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Jan 20 2013

Relief for the heartsick

I am constantly dunned by email and tweets from the haters and sick scumbags, and I read stuff by my colleagues who get far worse, and at times it is just too depressing and dismal — there really are reactionary fanatics within atheism who refuse to recognize the responsibility to work towards equality. And I just want to give up.

But then…perspective. Step away from the smears and assaults and slime and look at the movement as a whole: look at the leading organizations of the godless. You know what you’ll see? None of them support these loons. They’re all progressive and committed to improving the diversity of the atheist community and broadening our engagement with the greater culture.

Really. Look at American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Center for Inquiry, Atheist Alliance International and Atheist Alliance America, the Secular Coalition, the Secular Student Alliance, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation. They are not supporting these petty, resentful snipers; they are working towards a future in which those goons are irrelevant.

That’s reassuring. There are loud, obsessive, creepy people who should not be ignored, but it’s always a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture, and see that their skirmishing is born of desperation — they’re the past, they’re the failures, they’re the ones who have no productive role to play.


Rebecca Watson has a different perspective. She’s less sanguine about organizations (and particularly the RDF), and I’m not going to argue with someone who has been the target of so much hatred, some of it inspired by Richard Dawkins’ remarks. I will agree entirely that any virtue in these organizations rest on the efforts of individuals who have struggled hard to bring inherently conservative institutions towards a more just perspective, and we cannot rest — we all have to keep fighting that fight.

419 comments

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  1. 1
    rebeccawatson

    I guess if you’ve never been called a “feminazi” by Paula Kirby or had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins, RDF wouldn’t look out of place on that list.

  2. 2
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Here’s hoping the backlash from those desperate to hold on to their ignorance is not too large and too long.

  3. 3
    redwood

    There are a lot of lurkers like me out here who share your hopes and dreams, PZ. We’re not vocal like the noisy jerks but we’re solidly behind you and the other FtB stalwarts and I have a feeling there are a lot more of us than there are of the haters. I hope you’ll keep that perspective in mind as well.

  4. 4
    sunny12

    There are a lot of lurkers like me out here who share your hopes and dreams, PZ. We’re not vocal like the noisy jerks but we’re solidly behind you and the other FtB stalwarts and I have a feeling there are a lot more of us than there are of the haters. I hope you’ll keep that perspective in mind as well.

    Seconded. :)

  5. 5
    hyperdeath

    The big viper in the overhead locker is JREF. Technically, they’re skeptic rather than atheist, but there’s a huge amount of overlap.

    On their website, they list their staff as James Randi, D.J. Grothe, Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson and Barbara Drescher. Out of those five, Drescher has appeared on Reap Paden’s podcast, where she denounced us as delusional narcissists, and accused us of being the real bullies. Grothe blames the decline of female attendance at TAM as our fault, and is pally on Twitter with many of the haters (as is Drescher). Poppy has resigned in protest. I’m not sure about Thompson and Randi himself.

    The overall picture is fairly good, but JREF is a big stain.

  6. 6
    atheist

    That’s reassuring. There are loud, obsessive, creepy people who should not be ignored, but it’s always a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture, and see that their skirmishing is born of desperation — they’re the past, they’re the failures, they’re the ones who have no productive role to play.

    This is my basic view as well. My admittedly unscientific assessment is that the skeptical/atheist/secular movement as a whole doesn’t really like sexist stalkers, and is generally progressive. Therefore, I suspect that atheists will eventually marginalize Reap Paden types, in fact, it seems like we already are.

  7. 7
    PZ Myers

    I know that Dawkins’ comments have led to some very ugly results, and that Kirby just completely lost the plot, but considering that the RDF confines itself mostly to science education, I don’t think that organization as a whole is the ‘enemy’.

  8. 8
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    RebeccaWatson @1:

    If the colossal train wreck of shitwittery and assholery ever rights itself to the point equality becomes universally synonymous with atheism and secularism you can say ‘IT’S ALL MY FAULT!’

    …then look smugly satisfied while sipping cognac.

  9. 9
    Akira MacKenzie

    hyperdeath @ 5

    I don”t know how much actual influence Randi has over the JREF since he retired a few years back. The day-to-day operation is handled by Grothe and his underlings.

    I ‘d like to think that Randi would ultimately ot disapprove of this shit, but… (shrug)

  10. 10
    Muz

    “Reap Paden”

    I didn’t know who this guy was, so I looked and I think all of his blog posts recently have been about PZ and/or FTB.
    He at least seems to have other hobbies, but every other week there’s some new twitter person or blogger who seems to talk about virtually nothing else but how much FTB burns their biscuits. It’s a little cottage industry (redundant?) for how to get attention as an atheist or something.

  11. 11
    cervantes

    That’s right PZ — you’re dealing with a small fringe of evil idiots. Maybe giving them less attention would be the right approach.

  12. 12
    hyperdeath

    Akira MacKenzie, I get that impression as well, but I honestly don’t know. If Randi is just a figurehead, then the problem’s even worse.

  13. 13
    hillaryrettig

    not to mention, the wonderful strides atheism and atheists have made in the past few years. So much “coming out.” I do think that within the next couple of decades a lot of the “agnostic / spiritual” types will self-identify as atheists, and that could be a kind of tipping point.

    I look forward to the days when “authoritarian personality” is a recognized mental dysfunction/illness.

  14. 14
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    This is how I feel about organized atheism as a whole, yeah. It’s got shitty people, just like every other movement in the history of the universe, but on the whole it is not dominated by them, and statistically speaking seems to have fewer shitty people on the whole.

    Then again, I’m not part of a historically marginalized group, so.

  15. 15
    PZ Myers

    No, giving them less attention is not the answer. “Don’t feed the trolls” DOESN’T WORK.

    It’s good to point to them and tell people, “don’t be like that”. It’s just not good to assume that they are at all representative of atheism.

  16. 16
    Muz

    I think the reportage has tailed off for the most part. They have to say something pretty nasty to get a mention. Whereas, if you glance at the other side, as such they are, there’s plenty who seem to pore over every word even just to sneer at it or make some remark. One would be buried in discovery trying to go through it all and refute every misrepresentation, I’d think.

  17. 17
    Pteryxx

    Because it bears repeating (and is one of my fave essays to boot):

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/21/why-i-have-hope/

    My view as someone with very little involvement in atheism’s orgs and cons so far is that the challenge to the status quo is just beginning… but now that the boulder’s moving nothing will stop it gaining momentum. In five to ten years, I’d guess, newcomers will find a very different atheist movement. But at the moment I’m really impressed by how much the commenting portion of the community has changed. Lots of us know the facts now and have learned how to start countering the common myths of bigotry; and more come forward to tell their stories every time another round of hateful crap goes down. Way back when (less than two years ago) it was a big deal whenever one or two survivors felt safe enough to tell their stories for the first time. Now it happens so often I’ve lost count. (Remember when there were eight of us outspoken survivors at Pharyngula and we could be easily listed by name?) And far more folks are speaking up as partners, witnesses, friends and allies. Among the lurkers there must be hundreds.

  18. 18
    gingerbaker

    Rebecca Watson:

    “I guess if you’ve never been called a “feminazi” by Paula Kirby or had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins, RDF wouldn’t look out of place on that list.”

    OMG – Richard Dawkins is responsible for the rape threats in your inbox?

    This is how he responds to demands for a boycott of his books, speaking engagements, a call for the end of his career in atheism? What a self-righteous hypocritical nasty piece of work he is!

  19. 19
    Pteryxx

    Not much for accuracy, those ‘critics’.

  20. 20
    Muz

    Or chronology

  21. 21
    rebeccawatson

    #18: Apparently you’re too stupid to understand, so I’ll type slowly: his comments, which spurred the torrent of abuse I’ve received, came before I wrote a blog post on why I won’t be buying his books anymore. In fact, one could say that one was the cause of the other! If one weren’t a moron.

  22. 22
    sambarge

    If one weren’t a moron.

    I think I see the problem here, Rebecca. gingerbaker is probably a moron.

  23. 23
    PZ Myers

    Rebecca has never called for a boycott or an end to his career, either. But he did say some stupid and unself-aware stuff that has been a kind of nucleus for a lot of the hate that followed afterwards.

  24. 24
    pentatomid

    See, gingerbaker, the thing is… You’re an idiot.
    Also, what boycot are you talking about. As far as I know, Rebecca has only stated she won’t be spending any money on Dawkins’ books. I do not remember her calling for a boycot or putting out any sort of ‘call for the end of his carreer in atheism’.

  25. 25
    frankensteinmonster

    Frankenstein’s monster asks how all this nastiness could go unnoticed for so long. It’s not like all those misogynists joined, or turned into hate spewing caricatures of human beings only recently, or it is ?
    Did they only recently get brazen enough to show their ugly to the world in its full disgusting detail ? Was it previously just ignored or swept under the carpet ? Did they just lack good enough opportunity to hulk out ? No clue. But anyway, good thing that it got exposed and is being rejected.

  26. 26
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Rebecca,

    If one weren’t a moron.

    Your expectations are clearly too high.

  27. 27
    adam quate

    I suppose in the end, while everybody else is saying something ought to be done, this cadre is the only one that’s actually doing anything. So you’re the engine of secularism by default, regardless of the fact that you seem to be frothing at the mouth on occassion.

    Personally, i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice (guess my demographic :) ), and so the reframing you’re doing pisses me off a bit. But whatever.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Roosevelt

  28. 28
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Personally, i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice (guess my demographic :) ), and so the reframing you’re doing pisses me off a bit. But whatever.

    Indeed, you are very fortunate to have the luxury not to care, and to feel affronted that others make it a priority. It’s not like it’s their lives or anything.

  29. 29
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    . . . i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice (guess my demographic :) ) . . .

    I’m a white, hetero male, middle-aged, married, 2 kids, I have a mortgage, I have a college degree — yet I am willing to fight for social justice because without social justice, the institutional and environmental problems will continue. It is interlinked.

  30. 30
    gingerbaker

    PZ:

    “Rebecca has never called for a boycott or an end to his career, either. But he did say some stupid and unself-aware stuff that has been a kind of nucleus for a lot of the hate that followed afterwards.”

    Quite right. She merely announced that she would no longer buy his books. Which, of course, did NOT lead to parallel posts by allied bloggers, with hundreds of outraged commenters in concurrence, calling for an end to his speaking engagements, boycotts of his works on all topics, and an end of his career in atheism. Rebecca’s silence on that issue was simply defensible discretion, as opposed, of course, to the responsibility Dawkins rightfully shoulders for threats of rape in Rebecca’s inbox.

    And, yes, the stupidity and lack of self-awareness of Dawkins’ letter, which pointed out that an extremely polite invitation to coffee in one’s rooms was not a big deal, should not be mistaken for Rebecca’s own initial comment on the matter – which was that the invitation was, indeed, not a big deal.

    No, Dawkins’ Muslima letter was not a playful and salient observation that the inflationary use of the term “misogyny”, when (mis)applied to that invitation in the elevator, reeks of pretentious Western privilege; rather it must be interpreted as an utter repudiation of the legitimate fears of millions of women. And today, we receive the edification that his letter was also evidently a subliminal yet extremely effective manifesto galvanizing the internet rape community to reflexive action. Richard Dawkins – the Moriarty of the slimepitters!

  31. 31
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Oh, fuck this shit. We’re not rehashing the elevator incident—-complete with elisions and falsehoods—again.

  32. 32
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    complete with elisions and falsehoods

    Not to mention time travel. Effect happening before cause and all.

  33. 33
    The Mellow Monkey

    Personally, i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice (guess my demographic :) ), and so the reframing you’re doing pisses me off a bit. But whatever.

    There aren’t that many people who enjoy fighting for social justice. We’d prefer it to just be a given and be able to focus on other stuff, too. Want to know the best way to ensure we all can do that? Shut the assholes up and work towards justice with us. The less time we have to spend arguing about trifling shit and fighting to be recognized as equal and welcome, the more time we have to devote to everything else under the sun.

    Some of us don’t have the privilege to just shrug and say we don’t care.

  34. 34
    Ze Madmax

    gingerbaker @ #30

    No, Dawkins’ Muslima letter was not a playful and salient observation that the inflationary use of the term “misogyny”, when (mis)applied to that invitation in the elevator, reeks of pretentious Western privilege; rather it must be interpreted as an utter repudiation of the legitimate fears of millions of women

    And yet, that is EXACTLY what it was. Richard Dawkins only knows about those “legitimate fears of millions of women” that help push his agenda (i.e., that religion is the utmost evil and secularism is the bee’s knees, mutt’s nuts and other assorted animal parts). But of course, it is too much to ask for the fucking skeptical movement to be skeptical of their heroes. It’s hero worship all the way down.

  35. 35
    PZ Myers

    Gingerbaker: We have consensus. You are a moron. Wise up or ship out. And especially, if you’re going to try and resurrect the idiotic slymepit interpretation of ‘elevatorgate’, I will banhammer you hard.

  36. 36
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Amazing. Telling people you won’t be buying X book/product/album is an illegitimate power grab that results in “boycotts” (which, we are supposed to assume, are inherently bad, for some reason).

    I don’t understand this. Seriously. Do you get that you’re proposing that ordinary things people do and say about things you like and dislike all the time are somehow transgressions? What?

  37. 37
    Rey Fox

    Agreed. Ginger, shut the fuck up.

  38. 38
    Rey Fox

    Amazing. Telling people you won’t be buying X book/product/album is an illegitimate power grab that results in “boycotts” (which, we are supposed to assume, are inherently bad, for some reason).

    Well, clearly they ruined Dawkins’ career. Why, I saw him panhandling in the Oxford train station the other day, tweed jacket stained and hair slightly out of place.

  39. 39
    PZ Myers

    Personally, i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice

    Fine. Fight for the causes you consider most important. There is nothing wrong with that, and nobody will stand in your way here.

    But if you stand in the way of other people’s values, if you think carping at people who do place a higher priority on justice is the most productive way you can spend your time and ours, then fuck you. Clearly your concern about “institutional and environmental issues” is a lie and a smokescreen to justify opposing issues you actually do care about, negatively, more than you let on.

  40. 40
    Ze Madmax

    Josh @ #36

    Do you get that you’re proposing that ordinary things people do and say about things you like and dislike all the time are somehow transgressions?

    I’m pretty sure they do. You are blaspheming against the Patron Saints of Gnu-Atheism, and therefore you SHOULD be harassed, derided, shunned and so forth, because how DARE you criticize these people that have done SO MUCH for the atheist/skeptical/secularist movement and what have you done anyway?

    It happens when Dawkins is criticized for his myopic views on gender, when Hitchens is criticized for his comments on Islam, and whenever Sam Harris… whenever Harris says anything, really. He should’ve gone back to neuroscience after “Letter to a Christian Nation.”

  41. 41
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Clearly your concern about “institutional and environmental issues” is a lie and a smokescreen to justify opposing issues you actually do care about, negatively, more than you let on.

    Just so. It should worry people that harassed and oppressed people saying “enough” actively pisses them off. It certainly worries me. It says deeply ugly things.

  42. 42
    cag

    Westboro atheists?

  43. 43
    Simon

    FYI here is an interactive timeline I created a few weeks ago with all the milestones in the recent discussions about women in the secular movement: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/82972/Women-in-the-new-secular-movement

    Everything is sourced and indexed so folks can confirm or correct any inaccuracies.

  44. 44
    Jadehawk

    i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice

    environmental issues aren’t part of social justice? That’s news to me. [/Environmental Sociologist in training]

  45. 45
    Anri

    Personally, i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice

    Personally, I don’t see a hard distinction between these causes.

    Most institutional issues are social justice issues, unless I am mistaken (which ones aren’t?)

    Environmental issues are social justice issues for future generations.

    That doesn’t mean you must combine these issues, I’m just not certain why you feel it’s important to separate them. Of course, there might be very good reasons, so if you’re willing to expound, I’m willing to listen.

  46. 46
    Matt Penfold

    environmental issues aren’t part of social justice? That’s news to me.

    It is news to me that the way institutions behave is not part of social justice either.

  47. 47
    Jadehawk

    Environmental issues are social justice issues for future generations.

    for current ones, too. See: Environmental Racism

  48. 48
    Amphigorey

    I would like to correct one of the many lies and elisions in gingerbaker’s version of events. I won’t address everything because we certainly don’t want yet another rehash of elevatorgate, but I do want to stamp out this one lie.

    Gingerbaker claimed that the initial invitation was “extremely polite.” No it fucking wasn’t! It was EXTREMELY RUDE. The wording was polite, but the behavior, the substance, was incredibly presumptuous. Look, Gingerbaker, if I came up to you while you were dining at a fancy restaurant on your anniversary and said, “Pardon me, don’t take this the wrong way, but can you move? My party wants this table,” you would be offended. It doesn’t matter that the wording and manners are polite; the request itself, because of the context and substance, is rude.

    Same thing with Elevator Guy. Yeah, he worded it nicely, but he was being very, very rude. It was 4 am, he’d heard her say she wanted to go to sleep, and he offered her a beverage (hotel coffee! in his room!) that would keep her awake. He was selfish and thoughtless.

    Once you accept that the initial request was rude, your whole argument all of Elevatorgate falls down. That’s why I want to stamp out this lie.

  49. 49
    Matt Penfold

    Same thing with Elevator Guy. Yeah, he worded it nicely, but he was being very, very rude. It was 4 am, he’d heard her say she wanted to go to sleep, and he offered her a beverage (hotel coffee! in his room!) that would keep her awake. He was selfish and thoughtless.

    It becomes even ruder when you realise that in that context coffee is an euphemism.

  50. 50
    Robin Bruce

    Oh PZ I missed your whole transition into SJ issues. I’ve been hiding from atheism and even stopped calling myself and atheist because of /r/atheism on Reddit and other such internet braves.

    This post and comments are the most hopeful thing I’ve seen for a while in the atheism world…

  51. 51
    Anri

    Quite right. She merely announced that she would no longer buy his books. Which, of course, did NOT lead to parallel posts by allied bloggers, with hundreds of outraged commenters in concurrence, calling for an end to his speaking engagements, boycotts of his works on all topics, and an end of his career in atheism. Rebecca’s silence on that issue was simply defensible discretion, as opposed, of course, to the responsibility Dawkins rightfully shoulders for threats of rape in Rebecca’s inbox.

    So, are you saying that jumping on a ‘boycott’ bandwagon is morally equivalent to jumping on to a ‘rape threat’ bandwagon?
    Or might there be a teeny bit of distinction between the two?

    If Dawkins were to be boycotted – what is the appropriate punishment for the boycotters?
    If Watson were to be raped – what is the appropriate punishment for the rapists?
    Are those equivalent?
    Is your attempt to paint them as equivalent really, really, dumb?

    And, yes, the stupidity and lack of self-awareness of Dawkins’ letter, which pointed out that an extremely polite invitation to coffee in one’s rooms was not a big deal, should not be mistaken for Rebecca’s own initial comment on the matter – which was that the invitation was, indeed, not a big deal.

    *sigh*
    One of those people was there.
    One wasn’t.
    The two people have differing opinions on what happened.
    Why do you accept the version of the one who wasn’t?

    No, Dawkins’ Muslima letter was not a playful and salient observation that the inflationary use of the term “misogyny”, when (mis)applied to that invitation in the elevator, reeks of pretentious Western privilege; rather it must be interpreted as an utter repudiation of the legitimate fears of millions of women. And today, we receive the edification that his letter was also evidently a subliminal yet extremely effective manifesto galvanizing the internet rape community to reflexive action. Richard Dawkins – the Moriarty of the slimepitters!

    Oddly enough, many women didn’t feel it was playful, or salient.
    Many women felt Watson’s point was well-taken, and that automatically dismissing her opinion of what happened was tantamount to accepting that the views of men are always superior to the views of women.

    Of course, we can all agree that those women didn’t know what they were talking about – right?
    Not because they weren’t there (since one of them was, and Dawkins wasn’t either).
    Not because they are less familiar with the treatment of women in western society than Dawkins and his ilk.

    I guess it’s just because they’re women.
    But that’s not bigotry, no no, not at all.
    Some of your best friends, no doubt, are women.

  52. 52
    michaelpowers

    I understand the feeling. I’m from Arizona. People here like guns. A lot. I don’t own one myself, as the novelty of putting holes in things with high-velocity projectiles wore off long ago. I always believed in the Second Amendment, believing it’s intent, like other amendments, was to keep us free. Fairly recently, while digging into history, I found otherwise. In order to ratified by the southern states, who used militias mostly to keep the threat of slave revolts down to a minimum, the Second Amendment had to be re-worded a number of times. To realize that something you believed in your whole life had, to a great degree, another intent entirely, was damn depressing. I realize that it was my own ignorance that costs me this, but I was no less heartsick.

    I don’t enjoy confrontation, so, in the past, when I heard racist or misogynistic things, I kept silent. Though, as someone who is known as being glib to the point of irritating those around me, it’s a decidedly noticeable silence. I’m also a pretty big guy. Add to that, a face that, even when at rest, makes me look like I wanna kill whoever is within arm’s reach, and I can be a bit intimidating. Also something that I do not enjoy. I much prefer reason.

    All of this. The racism, the misogyny, and many other social ills, all stem from two places: Ignorance, and malice. Ignorance is the first stage of the disease, and is easily addressed, provided one is willing to learn. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. More often, when faced with the truth, they will “double down”, at which point malice takes hold. Once the disease reaches that stage, there is little hope for the afflicted.

  53. 53
    Infophile

    @30 gingerbaker:

    And, yes, the stupidity and lack of self-awareness of Dawkins’ letter, which pointed out that an extremely polite invitation to coffee in one’s rooms was not a big deal, should not be mistaken for Rebecca’s own initial comment on the matter – which was that the invitation was, indeed, not a big deal.

    *zooms in…*

    …extremely polite invitation to coffee…

    For the safety of all us, I kindly request that you not make lies so outrageous that your pants risk bursting into flames.

  54. 54
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I’m with Rebecca on this one. These organisations aren’t nearly vocal enough, not nearly intolerant enough of misogyny and sexism. There should be no place for Paula Kirby or Justin Vacula or any other person that participates in or condones harassment, including Richard Dawkins. Michael Shermer cries “Purge”? If only that were the case. Instead, we have self-silencing of valuable voices of those who are either weary of being targeted or don’t want to risk being targeted for abuse. Sure, it’s not as bad as it could be, but it’s not good either.

  55. 55
    anat

    To michaelpowers: Yes. Today’s Mike the Mad Biologist has pertinent quotes at On Militias and the ‘Freedom’ to Hunt Your Slaves.

  56. 56
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Oooooh boy, Robin Bruce, a lot has gone on that you may have missed. Social justice issues are one of the big topics frequently discussed here, as well as several other FtB blogs and Skepchick. Simon @43 has a handy link you may find useful, Jason at Lousy Canuck also has a great timeline (sorry, I do not have a handy link–on my phone), and if you look up any thread about feminism in the last few years here at Pharyngula you will find much discussion (unfortunately there also exists some disgusting sexism within those discussions).

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    I look forward to the days when “authoritarian personality” is a recognized mental dysfunction/illness.

    Seconded.

    Remember when there were eight of us outspoken survivors at Pharyngula and we could be easily listed by name?

    Yes – I mean, I never counted, but the number sounds about right. Nowadays I just watch in horror as the number grows and grows.

    an extremely polite invitation to coffee in one’s rooms

    Running after her after she said she was tired and going to bed, and asking her to stay up yet longer? That’s polite? Inviting her to hotel-room coffee when both of them had just come from a bar where, no doubt, they could have had better coffee? And, seriously, coffee at 4 in the morning?

    You’re trying really hard to believe what you write, aren’t you.

    tweed jacket stained and hair slightly out of place

    :-D :-D :-D

    i care far more about institutional and environmental issues than social justice

    How do you want to save the bonobos as long as the people in that region aren’t too rich to need bushmeat?

  58. 58
    Ophelia Benson

    @ 40

    It happens when Dawkins is criticized for his myopic views on gender, when Hitchens is criticized for his comments on Islam, and whenever Sam Harris… whenever Harris says anything, really.

    And don’t forget Michael Shermer! Criticize something Michael Shermer says? Omigod, you’re a liar and a criminal and an attention whore of the worst kind.

  59. 59
    David Marjanović

    In order to ratified by the southern states, who used militias mostly to keep the threat of slave revolts down to a minimum, the Second Amendment had to be re-worded a number of times.

    …Oh, wow. I had no idea either.

  60. 60
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    anat:
    THANK YOU for that link. That puts the 2nd Amendment in a whole new light. There is a sad irony in African Americans using weapons that were used by militias to keep them in servitude.

  61. 61
    Simon

    @Tony #56

    The link you are referring to is here: http://ohthehumanityofitall.blogspot.com/2012/07/deep-rifts-or-humanity-of-it-all-part-1.html

    There is a bit of overlap as I’m not the first to attempt this.

  62. 62
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Also, what boycot are you talking about. As far as I know, Rebecca has only stated she won’t be spending any money on Dawkins’ books. I do not remember her calling for a boycot or putting out any sort of ‘call for the end of his carreer in atheism’.

    That’s because our time, our money and our attention has been long seen as their right. To simply make the decision that we’re no longer interested in reading their books or hearing their talks means we unjustly deprive them of what’s been “rightfully theirs” for a long time.
    How dare women and minorities turn away from straight white dudes and not treat them like every word from their lips is the pinacle of truth and wisdom?
    Worse than the Inquisition, I tell you.

  63. 63
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I guess I am going to be jut a little bit petulant here.

    For years at this blog, I have been saying that the militias that are mentioned in the second amendment was for the suppressing of slave uprisings.

  64. 64
    Ing

    I find the optimism laughable to be honest.

  65. 65
    Muz

    It would be interesting to find out just how reflective the internet hue and cry over feminism in atheism actually is though. If one were to listen to the downvote army on youtube and so on, who clog up every single vaguely pro FTB/A+ comment section, there’s a revolution brewing, the atheist movement at large is priming to slice off the FTB minority like a tumor and discard it and “Do you hear the People Sing…!” etc etc.
    From memory, at conventions and the like it’s reported that few have any idea this stuff is going on and don’t have particularly strong opinions, with feminism and social justice notions generally supported (and hey, RDF does social justice-ey things if I hear right).
    So it seems clear which way things will ultimately wash out based on that, internet warriors notwithstanding. Is that impression reliable? Well there I don’t know.
    It is traditionally easy to over rate the importance of an internet drama society, whether you are in it or on the recieving end of it’s bullshit, though. That could be reason enough for optimism. (which doesn’t lighten the load of people who have to deal with this crap, much, but hey…)

  66. 66
    Julien Rousseau

    @Tony #56

    The link you are referring to is here: http://ohthehumanityofitall.blogspot.com/2012/07/deep-rifts-or-humanity-of-it-all-part-1.html

    There is a bit of overlap as I’m not the first to attempt this.

    Great link, however, since he mentioned Lousy Canuck I think he was thinking of this link, though it is more focused on the timeline of the development of anti-harassment policies rather than elevatorgate..

    I guess Robin has quite a bit of reading available should they want to catch up.

  67. 67
    Ing

    Internet built atheist community.

  68. 68
    Simon

    @Julien Rousseau #66:

    Ah yes, I remember that post. It was very useful. FYI the timeline I created starts in October 2010 and covers both “elevatorgate” and the harassment policies discussion. Even includes Women in Secularism 2 which hasn’t occurred yet :-)

  69. 69
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    So it seems clear which way things will ultimately wash out based on that, internet warriors notwithstanding. Is that impression reliable? Well there I don’t know.
    It is traditionally easy to over rate the importance of an internet drama society,

    First, I would suspect that the Internet community is the only atheist community that most people interact with or are exposed to.

    Second, please stop calling what’s going on “drama”. Doing so both trivializes the issue and relies on a sexist stereotype.

  70. 70
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    Wow, PZ and Rebecca disagree about a point, and they’re acting like ADULTS about it?

    Given the inability of more than a few named skeptics/atheists/freethinkers of recent recall *cough*Shermer*cough*, I think my brain just broke.

  71. 71
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Simon,

    Your timeline, if I’m reading it correctly, seems to leave out this exchange. It’s often disregarded when people talk about the TAM attendence arguments, and actually it’s relevant to this assessment of the actions of organizational leaders to date.

    I think Rebecca Watson has it right. I’ve been repeatedly disappointed with their lack of action and with their public responses when they do come out and say something. I’d expected them to take a strong stand right at the beginning, and for the most part they still haven’t. I hope they take more positive action as we move forward, but I’ve had to lower my standards considerably to be happy about that at this late date.

  72. 72
    Muz

    Hey, far be it from me to repeat what others have said. The internet is a big place and I wager a lot of people don’t engage with the atheist sector on anything like the level of the angry mob out there.
    It can certainly be an internet driven community and this battle be a relatively small part at the same time.
    Given that I started with a desire to investigate that notion, I guess you’re welcome not to if you’re happy with your impressions.

    (‘drama’ is a neutral as ‘guys’ now, and probably always was. We’re on a hiding to nothing chasing out every expression that has ever been used predominatly against women even though it is technically neutral)

  73. 73
    Robin Bruce

    Thanks for the links folks, I’m having a catch-up read…

  74. 74
    Captaintripps

    Rebecca’s point in the link in your addendum PZ is self-evidently solid. I believe the organizations are on the right track and with the continued emphasis on social justice from individuals like her we’ll see more changes over the course of the next few years. In fact I’m ever hopeful that 2013 will show progress across a host of issues and spaces, particularly in feminism and online harassment. 2012 seemed to bring about their acknowledgement to a much wider slice of the population.

    Personally this emphasis has been heartening to me and I’m thankful that women like Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, and Rebecca Watson have taken on this discussion and all the attendant (and unnecessary) behaviour that comes along with it. They are not the only sources for my understanding of feminism by a long shot, but have been consistent voices that help me have these discussions daily.

    And I think that’s an overlooked aspect of this activism. So many of us aren’t activists, but we’re now able to have these discussions with friends and family. Anecdotally, these conversations are happening more and more and in very positive directions amongst people I know (female and male). I find that heartening and I certainly can see if similar discussions happen across the country (and world) it will have an impact in what our culture tolerates and how people behave.

    Now, unlike previous years, I believe there can be a significant muting of misogyny, a rolling tide against rape culture…hell, I even think online harassment and trolling are soluble problems where I didn’t before. Without this fight and a grudging willingness by these writers and activists to endure and engage the attendant petty (and often scary) bullshit being dished out from certain corners, I don’t think that would be happening.

  75. 75
    Fizzing thru da Fizzics

    Another lurker: I appreciate the efforts made in the fight for truth. I try to do my bit in the classroom and in the areas I interact. Never give up, the wheel is turning.

  76. 76
    David Marjanović

    For years at this blog, I have been saying that the militias that are mentioned in the second amendment was for the suppressing of slave uprisings.

    :-( Sorry. I suppose you just never were in a gun thread before I got there.

  77. 77
    adam quate

    Fine. Fight for the causes you consider most important. There is nothing wrong with that, and nobody will stand in your way here.

    But if you stand in the way of other people’s values, if you think carping at people who do place a higher priority on justice is the most productive way you can spend your time and ours, then fuck you. Clearly your concern about “institutional and environmental issues” is a lie and a smokescreen to justify opposing issues you actually do care about, negatively, more than you let on.

    Well you’re not wrong, my prior assumptions conflict with the idea that equality is realistically achievable. Your own prior assumptions clearly don’t; but your strongest argument for proceeding in making the changes you want is that little solid evidence precludes doing so. Presumably you also expect future evidence will be in your favour as well.

    Given that the knowledge we’re likely to gain over the next few years from personal genomics will give us a much more solid foundation on which to build a truly equal society, it makes no sense to push for change now. It’s like building a house out of cow shit because you’re too impatient to wait on a delivery of bricks and other stuff.

  78. 78
    lancelotgobbo

    The day we start criticising Dawkins, or any other exemplar, is the day we must decide whether we support The Peoples’ Front of Judea or The Judean Peoples’ Front. Surely we ought to remember who our opponents really are (hint: they wear funny clothes, strange hats, and not only talk to their gods but claim to hear answers) rather than splitting hairs about doctrine. Too many useful movements have ended in such schisms: please, lets not have atheism be just one more in that sorry list.

  79. 79
    Jadehawk

    The day we start criticising Dawkins,

    the day we start criticizing Dawkins?

    methinks you’re doing skepticism wrong. hint: infallibility is something Catholics believe in, not atheists and skeptics.

  80. 80
    Jadehawk

    Given that the knowledge we’re likely to gain over the next few years from personal genomics will give us a much more solid foundation on which to build a truly equal society, it makes no sense to push for change now.

    jesus motherfucking christ.

  81. 81
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You are right, lancelotgobbo; women’s concerns for safe spaces is ust like a Monty Python sketch.

    Now I can clearly see that this is just pointless squabbling.

  82. 82
    Rob Grigjanis

    “The day we start criticising Dawkins, or any other exemplar…”

    An exemplar of what? Respect for women? Ha!

  83. 83
    Simon

    @SC (Salty Current) #71:

    Your timeline, if I’m reading it correctly, seems to leave out this exchange. It’s often disregarded when people talk about the TAM attendence arguments, and actually it’s relevant to this assessment of the actions of organizational leaders to date.

    Thanks so much for the observation. I actually consciously left that out. Reason being it was essentially Greta Christina stating her intention to decline future speaking requests by Grothe and her rationale for doing so. Yes, her doing so in public was pointed and unusual, but people decline speaking invitations all the time (or similarly only speak for certain groups). IMO this doesn’t rise to the level of significance of say, Ophelia withdrawing after she was already on the roster and for the reasons that she did.

  84. 84
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    “The day we start criticising Dawkins, or any other exemplar…”
    It’s cute when an atheist thinks they have rid themselves of all the pitfalls in thinking/behavior that they criticize in the religious.

    Take that back. It’s not cute. It’s disheartening and sad.

  85. 85
    Anri

    The day we start criticising Dawkins, or any other exemplar, is the day we must decide whether we support The Peoples’ Front of Judea or The Judean Peoples’ Front. Surely we ought to remember who our opponents really are (hint: they wear funny clothes, strange hats, and not only talk to their gods but claim to hear answers) rather than splitting hairs about doctrine. Too many useful movements have ended in such schisms: please, lets not have atheism be just one more in that sorry list.

    Ok, then.
    What fraction of a Real Human’s (read: man) worth can we accept for a woman before our movement becomes useless?
    50%? 75%? 90%?
    Will we be only a little bit useless if we think that women are almost as good as men – you know, inferior just a tiny bit?

    In a related issue, can you tell me how best to break it to my female friends that concern for their equality is splitting hairs? Any suggestions would be helpful – you know how emotional women get!
    (Just doing my part to keep the movement useful!)

  86. 86
    Inaji

    The day we start criticising Dawkins, or any other exemplar

    Where have you been, under a rock? People have been criticising Dawkins for quite a while now. Of course, a majority of those people have been women, so perhaps you didn’t notice.

    A whole lot of people criticised stances Hitchens had, and rightly so.

    A whole lot of people criticise Harris, and rightly so.

    What in the fuckety fuck is with you and others we keep hearing this utter shite from? Ooooh, don’t point out the feet of clay, bad atheoskeptic! Keep your eyes on the ground, these privileged, white men are our leaders! They are our idols! They are our…Gods!

    Holy rats, do you people ever listen to yourselves? This isn’t an argument, it’s an exhortation to blind worship.

    *spits*

  87. 87
    Jackie

    Wow Adam, thanks for letting me know how useless it is to ever hope for equality or personal safety. Let’s spread the word so that POC, GLBTQ folks, atheists, poor people, the disabled and all other marginalized people will sit down and shut up with the woman folk. Now, how may we better serve your needs? After all, they’re what really matter. Especially the environment! We’ll fix that up in a snap, once we all just realize that cisgendered, wealthy, white, able bodied, neurotypical, straight, white guys will always be the only group who really matter. I’m mean, we’ve never made progress in social justice by DOING something about inequality, so let’s just skip it.

    Translation: Fuck you. Fuck your smug condensation and fuck your view from Mt. Privilege.

  88. 88
    Ing

    Lol add-in PZ atheism is clearly not a good start

  89. 89
    Jackie

    Hmmm…I typed “white” twice.

    Power to the pastiest, most pallid of people?
    Nah, just sloppy writing.

  90. 90
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Thanks so much for the observation. I actually consciously left that out. Reason being it was essentially Greta Christina stating her intention to decline future speaking requests by Grothe and her rationale for doing so. Yes, her doing so in public was pointed and unusual, but people decline speaking invitations all the time (or similarly only speak for certain groups). IMO this doesn’t rise to the level of significance of say, Ophelia withdrawing after she was already on the roster and for the reasons that she did.

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I think it should be included because of Grothe‘s sustained pattern of behavior when it came to online behavior. It wasn’t a “milestone” event, but it was significant to the continuing discussion. It’s relevant to later events you do include, like Grothe’s ridiculous blaming of women skeptics for the decline in attendance at his organization’s event.

  91. 91
    Eamon Knight

    @78: we ought to remember who our opponents really are (hint: they wear funny clothes, strange hats, and not only talk to their gods but claim to hear answers)

    What you mean “we” white man? *My* opponents are anyone who stands against — which includes being obtusely oblivious to the fact that there’s a problem — the rights, and equality, and dignity, and general well-being of women, LGBTs, POC, etc, etc. And quite frankly, if someone, however oddly dressed and however irrationally, hears their god as saying “I created all those non-white, non-cis-straight-male people too, and I care about them every bit as much, and they’ve been getting a shit deal, so thou shalt just Me-damn well *fix that*, you hear?”, then they’re less of an “opponent” to me than certain ultra-rational jackasses.

    And if that causes (though I don’t believe it will) terminally Deep Rifts in the atheist movement, then it damn well deserves to die.

  92. 92
    Ophelia Benson

    Sing it, Eamon!

  93. 93
    gjpetch

    Hitchens on gender:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=thXnNVOrri8#t=373s

    I love his books, but his views on women were paleolithic.
    But apparently criticism is out of bounds people, it’s a tribal battle, us vs. them, facts be damned, just keep saying that the other side is all bad and we’re all perfect. After all, they wear funny clothes and strange hats! The rights and well-being of half of the human species is just a trifle by comparison.
    Ughhhh……….

  94. 94
    Simon

    @SC (Salty Current) #90:

    OK, I’ll think about it.

  95. 95
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    Simon @ 43:

    FYI here is an interactive timeline I created a few weeks ago with all the milestones in the recent discussions about women in the secular movement: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/82972/Women-in-the-new-secular-movement

    Thanks so much! This looks really great. I’m sure it will be quite useful.

  96. 96
    Scr... Archivist

    Simon (and any other timeline engineers),

    Would it be worthwhile to include Greta Christina’s two-part post about “Getting It Right Early”? She wrote it in September 2009, and it’s still there on her Typepad blog.

    I remember reading it years ago, and now I think it’s kind of prescient. Despite the pain of the last couple of years, I think she is correct to observe that it’s better to get this right sooner rather than later. Greta concludes:

    We [referring to the LGBT movement] screwed this up. We still screw this up. We are paying for our screwups.

    Atheists have a chance to not do that.

    We’re not going to single-handedly fix racism and sexism overnight. Even I’m not enough of a pie-eyed optimist to think that. But we have a chance in the atheist movement to learn from the mistakes of the LGBT movement, and the mistakes of every other progressive movement before ours. Our movement — at least, the current incarnation of our movement, the visible and vocal and activist incarnation of our movement — is still relatively new. We have a unique opportunity to handle this problem early: before these self-perpetuating cycles become entrenched, before decades of ugly history and bad feelings poison the well.

    Let’s take that opportunity.

    Let’s take action on this now.

  97. 97
    Simon

    @Scr…Archivist #96:

    Thank you I actually had not seen this: http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2009/09/race-sex-atheism.html

    Or indeed the Skepchick post she links to: http://skepchick.org/2009/08/sexism-skepticism-on-sgu-recap/

    I swear some stuff is like Groundhog Day.

    Though a lot of Greta’s post is part of one of her talks that she gives. Indeed it was the talk she gave for CFI-DC in 2011 when we hosted her.

  98. 98
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Janine:

    For years at this blog, I have been saying that the militias that are mentioned in the second amendment was for the suppressing of slave uprisings.

    I wish I had been paying better attention. My apologies.
    Knowing this about the 2nd Amendment makes me view gun ownership in an even worse light than before. There is even *less* justification for owning guns, IMHO.

  99. 99
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Robin Bruce:

    Thanks for the links folks, I’m having a catch-up read…

    I’m not sure they make enough popcorn for the amount of reading you’re about to begin…

  100. 100
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    @ Adam Quate, 77

    Given that the knowledge we’re likely to gain over the next few years from personal genomics will give us a much more solid foundation on which to build a truly equal society, it makes no sense to push for change now. It’s like building a house out of cow shit because you’re too impatient to wait on a delivery of bricks and other stuff.

    Of course what you said makes sense to you, since you’re already inside the temperature controlled house built of safe and sustainable yet durable materials (to continue your analogy) while some others, like women, trans* people, POC, LGBQ etc, are exposed and naked to all the elements and trying desperately to just get to something place in terms of shelter where they won’t freeze to death from the cold or burn to death from the sun.

    Right now, even if cow shit is all we have, it’s better than nothing. Cow shit, even if we have to upgrade it to bricks later, is better than freezing because of cold nights or dehydrating because of hot days with no shelter. You expect people to put their very SURVIVAL (yes, literally) on hold until “technology” gets better? Fuck no.

    Not that you’d think of it like that, since you were born in said climate controlled, safe and effective residence with plenty to eat and plenty of opportunities for self-actualisation, since the bottom of your Maslow triangle has been taken care of already. Having your basic needs fulfilled are all you’ve ever known, while some others are still struggling to just survive the elements.

    You know. To continue your analogy.

  101. 101
    Scr... Archivist

    @ Simon #97

    And Steven Novella initiated that conversation on SGU following Carrie Iwan’s post in July 2009 called “You have such Prady eyes…”. That, in turn, followed the first Skepchickcon track at Minnesota’s “Convergence” SFF convention, and that track had even earlier roots. One could keep going back through time, looking for a beginning. I think it’s important to remember that these issues did not just start with the 2011 Dublin World Atheist Conference, which seems to have been the Edenic apple-eating event in the eyes of some.

    Another event I don’t think should be forgotten was the harassment campaign against programming blogger Kathy Sierra. The BBC reported that the death threats started in February 2007, compelling Sierra to cancel a public appearance at a computing conference.

    Groundhog Day, indeed.

  102. 102
    Simon

    @Scr… Archivist #101:

    Thank you for this information as well. I chose the 2010 start date due to the articles in Ms. Magazine because that’s when the issue IMO became “mainstream” with regards to the “new atheists”.

    I wasn’t around at the time but for example I do know that a lot of the vitriol aimed at Madalyn Murray O’Hair from her opponents was very sexist in nature. So obviously one could take a much longer view of the issue if one was inclined to do so, however my personal knowledge and involvement is where I chose to focus.

  103. 103
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @78:
    There exists doctrine in the atheoskeptic movement? Interesting. First I have heard of this. Where can I read up about this doctrine? (the preceding was paid for by Snark, Inc.)
    Oh and why should comments made by Dawkins not be subjected to criticism? Last I checked, Papal Infallibility was not one of his powers.

  104. 104
    erikthebassist

    I think I can win the JREF’s million dollar challenge. All I have to do is put a slymepitter on stage and get them talking about feminism. I should be able to accurately predict the drivel they will spew 99% of the time.

    Really GingerBaker? Do you have to be so damned predictable? I mean, you attack Rebecca, then when she responds, your next comment is to PZ, about her, talking as if she’s not part of the thread.

    Why does this happen every time? Women turn in to “invisible pixels” when a slymepitter is around. They will attack them, slur them, but they do everything they can to avoid talking directly to them.

  105. 105
    Pteryxx

    “Valid criticism does you a favor.” – Carl Sagan

    Didn’t skepticism as a movement in the last few decades arise from the application of scientific thought to woo and superstition? (At least that’s the impression I have, since that was the route I took. <_< )

    I went looking for the full Sagan essay: (bolds mine)

    Why do we put up with it? Do we like to be criticized? No, no scientist likes to be criticized. Every scientist feels an affection for his or her ideas and scientific results. You feel protective of them. But you don’t reply to critics: “Wait a minute, wait a minute; this is a really good idea. I’m very fond of it. It’s done you no harm. Please don’t attack it.” That’s not the way it goes. The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away. Don’t waste any neurons on what doesn’t work. Devote those neurons to new ideas that better explain the data. Valid criticism is doing you a favor.

    The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true. We have a method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only asymptotic approaches to the truth—never there, just closer and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.

    Also from that essay online (from 1994, not the version in Demon-Haunted World):

    For example: I’ve lately been thinking about alien abductions, and false claims of childhood sexual abuse, and stories of satanic ritual abuse in the context of recovered memories. There are interesting similarities among those classes of cases. I think if we are to understand any of them, we must understand all of them. But there’s a maddening tendency of the skeptics, when addressing invented stories of childhood sexual abuse, to forget that real and appalling abuse happens. It is not true that all these claims of childhood sexual abuse are silly and pumped up by unethical therapists. Yesterday’s paper reported that a survey of 13 states found that one-sixth of all the rape victims reported to police are under the age of 12. And this is a category of rape that is preferentially under-reported to police, for obvious reasons. Of these girls, one-fifth were raped by their fathers. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of betrayal. We must bear that in mind when we consider patients who, say, because they have an eating disorder, have suppressed childhood sexual abuse diagnosed by their psychiatrists.

    also the note:

    If skeptical habits of thought are widely distributed and prized, then who is the skepticism going to be mainly applied to? To those in power. Those in power, therefore, do not have a vested interest in every- body being able to ask searching questions.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/wonder_and_skepticism

    So Sagan at least, back then, was already focusing on the importance of applying skepticism to prejudices, to power structures, and even briefly decried the dismissal of sexual abuse victims when it crossed his radar. It would have been interesting nowadays if anyone with so central a place in the atheoskeptisphere had actually looked at the evidence for chilly climates, unconscious bias, sexual harassment, rape culture and so on, and treated it with consideration instead of reflexive contempt.

    (Sorry PZ, you’re the overlord and all but you’re no Sagan.) ;>

  106. 106
    erikthebassist

    Simon,

    Not sure if you are really looking for input on your time line which I think is great BTW, but it seems to me that adding some of the documented harassment and threats in there might be useful.

    The recent threat to throw acid in Ophelia’s face might be a good start.

  107. 107
    Inaji

    Pteryxx:

    It would have been interesting nowadays if anyone with so central a place in the atheoskeptisphere had actually looked at the evidence for chilly climates, unconscious bias, sexual harassment, rape culture and so on, and treated it with consideration instead of reflexive contempt.

    You seem to be assuming that Sagan, if he were alive today, would have 1) been interested in the atheoskeptic sphere specifically and 2) would have reacted with cool contemplation.

    I’ll also note that Sagan was a stoner, which I’m sure helped out that mellow, contemplative mood he carried about. :)

  108. 108
    Pteryxx

    Caine: no, that’s why I said ‘anyone with so central a place’. As far as I know, Sagan was approximately as big or a bigger name around 1995 as Dawkins was in 2010. <_< While I'd like to think that Sagan would've supported consent education and harassment policies given the data, we've already got plenty of evidence that many skeptics lose their shit on that particular hill.

  109. 109
    juliewms

    I agree, harvardmba, with what you posted: “…the bar for entry in this atheism thing is as low as it gets. Namely, the only requirement is not believing in god.” That’s why Atheism+ is/was so badly needed within the secular movement. Dis-believing in a deity in order to be part of “the club” just is enough for many of us any longer.

    Personally, I think that the “honeymoon” is over for the secular movement, meaning that so many of us came together under the big-tent of secularism, thrilled to find like-minded people, and now, the movement is fracturing, somewhat, into specific groups, which is completely normal (look at the fracturing of Christianity into various segments).

    Our comfort level with each other is diminishing (aka slymepitters) and we’re seeing the true colors of some within the movement…. “they” are very much like the lunatic-fringe and Tea Partiers within the Repub party and the pitters will continue to marginalize themselves within the movement. They’ve already done an awesome job of that!

  110. 110
    juliewms

    “Dis-believing in a deity in order to be part of “the club” just is enough for many of us any longer.” … sorry, that should be “isn’t enough..”

  111. 111
    Inaji

    juliewms:

    I agree, harvardmba, with what you posted:

    *cough* Weren’t you the one scolding us all to ignore the trolls? And here you are, having a lovely chat with a known troll and fuckwit. Way to go.

  112. 112
    drosera

    @ rebeccawatson,

    I guess if you’ve never been called a “feminazi” by Paula Kirby or had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins, RDF wouldn’t look out of place on that list.

    Is it the time of year again to have some stabs at Richard Dawkins, the evil overlord of the misogynists? It is one way of grabbing attention, I suppose, to accuse Dawkins of being responsible for rape threats in your inbox. The people here may even consider this a fair accusation. Of course, that says more about the people here than about the fairness of your accusation. No surprise too, to see PZ genuflect at the snap of your fingers. With ‘friends’ like PZ Myers, Dawkins doesn’t need enemies.

  113. 113
    TerranRich, Yet Another Atheist

    @drosera:

    Have you been paying attention to anything that’s been going on, at all? Obviously not, because your post was filled with a lot of hot air and nothingness.

  114. 114
    drosera

    Have you been paying attention to anything that’s been going on, at all? Obviously not, because your post was filled with a lot of hot air and nothingness.

    I paraphrase this as: “Yes, it is fair to blame Richard Dawkins for Rebecca Watson’s rape threats.”

    Noted.

  115. 115
    Inaji

    Is it the time of year again to have some stabs at Richard Dawkins, the evil overlord of the misogynists? It is one way of grabbing attention, I suppose, to accuse Dawkins of being responsible for rape threats in your inbox. The people here may even consider this a fair accusation. Of course, that says more about the people here than about the fairness of your accusation. No surprise too, to see PZ genuflect at the snap of your fingers. With ‘friends’ like PZ Myers, Dawkins doesn’t need enemies.

    You just keep getting duller, don’t you Drosera? Why don’t you run off to the ‘pit, where Dawkins is hailed as an idol, a supreme leader who can do no wrong, and “how dare you criticize him!?” is the constant cry?

    You fuckwits are the ones treating atheoskepticism like a religion, placing your idols above criticism. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid. Dawkins has done a lot of good, but he’s also done a lot of harm – much of it in his privilege stuffed Dear Muslima post, which was hailed far and wide by every sexist doucheweasel in the atheoskepticism sphere. So yes, he bears responsibility. Deal with it.

  116. 116
    Inaji

    TerranRich, drosera is a known troll, an assclam in smegmarmalade sauce, with wits as sharp as a nerf ball. Sharpen your fangs all you like, just don’t expect much.

  117. 117
    drosera

    @Caine,

    So, yes, Dawkins is to blame for rape threats.

    Noted.

  118. 118
    drosera

    TerranRich, Caine with the polymorphic ‘nym is a known bully, who thinks that stringing together a bunch of logical fallacies wrapped in invective amounts to making an argument. If she has any wits at all she is very good at hiding it. Exactly the kind of person whom you’d expect to defend smear tactics.

  119. 119
    John Morales

    drosera, what specific logical fallacies do you imagine Caine has strung together?

    (I call bullshit)

  120. 120
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    So, yes, Dawkins is to blame for rape threats.

    Dawkins provides feelings of legitimacy to MRA’s and the like who do, indeed, make rape threats. His “Dear Muslima” brainfart, mentioned upthread, is a case in point. He has, as yet, not retracted it. As an authority figure in the atheist/skeptic movement, he has endorsed a point of view that belittles the voices of women in the atheist community and beyond.

    Caine with the polymorphic ‘nym is a known bully, who thinks that stringing together a bunch of logical fallacies wrapped in invective amounts to making an argument. If she has any wits at all she is very good at hiding it. Exactly the kind of person whom you’d expect to defend smear tactics.

    You have any evidence for the above? A link or two you could provide us with? In the years Caine has been posting here, I cannot recall that she has done any of these things. Or is it that you don’t like her tone?

  121. 121
    drosera

    @ John Morales,

    drosera, what specific logical fallacies do you imagine Caine has strung together?

    (I call bullshit)

    Caine wrote:

    You just keep getting duller, don’t you Drosera? Why don’t you run off to the ‘pit, where Dawkins is hailed as an idol, a supreme leader who can do no wrong, and “how dare you criticize him!?” is the constant cry?

    You fuckwits are the ones treating atheoskepticism like a religion, placing your idols above criticism. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid. Dawkins has done a lot of good, but he’s also done a lot of harm – much of it in his privilege stuffed Dear Muslima post, which was hailed far and wide by every sexist doucheweasel in the atheoskepticism sphere. So yes, he bears responsibility. Deal with it.

    Let’s see, what do we have here: ad hominem, red herring, straw man, argumentum ad populum, capped with a perfect non sequitur.

    An impressive fallacy density, altogether. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to spot them.

    John, do you think it is fair to blame Dawkins for RW’s rape threats?

  122. 122
    drosera

    @theophontes,

    Dawkins provides feelings of legitimacy to MRA’s and the like who do, indeed, make rape threats. His “Dear Muslima” brainfart, mentioned upthread, is a case in point. He has, as yet, not retracted it. As an authority figure in the atheist/skeptic movement, he has endorsed a point of view that belittles the voices of women in the atheist community and beyond.

    Can you prove that those threats would not have been made without Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” comment? Or do you just assume that? Did you interview the people who made the threats? To quote our friend Nerd of Redhead: Your OPINION is not EVIDENCE and can *POOF* be dismissed.

    You have any evidence for the above? A link or two you could provide us with? In the years Caine has been posting here, I cannot recall that she has done any of these things. Or is it that you don’t like her tone?

    Evidence for the invective? Is your memory that bad? As for the rest, see my reply to John.

  123. 123
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Can you prove that those threats would not have been made without Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” comment?

    Can I show which straw broke the camels back? Dawkin’s argument is constantly being regurgitated by misogynists, even here on Pharyngula. It plays its role in creating a toxic and unwelcoming atmosphere for women in the atheist community.

    Do you understand how toxic the idea is? Do you understand that it is logically unsound as well? (IMHO, it is on the same philosophical level as the “no true Scotsman” argument.)

    Evidence for the invective?

    Aaaah, a tone troll.

  124. 124
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    [locked in moderation?]

    Can you prove that those threats would not have been made without Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” comment?

    Can I show which straw broke the camels back? Dawkin’s argument is constantly being regurgitated by misogynists, even here on Pharyngula. It plays its role in creating a toxic and unwelcoming atmosphere for women in the atheist community.

    Do you understand how toxic the idea is? Do you understand that it is logically unsound as well? (IMHO, it is on the same philosophical level as the “no true Scotsman” argument.)

    Evidence for the invective?

    Aaaah, a tone troll.

  125. 125
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    My response is not going through… :’(

  126. 126
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Can you prove that those threats would not have been made without Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” comment?

    Can I show which straw broke the camels back? Dawkin’s argument is constantly being regurgitated by misogynists, even here on Pharyngula. It plays its role in creating a toxic and unwelcoming atmosphere for women in the atheist community.

    Do you understand how toxic the idea is? Do you understand that it is logically unsound as well? (IMHO, it is on the same philosophical level as the “no true Scotsman” argument.)

  127. 127
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Evidence for the invective? Is your memory that bad?

    Aaaah, so you are a tone troll.

  128. 128
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Evidence for the invective? Is your memory that bad?

    Aaaah, a tone troll.

  129. 129
    drosera

    Good, call me a tone troll. That saves me trouble of answering you.

  130. 130
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    ad hominem

    “Danger! Name-calling by itself is not ad hominem. Rather, the attack on the arguer must occur as an ostensible attack on an argument. If no argument is offered – there is no ad hominem (or any other kind of fallacy) at work.” (Link)

    red herring, straw man, argumentum ad populum, capped with a perfect non sequitur.

    I leave the demolition of these as an execise to the interested reader.

    … saves me trouble of answering you.

    Fine, I’d hate you to dig any deeper.

  131. 131
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Drosera @121:

    Caine wrote:

    You just keep getting duller, don’t you Drosera? Why don’t you run off to the ‘pit, where Dawkins is hailed as an idol, a supreme leader who can do no wrong, and “how dare you criticize him!?” is the constant cry?
    You fuckwits are the ones treating atheoskepticism like a religion, placing your idols above criticism. It’s ridiculous. It’s stupid. Dawkins has done a lot of good, but he’s also done a lot of harm – much of it in his privilege stuffed Dear Muslima post, which was hailed far and wide by every sexist doucheweasel in the atheoskepticism sphere. So yes, he bears responsibility. Deal with it.

    Let’s see, what do we have here: ad hominem, red herring, straw man, argumentum ad populum, capped with a perfect non sequitur.
    An impressive fallacy density, altogether. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to spot them.
    John, do you think it is fair to blame Dawkins for RW’s rape threats?

    ad hominem? No; nowhere does she argue you are wrong because you’re a dull fuckwit, rather the opposite.
    red herring? No; I don’t see anything irrelevant introduced to sustain her argument..
    straw man? No; how does she misrepresent your position?
    argumentum ad populum? No; she nowhere argued she was correct because many people thought she was correct.
    perfect [sic] non sequitur? No; she addresses your claim, just not the way you prefer.

    (You might as well accuse yourself of the fallacy fallacy)

    John, do you think it is fair to blame Dawkins for RW’s rape threats?

    Only for those made by people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance.

  132. 132
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    The only thing you managed to demolish is your reputation.

    Kudos for being able to google ‘ad hominem’. Now, if you had also been able to understand what it means, you would have saved yourself some embarrassment.

    Let me spell it out for you.

    When Caine writes “ You just keep getting duller “ and “you fuckwits” and this:

    drosera is a known troll, an assclam in smegmarmalade sauce, with wits as sharp as a nerf ball

    then that is clearly an attempt to diminish my credibility and is therefore used as part of her argument contra my (implied) statement that Richard Dawkins is not to blame for Rebecca Watson’s rape threats. So yes, the ad hominem is obvious and unmistakable.

    I will grant you that calling me an “assclam in smegmarmalade” is merely a non-gendered insult, not an ad hominem. I don’t know what it means, but it sounds icky.

  133. 133
    drosera

    @ John Morales,

    Only for those made by people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance.

    Do you have any evidence that such people exist? Citation needed.

    Assuming they exist, are those the people that cause RW’s inbox to “explode” with rape threats? Citation needed.

    Even if there are people who read “Dear Muslima” and took it as an incitement to send rape threats, should Dawkins be held responsible for their actions? In other words, does his comment actually contain an incitement to make rape threats or is it the case that some people misunderstood his comment? Citation needed.

    As for the fallacies; you can pretend that they are not there. You can pretend that 1+1=3. That only demonstrates what a disingenuous bottom feeder you are. See my response to Theophontes above, where I showed that the ad hominem is clearly there. I am not going to demonstrate the others. Let those who can make their own judgement.

  134. 134
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    drosera:

    Do you have any evidence that such people exist? Citation needed.

    I don’t need to provide any evidence that they exist, since I made no existence claim.

    Assuming they exist, are those the people that cause RW’s inbox to “explode” with rape threats? Citation needed.

    Again, no citation needed: by definition, they are part of that group, yes.

    Even if there are people who read “Dear Muslima” and took it as an incitement to send rape threats, should Dawkins be held responsible for their actions? In other words, does his comment actually contain an incitement to make rape threats or is it the case that some people misunderstood his comment? Citation needed.

    What part of “people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance” was confusing to you?

    As for the fallacies; you can pretend that they are not there. You can pretend that 1+1=3. That only demonstrates what a disingenuous bottom feeder you are.

    I’m feeding on you. :)

    See my response to Theophontes above, where I showed that the ad hominem is clearly there.

    No you didn’t; you think you did, because you confuse a statement of opinion with an argument.

    (At worst, it was a case of well-poisoning, but she made no argument that hinged on it)

    I am not going to demonstrate the others. Let those who can make their own judgement.

    <snicker>

    Those who can (or care to) already would; your ostentatious permission to do so notwithstanding.

  135. 135
    drosera

    @John Morales,

    I don’t need to provide any evidence that they exist, since I made no existence claim.

    I didn’t say you did. I asked if you have evidence for their existence. Rebecca Watson and Caine are certain they exist. Are you?

    Again, no citation needed: by definition, they are part of that group, yes.

    The fact for which citation was needed was: assuming that people incited by Dawkins to make rape threats even exist, could they have caused an inbox to explode with rape threats? In other words, were a great number of those threats due to people who had somehow been incited by Dawkins to make them? That has nothing to do with definitions. It’s a claim about reality. Therefore: citation bloody well needed.

    What part of “people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance” was confusing to you?

    (Begging the question, are we now? That’s a fallacy, you know. When will you stop beating your partner, John?)

    So you infer that Dawkins’ “dismissive stance” incited people (who may or may not exist, as you don’t want to commit yourself) to make rape threats? But if these people don’t exist your inference is plainly nonsensical. If they do exist you are just spouting your worthless OPINION (copyright Nerd of Redhead) as long as you don’t provide evidence. So I repeat: Citation needed.

    I come back to my main issue: Is it reasonable to blame Richard Dawkins for an inbox that exploded with rape threats? Don’t we need evidence to back up such a serious accusation?

    It is remarkable how posing this perfectly reasonable question causes people here to behave like creationists, going overboard with invectives, logical fallacies and sophistry. It doesn’t make you look good.

  136. 136
    anteprepro

    Ah, I see drosera is being a good Dawkins Defender again. Has this session of trolling on behalf of Sir Richard been any less inane and hilariously inept than the previous ones? It really is pathetic how drosera will storm in, fuming with rage, if anyone dares to mock the Great and Powerful Dawk. And yet drosera doesn’t think it fits the bill for irrational hero worship. Ha!

  137. 137
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Drosera

    Is it reasonable to blame Richard Dawkins for an inbox that exploded with rape threats?

    Hey, who is saying that? You missed my #124 perhaps.

    .
    Also, if Caine cuts too close to the wind for you, perhaps you should quit the race. ;)

  138. 138
    anteprepro

    No, you see theophontes, you followed up that post with calling drosera a tone troll, to which drosera replied:

    Good, call me a tone troll. That saves me trouble of answering you.

    That was drosera’s excuse to ignore your 124. Hilarious that xe did so right in the middle of rants about “fallacies”. Fallacy fallacy indeed.

  139. 139
    drosera

    @ anteprepro,

    Congratulations, you are being even more vacuous than Caine. That’s quite an achievement.

    (Evidently another believer in the Gospel according to St Rebecca. Noted.)

  140. 140
    anteprepro

    Yeah, drosera’s as witty as ever. Keep it up and I’m sure Dawkins will give you that pay raise you’ve been striving for.

  141. 141
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    You could hardly have found a more weaselly way of distancing yourself from RW than you did there. Are you afraid to speak your mind? What would the Commentariat say, hm?

  142. 142
    la tricoteuse

    drosera @136

    (Evidently another believer in the Gospel according to St Rebecca. Noted.)

    Interesting bit of projection there, since you’re the only one here who seems to be putting your guy on an untouchable pedestal and snarling and nipping at heels like an indignant poodle on his behalf. Is it really so hard to admit that Dawkins did something pretty screwed up, and that it had an impact on people who dig/dug him?

  143. 143
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    As a mere sockpuppet of Rebecca Watson, I can only say that she is the sole cause of all these DEEP RIFTS!!!

  144. 144
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Protesting when Dawkins is made responsible for rape threats is putting him on an untouchable pedestal?

    Asking for evidence is nipping at people’s heels like a poodle, or rather, an indignant poodle?

    This is how smear campaigns work. Spread lies and ridiculous fabrications about your adversaries and when you do it right there will be zealots happy to run away with it and to mock those who speak up in protest.

    Perhaps a day will come when you, tricoteuse, are falsely accused of something, when the few people who come to your defence are ridiculed and asked to shut up. That will be the day when you realise the value of evidence and scepticism. For the first time in your life.

  145. 145
    John Morales

    Drosera, why do you tilt at windmills?

    I didn’t say you did. I asked if you have evidence for their existence. Rebecca Watson and Caine are certain they exist. Are you?

    Again: I made no existence claim, so all I need to do is support that if they do, then such blame is fair.

    The fact for which citation was needed was: assuming that people incited by Dawkins to make rape threats even exist, could they have caused an inbox to explode with rape threats?

    Assuming they exist, then yes.

    That has nothing to do with definitions.

    It has everything to do with definitions.

    (Begging the question, are we now? That’s a fallacy, you know. When will you stop beating your partner, John?)

    That’s not begging the question, that’s answering your question. Duh.

    (Q: Is X fair? A: X is fair when Y)

    So you infer that Dawkins’ “dismissive stance” incited people (who may or may not exist, as you don’t want to commit yourself) to make rape threats?

    Again: It is fair to blame Dawkins for RW’s rape threats Only for those made by people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance.

    I come back to my main issue: Is it reasonable to blame Richard Dawkins for an inbox that exploded with rape threats? Don’t we need evidence to back up such a serious accusation?

    I repeat: Only for those made by people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance.

    I note Rebecca clearly saw a correlation:

    Dawkins’ seal of approval only encouraged the haters. My YouTube page and many of my videos were flooded with rape “jokes,” threats, objectifying insults, and slurs. A few individuals sent me hundreds of messages, promising to never leave me alone. My Wikipedia page was vandalized. Graphic photos of dead bodies were posted to my Facebook page.

    It is remarkable how posing this perfectly reasonable question causes people here to behave like creationists, going overboard with invectives, logical fallacies and sophistry. It doesn’t make you look good.

    It is remarkable how incredulous you are that people might have been encouraged to attack feminist atheist and skeptics by virtue of Dawkins’ dismissiveness.

  146. 146
    drosera

    @ John Morales,

    It is fair to blame Dawkins for RW’s rape threats Only for those made by people who made such threats by virtue of being encouraged by his dismissive stance.

    It is fair to blame Dawkins for other people taking a dismissive stance as a result of him taking a dismissive stance (of the elevator incident, to be specific). Anything beyond that (insults, threats and other nastiness) is solely the responsibility of the people doing those things.

    Regardless, that rape threats were made as a result of Dawkins’ posts is still unproven.

    It doesn’t help that the context in which these posts were made, consisting of thousands of comments, has mysteriously disappeared, so that it is particularly easy to take them out of context.

    I note Rebecca clearly saw a correlation:

    Dawkins’ seal of approval only encouraged the haters. My YouTube page and many of my videos were flooded with rape “jokes,” threats, objectifying insults, and slurs. A few individuals sent me hundreds of messages, promising to never leave me alone. My Wikipedia page was vandalized. Graphic photos of dead bodies were posted to my Facebook page.

    “Dawkins’ seal of approval”? Of what? Rape threats? Insults? Evidence for this ‘seal of approval’ please.

    Note that no explicit mention is made of ‘rape threats’ (“jokes”, yes, and generic threats, presumably including rape threats), yet Dawkins is accused of causing an explosion of rape threats.

    And since when does correlation equal causation? You just know it is true, right? Where have I heard that argument before?

    It is remarkable how incredulous you are that people might have been encouraged to attack feminist atheist and skeptics by virtue of Dawkins’ dismissiveness.

    It is remarkable how easily you shift the goalposts from ‘rape threats’ to ‘attacks’. What is an ‘attack’. Mockery? Sharp criticism? Insults? Threats? Not every kind of attack is unacceptable, wouldn’t you say? No, I am not incredulous that people might have been encouraged to attack (sensu lato) feminist atheists and skeptics by Dawkins dismissiveness. You’re punching a straw man here. Fallacies, fallacies. You can’t help yourself, can you?

    Still, assuming the unacceptable kind of attack, what I wrote in my first paragraph of this comment still applies.

  147. 147
    John Morales

    drosera:

    It is fair to blame Dawkins for other people taking a dismissive stance as a result of him taking a dismissive stance (of the elevator incident, to be specific). Anything beyond that (insults, threats and other nastiness) is solely the responsibility of the people doing those things.

    If it’s fair to blame Dawkins for other people taking a dismissive stance as a result of him taking a dismissive stance, then it ineluctably follows that it’s fair to blame Dawkins for what those other people do as a result of their stance.

    (That actuallyt includes insults, threats and other nastiness that would not have been expressed had they not taken such a stance)

    “Dawkins’ seal of approval”? Of what? Rape threats? Insults? Evidence for this ‘seal of approval’ please.

    Metaphor is also beyond you?

    And since when does correlation equal causation? You just know it is true, right? Where have I heard that argument before?

    It doesn’t, but causation does imply correlation.

    I know the correlation is true, yes.

    (You dismiss it, why?)

    It is remarkable how easily you shift the goalposts from ‘rape threats’ to ‘attacks’. What is an ‘attack’. Mockery? Sharp criticism? Insults? Threats?

    Heh. In your own words, ‘attack’ includes insults, threats and other nastiness directed at a person.

    Not every kind of attack is unacceptable, wouldn’t you say?

    No, but every attack is an attack.

    No, I am not incredulous that people might have been encouraged to attack (sensu lato) feminist atheists and skeptics by Dawkins dismissiveness. You’re punching a straw man here. Fallacies, fallacies. You can’t help yourself, can you?

    You’re not incredulous, yet you wrote your #112.

    Right.

    Fallacies, fallacies.

    Your claims of fallacy were refuted above.

  148. 148
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Just for the good order:

    1.Do you think that Dawkin’s “Dear Muslima” comments made any positive contibution to the atheist cause?
    2. Did they in any way make the way easier for women to feel welcome and appreciated in the atheist community?
    3. Do you regard his “Dear Muslima” statements to be rational and logical in the first place (setting aside, for the moment, their divisive effects)?

  149. 149
    drosera

    @ John Morales,

    You deny shifting the goalposts, you dishonest piece of shit? I’m done with you.

  150. 150
    Lofty

    drosera, are you finally leaving., taking your inanity with you? One can hope.

  151. 151
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    Why would you be interested in the opinion of a “known troll, an assclam in smegmarmalade sauce, with wits as sharp as a nerf ball”, a “fuckwit”, a “tone troll” (your words), a “dull fuckwit”, someone who has been “inane and hilariously inept” and behaved like an “indignant poodle”?

    Take back your “tone troll” and I will answer you.

  152. 152
    drosera

    @ Lofty,

    Who is forcing you to read here? Sue them.

  153. 153
    Lofty

    drosera, I read here because I like informed commentary. Yours isn’t. On balance, it appears to be misinformed

  154. 154
    Inaji

    Goodness me, who knew you were such a sensitive dull crayon, drosera? Since it seems naughty words make you incapable of comprehending a response to your idiocy, let’s try an edited version, shall we?

    Ever since the explosion over “Guys, don’t do that”, also known as “Elevatorgate” and Richard Dawkins’ infamous Dear Muslima post, in which he utterly dismissed the concerns of women using a well known fallacy, there has been a noted split in the atheoskeptisphere.

    Those who split off because they are happier in their privilege and comfy in their sexism have hailed Dawkins and the infamous Dear Muslima post and consider it to be not only a confirmation that their stance is the correct one, they use it to shore up vile and despicable actions. Dawkins is placed on a pedestal where none dare criticise him and if they do, they are subjected to vile and despicable actions. So yes, Dawkins bears responsibility for those vile and despicable actions. Not all the responsibility, of course, but a large amount, as he has since hid in his Ivory Tower, refusing to examine his own privilege or sexism, while a mob of howling idiots surround his tower, idolizing him for protecting patriarchal privilege. Deal with it.

  155. 155
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    A short play for drosera (you muse you):

    .

    {scene: somewhere on the atheist blogs}

    RW: Then I said: “Guys don’t do that.”

    RD: STFU, others have it worse.

    BEAVIS: Yeah, STFU [sexist slur]

    BUTTHEAD: Yeah, STFU [sexist slur] or I’m gonna [threat of extreme violence] you.

    BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD {in unison}: hehe…huh…hehe…haha…*grunt*

    “STFU”: What he actually said was a far more verbose form of “shut the fuck up”. But I quote him here so that you may see for yourself. The snarkiness is an added bonus:

    Dear Muslima

    Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

    Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

    And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

    Richard

  156. 156
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Caine

    SNAP!

    (Holy Rattus norvegicus! I didn’t realise we are BOTH sockpuppets of Rebecca Watson…)

  157. 157
    Inaji

    Theophontes:

    But I quote him here so that you may see for yourself.

    Aaaaand it’s still disgusting, still loathsome, still dripping with utter contempt for women, still a fallacy,* so stuffed with privileged sexism it’s hard to reconcile it with the Dawkins we thought we knew.

    *One would think the great man would know that.

  158. 158
    Inaji

    Theophontes:

    @ Caine

    SNAP!

    Hey, I can work the words when I wish! :D

    Aren’t we all sockpuppets of Ms. Watson? And PZ? Or do they not really exist and we made them up? It’s all so confusing. *
     
    *Note to drosera: it’s not actually confusing. We aren’t as stupid as you are.

  159. 159
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Caine

    Like EG, he might well be so utterly embarassed by his little brainfart that he has run off and shoved it from his mind. In a way, by ignoring it, actually disowning it.

    But that does not keep his syncophants from keeping it very much alive. I really wish he would stop the cowardice and retract that Dear Muslima “letter” publicly. At least a lot of the ongoing damage could be stopped. Perhaps it would go a little way to ammeliorating damage already done.

    (I am trying to recall a story he told (I think it was him) about intellectual honesty. He spoke of a professor, who sat in on a colleague’s lecture and had an epiphany. The theory he had taught for the last 16 years had been wrong. He thanked his colleague and publicly aknowledged his mistake. As I recall, RW used this as an example of how a scientist (as opposed to a goddist) deals with such issues.)

  160. 160
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Caine

    [sockpuppets] It’s all so confusing. *

    *Matthew 6:3

    let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth

  161. 161
    Inaji

    Theophontes:

    Like EG, he might well be so utterly embarassed by his little brainfart that he has run off and shoved it from his mind. In a way, by ignoring it, actually disowning it.

    True. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that were the case. However, given that Dawkins has had a great deal to say about intellectual honesty and integrity, it’s severely disappointing to witness his head in the sand act, even if it is motivated by deep embarrassment. I’m not overly convinced it is a case of embarrassment, either. I tend more to the side of privileged arrogance.

    But that does not keep his syncophants from keeping it very much alive. I really wish he would stop the cowardice and retract that Dear Muslima “letter” publicly. At least a lot of the ongoing damage could be stopped. Perhaps it would go a little way to ammeliorating damage already done.

    No argument here. A retraction of Dear Muslima would leave many of his current worshippers floundering while they grabbed for a new foundation. I have no doubt they would find one, however, at least some of the atheoskeptisphere might actually have a think about things. It would go a long godsdamn way in making women feel a tad better, and it might even light the way for the Shermers of the world.

  162. 162
    drosera

    An even shorter play.

    {scene: An elevator in a 4 star luxury hotel at 4 am.

    Dramatis personae: RW, speaker at an atheist convention taking place at the hotel, a young woman.
    EG, faceless guy in his fifties.

    Both are slightly drunk.}

    EG: Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?
    RW: No. (elevator halts; doors open)

    THE END

  163. 163
    Don Quijote

    Here’s an even better play.

    (scene: An elevator in a 4 star luxury hotel at 4 am.

    Dramatis personae: RW, speaker at an atheist convention taking place at the hotel, a young woman.
    EG, faceless guy in his fifties.

    Both are slightly drunk.)

    (What the relevance of the above is at this point, is unknown.)

    EG. Don’t take this the wrong way,but I found your talk very intersting, and I would like to hear more. Would you be able to meet for coffee at breakfast tomorrow to talk about it some more?

    RW. (Various responses possible here. Ask RW for reply.)

    EG. OK, goodnight.

    RW. Goodnight.

    (elevator halts, doors open)

    THE END.

  164. 164
    la tricoteuse

    Never mind that drosera’s “play” wasn’t “The End” but rather the beginning. A prequel, if you like, to theophontes’ play.

  165. 165
    drosera

    It turns out that the context to Dawkins’ comments is still available here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20110805152438/http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php

    His “Dear Muslima” comment was made while the atheist internet community was already ablaze over the EG controversy. Pitchforks and torches had been handed out, knifes were being sharpened, clubs were taken out of the sheds.

    This was the first comment in the thread where Dawkins posted DM, indicating that Rebecca Watson had already come under heavy fire:

    Posted by: dr-rieux | July 2, 2011 9:17 AM
    Damn right. The flak Watson has taken for this whole episode mystifies me.

    The following comment is typical for the turn the debate had taken well before Dawkins posted his DM:

    Posted by: ‘Tis Himself, Quel Dommage | July 2, 2011 10:41 AM
    Rebecca gets propositioned by a dick. She tells people about it. Stef explains Rebecca is overreacting and should suck it up like a good girl. Rebecca responds specifically to Stef. The tone trolls come out to whine how Rebecca isn’t a good girl and isn’t sucking it up like a good girl should.
    Fuck that! All you tone trolls should just shut the fuck up and listen! If what happened to Rebecca was a rare or unusual occurrence then maybe (that’s maybe) you tone trolls would have a point (perhaps, if you’re lucky). But what happened to her in the elevator is all too common. And she is right to complain about it. She is even right to complain about it at a skeptic’s conference where she was asked to talk “about the Religious Right’s War on Women”. Yeah, tone trolls, she was invited to give a talk about feminism. So your whines about bringing up feminism at a skeptic’s conference should be directed to CFI for having the audacity to ask her to discuss the subject.
    Nor should Rebecca have let Stef remain anonymous. Stef made a public comment about Rebecca and the comments was rebutted publicly. Many of us get annoyed when Ken Ham responds to PZ’s comments while not mentioning PZ by name. So don’t complain when Rebecca responds to Stef’s comments and does mention her by name.

    Later on, we read:

    Posted by: Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Creature Powered Entirely By Bitter | July 2, 2011 2:57 PM
    To hell with Stef McGraw. Nice to see one of these Special Females™, eternally ready to chastise other women for being “too feminist,” get some flak in return. As others have said, she’s an adult, she put up a blogpost and a video criticizing Watson; let her take her lumps.

    Dawkins’ first post is number 75 in a thread of 1282 comments, most of which are not in response to Dawkins. Caine’s first post in this thread is number 630, and she made several afterwards, mainly busying herself with calling people ‘cupcakes’ and stuff like that. For example:

    Posted by: Caine, ghetto féministe | July 3, 2011 4:17 AM
    Calculon, you’re a fine example of a woman soaking in the privilege pool. Shut up.
    PZ, please, have mercy! Shut this down.

    Caine doesn’t mention the DM comment herself. Its monumental importance had apparently not yet registered.

    The point of all this? That there was already a lot of pretty extreme animosity between the various sides in the debate before Dawkins entered the battle field, and that his comment was hardly the catalyst it is made out to be now. It is highly unlikely, from this perspective, that Rebecca Watson’s rape threats are in any significant way due to Dawkins’ few comments.

    It may also be worth citing Dawkins’ second comment, which is often neglected:

    Posted by: Richard Dawkins | July 2, 2011 11:35 AM

    Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

    No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

    If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn’t physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

    Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they’d have had good reason to complain.

    Richard

  166. 166
    Nick Gotts

    So drosera, you’re telling us Dawkins’ comment was him piling on to Rebecca Watson when she was already under misogynist attack, and that makes it just fine.

  167. 167
    Nick Gotts

    theophontes@156,
    Here’s one source of the anecdote – it’s about the Golgi apparatus. Also in TGD, p. 320.

  168. 168
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Never mind that drosera’s “play” wasn’t “The End” but rather the beginning. A prequel, if you like, to theophontes’ play.

    But it should have been the end. In retrospect, it would have been better for all parties concerned, if a genuine, clear-cut case of harassment had been put forward to help raise the awareness of the problems of women in the a/s community. If Elevator Guy had been an obvious stalker, there would have been no controversy at all. I am sure nobody would have objected to conference policies that addressed such problems. But precisely because EG is such an almost or entirely trivial case, there was at first not enough incentive to deal with actual harassment.

    The rampant and still ongoing animosity on all sides was perhaps also in part due to the relative triviality of the original dispute; hyperbole was required from the start to make a point. It is chaos theory exemplified. EG is a fine illustration of the Butterfly Effect.

  169. 169
    la tricoteuse

    Not to mention that the comparison to PZ was ass-backwards as well as irrelevant.

    In crackergate, PZ was the non-privileged in religious terms, whereas in elevatorgate Rebecca was the non-privileged in gender terms. So right there we’ve got the situations the wrong way round.

    In crackergate, PZ desecrated a cracker in protest to Catholic treatment of a guy who committed the horrid sin of leaving a church with a communion wafer, for which he (the guy who left the church with the wafer, though PZ may have as well. I don’t recall) RECEIVED death threats.

    In elevatorgate, Rebecca committed the HORRIBLE OFFENSE of (when asked how to make more women feel welcome at skeptic/atheist cons or in the movement as a whole) saying, essentially “one way is by not doing this.” Which people responded to with rape and death threats.

    How Dawkins can possibly make PZ elevator guy and Rebecca the Catholic church in this scenario, I just cannot see. It makes no logical sense.

    What’s more, he then goes on to compare propositioning a woman for sex (or are you another “he really literally meant a cup of coffee” idiot, who claims to be ignorant of the very old and widespread cultural trope of coffee as a synonym for sex?) in an enclosed space with merely chewing gum.

    All this when Rebecca’s talk that he liked so much was about not sexually objectifying women, that her movement to the elevator was preceded by comments about how she was tired and needed to go to sleep, and that this was his first interaction with her, again in an enclosed space.

    I’m not sure how Dawkins’ comment was worth citing, except as further evidence that he was being a privileged ass and contributed to the legitimisation of Rebecca’s harrassers by painting her as unreasonable in two different ways.

  170. 170
    la tricoteuse

    Why should it have been the end? Why NOT use an example of a man inappropriately propositioning a woman for sex in an unsafe place as a lesson in how not to create a welcoming environment for women?

  171. 171
    drosera

    @ Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    So drosera, you’re telling us Dawkins’ comment was him piling on to Rebecca Watson when she was already under misogynist attack, and that makes it just fine.

    Only in your overheated imagination. You remind me of a communist for whom every non-communist is a fascist. People like you, who call everyone who criticises Rebecca Watson a misogynist, are part of the problem in the a/s community.

    Dawkins wanted to point out, by offering a (too) stark contrast, that EG was a trivial incident; nowhere did he imply that harassment of women is acceptable. EG was not a case of harassment. Even PZ has said so, if I remember correctly (correct me if I’m wrong).

  172. 172
    la tricoteuse

    Why does what Dawkins or PZ had to say about EG matter more than what Rebecca, who was there, had to say?

  173. 173
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Why should it have been the end? Why NOT use an example of a man inappropriately propositioning a woman for sex in an unsafe place as a lesson in how not to create a welcoming environment for women?

    I already answered that. Because this particular example (EG) is just not clear-cut enough. Because it is too debatable (as demonstrated by the endless debates). It just isn’t a convincing example to many people. Why is this so hard to accept?

    (What if EG had just looked at RW without saying anything? What if he had asked to have coffee the next day? Would that have made the situation any safer?)

  174. 174
    la tricoteuse

    If he’d looked, or stared? Looking is fine, staring is creepy.

    If he’d just said he enjoyed her talk, and had a conversation with her about it on the way up. Fine.

    If he’d asked her to have coffee the next day, in a public cafe, that would have been perfectly reasonable. It would have actually meant coffee, not been a euphemism for sex. And it wouldn’t have put her in the position of being propositioned in a closed-in space she couldn’t easily escape from if “no” hadn’t been ok with him (a risk women deal with regularly, that people DO like to downplay).

  175. 175
    la tricoteuse

    It’s hard to accept because:

    1. It didn’t just go “hey Rebecca we don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to be bothered about” but rather “YOU STUPID FEMINAZI MAN HATER YOU SHOULD BE RAPED BUT YOU”RE TOO UGLY TO EVEN RAPE” and other rather shocking “disagreements.”

    2. Women are constantly pointing out ways in which environments are made uncomfortable for them with behaviours that seem benign but are indicative of attitudes which are not benign, and being dismissed for them while those who dismiss them claim to want to make the environment more welcoming.

    3. Quite a lot of us here and elsewhere who have been made uncomfortable by similar behaviour found it very convincing indeed. As for those who didn’t, see my number 1 again.

  176. 176
    Nick Gotts

    People like you, who call everyone who criticises Rebecca Watson a misogynist – drosera

    That’s a lie, drosera; I have never said nor implied any such thing. I said she was already under misogynist attack, which she was.

    Why does what Dawkins or PZ had to say about EG matter more than what Rebecca, who was there, had to say? – la tricoteuse

    Well obviously, the woman who was there is unavoidably biased both by being a woman and by being an eyewitness. The later reflections of men who weren’t there are clearly more germane.

  177. 177
    drosera

    Why does what Dawkins or PZ had to say about EG matter more than what Rebecca, who was there, had to say?

    Her voice doesn’t matter more or less than that of anybody else. She is not the final arbiter of inter-human interactions.

  178. 178
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    1. It didn’t just go “hey Rebecca we don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to be bothered about” but rather “YOU STUPID FEMINAZI MAN HATER YOU SHOULD BE RAPED BUT YOU”RE TOO UGLY TO EVEN RAPE” and other rather shocking “disagreements.”

    Are you a tone troll now?

    Just kiddin’.

    Don’t you think that comments such as that by Ms Daisy Cutter which I cited above (@162), could have influenced the tone of the debate?

    But hey, I’m a certified tone troll, what do I know?

  179. 179
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Nick Gotts #164

    Yes, I think you are right. (My recollection is just slightly out.)

    Unfortunately, my point seems to have woooshed over drosera‘s head.

    @ drosera

    Because this particular example (EG) is just not clear-cut enough.

    Yeah, tell that to the fucking MRA’s then. Why didn’t they leave it there, rather than starting an attack on Rebecca?

    If her issue was so “trivial”, why did Dawkins have to fucking rub in his argument in that way? And with crap logic too!

  180. 180
    drosera

    @ Nick Gotts (formerly KG),

    That’s a lie, drosera; I have never said nor implied any such thing. I said she was already under misogynist attack, which she was.

    Okay, I take that back. But I suspect that you and I have different definitions of misogynist.

  181. 181
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Her voice doesn’t matter more or less than that of anybody else.

    She was there, drosera! Get with the program already.

  182. 182
    Nick Gotts

    drosera,

    Okay, I take that back.

    Thanks for that.

    But I suspect that you and I have different definitions of misogynist.

    So what if we do? You surely agree Rebecca Watson has been (and still is) under misogynist attack. So either she was already under misogynist attack when Dawkins made his DM comment, and the situation is as I described; or she wasn’t, in which case your claim that Dawkins’ DM comment made no difference collapses.

    Her voice doesn’t matter more or less than that of anybody else.

    Are you reading what you write? She is the only person who was there and has described what happened.

  183. 183
    Eamon Knight

    @165: If Elevator Guy had been an obvious stalker, there would have been no controversy at all. I am sure nobody would have objected to conference policies that addressed such problems.

    ….except that some people have, in fact, objected to the existence of *any* anti-harassment conference policy.

  184. 184
    la tricoteuse

    drosera – If you don’t see the difference between “let her get some flak for what she said” and “let her get rape and death threats for what she said” I just don’t know what to say to you. Likewise, if you don’t get the difference between “stop saying things passionately and aggressively and using naughty language” and “stop using rape and death threats” I doubly don’t know what to say to you. Except fuck off.

    And what theophontes said. Her voice, when it comes to the elevator incident, IS more important than any others because she was there. No one has come out as EG, so we haven’t heard anyone say “I really honestly did just mean coffee, sorry if I ignored the well-known cultural trope and didn’t take into consideration that that is what my offer would have been interpreted as.” Anyone else’s voice you think is equally important to Rebecca’s as far as what actually happened in the elevator?

    In any case, whether it was “harrassment” or not, isn’t the question. It’s whether it was contributing to an unwelcoming environment for women.

    As for different definitions of misogynist, if what you’re going for is “only actively hating women is misogyny” go ahead and apply that logic to racism. While you’re at it, explain how rape and death threats are not indicative of something at least very close to hate, if not hate itself.

    If that isn’t what you’re going for, then maybe go ahead and explain exactly what your definition of misogyny is instead of vaguely hinting at how it’s probably different from ours.

  185. 185
    drosera

    She was there, drosera! Get with the program already.

    I was referring to the implications of EG. If she was there or not doesn’t matter in that regard.

    About whether or not she herself felt harassed and threatened, I have to go by what PZ wrote. I don’t follow RW’s vlogs and blogs.

  186. 186
    strange gods before me ॐ

    hillaryrettig and David Marjanović:

    I look forward to the days when “authoritarian personality” is a recognized mental dysfunction/illness.

    Altemeyer says it’s not an illness. Jost says it’s not pathological. I think they understand what they study.

    But congratulations on your irony. That’s a highly authoritarian statement you’ve made.

    How about, instead of making plans that will lead to the forced drugging, torture and imprisonment of even more of the population who have done nothing wrong just for the way they think, how about we use the law to deal with people who actually commit crimes.

  187. 187
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    In any case, whether it was “harrassment” or not, isn’t the question. It’s whether it was contributing to an unwelcoming environment for women.

    Such one-off incidents will be very hard to prevent, unless you want to put all creepy guys in a re-education camp.

    (Got to go for now.)

  188. 188
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Apropos la tricoteuse:

    In any case, whether it was “harrassment” or not, isn’t the question. It’s whether it was contributing to an unwelcoming environment for women.

    For the sake of argument: What if Rebecca completely misjudged the situation and there really was nothing at all untoward about the situation?

    We are still left with the problem of how all those people piled onto her. We are still left with the problem of people like Dawkins, who where not present, trying to silence her.

    There will, from time to time be false positives (and I am not implying that this is the case here) and we must allow for these. But attacking every supposed victim like that? Holy Living Fuck!

    (Please tell me you are starting to grock. This is getting tedious.)

  189. 189
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    About whether or not she herself felt harassed and threatened, I have to go by what PZ wrote. I don’t follow RW’s vlogs and blogs.

    Indeed, get with the program!

    .

    (Google this stuff, educate yourself. You are not helping anybody right now.)

  190. 190
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Such one-off incidents will be very hard to prevent, unless you want to put all creepy guys in a re-education camp.

    Perfect solution fallacy.

    It nevertheless makes sense to use low-cost methods to try to reduce the total number of such incidents in the world, such as by making a video saying “guys, don’t do that.”

  191. 191
    la tricoteuse

    Such one-off incidents will be very hard to prevent, unless you want to put all creepy guys in a re-education camp.

    1. This is an argument for NOT discussing the creepy stuff and its implications how exactly?
    2. “Can’t prevent em all” as an argument for not trying to minimise incidences of it? Really?
    3. Dragging it into the light and pointing at it IS educating people about it, so it IS a kind of re-education camp, except no one is trapped and forced to listen. If they choose to shove their fingers in their ears and go “la la la la la,” they’ll have to keep doing it for a long time, though, as we’re not going to just shut up because people don’t like talking about it. Every time they take their fingers out of their ears long enough to actually hear what we’re saying, there’s a chance one of them will get it. So the numbers dwindle.
    4. As an aside, I wonder why you feel justified in commenting on a situation that you’re not willing to go to the source for.

  192. 192
    SallyStrange

    Well, drosera convinced me. I used to think that men were human beings and should enjoy equal access to public life, including running companies and holding public office. Now, though, I find myself wondering if it wouldn’t be best for everyone involved, including the poor dears who are just too animalistic and simple-minded to refrain from creepiness and sexual harassment, if we just lock them up forever. Let them out for walks and sperm collection. That sort of thing.

  193. 193
    Aratina Cage

    @drosera

    She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. –Richard Dawkins

    Are you (and Dawkins) honestly telling us that if someone had made a YouTube video in which it was mentioned “This guy was smacking his jaws together loudly while chewing a wad of bubblegum. Just a word of advice: Guys, don’t do that.” that a similar ensuing shitstorm would have followed with gum chewers on one side and anti-gummies on the other? Get out of town!

  194. 194
    John Morales

    drosera:

    The point of all this? That there was already a lot of pretty extreme animosity between the various sides in the debate before Dawkins entered the battle field, and that his comment was hardly the catalyst it is made out to be now.

    Yeah, it was. I was there when he doubled down and claimed what happened to Rebecca was “zero bad”.

    That is where he put his weight, that is why his name is invoked in this context.

    (Your point is plain wrong)

  195. 195
    drosera

    If you want to demonstrate that people are making a mountain out of a molehill, then showing an actual mountain can be a good method. That is exactly what Dawkins did with his “Dear Muslima” comment. There is no logical fallacy involved (isn’t it ironic that Caine of all people claims there is?). In particular, Dawkins was not saying: “Because Y is worse, X is of no concern.” He explicitly denied this in his second comment, which I cited above. He was saying: “Look, people, you pretend that X is a huge problem, now here’s what a real huge problem looks like.” Where is the fallacy in there? His only mistake, if any, was that he could have made his point without referring to Mount Everest.

    Soon afterwards, Jen McCreight and Rebecca Watson wrote ridiculously vindictive blog posts, burning Dawkins to the ground. And now we even have RW accusing Dawkins of causing her inbox to explode with rape threats, in another transparent attempt to get back at him.

  196. 196
    drosera

    @ Theophontes,

    (Please tell me you are starting to grock. This is getting tedious.)

    Please toe the party line? Not in my universe.

    @ strange gods before me,

    Perfect solution fallacy.
    It nevertheless makes sense to use low-cost methods to try to reduce the total number of such incidents in the world, such as by making a video saying “guys, don’t do that.”

    Creepy guys are creepy precisely because they are not likely to care about such requests.

    @ SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius,

    Well, drosera convinced me. I used to think that men were human beings and should enjoy equal access to public life, including running companies and holding public office. Now, though, I find myself wondering if it wouldn’t be best for everyone involved, including the poor dears who are just too animalistic and simple-minded to refrain from creepiness and sexual harassment, if we just lock them up forever. Let them out for walks and sperm collection. That sort of thing.

    So you think all men are creepy?

    @ Aratina Cage,

    Are you (and Dawkins) honestly telling us that if someone had made a YouTube video in which it was mentioned “This guy was smacking his jaws together loudly while chewing a wad of bubblegum. Just a word of advice: Guys, don’t do that.” that a similar ensuing shitstorm would have followed with gum chewers on one side and anti-gummies on the other? Get out of town!

    Nice false equivalence you’ve got there. Is it for sale?

  197. 197
    John Morales

    drosera:

    If you want to demonstrate that people are making a mountain out of a molehill, then showing an actual mountain can be a good method. That is exactly what Dawkins did with his “Dear Muslima” comment.

    That is not “exactly” what Dawkins did; Dawkins claimed it was flat ground (i.e. not even a molehill).

    Soon afterwards, Jen McCreight and Rebecca Watson wrote ridiculously vindictive blog posts, burning Dawkins to the ground.

    (What, they turned him into a newt?)

  198. 198
    John Morales

    <snicker>

    drosera: if there’s any false equivalence, it’s due to Dawkins:
    “She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum.”

    (The allusion to his comment is obscure to you?)

  199. 199
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Creepy guys are creepy precisely because they are not likely to care about such requests.

    Essentialist thinking.

    For your argument to be sound, it must be true that 1) there is a set of “creepy guys” who are fundamentally creepy, and 2) all the guys who ever do creepy things are members of that set, i.e. there is no other set of “guys who occasionally do creepy things”.

    Even if 1 is true, 2 obviously is not, so your argument fails. It nevertheless makes sense to use low-cost methods to try to influence some of the guys who occasionally do creepy things, such as by making a video saying “guys, don’t do that.”

    People can be influenced by external stimuli, and lots of guys who occasionally do creepy things are embarrassed to learn that they’ve done something creepy, and they’d prefer not to do creepy things.

    But, of course, you twisted the argument almost into unrecognizability. Originally, you were addressing la tricoteuse, who said,

    In any case, whether it was “harrassment” or not, isn’t the question. It’s whether it was contributing to an unwelcoming environment for women.

    That’s important. It’s clearly not a question of whether EG was essentially, fundamentally a creepy guy. For all we know, EG saw the video, realized he shouldn’t have done that, was embarrassed about it, and is now taking care to not treat any other woman that way in the future. Given the massive exposure the video has gotten, it seems probable that some other guys have also learned a bit more about boundaries.

  200. 200
    vaiyt

    In particular, Dawkins was not saying: “Because Y is worse, X is of no concern.” He explicitly denied this in his second comment, which I cited above. He was saying: “Look, people, you pretend that X is a huge problem, now here’s what a real huge problem looks like.”

    In the first case, he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. In the second case… he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. What’s the functional difference?

    Since when is “guys, don’t do that” (or, in a more detailed way, “try not to proposition stranger women in enclosed spaces at 4AM, it’s creepy”) making a mountain out of a molehill? Why do you think it’s right for Dawkins to invoke the suffering of women in Muslim countries just to make a point about Rebecca’s comment? Using Muslim women as a cudgel to beat a fellow first-worlder on a supposedly trivial matter makes a joke of his criticism of her Western privilege.

    Dawkins stepped on a landmine. In dismissing Rebecca’s complaint (and especially with the “zero bad” follow-up), he echoed the voices of dudebros everywhere that the threats women face are no big deal. The reaction to the Schrödinger’s Rapist discussion shows that clear as day. His response? Pretend it’s not a big deal. He had plenty of time to clarify himself, but instead he chose to surround himself with people who see no problem with sexism as long as it’s hurled towards “Twatson”.

  201. 201
    strange gods before me ॐ

    drosera, do you deny that Dawkins said it was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad for EG to follow Rebecca into the elevator and proposition her for sex there?

    If you acknowledge that Dawkins said this, do you disagree with him? It seems like you might, since you did not dispute that EG’s actions contributed to an unwelcoming environment for women. But it would be nice if you’d be explicit about this.

  202. 202
    vaiyt

    In particular, Dawkins was not saying: “Because Y is worse, X is of no concern.” He explicitly denied this in his second comment, which I cited above. He was saying: “Look, people, you pretend that X is a huge problem, now here’s what a real huge problem looks like.”

    In the first case, he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. In the second case… he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. What’s the functional difference?

    Since when is “guys, don’t do that” (or, in a more detailed way, “try not to proposition stranger women in enclosed spaces at 4AM, it’s creepy”) making a mountain out of a molehill? Why do you think it’s right for Dawkins to invoke the suffering of women in Muslim countries just to make a point about Rebecca’s comment? Using Muslim women as a cudgel to beat a fellow first-worlder on a supposedly trivial matter makes a joke of his criticism of her Western privilege.

    Dawkins stepped on a landmine. In dismissing Rebecca’s complaint (and especially with the “zero bad” follow-up), he echoed the voices of dudebros everywhere that the threats women face are no big deal. The reaction to the Schrödinger’s Rapist discussion shows that clear as day. His response? Pretend it’s not a big deal. He had plenty of time to clarify himself already, and he spent that time letting the MRAs, pitters and Paula Kirby speak for him.

  203. 203
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    FIFY:

    He was saying: “ Look, people, you pretend that X is a huge problem, now here’s what a real huge problem looks like STFU, wimminz.”

  204. 204
    Maureen Brian

    If Elevator Guy had been an obvious stalker …

    says drosera @ 165

    Well, as I understand the story, the man in question had followed Rebecca Watson from room to room over several hours yet had not spoken to her at any stage.

    He had listened to her speak on the panel about her dislike of being treated as an object and, in particular, being hit upon at conferences when she’s there to work. He had listened to her discuss the same problem at length in the bar and had hovered on the edge of the group but spoken to no-one.

    Then when she leaves to go to bed he follows her, he waits until he has her alone in the lift and he begins his spiel with something along the lines of “I am interested in what you say” having clearly taken in not a word of it!

    So, drosera, short of having the word tattooed in 48-point type across his face what more would he have to do to give rise to the suspicion that he was or might be a stalker?

  205. 205
    vaiyt

    This whole “if he had been an obvious stalker” thing gives me some serious “it wasn’t rape-rape” vibes. Oh, the guy didn’t touch her, he didn’t block the door, he didn’t say obvious lewd things to her, so he wasn’t a creep-creep and Rebecca is a cunty-cunt for thinking it was inappropriate. Time to break out the rape threats!

  206. 206
    drosera

    @ strange gods before me,

    For your argument to be sound, it must be true that 1) there is a set of “creepy guys” who are fundamentally creepy, and 2) all the guys who ever do creepy things are members of that set, i.e. there is no other set of “guys who occasionally do creepy things”.
    Even if 1 is true, 2 obviously is not, so your argument fails.

    One could say that “guys who occasionally do creepy things” are not really creepy, in that they probably present no danger. They will not easily cross the line to harassment or worse. I’ll admit that you could try to make them avoid doing creepy things by asking “guys don’t do this.” But what is “this”? Is it: “Guys, don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee”? Clearly it can’t be as specific as that. Should it be: “Don’t make people feel uncomfortable”? Isn’t that too vague and overly restrictive? Wouldn’t it stifle normal human interactions? Can you become less specific without becoming too general?

    drosera, do you deny that Dawkins said it was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad for EG to follow Rebecca into the elevator and proposition her for sex there?
    If you acknowledge that Dawkins said this, do you disagree with him? It seems like you might, since you did not dispute that EG’s actions contributed to an unwelcoming environment for women. But it would be nice if you’d be explicit about this.

    Dawkins has acknowledged that RW may have felt offended by EG. In his view that is still zero bad, because nothing more serious happened than an awkward moment. I, in Rebecca’s place, given her story, would also have felt offended, and pretty irritated to boot. I would not say that this is exactly zero bad, because zero bad is when I would not have felt offended and irritated. But I agree with Dawkins that at the same time nothing serious happened, nothing worth more than an unspoken “fuck off,” followed by a shrug. As I said, one-off incidents like this are almost impossible to prevent. Some people are creeps and some act creepy sometimes. It’s part of the background noise of life. You would have to turn your conference into a miniature North Korea to filter out this noise. Do we want that?

    @ Vayt,

    In particular, Dawkins was not saying: “Because Y is worse, X is of no concern.” He explicitly denied this in his second comment, which I cited above. He was saying: “Look, people, you pretend that X is a huge problem, now here’s what a real huge problem looks like.”

    In the first case, he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. In the second case… he’s dismissing the problem as not important because some other problem is worse. What’s the functional difference?

    There’s indeed a difference. In the first case, X can be only a little worse than Y and still be dismissed. X is dismissed because Y is worse. In the second case, X is dismissed because it is trivial in itself (and look at problem Y to see how trivial X really is).

    Since when is “guys, don’t do that” (or, in a more detailed way, “try not to proposition stranger women in enclosed spaces at 4AM, it’s creepy”) making a mountain out of a molehill?

    It isn’t. It is a misrepresentation to pretend that Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” was a direct response to “guys don’t do that.” It was a response to the kerfuffle in the wake of the “guys don’t do that” video, after RW had brought it up again at a conference, after acrimonious debates pro and contra Elevator Guy, protestations by PUAs, accusations of misogyny, the shaming of Stef Mcgraw by RW, blog posts, YT videos, etc. In that context, EG had indeed evolved from a molehill into a (virtual) mountain.

    @ Maureen Brian,

    So, drosera, short of having the word tattooed in 48-point type across his face what more would he have to do to give rise to the suspicion that he was or might be a stalker?

    It was a conference, remember? So it is not particularly suspicious that EG would have been in the same rooms as RW at the same time. Probably dozens of people were. Another problem with the whole affair is that we only have RW’s narrative. Did EG say exactly what RW reported (didn’t he say “Would you like to have coffee in the bar tomorrow?”), did he really hear everything she said the whole day, what kind of person was he? We have heard only one side of the story.

  207. 207
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, apologists of any type are boring. Drosera, we’ve heard your bullshit before. It remains bullshit. Your OPINION doesn’t make it change into EVIDENCE. Ergo, your OPINION is *FLOOSH* sent to the toxic waste system for decontamination and removal of idiocy.

  208. 208
    anteprepro

    Dross is still blathering about this shit? Still? And even dragged Elevatorgate into this? I’m not sure if I quite get this, but are people actually responding to dross as if it were sincere and honest? Dross is disingenuous to the core. Look at just its original comment. Dross is True Skeptical of the contents of Rebecca Watson’s inbox because it impugns Dawkins’ pure moral character, decides to sneer about that at length, proceeds from there about how Skeptical xe is, when any person who was genuinely doubtful about Rebecca Watson’s inbox wouldn’t be looking for the answer on PZ Myer’s blog two days after Rebecca Watson one and only comment . And, of course, if bringing xir True Skepticism to bear on the topic of Elevatorgate as well doesn’t show exactly how forthright and honest dross, I don’t know what would.

    I commend the people with more patience who have been willing to argue with dross as if dross were anything but the disingenous Dawkins-worshipping slimeball that xe has proven hirself to be. Dross deserves far, far less than that.

  209. 209
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dross is True Skeptical of the contents of Rebecca Watson’s inbox because it impugns Dawkins’ pure moral character,

    Yeah, it took a while for me to remember the irrational attempts by Drosera to protect Xits Hero™ Dawkins from criticism from Xit saw as the rabid proletariat. Still at that I see. Nor is it making any headway, which isn’t throwing doubt on RW or the EG event, but rather on Xit’s heroes insipid and ill-advised response to the events. Dawkins is a mature adult and can defend himself for his actions. He doesn’t need a hero worshiper defending his honor, if he isn’t. Which is why what Drosera is doing isn’t needed, unless Drosera is really apologizing for the Slymepit™. Personally, I wouldn’t want that to be held against me, as it isn’t a logical and rational position.

  210. 210
    drosera

    anteprepro is as vacuous as ever and Nerd once more spouts his worthless OPINION, which can *POOF* be dismissed, as there are no references to the scientific literature.

    *Yawn.*

  211. 211
    John Morales

    And you’re still wrong, drosera.

  212. 212
    John Morales

    drosera:

    We have heard only one side of the story.

    Which clearly was sufficient for “zero bad” Dawkins to determine its merit.

    (Also, you miss the point that the real story is the reaction Rebecca’s story provoked)

  213. 213
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ John Morales

    (Also, you miss the point that the real story is the reaction Rebecca’s story provoked)

    Actually, xe understands this only too well. See hir response to Vayt in #202 above.

    (Seems more like doublethink.)

  214. 214
    Maureen Brian

    To the best of my knowledge Mr Elevator Guy has not been assassinated or held incommunicado by feminist desperadoes or their agents.

    He has thus been free at any stage to step forward and give his version of events. He has not done so. From this I conclude that one of three possibilities obtains.

    1. His account would be essentially the same as Rebecca’s and there would be no point.

    2. He learned from the experience but seeks to avoid embarrassment.

    3. He has had no contact with either the internet or print publications for more than 18 months.

    Over to you, drosera!

  215. 215
    drosera

    @ Maureen Brian,

    To the best of my knowledge Mr Elevator Guy has not been assassinated or held incommunicado by feminist desperadoes or their agents.

    He has thus been free at any stage to step forward and give his version of events. He has not done so. From this I conclude that one of three possibilities obtains.

    1. His account would be essentially the same as Rebecca’s and there would be no point.

    2. He learned from the experience but seeks to avoid embarrassment.

    3. He has had no contact with either the internet or print publications for more than 18 months.

    Over to you, drosera!

    Oh, there are many more possibilities. Here are a few:

    4. He said something different (more like: “Can we meet somewhere tomorrow?”), but he is married, so he wants to keep a low profile, or he is convinced he will not be believed anyway and keeps quiet to avoid more drama.

    5. He watched RW’s account, got a heart attack and died.

    6. He fell into an empty elevator shaft in a freak accident on a building site and broke his neck.

    7. He never existed.

    I have no evidence pro or contra any of those possibilities. For the sake of the argument I go by the canonical version.

  216. 216
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    Actually, xe understands this only too well. See hir response to Vayt in #202 above.

    (Seems more like doublethink.)

    Quite right, but where’s the doublethink?

  217. 217
    la tricoteuse

    4. He said something different (more like: “Can we meet somewhere tomorrow?”), but he is married, so he wants to keep a low profile, or he is convinced he will not be believed anyway and keeps quiet to avoid more drama.

    5. He watched RW’s account, got a heart attack and died.

    6. He fell into an empty elevator shaft in a freak accident on a building site and broke his neck.

    7. He never existed.

    Do you realize how telling it is that two of your examples are a variation of “Rebecca Watson lied”?

  218. 218
    drosera

    Do you realize how telling it is that two of your examples are a variation of “Rebecca Watson lied”?

    Do you realize that you sound exactly like a Christian talking to an atheist who doubts the existence of Jesus? What, you think St Paul was a liar?

    Could RW not have misremembered? Does she never misrepresent something? Would you vouch for that? I don’t think you want to go there.

  219. 219
    la tricoteuse

    Are you contending that the story of EG is as fantastical as the story of a guy who’s actually the son of a supernatural being?

    That level of disbelief requires having a stake in NOT believing her story. What reason is there to doubt it? Do you apply that kind of hyper-skepticism to everything anyone tells you?

    “Dude someone at work ate my lunch today!”
    “Are you sure you didn’t just forget to bring it in? Or maybe you ate it and are lying.”

    “Man, someone broke my car window and stole my umbrella.”
    “Are you sure you didn’t break it yourself?”

    Or is it only when it’s a woman talking about something a man did? What IS so unbelievable about a guy insensitively propositioning a woman? It happens every goddamn day. What is your stake in this? Why is it important for you to disbelieve it?

    Never mind that, as others have pointed out, the significant part of the whole thing was not the story itself but how people reacted to her telling it.

    I’m going to go ahead and say that even if she’d made the whole fucking thing up out of whole cloth as a mild cautionary tale (like a fable) to illustrate the sort of thing that makes women uncomfortable at such conferences, it still would have been a good example, and it still wouldn’t have excused the abuse she got for very mildly suggesting men shouldn’t do that. I absolutely have no reason to believe she made it up (neither do you), so I do not, in fact, believe that. But she could have pulled the whole thing out of her ass and still not deserved the way people went ripshit at her.

  220. 220
    Argle Bargle

    Why does anyone disbelieve Rebecca Watson’s story? Is it so far-fetched, so obviously made up, so contrived that it’s an obvious lie? Or is it that MRAs don’t want to admit that sort of thing happens to women on a regular basis and that Watson had a legitimate complaint?

  221. 221
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Or is it only when it’s a woman talking about something a man did? What IS so unbelievable about a guy insensitively propositioning a woman? It happens every goddamn day. What is your stake in this? Why is it important for you to disbelieve it?

    I don’t find it unbelievable at all. I also think guys should not proposition a woman (or another guy) in a manner that comes across as rude or threatening.

    I was asked to speculate why EG has not come forward, and presented some possibilities that had not been considered.

    I’m going to go ahead and say that even if she’d made the whole fucking thing up out of whole cloth as a mild cautionary tale (like a fable) to illustrate the sort of thing that makes women uncomfortable at such conferences, it still would have been a good example, and it still wouldn’t have excused the abuse she got for very mildly suggesting men shouldn’t do that.

    It is simply not true that she got all the abuse just for saying “guys, don’t do that”. That’s part of the myth that has been created, as was the suggestion that Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” was a direct response to “guys don’t do that.” Almost everyone in this debate (I’m not talking about YT commenters, but about people who posted on a/s blogs) has been saying from the start that RW was perfectly in her right to request that guys should not proposition her in the way she described.

  222. 222
    la tricoteuse

    So…why do YOU think she got the abuse, then?

    And this:

    Almost everyone in this debate (I’m not talking about YT commenters, but about people who posted on a/s blogs) has been saying from the start that RW was perfectly in her right to request that guys should not proposition her in the way she described.

    is plainly not true.

  223. 223
    Pteryxx

    Almost everyone in this debate (I’m not talking about YT commenters, but about people who posted on a/s blogs) has been saying from the start that RW was perfectly in her right to request that guys should not proposition her in the way she described.

    Another grab bag of dishonest quibbling. First, her topic of discussion has been, as always, that women disproportionately feel unwelcome at a/s events because of sexism including random come-ons. This was just one typical example. Second, the objections started immediately on skepchick before Dawkins or even McGraw said anything.

    http://skepchick.org/2011/06/about-mythbusters-robot-eyes-feminism-and-jokes/

    (edit: or what la tricoteuse said. I just reflexively cite sources. <_< )

  224. 224
    la tricoteuse

    Sources are good. I failed to cite any.

  225. 225
  226. 226
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    That’s part of the myth that has been created, as was the suggestion that Dawkins’ “Dear Muslima” was a direct response to “guys don’t do that.”

    What you fail to take on board is that Dawkins responding to the shitstorm that followed by trying to silence the victim of said shitstorm, casts him in an even worse light. Do you really not understand this?

    You have it back to front. And still you press on. You say the very thing that casts him in a worse light, somehow casts him in a better light.

  227. 227
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It is simply not true that she got all the abuse just for saying “guys, don’t do that”.

    This is a an uncited assertion by you, the apologist. Ergo, *FLOOSH*, it is dismissed as utter fuckwittery per Christopher Hitchens. You need to dial down your claims if you can’t provide evidence. Such irrevant and far-reaching claims make you sound ignorant with nothing cogent to say on the subject Which you don’t..

  228. 228
    drosera

    @ Pteryxx,

    Second, the objections started immediately on skepchick before Dawkins or even McGraw said anything.

    Exactly. So why again is Dawkins to blame for RW’s inbox exploding with rape threats?

    Look at the time line (all 2011):

    20 June: RW posts her video with “Guys don’t do that.”
    28 June: RW has a blog post on the Stef McGraw affair.
    2 July: RD posts “Dear Muslima” comment.
    5 July: RW responds to Dawkins (“The Privilege Delusion”).

    These things all happened within about two weeks, during which there were several other blog posts by more or less prominent bloggers, as well as thousands of often quite abrasive comments. How can RW possibly know that the rape threats she received were made by people who felt specifically encouraged by Dawkins? I call bullshit.

  229. 229
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What of the people who were harassing Watson who claimed to be on “Team Dawkins”? People who felt that Richard Dawkins was on their side.

    But, hey. If we figure out just how Rebecca Watkins created this shitstorm, we can end this deep rift within the atheist community and all of the feminists can finally shut the hell up.

  230. 230
    la tricoteuse

    Dawkins’ dismissive tone towards her, his dismissal of her point, gave tacit approval to dismiss her concerns equally, to other people who blindly follow him and worship him as though he can do no wrong (like, say, you). He said, essentially, “shut up because women in other places have it worse” (paraphrased) and then when criticised for that, dug his heels in and said “what happened was ZERO BAD” (paraphrased only slightly, the “zero bad” is a direct quote).

    He didn’t just fail to help. He actively hurt. How can anyone know those people felt specifically encouraged by Dawkins? Who else among her detractors is so influential? Who else have so many people in the skeptic/atheist movement looked to as an exemplar of the movement? (Not so anymore for many of us because of his blind spot on this subject, but many have responded to his failure to show empathy about issues plaguing women by dismissing those issues along with him rather than taking him to task for that dismissal. Priorities, eh?)

    A prominent, respected figure dismissing Watson’s concerns so completely and wrongly, contributed to the anti-Watson atmosphere. Contributed to the vitriol and rape and death threats being made by people for whom he is a role model. In their eyes, the position HE took on the issue was influential, and suggestive that she was in the wrong, which gave them (tacit) permission to attack her. His position in the movement, such as it is, means he bears some responsibility in how his words are received. That’s what being a public figure means.

    The fact that he met further criticism with silence either means he stands by his erroneous characterisation of the situation and his equally erroneous implication that worse problems faced by women elsewhere mean that there are no problems at all here or that he doesn’t care if people think he stands by it.

    How can YOU be so bloody convinced that he bears no responsibility here?

  231. 231
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    What you fail to take on board is that Dawkins responding to the shitstorm that followed by trying to silence the victim of said shitstorm, casts him in an even worse light.

    Yeah, and all the shit came from one side. Nobody called people who dared to disagree with RW rape-enablers, misogynists and whatnot. She was the innocent victim who had merely dared to say “Guys don’t do that.” Come on, that’s a myth. She had her own blog, on which she was actively stirring up the shitstorm. See the time line I cited above. Dawkins called her out on it.

  232. 232
    vaiyt

    It was a response to the kerfuffle in the wake of the “guys don’t do that” video, after RW had brought it up again at a conference, after acrimonious debates pro and contra Elevator Guy, protestations by PUAs, accusations of misogyny, the shaming of Stef Mcgraw by RW, blog posts, YT videos, etc. In that context, EG had indeed evolved from a molehill into a (virtual) mountain.

    It’s telling that, when Dawkins decides to interfere on the kerfuffle, it’s to tell Rebecca Watson, and only Rebecca Watson, to shut up.

  233. 233
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Soon afterwards, Jen McCreight and Rebecca Watson wrote ridiculously vindictive blog posts, burning Dawkins to the ground.

    Yes, and then they came for him in their communazi stasiban black vans. Talk about hyperbole.

  234. 234
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    The fact that he met further criticism with silence either means he stands by his erroneous characterisation of the situation and his equally erroneous implication that worse problems faced by women elsewhere mean that there are no problems at all here or that he doesn’t care if people think he stands by it.

    You can repeat this mantra (the bolded part) until you see blue in the face, that doesn’t make it true. I have already tried to explain this above (192 & 202). I might as well have spoken to a brick wall. The rest of your comment is pure speculation about people’s motives. Did you carry out a survey?

  235. 235
    la tricoteuse

    Drosera, what are you saying?

    1. That he did not imply that women having worse problems elsewhere meant RW should shut up about hers?
    2. That his implication that women having worse problems elsewhere meant that RW should shut up was not erroneous?

  236. 236
    drosera

    @ Hidden Snowflake,

    Soon afterwards, Jen McCreight and Rebecca Watson wrote ridiculously vindictive blog posts, burning Dawkins to the ground.

    Yes, and then they came for him in their communazi stasiban black vans. Talk about hyperbole.

    I believe ‘burning to the ground’ is a fairly accurate metaphor for this:

    (…) Richard Dawkins believes I should be a good girl and just shut up about being sexually objectified because it doesn’t bother him. Thanks, wealthy old heterosexual white man! (…) Despite the fact that I’ve seen hundreds of comments from those of you who plan to do the same [boycott RD, drosera], I’m sure Dawkins will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days. But those of us who are humanists and feminists will find new, better voices to promote and inspire, and Dawkins will be left alone to fight the terrible injustice of standing in elevators with gum-chewers.

  237. 237
    Pteryxx

    Rebecca can know that some of the rape threats she’s been getting in email, comments, etc. are due to haters defending Dawkins because some of them will explicitly say so, in public. We’ve all seen examples, even off of youtube. (bolds mine)

    Next up is a guy who equivocates my disagreement with Dawkins to child abuse, and he even uses graphic pictures of abused children to prove his point (trigger warning, obviously). He apparently made an Encylcopedia Dramatica page about me and how ugly/slutty I am and encouraged people to “Tweet bomb” me (I guess no one took him up on the suggestion). He also tried to start a meme using a photo of me. My favorite was something along the lines of, “Asks not to be propositioned….wears low-cut dress.” Yep. I was asking for it, boys! If only I’d learn my lesson and wear a hijab when in public.

    http://skepchick.org/2011/09/mom-dont-read-this/

  238. 238
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    I was saying that he did not make the implication. That’s your imaginary version of what Dawkins actually wrote. You, and many others, are so eager to vilify Dawkins, so ready to swallow RW’s propaganda, that you refuse to think it over.

  239. 239
    la tricoteuse

    Seriously. So what did he mean with Dear Muslima? What is YOUR interpretation of it?

  240. 240
    la tricoteuse

    Full text for reference in case you forgot what it said:

    Dear Muslima
    Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and … yawn … don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.
    Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so …
    And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.
    Richard

  241. 241
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Yeah, it took a while for me to remember the irrational attempts by Drosera to protect Xits Hero™ Dawkins from criticism from Xit saw as the rabid proletariat. Still at that I see. Nor is it making any headway, which isn’t throwing doubt on RW or the EG event, but rather on Xit’s heroes insipid and ill-advised response to the events.

    Nerd, you are now using “xit”, which you made up, as another way of calling people “it”s. If anything, this is worse than when you were just calling people “it”, because now you are linking gender-neutral pronouns to dehumanization. Stop doing this.

  242. 242
    drosera

    @ Pteryxx,

    Not to be pedantic, but I didn’t see a rape threat in there. It sounds pretty deranged, to be sure. Do you really think Dawkins would condone this stuff?

  243. 243
    Pteryxx

    drosera:

    I was saying that he did not make the implication. That’s your imaginary version of what Dawkins actually wrote. You, and many others, are so eager to vilify Dawkins, so ready to swallow RW’s propaganda, that you refuse to think it over.

    *ahem* (my bolds)

    Posted by: Richard Dawkins Author Profile Page | July 3, 2011 9:32 PM

    Many people seem to think it obvious that my post was wrong and I should apologise. Very few people have bothered to explain exactly why. The nearest approach I have heard goes something like this.

    I sarcastically compared Rebecca’s plight with that of women in Muslim countries or families dominated by Muslim men. Somebody made the worthwhile point (reiterated here by PZ) that it is no defence of something slightly bad to point to something worse. We should fight all bad things, the slightly bad as well as the very bad. Fair enough. But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad. A man asked her back to his room for coffee. She said no. End of story.

    But not everybody sees it as end of story. OK, let’s ask why not? The main reason seems to be that an elevator is a confined space from which there is no escape. This point has been made again and again in this thread, and the other one.

    No escape? I am now really puzzled. Here’s how you escape from an elevator. You press any one of the buttons conveniently provided. The elevator will obligingly stop at a floor, the door will open and you will no longer be in a confined space but in a well-lit corridor in a crowded hotel in the centre of Dublin.

    No, I obviously don’t get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting.

    Richard

  244. 244
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    I already explained that above (192 & 202). Please read it and let me know which part is unclear.

  245. 245
    Inaji

    drosera:

    Soon afterwards, Jen McCreight and Rebecca Watson wrote ridiculously vindictive blog posts, burning Dawkins to the ground.

    Those posts were neither ridiculous or vindictive. They were addressing rank sexism and fallacious thinking on the part of Dawkins. During Egate, hundreds (at least) of people discussed this with Dawkins during 3D5K, where he doubled down and refused to consider his sexism, privilege or fallacious thinking.

  246. 246
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, bored by drosera, who keeps trying to wave away justifiable criticism of their hero. Not succeeding, because it can’t be done. You’ve had your say, why keep up your futile efforts to bully us into submission?

  247. 247
    Inaji

    SG, if you’re going to scold Nerd, you had best dog Anteprepro also, as Nerd was following on their post, the whole of which uses “it” in reference to drosera.

  248. 248
    Pteryxx

    @ Pteryxx,

    Not to be pedantic, but I didn’t see a rape threat in there. It sounds pretty deranged, to be sure. Do you really think Dawkins would condone this stuff?

    Oh? How about this one?

    @rebeccawatson Hope Dawkins will bestially rape you… in the Elevator to Hell!

    Screenshot at: http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/

    And for the innumerableth time, nobody has claimed Dawkins condones hate spam and rape threats. But he hasn’t made one statement against them, either.

  249. 249
    drosera

    @ Pteryxx,

    Posted by: Richard Dawkins | July 2, 2011 11:35 AM

    Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

    No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

  250. 250
    Pteryxx

    And after July 2, he clarified his position further on July 3 with the “end of story” comment.

  251. 251
    la tricoteuse

    Well. Your 192 is disproven by Pteryxx at 239, so all that remains is 202.

    There’s indeed a difference. In the first case, X can be only a little worse than Y and still be dismissed. X is dismissed because Y is worse. In the second case, X is dismissed because it is trivial in itself (and look at problem Y to see how trivial X really is).

    If you have to look at problem Y to see how trivial X really is, you are playing oppression olympics. “X is not worth fighting because Y is worse” is exactly what you’re saying here. Which is what Dawkins said, which is what you are denying Dawkins said.

    You also deny that Dear Muslima is about what Watson said. It references nothing BUT Watson’s story about EG, so there is no fucking way in pluperfect hell you have any evidence whatsoever that it’s about anything BUT that.

    You’re just wrong.

    And since it’s not my imaginary impression, but Dawkins’ admitted meaning, now what?

  252. 252
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

    Words that should never have been spoken in the first place. Which is what we have been telling you, and RW said with her “guys, don’t do that”. Still not making your point, but rather proving ours.

  253. 253
    drosera

    @ Pteryxx,

    @rebeccawatson Hope Dawkins will bestially rape you… in the Elevator to Hell!

    Exceedingly distasteful, but again, it is not a threat (unless you think Hell exists and is accessible through an elevator; would make an interesting horror movie).

  254. 254
    strange gods before me ॐ

    SG, if you’re going to scold Nerd, you had best dog Anteprepro also, as Nerd was following on their post, the whole of which uses “it” in reference to drosera.

    Ah.

    anteprepro, don’t do that shit.

  255. 255
    la tricoteuse

    Polite. I love (by which I mean hate) when people use this word to excuse vile things and use the apparent lack of politeness to dismiss good things stated passionately.

    “Excuse me, would you mind terribly not sitting next to me. It’s just that you’re black and I feel quite repulsed by your presence. Thank you ever so much, I DO appreciate it.”

    may be cloaked in “polite” language, but it’s vile nonetheless.

    Conversely, responding with “Fuck you, you disgusting racist scumbag. Go shove a cactus up your ass til you taste the desert.” may be passionate, and contain rude language and a rude suggestion, but to call it worse than the statement it responds to, because of this, is ridiculous. If you honestly hold “politeness” such that the first statement would fit into the definition to be more important than not being racist/sexist/homophobic/etc, then politeness is fucking meaningless.

    Dawkins’ harping on the apparent “politeness” of EG’s proposition is ignoring the implications of the situation entirely. Phrasing something in polite language does not remove underlying significance. It’s a bullshit thing to say.

    drosera:

    @ Pteryxx,

    @rebeccawatson Hope Dawkins will bestially rape you… in the Elevator to Hell!

    Exceedingly distasteful, but again, it is not a threat (unless you think Hell exists and is accessible through an elevator; would make an interesting horror movie).

    So..what…only actual direct threats count as contributing to the atmosphere of hate and vitriol being spewed at RW at least partly thanks to Dawkins?

  256. 256
    Pteryxx

    So it’s not enough if the hatespam references Dawkins *and* rape, is threatening, and was addressed directly to Rebecca in public… now it has to be an actionable rape threat, with no plausible deniability tags, before she’s credible about it. See also: hyperskepticism, the presumption that women are lying, and the common Police or STFU fallacy.

  257. 257
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Exceedingly distasteful, but again, it is not a threat (unless you think Hell exists and is accessible through an elevator; would make an interesting horror movie).

    This almost makes me want drosera to go through all the “distasteful” non-threats for months on end. The tweets and stalkers and websites and petitions, all that are not threats at all, to see how more than distasteful it is.

    And I wish I could end this post with a glib dismissal about how interesting it could be.

  258. 258
    strange gods before me ॐ

    drosera,

    One could say that “guys who occasionally do creepy things” are not really creepy, in that they probably present no danger. They will not easily cross the line to harassment or worse.

    They frequently will harass, if they are not given examples of what constitutes harassment.

    I’ll admit that you could try to make them avoid doing creepy things by asking “guys don’t do this.” But what is “this”? Is it: “Guys, don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee”? Clearly it can’t be as specific as that.

    Perfect solution fallacy.

    You act like you are unfamiliar with heuristic learning. That’s unlikely (it’s impossible for you to be implicitly unaware of it, since you are human), but I’ll remind you explicitly.

    Socially, what happens is people discover and are told of lots of ways to treat people decently, some general, some highly specific, and these various bits are integrated into ever-changing heuristics. So yes, it is worthwhile to tell people “don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee”. Also “don’t follow people into elevators to ask them for sex”. Also “don’t follow people out of crowds to ask them for sex”. Any of these guidelines, when encountered, can be integrated into the person’s set of heuristics for social behavior. Therefore, any of them are worth telling to people.

    Let’s say someone is told the specific “don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee”. On another occasion, the same person is told “don’t follow people on the street to ask them for sex.” These two guidelines are likely to be integrated by the learner as something like “don’t follow people to ask them for sex.” All sound advice, whether highly specific or highly general or anywhere in between, helps the learning process, and therefore is worthwhile to explain to people.

    Should it be: “Don’t make people feel uncomfortable”? Isn’t that too vague and overly restrictive?

    Something like “think about whether you might be making someone uncomfortable, and evaluate whether it is okay to do so” is vague, but not overly restrictive, and again this is a guideline that will be integrated into already-existing, ever-evolving heuristics.

    If you would try thinking more about what helps incrementally, instead of only thinking about how to put up a fight here, you would be less prone to making the perfect solution fallacy over and over again like you’re doing now. I mean, if becoming less wrong is something you value, and if you’re supposed to be a skeptic then it ought to be something you value, then you might want to try this.

    But I agree with Dawkins that at the same time nothing serious happened,

    Following someone away from a crowd to proposition them for sex away from the crowd is pretty serious. If he’d approached her while she was still with the crowd, and asked her if she wanted to go to his room for coffee, that would still be inappropriate in light of her already stated preferences, but it would not be such a serious sign of danger.

    As I said, one-off incidents like this are almost impossible to prevent.

    Perfect solution fallacy.

    It nevertheless makes sense to use low-cost methods to try to reduce the total number of such incidents in the world, such as by making a video saying “guys, don’t do that.”

    You would have to turn your conference into a miniature North Korea to filter out this noise. Do we want that?

    Perfect solution fallacy.

    It nevertheless makes sense to use low-cost methods to try to reduce the total number of such incidents in the world, such as by making a video saying “guys, don’t do that.”

  259. 259
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Dawkins’ harping on the apparent “politeness” of EG’s proposition is ignoring the implications of the situation entirely. Phrasing something in polite language does not remove underlying significance. It’s a bullshit thing to say.

    You have a point there. Politeness in itself does not make something acceptable. But I would think that a polite proposition is usually preferable to an equivalent rude one. It’s little more than a minimum requirement, though.

    So..what…only actual direct threats count as contributing to the atmosphere of hate and vitriol being spewed at RW at least partly thanks to Dawkins?

    Changing the meaning of words is the get-out-of-jail card here, isn’t it? Yes, I’m really sorry, but only actual threats count as … threats. A threat is a fairly specific kind of statement, one that credibly suggests that “X may or will happen to you,” where X is something unpleasant. If you claim that your inbox is exploding with rape threats, while almost every single example is not actually a threat, then you are misrepresenting your situation. It is ridiculous that I even have to point this out.

  260. 260
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Remember what drosera is arguing. Expressing a wish that a person get murder or raped, while distasteful, is fine. It is not a threat. And it is still not a threat when people gang up, with the intention that they wish that a person be murdered or raped. And it is still not a threat when people spend all day on tweeter, wishing for a person be murdered or raped.

    There is nothing to worry about.

    But maybe an interesting horror movie can come out of it.

  261. 261
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But I would think that a polite proposition is usually preferable to an equivalent rude one.

    It doesn’t matter if it is done under inappropriate circumstances though. As with EG and RW. You have no argument. All you have is irrationality. Who cares about your OPINION. If you can’t back it with evidence, it *FLOOSH* is dismissed as fuckwittery. Get with the program. You are using nothing but MRA argumentation. That is you think your OPINION should be listened to. Only if you can back it up with evidence. They can’t, you can’t.

  262. 262
    drosera

    @ strange gods before me,

    So yes, it is worthwhile to tell people “don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee”. Also “don’t follow people into elevators to ask them for sex”. Also “don’t follow people out of crowds to ask them for sex”. Any of these guidelines, when encountered, can be integrated into the person’s set of heuristics for social behavior. Therefore, any of them are worth telling to people.

    At first sight this looks perfectly reasonable, until you recall how controversial even “don’t ask a conference speaker, who spent the whole day talking about harassment, in an elevator at 4 am to come up to your room for coffee” turned out to be. I don’t see how you can come up with a set of examples of behaviours-to-avoid that are widely agreed upon and that at the same time will help prevent more than the most crass types of behaviour, things most people already know to avoid.

    One can try, nevertheless. It will depend to a very large extent on the personality of the ‘educator’ whether the lessons will be learned. A condescending, authoritarian tone will be counterproductive. Frankly, I think this is where Rebecca Watson failed miserably. I have just listened to the video that started the whole affair. The way she said “Just a word to the wise here, guys, don’t do that,” sounded terribly condescending to me. It’s a petty detail, perhaps. But we are talking here about an immensely sensitive topic, about which people can become extremely touchy, as subsequent developments have amply demonstrated. This minor detail may have made a world of difference. Chaos theory again.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  263. 263
    drosera

    @ Janine, Hallucinating Liar,

    There is nothing to worry about.

    You are putting words in my mouth. Evidently, if so many people seem to hate you, that is something to worry about. That still doesn’t make it okay to claim that Dawkins caused your inbox to explode with rape threats.

  264. 264
    drosera

    @ Nerd of Redhead,

    Get with the program.

    What program? The ‘Nerd of Redhead’ program that is producing your comments?

  265. 265
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Keep saying that to yourself, dshitra. Those people who claimed to be on Team Dawkins.

    Whether you like evolutionary biology or take his side in the Elevatorgate Rebecca Watson/Elevator Guy/Stef McGraw kerfuffle, this is for you!

    I guess that everything is just happening in a fucking vacuum. There is no influence to be had.

    Why the fuck did you have to come back?

  266. 266
    drosera

    @ Janine, Hallucinating Liar,

    I don’t know what Team Dawkins is. If you put a link in there it doesn’t work for me.

  267. 267
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The ‘Nerd of Redhead’ program that is producing your comments?

    The program that says if you say nothing that hasn’t already been said by the Slymepit™ for two years, you aren’t any more believable than they are. Which is everything you have said in the last few days. Nothing new, nothing evidenced, all “possibilities” and OPINION. The program is you actual saying “this is the case (link) and this is the evidence to show this is more than mere OPINION.”

    But all you have is mere OPINION. Which without evidence is *FLOOSH* dismissed as fuckwittery.

    So, what EVIDENCE do you have to present to us, knowing your OPINION isn’t evidence?

  268. 268
    Forbidden Snowflake

    Things I’ve learned today:
    1. Saying “I hope you get raped” (aren’t generic wishes that someone be dealt with violently considered “stochastic terrorism”?) is not threat enough to count, but saying (paraphrased) “Dawkins is condescending to me, so I don’t like him anymore” is OMG BURNING HIM TO THE GROUND.
    2. Talking about how you ask to be treated is “authoritarian” (at least when Watson does it), but ruling that what happened to someone else and made them uncomfortable is “zero bad” isn’t.

  269. 269
    Forbidden Snowflake

    drosera, you say that Dawkins did not imply that Watson should shut up because others have it worse. In that case, can you explain what you think he meant to express by dragging the plight of other women into the conversation? If his point was “zero bad” from the start (and not just after people pointed out the fallacy in “shut up, others have it worse”), how would “Dear Muslima” help illustrate it?

  270. 270
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Yeah, and all the shit came from one side.

    Wherever there is a social power imbalance, you will get “shit”. In this case we are talking about misogyny. We are talking about a (small) group of penis-havers, and their acolytes, kicking down on women in general. All that Rebecca did was point out an example of this. This got under the penis-havers skin, ’cause she is such an uppity wimminz.

    Complaining about the explicit and implicit misogyny on her blog (or even at skeptic/atheist conferences!) may stir up a shitstorm, but it is nevertheless an effective way to address such iniquities.

    Dawkins called her out on it.

    Yeah, well, I am sure if Dawkins had lived in the ancient Peloponnese, he would be complaining about the uppity helots instead. (Privilege is just such a timeless and inveterate bain to humanity.)

    But I would think that a polite proposition is usually preferable to an equivalent rude one.

    Holy rodent. In the context of the current discussion…. WTF?

    A condescending, authoritarian tone will be counterproductive.

    Bullshit! Citations? The opposite is true when dealing with RWA’s.

    Punching up is condescending now? [q] “The uppity must be meak if they wish to inherit the earth.”[/q]

    You, and many others, are so eager to vilify Dawkins

    No, not at all. It galls me that I am forced by his attitude to respond to him in this way. In many other respects I have nothing but the highest regard for Dawkins but his attitude in this I find hurtful and offensive. I guess we all just have to learn from this and realise he is human and fallible like anyone else. But he certainly does not get a free pass on his blind spots. I hope no-one, certainly myself included, ever does.


    Team Dawkins

  271. 271
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    The Program.

    1. Deal in good faith.
    2. Use facts to back up your claims.
    3. Provide citations when requested.
    4. Exceptional claims need exceptional evidence.
    5. Conjecture and opinions carry little weight (and should be clearly indicated).
    6. If you make a mistake, own up, apologise and move on.
    7. You may correct your position, but not vacillate.
    8. Being boring is a crime.

    (Help with the list will be appreciated.)

  272. 272
    athyco

    If someone else makes a mistakes, owns up, and apologises–move on.
    Address substance, not tone.

  273. 273
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    9. If someone else makes a mistake, owns up, and apologises–move on.

    Thanks Athyco.

  274. 274
    Maureen Brian

    10. If you’re going to argue about what someone said or did, go to the primary sources and try not to rely on hearsay and fifth-hand accounts.

    (Do it first and not at comment 258 of the seven-trillionth iteration of an argument which has been running for a couple of years.)

  275. 275
    drosera

    11. Don’t change the conventional meaning of words and then use them pretending they still carry the original meaning (e.g., misogyny, rape-threats).
    12. Don’t expect only your opponents in a debate to adhere to The Program.

  276. 276
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    Wherever there is a social power imbalance, you will get “shit”. In this case we are talking about misogyny. We are talking about a (small) group of penis-havers, and their acolytes, kicking down on women in general. All that Rebecca did was point out an example of this. This got under the penis-havers skin, ’cause she is such an uppity wimminz.

    I could have sworn that I saw comments and blogposts by several women who passionately criticized Rebecca Watson. I guess they were not True Women™.

  277. 277
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Don’t expect only your opponents in a debate to adhere to The Program.

    Not if the opponent is a squirmmy eel of intellect avoiding personal responsibility for being that eel. Evidence is your friend. Lack of evidence and nothing but OPINION and what-ifs is your enemy. You have nothing but enemies in your arguments Drosera. You have no evidenced argument. Nothing but personal OPINION.

    In order to convince this blog either provide evidence, or realize you should just shut the fuck up.

  278. 278
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Don’t expect only your opponents in a debate to adhere to The Program.

    Translation: Don’t make me think! Yay ignorance and bigotry!

    I guess they were not True Women™.

    Translation: If I work “gender traitor” in before devolving into deliberate trolling to get my “I Got Banned From Pharyngula” Bigot merit badge, do I get my Slymepit gold status membership?

  279. 279
    anteprepro

    Umm if you guys bothered to read my post more thoroughly you would have seen three gender neutral pronouns. Because i remembered to fix those its. The others were editing mistakes I didnt notice the its that remained. I most certainly didnt refer to drosera as it for the whole of my post as caine suggests and dont support nerds far more deliberate use of the term

  280. 280
    Pteryxx

    Next round’ll be drosera demanding chemical swipe evidence that Rebecca’s inbox “exploded”.

  281. 281
    drosera

    @ pteryxx,

    Next round’ll be drosera demanding chemical swipe evidence that Rebecca’s inbox “exploded”.

    Now that you mention it…

  282. 282
    drosera

    I wonder if the ‘Nerd of Redhead’ program would pass the Turing test. At some point people have to start noticing the abnormal frequency of the all-caps words OPINION and EVIDENCE and begin to suspect that their interlocutor is not human.

  283. 283
    drosera

    @ anteprepro,

    I most certainly didnt refer to drosera as it for the whole of my post as caine suggests and dont support nerds far more deliberate use of the term

    So if you do it only for half your post it is somehow less deliberate. Well, if you say so. May I call you a slavering zombie? Because that’s what you are.

  284. 284
    anteprepro

    Also I apologize for sounding to indignant. I made a mistake ultimately and I apologize.

  285. 285
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    I guess they were not True Women™.

    Look up the meaning of acolyte. I have covered this already.

    Check out: What To Do When Half The Atheosphere Dogpiles On You And Tells You That You Screwed Up

    Also try forwarding the link to Richard Dawkins.

  286. 286
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    At some point people have to start noticing the abnormal frequency of the all-caps words OPINION and EVIDENCE and begin to suspect that their interlocutor is not human.

    Actually, you would be surprised at how many pissants there are out there who do not notice the difference between OPINION and EVIDENCE. (Perhaps Nerd should type LOUDER?)

    @ Nerd

    After reading drosera’s above comment:

    12. Don’t expect only your opponents in a debate to adhere to The Program.

    , I might suggest that you address hir in future in CAPS only.

  287. 287
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    At some point people have to start noticing the abnormal frequency of the all-caps words OPINION and EVIDENCE and begin to suspect that their interlocutor is not human.

    At some point Drosera would show intelligence and address the difference between OPINION and EVIDENCE in an argument. Opinion =/= evidence. They must be shouted as you appear to not notice the difference. Show us you do understand the difference.

  288. 288
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Nerd

    It is drosera’s OPINION that we deal in double standards. If only xe could provide the EVIDENCE…

  289. 289
    drosera

    Alright, anteprepro, apologies accepted. And you are not really a zombie.

  290. 290
    Forbidden Snowflake

    You, and many others, are so eager to vilify Dawkins, so ready to swallow RW’s propaganda, that you refuse to think it over.

    The irony, of course, is that this claim has become a mindlessly-parroted party-line for Watson haters.
    Of course, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Why would people be “eager to vilify Dawkins”? Most of these people thought highly of him before Elevatorgate and were disappointed in him in light of his behavior. There was no initial motivation to vilify, or even contradict, Dawkins qua Dawkins.
    I know that is the case for me. At the time Elevatorgate broke out, I have read and enjoyed several books by Dawkins, including TGD, and didn’t read, or gave much of a shit about, Skepchick. When I read the “Dear Muslima” comment, I hoped it would turn out that is was someone pretending to be Dawkins, because the comment was so fucking stupid, and was made with such a condescending, authoritarian tone, and I didn’t want to be disappointed in him.
    So kindly shove your hero-worship accusations up your ass, stop projecting and answer #265.

  291. 291
    chigau (違う)

    Sometimes it’s almost as though drosera was raised by Dawkins.

  292. 292
    opposablethumbs

    I know that is the case for me. At the time Elevatorgate broke out, I have read and enjoyed several books by Dawkins, including TGD, and didn’t read, or gave much of a shit about, Skepchick. When I read the “Dear Muslima” comment, I hoped it would turn out that is was someone pretending to be Dawkins, because the comment was so fucking stupid, and was made with such a condescending, authoritarian tone, and I didn’t want to be disappointed in him.

    This pretty much exactly describes my case also, as it ‘appens. I was deeply disappointed, and I really didn’t want to see someone whose work I admire and enjoy waving such bloody ugly feet of clay around and even acting proud of them. There are, as we very well know, oldish white male academics who do get it, after all.

  293. 293
    drosera

    There’s one more thing that bothers me (imagine me wearing a crumpled raincoat, leafing through a notebook and sounding like Lieutenant Columbo).

    la tricoteuse (219) wrote:

    I’m going to go ahead and say that even if she’d made the whole fucking thing up out of whole cloth as a mild cautionary tale (like a fable) to illustrate the sort of thing that makes women uncomfortable at such conferences, it still would have been a good example, and it still wouldn’t have excused the abuse she got for very mildly suggesting men shouldn’t do that. I absolutely have no reason to believe she made it up (neither do you), so I do not, in fact, believe that.

    Others (Matt Dillahunty, if I recall correctly) have said something similar. Now, how would this be different from ‘lying for Jebus’, which we always like to ridicule when Christians do it?

  294. 294
    drosera

    @ Forbidden Snowflake,

    To answer your last question, why did I come back? I think I made this quite clear in many places in this thread, but I am happy to say it again: I came here to object to a libellous statement in the first comment.

    About people on ‘Team Watson’ being eager to vilify Dawkins, well, maybe you’re an exception. But when Watson herself considers it relevant that Dawkins is a “wealthy old heterosexual white man” who “will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days,” I sense a resentment that borders on downright jealousy. He was already a wealthy old heterosexual white man before he made his “Dear Muslima” comment, when Watson allegedly still admired him. Why, if you are not eager to vilify him, is this now suddenly held against him? The whole notion that Dawkins can be dismissed because of his privilege, because he is an old heterosexual white man, is a pure, stupid, lazy ad hominem. Nowhere did Watson establish that old heterosexual white men are always necessarily in the wrong in the matter at hand. Indeed, this comment by opposablethumbs (292) strongly suggests otherwise:

    There are, as we very well know, oldish white male academics who do get it, after all.

    As for Dawkins’ comment being “fucking stupid,” I think you are wrong, and I have already indicated above why I think that.

  295. 295
    John Morales

    drosera:

    Now, how would this be different from ‘lying for Jebus’, which we always like to ridicule when Christians do it?

    It wouldn’t be, but that was not the point of it.

    (What makes you imagine la tricoteuse or others thought otherwise?)

  296. 296
    Pteryxx

    Because it’s a completely reasonable claim. There’s nothing unlikely or extraordinary about men making inappropriate advances to women. (There’s also nothing unlikely or extraordinary about women being automatically presumed to be lying about any complaint they make.)

    And as far as I know, nobody from the atheoskeptic community’s engaged in years-long harassment and hatred campaigns against particular lying Christians. Not even the same jackasses currently harassing outspoken women.

  297. 297
    John Morales

    drosera:

    The whole notion that Dawkins can be dismissed because of his privilege, because he is an old heterosexual white man, is a pure, stupid, lazy ad hominem.

    No matter how many times you repeat that, you will remain wrong.

    (Also, you are bashing a straw dummy; that was not Rebecca’s claim)

  298. 298
    drosera

    Pteryxx and John Morales need to fight this out. I get the popcorn.

  299. 299
    la tricoteuse

    drosera:

    Others (Matt Dillahunty, if I recall correctly) have said something similar. Now, how would this be different from ‘lying for Jebus’, which we always like to ridicule when Christians do it?

    Last I checked, no one here has ever suggested that lying for Jebus justifies receiving rape and death threats (or, since you’re being hair-splitty suggestions that someone should rape or kill them or similar. (and no, calling someone an idiot, or a fucking idiot, or a fuckwit, or similar, is not the goddamn same) So it wouldn’t be different.

    That said, even if she had made up the whole EG thing, it wouldn’t negate the multitude of very similar real experiences women have had and continue to talk about. It would be different from lying for Jebus, not because lying isn’t bad, but because making up an example of something that does happen isn’t the same as making up an example of something that doesn’t happen. We (women) have all experienced unwanted sexual advances that made us uncomfortable and created an environment we didn’t find pleasant. Sometimes we’ve experienced them in places that made us feel unsafe. Sometimes they’re precursors to our being made very unsafe indeed. So if she HAD made up EG so she could illustrate something which does happen a lot that men should know contributes to making an unwelcoming environment for women, it would be a rather benign sort of lie. Still a lie, of course, and, once more, this doesn’t make lying ok. But it’s hardly the same thing as liars for jesus using their lies (not a fake anecdote about something that DOES HAPPEN, but a fake anecdote about something that either doesn’t happen at all or not to anything LIKE a significant degree, to make their position SOUND legit) to push creationism and anti-choice laws and keep gay people from getting married. And again, no amount of lying for jesus justifies threats of violence or rape, or even suggestions that these things SHOULD befall them. No one here (to my knowledge) advocates that kind of response.

    And, of course, once again, I (and everyone else) have no reason whatsoever to believe that she was lying, unless you’re in the habit of disbelieving people automatically when they make perfectly unremarkable claims of things that it is not unreasonable to believe. I asked you above if you do this when someone tells you their car was broken into, or any other unfortunate thing that happens to people every damn day. You didn’t address that. Why?

  300. 300
    la tricoteuse

    Whoops, sorry. Looks like you guys said in fewer words what I took ages to compose.

  301. 301
    drosera

    @ Pteryxx,

    Not even the same jackasses currently harassing outspoken women.

    There is a difference between outspoken women and women making libellous statements.

  302. 302
    la tricoteuse

    Does it count as libellous if you’re not identifying the person you are claiming did something?

  303. 303
    John Morales

    drosera, as I noted in my #297, you are lying for Dawkins.

  304. 304
    la tricoteuse

    Incidentally, would you say that harassing libellous women is ok?

  305. 305
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Two things here: ‘Lying for Jebus’ does not mean making things up that can’t have happened, it means lying is alright when it is good for the faith. The lies themselves can be about believable things.

    Second, the threats and hate messages are a distraction here; they are irrelevant to my argument.

    If you say, similar things happen to women, I respond, yes, I believe you. You know, similar things even happen to men (especially when they are boys).

    But this particular anecdote (EG) has taken on such near mythical proportions, it has incited such an avalanche of exegeses, that it is no trivial matter if it turns out to be an invention or an inaccurately remembered incident.

  306. 306
    drosera

    @ la tricoteuse,

    Does it count as libellous if you’re not identifying the person you are claiming did something?

    Sorry, you misunderstood. I was referring to the first comment in this thread.

    Incidentally, would you say that harassing libellous women is ok?

    Of course not. Is pointing out the libel harassment?

  307. 307
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    For the good order:

    Are you trying to tell us that Dawkin’s “Dear Muslima” brainfart has not caused a shitload of negative fallout for the atheist movement in general and atheist women in particular?

  308. 308
    vaiyt

    But when Watson herself considers it relevant that Dawkins is a “wealthy old heterosexual white man” who “will continue to be stinking rich until the end of his days,” I sense a resentment that borders on downright jealousy.

    That was a “wealthy old heterosexual white man” dismissing the experiences of women, in case you haven’t noticed that PZ Myers also fits the same description (except for the wealthy part). Rebecca Watson didn’t excoriate him because he doesn’t jump around trying to tell women what they should feel.

  309. 309
    Inaji

    The whole notion that Dawkins can be dismissed because of his privilege, because he is an old heterosexual white man, is a pure, stupid, lazy ad hominem.

    It is not an ad hominem. FFS, look up what that fallacy is, already. It is not synonymous with insult.

    Dawkins was not ‘dismissed’ because he is an old, hetro white man. He fueled a great deal of anger and disappointment because he is, indeed, blind to his own privilege in life and utterly dismissed the valid concerns of women. How often does what he wrote have to be copied & pasted for you before you get the reason for all the anger and disappointment was due to what he wrote and his continued stance on the sexism women face every fucking day of their lives?

    Plain and simple: Dawkins fucked up. Big time. We aren’t the ones acting as though he’s something more than human and infallible.

  310. 310
    Pteryxx

    and drosera’s now reset the thread to their #112, which was just a restatement of #18 in the first place. Apparently “libel” is the new “burning to the ground”.

  311. 311
    John Morales

    drosera:

    But this particular anecdote (EG) has taken on such near mythical proportions, it has incited such an avalanche of exegeses, that it is no trivial matter if it turns out to be an invention or an inaccurately remembered incident.

    Clutching at straws from your broken dummy, eh?

    You sure are desperate! :)

  312. 312
    Inaji

    Pteryxx:

    Apparently “libel” is the new “burning to the ground”.

    Libel can be added to the list of words drosera does not understand.

  313. 313
    la tricoteuse

    drosera –

    1. Do you have any reason to believe that RW lied? If so, what is the reason? If not, how is it relevant to play “what if” about it? I ask again, do you apply the same sort of hyperskepticism to every time someone tells you about something that happened to them, or is it only when women talk about men?

    2. Does whether or not it was true affect the appropriateness of the response she got, which was lots and lots (2+ years worth) of harassment and threats/offers/suggestions of rape/violence/death, which have extended to every single blogger/speaker/outspoken participator daring to speak out against sexism, with greater vitriol reserved for the ones who happen to be female?

    3. Again, has any one of us ever advocated that kind of response to liars for jesus? (And yes, I’m perfectly aware of what it means, but that doesn’t stop the things they say from being lies about things that don’t happen in order to further a specific agenda, as opposed to the hypothetical (“if RW was lying”) lies about specific instances of things that do happen in order to stop things that do happen from happening, though AGAIN I must ask if you have any reason whatsoever to believe that RW was, in fact, lying. So, do you? What are these reasons?).

    Stop dodging questions that are relevant to focus on bits that aren’t. It’s a transparent tactic and no one here is fooled by it.

  314. 314
    drosera

    @ Caine, poisoned chalice

    Not an ad hominem? Oh, really?

    Watson wrote:

    So to have my concerns – and more so the concerns of other women who have survived rape and sexual assault – dismissed thanks to a rich white man comparing them to the plight of women who are mutilated, is insulting to all of us.

    You don’t think this contains an ad hominem? Okay, let’s do a little experiment:

    So to have my concerns – and more so the concerns of other women who have survived rape and sexual assault – dismissed thanks to a black man comparing them to the plight of women who are mutilated, is insulting to all of us.

    How about this one, does this contain an ad hominem? If not, can you explain why it is relevant to mention that the man is black? If it does, then in which way is it formally different from the first?

  315. 315
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I think you are wrong,

    We do more than think, we know you are wrong. You are nothing but a toady being obnoxious, repeating opinions of your hero we won’t agree with as facts which they aren’t. You haven’t shown one iota of evidence to back up anything you say. All you are is noise, and given your persistence, overly aggressive as it is well beyond being politely assertive. You finished your say days ago. This isn’t an ad honimen, it is a simple insult to your lack of integrity, honesty, and ability to recognize you are wrong, and take the appropriate action.

  316. 316
    la tricoteuse

    Because (I think) the point was all the different axes upon which Dawkins enjoys a position of privilege. Racial, gender, and economic privilege. Not because these things mean he can’t understand, but that his failure to understand is due to his position of privilege and unwillingness to examine it.

    Now about my questions…

  317. 317
    Pteryxx

    la tricoteuse: Point of order – while RW has been getting *some* misogynistic harassment for 2+ years, Egate, the Slime Pit, and Dawkins putting his clay foot in were only 19 months ago. (*only* 19 months…)

  318. 318
    la tricoteuse

    Erg. That was badly phrased. What I mean is that his privilege makes it hard for him to understand, and his refusal to examine it makes it impossible.

  319. 319
    la tricoteuse

    Pteryxx,

    Accuracy is important. Thanks. I suffer from Leeeeeroy Jenkins syndrome at times.

    Ok. Just over a year and a half then. The rest of what I said still stands, I think. ?

  320. 320
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    I was referring to the first comment in this thread.

    So the crux is this?:

    had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins

    This was put more eloquently in Slate Magazine:

    Dawkins’ seal of approval only encouraged the haters. My YouTube page and many of my videos were flooded with rape “jokes,” threats, objectifying insults, and slurs. A few individuals sent me hundreds of messages, promising to never leave me alone. My Wikipedia page was vandalized. Graphic photos of dead bodies were posted to my Facebook page.

    Are you saying Rebecca lied to Slate?

  321. 321
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Drosera has made 62 of the 320 comments (~ 1/5th) of this thread. Vociferously defending Dawkins. Thank goodness xe does not use sexist threats while doing this. Unlike so many others.

  322. 322
    vaiyt

    @drosera

    How about this one, does this contain an ad hominem?

    Um, no? You see, an ad hominem needs a causal link between the qualifier and the deed. As in, “what you said is bad because you’re a rich white man”. What RW said was, “you’re yet another rich white man saying these bad things”.

    It is relevant to mention that Dawkins is white, because he’s following on the time honored tradition of heterosexual white men dismissing the experiences of the POC, the woman and the queer in favor of their own opinion.

  323. 323
    drosera

    My last response here, unless I see a convincing new argument.

    @ la tricoteuse,

    1. Do you have any reason to believe that RW lied? If so, what is the reason? If not, how is it relevant to play “what if” about it? I ask again, do you apply the same sort of hyperskepticism to every time someone tells you about something that happened to them, or is it only when women talk about men?

    It is relevant, evidently, because people have, as I said, already created an avalanche of exegeses. If you only think about the amount of time people (myself included) have invested in it, that alone justifies being ‘hypersceptic’ about EG. Do I have reason to believe that RW lied? No, nor do I trust her on her word. She has claimed here that her inbox exploded with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins. I don’t believe that. So why should I blindly believe other claims she has made?

    No, I don’t apply this kind of hyperscepticism to everything, and my hyperscepticism in this case has nothing to do with the fact that RW is a woman, thank you very much.

    2. Does whether or not it was true affect the appropriateness of the response she got, which was lots and lots (2+ years worth) of harassment and threats/offers/suggestions of rape/violence/death, which have extended to every single blogger/speaker/outspoken participator daring to speak out against sexism, with greater vitriol reserved for the ones who happen to be female?

    Not in the least. There is no excuse for threats and harassment here.

    3. Again, has any one of us ever advocated that kind of response to liars for jesus? (And yes, I’m perfectly aware of what it means, but that doesn’t stop the things they say from being lies about things that don’t happen in order to further a specific agenda, as opposed to the hypothetical (“if RW was lying”) lies about specific instances of things that do happen in order to stop things that do happen from happening, though AGAIN I must ask if you have any reason whatsoever to believe that RW was, in fact, lying. So, do you? What are these reasons?).

    See above. Maybe instead of repeating the question you should have asked why I think RW might be lying. I mean, what could be her motive? So I will volunteer the question, put on my Lieutenant Columbo coat again, and answer as follows: The day and night of the elevator incident, RW had been lecturing and talking about harassment of women almost continuously. So, isn’t it ‘convenient’ that she herself became a victim of, well, not exactly harassment, but of something unpleasant nevertheless, that she could later use as an illustration of what sometimes happens? She could hardly have invented an instance of actual harassment, because then people would have asked why she did not complain about it and they would have wanted to hear more details about the guy. Therefore, what the Elevator Guy allegedly said is about the worst she could have come up with without being questioned as to her not complaining about it straight away. So there is a motive and an opportunity. Was there a crime? Possibly not.

  324. 324
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    My last response here, unless I see a convincing new argument.

    Will that mean you’ve won and Dawkins is off the hook?

  325. 325
    drosera

    Nerd, what happened? Is your keyboard broken?

  326. 326
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    My last response here, unless I see a convincing new argument.

    That should have been your position all along, you don’t post without a convincing new argument. In which case, you would never have posted the latest series of arrogant bluffs, lies, and bullshit. Your arrogance isn’t an argument either. You must convince us, not we convince you. We don’t give a shit what you think if it isn’t evidence based, and you are arrogant to believe your opinion of us means anything. Typical script reading from the Slymepit™

    There is no excuse for threats and harassment here.

    There is no excuse for your aggressive and overly long defense of RD with just your evidenceless opinion. Which treated with the proper respect, and is *FLOOSH* flushed into the toxic waste system for purging. Politeness is for those without factual arguments, and the hiding place of tone trolls.

  327. 327
    la tricoteuse

    drosera:

    So I will volunteer the question, put on my Lieutenant Columbo coat again, and answer as follows: The day and night of the elevator incident, RW had been lecturing and talking about harassment of women almost continuously. So, isn’t it ‘convenient’ that she herself became a victim of, well, not exactly harassment, but of something unpleasant nevertheless, that she could later use as an illustration of what sometimes happens? She could hardly have invented an instance of actual harassment, because then people would have asked why she did not complain about it and they would have wanted to hear more details about the guy. Therefore, what the Elevator Guy allegedly said is about the worst she could have come up with without being questioned as to her not complaining about it straight away. So there is a motive and an opportunity. Was there a crime? Possibly not.

    So essentially what you’re saying is that whenever someone relays an experience that contributes to their position on something they are speaking out against, it’s fair game to question the veracity of their story?

    *POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING. BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY*

    Do you apply this to when women talk about sexual assault, too? “Well, she speaks out against rape, so isn’t it convenient that she herself was allegedly sexually assaulted and therefore able to add her own story to the issue?” If you think that sounds shocking and vile, you’re right. Now ask yourself if it isn’t a pretty fucked up thing to do when we’re dealing with serious issues of women feeling safe and comfortable in the world in general (so generally speaking out against harassment, sexual assault, and rape), and in this case in the atheist/skeptic community at large (speaking out about harassment, sexual assault and rape within the community) and at specific events related thereto (speaking out about harassment, sexual assault, and rape which may occur at events for the community, which contribute to women feeling uncomfortable at these events).

    As for the “inbox exploding with rape threats”, we’ve addressed how Dawkins contributed to the environment that made certain people feel justified in harassing RW. The worst thing you can accuse RW of with regard to that comment is slight hyperbole and metaphor. At WORST. So it didn’t literally explode, not all the harassment was direct threats of rape (wishes/suggestions that other people rape her? no biggie, right?), and not all the harassment was directly a result of RD’s dismissive, smug bullshit. But you can’t still be insisting that he didn’t inadvertently (at best) stoke the fire.

  328. 328
    opposablethumbs

    drosera, you are an idiot. Nobody has rejected Dawkins’ opinion because of his age, race and socioeconomic status. It has been commented that he is wrong and older-rich-and-white.
    .
    Which makes him more likely (probability, not certainty) to have no personal knowledge or understanding of what he was talking about in that sorry, sorry comment and follow-up of his. As I pointed out, he really has no excuse for refusing to think though – other people with many of the same characteristics have shown themselves perfectly capable of grasping what is going on all around them. I was extremely disposed to think the best of him; I am just sad – so bloody disappointed – that someone whose writing I value, whose books I have sought out and greatly enjoyed, whose TV presentations I have watched, whose lectures I have attended – has shown himself so perfectly blind to and dismally incapable of grasping this issue.

  329. 329
    Inaji

    Opposablethumbs:

    Which makes him more likely (probability, not certainty) to have no personal knowledge or understanding of what he was talking about in that sorry, sorry comment and follow-up of his. As I pointed out, he really has no excuse for refusing to think though – other people with many of the same characteristics have shown themselves perfectly capable of grasping what is going on all around them.

    Not only that, but for someone who prides themselves on their ability to employ rational thought, Dawkins’s blatant use of a logical fallacy in Dear Muslima was a shock to a whole lot of us.

  330. 330
    drosera

    @ Caine, poisoned chalice,

    Not only that, but for someone who prides themselves on their ability to employ rational thought, Dawkins’s blatant use of a logical fallacy in Dear Muslima was a shock to a whole lot of us.

    It really is Groundhog Day here, isn’t it?

    *headdesk*

  331. 331
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You are the one making it so, dshitra.

  332. 332
    vaiyt

    @drosera

    Maybe instead of repeating the question you should have asked why I think RW might be lying.

    Bitches lie.

    It’s not convenient, dipshit, it’s common. It’s no surprise she was harassed coming back from a talk about harassment, because people with Elevator Guy’s mindset are fucking everywhere.

  333. 333
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It really is Groundhog Day here, isn’t it?

    Until you get your head out of the sand of hero worship and quit bothering us, yes. You aren’t as funny as you think you are either.

  334. 334
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Apropos Caine‘s linky, scroll down to the “Other Examples” section.

  335. 335
    Aratina Cage

    @Drosera #196

    Nice false equivalence you’ve got there. Is it for sale?

    What is that even supposed to mean? What false equivalency? Why would I sell such a thing? I didn’t even make up the bubblegum shitfoolery that you are preening about–Dawkins did.

  336. 336
    Aratina Cage

    By the way, drosera, your comments on this matter mean this much to me: 0. (Zero.) I’d rather listen to the sound of a clown splatting bubblegum all over her nose after bursting a big Bubblicious bubble than read your worthless comments. Why anyone bothers to listen to you at all is puzzling to me when we’ve got atheists being put in prison for blasphemy in Muslim theocracies. Where are our priorities, people?!

    (/Guess who?)

  337. 337
    Pteryxx

    As good a place as any for this; now, and hailing back to the OP. (h/t to plutosdad commenting at Avicenna’s.)

    What I Learned From “A Letter To The Guy Who Harassed Me Outside The Bar”

    This is when the catcalling began. My friends thought these women were attractive, and chose to verbalize it.

    I can proudly say that I’ve never taken part in this behavior. Yet I’ve witnessed it a million times, and have never once intervened. I’ve thought to myself: “It’s harmless, right?” and “There’s nothing wrong with just being a spectator.” I know now that I was wrong on both counts. My friends may not have been vulgar like many of the men Emily described, but they were certainly persistent. The young woman I’d met earlier in the evening was part of this group. While two of her friends seemed to be enjoying the attention, the rest were looking increasingly uncomfortable as it continued, and she looked mortified. I was able to wrangle my friends into two cabs, and before we left, I went to apologize to the young woman I’d met earlier in the evening. She thanked me for stepping in, we exchanged business cards, and went our separate ways.

    A few days after this all happened, she and I began e-mailing each other. I apologized, again, for the way my friends were acting that night, and much to my dismay, she said: “We’re used to it.” Suddenly, it was different. Rather than a situation involving a group of random men hitting on a group of random women, I now knew one of them. She had a name, and, unlike my friends, she remembered every second of it. She also remembers every other time it has happened to her, every weekend, running errands, and at her gym. The unwanted attention at the latter caused her to join an all-female gym. I was shocked.

  338. 338
    Eamon Knight

    Since, for some perverse reason I can’t fathom, I haven’t unsubbed from this thread, I might as well put in my two cents. A few days ago I went on a bit of a tear to the effect that, in some respects, I would prefer the company of the progressive religious to a certain kind of “ultra-rational” atheist (the exact term I used being “jackass”). I’d like to thank drosera for providing an excellent case study of exactly the kind of person I was talking about: every leaf, every twig, and every bump in the bark, on every tree is microscopically examined, all leading to the conclusion that, nope, no forest here.

  339. 339
    Lofty

    Drosera of course lives by being sticky and eating flies. Says it all, I suppose. No distance vision.

  340. 340
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Anyone who thinks Rebecca Watson’s account sounds unlikely needs to have a good read of Everyday Sexism on Twitter.

  341. 341
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Scenario: Dawkins gets called aside by a friend who groks it. He realises the extent of his blind privilege and makes a public apology to Rebecca.

    Given such an eventuality, do you continue to harp forth on that same cord?

  342. 342
    drosera

    This thread is still alive? Ah well.

    Here we go again.

    @ Aratina Cage,

    Nice false equivalence you’ve got there. Is it for sale?

    What is that even supposed to mean? What false equivalency? Why would I sell such a thing?

    The false equivalence of comparing the potential reception of a video about chewing gum to that of one about the courtship rituals of Homo sapiens perhaps?

    Why would you sell such a thing? Erm, how shall I put this. Are you humour-challenged? Should I check my humour privilege? It was a little joke. Is that against the rules here?

    By the way, drosera, your comments on this matter mean this much to me: 0. (Zero.)

    Asking questions about my comments is a strange way of showing that they mean nothing to you.

    @ Eamon Knight,

    Since, for some perverse reason I can’t fathom, I haven’t unsubbed from this thread, I might as well put in my two cents. A few days ago I went on a bit of a tear to the effect that, in some respects, I would prefer the company of the progressive religious to a certain kind of “ultra-rational” atheist (the exact term I used being “jackass”). I’d like to thank drosera for providing an excellent case study of exactly the kind of person I was talking about: every leaf, every twig, and every bump in the bark, on every tree is microscopically examined, all leading to the conclusion that, nope, no forest here.

    Let’s recapitulate what I have accomplished in this thread:

    (1). That it has been established that ‘an inbox exploding with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins’ actually means that the rape threats were not really threats, that they were probably not numerous enough to let an inbox explode, that many or even most of them would have made with or without Dawkins, and that Dawkins at most can be blamed for inadvertently encouraging rape threats, which were not rape threats. Which is a somewhat elaborate way of stating that a significant part of the first comment here was libellous bullshit.

    (2). That Nerd of Redhead has been cured from his mania of interjecting his comments with the words OPINION and EVIDENCE in all caps. Or has the poor man relapsed elsewhere?

    In other words, your conclusion is not justified by the facts at hand. It’s empty rhetoric of a kind that is depressingly common here.

    @ Wowbager, Designated Snarker,

    Anyone who thinks Rebecca Watson’s account sounds unlikely needs to have a good read of Everyday Sexism on Twitter.

    My words at 221: “I don’t find it unbelievable at all.”

    @ theophontes,

    Scenario: Dawkins gets called aside by a friend who groks it. He realises the extent of his blind privilege and makes a public apology to Rebecca.

    Given such an eventuality, do you continue to harp forth on that same cord?

    I would say that there was no reason to apologise. Don’t do it, Richard.

  343. 343
    drosera

    “would have made with or without Dawkins” should read: “would have been made with or without Dawkins”

  344. 344
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Dawkins went out of his way to contrive a crap argument by which to silence women. He surely has the intellect to understand how wrong this is. If he would just prick through the bubble of his own privilege, he would surely do the appropriate, logical even, thing and apologise. Where will that leave you?

    (I notice that it is you and not him that is defending his brainfart. Ever wondered why that is? Perhaps he wishes it would all go away. And yet you keep the fart alive.)

  345. 345
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    ). That Nerd of Redhead has been cured from his mania of interjecting his comments with the words OPINION and EVIDENCE in all caps. Or has the poor man relapsed elsewhere?

    Has the fuckwitted hero worshipper/apologist Drosera finally understood the difference between his unsupported OPINION and real EVIDENCE? And that his opinion is not, and never will be, real evidence? Evidently not, as nothing but unsupported and inane OPINION again today. Not one citation to back up any claims…Poor, poor Drosera. Such basic concepts of how to forward an argument eludes him.

  346. 346
    drosera

    @ theophontes,

    Dawkins went out of his way to contrive a crap argument by which to silence women.

    One hears this often: Dawkins wrote “Dear Muslima” because he wants to silence women. Do you have any evidence for this? Why would he want to silence women and even go out of his way to do so?

    @ Nerd of Redhead,

    Sorry to see that the cure was short-lived. But just for your information, there were lots of citations in my last post. I cited people, and in response I gave arguments as to why I said something. Maybe you should also start to request citations from all other posters here who volunteer their OPINION without EVIDENCE. (Is it contagious?)

  347. 347
    Forbidden Snowflake

    drosera:

    To answer your last question, why did I come back?

    Oh, I now see that I made a typo, and asked you to answer #265 when I meant #269. Here it is:

    drosera, you say that Dawkins did not imply that Watson should shut up because others have it worse. In that case, can you explain what you think he meant to express by dragging the plight of other women into the conversation? If his point was “zero bad” from the start (and not just after people pointed out the fallacy in “shut up, others have it worse”), how would “Dear Muslima” help illustrate it?

    One hears this often: Dawkins wrote “Dear Muslima” because he wants to silence women. Do you have any evidence for this?

    Yes: what he said. Telling someone they have no right to complain strongly correlates with wanting them to shut up. The hidden assumptions are that what he said means what hundreds of people on both sides of the issue took it to mean, and that what he said was what he meant to say. There can be nothing beyond that. Demanding evidence for what was happening in his heart of hearts or whatever is not a reasonable standard.

    The day and night of the elevator incident, RW had been lecturing and talking about harassment of women almost continuously. So, isn’t it ‘convenient’ that she herself became a victim of, well, not exactly harassment, but of something unpleasant nevertheless, that she could later use as an illustration of what sometimes happens? [...] So there is a motive and an opportunity. Was there a crime? Possibly not.

    Do you apply the same level of scrutiny do Dawkins’s testimony of having been molested in childhood?

  348. 348
    drosera

    @ Forbidden Snowflake,

    drosera, you say that Dawkins did not imply that Watson should shut up because others have it worse. In that case, can you explain what you think he meant to express by dragging the plight of other women into the conversation? If his point was “zero bad” from the start (and not just after people pointed out the fallacy in “shut up, others have it worse”), how would “Dear Muslima” help illustrate it?

    “Dear Muslima” was evidently meant to ridicule the commotion surrounding EG. I take it as an attempt to make a joke (see Monty Python). I have already indicated that in this instance Dawkins was a bit heavy-handed, in my opinion (which is not EVIDENCE).

    One hears this often: Dawkins wrote “Dear Muslima” because he wants to silence women. Do you have any evidence for this?

    Yes: what he said. Telling someone they have no right to complain strongly correlates with wanting them to shut up. The hidden assumptions are that what he said means what hundreds of people on both sides of the issue took it to mean, and that what he said was what he meant to say. There can be nothing beyond that. Demanding evidence for what was happening in his heart of hearts or whatever is not a reasonable standard.

    In this particular case, Dawkins did not say that Watson had no right to complain, but that she had no reason to complain. There’s a difference. Ridiculing is not silencing. Is there any other evidence, apart from DM, that he wants to silence women? Why would he want to do that? I have never seen a reasonable answer to that question.

    Do you apply the same level of scrutiny do Dawkins’s testimony of having been molested in childhood?

    I would if his testimony had been controversial and if he were someone who is known to misrepresent.

  349. 349
    Forbidden Snowflake

    “Dear Muslima” was evidently meant to ridicule the commotion surrounding EG.

    That’s not an answer at all. There are a million different ways of ridiculing something, and every kind of ridicule hints at just what the speaker finds ridiculous about the thing they’re ridiculing. What was “Dear Muslima” saying?
    Also, was the tone of “Dear Muslima” “condescending and authoritarian”? Why or why not?
    I also think that “ridiculing the commotion surrounding EG” by poking at Watson, rather than the people making hyperbolic accusations of trying to ban sex, was rather douchebaggy on its own.

    In this particular case, Dawkins did not say that Watson had no right to complain, but that she had no reason to complain. There’s a difference.

    In my reading, “Dear Muslima” says that she had no right to complain (because others have it so much worse), and “zero bad” says she had no reason to complain (because nothing actually happened, supposedly). That is why I maintain that there is a difference in meaning between those comments.

    Why would he want to do that? I have never seen a reasonable answer to that question.

    Criticisms of some of the ways men treat women in the atheist movement would get in the way of perceiving himself and atheism in general as liberal and enlightened. And hearing someone complain about behavior he sees nothing wrong with can lead to cognitive dissonance and an impulse to prove that she must be the one who’s wrong to complain.

    “I would question his testimony if it had been controversial”? What kind of circular argument is that? Something controversial is something many people question.
    Anyway, you just moved the goalposts. Before, you appealed to the presence of motive and opportunity (which can just as easily be detected with Dawkins, if one was determined to discredit him), and now it’s shifted to “if he were someone who is known to misrepresent” (a backhanded evidence-free implication against Watson included free of charge).

  350. 350
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera

    Dawkins went out of his way to contrive a crap argument by which to silence women.

    Do you have any evidence for this?

    You are being rather obtuse here. I have posted his “Dear Muslima” missive right here on this thread. It is, in and of itself, evidence of what I say. He is directly trying to silence Rebecca thereby and, by implication, any woman who raises equivalently “trivial” (to Dawkins, as it appears) arguments and complaints against harassment.

    Why would he want to silence women and even go out of his way to do so?

    For all I know, he misjudged the effect his words would have on people. Perhaps he really is more concerned by more egregious abuse of women, and really does think we should rather focus our attention on these cases. Ultimately his heart may indeed be in the right place, in that he does wish to see women free of abuse. It could be that he, being blinded by his privilege, overlooks completely the little abuses, the “death by small cuts” that so many women endure even in the so called “civilised West”. I am happy to think that his intentions are for the very best. But sadly, his intentions are not magical, and he has caused a lot of collateral damage with his brainfart.

    I realise too, that Dawkins has traveled a lot and come up face-to-face with the most appalling misogyny. Perhaps this too has desensitised him to the pernicious nature of patriarchy. Whatever the reason, he needs to be brought up to speed. We should be helping our hero, not living in denial of his imperfections and even less becoming apologists for his errors of judgment.

    (Are you finally starting to get it? I have a lot of patience…)

  351. 351
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    Do you have any evidence for this?

    xcYou are being rather obtuse here. I have posted his “Dear Muslima” missive right here on this thread. It is, in and of itself, evidence of what I say. He is directly trying to silence Rebecca thereby and, by implication, any woman who raises equivalently “trivial” (to Dawkins, as it appears) arguments and complaints against harassment.

    Drosera, you are deliberately obtuse, and will never accept real EVIDENCE against your hero, but will always try to find some way to deflect EVIDENCE so it conforms with your OPINION, no matter how at odds with EVIDENCE your OPINION is. Which makes everything you say lies and bullshit without third party evidence to back it up. Why you continue posting in the face of such refutations is a real question to one like myself who has honesty and integrity, and therefore I can only conclude you don’t give a shit about truth lacking both virtues, but rather attempt to pretend your perception of the truth.

  352. 352
    drosera

    @ Forbidden Snowflake,

    Also, was the tone of “Dear Muslima” “condescending and authoritarian”? Why or why not?

    Ridicule tends to sound authoritarian and condescending, yes.

    I would question his testimony if it had been controversial”? What kind of circular argument is that? Something controversial is something many people question.

    You’re quote mining here. I wrote “I would [question it] if his testimony had been controversial and if he were someone who is known to misrepresent.” That’s two conditions that both need to apply. I would also question a testimony if there was a clear motive to lie about it, which I don’t see in the example you gave.

    @ theophontes,

    Why would he want to silence women and even go out of his way to do so?

    For all I know, he misjudged the effect his words would have on people.

    Wait, first you claim that he wrote “Dear Muslima” with the purpose of silencing women, and even went out of his way while doing so, and now you say that ‘silencing women’ could have been an unforeseen and unintended side effect? But if that’s the case, then why did he write DM in your opinion? Not to silence women, that’s for sure.

    Are you finally starting to get it?

    @ Nerd of Readhead,

    Why you continue posting in the face of such refutations is a real question to one like myself who has honesty and integrity, and therefore I can only conclude you don’t give a shit about truth lacking both virtues, but rather attempt to pretend your perception of the truth.

    (1) They are not refutations. (2) Applying double standards by demanding unreasonable levels of evidence from your opponents, while giving those on your side a pass, is evidence against honesty and integrity.

  353. 353
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ drosera
    In my last post I have tried to come up with a scenario that is as munificent as I can imagine wrt Dawkins brainfart.

    ‘silencing women’ could have been an unforeseen and unintended side effect?

    Even in the scenario I have sketched, which is likely too generous (for one Dawkins is not boorishly naive). Even allowing complete, priviledged blindness on his part: intentions are not magical. He has done harm and should apologise. This also does not let him off the hook for what is a failure of logic in its own right, to wit, the inherent logical fallacy.

    But if that’s the case, then why did he write DM in your opinion?

    Perhaps gormlessness on his part? Again, I do not think he is as naive as we would have to assume to claim such “innocence” of the effects of his remarks.

    Not to silence women, that’s for sure.

    The options: He is an idiot who has no idea of the impact of his own words or a privileged arsehole who doesn’t care about the consequences of his words.

    Are you finally starting to get it?

    Hey, you’re Dawkins buddy right? Get him to come here and explain himself. You are failing as an apologist on his behalf.

  354. 354
    Pteryxx

    okay drosera, prove that Dawkins was “burned to the ground” as per your quote. Last I heard he didn’t even spend any time in hospital due to criticism-induced injuries. /libelrant

  355. 355
    SallyStrange

    Do you apply the same level of scrutiny do Dawkins’s testimony of having been molested in childhood?

    Yes, it certainly proved convenient for him to reference when he made that controversial argument about how childhood religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse worse than sexual abuse.

    I would if his testimony had been controversial and if he were someone who is known to misrepresent.

    His testimony was controversial and he did misrepresent Watson’s experiences when he said they were “zero bad”.

    Do you have evidence that Rebecca Watson is a person who is “known” (by whom, one must wonder) to “misrepresent”?

  356. 356
    drosera

    Can someone with more patience than I can muster explain to Pteryxx the difference between a metaphor and a lie? Try to keep it simple.

  357. 357
    SallyStrange

    Can someone with more patience than I can muster explain to Pteryxx the difference between a metaphor and a lie? Try to keep it simple.

    No.

  358. 358
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can someone with more patience than I can muster explain to Pteryxx the difference between a metaphor and a lie? Try to keep it simple.

    Why bother? You fail at both concepts. You can’t talk us into believing you, as your opinion is *floosh* dismissed as self-serving hero worship. You need evidence. Why don’t you try this: Put up the evidence to back your claims, or shut up. That’s what people with honesty and integrity do. Bullshit artists keep blathering.

  359. 359
    drosera

    @ SallyStrange: Elite Femi-Fascist Genius,

    So you think it is just as easy to make up a case of child abuse as it is to invent a guy making a pass at you? I will refrain from putting my opinion of you here in words, but it’s a pretty low one.

    His testimony was controversial and he did misrepresent Watson’s experiences when he said they were “zero bad”.

    He gave his assessment of her experience, which is an opinion, not a misrepresentation.

    Do you have evidence that Rebecca Watson is a person who is “known” (by whom, one must wonder) to “misrepresent”?

    See first comment, this thread.

  360. 360
    drosera

    People with ‘honesty and integrity’ like you and Sally Strange? Don’t make me laugh.

  361. 361
    SallyStrange

    So you think it is just as easy to make up a case of child abuse as it is to invent a guy making a pass at you?

    I think the content of the lie is not relevant to how easy it is to tell a lie. I think that you have equal amounts of evidence for saying that either Watson or Dawkins are lying about their personal experiences.

  362. 362
    SallyStrange

    Do you mean THE first comment of the thread, or YOUR first comment in the thread? A link would be useful.

  363. 363
    drosera

    I meant comment 1.

  364. 364
    drosera

    I think the content of the lie is not relevant to how easy it is to tell a lie. I think that you have equal amounts of evidence for saying that either Watson or Dawkins are lying about their personal experiences.

    Some lies are more plausible than others, wouldn’t you say? At any rate, I know much more about what allegedly happened in the elevator and during the day leading up to that incident than about the circumstances concerning Dawkins’ experience. So I do have more evidence about the former incident.

  365. 365
    SallyStrange

    At any rate, I know much more about what allegedly happened in the elevator and during the day leading up to that incident than about the circumstances concerning Dawkins’ experience.

    Really, you know Elevator Guy? Do tell, everyone is most curious to hear his side of the story. No need to name names. Just give us an idea what he said.

  366. 366
    SallyStrange

    So this is the first comment in the thread, by Rebecca Watson:

    I guess if you’ve never been called a “feminazi” by Paula Kirby or had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins, RDF wouldn’t look out of place on that list.

    So your evidence that she’s a liar is your opinion that this is a lie.

    Fantastic. I’m sure you have so much to teach the rest of us about skepticism.

  367. 367
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The Elevator Truther is still at it.

  368. 368
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Some lies are more plausible than others, wouldn’t you say?

    Yep, everything you say I consider a lie, being a good skeptic, and recognizing somebody who will do anything to see his hero isn’t seen in a bad light…including lying.

  369. 369
    drosera

    @ SallyStrange,

    So your evidence that she’s a liar is your opinion that this is a lie.

    Fantastic. I’m sure you have so much to teach the rest of us about skepticism.

    Sally’s version of scepticism: blindly believing obvious bullshit for which no evidence has been given.

    Perhaps you should first read this thread before you make yourself even more ridiculous.

  370. 370
    SallyStrange

    I read the thread. I see you assuming Rebecca is a liar because of your incredulity that a.) atheists can be sexists and that b.) said sexist atheists might be encouraged in their hatred of uppity women by Dawkins trying to shut up an uppity women.

    In other words, you formed an opinion–that Rebecca Watson is a liar–and selectively interpret all the information you encounter in order to support that opinion.

  371. 371
    SallyStrange

    Now please, drosera, let us in on your big secret. You said you have more information about Rebecca Watson’s personal experience with unwanted sexual attention than you do about Richard Dawkins’ personal experience with childhood sexual abuse. Since in both of these cases, the only source of information about either one that I’m aware of is the personal testimony of the person whose experiences they are, I deduce that you must have encountered an eyewitness to Rebecca Watson’s reported personal experience. Logically speaking, the only other person it could possibly be is Elevator Guy. This is big news! Why won’t you dish?

  372. 372
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    because of your incredulity that a.) atheists can be sexists

    Refuted by the existence of the Slymepit™. What a fool if it thinks sexism doesn’t exist in atheism…

  373. 373
    Maureen Brian

    Richard Dawkins (with all his “give me evidence” acolytes) is hoist by his own petard. When it became clear to him that there was a row going on he could perfectly well have got in touch with Rebecca Watson and asked her what was happening.

    Instead, the tone and nature of Dear Muslima make it clear that he asked someone who was not there and may well have been partisan. On the back that he made an ex cathredra pronouncement. When it became clear that his intervention had encouraged the emotionally illiterate, he reinforced the damage he had done. Perhaps he has not noticed, perhaps he has, but Dawkns’ intervention has persuaded many warriors on one side of this battle that they, in their nastiness, have the endorsement of a famous professor – so they must be right, no?

    Before you become over-excited, drosera, none of this invalidates the many good things which Richard Dawkins has done with his life.

    It merely proves yet again that a multidimensional, global amalgam of campaigning people cannot afford to have its “leaders” self-selected from the already privileged. Why? Because they find it difficult to change their minds when the facts change – thank you, JMK – and they come to believe that it is their role to tell the mere mortals what they are allowed to think and what they are allowed to say.

    Do you remember Lord Acton’s aphorism about all power tending to corrupt and absolute power corrupting absolutely? It applies in the world of atheism / skepticism / whatever, too. That and the inevitable feet-of-clay problem means that we must either do without leaders or learn to choose our leaders in some more productive way. Do you have any constructive thoughts on that one, drosera?

  374. 374
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Maureen Brian, the Elevator Truther has already demonstrated that he does not understand the concept of “Team Dawkins”.

  375. 375
    Maureen Brian

    There are many things he doesn’t understand, Janine, but somehow it doesn’t stop him shooting his mouth off, does it?

  376. 376
    SallyStrange

    I’m not going to let it go, this interesting tidbit about drosera’s secret source of knowledge about Rebecca Watson’s personal experiences.

  377. 377
    Maureen Brian

    Add to that, SallyStrange, the fact that he seems to have accessed Rebecca’s account for the first time only moments before he wrote 262 above! I called him on it and he did not deny it.

  378. 378
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m not going to let it go, this interesting tidbit about drosera’s secret source of knowledge about Rebecca Watson’s personal experiences.

    What I find interesting is that this came up days after he started his latest inane defense of RD. If there was anything there, he would have lead with it. The real question is why he thinks such hints without credible evidence will do anything other than lower his already slime-mold low repute?

  379. 379
    SallyStrange

    Add to that, SallyStrange, the fact that he seems to have accessed Rebecca’s account for the first time only moments before he wrote 262 above! I called him on it and he did not deny it.

    That’s hilarious. He knew she was a liar all along, and when he finally got around to listening to what she had to say, it confirmed his judgment that she was lying.

    Skepticism FTW!

  380. 380
    SallyStrange

    As for myself–I’m a nobody. Once, two years ago, I helped organize my local SlutWalk. My name appeared once on the SlutWalk Facebook page. For this, I received, oh, about a dozen messages on FB telling me what an ugly unfuckable skank I was, and about half of these mentioned rape, and a couple specifically said they wanted to rape me.

    So it never occurred to me that Rebecca Watson, with a fairly large public presence, upon being targeted by Richard Dawkins for admonishment about making too big a deal about unwanted sexual advances, and considering Dawkins’ even bigger media presence, would have to fabricate the existence of an influx of comments threatening rape and death, some of which specifically mentioned Dawkins.

    Of course, I’m probably lying too. Because, as Saint Dawkins tells us, unwanted sexual attention is Zero Bad, rape threats are Just Words, and until women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to drive and exit the house without male escort, no women in any other countries should take any actions to fix their own relatively less serious problems.

  381. 381
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    SallyStrange, you forgot that being hit on in an elevator is the same level of annoyance as chewing gum on an elevator.

  382. 382
    drosera

    @ SallyStrange,

    I read the thread. I see you assuming Rebecca is a liar because of your incredulity that a.) atheists can be sexists and that b.) said sexist atheists might be encouraged in their hatred of uppity women by Dawkins trying to shut up an uppity women.

    I see that you like to make things up. Is that another manifestation of your peculiar brand of scepticism?

  383. 383
    Forbidden Snowflake

    At any rate, I know much more about what allegedly happened in the elevator and during the day leading up to that incident than about the circumstances concerning Dawkins’ experience.

    And obviously, a story with partially verifiable circumstances is less believable than a story with unverifiable circumstances. Skepticism for the win!

    By the way, I’m just loving the fuck out of this gem of skepticality:

    The day and night of the elevator incident, RW had been lecturing and talking about harassment of women almost continuously. So, isn’t it ‘convenient’ that she herself became a victim of, well, not exactly harassment, but of something unpleasant nevertheless, that she could later use as an illustration of what sometimes happens?

    Especially when contrasted with this:

    In retrospect, it would have been better for all parties concerned, if a genuine, clear-cut case of harassment had been put forward to help raise the awareness of the problems of women in the a/s community. If Elevator Guy had been an obvious stalker, there would have been no controversy at all. I am sure nobody would have objected to conference policies that addressed such problems. But precisely because EG is such an almost or entirely trivial case, there was at first not enough incentive to deal with actual harassment.

    To summarize: Watson is probably lying because the elevator incident is a suspiciously suitable and timely example of what she’s been complaining about, and also, it’s Watson’s fault the Great Sexism Feud blew up, because the elevator incident is such an unsuitable example of what she’s been complaining about.
    It’s been my favorite type of elevator-skeptics from the start: the “What happened to Watson was completely trivial, mundane and unremarkable, so she has nothing to complain about. Also, we shouldn’t just take her word on it, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” skeptics. Gotta love them <3

  384. 384
    drosera

    More SallyStrange scepticism. I have said that I have more evidence about the elevator drama than about Dawkins’ childhood abuse. Which is demonstrably true; for example, there is a video of the talk that Rebecca Watson gave that day, the day during which she allegedly talked almost non-stop about her wish not to be hit upon at conferences. Curiously, she never mentions that in the video; it’s all about the nasty e-mails she receives (pre-elevatorgate!). Dawkins is sitting next to her. Somewhere in the audience: ElevatorGuy (allegedly).

    youtube.com/watch?v=W014KhaRtik

  385. 385
    John Morales

    [meta]

    drosera, you’re done like a dinner.

  386. 386
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Drosera, that isn’t evidence, it is imagufactured bullshit, just like you whole performance. What fucking loser. Evidence is the smoking gun, not your OPINION.

  387. 387
    drosera

    @ Forbidden Snowflake,

    To summarize: Watson is probably lying because the elevator incident is a suspiciously suitable and timely example of what she’s been complaining about, and also, it’s Watson’s fault the Great Sexism Feud blew up, because the elevator incident is such an unsuitable example of what she’s been complaining about.
    It’s been my favorite type of elevator-skeptics from the start: the “What happened to Watson was completely trivial, mundane and unremarkable, so she has nothing to complain about. Also, we shouldn’t just take her word on it, because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

    Quote mining is endemic here. You conveniently left out this part of my comment:

    She could hardly have invented an instance of actual harassment, because then people would have asked why she did not complain about it and they would have wanted to hear more details about the guy. Therefore, what the Elevator Guy allegedly said is about the worst she could have come up with without being questioned as to her not complaining about it straight away. So there is a motive and an opportunity. Was there a crime? Possibly not.

    I did not claim that she was probably lying. But I do claim she might have misremembered or may have made things up. Under the latter assumption I have then tried to come up with a motive. It is after all undeniable that this EG drama is something of a mystery story.

  388. 388
    John Morales

    [meta]

    drosera:

    I did not claim that she was probably lying. But I do claim she might have misremembered or may have made things up. Under the latter assumption I have then tried to come up with a motive. It is after all undeniable that this EG drama is something of a mystery story.

    Motivated reasoning

  389. 389
    drosera

    @ Maureen Brian,

    That and the inevitable feet-of-clay problem means that we must either do without leaders or learn to choose our leaders in some more productive way. Do you have any constructive thoughts on that one, drosera?

    We don’t need leaders. What we do need are people who are able to bring our message of science-based sceptical inquiry and atheism to the general public. We need people who can talk eloquently and unscripted in front of a camera or a large audience. We need people who can debate theists and intellectual frauds. We need people who can write bestsellers on our topics. We need people who pull no punches and who come across as knowledgeable and authoritative. We need people like Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens. Yes, they all had or have their flaws. Who hasn’t?

  390. 390
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I did not claim that she was probably lying. But I do claim she might have misremembered or may have made things up.

    In other words, she is lying. Just like with that oxymoronic statement of idiocy. What mother fucking loser you are. You don’t even have the credibility of slime mold. Nothing but deception and lies all the way down…

  391. 391
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We need people who can debate theists and intellectual frauds.

    Which means telling intellectual frauds like you to sit down and shut the fuck up. So, sit down and shut the fuck up. Your OPINION is *floosh* sent to the toxic waste disposal as utter and total bullshit. You haven’t had nothing cogent to say to us, and your latest fuckwittery is abysmal tripe.

  392. 392
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    More SallyStrange scepticism. I have said that I have more evidence about the elevator drama than about Dawkins’ childhood abuse. Which is demonstrably true; for example, there is a video of the talk that Rebecca Watson gave that day, the day during which she allegedly talked almost non-stop about her wish not to be hit upon at conferences. Curiously, she never mentions that in the video; it’s all about the nasty e-mails she receives (pre-elevatorgate!). Dawkins is sitting next to her. Somewhere in the audience: ElevatorGuy (allegedly).

    Elevator Truther is on the case!

  393. 393
    drosera

    Double standards, how do they work? Do tell us, Nerd, you’re the expert.

  394. 394
    Maureen Brian

    If we don’t need leaders – and I am inclined to agree with you there – then why in the last couple of years have we seen quite so many people react to a passing mention of their very human imperfections exactly like a Roman Emperor who knows he’s about to be toppled?

    Why have we seen a passing mention of a rather silly way of saying something in a written piece about something else suddenly turn into the excuse for several hundred hectares of whiny prose in any organ that will give the man a space?

    Why, drosera, are we beset by someone like you? Someone who clearly has a deep psychological need to believe that Rebecca Watson lied but cannot explain why he needs to believe it and lacks the cojones to just come out and say it straight?

  395. 395
    Forbidden Snowflake

    She could hardly have invented an instance of actual harassment, because then people would have asked why she did not complain about it and they would have wanted to hear more details about the guy.

    Yeah, unlike what happened, people might have paid attention and demanded details! Cute. Also cute: that you think any example of harassment would be enough to satisfy everyone. I’m sure that if EG had offered her a taste of his cock there would still be plenty of assholes to helpfully point out that it was “Just words” and “Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .” (both objections are applicable to just about anything below direct sexual assault).
    The Skepchick Elyse sex-card affair tends to illustrate that point.

    It is after all undeniable that this EG drama is something of a mystery story.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. The elevator story is always as trivial or as egregious as it’s convenient to you at the moment.

  396. 396
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Double standards, how do they work? Do tell us, Nerd, you’re the expert.

    I have on standard of evidence, being a scientist in RL. You aren’t close to supplying evidence. All you do is try to imagufacture some to pretend your hero doesn’t have feet of clay. He does. Just like any other scientist. Where is your honesty and integrity? In the toxic waste with your OPINIONS.

  397. 397
    drosera

    @ Maureen Brian,

    If we don’t need leaders – and I am inclined to agree with you there – then why in the last couple of years have we seen quite so many people react to a passing mention of their very human imperfections exactly like a Roman Emperor who knows he’s about to be toppled?

    Pieces like Watson’s Privilege Delusion are hardly passing mentions of imperfections.

    Why have we seen a passing mention of a rather silly way of saying something in a written piece about something else suddenly turn into the excuse for several hundred hectares of whiny prose in any organ that will give the man a space?

    Are you referring to Michael Shermer? I’m not going to open that can of worms here, if only because Shermer isn’t remotely in the league of Dawkins.

    Why, drosera, are we beset by someone like you? Someone who clearly has a deep psychological need to believe that Rebecca Watson lied but cannot explain why he needs to believe it and lacks the cojones to just come out and say it straight?

    I have no need to believe that Rebecca Watson lied. That’s projection on your part. However, I am convinced that RW has been overly vindictive towards Dawkins, so much so, that she and some of her Skepchicks as well as their acolytes have been engaging in unbridled character assassination. The first comment in this thread is another symptom of this. It’s yet another move in an ongoing smear campaign. It’s dishonest and it betrays a disturbing tendecy to misrepresent. In her eagerness to damage Dawkins, Watson is damaging the cause of scepticism and atheism, because, whether you like it or not, he is to a large extent the public face of scepticism and atheism. The ‘crimes’ of Dawkins are just not significant enough to justify these actions, in my opinion. In his countless TV appearances and debates, Dawkins has always promoted humanist values and he has never, to the best of my knowledge, defended misogynist thought. So if you want to know what motivates me, it boils down to this: It is bloody unfair to attack Dawkins to the extent Watson and her followers have done and they need to be called out on it.

    (The disproportionality of the attacks on people like Dawkins and Shermer makes me wonder if there is a strategy behind it.)

  398. 398
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    (The disproportionality of the attacks on people like Dawkins and Shermer makes me wonder if there is a strategy behind it.)

    Do not fear, the Elevator Truther will get to the bottom of this world wide conspiracy!

  399. 399
    chigau (違う)

    …Shermer isn’t remotely in the league of Dawkins…

    uhoh

  400. 400
    Forbidden Snowflake

    The ‘crimes’ of Dawkins are just not significant enough to justify these actions, in my opinion.

    Of course they aren’t. All he did was dismiss and insult Watson, after all. Now, Watson, on the other hand, said she doesn’t like Dawkins anymore. Now that’s unforgivable!

  401. 401
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Forbidden Snowflake, you forgot that Rebecca Watson tried to burn Richard Dawkins down.

    It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!

  402. 402
    Amphiox

    The ‘crimes’ of Dawkins are just not significant enough to justify these actions, in my opinion.

    Your opinion is not actually relevant to that question, though.

    But I suppose you are free to continue to express them, and continue to make a fool of yourself in so doing.

  403. 403
    Tethys

    Dawkins has always promoted humanist values and he has never, to the best of my knowledge, defended misogynist thought

    Except of course, when he wrote an entire misogynist screed that was titled Dear Muslima.

    But don’t let the facts interfere with your speculation, I’m sure you will find a way to justify your hero worship.

  404. 404
    John Morales

    drosera:

    I have no need to believe that Rebecca Watson lied. That’s projection on your part. However, I am convinced that RW has been overly vindictive towards Dawkins, so much so, that she and some of her Skepchicks as well as their acolytes have been engaging in unbridled character assassination.

    Fundamental attribution error

    (The hypocrisy! No assassinating of Rebecca Watson’s character here, nosiree!)

  405. 405
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Pieces like Watson’s Privilege Delusion are hardly passing mentions of imperfections.

    Compared to YOUR imperfections of lies, bullshit, and lack of evidence…..

    I have no need to believe that Rebecca Watson lied.

    Yet you keep bringing it up obliquely. The problem for you is if she didn’t lie, EG happened, and your hero with his inane and stupid response looks bad. He can only look like like the peacemaker you want him to be seen as is if she did lie. So you lie to create that illusion….Not making your case, until you admit you do lie to achieve your ends…

    It is bloody unfair to attack Dawkins to the extent Watson and her followers have done and they need to be called out on it.

    Gee, all they said was they wouldn’t buy his books. Which I wouldn’t either after Dear Muslima. Who needs to read such turd. You keep pretending there is a problem, but you never, ever look in the mirror to see if it is you who is the problem. And it is….

  406. 406
    Amphiox

    The first comment in this thread is another symptom of this. It’s yet another move in an ongoing smear campaign.

    The first comment in this thread was a FACT CLAIM.

    Rebecca Watson’s inbox did indeed explode with rape threats, and those threats were indeed inspired by comments made by Dawkins.

    A fact claim, if true, is not a “smear”. Thus by calling that a “smear” you are indeed implying that Rebecca is lying about rape threats that she had received, contrary to your pathetically intellectually dishonest protestations to the contrary.

  407. 407
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Careful, Nerd! You just might give up the strategy being used against Dawkins and Shermer!

  408. 408
    Maureen Brian

    But all that is opinion – emotionally driven opinion – it is not fact, it is not evidence, it is not even a coherent theory of what went wrong.

    Richard Dawkins has no need of your increasingly frantic defence. He has done quite enough in both science and in the promotion of atheism for his reputation to stand and to outlive him without any need at all for you to run around in circles trying to defend him. Like all of us he as the odd blind spot. So what if someone mentions that? The world will not end. Professor Dawkins will not be burned at the stake because we are past that.

    I am about a year younger than Dawkins and, curiously enough, have known someone who also studied under Niko Tinbergen at a crucial stage of his emotional development and displayed precisely the same difficulty in relating to certain aspects of life. Tinbergen is no longer here to defend himself and it could, of course, all be a coincidence but one wonders.

    One wonders, also, because Bertrand Russell – on whom via radio and the tv I grew up – displayed weakness in exactly the same area. We have not toppled Russell from his deserved pinnacle, have we? We have merely noted that there are some aspects of life that he was not terribly good at. So what?

    It is a fact of life that that highly intelligent men can be so busy with their studies that they miss out on the learning of emotional intelligence which for the majority of women is not an optional extra but an essential part of their socialisation from age 3, 4, 5.

    Surely it is part of the idea of being a rational and skeptical human being that when someone comes along with additional and useful knowledge those who do not already have it make space to listen. Except, as we have seen, where the bearer of that useful knowledge is a woman.

    That says more about your narrowness of mind than it does about the credentials of Richard Dawkins or the honesty of Rebecca Watson.

    I wish, drosera, that you would take some time to contemplate why the preservation of Richard Dawkins’ wholly imaginary perfection matters more to you than the truth of what happened in Dublin in 2011.

  409. 409
    drosera

    @ Maureen Brian,

    I wish, drosera, that you would take some time to contemplate why the preservation of Richard Dawkins’ wholly imaginary perfection matters more to you than the truth of what happened in Dublin in 2011.

    I have stated very clearly what drives me (and it is not “the preservation of Richard Dawkins’ wholly imaginary perfection”), and yet even you, who strikes me as one of the more thoughful of the horde, comes up with this crap. I don’t know if I will bother to continue this exchange.

    (No! Don’t bother! Fuck off already!)

  410. 410
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I don’t know if I will bother to continue this exchange.

    An there was much rejoicing.

    Yeah!

  411. 411
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    And…

  412. 412
    John Morales

    [meta]

    drosera, has it occurred to you that your narrative is belied by your actions?

    (You can fool yourself, but you haven’t fooled others)

  413. 413
    Maureen Brian

    What crap was that, again?

  414. 414
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    ho strikes me as one of the more thoughful of the horde, comes up with this crap. I don’t know if I will bother to continue this exchange.

    What exchange? Your lies and our rebuttals with facts? Been there all along, but only a besotted hero worshipper couldn’t see reality. You haven’t made any points to convince us of anything during this thread. It has been an utter futile effort on your part. Why you persist in debasing yourself is beyond the ken of reasonable people. Try shutting the fuck up…

  415. 415
    Forbidden Snowflake

    What, no reply to #395?
    Oh well.

    I see drosera’s problem as a failure to realize how subjective the issue of proper behavior is, and how dependent on gender, social status and, yes, privilege. EG can be ruled “quite polite” when the first words he says to a woman are an invitation to his hotel room, and regardless of how that made her feel. Watson can seem “authoritarian” when talking about how she does or does not want to be treated. Dawkins’s embrace of an extremely low standard of politeness when it comes to women can be defended by drosera for hundreds of comments. Criticism of Dawkins’s behavior is “burning him to the ground” and a conspiracy against him.
    It’s all subjective judgments based on ideas about who is permitted what behavior, and extremely different standards of behavior set for different people.

  416. 416
    ChasCPeterson

    As far as I know, Jack Rawlinson has never denied being Elevator Guy.
    (is that OT?)

  417. 417
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Whether Drosera wants to acknowledge it or not, he is doing nothing but repeating the what the Slymepit™ says: RW lied, there is no problem with being propositioned anywhere/anytime, she was out of line to even mention it as bad behavior, and RD is a demi-god who should be worshiped. Well, not the last, but the rest is their party line. I wouldn’t want to be found anywhere near what that bunch of vocal misogynists idjits spout. Why Drosera wants to sound like one of them doesn’t speak well for his intelligence, honesty, and integrity. All he does is change the attitude from instant aggressiveness to continued/persistent posting without forwarding his argument with evidence. Typical.

  418. 418
    chigau (違う)

    alas
    jackrawlinson is in the Dungeon.
    we may never know

  419. 419
    SallyStrange

    Character assassination of Richard Dawkins? Goodness me, that sounds serious. All because Rebecca Watson noted that his insulting and sexist comments emboldened atheist sexists who then flooded her inbox with rape threats?

    Drosera. Get yourself together. None of those facts are in dispute.

    Unless Rebecca Watson is lying or delusional.

    There’s no evidence that Rebecca Watson is lying or delusional.

    Your emotionally driven denial that Dawkin’s comments encouraged and inspired many misogynists, who interpreted the “Dear Muslima” comment and Dawkins’ subsequent doubling down as a sign that he was on their side, does not constitute evidence that Rebecca Watson is lying or delusional.

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