I am so over the skeptical movement


I am so over Ben Radford. I thought he was obtuse before. Now I’m convinced that he’s simply an idiot. He attempts to rebut my criticisms.

Myers admits that I’m technically correct that Ensler’s statistics are not exactly right, but claims I’m being “hyperskeptical,” and states that “One billion women have been victims of ‘homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse,’ confirmed by statistics that Radford cites. One billion women. Radford’s hyperskepticism is so fierce that he objects to Ensler using 3 general words – raped, beaten, violated – instead of 26 more specific words, but is willing to overlook the horrific truth that she is correct and one billion women will suffer for their sex in their lifetime.”

Except that I didn’t; Myers misread it. I actually didn’t write the “one billion” figure that Myers misquotes me as saying; that was Ensler’s number. What I actually wrote (check it yourself) was that “one-third of women [have been victims of] homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse.” (One in three women is not the same as one billion if you do the math, though perhaps that’s just my hyperskepticism.)

I was not saying he was technically correct. I was saying that the figure he’s carping about is actually right, and that his complaints are empty. I did not realize that he’d respond by proudly declaring his innumeracy: I’m sorry, but 1/3 of 1/2 of 7 billion people is actually about one billion.

Worse yet, he then goes on to piously plead that people need to heed the principle of charity in their arguments (I’ve noticed that it’s usually the people who most need charity who are begging for it.) Then — get ready for it — he turns around and writes this appalling piece of ham-handed dreck. Yeah, right. Fuck the principle of charity. No charity for you, Radford.

I’m so over Harriet Hall’s t-shirt. She’s been going on and on, circling around the drain to somehow defend it. It’s simple: she wore it to spite some people she clearly doesn’t like, and to get praise from other people who don’t like Rebecca Watson and the Skepchicks. It’s really that easy. Just admit it and move on. I know it’s hard to admit that you’re that petty, but it would end all this nonsense, and it would be honest. Get over it; the wordy excuse-making is getting embarrassing. Besides, Amanda Marcotte has Hall’s number.

I’m so over Reap Paden. Dear god, he’s so obsessive he’s made another creepy video that says far more about him than me.

The one thing I’m happy to do is publicize these dumbass arguments. Why is it that people who attach themselves to a movement that prides itself on having rationality as its raison d’etre are so godawful pathetic at making a case for themselves?

Comments

  1. says

    Then — get ready for it — he turns around and writes this appalling piece of ham-handed dreck.

    Oh FFS. Radford doesn’t need to beg for charity, he needs to beg for a brain and the ability to use it. I’ve had it with so-called skeptics who cannot seem to admit they made a mistake, no matter what.

  2. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Well, there was at least one sensible comment on YouTube.

    WheinyOne 8 hours ago

    What kind of demented person takes the time to make a video like this?

  3. says

    quite.

    If I were a Melody Hensley clone, I’d try to just organize “Diversity in Skepticism” conferences and invite diverse speakers on diverse SJ-Atheism/Skepticism intersections (autism, poverty, issues relating to gender & sexual minorities, racism, feminism, etc.), and just leave these fossils* behind.

    Unfortunately, I’m not a MH clone, so I’ll just be blogging about these things, and amplifying he voices of atheist/skeptical activists on these diverse issues through my blog.

    – – – – – – – – –
    *no insult to fossils intended

  4. Francisco Bacopa says

    I am so over all the harassment apologists. I cut the “The Living Dinosaur” off my Youtube subs because he linked to anti-Jen vids that were just crazy.

    And here we have a rape apologist. Why quibble so much about numbers? Do you have a dog in this fight? I don’t. Who are you trying to defend?

  5. says

    They’re bad at defending themselves because (at least it looks like it in Radford and Paden’s case) they’ve been able to rely on being white, male and involved with popular organizations to argue for them. I don’t think they’ve had to think of their involvement or their position critically, just relied on the respect for their organization, masculinity and apparent race.

    (Which is really fucking lazy.)

  6. HappyNat says

    Hyperskeptic is hyperskeptical and an asshole.

    Hall is disappointing to me as she continues to dig in and make it about everyone else attacking her, while she is the one on the offensive. Shermer and others didn’t surprise me as much with this attitude, but I’d hoped of more from her. Ah well, I continue to be disappointed by so many of our “leaders”.

  7. carlie says

    It is kind of funny how the more they try to defend themselves, the more clearly their biases show and the more indefensible they become. It’s like someone trying to break out of jail by mixing concrete in their cell and pouring it along the walls. That’ll show ‘em!

  8. jose says

    You know, it’s interesting how much more benign the responses from religious people are. Even the hate mail from religious people isn’t nearly as spiteful, not to mention downright cringeworthy. That video, damn, it’s like the goal isn’t to mock but to leave one dumbstruck by the weirdness.

  9. says

    Harriet Hall, who I used to greatly respect, has spent the last week straight/cis-splaining gender issues from a position of abject ignorance and trying to defend passive-aggressive assholery with excuses that would be weak coming from a high schooler. Ben Radford has been engaging in his annual sloppy potshots at feminists, and then after making the oft-repeated but never substantiated claim that “all men are rapists” is a feminist slogan, has the unmitigated gall to accuse PZ of strawmanning–and makes the skepticism 101-level mistake of never actually explaining what the alleged straw man argument was.

    Except most newbie skeptics don’t spend 775 words writing “u strawmanned me haw haw!”

    Is there something in the water at skeptic central? Was the TAM door prize a gold-plated shovel, so that these nincompoops think they need to constantly keep digging to justify their existence? Whatever happened to the skeptical virtue of considering that you can be wrong?

  10. John Morales says

    Tom Foss,

    Ben Radford […] has the unmitigated gall to accuse PZ of strawmanning–and makes the skepticism 101-level mistake of never actually explaining what the alleged straw man argument was.

    I took a look, and that does stand out like a sore thumb.

    (Many accusations, zero substantiation)

    For example: Myers’s blatant logical fallacies have been catalogued by dozens of people including scientist-and-best-selling authors Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins—and most recently by a bored fifth-grader in Duluth who happened to be skimming Myers’s “Pharyngula” blog for a school project.

    Yet he does not adduce a single such “blatant” logical fallacy.

    Not one.

    Bah.

  11. Eristae says

    I went out and did the math that PZ pointed out (calculators, unite!), and it gets us 1,166,666,666.67. Even if we round down, the numbers don’t work out in Radford’s favor. I say this because my initial suspicion was that the number was something like 950,000,000 and that Radford was rounding away from 1 billion to keep his point intact (by being hyper specific) but no, even that isn’t the case.

  12. says

    I pointed the same numbers out on Radford’s cfi blog post and someone (Michael Kingsford Gray?) challenged it by saying women didn’t include girls thus it wasn’t 1/2. In case anyone wants to bring up that argument in the comments here I’ll just point out the paper the came up with the 1/3 statistic defined women to include females under 18. So you can’t try to change the 1/2 value given the way the 1/3 statistic was arrived at. Thus 1/3 statistic is equivalent to about 1 billion women.

  13. says

    According to Shadow, commenting on Radford’s site:

    I tip my hat to you sir, you are a brave hero.

    Comma splice aside, I must say that Radford is truly a brave hero, to risk public ridicule to pursue his one true love — satire. He screwed up his courage (and all hope of actual humor) and plied his art (or “art,” as it were) for the joy of everyone to see. That takes courage!

    Now. If only I could figure out what the fuck he’s whining about, I might be able to judge if he’s funny or not.

  14. says

    Also, wouldn’t quibbling about the actual number count as a strawman? I mean, it kinda misses the entire fucking point — that 1/3 of all women “suffer for their sex.” It seems that’s the more salient point.

  15. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Just in case you do not know, nigelTheBold, but #bravehero is a category of people designated by Justin Vacula who stands up to FTBullies.

  16. anteprepro says

    I am so over skeptics who are as an inept at using logic as any street preacher.
    I am so over skeptics who are as stubborn and unable to admit error as any creationist.
    I am so over skeptics who are as willing to deny genuine and obvious problems, as willing to handwave and quibble it away, as any Republican politician.
    I am so over skeptics who disproportionately are reduced to the same exact asinine behaviors and thought patterns that they ostensibly oppose when the issues are socially significant.
    And I am so over skeptics who, in the name of Skepticism, will do their best to defuse any support for oppressed groups and do their best to defuse any protest against privilege.

    Apparently they let anyone be a skeptic these days. They’re like a debate team, full of people convinced that “nuh uh” works as a counterargument, but only against rival teams, not against themselves. Their words are full of sound and civility, signifying nothing. Every debate is their victory, every argument made is worth a pat on the back.

  17. says

    Janine:

    Ah! I did not know that. Thanks for the clarification. All those brave, brave folks who stand up to all of us bullies who demand the execution of anyone who disagrees with our dogmatic and disagreeable positions are truly brave, brave folks.

    I’m rather amused.

    Do they also have a hashtag for something that is supposed to be funny, but fails miserably? They’re gonna need to keep a huge supply of those, I think.

  18. anteprepro says

    Also, wouldn’t quibbling about the actual number count as a strawman? I mean, it kinda misses the entire fucking point — that 1/3 of all women “suffer for their sex.” It seems that’s the more salient point.

    True Skeptics don’t strawman: When they erect a caricature of an opponent’s argument, the original retroactively transforms into the caricature. This is because True Skeptics are incapable of dishonesty or misunderstanding, and their powers of Pure Logic make them capable of what we lesser folk might call Word Magic.

    Only we lesser skeptics, and the Emotional Ergo Irrational use strawmen. True Skeptics transform men into straw. Know the difference!

  19. Eristae says

    Just in case you do not know, nigelTheBold, but #bravehero is a category of people designated by Justin Vacula who stands up to FTBullies.

    Oh, wow. For real? That’s . . . so ridiculously egotistical and self-aggrandizing that it seems almost impossible that it wouldn’t be used in a mocking, ironic sense.

    Almost.

  20. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Eristae, I wish I was kidding. Of the last ten uses of #bravehero (as of this moment), nine are by Justin Vacula.

  21. athyco says

    You mean to tell me that you (PZ and minions [that’s the opposite of a #BraveHero]) don’t know about Reap Paden’s mighty and righteous anger over Planet Atheism? You don’t know how insidiously PZ organized things so that there has been no mention of this dastardly deed on FTB until…my letting the cat out of the bag just now. Ooops.

    From: Pedro Timóteo
    Subject: Re: Blog submission
    To: “Reap”

    Hello,

    I’ve removed Reap’s Truth from Planet Atheism. Your feud with PZ Myers, which all your recent blog posts seem to be about, are not acceptable content there, and I’ve had several user complaints already.I think it’s best that your blog and the aggregator part ways.

  22. anteprepro says

    Shouldn’t have read the article. Shouldn’t have…

    (I have a general skepticism about the effectiveness of countless “awareness raising” campaigns-is anyone really unaware of rape, or bullying, or child abuse, or drunk driving, or the dangers of obesity, or any other common social problem?)

    Apparently because people know that [social problem] exists, there is no point in informing them about, you know, the severity of it. And, as we all know from Ben “One billion women haven’t been abused!” Radford, everyone is perfectly aware of how severe these kinds of social problems are.

    So why the anger and venom? Why would anyone get enraged and morally indignant because I think women dancing is a waste of time and not actually helping decrease the incidence of physical and sexual assault?

    The piece was completely feminist, pro-women, anti-rape, and pro-activism. Even the parts that questioned Ensler’s statistics explained why those misleading statistics actually harm women. The argument was not for an end to anti-rape activism, instead it was quite the opposite: it was for effective anti-rape activism, informed by valid statistics.

    “Sure, I told people to shut up about rape because of some quibble about math and because I can’t understand how consciousness raising works. But that is because I oppose rape sooo strongly that I can’t let someone else dare to oppose rape imperfectly!”

    He knows that not all the dozen or so specific categories included under the umbrella term “violence against women” (as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the DOJ) are the same as being “raped, beaten, or violated.” It is Myers, not me, who wants to split hairs; I explicitly stated that “all these are serious, legitimate problems” even if they are not equivalent to rape. No matter how you slice it, Ensler’s statistic is flawed, and does not say what she says it does.

    Apparently PZ is the one splitting hairs! Not Radford! Because Radford says so! While continuing to complain about statistics, because not every kind of “other kinds of abuse” is exclusively rapes or beatings! Radford has a whole new paragraph in his new article, elaborating on how he is right about how Ensler is wrong, because murder isn’t a beating, because same-sex violence isn’t done by a man (which apparently Ensler was implying, as evidenced by [???]), because elder abuse can also be things like theft and insults instead of physical or sexual abuse. But, no, he isn’t quibbling. Not at all.

    And the other article says…

    “Every time he writes something outside of his field [of biology], Myers uses all of the available straw for miles around” to craft his arguments, said Farmer’s Union representative Mike Helms. “I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right to buy straw and hay—it’s a free country and all that. But the fact is our farmers and horses need it. He can’t use that much straw [an estimated 3,000 bales per month last year] and not expect it to affect our local ecology and economy. We use straw for feeding our livestock and horses, bedding, and fuel. He’s just using it to make faulty arguments. Where’s the justice in that?”

    Helms added that other quasi-famous pundits have been drawn to the area in search of straw for their own arguments (conservative writer Ann Coulter and creationist William Dembksi are frequent customers), but that Myers is by far the most active.

    Holy shit, it is like The Onion without humor.

  23. anteprepro says

    I’ve removed Reap’s Truth from Planet Atheism. Your feud with PZ Myers, which all your recent blog posts seem to be about, are not acceptable content there, and I’ve had several user complaints already.I think it’s best that your blog and the aggregator part ways.

    His peach just got thawed.

  24. says

    not all the dozen or so specific categories included under the umbrella term “violence against women” (as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the DOJ) are the same as being “raped, beaten, or violated.”

    um.

  25. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I guess it was a blog by that misogynist goofus Reap Paden.

    Never heard of it though.

  26. says

    Eristae, from the dungeon:

    Reap Paden
    He complained about the commenters. An easy step to improve the quality was to smack him with the banhammer. Also, he’s a ranting asshole.

    he’s also morphed a number of times to get around the baning, and he rants on youtube

  27. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Eristae, if you really must know about Reap Paden, PZ provided a link to his latest video. Warning; it is very creepy.

    Or take the advice of jenniferphillips. You are missing nothing if you do not seek out his work.

    But you might find his works on this blog, he is always trying to slip through PZ’s spam traps. You can tell it is him. He uses no paragraph breaks and barely uses sentences.

  28. says

    Every time I think there’s a small chance these folks might finally remember that they should have applied the First Rule Of Holes ages ago and start climbing up towards the sunlight again, they just break out into another frenzy of digging deeper. It’s quite disturbing.

  29. Eristae says

    Yeah, Eristae, please be careful. You may suffer Reapercussions.

    A pun! I love puns. In fact, I like them to a degree that is at least slightly abnormal. So, yay!

    And I think I’ll take everyone’s word about Reap Paden’s work and not go see the video. I’ve found that I do best when I limit my exposure to such painfulness.

  30. says

    antepro @18, not just a skeptic, but a paid skeptic, allowed to represent organizations.

    there are a few things I get pointlessly grumpy about:

    Authors who write worse than I, but earn fuckloads of money.
    Artists who get fuckloads of money for stuff I could draw.

    And “skeptics” who are worse at analyzing issues than I am, being paid for doing it.

  31. gridironmonger says

    How about some Skepticism-Plus? How about being a skeptic who uses skepticism to advance humankind in the areas of health care, human rights, conflict resolution, poverty, etc?

    I’m over the establishment skeptics who sit around masturbating to cryptid or ghost or UFO pics/videos. Yes, there’s no good evidence for that stuff. And you’ve debunked another steaming pile of non-evidence. Good job, it must have been soooo difficult. Who cares? What good is that?

    But it is the truth, they’ll say, and the truth matters. Well, la-dee-frickin’-da. Truth is like money, having it doesn’t mean a damn thing — it’s what you DO with it that has meaning.

  32. says

    Re: Reap Paden

    I just did a search for his name, because I am still curious about the origin of “Reap” (an anagram for the name is rape; given how sexist this fucker is…well it bugs me that someone like this has a name that can be an anagram of that word).
    To those that think he is incapable of proper grammar, punctuation and paragraph breaks–I won’t link to his Reapercussions site, but it is apparent that he knows how to do so. He just chooses to look like an incompetent asshat when he posts under any number of sockpuppets here.

    PZ:
    reading Paden is painful. He has an intense grudge against you borne out of…I have no fucking clue what. He goes on and on and on for post after post after post just attacking you. It’s like he has become obsessed with you.

    one example:

    Here is another interesting fact. Pharyngula is still being posted at Planet Atheism. No one can argue that PZ Myers is an open minded advocate of atheism, skepticism or and other type of ism. Time after time PZ has engaged in personal attacks and libel. The proof is there for all to see. It can be found laying around his blog posts and in his comment section. He has spread disinformation on a regular basis about numerous people and subjects and then limited any peer review of his claims. He was claiming creationists as his victims, now he doesn’t seem to care who he lies about. The general attitude of his blog comment section is a reflection of the venomous babbling PZ does when someone disagrees with him. When confronted he takes a passive aggressive tone or gives extreme examples in order to excuse his behavior.

    It reminds me of Ben Radford’s inability to cite whatever strawmen PZ has created.

    I do not know who coined the phrase “get a life”, but seriously, Reap: GET A FUCKING LIFE.

  33. Ichthyic says

    reading Paden is painful. He has an intense grudge against you borne out of…I have no fucking clue what. He goes on and on and on for post after post after post just attacking you

    Michael Hawkins did the same thing for a couple of YEARS. It’s remarkable what happens to people when they get dissed for saying something stupid by someone with some public popularity.

    It’s like they feel they need to devote the rest of their lives to defending themselves by inanely trying to trash the person that dissed them.

    it’s fucking sad.

  34. says

    As for Ben Radford, I just felt this uncontrollable urge to leave _something_ on his blog:

    Ben. You wouldn’t by chance, be able to list any of the logical fallacies and straw man arguments you accuse PZ Myers of, would you?
    “Myers, a prolific blogger and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has been accused of hoarding hay and straw for use in constructing his straw man arguments and logical fallacies.”

    (While you’re at it, please try to figure out what 1/3 of 1/2 of 7 billion is. When you’re finished, go read up on rape. Rape is rape is rape. There isn’t date rape vs gray rape. There is no need for separate categories of rape. You appear to need a bit of education on rape, so before you open your mouth any further, try reading more and opening your mouth less. Perhaps then you won’t sound as sexist and privileged.

  35. says

    Strangely, the comment I posted last night is till awaiting moderation. No idea why.

    This is way better and more mature than if you had actually bothered to make an argument or any substantive points. Good show.

    Obviously Radford must have read it in an uncharitable way somehow.

  36. Rey Fox says

    Maybe this is tangential by this point, but isn’t everybody misusing the phrase “I am over”? It seems like when you say that you’re “over” something or somebody, it means that you’re no longer bothered by it, or it no longer effects you. Most commonly an old flame, i.e., “I’m over him.” But the context that I keep seeing “I’m over” used in here is “I’m tired of”, or “I’m fed up with”. It makes this whole thing kind of hard to follow. But then it’s hard to follow for other reasons as well.

  37. says

    It’s a versatile phrase. Ensler seemed to mean “I’m finished just accepting X”, and Radford seemed more o mean “I’m finished/tired of thinking/hearing/caring about X.”

    For my part, I’m over the Earth’s core.

  38. says

    This is just really fucking depressing.

    I said something similar over on Ophelia’s blog, but I’ll say it again here: these last few weeks (months? years?) have really made me re-evaluate my notions about the skeptical community. I used to think that the one thing almost all skeptics had in common–especially the formally religious or just “woo-woo” folks–is that all of us had a cherished, personal, deeply-held belief proven wrong, and we admitted it. We saw the error of our ways, based on evidence and applying skeptical thinking, and then moved on. So while, no, no one likes being wrong or admitting they screwed up, in principle, we should all be capable of doing so. Isn’t that, like, Skeptical Value #1? Even with the wide variety of beliefs and ideologies represented in the movement, if there was such a thing as The Skeptics Ten Commandments, wouldn’t Thou Shalt Critically Examine Thine Own Beliefs and Thou Shalt Admit When Thou Hast Fucked Up be numbers one and two?

    I’m starting to believe that I’ve been seriously deluding myself. Otherwise, these leaders in the community–Ben, Harriet Hall, Michael Shermer–after seeing their arguments addressed point by point (usually using their own words, so they shouldn’t be able to claim “strawman!”), with lots of evidence and citations, clearly refuting their cherished beleifs, shouldn’t they at least be able to shut-up, if not do the decent thing and admit they were wrong? But instead, they just keep digging and digging and digging, to the point that it has become pathetic. And silly.

    Do they think people will lose respect for them if they admit that they were wrong? That they would lose status? But you’d think they would realize that most skeptics would have way more respect for a leader who admitted an error, especially if it was a deeply-held, beloved error. It’s been a while since I read The God Delusion, but I’m pretty sure there’s a whole section with an oft-repeated story that says just that. Regardless, I think I have to stop telling people outside the skeptical community (like, my religious friends and family) that the thing I admire most about skeptics is our willingness to admit our mistakes and our desire to criticaly examine our own beliefs.

    Because the way I see it, there are a few possibilities (or some combination of them):

    1) They Really Truly believe what they are saying. They have critically read what people have written in response to their arguments, and just honestly disagree and believe that their evidence is stronger and their logic is better. They have earnestly tried to look past their own biases and came out the other side still holding the same beliefs. I find this…unlikely, but I’m willing to admit the slim possibility.

    2) They believe what they are saying, and because of ego or irritation or fear (or another emotion I can’t imagine) they refuse to honestly look at opposing viewpoints and evidence. They are arguing with straw because they haven’t taken the time to understand what the other side is actually saying. They are unwilling to look at their own biases for whatever reason. (And then they accuse of us of doing this.)

    3) In many communities, the least intelligent and/or least educated are often the loudest and most obnoxious, and unfotunately tend to become the leaders, either because the media appriciates them or the masses enjoy show without substance. When I was a Christian, I was often furious at how the people who others believe most represented the faith were often the least educated about the bible and theology, the most hateful, and the most ignorant.* Maybe this is just something that cannot be escaped, even in the skeptical community.

    4) Or maybe this is just a massive gaslighting project. I know there have been several times watching these discussions play out that I’ve felt like I was going insane, staring at my computer wondering if I was just part of some mass delusion, if I really was the irrational, unhinged, divisive bully. You hear it enough times…

    Anyway. I don’t know which of these (or what combination) is right. Or which one I want to be right; they are all pretty fucking depressing. Any other thoughts? What am I missing?

    *YMMV on this point. In my opinion, as someone who trained to be a minister and studied the bible, conservative, Repbulican Christianity is a not representative of the bible or the vast majority of theological tradition. However. I also realize the bible does contain a lot of evil–one of the reasons I’m an atheist–and that you can pretty much make it say whatever you want it to say (another reason I’m an atheist). I still believe that the majority of the loudest, most hateful, conservative Christians are very ignorant of the bible and unwilling to consider other perspectives–that’s just been my experience–but, again, I understand that people may strongly feel otherwise, and I don’t really think it’s a point that needs to be re-argued.

  39. yubal says

    The one thing I’m happy to do is publicize these dumbass arguments. Why is it that people who attach themselves to a movement that prides itself on having rationality as its raison d’etre are so godawful pathetic at making a case for themselves?

    (not @ PZ, this is @ the community in general)

    Simple.

    Because the self-defining standard of this movement is the skeptic attitude.

    When the mutual enemy is the religious camp you end up with “buddies” that are simply septic about any claim. Including the axioms of human society.

    That is why i was skeptical about the “New Atheist” movement and still refuse to “join” the A+ movement. Way too focused on skepticism. Both of them. As if skepticism would be anything else than a tool that you could use. In a rational approach there is an end to skepticism, that is the moment when you have to act.

    Humanism HAS to be the driving force for the movement or we are not going anywhere. Not skepticism sexed up with some social activism. And the majority of the movement is “active” about those issues only on the internet.

    Fuck me big time, I stay with my die-hard humanist ideals. No war. Ever. No denial of opportunities. To no one. Sharing resources. Promote happiness, be nice to people. Learn how to cook, grow some veggies if you can.

    Skeptics were ranked down in my world to useful allies, when it matters. I don’t care who you are and what you think when we join to rebuild a community struck by a tornado. For some reason or another there are always Christians showing up to shovel the dirt, build the shelter, cook the food and pump the water. What are you folks doing? Can you align with a southern baptist when it is about to get a child food, shelter and safety? Great, because that is what this is about.

    I don’t care if that shelter for abused woman across the block is run by evangelical Christians, for all the the wrong reasons they claim to be true, I support it, because they do the right thing. It is not about making a case for yourself, it is about resolving the dire situation of someone else.

    You ‘arguments’ are almost always irrelevant. Get your ass out of that chair and do something for the better of mankind. Skepticism is a god-damn fucking tool and not an objective.

  40. says

    For some reason or another there are always Christians showing up to shovel the dirt, build the shelter, cook the food and pump the water. What are you folks doing?

    We are donating and making sure not to get in the way of the real efforts made by secular organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF etc.

    You’re buying into the American myth that religious organizations are the only one doing anything when there are a need. That’s not true – there are these large organizations which do a much better job of it, while a lot of religious organizations focuses on converting rather than helping (not all though – some groups believe in doing good work, but even they often get in the way of the real relief effort).

  41. says

    @yubal

    Huh. You pretty much answered my long, rambly thoughts.

    That is why i was skeptical about the “New Atheist” movement and still refuse to “join” the A+ movement. Way too focused on skepticism. Both of them. As if skepticism would be anything else than a tool that you could use. In a rational approach there is an end to skepticism, that is the moment when you have to act.

    I never thought about it quite like that before. Or, rather, I’ve had similar thoughts, but never put them down so succinctly and coherantly. Which makes me kind of ashamed, now that I see what you’ve wrote, because it’s so basic, and makes a hell of a lot of sense. Don’t know if I entirely agree…I’m not quite ready to give up on the idea of a skeptical community. Or, at least, a community that values skepticism–including sekptical ethics, like honestly examining one’s own beliefs and biases, constantly being open to new information, and being willing to admit when one is wrong–a community that teaches both how to be a better skeptic and how to apply critical thinking skills in the real world.

    However.

    Humanism HAS to be the driving force for the movement or we are not going anywhere. Not skepticism sexed up with some social activism.

    I completely agree with this. 100%. There really isn’t any value to skepticism if it doesn’t end up making the world a better place. Because, okay, I like Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, but at least 75% of it–in a good issue–does nothing to really make a practical, important differance in the lives of other people or animals.

    Well, beyond teaching the importance of skepticism and how to think skeptically. After all, being able to think skeptically is necessary for Humanism, to work towards making the world better. Maybe this is where I part with you a bit…while I agree that ultimately, my allies are those that work for social justice, whose activism extends beyond the net (though I don’t knock internet activism; I think it’s accomplished more than people give it credit for), I also think that people who embrace critical thought will be much better allies in all fields. Because while those Evangelical Christians may be helping women in the short term who are in a horrible situation, they are ultimately putting them in another prison, and in a way contribute to some of the cultural values that make domestic abuse such a widespread problem. So they may be putting a band-aid on with one hand, while knocking people over with the other. That’s why a community that values, teaches, and communicates skepticism is important.

    Skepticism is a god-damn fucking tool and not an objective.

    QFT. Wow. That is my new motto, seriously. Could not possibly agree more.

    Thanks. You gave me something to think about.

  42. John Morales says

    EEB:

    There really isn’t any value to skepticism if it doesn’t end up making the world a better place.

    There’s no personal value to being, say, more resistant to scams?

  43. Pteryxx says

    You’re buying into the American myth that religious organizations are the only one doing anything when there are a need. That’s not true – there are these large organizations which do a much better job of it, while a lot of religious organizations focuses on converting rather than helping (not all though – some groups believe in doing good work, but even they often get in the way of the real relief effort).

    Ironically, ten minutes in a chair is very effective in finding charities that don’t, for instance, lie about abortion, fund hate groups, or refuse food and shelter to gay and trans* teens. They just tend to be less obvious than the religious ones.

    Oh and by the way:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/american-cancer-society-refuses-500-000-from-atheists

    http://freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Secular_charities

  44. says

    I find it amusing that Radford uses lack of published books as some kind of measure. I’ve read some of his articles in skeptic magazines, and they are universally boring and rather lacking in substance, so I have never even been tempted to buy any of his books. His contributions are also why I let magazine subscriptions lapse.

    PZ’s book, on the other hand, I’m looking forward to. Very much so.

    Regarding Hall, I must say that I am disappointed. I will continue to value her important work when it comes to medicine and debunking woo, but like Rebecca Watson, I have reached a point where I cannot say that I have any respect for her. As a matter of fact, that’s much like I feel about Dawkins.

  45. yubal says

    #60 Pteryxx

    maybe you are better off in your chair if you refuse to think beyond you checkbook when it comes to compassion (and the consequences thereof)

  46. yubal says

    After all, being able to think skeptically is necessary for Humanism.

    why?

    Because it is necessary to be a skeptic in order to help a suffering person?!? Nope. Not really.

    What part of skepticism is required :

    To minimize human suffering?
    To stand out against injustice?

    None.

    It is only compassion. Or common sense.

    Hints (c&p from google):

    “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.” (~Kant)

    “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (~Jesus the fucking Christ)

    Who cares? Not me. Both sources are a good motivation if it is about how to get your ass moving. And again, I don’t care what get’s your ass moving as long as you do something right/necessary/good.

  47. slowdjinn says

    #62 yubal

    I don’t know about pteryxx’s personal situation, but not everybody is physically capable of shovelling dirt, building shelters & pumping water. A well-targeted chequebook makes it possible to get more people who *are* able to do so to where they are needed.

    Skepticism is a god-damn fucking tool and not an objective.

    Well-said.

  48. thetalkingstove says

    (I have a general skepticism about the effectiveness of countless “awareness raising” campaigns-is anyone really unaware of rape, or bullying, or child abuse, or drunk driving, or the dangers of obesity, or any other common social problem?)

    I missed this before. What a ridiculous, thoughtless, oblivious thing to write. Radford thinks awareness campaigns are just about simply informing people about the very existence of problems? Sigh.

  49. slowdjinn says

    Yubal:

    “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (~Jesus the fucking Christ)

    but:
    “Do whatever an evil person tells you to do”
    Also(~Jesus the fucking Christ …Matt 5: 37-41). Probably best leave his advice out of this.

  50. John Morales says

    yubal, the best way to to minimize human suffering and to stand out against injustice is to give everything you possess to charity and then to trust in providence.

  51. Pteryxx says

    yubal #62: Wow. Way to misread ‘vet your charities’ as ‘lazy/selfish/lacking compassion’. Thanks, very charitable of you.

    What part of skepticism is required :

    To minimize human suffering?
    To stand out against injustice?

    In making sure the charities one does support aren’t causing human suffering or injustice. I mean, duh. Besides charities that discriminate, there are anti-vaccine charities, anti-abortion charities, and charities that are outright scams, and most of their grassroots supporters are motivated by compassion, too. Compassion and skepticism aren’t mutually exclusive. (Neither are checkbooks and meatspace support. Though I’m amused that you assume *I* must identify with a checkbook, as usually I’m too broke to do anything *but* physically volunteer.)

    http://www.myhusbandbetty.com/2010/11/26/give-to-goodwill-not-salvation-army/

  52. testostyrannical says

    I think the difficulty with skepticism is that it’s become a very loosely defined term, and it kind of needs a certain rigor to do it’s work. The basic justification for skepticism is that people know some of their beliefs are false, and so claim to be willing to subject them to scrutiny and possibly revision. So the practical end of skepticism is supposed to be to arrive at better approximations of true belief, in no small part through the subjection of our most darling commitments to harrowing levels of examination.

    But one thing I’ve found is lots of people think what skepticism amounts to is something more like cartesian doubt-just plain doubt in everything. And in this weird way of thinking about it, any kind of avowal makes one a less pure, less ideal skeptic. There are some real thorny epistemological problems that are activated by this kind of skepticism (how does at true skeptic even know they’re being skeptical kind of shit), but in practice, the important thing is that it’s stupid, because it doesn’t actually help one arrive at an improved understanding of the world or their beliefs or whatever.

    There is this third wrinkle, which is that to be a part of a “skeptic community” is a consequence of certain historical and social phenomena the upshot of which has been most people believe a bunch of pure, easily dismissed nonsense. Skeptics in a community are essentially identifying themselves ideologically in opposition to the naive cultural status quo in some way, and usually in certain typical ways (pro science, anti religion, that kind of thing).

    But merely having opinions which are not consonant with the general cultural assumptions isn’t the same as adopting the rigors of a truly skeptical approach to knowledge. A person can very easily be an atheist with no self-awareness who just likes engaging in shit talk about how Christians suck. I think this has actually become a real phenomenon, at least on the internets.

    As soon as you have a critical mass of self-identified “skeptics,” then the inevitable social hierarchies form, and the people who rise into positions of influence are not guaranteed to do so because of any particular method to adhering to what might be admirable about skeptical inquiry. And i think once you have robust communities like this, it’s almost impossible to avoid descending into some kind of dogma, even if your ostensible purpose is to avoid dogma altogether.

  53. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    For the most part, these ‘skeptics’ are only ‘skeptical’ in an after the fact sense, i.e. in order to try and claim some kind of intellectual achievement for something that’s no more the result of analysis than what kind of music they like.

    Sure, I’m an atheist – but I’ve never claimed it’s because I’m super-duper smart and applied a whole bunch of rationale to it; religion just simply never ‘took’ for whatever reason. To try and make myself out to be some sort of hero (or even a vacuous #bravehero) because of that is bullshit.

  54. Larry Poppins says

    I went to a skeptics meeting last night where Dave Silverman spoke in support of Draw Mohammed day and calling Mohammed a pedophile. I think I might need to get over a lot of stuff if I’m going to start calling myself a skeptic.

  55. karmacat says

    Everytime Radford speaks, I want to send him some cheese to go with his whine….
    He could have used Ensler’s idea to propose a dance a thon to raise money. It seems he is more interested in tearing down other people’s ideas rather suggesting any solutions

  56. glodson says

    Is there a contest out there to see who is the biggest asshole on the internet that I missed?

    Because we seem to have a number of people seeking the title.

    Tom Foss wrote:

    Ben Radford has been engaging in his annual sloppy potshots at feminists, and then after making the oft-repeated but never substantiated claim that “all men are rapists” is a feminist slogan, has the unmitigated gall to accuse PZ of strawmanning–and makes the skepticism 101-level mistake of never actually explaining what the alleged straw man argument was.

    I’ve noticed this a few times. It is almost like a Chewbacca Defense. Just throw out the accusation of the use of a fallacy by an opponent, but never back it up. And watch many magically agree instead of asking for a clarification of what the fallacy was, where it was, or anything else. Sometimes it is just the case of the person forgoing the explanation and they can make that clarification. And the ones I tend to remember are those that throw out the accusation, and when challenged to defend the claim, they just assert it was a fallacy and I should shut up about it. That’s not so go.

  57. carlie says

    See, this way he gets to have it both ways. He doesn’t have to defend his accusation because it was a satire piece, don’tcha know? It wasn’t a real accusation! But he also gets to say it and hope that it sticks in people’s minds as a real one, because in a few weeks none of his acolytes will remember which part was in the “funny” piece and which parts were in the “real” rants.

  58. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    Much like New Yorker cartoons, any and every article written by Radford or Paden can be justifiably captioned “Christ, what an asshole!”

  59. glodson says

    It wasn’t a real accusation! But he also gets to say it and hope that it sticks in people’s minds as a real one, because in a few weeks none of his acolytes will remember which part was in the “funny” piece and which parts were in the “real” rants.

    This reminds me of when I was a Christian and tell people that parts of the Bible were obviously allegory when I had to defend my bullshit. Wonder why I’m reminded of this. Must be one of life’s little mysteries.

  60. vaiyt says

    He doesn’t have to defend his accusation because it was a satire piece, don’tcha know? It wasn’t a real accusation!

    Nonono. The correct phrase is “That was not intended to be a factual statement”.

  61. vmsmith says

    Observing this whole controversy over the past week, I couldn’t help but note the irony that Radford and all the commenters who jumped on his bandwagon, failed to register PZ’s lack of enthusiastic support for One Billion Rising or his link to a well reasoned criticism of it.

    … but I have to mention that I agree with him on one thing: this One Billion Rising stuff leaves me cold, for reasons that Natalie Gyte articulates so well.

    [sigh] Strawman arguments indeed.

  62. says

    yubal:

    maybe you are better off in your chair if you refuse to think beyond you checkbook when it comes to compassion (and the consequences thereof)

    Were it not for people getting out their checkbooks — including Pteryxx! — I wouldn’t be able to do what I do in the world to try to make it better.

  63. says

    yubal:

    What part of skepticism is required :

    To minimize human suffering?
    To stand out against injustice?

    None.

    It is only compassion. Or common sense.

    Are you serious?

    As you said, skepticism is a tool. What you didn’t answer is, what’s it a tool for?

    It’s a tool for refining your view of the world, for making your understanding of reality correlate better with reality. So, skepticism is necessary to discern real problems, identify solutions, and then evaluate the results.

    Now, it’s all well and good to have DV shelters. That’s very compassionate. But really, the problem isn’t that battered women have nowhere to go, it’s that women are more likely to suffer violence than men. And skepticism is necessary to identify the root causes of this disparity.

    So go on out there. Do all kinds of compassionate shit with no regard to the actual causes and consequences. It really is a noble thing — I mean that sincerely.

    But really, if you want to increase the effectiveness your efforts a thousandfold, take some time to apply that tool you have to discern the root problems, to identify the best solutions, and then evaluate the results.

    And if you don’t think simply talking loudly and frequently about a problem doesn’t work, I suggest you look at the history of oppression during the evaluation phase. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest talking loudly and frequently does work, in combination with other efforts. It’s a force multiplier. It might not be effective alone (which is not to say it isn’t, but that it might not be), but there’s plenty of evidence that it’s a crucial part of any social change.

    So yes, skepticism is vital. Before you can do good in reality, you have to understand reality. The better you understand reality, the better your efforts can be.

  64. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    I learned a new word today. I believe that Ben Radford appears to be an ultracrepidarian.

    (Though the preview looks a bit odd there I’m going to hope and click submit since the html looks OK to me.)

  65. says

    I find this a disturbing turn for The Great Internet Atheist-Feminist Wars–the increasing identification of skeptics with anti-feminists. And I can hardly fault PZ for that, when skeptical leaders are being so obtuse and/or disingenuous. I’m especially disappointed with Harriet Hall, who I’ve long respected.

    Can we not let this happen? Harriet Hall and Ben Radford don’t own the skeptical movement anymore than Dawkins owns the atheist movement. We can change the culture by naming and shaming the bad (such as in this post), and highlighting skeptical leaders doing good.

  66. Meister Konfusius says

    I’m fairly taken aback by the amount of aggression I’ve witnessed as a lurker, and I think the straw broke over just these SBM articles, so witness my first comment in the movement ever. I do think that jumping in a nonmedical controversy concerning the wider skeptic movement and taking a stance on gender politics wasn’t within the usual purview of SBM writers, and I suppose that accounts for a part of the reaction. If one does involve oneself in this kind of debate, aggressive reactions are part of the expected results. That being said – I cannot quite see the problems with the T-shirt, or with a medical article making a simplified distinction between male/female based on common biological criteria. It appears to me that these two issues – Hall declaring herself “not a skepchick, not a woman skeptic, just a skeptic”, and Hall taking a simplified approach to gender differences for a blog article – are being conflated with each other, and both blown out of proportion quite a bit. I will not make the mistake of drawing analogies here (which I strongly suspect would not be accepted by anyone with a different stance) but I am .. doubtful that a retired flight surgeon who is on record as having experienced quite the discrimination in her time wanted to take an anti-feminist stance with the shirt. I read Rebecca Watson’s comment on SBM concerning the email she initially planned to write to Hall, and I’m saddened that it ultimately didn’t happen (and that Hall probably won’t write an email of her own, too). What we have here is a further rift opening up – not just between the downright disgusting and clearly antifeminist skeptics (who are this in name only), but between different interpretations and generations of feminists, which I’m not convinced is needed. After all, none of the discussion I have witnessed was concerned with specific goals – it was a spirited disagreement about proper use of language and about public gestures and statements. Things like these happen and are unpleasant, but they need not destroy a working relationship.

    The german left party has been torn by years and years of similar infighting, and while I’m very relieved that the sceptic movement is not dependent on voters, I’d like to vouch for Die Linke’s policy for settling at least some of the animosity between the different sides: Each year, functionaries of the (sometimes) warring factions have to meet for one day and just talk to each other. The topic doesn’t matter.

    Finally, a postscriptum that may be forgiven as the amazement of a first-time participant in these discussions: People, are you at all serious? I have been into ugly, all-out arguments more often than not, but no longer having any respect for a person because of one remark and the underlying issue? Perhaps I am unusual in this regard, but I expect and tolerate a certain amount of disagreement with my friends and allies over philosophical or political matters. I may be angry with them, but there are shared goals to advance and there is mutual fun to be had – and they are not helped by openly declaring contempt and then cutting off all communication. If there ever was any hope of productive exchange at all, that is. I do not think that arguing by means of blog posts is a way to resolve differences in the movement, and I do not believe anyone who does intends to so. Public argument of this sort forces those of us already in the movement into taking a position (as was outlined – and cautioned against – by Carol Tavris at TAM) and turns attention inward. I use this strategy myself when I feel a need to polarize, but there is a time and place for it, and it is not after the problem on hand has been made clear and people have considered the issues at hand. So – please. Could everyone sit down and make a list of common goals that they would like to advance, and then we’ll see on what the bulk of the movement can agree? Politicians do this all the time, so it can’t be that hard.

  67. yubal says

    82 Nigel,

    Are you serious?

    Yes.

    The point was up there:

    there is an end to skepticism, that is the moment when you have to act.

    Thought and doubt over your motivations are not helpful anymore when you already decided to do something about it. skepticism is a great tool to figure out what to do about which issue, but without a humanistic view you wouldn’t either realize the issue in the first place or act in the second place. That is the worst part, realizing a problem and not doing anything about it.

    I remain at this point:

    humanism >> skepticism

  68. marinerachel says

    My final straw with teh skeptical moovement was seeing skepticism used to justify transphobia. After hearing skeptics respond to requests to refer to women who happen to be trans with female pronouns with “Why aren’t you more skeptical of their claims of being female? Aren’t you a skeptic? You’re not a skeptic at all! I will call then he as long as they have a beard and dick and are, therefore, according to my divine classification powers, of the male gender, whether they identify that way or not. You’re not a woman if you have/hab a beard or dick and I won’t refer to you as one.”

    That was the moment I officially divorced myself from the skeptical movement. I have no desire to be associated with that kind of shameful behaviour.

  69. omnicrom says

    Meister people are not objecting because of a one-time thing. And it isn’t a small thing.

    For starters you misrepresent the T-Shirt. As this is your first post I’ll be generous and assume you’re honestly mistaken. The T-Shirt said “I feel safe and welcome at TAM”. There is no way to read that except as a rebuttal to Rebecca Watson and the ongoing events started by the “Elevatorgate” events especially since she wore it for 3 days in a row so no one could miss it. In doing so Harriet Hall throws her support behind the hyperskeptical wing of the skeptic’s movement that is of the opinion that Women’s issues are not important. I remind you this wing of skepticism is the one that has spent the last couple years engaged in harassment Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight, and other prominent women in the movement to try and force them into silence with shear raw bile. Since Harriet Hall has aligned herself with this ugly misogynistic wing I think it makes perfect sense to be disappointed with her and to say she no longer has our support or we no longer accept her as a leader.

    As for your last paragraph yes. We are Serious. The denizens of Pharyngula do in fact see Rape and Sexual Assault and Abuse and the Victimization of Women as serious. We do see it serious that a Billion people suffer abuse and often have no recourse. We do see it as serious that society is horribly sexist. We do see it as serious that there are vast gaping inequalities that still must be bridged. If that forms Rifts so be it. The Misogynists who go out of their way to try and explain away the unjust suffering of ONE BILLION PEOPLE can go fuck themselves.

    Meister you ask for common goals to try and bridge the Rift between the Sexists and the non-sexists. Here’s the trick: As someone who is against Sexism I don’t really give a shit about the Sexists. I have read many other comments from many other Pharyngulites who have the same thing. Fuck them. The Deep Rifts are there for a reason and we’re going to keep digging them deeper until we can exclude all the toxic, Sexist, Misogynists who seriously don’t understand why we’re so serious about the Victimization of A BILLION PEOPLE.

  70. says

    I hope someone with more time/energy will respond to all the wrong in comment #88. I will say that I agree with Giliell: there is no working with, accomodating, or accord reaching with the segment of the atheoskeptic community that would deny women their basic human rights. Perhaps those on the outside of these EXTREMELY WELCOMED RIFTS can sit there and be logically dispassionate, but for those in the thick of it, especially the women who are facing the lion’s share of criticism, bullying, discrimination, threats of violence and more–there can be no other response than:
    “No we will not sit down. We will not shut up. We will not stop calling out the sexism in the world around us. We will not be shamed. We will not be marginalized. We will not become invisible. We will not slink meekly into the background so the hyperskeptics can ‘reclaim atheism’. We will continue to apply skepticism to the worlds problems so that we may analyze, understand and overcome them. We will not sit idly by and pat ourselves on the back for disproving Nessie, alien abductions and Bigfoot for the umpteenth time. If you want to do that, great. But get the fuck out of the way. Continue to stand there in opposition to basic human rights-whether it is marriage equality, an end to sexism and misogyny, or standing up for the rights of trans*people-and you will face our ire. We will not be nice _just because_ . We will not allow civility to trump egalitarianism. We will criticize you. We may insult you. If you don’t like it, change your despicable, degrading views and side with progress.
    Stop helping to maintain the status quo. Peoples’ lives are at stake.”

  71. Larry Poppins says

    When someone says they are a skeptic I do not presume that I have found an ally. Until I know which side of the rift you are on I am wary. I do in fact kind of expect skeptics to be hostile to feminism, prone to libertarianism, or both. Not that there aren’t feminist skeptics, but until I’m sure someone is one, and that their definition of being pro-feminism isn’t the one shared by Radford there will be no talk of common goals, not with me anyway.

  72. Maureen Brian says

    Meister Konfusius,

    You might wish to have a look at this excellent post – and follow its links – to gain a more nuanced understanding of what has been going on this past couple of years – http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/02/the-special-lady-who-is-better-than-all-other-ladies-because-she-is-one-of-the-guys/ – where Amanda Marcotte’s post is one of her best. And she’s usually good.

    I can speak only for myself but my feeling is that the first duty of a skeptic is to be skeptical of his / her own thinking. Just because I succeeded 40 years ago does that mean that my way is the only way, that what worked then will work now, that no-one else is allowed to do things any other way? No, a thousand times no! (And I’m even older than Dr Hall, so it’s not about age.)

    I’m certainly not going to read back through it all but it is my remembrance of is that Dr Hall at SBM, having successfully issued a hurtful put-down to several younger women with a three-day stunt, decided she was going to do exactly the same with Will, who posts regularly at Skepchick. The put-down failed because it sounded like a basic medical textbook from about 1960 – completely ignoring what we have learned since then and forgetting that one of the key achievements of queer activists has been to persuade medics that sex and gender are a bit more complicated than those early medical texts would have had us believe.

    No-one forced anyone else to mix up two difficult topics in a rush to score cheap points but we know exactly who did!

  73. Meister Konfusius says

    First of all: Apologies to all to whom I do not respond here – I’ll stick to the first commenter to respond to me and respond to that, to keep my correspondence and post length here down to the managable. Now, on to the specifics:

    I was referring to the backside of the t-shirt, which (to my knowledge) has the text I quoted. What you quoted is the front side, which I didn’t mention because I didn’t think it was as controversial. I was mistaken and apologize for the omission.
    About the front side: Has Hall stated that she supports the people who send Watson all that horrendous email, which I suppose is what you mean by the “hyperskeptics” (I would prefer to go with assholes, actually)? I sincerely doubt that this is the case. It was a reaction to Watson’s statement – Hall herself has said so – but I think taking it as supporting the people who spend hours on MS Paint just to incense a woman is one or two steps to far. If taken at face value, I have no doubts that Hall meant what she said and nothing more – I think she has the background not to feel uneasy in this environment, however male-dominated and insensitive it may be, and she may say so freely if she wishes to. I agree that it was not the best way to express this, and certainly missed the point about adressing women’s concerns at these conferences. But as a statement that not every woman has these concerns, it was both correct and well within her rights to make. I don’t think it should be taken as opposing women’s issues in general, and certainly not as dismissing rape and abuse as real and important problems, as these were neither mentioned nor implied by Hall. Given her background and other public statements, I find this to be an unlikely interpretation. What I see here is a woman who did not have concerns for her personal safety and stated just that. Why this results in her no longer being worthy of respect, I do not know. I can see that it was ignorant of how many others would take that statement – namely, in the way expressed in your comment – and ignorance is not rectified by exclusion. Therefore – no, I’m not asking for dialogue with sexists. That is wholl unproductive, as you are right to point out. All I’m suggesting that you could be more careful in applying that label. Perhaps I’m the one who is too optimistic about this, but you do seem awfully quick to judge – based on what I presume I know about the t-shirt.

    That there was no unfied whole before is correct. I’m certainly not arguing for creating one, but what I’m missing in skeptic movements worldwide is trying to build compromise and political action to implement said compromise. Instead, I see discussions over various slights, lead in a generally unproductive manner prone to inducing emotional outburst on both sides, as the originally offended parties are rarely even involved.

    Perhaps I should again clarify: As a regular reader of both Pharyngula and SBM, I’m not talking about the other two examples mentioned above. I have not studied them carefully enough to make a statement that I would consider qualified (if my other statements are is up to the reader). I’m talking solely about the T-shirt and Dr. Hall.
    This discussion as pertaining to Harriet Hall does not seem to be about opposing rape, redirecting the movement’s political lobbying towards the issues you mentioned, or including women’s issues in an the mission statement of more organisations (which were recently pointed out on skepchick as sorely lacking in this department) this seems to be about statements on a T-shirt worn by reasonably popular figure. I don’t see the current debates on SBM and here as the ideal way to resolve the problems this has created.

    PS: Don’t be offended if I take my time to respond after this post. I happened to have some unexpected free time this evening and used it for this discussion, but I’m afraid my shedule will soon catch up. I don’t intend to bow out at this point.
    PPS: I wish I hadn’t logged in with my google account. The handle looks silly.

  74. allegro says

    I see no virtue in finding common ground simply for the sake of easing someone’s discomfort with conflict, which seems to be the case in #88. The conflicts are real and serious to those of us who wish to live in an equal world. I was deeply offended by Dawkin’s Dear Muslima and for very valid reasons. It tells me that he dismisses me, my concerns, and my life as a woman with a sneering contempt. Why should I seek common ground and ignore that very basic level of demonstrated disrespect? For that matter, can common ground even exist under those circumstances? I think not.

    As far as Ms. Hall, I recognize in her something that I was once guilty of and that is feeling special as a women to have arrived in the boys club. I was different, doncha know, so exceptional to be the token woman in a sea of men. It can be a heady experience. Then I grew up and recognized my responsibility to the young women coming behind me to help build that ladder to enable them to enjoy opportunities that women have been denied. I wasn’t so special – I was bright and capable, but mostly I was lucky. And I was privileged. When Ms. Hall recognizes this, if she ever does, she will gain my increased respect.

  75. allegro says

    @Maureen

    Thanks for that link! I hadn’t seen that article that so closely parallels what I was saying in #98. It is terrific.

  76. Ichthyic says

    I do not think that arguing by means of blog posts is a way to resolve differences in the movement

    not so sure about that, i think differences DO get resolved by the conversations that happen IN the comments sections.

    the question is, do the differences get resolved in a positive fashion.

  77. Ichthyic says

    But as a statement that not every woman has these concerns, it was both correct and well within her rights to make.

    …and equally right and proper to point out the impact such a statement has on a broader level, as a criticism.

    clear?

  78. athyco says

    Perhaps I’m the one who is too optimistic about this, but you do seem awfully quick to judge – based on what I presume I know about the t-shirt.

    Meister, let’s suppose that Amy Roth (the one person NOT mentioned in the article about the t-shirt) and Harriet had been in the lobby of the Las Vegas hotel and asked by a random tourist who knew nothing about TAM what the t-shirt was about.

    What do you optimistically believe would be that tourist’s conclusion, with Amy there to fill in the gaps–

    ♦DJ Grothe saying specifically that Rebecca Watson (on her online platform) was driving women away from TAM–not just (1) Rebecca’s “I statement” as Hall called it, and (2) no anti-harassment policy (not even the one from the previous year) made public online or in the registration handouts (after many requests)
    ♦The online platform–to which Amy belongs–is called Skepchick
    ♦Amy was there in good part to support the 19 women for whom she’d raised funds–primarily via the Skepchick platform–to get them to TAM
    ♦Hall wearing the t-shirt for three days, making her just as persistent but more visible (what with being a speaker and all) than the sexists (yes, the ones you say it’s wholly unproductive to talk to) mocking her work in person and on Twitter with TAM-related hashtags

  79. says

    @88

    …or with a medical article making a simplified distinction between male/female based on common biological criteria.

    Really? You don’t see a problem with a site like Science Based Medicine, which is designed to have unbiased, skeptical, scientific, up-to-date information about medicine, not only publishing an article full of cissexist, reductionist, and just plain wrong information about sex and gender, but then refusing to correct and apologize when it was pointed out multiple times with well-cited evidence that they had seriously screwed up?

    Because that is a Big Fucking Deal to me. I know that I won’t be able to trust SBM the same way I did before. They betrayed their readers, and their own mission. It’s one thing to publish inaccurate, biased material. Okay, sex and gender can be complicated issues. (However, I’m sorry, a secular medical doctor in 2013 should never have published that first article. It’s something I’d expect from a Jr. High Student in health class, or maybe a conservative religious doctor trying to justify gender binary thinking. Not something that should have come from anyone with the slightest bit of education on the subject.) But when she was told that, hey, you really fucked up, here, and the erasure of trans* and intersex people is not only cissexist and offensive, but totally incorrect according to modern science, she didn’t admit her error and apologize. She kept digging. And SBM published these posts and supported her. So, beyond being disappointed in Harriet Hall, I am really bummed that a site I appriciated, respected, trusted, and used frequently for information has been shown to be so untrustworthy. That just sucks.

    Because the fact that intersex an trans* people exist? The fact that XX and XY are woefully inadequate to decide if someone is a woman or man? These are not opinions or beliefs. These are not things that two educated people can disagree on. These are facts. And she got the facts wrong. Really wrong. So it’s not just a matter of people getting offended because we think she’s being sexist or whatever.

    (And I second–third? forth?–the desire for someone to pull apart the rest of what you’ve said, but I just don’t have the time and energy for that.)

  80. ~G~ says

    #87

    I find this a disturbing turn for The Great Internet Atheist-Feminist Wars–the increasing identification of skeptics with anti-feminists. And I can hardly fault PZ for that, when skeptical leaders are being so obtuse and/or disingenuous. I’m especially disappointed with Harriet Hall, who I’ve long respected.

    Can we not let this happen? Harriet Hall and Ben Radford don’t own the skeptical movement anymore than Dawkins owns the atheist movement. We can change the culture by naming and shaming the bad (such as in this post), and highlighting skeptical leaders doing good.

    Agreed. I’ve been running a skeptics group for about 5 years now and last September we purposefully shifted our activities, topics of discussion, goals and direction. We used to stay away from the political, social, and even religious (because we previously had a sister atheist group with many of the same members so we left that to them).

    We have integrated religious and issues of the religious right in politics, we have a harassment policy for the purposes of helping diversity and a welcoming environment, we had a very well attended lecturer from our local rape crisis center talk about rape myths, we hope to do a belated event for the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-Believers with another local group, we collect food for the needy about 4 times a year, and more. Since we made these changes we have had a lot of really cool people join who are interested in these things as well and who want to help including people who normally are uncomfortable in social gatherings or are weary of some of the people they may encounter.

    My group is how my husband and I met and brought us together and it’s been a big part of our life. All this bullshit makes me want to walk away from it all. But if we can support a new progressive skepticism that incorporates first and foremost, an attitude of humility and self-introspection (not just a lot of back slapping we-are-so-great!), as well as doing stuff that actually combats the real life implications of BS on society as a whole, I can become re-charged. Please PZ, don’t let these people define skepticism for you. Look at all the great topics of discussion on Skepchick which promotes skepticism in a way more relevant to society as a whole as well as religion. There are strong skeptics out there on your side of the rift and the right side of history, please support us.

    And to the person who said they wish they could be the skeptical answer to Melody Hensley, I second that. I’d love to see a Women in Skepticism conference, although it would very much overlap in subject matter. Give me some money and I’ll get right on it! :)

  81. glodson says

    Compromise? Compromise with people who seem to fight against treating everyone equally? Compromise people who want to ignore gender issues? Ignore rape? Compromise with people who seem to trip over themselves to find ways to justify treating women as less than human?

    If I compromise with this sort of thinking, I’ll also be compromising my dignity, my morality, and own beliefs. I’ll have no part of it. This is serious, this isn’t about academia, this is about people’s lives.

    Fuck, I’m a white, cis-gender male, and this shit I see is just that, shit. There isn’t a rift deep enough for me. Just maybe, you might want to read up just a little more Meister Konfusius. I have no reason to seek common goals with people who fight against the push for an inclusive and safe environment. I will not associate with people who threaten and impersonate, who demean women based on looks because they don’t like what she says, who think that calling men manginas is clever and smart. Fuck those people.

  82. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    I got as far as this and just had to comment.

    comment #56
    yubal

    For some reason or another there are always Christians showing up to shovel the dirt, build the shelter, cook the food and pump the water. What are you folks doing? Can you align with a southern baptist when it is about to get a child food, shelter and safety? Great, because that is what this is about.

    I don’t care if that shelter for abused woman across the block is run by evangelical Christians, for all the the wrong reasons they claim to be true, I support it, because they do the right thing. It is not about making a case for yourself, it is about resolving the dire situation of someone else.

    I CARE that those places are run by the religious because the religious have set the rules I’ve had to live by. It fucking sucks having to follow arbitrary, worthless “morality” rules for no other purpose than to appease the assholes in charge. It sucks having to listen to prayers, sermons and preaching in the park before my child and I could get some food. It sucks having to let others tell my child about burning in hell for eternity because there is just no other place to go. My child worried, stressed and had nightmares over that shit. It still happens now when some fucker is out on the corner “spreading the good word” and reminds her of it all over again.

    It’s fucking ridiculous having to live and deal with this just to survive. So yeah, if religious people want to help out and contribute they can not be assholes about it and leave the religion where it belongs – in their own damn home. Until then, they can shove their piety, their “oh, we’re such good people helping out the unfortunate like God wants”, their self-centered, obtuse way of giving. They aren’t giving, they are pushing for more recruits. That’s all that fucking matter, otherwise I’d would have actually gotten help instead of being passed between institutions for their own good.

    You know who helped me? This place, these people saved my family.

  83. says

    @JAL 107:

    Thank you. I was tryimg to express my problem with that idea, but you explained it perfectly. Skepticism is very important to Humanism, because people can have the best motivations and want to do good…but if they don’t skeptically examine their own beliefs, they can do a lot of damage. Intentions are not magic and all that. That’s one of the best points that JT makes in his “Dear Christian” talk.

  84. vaiyt says

    @Meister Konfusius

    That being said – I cannot quite see the problems with the T-shirt,

    “Hey, I know fuck-all about the subject, but I feel like chiming in with an opinion anyway! What, use my brain? What for?” Do some fucking research on the context.

    or with a medical article making a simplified distinction between male/female based on common biological criteria.

    Oh, you see no problem with scientists lending their credibility to stereotypes that demean women? Well, good thing you can’t suffer the consequences of it, right?

  85. vaiyt says

    Sorry about my last comment on @109, I think I confused the SBM thing with another article. The sexist tropes may be running together in my mind. Thankfully the correction is a small one and the gist remains.

    or with a medical article making a simplified distinction between male/female based on common biological criteria.

    Oh, you see no problem with scientists lending their credibility to factually wrong statements that happen to add to the steaming pile of bullshit thrown to trans people all the time? Well, good thing you can’t suffer the consequences of it, right?

  86. HappyNat says

    Even if you think Hall’s t-shirt was not a shot at those “crazy feminists” wanting to feel safe (and I’m not sure how anyone paying attention could reasonable think this). When people admit they don’t feel safe, the proper response if never, “Well, I feel safe, so screw you.” It was pointed out to her that the t-shirt was making Amy feel uncomfortable and like a target and she continued to wear the t-shirt for the rest of TAM. So if the shirt was not intended to cause offense, wouldn’t you change your damn shirt when people told you it was causing distress? What kind of un-empathetic jerk keeps wearing it?

  87. says

    Until Harriet Hall attempted to explain the shirt, I disagreed with her as far as I knew her opinions about inclusivity, harassment, sexism, and so forth, but I still respected her. However, reading that transparently self-serving stack of misleading statements and omissions left me unable to muster any more respect. I suppose it’s possible that she is naive and oblivious as she claims to be, regarding the likelihood that ANYONE interpreted the “skepchick” on her t-shirt as being related to some obscure pre-Skepchick.org 1999 discussion, but I find I am straining my credulity to do so. And her omission of Amy Roth from that whole screed struck me as deliberately insulting, but then again, if she is as completely inept at interpreting and predicting other people’s reactions, perhaps she didn’t realize that it would come off as incredibly dishonest and self-serving to provide an explanation about why she didn’t feel it’s worth altering her behavior to avoid making other people upset, without mentioning the person who was the most upset by her actions, and who was the one who specifically made the request for her to alter the way she was behaving. If she really is as bad at communication as she claims, I have to wonder what she’s doing trying her hand at professional science communication, and how she could have possibly made it this far in the field.

  88. ~G~ says

    For those who didn’t watch creepy video- It was so pointless and childish I laughed the whole four minutes. It wasn’t until about 3 minutes in I figured out that the black spray paint on PZ’s face is supposed to be a shadow, I think. But if you watch 5 seconds, you’ve seen the whole thing except there is extra twitching toward the end. It reminds me of this- http://youtu.be/U0MCIQuxjQQ?t=12m36s but not as cool and like PZ said, it says more about the person who made it than PZ. That is quite frightening. (BTW, the video I linked to appears to have quite a lot of historical info on this antique. Most would be better off just watching that.)

  89. carlie says

    I’m with SallyStrange. What I really wanted to see in Harriet’s piece was an acknowledgement that Amy had told her directly how hurtful she found it and how Harriet took that piece of information. Instead, she completely erased Amy from her version of events. (Elision, indeed.) Hall instead framed it as a matter of anonymous angry blog commenters:

    I was quickly made aware that some people thought my shirt was a deliberate, malicious personal attack on individual Skepchicks and on the Skepchick organization as a whole. They got very angry. Some blog commenters went so far as to suggest that I should have been forced to take the shirt off, that I should have been ejected from the meeting, and that I should be banned from participating in future conferences. One person even suggested that my right to free speech ended the moment someone felt offended by what I said. (Just imagine the disastrous consequences if free speech were to be limited in that way!)

    If I remember correctly from Amy’s reports of the event, she was already almost in tears when she met with Harriet and asked her about the shirt. Yet, Hall’s account gives a very different tone, one that absolves her of having to care about anyone else at all. Fuck that shit.

  90. says

    I don’t have any reason to doubt Amy’s report of the event, and I absolutely have reason to believe that Hall is lying about the details because she’s lying all over the place. Hall knew she was doing harm, and didn’t give a damn. She can claim innocence all she likes, she can write dozens of essays about how she’s the real victim here, but the reality is that Amy explained to her how she was coming off, and her response was to keep doing harm and hurting Amy ON PURPOSE.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if someone claims that making their point is more important than the feelings of the innocent people around them, they are ethically bankrupt. I’m as strong an atheist as anyone here, and more certain about it than many, but if my mom loses a sibling I’m not going to use that occasion to mock her belief in an afterlife where her brother or sister is happy forever. And if I wore a snarky, assholish T-shirt and someone who I know is decent is in tears and telling me I was hurting their feelings, I would burn the goddamned thing in a heartbeat and bend over backwards to make things right between us.

  91. says

    Dr. Hall’s version of events also elides how the point at which she decided that she’d worn the T-shirt for long enough «just happened» to coincide with Amy having left TAM after several days of the marginalising/shunning/harassment Amy experienced there. So, «suddenly» enough people at TAM had seen the T-shirt once Amy had finally been driven away?

    In the spirit of attempting to interpret events as charitably as hypothetically possible, perhaps Dr. Hall was briefly ashamed on the day of her own contributions to a conference sponsor‘s marginalisation, and that’s why she finally took the shirt off in a brief spasm of shame at her own actions. But if Dr. Hall can’t see that what it looks like to many people is that (a) she antagonistically created and wore the shirt to marginalise Amy, (b) even if (a) is not exactly true then once she was informed that the T-shirt had that effect she nonetheless antagonistically continued to wear the shirt that she now knew was marginalising Amy, and (c) that once Amy was gone she triumphantly took off the shirt because the Amy-marginalising job was done and dusted, then – as Sally Strange said above – this means that Dr. Hall is so bad at communication that she shouldn’t hold herself out as a science communicator.

  92. helenaconstantine says

    So PZ is throwing Harriet Hall under the bus along with Shermer, all for Rebecca Watson? I wonder if he has set pp a secret shrine to her in his house?

  93. says

    helenaconstantine,

    Do you really want us to think you’re as stupid as you’ve presented yourself? Because I’m willing to accept that happily, the same way that I’m happy to accept Harriet Hall’s “I’m the dumbest person alive, so there’s no way I could anticipate obvious interpretations of my behavior” defense. If you think “stupid” is a better position than “evil lying shit-weasel” then keep on keeping on!

  94. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    What a clever jibe, helenaconstantine. Also, you do not have story straight. PZ is throwing Shermer under the bus for the sake of Ophelia Benson.

    If you are going to play with the FTBullies story, at least stick to the script.

  95. glodson says

    So PZ is throwing Harriet Hall under the bus along with Shermer, all for Rebecca Watson? I wonder if he has set pp a secret shrine to her in his house?

    Just goddamnit.

    Could we go one fucking day without having clean the stupid off the carpet?

  96. John Morales says

    [meta]

    PZ wrote:

    I’m so over Harriet Hall’s t-shirt. She’s been going on and on, circling around the drain to somehow defend it. It’s simple: she wore it to spite some people she clearly doesn’t like, and to get praise from other people who don’t like Rebecca Watson and the Skepchicks. It’s really that easy. Just admit it and move on. I know it’s hard to admit that you’re that petty, but it would end all this nonsense, and it would be honest. Get over it; the wordy excuse-making is getting embarrassing. Besides, Amanda Marcotte has Hall’s number.

    This, helenaconstantine interprets as throwing Harriet Hall under the bus along with Shermer, all for Rebecca Watson?

    I wonder if he has set pp a secret shrine to her in his house?

    What a weird conceit.

    Does she have a secret shrine to PZ in her house?

    What’s apparent to me is that helenaconstantine has nothing with which to dispute PZ’s summation yet is upset by it, thus this feeble effort.

  97. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    Who are the random bumblefucks who come into these conversations to stoke the coals and work the bellows? What does someone like helenaconstantine gain from their histrionic hyperbole? It seems out of place for a skeptic to not value factual and rational approaches to truth.

  98. carlie says

    Just to have it here, I went back and found this is the story from Amy’s side. (excerpt)

    I think one of the most hurtful things I experienced while attending TAM was Harriet Hall’s Tshirt that she wore three days in a row. I told her through tears, in the speakers’ lounge, that it was dehumanizing and gender/color blind and very hurtful to me specifically as a person who does have to deal with harassment regularly. I said I was glad she felt safe and that I wouldn’t have sent 22 women to the event if I didn’t think it was safe for them either. So who was she talking to?

    I felt that it was a personal attack (whether or not intended as such) since I was the main public representative of Skepchick at the event and it said ‘skepchick’ on her shirt and I told her that. I know she had a right to wear that shirt even though it was hurtful. But one day would have been enough when she was at the podium to send her message.

  99. carlie says

    So we have:

    “I told her through tears, in the speakers’ lounge, that it was dehumanizing and gender/color blind and very hurtful to me specifically as a person who does have to deal with harassment regularly. I said I was glad she felt safe and that I wouldn’t have sent 22 women to the event if I didn’t think it was safe for them either. So who was she talking to?”

    communicated by Harriet as:

    “I was quickly made aware that some people thought my shirt was a deliberate, malicious personal attack on individual Skepchicks and on the Skepchick organization as a whole. They got very angry.”

    Um.

  100. athyco says

    Yes, helenaconstantine. It’s a secret shrine made of STRAW! HeeHawHeeHawHeeHaw!

    (Although chigau and glodson have a pair of good ripostes, I don’t want to do anything with “under the bus” because it’s downright stupid to bring that into the Harriet Hall t-shirt sitch, since that’s virtually all about throwing Skepchicks “under the bus.”)

    Hey, helenaconstantine. Why not go to Ben Radford’s blog and ask him how to tie it all together on his latest post “Why Coffee Doesn’t Go in Your Butt.” (Yeah, you think I’m still kidding.)

  101. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    From carlie’s quote:

    But one day would have been enough when she was at the podium to send her message.

    This is what gets me. She was a speaker – she didn’t even have to wear the shirt if she didn’t want to – she could have made her statements at the podium and left it at that.

    It really beggars belief that Harriet Hall would pose oblivious and attempt to claim innocuous intent. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Her whole raisin date for wearing the shirt was to subtext an ongoing conversation that was happening online. Why lie, Harriet? Because it fits a narrative that those who target FTB and SkepChick and Amy can point to and say that they were being bullied to shut-up about harassment policies being A-OK… I’m going to go with EEB’s #4.

  102. thetalkingstove says

    Oh good grief. Yes, PZ’s criticisms of Hall couldn’t possibly be because of the reasons he actually stated! It must be because he secretly loves Rebecca Watson!

    I wonder if helenaconstantine is a slymer – seems to be a typical argument of theirs, showing their typical shallowness.

  103. Ichthyic says

    I wonder if he has set pp a secret shrine to her in his house?

    amazing what some people spend their time thinking about.

  104. Ichthyic says

    the link to Reap-derp’s video now says:

    This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.

    diggin holes man, diggin holes.

  105. Ichthyic says

    Maybe Reap will spend another several days putting together a really poor animation to show us how other people spend their time pulling his videos?

  106. notsont says

    Oh good grief. Yes, PZ’s criticisms of Hall couldn’t possibly be because of the reasons he actually stated! It must be because he secretly loves Rebecca Watson!

    Of course why else would a man choose to side with a woman over menz unless there is sex involved?

    just in case
    /sarcasm

  107. says

    the link to Reap-derp’s video now says:

    This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.

    poor Reap; even Youtube has become a #FTBully, suppresing his free speach

  108. rowanvt says

    *whistles*

    Minnesota Veterinarians: Ben Radford is killing our cattle.

    Minneapolis, Minnesota- Veterinarians across the state are facing a major livestock health care, and they are blaming it on Radford.

    Radford attempted a recent satirical piece that irresponsibly interchanged the uses of straw and hay for the building of logical fallacies on imense scales.

    “I’m just saying, be responsible in your satire. I don’t want him to stop writing satire, but what he did could cause a lot of harm!” said one large animal veterinarian as he peered into a feed bin at a local ranch. “Look, this farmer took him at his word and is attempting to feed his cows straw. No wonder they’re losing weight and the farmer is losing money!”

    At another ranch, skinny horses tear frantically at the young grass in their pasture. Their owner started feeding them straw because it was cheaper than hay, and Radford had said they were the same.

    Local vets are seeing a rise in nutritional deficiencies in some rabbits and guinea pigs as owners stopped buying expensive timothy hay, expecting their pets would live comfortably off the straw they bought as bedding. “It’s a real problem” one veterinarian bemoaned as she cradled a client’s rabbit, “when people ‘hear things on the internet’ and automatically believe it. But worse than that, how can someone mix up hay and straw? It’s called a strawman argument and not a hayman argument for a reason. Straw is devoid of nutrition. It’s empty of any food value. Hay, on the other hand, has a high nutritional value. It’s food. It has substance.”

    Radford has responded to the criticisms, admitting to his factual errors and rather drastic need to properly research basic facts before writing. He has, however, yet to address the harm his statements have done to the state of Minnesota and the livestock therein nor has he apologised for mistaking hay arguments for straw. Whether he will remain true to his pledge to check facts will remain to be seen. For the sake of the pets and livestock of Minnesota, one can only hope he will.

  109. glodson says

    Rebecca Watson did it.

    It is amazing how many things are her fault. It is like people just make stupid shit up to blame on her. She must have all the power.

    And I was wondering who knocked over my trashcans! Goddamn feminists!

  110. kestrel says

    @#137 Rowanvt: Brilliant! I felt the same way. Those poor horses and cows… :)

    You would think someone who was so picky about statistics would be more careful.

  111. rowanvt says

    Doh, just noticed I was missing a word from one of the early sentences that I must have accidentally deleted. It’s a major health care problem, not just a health care. *sighs*

  112. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Paden’s video “has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.”

  113. glodson says

    Paden’s video “has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.”

    Oh, his poor free speech!

  114. glodson says

    It is just this one video. I just did a search, and the others are there.

    And it was rather disturbing, as I’ve made it a rule to avoid looking at his youtube page. He’s… all kinds of creepy.

  115. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Hmmm, what’s more likely?

    That Harriet Hall QUOTED Rebecca as saying “I do not feel welcomed or safe” on her t-shirt, altering the phrase to “I feel welcome…” and then, in a COMPLETELY UNRELATED THOUGHT, talked about some 1999 internet group that no one’s heard of on the back of the shirt

    OR

    She quoted Rebecca on the front, then mentioned her, using the NAME OF REBECCA’S SITE, on the back.

    I JUST CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT YOU GUIZE!!!!!1!

  116. says

    WMDKitty:
    Yup. Reap’s blog was pulled from Planet Atheism. Something to do with his relentless vendetta against PZ clouding all his posts. It’s like he is incapable of blogging about anything but PZ.

    I am still happy for that. Given the type of person he is, he deserves far more than losing a platform for his blog and having a video removed (and no, to any Slymepitters trying to screencap this-I do not mean any actual harm befalling that shithead).

  117. yubal says

    @ Chris Clarke

    Were it not for people getting out their checkbooks — including Pteryxx! — I wouldn’t be able to do what I do in the world to try to make it better.

    I did not intend to say that. Reading my comment again I realize that is perfect for misunderstanding.

    I am sorry.

    We have a section for donation in our family budget and a list of organizations and projects that we consider worthwhile to support. We believe this is what you should do when you are in the lucky situation to have more than you need. And you know what? We don’t care if the organization is secular or not, it is about the impact they make on the ground what drives us to give them funding.

    @ Nigel, 82

    And if you don’t think simply talking loudly and frequently about a problem doesn’t work, I suggest you look at the history of oppression during the evaluation phase.

    That hurts.

    Why?

    Because of..well, before I write too much, and I could, I suggest you recap quickly and watch “Darwin’s Nightmare” if you haven’t already. Something MANY people are talking about LOUDLY for decades. And what happend? Nothing. The rape of Africa continues.

  118. yubal says

    I encourage everyone to click this clip and go to 1:26:00 and watch five minutes.

    http://youtu.be/g_6ZNbYdWzQ

    This man is a loving father and a murderer. He is a human being and I want you to listen to him.

    (“What can you bring back from Europe?”)

    You should also watch the rest of the movie.

  119. ChasCPeterson says

    From the looks of the TAM program (link; scroll down), the skeptical movement is pretty much done with you too, and all your friends to boot.
    Just one particularly revealing nugget from among many strong signals:

    Dinner with the cast of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe?
    Join Dr. Steve Novella, and Jay, Bob, and Evan for this fundraiser dinner

  120. Matt Penfold says

    From the looks of the TAM program (link; scroll down), the skeptical movement is pretty much done with you too, and all your friends to boot.

    On the upside, maybe TAM can be become the conference for the misogynists, sexists and other bigots in the sceptical movement, and all the other conferences can be left to the decent people.

  121. Meister Konfusius says

    #89 Got it right – I am discomforted by this conflict showing up. I have a great deal of respect for both Dr. Hall and the efforts of Watson and others to make participation in skeptic, atheist, and humanist events (to avoid a catch-all term like “the movement”) more hospitable to and enjoyable for women, and my personal world would certainly be more peaceful if it found a good resolution. I see Watson’s point on being hit on in cramped surroundings, and I certainly see your point about the Dawkins comment – and I agree with both. I may not be in the ideal position to approximate the associated disappointment and anger, since neither situation really applies to me personally, but I agree that these are problems that need to be dealt with quickly. The conclusion which I can not follow and which I feel is being made here by at least some readers is that to the T-shirt falls into the same category as these two events – which I agree are cause for legitimate and public protest.

    I’ve borrowed from Greta Christina and assumed that neither Hall nor her critics really wanted to have a sexism debate over this, since sexism debates aren’t enjoyable for any participant. That is not to say that I don’t consider the T-shirt a stupid move; it was certainly ignorant of the reactions that followed. I just have the hope that said ignorance about how to best express a different stance (that Hall did not feel threatened herself – which, for an older woman with military background, I immediately buy) could be rectified with less anger and segregation into opposing camps involved. I hope I’m making sense when I suggest that some issues among allies (or among enemies with a common goal, as the case may be) are best resolved with a more private discussion – being accused on a blog prompts another blog post in response, and presto: We have created two camps of supporters who resent the other person and their supporters, and the opportunity for a quick and mutual agreement has been lost.

    Yes, I really think that it could have been that simple. It seems to be a matter of style and public expression first, not of policy. I am not arguing that there should be any concessions on the issue of women’s safety, or the attention given to these issues.
    That is why I’m sorry Watson didn’t send the email she mentioned, and equally sorry that Hall didn’t try to reach out to some of those who have expressed public disappointment. I would prefer if that was the first step in dealing with issues like this – at least one person should try to approach the issue on a platform where they do not feel the need to defend themselves before their fans, and where said fans don’t feel the need to immediately take sides.

    #102 Yes, you are of course right – I would have to be blind to have missed that impact for sure. As I said, it was at best ignorant. I’m just suggesting that the bridge-building we are hopefully engaging in here should not start at the comments level but at the blogger level, since the conversation here is less visible than the blog posts.
    IF we agree that there is, ultimately, at least one common goal worth pursuing. This subject – goals we can agree on – seems to be a bit neglected lately, and it may be the case that there aren’t any. I do doubt that, though.

    (I realize that I’m being arbitrary about to whom I respond in detail, so please accept my apologies. I foresee this comment snowballing into a full-time writing job in the near future, so I’ll try to cut it down to a few core responses.)

    #104 SBM is primarily a medical blog, and the medical point of view seems to me to be this: The majority of individuals can be assigned to two categories based on their physical characteristics, and these categories are largely identical, but have a few key differences that are essential to keep in mind, both as a doctor and as a patient. Women should know that the cardinal symptoms of a myocardial infarction are often different for them, for instance, some diseases have different prevalences in males versus females, et cetera.
    There are also individuals where the categories are not so clear, because they have physical characteristics of either. They are also special cases that should be recognized and which one should be prepared for and, when appropriate, seek the advice of a specialist, as some of these cases are also combined with other health risks or anomalities – such as X0 individuals with neck webbing. That is a bread and butter subject for medical doctors, a long-time subject of clinical science, and clincians should definitely get this right.

    That there are individuals who have physical characteristics of one category, but socially behave as the second, or prove this model wrong in more complicated ways is true, and I would expect it to be relevant to medicine to some degree – what with the “typical” behaviors of men and women being associated with different health risks – but making these distinctions is not what I would first expect of a doctor. I would expect a doctor to be aware of what the physical situation is for his patients, and address them however they want to be addressed. I don’t think that it is a scientific error to stick with labels as the physical situation would suggest them when writing a medical article, as that is the category that is more relevant in most medical matters. I would be more forgiving to an MD who is unaware of this social dimension, as that is outside his usual field of study and work.
    I can testify from personal experience that terminology is often simplified or altogether different for different fields of science, and that does not mean that one of them is being mistaken. That is true even for medical fields – anatomists are sloppy with clinical terminology when they try to bring some “real medicine” in the gross anatomy class, and so are clinicians with anatomical terms – or just ignore them wholesale and create new ones. I would apply the same to the terminological difference between gender studies and medical science – they are correct in their relative academical context, and both are useful as pertaining to a specific individual.

  122. Ogvorbis says

    I’m just suggesting that the bridge-building we are hopefully engaging in here . . .

    Bridge building? Why?

    On the one hand, the atheist/skeptic community has a group who are willing to fight the the last comment to defend their privilege to use gendered insults such as cunt, pussy, and bitch. They are willing to fight to the last comment to defend their privilege to use rape jokes, even when the effect of those jokes is to silence people. They are willing to fight to the last comment to defend their privilege to make others uncomfortable, to make women uncomfortable, at conferences, fighting to prevent the inclusion and implementation of harassment policies. In other words, there is a subgroup of people within the atheist/skeptic community who are bound and determined to continue to enjoy their privilege. This privilege, this toxic holdover from patriarchal religion, makes life better for some and worse for others — women, the elderly, children, the disabled, people of colour, the GLBTQ community.

    On the other hand, there is a group who are willing to fight to remove gendered insults from online and meat space conversation. Who are willing to stand up against rape jokes. Who are willing to be inclusive of all people, not just the privileged ones, and make everyone feel welcome at conferences or in on line communities. People, like me, who want to extend my privilege (white, middle-aged, middle-class, hetero, male, married, college-educated) to all until there is no more privilege.

    I am an atheist. I see nothing in the world which shows even one iota of evidence that any gods exist. I look around my world, my milieu, my culture, and see the privilege extended to whites, to males, to Christians (and some men manage the trifecta!), privilege that is not earned but rather granted by society based on religion. To me, religion is a far more pernicious and evil and damaging idea than the belief in gods because of this privilege. Privilege which promotes rape culture, sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, patriotism, ableism, and economic injustice.

    So why should I build bridges to people who, while claiming to be atheists, while claiming to be skeptics, are willing to fight in order to maintain their privilege? Privilege gained from the very thing that they claim to have left behind — gods and religion?

    More important, why should I build bridges with people who deny that sexism still exists and deny that anyone should do anything to make conferences more welcoming to women? or people of colour? or any other group not included in the privilege of Abrahamic religious tradition?

  123. carlie says

    I wouldn’t call TAM “the skeptical movement”. It is a big part of it, sure, but it’s not the entirety of it.

    (and for what it’s worth, I think not being able to get used to that new positioning is one of their big downfalls)

    I see very little on the conference schedule that I find actually interesting or useful.

  124. says

    yubal:

    That hurts.

    Why?

    Because of..well, before I write too much, and I could, I suggest you recap quickly and watch “Darwin’s Nightmare” if you haven’t already. Something MANY people are talking about LOUDLY for decades. And what happend? Nothing. The rape of Africa continues.

    I certainly did not intend emotional pain. I merely intended to point out loud protest and debate have been important factors in most social change.

    But, would be better if everyone stopped talking about it loudly?

    How about this: Did loud protest help or hurt the cause of ending Apartheid? (I’m not saying everything got magically fixed after Apartheid ended, I’m just saying it was an important step.) Did loud protest help or hurt the civil rights movement? Did loud protest help or hurt women’s suffrage?

    Yes, guns still go to Africa. Yes, many people still work in appalling conditions. I’m very glad you care about this. If we are going to progress in the world, we’ll need to take care of each other. We need more people to care about this.

    And one way to get more people to care about this is to make more people aware of it. That is, talk loudly and frequently about it.

    I might be misinterpreting what you are saying, but it appears to me that you are making some assumptions that just aren’t true. First, you appear to assume that we’re not doing anything. That we don’t contribute to organizations that are attempting to solve the various problems of the world. That for some reason, our loud protests and rowdy arguments restrain us from actual action. Second, it appears you assume we also don’t believe humanism > skepticism. That we don’t understand that skepticism is a tool.

    I can’t speak for everyone here, but I suspect in general we act as well as talk. My career choices have been made in a large part based on whether or not my work contributes to the well-being of other people. My charity contributes are made not for tax purposes, but because I want to do good in the world.

    Am I personally interfering with the flow of arms to Africa, or personally ensuring better working conditions? No, I’m not. Some of the charities to which I contribute may, but I am not. I have other things I concentrate on, like Doctors Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity (just to be specific, and to advocate for both of these good causes).

    Our constant application of skepticism doesn’t restrain us from concurrent action, based on our immediate best understanding. But also, our action doesn’t restrain us from the constant application of skepticism to areas we feel are tractable. We don’t have to stop talking to also act.

    We really are capable of simultaneously acting, and applying skepticism.

  125. says

    yubal:

    btw: How long does that “evaluation phase” typically last?

    It never ends. As soon as you stop evaluating the results of your action, you stop gaining a better understanding of the problem.

  126. says

    yubal:

    We don’t care if the organization is secular or not, it is about the impact they make on the ground what drives us to give them funding.

    How do you know whether the organization is doing good or not? For instance, the Catholic Church does good, but they also intentionally do incredible harm. Would you give to the Catholic Church because they set up clinics in rural areas?

  127. says

    yubal:
    You do realize an organization can do good as well as harm, no? This is the point Pteryxx was making that you misread and did not apologize for. I would not give to the Salvation Army because while money do go to help the homeless, they have homophobic policies. Would you donate to the Catholic Church? They do _some_ good, but their harm is well documented.
    The point is not to specifically donate to secular organizations (though if one chooses to do so of course that is their choice). The point is to donate to an organization that helps those in need, while harming no one.

  128. vaiyt says

    @Konfusius:

    I’m just suggesting that the bridge-building we are hopefully engaging in here

    And herein lies your mistake. We’re not interested in building bridges with asshats. Until they stop being asshats, this rift will remain firmly in place thank you very much.

  129. says

    Konfusius:
    I am not certain how much longer I am willing to extend to you benefit of the doubt. You have had links provided to demonstrate why many of us do not want to build bridges. You have had multiple commenters explain why they do not want to build bridges. Yet you persist in making this asinine statement. It’s as if you do not see the severity of their actions. For the last time, the hyperskeptic/anti-feminist crowd:

    1- supports the continued use of gendered slurs, such cunt, twat, and bitch.
    2- opposes anti-harassment policies at conventions
    3- has engaged in a persistent campaign of online harassment directed at various prominent members of the community
    4- sees no problem with the use of violent rhetoric, threats of sexual assault, and doc dropping
    5- does not seek to be inclusive of women, People Of Color, and trans* individuals (or anyone queer, really)
    6- is resistant to any and all attempts to explain why all of the above is wrong

    THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE I WANT TO BUILD BRIDGES WITH.

    They are assholes.
    I hope you understand better now.

  130. Amphigorey says

    Konfusius:

    You think people should have resolved this in private, before people had the opportunity to take sides? Did you miss the part where Amy Roth talked to Harriet Hall in person and told her that the shirt came off as a direct dig against her and the other Skepchicks? Did you miss the part where Hall totally ignored her and instead chose to wear the shirt for two more days?

    Yeah. I don’t think a “private discussion” would have helped. Since, you know, it demonstrably did not.

  131. says

    Jebus. Now that pitter Rocko2466 has put out a goofy video with singing. It’s not particularly witty, and it doesn’t actually make an argument of any kind.

    That does it. I do believe in god now. He’s really done a fine job of making my enemies ridiculous.

  132. ChasCPeterson says

    a goofy video with singing.

    help me, I watched it.
    That ain’t singing.

    It’s not particularly witty

    A very civil understatement.

    it doesn’t actually make an argument of any kind.

    It seems to suggest that the bloggers of FtB are somehow required to peddle your book, in exchange for your continuing to dictate their politics. I think I got that right.

  133. glodson says

    I think that link was an intelligence test that I failed. I knew the stove was hot. I was told the stove was hot. I was given ample warning the stove was hot. I still touched the stove.

  134. glodson says

    Thank you Tony for 162. I was going to respond about building bridges, but you explained well why I’m actively trying to destroy and burn the bridges.

  135. says

    Just saw the list of speakers at TAM, and while I can’t argue against some of them, I notice that they have people like Russell Blackford, Barbara Drescher, and Sara E. Mayhew among the speakers. These are people actively involved in harassing other people.

    I’ve wanted to go to TAM for years, but last year’s behavior by D. J. Grothe made me decide not to go. This years speaker list have made me decide not to support TAM and JREF in any way or shape. Thankfully, there are other greather conferences (e.g. Skepticon) and organizations (e.g. CFI, even with Ben Radford as a writer on their blog) out there.

  136. Larry Poppins says

    I have quietly been disgusted with JERF since Grothe’s actions last year. Given the who they are giving voice to at TAM this year I see no reason to change my opinion of that organization. I’m on the fence about CFI, but given their sponsorship of Women in Secularism I want to think well of them. If Radford shows up more frequently on their website or on a speakers list for their events I will probably have to rethink my opinion.

  137. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    It is good to see that Rocko2466 is pointing out truth that all other bloggers at FtB are doing PZ’s song and dance.

    And I can see why Rocko2466 had to make the beginning look like found footage of a man on the run. Because it is so obvious that FtB are a bunch of thugs with PZ as the exalted Chairman. (Fuck, this was not funny when William Wallace was doing this.) Oh, and the throwaway line about finding so-and-so’s house. They are the one parsing out the meanings of every thread and tweet.

    Those commenting on TY seem to find it very witty.

  138. Anthony K says

    Having been to TAM in the past, I can safely say you folks are generally all wrong about it.

    See, TAM is not a meeting for skeptics. It is Skepticism. Or God’s symbolic representation of it on Earth, at least.

    See, one can spend all year making up evidenceless conspiracy theories about PZ’s power to control everyone except Rebecca Watson—if he could control her, he’d have no need to become a mangina to win her love—that would make Monckton blush with embarrassment, and then for the low-low price of $450 one can bask in the sublime rationality of James Randi. (Worth it? Of course! Can you drop an extra thou and buy yourself an intimate dinner in the Kaaba with Mecca’s most professionally devout? I think not.)

    The best part of TAM is the sacrifice at the end: a gormless but Pseudoscientific victim is brought in to have Skepticism applied to them in front of all attendees, who, having purified themselves in the rational waters of the Vegas sea over the past four days have become like Popper (even if the most rational argument they’ve made all year is ‘mangina’). Vanquished by Reason, the victim is released to return to their vocation as a psychic or whatever, their role as the ritualised sacrifice in the Passion Play over.

    It’s all very reaffirming.

  139. carlie says

    yubal:
    If the choice is between org. A, which helps 100,000 people get food but requires them to attend a church service to do so, and org. B, which helps 50,000 people get food and attaches no strings, I’ll choose org. B.

    And guess what? If enough other people also choose org. B, soon they will also be able to help 100,000 people get food without having to listen to proselytizing. Your decision-making process seems to boil down to “I’ll support whichever organization already gets the most support”.

  140. Ichthyic says

    We don’t care if the organization is secular or not, it is about the impact they make on the ground what drives us to give them funding.

    so, consequences of your actions have no meaning to you then? it’s just the bottom line?

    have you considered that fundting a faith organization over not faith has consequences?

    wait, why am I even asking. It seems clear that’s exactly what you’re telling us.

    it’s like your proud to be empowering bad behavior.

    …that’s how we ended up with the tea baggers.

  141. Ichthyic says

    … a few weeks back, I had an argument with a facebook acquaintance who was bragging about the money they made investing in Walmart.

    I asked them if they ever considered that their investments make them at least partly responsible for the behavior of the company.

    nope, they had never considered that, and got very defensive at the suggestion.

    You, Yubal, just made the argument that an investment has no repercussions worth examining, so long as your personal bottom line is met.

    so, do YOU invest in Walmart? I hear it has a great return value…

  142. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I do not give a flying fuck if the Salvation Army does “the most good”. My money will go to an organization that does not spend money promoting toxic laws and policies.

  143. chigau (違う) says

    I miss Brownian, but gosh, this Anthony K guy is pretty entertaining too.

    I was going to say almost exactly this.
    So I’ll just QFT.

  144. jackiepaper says

    Yubal, I care very much if a domestic crisis center is run by religionists. Are you unaware of how many women are told to go back to their abusers and suffer in silence for the sake of the make believe sanctity of her marriage? Are you aware of how many women are told by religions to submit to men as dictated by none other than the god of said religion? Seems to me that skepticism could save alot of lives when applied to stuff like that.

    Did you know that unmarried cohabitating straight or gay couples (married or not) are turned away from some religious homeless shelters? In my town a man, woman and their infant were given tents and sent to live in the woods in 100 degree heat. That was the religious shelter’s idea of compassion.

    Do you know how the Salvation Army treats gays and non-Christians?

    You go on and be above it all. Just keep in mind that other people are stuck down in it and your above-it-allness helps to keep them there. That isn’t compassion.

  145. Meister Konfusius says

    Too lazy to go and look up comment numbers – I’ll try to be brief this time, so it should be readable anyway.

    I hoped that I had made it clear that I did not want to argue for compromise with the hyperskeptic crowd, nor for political compromise on women’s rights in general – I explicitly stated that this was not what I wanted to argue for. My argument is about this one particular incident. I did fail to consider the talk that happened directly at TAM, which I should not have. I understand that one failed attempt was enough and the next step was public criticism. Still, there were later efforts to patch things up on a personal level, and it appears that Benson and Watson did not consider it a totally wasted effort – see the email that Watson at least began to write, and Benson’s comment on SBM. Neither were a success, but still: I agree with these efforts and want to support them and similar strategies in the future, nothing more.

    My reasoning is this: Even if it is prone to failure, trying to resolve things that way takes little time and has the potential benefit of avoiding to turn the issue into a fight between two camps of fans and supporters of the public figures involved. I want to emphasize that I don’t say that there shouldn’t be fights about proper conduct and respectful treatment – there absolutely should be, and I fully support the implementation of anti-harassment policies, and avoiding statements that are obviously going to offend or hurt other people in attendance. But the people involved should consider these matters without conflating them with personal sympathies. If the case for them is brought forward without the individual context of this incident, I hope that more support could be gained.

  146. says

    Meister Konfusius:

    How about this? Instead of those that were wronged attempting to patch things up, how about those that assume an intentionally offensive position recognize they are in the wrong, and apologize?

    That would go a lot farther to fix things up than pandering to intentionally offensive people.

  147. says

    @Meister Konfusius 154

    Jesus God.

    I thought about providing a long, thought out response and… no. Can’t do it. Between the rage build-up in my chest and the pressure in my head from my brain threatening to leak out my ears, I just can’t take the physical risk of typing up a response.

    Anyway. You’ve been provided with plenty of links and evidence, and you obviously don’t feel the need to critically examine them. Or, you have, and you still hold the same opinions, proving that you’re not very smart. Either way, it would be a waste.

    (Why yes, I am saying that people who agree with Harriet Hall, Ben, etc. are either ignorant or stupid. Oh, forgive me, I left out those who are just assholes. So sorry.)

    But, hey, thanks for letting members of the intersex, trans*, and queer communities know that you don’t think we should give a damn if our existances are ignored or erased! I’m sure you’re right. Really, why should we expect to be treated like we…exist? How unreasonable can you get!

    Fuck. Off.

  148. says

    @ Kristjan Wager 169

    Well, shit.

    Between Michael Shermer and JREF, I think I’m over the skeptical community, too. And that’s just sad.

    I’ve already been mouring the Michael Shermer situation. “Why People Believe Weird Things” was, I believe, the first skeptical book I read. His youtube videos introduced me to the concept of critical thinking. It’s possible that if I hadn’t seen a clip of Shermer on a history channel program, appriciated his POV so much that I looked him up and realized he wrote books, finally finding WPBWT at the library, I might have been stuck in my relgious mire for a lot longer. So watching him absolutely fail Critical Thinking 101, in this very public meltdown, has been just awful.

    I found James Randi and JREF very soon after. Randi’s “Faith Healers” was part of what led me out of religion (along with Dawkins, Sagan, and Dan Barker). From the moment I heard about TAM, I wanted to go. I’ve either been broke or sick every year when it came around, but it was always my mental Skeptical Mecca. Yes, even with what happened last year, I still wanted to go. While still supporting the people who’ve been fighting to change the environmen at TAM, I guess I’ve been internally rationalizing continuing to support JREF myself.

    Seeing that list of speakers? Yeah. No. I’m out. I will not give them a penny of my money. Maybe someday in the future, if I see real change–not just apologizing, at this point, but people being held accountable for this behavior–maybe I might consider attending TAM or supporting JREF. But I’m not holding out hope. Seems like they have made their choice and are sticking to it until the bitter end. (Which, given the general trend of progress, will probably come sooner than they think, though longer than we’d like.)

    Christ, that’s depressing. I’m gonna have a little sad, now. :(

  149. yubal says

    159 nigelTheBold

    How do you know whether the organization is doing good or not?

    Honestly, we never will know for sure.

    How do you know a secular organization is doing good or not? Because they claim so? Because someone advertised them on a blog?

    I’d say people who run a hands on charity have good motivations for whatever reasons. Might the reasons be right or wrong doesn’t matter too much for the kind of charities we invest money in. If the question is, do you get those 1000 calories today (<- try that for a week, I dare you) or that surgery so you can see another sunrise, I quite frankly give a fuck if the person who provides that for you believes to universe is 6000 years old or is correct on that question.

  150. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    … I quite frankly give a fuck if the person who provides that for you believes to universe is 6000 years old or is correct on that question.

    I give a flying fuck if that person is part of an organization that is try to curtail the rights of people. I give a flying fuck if that person is part of an organization that will end their charity if they have to deal with LGBT people.

    Yes, I am fucking talking about the fucking Salvation Army and the fucking Catholic Charities.

  151. yubal says

    There is a shelter in Uganda where children go to every night to sleep. They leave their villages and walk hours every evening and morning to get there and back home.

    Why?

    Because some crazed out fuck ass send his army out every other night to raid villages and capture children so he can train them as soldiers, abuse them, kill them, use them as sex slaves or just simply for terror.

    That place that offers those children a safe night sleep happens to be a christian mission station. They need to finance their efforts as anyone else has to. Sometimes they send truck out to pick up the children during monsoon season. They also need to bribe the police/military to station some every men every day so the shelter does not turn into a slave pickup place for the rebels.

    And yes, they do have a priest and they do have a church.

    So what? It is the only place those kids can stay.

  152. yubal says

    Janine,

    I see you concerns and understand that they are relevant but please excuse me for choosing my priorities with mu conscious and not yours.

    Thank you.

  153. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I am not affected so I do not give a flying fuck.

    I have your number, yubal.

    And fuck you.

  154. says

    Wow yubal – *you* are the one who waltzed in here and accused people of being nothing but slacktivist keyboard warriors and asserted that skepticism had no place in evaluating charitable endeavours, and when people explain how very very mistaken you are then you decide to get huffy about it?

    Nobody is demanding that you change the way you choose your priorities. They’re just pointing out that the claims you made when disparaging them for not doing as you do? Those claims you made were incorrect, and that you could in many cases donate your time/effort to an equally effective charities who don’t coerce and/or exclude as the price of their help.

  155. yubal says

    See that?

    I am not affected so I do not give a flying fuck.

    That is what is wrong with contemporary society and also the self-declared secular Atheist movement, delivered in one sentence.

  156. says

    Wilfully obtuse or disingenuously misrepresentation, yubal?

    The only thing Janine meant that she didn’t give a flying fuck about was your opinion. She will continue to give more flying fucks than you’ve seen hot dinners about people who genuinely need help.

  157. yubal says

    194 tigtog

    Bollocks.

    Those claims you made were incorrect, and that you could in many cases donate your time/effort to an equally effective charities who don’t coerce and/or exclude as the price of their help.

    You have never been to Liberia or Angola, do you? Which equally efficient secular charity are you talking about? Where are those secular charities that save human life on the ground? There are some in Africa, I know, but they are scarce.

    There are almost none in most parts of the world and when you are in the luxurious situation to chose between various charities that make sure you survive till Monday, you probably do not live in the Kongo.

    Do you get that?

  158. yubal says

    196 tigtog

    My opinion is irrelevant. So is yours.

    What is relevant is that the fact that western people have to have diamond rings for weddings and that behavior finances massacres in Africa.

    Do you get that?

  159. says

    I totally get that you shifted the goalposts away from discussing work on the ground in North America to avoid discussing legitimate objections to funding the Salvation Army/Catholic Church/etc, sure.

  160. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tigtog, I should have been more clear. I was implying that because yubal was not effected, he does not give a flying fuck.

    I am sorry for the confusion.

    And fuck you, yubal.

  161. yubal says

    I never talked about North America. And if you do not like the salvation army strong enough to sleep outside hungry tonight, that is up to you. Balance your desire for shower, food and shelter versus your preferences for how things should be. It is not that someone would chop you in pieces with machetes if you hadn’t a shelter or that some journalist would show up and write a piece of newspaper if your raped, torched body was swimming upside down in a river.

    Oh, yeah, I totally understand the issues in your wealthy privileged north American society and that it is not perfect.

    Still not donating money domestically (mostly).

    You know that your lifestyle, including your privilege of being a douche on the internet and all, bases on the fact that people are dying in other parts of the world?

    Do you get that?

  162. Ichthyic says

    Because they claim so?

    typically because they publish independently verifiable results.

    not hard.

    really.

    My opinion is irrelevant.

    check, but not the problem, as I stated. The problem is your tunnel vision.

    it still is.

  163. Ichthyic says

    I totally understand the issues in your wealthy privileged north American society

    no, you don’t.

    murder is murder, regardless of whether it is committed by someone with a lot of money or not.

  164. Ichthyic says

    You know that your lifestyle, including your privilege of being a douche on the internet and all, bases on the fact that people are dying in other parts of the world?

    do you get that this is a deflection from the problems underlying the assumptions you are making?

    do you get that?

    do you get that YOUR decisions in the short term have much longer term consequences?

    do you get that?

  165. Ichthyic says

    Which equally efficient secular charity are you talking about? Where are those secular charities that save human life on the ground?

    why aren’t you working on inviting some of them?

    what about Doctors Without Borders, for one example?

  166. yubal says

    I hope you will enjoy you breakfast tomorrow,

    and I hope that you keep in mind that a couple of million fellow human beings will not at the same time (or a few hours earlier).

  167. says

    yubal #201
    I never talked about North America.

    Actually yubal, in your very first comment here you referenced working with southern baptists after a tornado, so don’t pretend that it wasn’t natural for readers of a North American blog to respond by sharing their experiences in North America:

    #56 yubal 23 February 2013 at 2:51 am

    I don’t care who you are and what you think when we join to rebuild a community struck by a tornado. For some reason or another there are always Christians showing up to shovel the dirt, build the shelter, cook the food and pump the water. What are you folks doing? Can you align with a southern baptist when it is about to get a child food, shelter and safety? Great, because that is what this is about.

    And this also in #201:

    Oh, yeah, I totally understand the issues in your wealthy privileged north American society and that it is not perfect.

    Actually, I’m Australian. We’re still ridiculously privileged compared to many starving Africans I know, but we also have secular options for many donations that do useful work in Africa. I do choose to donate to Doctors Without Borders and other secular charities who are there on the front line of keeping people alive, and I do it happily knowing that they work alongside religious charities to help people stay alive.

    I have also worked to defend the homes of my neighbours against bushfires, so I do know what it is to get down and dirty.

  168. Ichthyic says

    sanctimonious bullshit masquerading as argument.

    you’re a failure to your own cause, Yubal.

    sad.

  169. Ichthyic says

    For some reason or another there are always Christians showing up

    gee, I wonder why that would be…

    hint… look at where your volunteers are coming from. what is the percentage of the population that is Christian?

    what priviledges are in place to favor same religious charities?

    yeah, this isn’t fucking rocket science, but you seem to be failing to even recognize simple statistics.

    I wonder if you have ever considered the contributions to the PROBLEMS you face these same Christians have made over the last millenia?

  170. says

    Honestly, we never will know for sure.

    How do you know a secular organization is doing good or not? Because they claim so? Because someone advertised them on a blog?

    Egad, what a horrible thought. To the contrary, there are many ways to determine whether a charity is effective. For one thing, research into the most effective methods for improving health care access, maternal mortality, sanitation, or whatever the issue is are really expanding these days. So you can find out what the research says are the best methods and then check to see if your organization is using those methods. There are charity monitoring groups, though determining which of these actually does its job requires work too. You can read up about their finances. Good non-profits publish reports that detail how much of their money went to which activities.

    I’m really baffled by your apparent epistemological nihilism. You can never know for sure, so you’ve just given up trying to figure out which charities do more good and less harm vs. less harm and more good? That sounds… depressing. And a sure recipe for accidentally donating to causes you actually oppose.

    Seriously, what’s wrong with you, yubal?

  171. yubal says

    Actually, I’m Australian. We’re still ridiculously privileged compared to many starving Africans I know, but we also have secular options for many donations that do useful work in Africa.

    OK, In that case you might want to have a look in to the living situation of the native people in your own country, how they got terribly devastated, what theit living situation is right now and why they have such a shockingly high diabetes rate these days. There is useful work to be done in many places. And yes, I chose to focus on the terrible mess my ancestors left in Africa, and a few other things.

  172. says

    @icthyic:

    hint… look at where your volunteers are coming from. what is the percentage of the population that is Christian?

    what priviledges are in place to favor same religious charities?

    Yep, there are plenty of atheists who grit their teeth and keep quiet about their true beliefs in order to volunteer to help their neighbours and strangers in disasters, because if the religious groups who have been unquestioningly given charge of organising aid efforts knew that they weren’t Christian then they wouldn’t accept their assistance.

    Ever wonder how many of those “Christians who always turn out to help” are really Christian, yubal? How can you tell?

  173. says

    Gee yubal, thanks so much for shifting the goalposts yet again and condescending to tell me about stuff in my own country that you assume I don’t already know and that you assume I don’t already donate to the most effective charities I know who are doing work with the indigenous poor.

    You really are a smug self-righteous arse.

  174. yubal says

    @ sally

    Seriously, what’s wrong with you, yubal?

    Maybe I put human life above intellectual masturbation?

    Or maybe I was just born this way?

    Does it actually matter what is wrong with me or you or our opinions while there is yet another village raped and plundered at the Rwanda border?

    I’d say No, it doesn’t, but I notice more and more the lack of willingness in he FTB community to make this a topic. Maybe this will change after the next pope got elected? Well, I don’t think so. Then it will be Bigfoot again or some T-Shirt someone wore on some conference.

    Have you actually tried to honestly read what I was trying to say?

    I go to bed now. Have fun bashing on me and what I say or just come up with more creative ways to assume what I wanted to say despite what I actually said.

    good night.

  175. Ichthyic says

    Maybe I put human life above intellectual masturbation?

    funny, because it seems like most of your responses are just that… sanctimonious wanking without much thought involved.

    Have fun bashing on me

    yes, of course, that’s what disagreement with you is all about.

    Does it actually matter what is wrong with me or you or our opinions while there is yet another village raped and plundered at the Rwanda border?

    well, see it does, because trying to use emotional extortion to make your points IS the problem.

    seriously, fuck you.

  176. says

    OK, In that case you might want to have a look in to the living situation of the native people in your own country, how they got terribly devastated, what theit living situation is right now and why they have such a shockingly high diabetes rate these days.

    Thank you for telling the rest of us what we should do. And thank you for assuming that those of us connected to Australia have no idea of what the situation is for a lot of people there. I mean, it is not like any of us have family members who are directly affected by this or anything.

    Also yubal, there are many secular organizations doing yeoman’s work in Africa. Doctors Without Borders have been mentioned, but there are also organizations like WHO, UNICEF, Red Cross/Cresecent and Save the Children (to mention a few), and many of us live in countries where there are large relief organizations working on behalf of government. All of these organizations do a hell of a lot more good work than any religious organization that I know of. Not necessarily in any given location, but definitely so, on the whole.

  177. says

    Maybe I put human life above intellectual masturbation?

    I appreciate that you think you are not being an ass here, but you are actually being an ass, so your sarcasm falls kinda flat.

    You just said that you have know way of knowing whether you are prioritizing human life or mental masturbation.

    So I don’t know how you can reasonably claim to put one above the other, in light of your claim that “we never will know for sure.”

  178. says

    EEB:

    I’ve already been mouring the Michael Shermer situation. “Why People Believe Weird Things” was, I believe, the first skeptical book I read

    I think I know what you’re getting at here, but remember, just because Shermer said something sexist, and doubled down on it doesn’t alter his book or the arguments therein. You can still enjoy the book, and lament the fact that he’s doubling, tripling, sextupling (??) down on the sexism.
    Despite my feelings on how he handled the criticism of his recent statements, I do plan on reading that book one day.

  179. Anthony K says

    Maybe I put human life above intellectual masturbation?

    If that were true, you wouldn’t have spent all evening writing that load of fucking shit here. I guess all the problems were solved for the night, so…but you just said there are millions who won’t be alive tomorrow.

    And yet you wasted your valuable energy on Pharyngula. You could have done something. And unless you typed all tonight’s comments on a 3G iShovel, it wasn’t digging wells for kids in Kisumu.

    How can you live with yourself?

  180. John Morales says

    yubal @215:

    Have you actually tried to honestly read what I was trying to say?

    Unfortunately for you, it doesn’t take much trying to read what you’re trying to say, and I add that your little insult implies disdain for reality.

    (The available evidence does not indicate that you put human life above intellectual masturbation)

  181. Maureen Brian says

    yubal,

    I invite you to compare two emergency operations. Haiti had an earthquake in 2010 where, along with half the buildings in Port-au-Price, the government collapsed. For many days the well-organised secular and government aid organisations – the ones with the skills, experience and organisational back-up – could not get into the country. Why? Because the damaged airport, without customs and security, was full of persons without knowledge or specific skills who had “come to help”. Some were so helpful that they had arrived without knowledge, without equipment, without even supplies to support themselves. I remember one bible-clutching youth proudly boasting on camera that he had not even brought toilet paper because the Lord would provide!

    A little later, New Zealand had an earthquake. Not such a huge one but bad enough. In that case the government was in a position to say fuck off to anyone who even thought of turning up to see if they could help, making it very, very clear that they would let in only those organisations whose ability to help was known to be greater than stray volunteers and whose credentials had been checked out by the government’s own experts way, way in advance. The leader of the UK search and recovery team which was allowed in said later it was the best organised earthquake he had ever been to – a compliment which NZ deserved.

    It’s all on record so you can compare the figures. One key measure in such situations is to compare how many died in the original catastrophe with how many died in the aftermath from injuries, from lack of clean water, from delayed medical attention. On that, Haiti is a continuing disaster, NZ is doing well.

    As for your heart-wrenching tale of children in Uganda – Joseph Kony and the LRA moved on long ago and the UK arm of Save the Children has been working in the country throughout, since before the Museveni government came in, and working with just such children. If your case was strong you would not have to make things up to support it, would you?

    And don’t, fergawdsake, start teaching this non-grandmother to suck eggs. I know what was happening in Uganda because I was raising funds for it and in touch with people working there and elsewhere. You say you have never heard of such organisations. I found it remarkably easy to google and to confirm that they still spend 89p in every pound on development and relief work – just as they did 20 years ago.

    Very few religious bodies can match the secular ones for cost-effectiveness, even the ones which work up to the international standard rather than down to what is easier for their congregations and passing idiots to swallow.

    Ask yourself. Next time you need emergency help, do you want it provided by people who know what they are doing, even if you never heard of them before?

  182. Drolfe says

    We don’t care if the organization is secular or not, it is about the impact they make on the ground what drives us to give them funding.

    Being secular or not has an impact on the ground. Why deny it? This is all just “Dear Muslima” in another guise.

    No one here denies privilege exists and we have it. We all have it in some way.

  183. says

    Jesus Fucking Water-Walking Christ, yubal. Shift your goalposts much?

    You know who is responsible for much of the suffering in Africa? Christian charities. Who know what kind of charities aren’t responsible for much of the suffering in Africa? Secular ones.

    Check and mate, fucker.

    Listen. You were a condescending asshole claiming we made a lot of noise, but didn’t back that up with action. You did that based on not one fucking shred of evidence. We pointed out time and again that yes, we can make noise and do good at the same fucking time.

    Once that was pointed out, you get all pissed because we don’t yell loudly about the causes you like.

    Well, you know what? Fuck you.

    I was exceedingly fucking polite to you, in spite of knowledge of your past behavior. I tried pointing out that we’re not just a a bunch of lazy, dispassionate assholes. We’re lazy, compassionate assholes that actually do things.

    Just because we don’t directly support aid for your favorite badness in the world doesn’t mean we don’t do good. Yes, I think it’s a good thing you care about that situation. I care about that situation too. I care about the wars (whether Christian v. Muslim or Christian v. Christian) and massacres and poor living conditions.

    But I also know that building safe-houses isn’t going to solve the problem. The problem is far more complex than a small percentage of the children not having a safe place to sleep. (And that’s all safe houses will ever be able to help — a small percentage.)

    So don’t you fucking care about the majority that doesn’t have safe-houses?

    Of course you do.

    And so do we.

    We just happen to have a different understanding on the problem. Myself, I recognize that Christian charities are part of the problem. It’s Christian charities that encourage laws that hand out the death sentence to homosexuals. It’s Christian charities that spread the idea that witches exist and must be burned at the stake. No, it’s not all Christian charities. But even the non-homosexual killing, non-witch-burning Christian groups that proselytize are still spreading Christian beliefs, which are an incubator for these ideas.

    I’m glad you are doing something for matters about which you care deeply. I truly am.

    But seriously. Fuck you and your holier-than-thou goalpost moving ranting about how we don’t do anything, when really all you mean is, we don’t do the things you do.

    Really. Fuck that.

  184. carlie says

    yubal – read Maureen’s statement at 224. Read it three or four times. See if any of it sinks in.

  185. says

    yubal:

    How do you know whether the organization is doing good or not?

    Honestly, we never will know for sure.

    How do you know a secular organization is doing good or not? Because they claim so? Because someone advertised them on a blog?

    Y’know that bit I mentioned that you dismissed out-of-hand, that bit about constant evaluation? It’s not just evaluating the problem. It’s also evaluating the solutions.

    You can tell if a charity is doing good by their reports. Now, they might lie on their reports, and you can’t tell until someone catches them at it. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. So, you can evaluate whether they are doing good by your own metric if their reports match up with your expectations.

    If the organization doesn’t provide enough information to make a determination, you’re probably giving to the wrong charity.

    See, yubal, basically everyfuckingthing you dismissed up above is important.

    And honestly, if you’ve been giving to Christian organizations, they’ve likely been doing more harm than good. How does it feel to know you’ve been contributing the the very problem you’re trying to solve?

  186. chigau (違う) says

    Maybe this will change after the next pope got elected?

    yup
    I, too, await an explanation for this one.

  187. says

    chigau:

    I, too, await an explanation for this one.

    I think yubal means we should contribute to Catholic charities because the next Pope might support condom use (thereby no longer being a primary contributor to the AIDS epidemic in Africa), disavow and present for prosecution priests who rape innocent kids, stop the practice of putting single mothers into effective slavery, and so forth.

    But then, I don’t really see that happening.

    So think think yubal’s doing the same thing xe started doing: telling us to shut up and stop analyzing the world’s problems and do something about them. Specifically, do precisely what xe does, rather than what we already do.

  188. athyco says

    Kristjan, thank you for linking that. It’s so deserved that Amy would have a “lovely conversation” with Harriet Hall because she’s been proving that it takes the person on the other side to be open to rapprochement. She’s been there for quite a while.

    For example, I don’t (want to) know exactly how much time Justin Vacula has spent–on his blog, on podcasts, on YouTube, on the ‘pit–talking about Amy doing “the lowest of the low” with her DMCA, but I do know that he was interviewed by Lee Moore for his 3rd A-News post on his peace process/cease-fire. Justin related his side of that story, hedging about Amy’s motives whenever he had to say something nearing positive for her actions.

    What he never mentions is that on January 19, when he announced the opening of his fund-raising page for WiS2, he’d used a photo of a “This is what feminism looks like” Surlyramic on it–without notifying or attributing Amy. Yes, after all the hullabaloo which he wouldn’t let go, he did exactly the same thing that had precipitated Amy’s “lowest of the low” on which he had blamed his bad decision-making before–this time on a page designed to make money for him.

    How did she respond? She sent a couple of cheery tweets the same day, asking for attribution in accordance with her CC agreement. “Thank you and enjoy” was in the second of them.

    Yet in his February 12 interview with Lee Moore, Justin Vacula told the old “poor pitiful me” story without a it of update on Amy’s releasing photos to CC, without a mention of his use of one of her photos yet again, without a nod in her direction for the civil exchange–even though she had already done three weeks earlier exactly what he’d said he’d want in such a situation. Not a word on this latest interaction did he write, even though he’d already written two blog posts in support of Lee Moore’s “peace process” goals.

    When questioned about this, his response was that he regarded their Jan. 19 exchange as “Done…move on,” and he changed the subject to how important/worthwhile his conversations at WiS2 were bound to be. If he’s got enough awareness to consider this exchange between Amy and Harriet, his daydreams of important/worthwhile conversations should change. We’ll get to see if they do.

  189. Meister Konfusius says

    Quite happy about this development, too. Caught Novella’s post about this on his blog, and though I might not have been very cogent about it, something like this is what I was trying to get at. I sincerely hope nobody would consider this a turn for the worse.
    The amount of vitriol and comdemnations on either site of this argument was completely superflous and nonproductive disagreement that did not lead anywhere, as we can see from this exchange. I can now continue to enjoy Pharyngula, SBM and skepchick in equal measure.

    PS: I don’t expect you to trust me on it, but I never expected the handle to be more than what googlemail would show me when I check my inbox. I’ll see if I can get rid of the “Meister” – a punny nickname isn’t worth getting people angry – but Konfusius is about as humble a nickname as I can think of. I suppose some of you would find it quite fitting.

  190. Anthony K says

    Quite happy about this development, too. Caught Novella’s post about this on his blog, and though I might not have been very cogent about it, something like this is what I was trying to get at. I sincerely hope nobody would consider this a turn for the worse.
    The amount of vitriol and comdemnations on either site of this argument was completely superflous and nonproductive disagreement that did not lead anywhere, as we can see from this exchange.

    For fuck’s fucking sake, shut the fuck up you attention-seeking dolt.

    I can now continue to enjoy Pharyngula, SBM and skepchick in equal measure.

    What a self-centred, narcissistic asshole.

    This isn’t about you.

    Fuck yourself.

  191. Ichthyic says

    The amount of vitriol and comdemnations on either site of this argument was completely superflous

    you’ve convinced me.

    you’re a completely clueless dolt who wants to play Rodney King.

    I won’t even bother to list all the reasons what you just said is so utterly wrong (since the arguments are actually in responses previous), but I WILL ask you to think about why “the argument to moderation” is considered a fallacy.

    think on it some.

  192. chigau (違う) says

    My ‘nym means “differ”.
    But is used in Japanese to mean “wrong”.
    That is waaay humblerer than “Konfusius”.

  193. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @234. Meister Konfusius :

    PS: I don’t expect you to trust me on it, but I never expected the handle to be more than what googlemail would show me when I check my inbox. I’ll see if I can get rid of the “Meister” – a punny nickname isn’t worth getting people angry – but Konfusius is about as humble a nickname as I can think of.

    For Whatever little it might be Worth – I can think of plenty of more humble nicknames / usernames for you – ten possibilities plus some variants :

    1. Humblepie

    2. Humbled McHumble of Humbleton

    3. Could be Wrong / Maybe Mistaken / I-dunno -rly

    4. Merely me / Jus’Plain me / Merelyhuman

    5. Nobody special / Average chump

    6. Ordinary fool / Fool on the Hill (for Beatles fans?)

    7. Unimpressivelyyours / Confused / Dull flavoured Thickshake and slow

    8. H (or many single letters)

    9. Unworthy one / Just dirt / suchlike self-deprecating derogatives (Hacve seen peopel adopt self-mocking and esteem reducing monikers here occassionally -don’t use anything including a gendered slur or directly mocking mental illness or actual intellectual impairment conditions as that gets heavily frowned upon here.)

    10. Fallible human being (used that last one as a descriptor after my main nym myself for awhile.)

    Free free to pick one of those or think of better yourself if you’d like. Sure you’re smart enough to do so and find something more fitting if you so desire.

    Not sure quite what the rules are with nymn changes here – but I do suggest you don’t “morph” or change it without permission as I gather that’s a bannable offence.

    Usernames can be changed and some here have done so over the time I’ve been visiting. (eg. K.G. is now something else Rodney nelson used tobe ‘Tis Himself etc ..)

    Hope that’s helpful.

  194. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. That (#240) wasn’t intended as any kind of personal attack btw; meant as kindly if perhaps clumsy advice for ya. Still reading the other comments here (& elsewhere), just replied to that one first hoping it could be of help.

    Many other commenters here would know far more than me about how to change FTB usernames and what needs to be done first in terms of getting permission etc … Been thinking about changing my own one myself.

  195. vaiyt says

    @Yubal:

    Maybe I put human life above intellectual masturbation?

    As long as the human life in question isn’t gay or non-Christian or part of an unmarried family, I guess…

  196. yubal says

    vaiyt

    That human life notion was actually a general statement of (not only) mine. Humanity is a community of human individuals and they are always entitled to the respect, rights, liberties and opportunities that anyone else enjoys. Just by the fact that they are human. Kant was quite spot on with this notion (not his thinking in general)

    I am about to prepare another comment for the above, but I don’t have the time right now to type it up. Will be following (hopefully) this week, if time allows.

  197. Maureen Brian says

    yubal,

    I hope when you do have time to write up that comment you’ll avoid riling us all by remembering two points.

    * Any rights etc worthy of the name must belong equally to those who live in countries prone to tsunami, earthquake, drought, famine – to name but a few – or they are meaningless waffle.

    * The very concept of rights is a product of Enlightenment thinking and has most often had to be defended against religiously-motivated thinking or absence of thought, as we are currently trying to defend the right not to die needlessly from a spontaneous abortion e.g. miscarriage – stories all about you. Did you notice them?

    Never mind what Kant said then, what is Benedict XVI saying on his penultimate day on the “throne of Peter”?

  198. yubal says

    @ Maureen Brian

    whoever “us” is, I do not want to annoy anyone of you. Trust me on this.

    To your first point I have nothing to say, that is just common sense. To your second point, you are wrong. The concept of rights is an offspring of despotism back in the early days of our species. Enlightenment was the idea that rights might actually be an universal statue independent of creed or whatever.

    and yes, fuck the “throne of Peter”. Why is everyone so obsessed with that???

    @ chigau (違う)

    Well, I am in the privileged situation to enjoy the fact that all my nutritious, medicinal and other needs are met for any foreseeable moment fort the rest of my life. That gives me about 30 years more “to be here”, almost guaranteed, within my projected lifespan given the assumption that no accident or violent harm happens to me.

    So, one, two or three weeks does not really matter when I say “I come back do X”. In contrast to other fellow human beings, I enjoy the safety of being able to plan for my remote future and for the impact my demise will have on my beloved ones.

    I hope that answers your question and I hope you are as lucky as I am.

    (Actually, I want everybody on this planet to be as lucky as I am.)

  199. chigau (違う) says

    yubal
    I meant ‘here’ as in ‘still commenting here’.
    Did you notice that this thread is was dead?

  200. yubal says

    @ vaiyt

    restrictions don’t apply when it comes to human life.

    @ nigelTheBold

    I didn’t mean to say that and I would further appreciate if folks would stop fitting what I say to what they think someone like me could possibly say in their opinion and rather focus on what people actually do say. (I know I have language problems, just hit me up on things if you need clarification and tell me what seems odd to you)

  201. yubal says

    @ nigelTheBold

    You know who is responsible for much of the suffering in Africa? Christian charities.

    Bollocks.

    The suffering of Africa can be traced back to several secular entities and several religious ones.

    Let it be the slave trade enforced and executed by both, the Muslim despots and the (secular) European “traders”, or the arbitrary lines drawn on the continent by European colonizers, mostly french and british, or the ongoing exploitation and arms distribution, again, by perfectly secular entities, cooperations and their lackeys.

    Check and mate, fucker.

    Check mate yourself, fucker.

    Listen.

    Always…

    You were a condescending asshole claiming we made a lot of noise, but didn’t back that up with action.

    Which is the case you do not back up the claim you do act on an level appropriate for the noise you make.

    Prove it. Show me the facts that you (the community) does anything useful. For any given individual within the community, I don’t care. I assume they do whatever they can about whatever they feel necessary and I would never disrespect the effort anyone makes for a better society/future. Pont is, that the community is useless in the shape it is right now, not necessarily thier members, although some exhibit strong signs of uselessness here,

    You did that based on not one fucking shred of evidence. We pointed out time and again that yes, we can make noise and do good at the same fucking time.

    I don’t have to bring up evidence for non-existing (rarely-existing) events. You have to, because their are novel and generally unknown. You make the extraordinary claim, the burden of proof is on you.

    Once that was pointed out, you get all pissed because we don’t yell loudly about the causes you like.

    I am sorry that I am more into the survival/well-being of non-internet connected fellows than the social problems inside the privileged western society, but you got me there. I am not allowed to prescribe you which human problem is relevant enough for you to get active. That is (seriously) up to you. And I hope you do get active (asides the keyboard).

    We’re lazy, compassionate assholes that actually do things.

    You, as a community, actually don’t do shit and you don’t care shit. You (as an individual) might. And I am not here to assess or judge what you do as a person. Point is, the community does not give two farts about that. It is more obsessed with itself (which is actually expected and permissible for an self-interest movement, secular or not) and its most favorite opponents, the churches and the organized religions.

    Research that for yourself. How often was the African Genocide or any other urgent “social topic” around the globe focus of one of the FTB bloggers? Compare that to the number of entries concerning the previous pope and the upcoming entries about the new pope. Yes, the A+/FTB community does not care about relevant issues as long as they can bash the Catholics and their pope. Truism. Do the research. Find the numbers. Go for the comment sections if you like. it won’t change a thing. The (A+/FTB) community actually does not give a rats ass about most of the urgent social issues on this planet. If it would, somebody would be talking about it. Given the severity of the issue you would expect that particular somebody to talk quite a lot about it, wouldn’t you?

    Nah. FTB “activism” is about the easy battles. That social imbalances in those “civilized” countries where people can access the internet. Where people get to have a voice you can recieve via your computer. Gender equality issues etc.No-brainers. Already won battles.

    I give that movement the benefit of being young. The training phase if you will. Let’s see what comes out of that.

    Oh, and yes, Fuck You, too.

    @ Maureen Brian

    On a quick note, there is a difference between a NGO and the government organization that you refereed to. Think media attention and follow up on that thought. See where it takes you. I’d like to give you a more detailed comment on what you said but I am running out of time now. You will get one later.

  202. Ichthyic says

    Yes, the A+/FTB community does not care about relevant issues as long as they can bash the Catholics and their pope. Truism. Do the research. Find the numbers. Go for the comment sections if you like.

    as you said earlier…

    You make the extraordinary claim, the burden of proof is on you.

    you’re so full of yourself, and so full of shit, it’s literally unbearable to even speak to you.

    Already won battles.

    right, so the entire A+ movement towards tackling social justice issues and equality is based on already won battles, has never had to suffer real world hardships or death threats, and doesn’t actually do anything.

    HUZZAH! I’ll tell all the women that there is nothing more to battle for, Yubal has claimed victory!

    run along, clueless git.

  203. Maureen Brian says

    OK, yubal, if you ever have time to tell me what the fuck you are talking about then I’ll reply to you.

    Until then – meh!

  204. Maureen Brian says

    Input of caffeine is slowly waking up the brain. The organisations I recall mentioning are the government of Haiti, the government of NZ, Save the Children – which I know is an an NGO you mansplaining creep: I worked for it for yonks – and these guys – http://www.ert-sar.org.uk/

    They, too, are an NGO. Their accounting comes under charity law, the tax credits on gifts to them come under charity law and so on and so forth – just like Lowland Search and Rescue, the network of Mountain Rescue teams – the closest based just over a mile from where I sit now so that I see them from time to time – and the lifeboats and other services of the RNLI.

    Now, what was your problem, yubal?

  205. John Morales says

    [meta]

    yubal:

    Well, I am in the privileged situation to enjoy the fact that all my nutritious, medicinal and other needs are met for any foreseeable moment fort the rest of my life.

    That is not a claim a sceptic would make.

  206. Ichthyic says

    Now, what was your problem, yubal?

    isn’t it obvious?

    we’re simply not paying enough attention to what Yubal thinks is important.

    so Yubal will tell us, again and again, what is REALLY important, and continue to chide us for not agreeing with Yubal.

    In short, Yubal is nothing more than a troll, though I doubt Yubal sees it that way.

  207. Ichthyic says

    well, at least we now know, unfortunately for Yubal, what he meant by:

    Maybe this will change after the next pope got elected?

    because he obviously has concluded that FtB does nothing more than bash the Pope.

    which, just like his other insights, is so far off the mark one begins to wonder if someone ties his shoes for him in the morning.