either, as you take your OPINION out of the equation) missed from PZ asking for EVIDENCE to show their OPINION is evidence based, not presuppositional based.

    Presuppositions, the problem atheists and skeptics have with those who don’t look at the evidence (or lack thereof for their imaginary deity), but presume based on feeling, irrational thinking, or the fact that they don’t like the conclusions of the evidence.

    Every attempt to show feminism is bad was a presuppsitional argument. That was PZ’s point. If it wasn’t, there would be real academic evidence, not attitude, presented to show they had rational and evidence based arguments. Real Science showed they have nothing but vacuous presuppositional attitude with its empty emotional screed.

  61. carlie says

    They want to present themselves as the “reasonable middle”, and distance themselves from MRA’s and “real misogynists”. However, all their notions about what feminism is, what feminists want, etc, don’t come from feminists, they come from the MRA’s and anti-feminists. This one-sided view of feminism makes us very suspicious about their self-professed “reasonable middle” position – we can trace where their ideas came from, and it’s not the middle.

    *light bulb*

  62. carlie says

    after banning a group of 400+ members from posting

    Sure, that’s what he did. He went through the slymepit posts, took note of every individual username, and preemtively banned every one of them from posting, because he’s that obsessive about it.

    No, wait, he didn’t do that at all. See, what actually happens is:

    Slymepitters aren’t actually prohibited from posting. It would be ludicrously easy to make a new account and simply not tell anyone that you’re form the slymepit. You would then be free to make your serious, rational arguments.
    There are only two possible reasons why the good arguments don’t show up: Either the slymepitters are voluntarily refusing to post those arguments, or they just don’t exist.

    They only get banned after showing up and making inane, ridiculous, unsupported comments/rants and don’t heed warnings to start being substantive. It just so happens that people from the slymepit tend to be the kind of people who refuse to make substantive comments, and therefore get banned.

  63. tonyinbatavia says

    @74

    Whoa! PZ, brace yourself. They have a whole *400+* people who are your vocal critics and who are calling you out. How ever will you survive?

    But wait, Real Science, I see that you and your 400+ budz couldn’t generate even a single halfway decent response to PZ’s post. Now you’re saying *he* should be embarrassed? That’s rich.

    PZ, I just answered my own question. You are facing a lineup of 400+ people who are batting .000. You will be fine.

  64. jose says

    @75 call it what you like, but you have to admit it’s not the same as ‘pit stuff or the comments PZ quoted in the “why do you despise feminism” post.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    @75 call it what you like, but you have to admit it’s not the same as ‘pit stuff or the comments PZ quoted in the “why do you despise feminism” post.

    Sorry, it was the same presuppositional stuff dress up in the verbose philosophical sophistry making it sound intellectual, but it was only pseudointellectual as it was divorced from reality.

  66. says

    Did you really just claim a victory after banning a group of 400+ members from posting?

    Surely the poster “Real Science” will come up with evidence for this extraordinary claim in no time. Oh, no wait.

    Seriously, what is it with these people?

  67. says

    Wait…so Real Science has managed to get through my impenetrable barrier of the whirling banhammer, and he chose not to say one thing of any substance, but to instead claim it’s because all of the intelligent critics of feminism have been silenced?

    Just think: he could have taken advantage of this leak in my TOTAL SLYMEPIT BANNANAGE to flatten me with a coherent, evidence based argument, but instead chose to whine about persecution.

    By the way, I suspect some of those 400+ members are there to watch the train wreck in progress. But sure, I will concede that there are at least 400 people in the world who hate me and regard me with total contempt. So? Do you really think my intent is to pander to all 7 billion people on the planet?

  68. Sili says

    So that’s the A.S. someone recently mentioned leaving in a huff because he wasn’t allowed to be the boss. I thought the name sounded familiar. Not that I think I’ve ever read him.

    Anyone care to fill me in on the details?

  69. says

    It’s been my experience that every skeptic has a “blind spot,” a claim or even entire field to which they refuse to apply their otherwise well-honed skepticism, and get angry and defensive if asked to do so. Like the person who spent years on my forums making brilliant arguments until he was asked to defend his idea that San Francisco had been taken over and ruined by gay people. Or the person who couldn’t tolerate any questions at all (even attempts to learn more) about Net Neutrality. And of course, there are many examples of people who debunk Bigfoot, UFOs, alt med, creationism (etc.), but don’t you dare turn a critical eye on their religion.

    Which people turn out to have which blind spot tends to be surprising. Given what I recall of Stefanelli from a year-plus ago, I never would have guessed it’d be feminism that he can’t see.

    I don’t know what my blind spot is. I hope it’s nothing too embarrassing, or anything of real import, like social justice.

  70. says

    They’ve decided that there is no Real Sexism to fight anymore in what used to be called the West, so we can all either go home or fight the battle for equality elsewhere.They’re enamoured of the Just World fallacy, which prevents them from understanding the concept of privilege. To them “acknowledging privilege” is just another way of saying “blame”. They think any problems women believe they face are just the cost of doing business so suck it up, just like men do, not even conceiving for a second that all problems are not equal. They think of granting and protecting the rights as a zero sum game, and so if you take care to ensure one group’s rights aren’t being trampled, you’re necessarily giving it an advantage over other groups–even the group that rarely, if ever has to worry about its rights being infringed.They think that (despite the evidence to the contrary) only conscious intentions and overt actions count, so if they themselves don’t believe they’re sexist/racist etc. then they aren’t, ipse facto. So they can’t stand being accused of sexism/racism etc.They don’t hear us saying that everyone is sexist and racist because we have been raised in a sexist and racist culture. When it suits them, they like to take an etymologically literal interpretation of certain words so they can excuse themselves from criticism (e.g. “misogyny” is hatred of women and I don’t *hate* women, no matter how I treat them). When it suits them, the actual, still current meaning of certain words is ignored so they can excuse themselves from criticism (e.g.”cunt” is a generic insult that has nothing to do with women). They take an NRA gun nut approach to discourse: the only way to have freedom is if everyone is both armed and shooting, and what should we care about innocent bystanders and collateral damage? the tree of liberty needs some more blood anyway. They’re as bad as the right wing preachers when it comes to projection, sitting in the slymepit crowing to each other about how much of an echo chamber FTB is, spending all their time bullying and harassing others while complaining about how FTB are big bullies.

    I’d venture to guess that this all comes part and parcel with a (mostly American) libertarian mentality.They’ve ditched religion and other such supernatural nonsense, but stopped there. There’s been no sceptical evaluation of society, politics, economics, or the media. How many don’t accept AGW? or think trickle-down economics actually works to help the middle class? or that owning a few guns is a sacred right granted so that they might protect themselves against a tyrannical government? or that legitimate rape is only the kind that happens when a stranger pops out of the bushes and the modestly dressed victim who’s never shown any interest in being sexual gets bruised up because she actually struggles? All in all, it’s pretty sad.

  71. says

    Al Stefanelli was not trying to be boss. He stomped off in a huff because Reap Paden had done a terribly idiotic and abusive podcast in which he ranted at length about FtB, and we had laughed and sneered at his inanity (seriously, this was a guy who thinks calling people “cunts” repeatedly was an argument). Then Al mentioned that he was a co-host on the podcast — but not that particular episode — and Reap Paden was a close personal friend.

    I think he was upset that we saw that his good buddy was a moron, and when faced with a decision to disown the stupidity or side with his friend, he chose his friend. Loyalty is nice, I suppose, except when it drags you down int a slymepit.

  72. says

    How is it I have never seen you pop up in a thread in which assorted creeps are spreading abuse, derogatory terms, half-baked argument and general disparagement around like lime mortar?

    The first time I ever saw Anne C. Hanna’s name was on the SGU thread where people were calling for Rebecca Watson to be kicked off the podcast. She tangled with some of the most vicious of the pitters for an extended period of time. I’ll try to find the link.

  73. says

    Actually, I suspect that “Real Science” is actually Reap Paden again. The lack of paragraphs, the incoherent argument, the lack of substance…so I shouldn’t have bothered addressing him. Paden is not smart enough to make a competent reply.

  74. says

    What PZ said about why Al S left. Seriously, it was that abrupt and reason-less and weird. Nothing about not being the boss; nothing at all really. Just, one day a prickly defensive outburst about how reap is his friend but so are we, and then a week later boom, he left. There was no on-going struggle or fight or tension.

    That’s why I had no idea how furious he was; that’s why I posted about his departure; that’s why I made the bad mistake of posting a comment on his post about his departure. I simply had no clue.

    Think about it from our point of view: that’s pretty creepy.

  75. Anthony K says

    Admittedly, you are able to construct a sentence better than most of them but it is my belief that you are a tone troll.

    I’m going to disagree with you on this, Maureen.

    Anne C. Hanna, as SC has noted, has not been shy to argue with the worst of them.

    And in this thread it appears to me that she’s made every effort not to tone troll, but to criticise specific words choices and explain in detail her issues with those particular choices.

  76. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    jose @72:
    I think you mistake Verbose Stoic’s errr verbosity for a well informed critique of feminism. He had a lot… A LOT to say, but where was his well supported evidence for his views?
    ****
    @74:
    Who are these 400+ commenters who would have dazzled us with their strong arguments and well sourced evidence? If you refer to the Pitters, they have demonstrated over and over and over an inability to argue effectively or coherently. Many, including you make near constant assertions and insults, but if one were to strip away the dreck, you wouldn’t have a comment.
    Besides, the Pit is full of misogynistic fuckwits. Misogyny doesn’t have reasonable arguments in its favor.

  77. says

    Maureen, Anne C. Hanna’s cred is good here. She’s not a tone troll, however, she does pay much attention to how she argues, so that the substance of her arguments must be paid attention to, rather than one bit of poor phrasing.

  78. says

    Maureen, I apologize for coming off as a tone troll. I don’t comment a lot because when I *do* comment I tend to get sucked into huge, time-consuming, emotionally draining stuff like the conversation SC linked to @93, and I’m supposed to be spending that time and emotional energy on my Ph.D., not on the internet’s lowest scum. I tried to be careful about avoiding the “tone troll” triggers, but I was tired and I guess I didn’t do a very good job. It really was just about me being made uncomfortable by the phrasing of those two comments, and I appreciated Chas and PZ’s gracious responses, despite my ineptitude.

    SC, Caine, Anthony, and any others I may have missed, thank you for the defense.

    ———

    Deen @71, this:

    However, all their notions about what feminism is, what feminists want, etc, don’t come from feminists, they come from the MRA’s and anti-feminists.

    is a really excellent point.

  79. says

    Glancing back at that old SGU thread I see I used a few mental illness slurs myself. Oops. I guess this is why PZ titled his followup post “learning”. :/

  80. Maureen Brian says

    Thank you SC for rightly correcting me – and the others, too.

    Apologies to you, Anne C Hanna.

    No excuses – just ignorance!

  81. says

    Thanks, Maureen.

    I really do love it when disputes can be resolved quickly and cleanly by a flurry of, “Sorry, I screwed up!”s. If only the slymers were willing to play that game…

  82. Rodney Nelson says

    While I was unaware of Al S’s friendship with Reap, I saw his misunderstanding of Schrodinger’s Rapist. Several of us, including Nick Gotts and me, tried to explain the concept to him but he didn’t want to be corrected. He knew he was being called a rapist simply because he had a penis and didn’t want to be dissuaded from this idea by mere facts and logic.

    I watched the first couple of minutes of his video rant. He really has a hate on for “feminists.” I doubt I will watch any other videos he makes.

    Alas, poor Yorick Al. I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!

  83. jose says

    Hey Tony,
    wasn’t talking about how good or bad his argument was. I keep going back to the same example: Maddow used to debate Tucker Carlson. She interviewed the Ugandan guy who wrote the Kill The Gays bill, ffs. David Silverman goes on Fox News and brawls with O’Reilly. Do I think those people have compelling, evidence-backed arguments? Of course not. You have to distinguish between a sincere opponent and a hater.

    Now, for something a little more edifying… if only all debates were like this!

  84. Sili says

    I see. I musta misremembered an off- hand comment. Thank you for the clarification.

    I sorta remember the defence of Paden now. Sadder, really, than my assumed Loftus-esque “You’re doing it wrong! “

  85. scienceavenger says

    #89 should be given its own blogpost, and repeated everywhere.

    I would add that because the “privledged” experience so little rights infringement personally, as do their associates, they literally think the stories of people who do are made up. Their view of the problems of average people are about as well-grounded as Mitt Romney’s comment that if one doesn’t have enough money to go to college one should borrow it from one’s parents. Blacks and women and all the other “whining” groups are just making a big deal out of nothing you see, because if *they* whined so they would be. To them, DWB (Driving While Black) is urban legend.

  86. allegro says

    As a woman, the concept of Schrodinger’s Rapist isn’t even slightly controversial. In fact, it was impressed upon me from childhood by both of my parents (even moreso from my dad, I think) that until I knew a man rather well, it was essential to remain on guard. Yet I see even supposedly enlightened men get seriously and aggressively hostile in any mention of the topic. Within moments there is some variation of “so you’re accusing all men of being rapists!” with considerable indignation followed by being labeled a man-hating bitch. This is always a puzzlement that I can only attribute to privilege since I know of no one with normal mental capacity to not routinely practice Shrodinger’s Something for self-protection, even if just to lock their doors.

  87. ChasCPeterson says

    yeesh. That vid (108) was astonishingly stupid.
    “immense damage to the freethought movement”? Like what?

    oh, and “pulchritudinously challenged”–nice touch, asshole.

  88. allegro says

    It seems that the makers of this bizarre little video advocate instead a Limited-Thought Movement with only approved topics allowed entry, preferably male-centric by the looks of it.

  89. caveatimperator says

    Anne, you’re ruining our reputation! Pharyngula is supposed to be an echo chamber! Instead, we’re having a reasonable argument, with you and amongst each other, about whether you’ve done your due diligence!
     
    In all seriousness, if there is anyone who is unconvinced and is actually willing to be convinced, I consider conversations like this to be evidence that the commentariat of this board are actually willing to consider each others’ views and listen to sensible arguments.
     
    On another note, who was it that came up with a rule like the Salem Hypothesis that states that if someone has either “skeptic” or “rational” in their username, they are likely to be neither? Real Science made me think “science” or “scientific” should be included too…

  90. Ichthyic says

    What if a researcher doesn’t like the letter ‘S’. Then every time she is conducting a study she automatically throws out any possible results starting with the letter ‘S’ because of her own bias.

    someone saw “The Andromeda Strain” and must have concluded it was a documentary.

  91. Ichthyic says

    I’ll just leave this here before Peezus deletes it:

    the logic, it just shines through there, don’t it?

  92. Ichthyic says

    we had laughed and sneered at his inanity

    well, except for SGBM, who chastised you for using the word “insanity”.

    oh, wait.

  93. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    I know it isn’t Chris’ thread, but bunnination for @108 would be amusing.

  94. chigau (違う) says

    I’d suggest replacing it with a cute cephalopod video but that might be seen as derivative.

  95. mildlymagnificent says

    Loyalty is nice, I suppose, except when it drags you down ….

    That’s a funny kind of friendship though – I thought when you love a friend you love them warts and all. I know my very best friend of 40 years standing is a wonderful person in all kinds of ways and I’d probably die on a hill defending her from any physical assault, much as I would my own children.

    But there are topics where we both allow the other’s remarks to pass. She doesn’t much like my left-wing politics, I detest her casual racism (it’s much like my mother’s, in fact) – both of us habitually gloss over conversations when the other’s don’t-go-there stuff comes up. If anyone told me they were offended by something she said, I’d probably agree she was wrong. The only thing I’d disagree on is whether, and how, to bring the matter up with her. I can’t see any reason why I’d abandon another friend or colleague just for saying the same kind of thing as I might say myself if I’d just met her as a stranger and she’d dropped one of those clangers. (Though I suspect she feels comfortable enough with us to express herself more carelessly than she might with a newly-met stranger.)

    There’s more to Al’s stomping off in a huff than ‘you were mean to my friend’. Rather than acknowledging that someone you’re close to has imperfections but you love them anyway, he’s in some way committed to his friend having to be flawless and becoming enraged when obvious flaws are discussed.

  96. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’d suggest replacing it with a cute cephalopod video but that might be seen as derivative.

    I suggest piglets (MCP).

  97. says

    The Lawd had such good material to work with. It can’t have been much work to make them look ridiculous.

    What gets me is that many of the slymepit and anti-feminism commenters will profess to be educated, but seem to be completely oblivious of the universal rules of academic argument (eg bring some numbers, research studies, data, etc) to the argument, due to the presupposition that anyone can be wrong and likely is until their idea has extensively tested and is able to be verified.

    This leads me to believe that many are undergrads and have selectively avoided any sort of composition course.

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You are so full of yourself.

    Lots of people have posted. Anybody in particular?

  99. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You are so full of yourself.

    Of course, a reason and evidence to back it up should also be presented. Otherwise, all those of us here will see is bad attitude on your part.

  100. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Are we using volume, mass or individual organisms as measurements here? For volume and mass I’m more or less full of myself. For organisms, I’m almost 100% bacteria.

  101. caveatimperator says

    I’m not full at all, the roast beast is still cooking.

    You’re having long pig for Christmas dinner?
    *ducks rotten fruit*

  102. vaiyt says

    @73: If I wanted to tell everyone, I would have already done so. I like to keep my personal info on a need-to-know basis.

    (I suppose a dedicated person could easily find it out, say by tracking me elsewhere; my ‘nym is pretty unique, so if you see any other “vaiyt” around that’s not speaking in Turkish it’s certainly me)

  103. hypatiasdaughter says

    I have been pondering why people like AS, Thunderfoot and Shermer spin off into these rages. Because I think they are progressives who believe in the equality for women – possibly, they support many feminist causes and would even call themselves feminists. So when someone points out they may have a blind spot in some area, why do they ramp up an incident that could be averted by saying “Hmm, I spoke hastily. Let me think about your point.” and instead turn it into a reactive spittle flecked rage?
    I think many of these guys are “Institutional Feminists”. They realize that social institutions – the workplace, the courts, universities, etc, – should be changed to give women equal rights and fully support that. What they really can’t handle is facing the idea that they, personally may have to make some changes, too.
    They feel that being skeptics and supporting institutional changes gives them the creds and grants them a free pass on their personal failings They are absolutely outraged when it doesn’t fly.

  104. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    hypatiasdaughter – Bingo.

    It’s not bad when I do it, because I’m not a bad person.

    That attitude is possibly one of the most harmful things to come out of anyone’s brain. I also believe it is the cause of a lot of crime and abuse – a form of doublethink. People can be fully aware of laws, abusive behaviour in others or sexism, racism etc., but tend to be so charitable toward their own behaviours that they will be utterly indignant when called out. Remember the following?

    “It was a joke! Can’t you take a joke?”
    “I’m an ally! How can you say those things, I call people out for shitty behaviour all the time!”
    “Plenty of my friends are LBGTI/women/POC and they don’t think I’m a bigot.”
    “Sure, I’m friends with X (person with bigoted opinions) but they’re really a nice person. Why am I suddenly a problem? You’re all so mean!”

    how about this one?
    “Sure, I talk on my mobile phone in the car all the time. I can handle it, and I’ve never run anyone over, so what’s the harm?”

    Same underlying thought processes. It’s justified because I say so. Never mind what the law or common decency says, or the harm it has the potential to cause. You’re just a big poopy-head and don’t understand how special I am. See religious people for an extreme form of “me” syndrome. Not only are you special, you’re going to live forever no matter how bad a person you are (just say sorry to jeebus. Magic!), and can tell people they’re scum and going to burn forever! Since you’re special, you can do what you like and anyone who tells you otherwise is the Enemy.
    Sad.

  105. kataklyst says

    caveatimperator:

    Anne, you’re ruining our reputation! Pharyngula is supposed to be an echo chamber! Instead, we’re having a reasonable argument, with you and amongst each other, about whether you’ve done your due diligence!

    In all seriousness, if there is anyone who is unconvinced and is actually willing to be convinced, I consider conversations like this to be evidence that the commentariat of this board are actually willing to consider each others’ views and listen to sensible arguments.

    The idea of an echo chamber isn’t that there are never internal disagreements. If that were the case, the group’s perspective would never change. Rather, it means that disagreements about “Are we taking this far enough?” are much more likely to shift the group consensus than ones about “Are we taking this too far?” People that think the group is taking things too far are more likely to just leave. Both effects tend to amplify the group’s beliefs over time, pushing them further from the mainstream perspective.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with that social dynamic, and it’s obviously not unique to this group. You can see the same pattern in pretty much any group of activists. I just think it’s good to be realistic about what’s going on.

  106. Daniel Schealler says

    @hypatiasdaughter

    They feel that being skeptics and supporting institutional changes gives them the creds and grants them a free pass on their personal failings They are absolutely outraged when it doesn’t fly.

    I agree with you, but there’s a couple of extra bit that I think fills in the puzzle.

    I blatantly ripping this concept off from Crommunist: There’s no such thing as ‘a sexist’. It’s not as if being sexist is something you either entirely are or entirely aren’t. Specific ideas and behaviors and systems can be sexist. People themselves are only ‘sexist’ in as much as they maintain and reinforce the sexist ideas, behaviors and systems.

    Society itself is divided along gender lines, so it’s expected that society will be sexist to some degree. We’re all products of our societies, so it’s expected that we will all be sexist to some degree (some more than others). And that’s doesn’t make us all terrible human beings. It just makes us human beings. The trick is to be watchful for the inevitable encroachment of sexist ideas and attitudes in ourselves, and to work to correct them whenever they are pointed out.

    So when the recaction of the criticized goes off into rage-flecked denial-ism, this strikes me and those who think like me as being entirely out of proportion with the actual criticism involved.

    But (I speculate) it is proportionate to what the criticized individual perceives as the criticism.

    The actual criticism of Shermer was something along the lines: “That one thing you said about skepticism being more of a guy thing? That’s a blatantly sexist remark, actually. As a leader in the skeptic movement you have a responsibility to retract that comment and really work harder on the ideas and attitudes that informed that comment.”

    I suspect that what Shermer has perceived this to imply is something along the lines of: “Therefore you are a totally sexist woman-hating asshole and should: Be torn down from your leadership position in the skeptic community; be hung, drawn, and quartered; have your feet cut from your body so that your ghost will be unable to walk; have the pieces of your corpse scattered across the globe and buried without containment for the worms to eat; the burial sites should then be salted and burned so that nothing will grow there again; and a monument should be erected on each spot so that everyone will know that Here Lies A Piece Of The Body Of A Big Sexist Jerk.”

    I think that this perception problem is a big part of what’s been getting otherwise sane and rational people so riled up about the criticism of atheist/skeptic group culture that’s been coming out of FtB.

    It’s ultimately an education/willful-ignorance problem.

  107. John Morales says

    Daniel:

    I blatantly ripping this concept off from Crommunist: There’s no such thing as ‘a sexist’. It’s not as if being sexist is something you either entirely are or entirely aren’t. Specific ideas and behaviors and systems can be sexist. People themselves are only ‘sexist’ in as much as they maintain and reinforce the sexist ideas, behaviors and systems.

    An inanity, since claiming everyone “is sexist” implies everyone “is a sexist” to some degree; all you’re here saying is that there are degrees of sexism; whenceupon it’s clear that ‘a sexist’ must refer to someone who is more sexist than they need be (by whatever metric).

    So when the recaction of the criticized goes off into rage-flecked denial-ism, this strikes me and those who think like me as being entirely out of proportion with the actual criticism involved.

    What is it that is being ragingly denied? :)

    I suspect that what Shermer has perceived this to imply is something along the lines of: [hyperbole].

    Perhaps that accounts for the rage-flecked denial-ism.

    (You’re sure not doing him any favours)

    I think that this perception problem is a big part of what’s been getting otherwise sane and rational people so riled up about the criticism of atheist/skeptic group culture that’s been coming out of FtB.

    You’re saying that in this wise they [including Shermer] are insane.

    It’s ultimately an education/willful-ignorance problem.

    Therefore education nor attentiveness are the cures for insanity?

  108. Daniel Schealler says

    @John

    An inanity, since claiming everyone “is sexist” implies everyone “is a sexist” to some degree;

    I’m trying to highlight a distinction between sexism as a property of a person on the one hand (so-and-so sexist), as opposed to sexism as a property of ideas, behaviors and systems on the other.

    I’ll strive to be clearer when making this kind of distinction in the future.

    What is it that is being ragingly denied? :)

    That the subject made a sexist comment.

    Perhaps that accounts for the rage-flecked denial-ism.

    (You’re sure not doing him any favours)

    I’m not trying to do anyone any favors.

    In my view, Shermer is usually a sound skeptic and critical thinker. Him doubling down regarding his sexist comment is a peculiar deviation from what I’d expect from Shermer. I’m discussing my view on what the underlying biases or misconceptions might be driving this strange behavior.

    You’re saying that in this wise they [including Shermer] are insane.

    No. As I understand the term, ‘insane’ means for someone to have abnormal errors of perception.

    My speculation is about an entirely normal error of perception. The kind against which we are all vulnerable and must guard against.

    Therefore education nor attentiveness are the cures for insanity?

    It is unclear what are the words ‘therefore’ and ‘nor’ are supposed to be doing in that question.

  109. John Morales says

    Daniel, thanks for the response.

    It is unclear what are the words ‘therefore’ and ‘nor’ are supposed to be doing in that question.

    It was a careless editing error and too-hasty posting.

    It started out as “Neither education nor attentiveness are the cures for insanity” and I half-changed it to a question.

  110. eucliwood says

    I don’t think everyone screaming about FtB think feminism in general is bad. In fact, some make a point to say it makes ‘real’ feminists look bad and that this is actually radical. I think Al also did this? But don’t quote me on it.

    As for driving people away from atheism, I don’t know how any crazy thing, cultish or not, could drive people besides idiots from the state of non-belief… what do others’ actions or ideas that also share your non belief have to do with YOURS or the validness of non-belief itself? Whoever is getting away from atheism due to anything like that was going to convert out anyway.