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We should feel a sense of shame

For years I’ve been an enthusiastic cheerleader for the atheist movement, and I still am. I think it’s important for humanity to move beyond this childish and destructive crutch of superstition.

But at the same time I find myself constantly dismayed at the difficulty of moving atheism beyond the same old cliques, of making it a human movement rather than a well-off white guys’ movement. And why we can’t find room for good atheists like Melissa McEwan, who left her patriarchal church.

More than a decade later, I found movement atheism online. I was never one to evangelize my lack of god-belief, nor broadcast hatred of religion or its adherents, so that part of the movement was not a draw. But I did fancy the possibility of community around something that has been an axis of marginalization for me in some parts of my life.

I found the same inequality, manifesting in different ways.

There were precious few visible atheist leaders: The most prominent male atheists were very enamored with one another, and not particularly inclined to offer the same support to women, via recommended links and highlighted quotes and inclusion in digital salons about Important Ideas. They wondered aloud where all the female atheists are, and women would pipe up—"Here! Here we are! We’re right here!"—only to then go back to the status quo, with explicit or implicit messaging that women just weren’t working as hard as they are, just aren’t as smart as they are, or else they’d be leaders, too.

There was the exclusion from conferences, the sexist posts, the sexual harassment, the appropriation of religious and irreligious women’s lived experiences to Score Points and the obdurate not listening to those women when they protested.

In fact, female atheists’ protests were greeted much the same way with which my protests had been met in my patriarchal church. Silencing. Demeaning. Threats.

Read the whole thing. But I have to say that the closing paragraph is a real punch in the gut.

I would say I felt exactly as welcome in movement atheism as I did at my Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, but that would be a lie. No one at St. Peter’s ever called me a stupid cunt because I disagreed with them.

We will fail if we can’t change this.

What can I do better?

Comments

  1. chrisv says

    I find it interesting that I have never met a single atheist who would behave like this – or condone such behavior. Not one. Obviously not all atheists are people I am interested in dealing with but I do wonder if our society is being undermined by moles. Illegitimum Non Carborundum applies.

  2. says

    I found the behavior of the “regulars” and “leaders” at my local atheist club so repellant and repugnant that I gave up on them after attending 2 meetings.

    And I’m a guy.

    Yikes.

  3. carlie says

    chrisv – you don’t know all atheists. You don’t know a majority of atheists. And if you’ve never encountered one, you obviously don’t spent much time online. You can’t “no true atheist” out of this one.

    At the risk of fangirling all over the place, I’m glad you’ve highlighted this piece. I know there are people who have issues with Shakesville, but it was one of the first feminist places I found on the internet, one of my first hangouts (before here even, I think) and I think that Melissa and her contributors write wonderfully about many topics.

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

    I was just writing about that in terms of US republicans – it is the outliers who say things like “the US would be better off without women’s suffrage”, but it takes a lot of people doing and saying a lot of things…and NOT doing and NOT saying a lot of things, to create that climate that permits these outliers to think that they can be very high profile and say these things and suffer no criticism.

    This is why it’s so frustrating and difficult for me to step out of a few small corners of atheist-land. [okay, there's also the fact that my relationship to religion is complex and that I claim a cultural tie and get value out of ritual even when I know that there's no evidence these rituals have any magical effects.]

    While I have spoken and can speak and do speak when I see the horribles happen, I’ve got enough going on in my life. I can’t take this on every day. I feel like I barely have time to read here anymore – in fact, there have been multiple times when I didn’t read any content beyond scanning headlines for multiple weeks in a row. I almost never read the Lounge anymore. I just don’t have time.

    So if I come here [or, generally, go anywhere] and read a thread and see that stuff with no response, I’m frustrated. That kind of thing needs a response. It begs for a response. We know for a fact that not responding creates problems over time. Heck, you barely have to extend Skinner at all to get that one, though we do have a lot of research more specifically on point. So if I see statements like that without responses, I **have** to respond. I feel a deep responsibility. Yet it also drives me nuts, b/c I can’t respond to everything on the internet and with all I’ve got going on with kids and school and health and buying a house [yes, it's almost all good stuff, but it's all time-consuming stuff], I don’t want more responsibilities.

    But I come here and if Salty Current hasn’t responded, it’s Janine. If it’s not Janine, It’s Josh. If it’s not Josh, it’s Giliel. If it’s not Giliel, it’s Sally Strange.

    Or Audley.

    Or Brownian.

    Or Rey Fox.

    Or Caine, Great Gods of Glamour, Caine! She responds to so much!

    Here I don’t have the responsibility to tear revoltingly sexist things apart. I get to. I enjoy it when I have the time. I want to when I feel part of a community whether I’m able to enjoy it in that moment or not.

    But it’s not my responsibility.

    I’m sure you could be doing more PZ, but you’re already doing the basics: you’ve founded a community where calling out sexism is better rewarded than promoting it or even staying silent.

    The details of what you might do better at this point probably depend a lot on your individual situation more than anything.

    But I’ve already got a corner of the internet where I’m comfortable with laughing at cis/trans puns, learning about the outsized role of regulatory genes on development, following US politics, and participating in a small way in certain specific fights for change. I think Pharyngula specifically and FtB more generally do a pretty good job of NOT being the kind of community where the majority shrugs at oppression.

    That right there is doing one seriously major thing right.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The details of what you might do better at this point probably depend a lot on your individual situation more than anything.

    And that depends also on those of us posting here. Right now, is a good time to post. The Redhead is napping, I’m awake, and the meal is ready for prep/serving (being simple zapping) when we are ready to eat. Some nights/days, what is Pharyngula? Nothing but a wish.

  6. rodriguez says

    chrisv, to say

    Illegitimum Non Carborundum applies.

    is just putting a smiley face on another silencing tactic: Don’t be so sensitive. In other words, it just promotes the status quo. That’s what Melissa and countless atheist women have been complaining about and working against.

  7. says

    I find it interesting that I have never met a single atheist who would behave like this – or condone such behavior.

    I know “Chris” is an ambiguous name, but I’m guessing you’re a dude. And I’m guessing you’re not particularly attuned to sexism, or aware of how men often present one face to other men and another to women.

    Anyway, thanks for the argument from incredulity.

  8. says

    This sort of thing angers me so much, yet at least half of that anger is directed at myself; for doing nothing. I sometimes forget how privileged I am; how complacent I can be. It becomes easy to fall into the ‘Great white-male’ intellectual role and not realise you’re just being another dickhead. We need to keep highlighting the failures and inadequacies we fall prey to. If we can’t manage that amongst ourselves, how the fuck can we expect it of others?

  9. says

    Also, chrisv, I am assuming you’re male? Maybe you just haven’t NOTICED because it doesn’t affect you. Funny how privilege works, huh?

  10. The Mellow Monkey says

    I find it interesting that I have never met a single atheist who would behave like this – or condone such behavior.

    A few days ago, I shared a comment from Pharyngula that I really liked on Facebook. I forget who said it now, but it ended in this terrific line: “‘Objectifying people has a negative effect and is therefore bad’ isn’t even Feminism 101; it’s more like ‘Remedial Not-Being-a-Sociopath’.”

    One of my male atheist friends responded to it with an argument about how it’s okay to dehumanize a barista as simply a means to an end, therefore reducing women to sex objects was also okay. And besides, objectification is a societal problem, not a problem when an individual does it! And everybody’s doing it anyway! And oh, yeah, rape is a natural male instinct and MRAs aren’t any different from feminists and he just really hates this shit where people are trying to tie atheism to social causes, etc, etc, etc.

    He is no longer a friend, but you know what? He probably doesn’t fling that shit at other men. And he definitely doesn’t bust out with it unless he’s “provoked” by a woman saying something “controversial” and “radical”.

  11. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Crip Dyke, thank you.

    Also, that is part of the reason why I love this place (As annoyed as I can sometimes get here. But that is an other story.) There are so many people here that I do not have to take the load. There are times that I am so busying with work, I can barely make the time. And there are times I am not feeling up to meeting this. And there are times that I think I can enough knowledge to speak on the subject.

    Also, frankly, I am not that out going. I do not think I could handle well the abuses that Rebecca Watson, Ophelia Benson, Surly Amy and many other face on a daily bases. I could have signed up and and counter all of the lie and distorted narrative that the Slymies put up at Michal Nugent’s blog last week but I do not handle that well. Instead, I try to be supportive of them.

    I will stop now because I am afraid I am sitting here, bemoaning my shortcomings.(I will never be as bold as Emma Goldman!) But I am grateful for the efforts that so many give. It allows me to be part of it.

  12. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @ ChrisV–If you’ve not experienced something, maybe the best course of action is to shut up and listen to those that have, hmmm?

    @ All–I grew up in an ultra-fundamentalist church where feminism was a horrible, dirty word used for women who were out to destroy the family unit, have sex all over the place, and/or hated men. It took me longer to reject that ideology than it took me to leave religion. It was really thanks to people like Melissa McEwan that it happened at all, so I’m glad to see her get some love.

    I felt like Melissa felt when I “discovered” the misogyny in atheism/skepticism: shocked, embarrassed, and really disappointed. SO DISAPPOINTED. I guess I naively assumed that skepticism would extend to patriarchal attitudes, especially since the oppression of women by religions is one of the favorite whipping boys of many atheists and skeptics. It was so disappointing to see that the rights of women were merely a rhetorical device used by them, that my experiences were appropriated to score points, and that most of those ideals were merely lip service. Saying you want equality without doing anything doesn’t create equality.

    As Melissa says in another post,

    Listen, if your revolution doesn’t implicitly and explicitly include a rejection of misogyny and other intersectional marginalizations, then you’re not staging a revolution: You’re staging a change in management.

    If you can’t even comprehend there’s a problem, you are the problem. If you can’t answer the question “How do you explain the continuing gender disparity?” without making unsupported biologically reductionist or evo psych claims, then you are the problem. If you want to sit by and do nothing while your sisters (and we are all your sisters–we are all connected) take the brunt of the abuse and do the brunt of the work, then you are the problem. If you’re not willing to tear down the patriarchy, then you are the problem.

    That’s why A+ is so important. I didn’t spend all those years in mind-numbing fear, and terrified realization, and crying and grappling with my conscience and slowly losing my faith and being rejected by my family and losing my friends and finally FINALLY figuring it all out just to promote a change in management. I WILL TEAR THIS MOTHERFUCKER DOWN. My atheism will be transformative, or it means nothing.

    @ PZ–as far as what you can do better–I think you’re doing it. You’re providing a platform for pushback. You’re supporting A+. You’re calling out sexism when you see it. I think you’re doing just fine.

  13. echidna says

    Melissa:

    No one at St. Peter’s ever called me a stupid cunt because I disagreed with them.

    PZ:

    What can I do better?

    I think we, as a Pharyngula community, could use a rethink about our stance on tone trolling.

    I understand that Melissa has used a particularly sexist slur as an example, one that would not be tolerated here. Having been around as long as most, I am aware of the long history of Pharyngula, including the idea that the very idea of profanity is something imposed generally for religious and controlling purposes, and we don’t want that restriction on our speech.

    That said, there are times where invectives are hurled at people, and although we don’t condone sexist and ablist invectives, I would like to see that extended to demeaning invectives of all sorts directed at people rather than arguments.

  14. willradik says

    I’d suggest maybe trying to set a slightly less bellicose example? Please don’t get me wrong. I love reading it, but sometimes you go over the line, IMHO.

    I think in general we need to try to be more constructive with each other in this movement. We’re supposed to be good at opening a dialogue with others who don’t share our beliefs or practices and then we’re all, “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!” with each other. And not taking sides on any internal issue or having a middle ground opinion is apparently not allowed anymore.

    That quote is very sad. It’s a shame Melissa was made to feel that way.

  15. jackiepaper says

    I am always going to be “my way or the highway” about my humanity. That’s not an extreme pov. Don’t ask me to be super nice and patient to people who view it as such. That is incredibly rude.

  16. echidna says

    willradik:

    I’d suggest maybe trying to set a slightly less bellicose example? Please don’t get me wrong. I love reading it, but sometimes you go over the line, IMHO.
    Example? Attempts to change the status quo will always be over somebody’s line.

  17. Eristae says

    @willradik

    I don’t know how there can be a middle ground on something like this. “Don’t call me a cunt. Don’t touch me without permission. Don’t act like saying I was harassed is the same as saying I saw a UFO. Don’t insist that I have no right to deal with minority issues. Don’t infringe upon my bodily integrity. Don’t tolerate people bullying me.”

    How do we compromise on those things?

  18. willradik says

    jackiepaper: I won’t ask you. I wasn’t asking you. I wasn’t suggesting anything to you. I was answering PZ’s question.

    echidna: I’m talking about my line, though. And it’s a line set by my opinion, as plainly stated above. Example? Eh. I don’t know. I didn’t like it when he crapped all over Novella’s thousand lights. I liked the thousand lights, okay?

  19. Anthony K says

    That said, there are times where invectives are hurled at people, and although we don’t condone sexist and ablist invectives, I would like to see that extended to demeaning invectives of all sorts directed at people rather than arguments.

    I don’t think echidna’s wrong, but Jesus Christ, I just read that shit by Dawkins Susan linked to at Shakesville.

  20. echidna says

    I am always going to be “my way or the highway” about my humanity. That’s not an extreme pov. Don’t ask me to be super nice and patient to people who view it as such. That is incredibly rude.

    Then I haven’t made myself clear. Nothing wrong with ripping an argument to shreds, and I would never dream that you pull any punches about your humanity. I would never ask you to modify your stance to accommodate others.

    You don’t need to be patient, or nice. It’s just about keeping the fire where it belongs: on the argument and the supporting perspective.

  21. willradik says

    Eristae that’s a good point. I’m not suggesting there’s a middle ground to “Don’t call me a cunt.” Or “Don’t touch me without permission.” The rest of the things you mentioned I think are a lot more complicated but let me give this example:

    I think Dawkins was wrong in what he said about the elevator thing. I think he should apologize. The fact that he hasn’t doesn’t make me want to condemn him forever, discount him as a “shitlord” and forget all the good things he’s done. But I still think he should apologize and I wish he would.

    A lot of people will and have taken issue with me for that stance.

  22. jackiepaper says

    #22 Oh dear me, I am so exceedingly sorry to have spoken out of turn. Do go on. I’ll sit in silent attention, hanging on your every word.

    Oh…wait..no I won’t.

    Fuck off you repellent toad. This is not a private conversation.

    Seriously, was that your attempt at opening a more constructive dialogue?

  23. echidna says

    but Jesus Christ, I just read that shit by Dawkins Susan linked to at Shakesville.

    I can’t find it. What have I missed?

  24. jackiepaper says

    Don’t act like saying I was harassed is the same as saying I saw a UFO. Don’t insist that I have no right to deal with minority issues. Don’t infringe upon my bodily integrity. Don’t tolerate people bullying me.

    How the fuck are those things complicated?

  25. Eristae says

    The rest of the things you mentioned I think are a lot more complicated

    *pauses*
    *rereads her last three examples . . . several times*
    No, I can’t say that I think they are “a lot more complicated.” In fact, I think they’re all pretty simple. But our disparate responses to these situations highlights some of what is going on.

    I think Dawkins was wrong in what he said about the elevator thing. I think he should apologize. The fact that he hasn’t doesn’t make me want to condemn him forever, discount him as a “shitlord” and forget all the good things he’s done. But I still think he should apologize and I wish he would.

    If it was just the elevator thing, I think most people would have forgotten/forgiven/moved on/etc. But it’s not just the elevator thing.

  26. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    The link is at #15.

    Yeah, Dawkins is putting his foot in his mouth again.

  27. willradik says

    Eristae You and I disagree. In my opinion, they are complicated. They’re hypothetical situations lacking context. Give me some specific examples if you want me to weigh in on something and I’ll be happy to.

  28. jackiepaper says

    The fact that he hasn’t doesn’t make me want to condemn him forever

    Who exactly has condemned him forever?

    Of course you don;t want to sweat such a small thing like Dawkin’s continued sexism. After all, he’s such a great man and he’s done sooo much good and it isn’t like his sexist bs hurts you.
    I mean, we’re only women, right? Our bodily autonomy is “complicated”. Our rights should be debated, leaving plenty of room for disagreement about whether or not we’re fully human.

    *eyeroll*

  29. willradik says

    And all I can say about the Shakesville link is that it does look like Dawkins is digging himself a nice hole there.

  30. jackiepaper says

    “They’re hypothetical situations lacking context.”

    Oh FFS.

    Could you be more transparent?

  31. willradik says

    jackiepaper, if I didn’t want to sweat it, I wouldn’t be talking to you about it. The rest of what you said there looks like a giant straw man and I’ll just let that go.

  32. golkarian says

    I’m just putting this out there. But do you think stridency has something to do with it? The focus has been on effectiveness in terms of convincing people to be atheists (especially if you read Coyne’s website), which it certainly is. But have we been ignoring its other defects? Could we be creating a negative environment by promoting it?

  33. jackiepaper says

    Show me the strawman. Tell me exactly why you think those things are complicated. Tell me exactly what “middle ground” you are referring to.

    You said you cared about Dawkin’s reputation, not about sexism and it’s impact. You said that believing a woman who says she was sexually harassed might be as unbelievable and someone telling you they saw a UFO under certain circumstances. Don’t paint yourself as my ally. You clearly are not.

  34. mythbri says

    As loathe as I am to tempt yet another rehash of “the elevator thing”, I have to say that Dawkins’ response to it was exactly what McEwan was talking about.

    Dawkins used the lived experience of one sub-set of women to dismiss the lived experience of another woman.

    He does this a lot, and it’s incredibly insulting.

    Co-opting the problems of groups you don’t belong to, without otherwise offering any support for different problems of that same group is Scoring Points against religion at the expense of those people you’ve pretended to care about. It’s saying “I’ve decided that this much equality is acceptable. Anything above that is not a real problem.”

    Dawkins is a Point-Scorer.

  35. willradik says

    Straw man: “I mean, we’re only women, right? Our bodily autonomy is “complicated”. Our rights should be debated, leaving plenty of room for disagreement about whether or not we’re fully human.”

    I never suggested any of that. Nor would I. I don’t feel women’s rights or bodily autonomy or humanity are “up for debate”.

    You’re being very rude and making a lot of assumptions. You’re also illustrating exactly the kind of attitude I’m talking about.

  36. jackiepaper says

    Answer the question. Why context makes a claim of harassment as unbelievable as a UFO sighting? What situation cancels out bodily integrity? In what context are minority issues taboo? In what context should bullying be tolerated?

  37. Eristae says

    @willradik

    I can’t think of examples where they would be okay, so you can pick pretty much whatever example you’d like.*

    *But please, for the love of the celestial teapot, don’t pick something like, “Well, maybe you really did see a UFO.”

  38. echidna says

    Ah, thanks for pointing out the link. I can see where Dawkins is coming from: it’s along the lines of Peter Singers emphasis on being consistent in your philosophy, and paying attention to the consistency of where you draw lines, and addressing human exceptionalism by putting people in the mix with animals rather than elevating ourselves to be considered totally separately from our more distant relatives.

    Except that he’s totally fucked it up, because instead of pointing out the contradictions regarding where the lines are drawn in any of the individual arguments, he is just speaking from his privileged male viewpoint, and inadvertently (giving him the benefit of the doubt) making direct parallels between women and pigs.

  39. jackiepaper says

    So what “middle ground” are you talking about?

    I’m illustrating the attitude of a woman who has seen enough comments like your to know the subtext.
    What middle ground? What complications?

  40. jackiepaper says

    And yeah, you have suggested exactly that. If you think those situations are “complicated” and in some context OK. Yes, you did exactly that.

  41. willradik says

    Eristae. Okay. You know what. You’re right. Those aren’t issues that are too complex without context. I wouldn’t approve of any of them in any situation.

  42. echidna says

    I’m illustrating the attitude of a woman who has seen enough comments like your to know the subtext.

    QFT

  43. jackiepaper says

    And tell us why Dawkin’s reputations should restored, despite his sexism. What has he done that is so great that his sexism should be overlooked?
    He hasn’t just not issued an apology. He’s continued to disregard women and their rights.

  44. willradik says

    And I love that teapot, too, but the only reason I know about the damn teapot is because I read about it in a book by Richard Dawkins.

  45. says

    OK, I now need to add one more item to Eristae’s list.

    Don’t try to invent stupid hypotheticals to words-lawyer your way out of having to agree to plain decent human treatment. YES, you can touch me without my consent if I am unconscious and the building is on fire. That’s not what we’re talking about and you know it.

  46. Matt G says

    It seems to me that this misogyny comes fom the libertarian/Republican side of atheism, not the liberal side.

  47. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @susan #15,

    After reading the article and the tweets by Dawkins (RD), I’m not as quick to condemn Dawkins as all of the people in the comments there. To me, RD’s argument seems either not fully fleshed out (because it is in tweets) or misunderstood by the author of the article. It certainly seems silly to attack someone based on a handful of tweets and assume you know the whole argument on an issue as complicated as abortion. I found many of the comments on that article to be quite crude and vile against RD and certainly no better than the misogynists who soil the comments here when discussing feminist issues. If those are the types of folk PZ is suggesting we court, I’d have to disagree.

    That said, getting to the PZ blog above, I agree with PZ’s sentiment and am disappointed about Ms. McEwan’s treatment. I am often surprised at the lack of civility in the comments (which speaks to the situation in the community at large). You would think people who are smart enough to be objective about religion could also do so about something like feminism and the treatment of women.

  48. jackiepaper says

    #51, So you have a hero. Bully for you. So what? He did something good for you so now he’s allowed to do something bad to others and still be a hero?

  49. willradik says

    Alethea, I don’t think I did put forth any actual examples of situations in which those things would be okay. And once she challenged me to think of a situation in which they would be, I couldn’t. Hence I think she’s right. Plus, the “no touching without consent” was among my initial two as not okay ever, I think.

  50. Anthony K says

    I’m just putting this out there. But do you think stridency has something to do with it? The focus has been on effectiveness in terms of convincing people to be atheists (especially if you read Coyne’s website), which it certainly is. But have we been ignoring its other defects? Could we be creating a negative environment by promoting it?

    You’re a little vague there, so I won’t say we’re necessarily in agreement, but I have been thinking about how much my particular ‘stridency’–and I’m not mock-quoting you here; whatever ‘strident’ is, I certainly am it–has been contributing positively or negatively to the environment.

  51. Eristae says

    Eristae. Okay. You know what. You’re right. Those aren’t issues that are too complex without context. I wouldn’t approve of any of them in any situation.

    Yay! [insert happy face]

    And I love that teapot, too, but the only reason I know about the damn teapot is because I read about it in a book by Richard Dawkins.

    I know about it because I read Russel’s book. Mwahahahah!

    But in all seriousness, I know how it can be incredibly stressful when one of your heroes messes up pretty spectacularly. I know it was hard for me when Laurence Krauss decided to defend a man who swore in court that he had raped underage girls (plea bargain). It’s still hard on me, actually. But we do have to face and struggle with the fact that the same people who can make massive contributions to humanity’s well being can also deal terrible blows to the same well being.

  52. willradik says

    jackiepaper You apparently want me to be your boogie man, but I’m not and I’m not going to be. I never said that Dawkins can do and say whatever he wants. I never implied it. It is true about the teapot, though.

  53. says

    PZ, I’m gonna echo susan @ #15. I think it’s time you had that conversation you promised to have with Dawkins a while back. I thought Dear Muslima was tone-deaf, but Dawkins just went all-out misogynistic tool this time.

    I got his autograph recently. He gave a talk in Miami on March 7 (2013) called “The Science of Beauty and the Beauty of Science”. It was essentially all about sexual selection and sexual dimorphism in teh animal kingdom. Afterwards, he signed my copies of God Delusion and Greatest Show.

    I kind of hate myself for even going right now. In my defense, it was a free talk… I didn’t have to spend any money… but still… I could have spent my time with less misogynistic jack-asses…

  54. kate_waters says

    @MattG #53:

    It comes from all “sides”. Sexism is ubiquitous. It might be hard to see it, if you’re a man.

    (This is not to say that you are willfully ignoring it or that you condone that type of thinking/behaviour. It may just be that you don’t see it because it’s been normalized by society and is also not directed at you.)

  55. Eristae says

    Grr, I just realized that my last statement was ambigious.

    Let’s try again: I know it was hard for me when Laurence Krauss decided to defend Jeffrey Epstein when Epstein swore in court that Epstein had raped underage girls (plea bargain).

    Too many “he”s

  56. Suido says

    @Matt G, #53

    It also comes from clueless dudes who read one book and thought they became super-rationalist paragons of atheism, but only managed to become paragons of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    See this thread, for example.

  57. jackiepaper says

    #55 Dawkins suggested that there are situations in which my choice should be removed and my pain ignored. He said there are reasons that it might be OK to have my body used against my will. He said forced birth might just be OK under certain circumstances.

    But being the least bit rude to him is just as bad as the misogynists who come here and tell women how vile/ugly/slutty/irrational/dishonest/weak they are by way of merely being a woman?

    Really?
    I wish I were surprised by the lack of civility in your comment, but I’m anything but.

  58. echidna says

    Anthony K:

    but I have been thinking about how much my particular ‘stridency’–and I’m not mock-quoting you here; whatever ‘strident’ is, I certainly am it–has been contributing positively or negatively to the environment.

    Being forthright, or strident, is a two-edged sword – it’s the power, and price, of ignoring diplomacy.
    You can’t have the power of being able to fearlessly demolish dominant ideas without breaking social conventions.

  59. Anthony K says

    Except that he’s totally fucked it up, because instead of pointing out the contradictions regarding where the lines are drawn in any of the individual arguments, he is just speaking from his privileged male viewpoint, and inadvertently (giving him the benefit of the doubt) making direct parallels between women and pigs.

    …and decided that his was the ‘consequentialist’ position and his interlocutors were taking up the ‘absolutist’ position (incorrectly, as Ana points out), and so on, and so on.

    It’s like the Seth MacFarlane performance at the Oscars. If you step in to ‘help out’ your allies and end up in an argument with them, rather than their attackers, you done fucked up, and it’s time to shut the fuck up.

    willradik, you’re nearing that horizon in this thread.

  60. mythbri says

    It’s comforting to believe that the sexism and misogyny and racism and homo/trans*phobia and other prejudices only come from the Libertarian/Republican segment of the atheist community.

    But it’s not true. Don’t let that be comfortable for you to believe.

    It comes from people who are “Pro-choice, BUT”.

    It comes from people who think that being sex-positive means that they can sexually harass or even assault.

    It comes from people who think that atheism is “more of a guy thing” or “more of a white thing” or “more of a cis thing”.

    It comes from people who want to believe that we live in a post “ist” country/continent/region/world.

    It’s not true. Don’t be comfortable believing that. It comes from everywhere. Some of them are just more honest about it.

  61. willradik says

    Anthony. I don’t think so. I was just trying to have an honest conversation. I think that “considering the pain” stuff in the link is absurd. No one should be able to deny a woman the right to control her own body, and if you’ll read up, I started by saying two things on Eristae’s list were absolutes and then agreed that the rest were, too. I don’t have a particular agenda or a need to always be right.

  62. echidna says

    Anthony K,

    and so on, and so on.

    Yeah. No arguments from me. I don’t think he has the slightest idea that 1) he is not a woman, and so the issue of bodily autonomy for women is only indirect for him and 2) he seems not to possess sufficient empathy to speak sensibly on this topic.

  63. says

    I am so glad you posted about this, PZ. I read Melissa’s post today and thought it was excellent. She is a terrific writer – succinct, often very funny and wow can she express things I am thinking so well. I read Shakesville a couple of times each week, but I think this was the first time I’ve read a post where MM openly identified as atheist. It only makes me respect her more.
    After Pharyngula, Shakesville was the other blog which helped me gather the courage to come out as an atheist and to express myself as a feminist. I don’t always feel comfortable with everything I read there, but I greatly appreciate Melissa McEwan’s contribution to feminism (and now atheism for sure!). (and really – who is ever 100% comfortable with everything they read anywhere? Comfort is highly overrated anyway! Get too comfy: never learn anything!)

  64. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    On Richard Dawkins:

    In some ways, I suppose it’s why I am glad that even if it was the RD forums that really got me thinking about my atheism, that Hitchens was my horseman of choice. I never needed to defend him from criticism because he was my hero. I knew Hitchens was an ass, had horrible bigoted opinions, and cheerled an awful war. Finding out he had flaws was like finding out water is wet.

    And in general, that has been my experience in life. There are nearly no authors, scientists, philosophers, historical figures, etc. with whom I feel absolute agreement(Greta Christina comes damn close though). My favourite author was an apologist for fascist regimes! I don’t feel the need to excuse them, because it isn’t excusable. That’s what’s great about being an atheist, if a person or work is problematic, I don’t need to apologetics my way out. I can call them out instead!

    Yet I am terribly disappointed in Dawkins though. I mean from a consequentialist point of view, it strikes me that organ/tissue donation(hell, vaccination) is the far more important violation of bodily autonomy if you want to be all abstract utilitarian calculator about it. They would save far more lives and cause far less suffering than any abortion. And yet, when discussing his hypotheticals, he never brings them up(nor does anyone just philosophizing on abortion in this context.) I’d say it’s odd, but it’s pretty damned clear that it’s just as Stephanie Zvan says, sexists count the unborn fetus as being worth more than a woman, or just don’t even consider her a person of consequence at all.

  65. Anthony K says

    Being forthright, or strident, is a two-edged sword – it’s the power, and price, of ignoring diplomacy.
    You can’t have the power of being able to fearlessly demolish dominant ideas without breaking social conventions.

    It’s more than that. It’s how I, personally, react to the effect of myself being strident, in the way that I am. Do I, and if so, in what ways might I hinder my ability to self-reflect, when I’m on the attack, or defence? How prone am I to Dunning-Kruger? How prone am I to falling into the pitfalls Dawkins seems to be running headlong into?

    I’m just doing some self-adjustment thinking on this. I’m glad to be able to offer support in the way Crip Dyke wrote about, but it’s exhausting*. And I’ve been spending less time here because I’ve been trying to do my best to support others, like Ophelia Benson, who are constantly being ground down, and don’t seem to have as much support as there is here.

    *And I’m not even a target. Not really. I cannot fathom having to deal with this shit being thrust at me on a constant basis as it is at the women and transfolk here.

  66. Eristae says

    @willradik
    I can’t remember the last time I actually saw someone change their mind over the internet, so whee yay, for real.

    @zhuge
    Wah, don’t even get me started! We don’t even force organ donations on dead people. We could save more lives by mandating that corpses lose their bodily integrity* along with having lost the person who once resided in said body, but nooooo, we can’t have that, because a person’s body is sacred once there isn’t a person inside of it anymore!

    If a woman’s alive, we talk about taking away her bodily integrity for the sake of a fetus. If she’s dead, no one will violate her corpse’s bodily integrity* even if multiple lives can be saved.

    What-the-hell?!

    [insert rage]

    *Bodily integrity doesn’t really apply to inanimate objects . . .

  67. willradik says

    Eristae. I’m usually right! It just happens that in this case you were. Thanks for making your point well and civilly. I don’t think it would have come across otherwise.

  68. jackiepaper says

    Anthony, I think he was past that horizon here:

    And not taking sides on any internal issue or having a middle ground opinion is apparently not allowed anymore.

    Will still hasn’t fleshed out precisely what was meant here, but I think we can all guess.

    Then xe followed up with: Being sexist doesn’t make you a shitlord. You shouldn’t be condemned for being sexist or whatever xir point was. etc. All I got out of it was that people must remember that Dawkins wrote some good books, so… ?

    Then there was the grand finale that smacks of, “Y U SO IRRATIONAL?”

    Accusing me of wanting to make xir my own personal bogeyman. Because this is about me being mean and childishly irrational.

    This was a beaut too.

    jackiepaper: I won’t ask you. I wasn’t asking you. I wasn’t suggesting anything to you. I was answering PZ’s question.

    What a perfectly civil way to tell me to be silent when people discuss my rights and how to talk about them.

    But Will’s a real ally to feminists.

  69. Eristae says

    @willradik

    I feel kind of bad because the last time I changed my mind over the internet, it was a direct result of a conversation with someone who was wildly uncivil to me. I never actually told them they changed my mind, either, and I doubt I could find the place the conversation took place even if I wanted to. I don’t know that I would have changed my mind if they’d been civil; I probably would have gone with the “we’ll agree to disagree” approach.

    It’s funny what tactics work with different people in different situations.

  70. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    The more I think about it the more vaccination bothers me. We talk about bringing the law down on people who have abortions, putting doctors and women into jail. And yet communicable and preventable diseases are far more dangerous to people than abortion(if that makes sense), the risks of vaccines are minimal compared to pregnancy, etc. And yet mandating vaccination at the pain of jail would be considered wrong and intrusive. It’s almost as if anti-choice “philosophy” was just about punishing women or controlling them.

  71. says

    Dawkins used the lived experience of one sub-set of women to dismiss the lived experience of another woman.

    He does this a lot, and it’s incredibly insulting.

    Co-opting the problems of groups you don’t belong to, without otherwise offering any support for different problems of that same group is Scoring Points against religion at the expense of those people you’ve pretended to care about. It’s saying “I’ve decided that this much equality is acceptable. Anything above that is not a real problem.”

    Dawkins is a Point-Scorer.

    QFT, and in the process, we see how easily the woman whose decision it should be has completely disappeared from the scene. I kept picturing this hypothetical free-floating human fetus floating in a void and a hypothetical fully-grown pig also floating in empty space, and then RD and some other Wise Men standing around trying to figure out what to do about the two objects and how much their lives are worth in abstract moral terms. Very weird and creepy. Even the fundamentalists at least acknowledge that there’s a woman involved, if only for the purpose of shaming her. Dawkins just disappears the mother because she’s irrelevant to the inane point he’s trying to make.

    The Storify summary of the conversation by znikki linked from the Shakesville post is also well worth reading. Here you can see how someone who’s a professional in the relevant field who happens to know a bunch of peer-reviewed science about fetuses definitely not feeling pain off the top of her head, who tweets the info and links to RD, and he doesn’t thank her for adding some valuable data to the discussion?

    The really wacky part is when people call him out publicly for not acknowledging znikki and other women, and he doesn’t bend over backwards to treat them fairly on Twitter in order to at least try to pretend not to be biased. Dawkins really has a very dry, academic view of the world, in the worst sort of “ivory tower” sense. Even when I agree with him on some point, he often seems to express himself with the sort of condescending sneer that I think makes him a fairly poor ambassador for atheism among the general public. He’s like Alan Rickman without the self-awareness of the role that he’s playing.

  72. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    The “we” here, by the way, definitely doesn’t refer to the commenters here, but society at large!

  73. Anthony K says

    I know, I read that jackiepaper–I was hoping to head hir off at the pass,but xe’s bound and determined to dig, on this thread of course. And nothing changes.

    I’m sorry.

  74. jackiepaper says

    Eristae,
    I remember disagreeing with atheists online when I was still New Agey and woo and thinking, “These assholes have some good points.”
    And they did.
    Different strokes, I guess.

  75. jackiepaper says

    Anthony, don’t be. You’re someone I very much enjoy reading. Please, continue being fabulous.

    Zhuge #80,
    Yeah….almost.

  76. willradik says

    I’m sorry to say it, jackiepaper, but I think people like you are a big part of the problem with divisiveness we’re experiencing in this movement right now. And when I say people like you, I don’t mean women. (Accusations of sexism won’t work as a shield against everything.)

  77. says

    I just want to note that willradik admitted xie was wrong at #48… in case anyone missed it.

    But still… you were digging that hole pretty deep for a while there, will. Good on you for endeavoring to climb out… but at the same time, don’t expect any rope to help you out. And I say that from experience… I dug that very same hole for many years… and I’m still climbing out.

  78. willradik says

    Nate, I think some people weren’t paying attention or don’t believe it. But the person they’re fighting with isn’t me but some kind of silly preconception they have of me.

  79. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    I’m sorry to say it, jackiepaper, but I think people like you are a big part of the problem with divisiveness we’re experiencing in this movement right now. And when I say people like you, I don’t mean women. (Accusations of sexism won’t work as a shield against everything.)

    Hey, that’s fucking way over the line. Motherfuckers are using slurs, mounting campaigns of harassment, photoshoping pictures of prominent skeptics/atheists into lewd acts, spreading lies and being all around awful, and the person responsible for the “divisiveness” is the one who isn’t sufficiently nice to you. Fuck you.

  80. willradik says

    I am not those motherfuckers. I think they’re disgusting. Everything is not so simple. But okay. Fuck me. Why not.

  81. Anthony K says

    Willradik, I tossed you a line, but you’re hellbent on ignoring it.

    So I’m going to be fucking blunt:

    In a thread about how women feel excluded by the movement, whining that you’re the real victim makes you a fucking asshole, not an ally.

    On this thread, on this topic, now is the time to SHUT YOUR FUCKING PIE-HOLE.

    This exact fucking pattern plays out on every fucking thread. You’re adding nothing. So shut up.

    And PZ, maybe you can do this: monitor these threads a little better, so that when some fuck pops in throwing out the same old goddamn fucking shit, smack their fucking asses so we don’t have to play 500 comments every time.

  82. willradik says

    And I clearly said, “people like you are a part” not “you’re the person.” So double fuck you back! YEAH!

  83. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Now Will, this is the big question: Knowing that those people are exist and disgusting, who is to blame for the “divisivness” of the movement?

    The people who aren’t sufficiently nice to you?

    The disgusting bigots?

    Your call.

  84. says

    I’m sorry to say it, jackiepaper, but I think people like you are a big part of the problem with divisiveness we’re experiencing in this movement right now. And when I say people like you, I don’t mean women. (Accusations of sexism won’t work as a shield against everything.)

    Fuck off, pig.

  85. Anthony K says

    But okay. Fuck me. Why not.

    You know who this thread isn’t about? You.

    So you learned something from the conversation. Awesome. The non-fuckhead response is to not offer advice on how you only learned because you were treated so civilly, but to say ‘Thank you.’

    It’s not hard to understand, especially for a guy who’s almost never wrong.

  86. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    “And I clearly said, “people like you are a part” not “you’re the person.” So double fuck you back! YEAH!”

    Your intellectual ability dazzles.

    What responsibility do people who aren’t sufficently nice to you have to do with the divisivness of the movement? There are a lot of issues on which people disagree, and yet we seem to be able to do so civilly. Hate speech laws, prostitution, the role of government in seperation of Church and State(French Laicite’ or American Secularism). And yet these don’t “divide” the movement. What is the driving force causing people to be divided: The people making good faith arguments, perhaps sometimes uncivilly, arguing for the rights of women and minorities, or the people who use slurs, make crude photoshops, and threaten/harass other members of the skeptic movement?

    Because tying these problems to the one person not being as civil to you as you want isn’t just disingenuous, it’s blatantly silly.

  87. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    @93

    And I clearly said, “people like you are a part” not “you’re the person.”

    WTF is this, rhetorical tapdance hour? NEWSFLASH: WE CAN ALL READ. WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU MEANT. YOU CAN’T BACKTRACK NOW WITH A (NOT SO) CLEVER “I MEANT A PERSON *LIKE* YOU, NOT *YOU* SPECIFICALLY.”

  88. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Actually, if we’re allowed to just make up whatever we said in our previous posts, you can feel free to replace any two consecutive characters with “Fuck off”, willradik.

  89. says

    @ willradik: “And when I say people like you, I don’t mean women.”

    Oh no not *all* women, only the ones who call you on your sexist bullshit, or don’t speak to you in a manner you deign to accept. Fuck off.

    Oh, and Steven Rowlinson way back at #9? “Dickhead” is a gendered slur and is unwelcome here. Thanks.

  90. Galactic Fork says

    Willradik

    Nate, I think some people weren’t paying attention or don’t believe it. But the person they’re fighting with isn’t me but some kind of silly preconception they have of me.

    Sorry but they’re not. For example:
    JackiePepper later said:

    I mean, we’re only women, right? Our bodily autonomy is “complicated”. Our rights should be debated, leaving plenty of room for disagreement about whether or not we’re fully human.

    Willradik

    Straw man: “I mean, we’re only women, right? Our bodily autonomy is “complicated”. Our rights should be debated, leaving plenty of room for disagreement about whether or not we’re fully human.”

    I never suggested any of that. Nor would I. I don’t feel women’s rights or bodily autonomy or humanity are “up for debate”.

    But JackiePepper’d been responding to:
    Eristae:

    I don’t know how there can be a middle ground on something like this. “Don’t call me a cunt. Don’t touch me without permission. Don’t act like saying I was harassed is the same as saying I saw a UFO. Don’t insist that I have no right to deal with minority issues. Don’t infringe upon my bodily integrity. Don’t tolerate people bullying me.”

    How do we compromise on those things?

    (emphasis mine)
    Willradik

    Eristae that’s a good point. I’m not suggesting there’s a middle ground to “Don’t call me a cunt.” Or “Don’t touch me without permission.” The rest of the things you mentioned I think are a lot more complicated

    (emphasis mine)

    You may have admited you were wrong about that statement later, but not at that point, and you never apologized to JackiePepper for the accusation of strawmanning. I couldn’t find anything they said that was incorrect in response.

    Now if you would like to show an example of the preconceived version of you, go ahead.

  91. Galactic Fork says

    Sorry for such a long post, but annoying false accusations like that really piss me off.

  92. flyingsquirrel27 says

    #66 Jackiepaper. I recognize that is what he is suggesting. As I understand it, the law (in the US anyway) agrees with him. That there is a shift when the interests of the fetus begin to supersede that of the mother but prior to that shift states aren’t supposed to regulate (granted a lot of states have really been pushing that boundary lately). Typically that shift is considered to have occurred at the point the fetus becomes viable. It seems reasonable that once the point of viability is crossed that fetus does take on a different character due to the state of its development. So in that context, I don’t see why that makes him a big jerk. Barring extreme circumstances (which should be accounted for in the law) it would be advisable to have an abortion as soon as one decides that is the course of action one wishes to take. Especially knowing that the window does eventually close.

    I’m sorry if I was not clear before. I wasn’t trying to say that being rude to RD was as bad as the misogynist jerks, at least not in the level of insult to the target person because as a public personality the effect on RD is less than that to an individual commenter. But what I meant was that the quality of the comments were essentially poor in both categories and the level of vulgarity was similar. So what I was saying was that both are unproductive and silly and thereby I see no need to invite equally hostile, and equally unproductive people into the mix if that is how they are going to proceed. I would expect more out of people (though, admittedly, I am often disappointed).

  93. says

    Ah. OK. I had a post in my head all ready to go. Ah hell, here it is anyway.

    First, I am a little sorry that I hadn’t refreshed and seen Willradik’s retraction. So that’s nice, but also I hadn’t aimed my post specifically AT him. It was inspired by him, yes, but the pattern is so common that it can stand on its own. EVERY time, there’s some annoying hypothetical “yes, but”. Will may have been unusually coy about the exceptions he was imagining, but we’re all very familiar with Ms Slutty-slut McStrawpants who wants to wear the skinny jeans at 9 months so whoopsie, abortion time!

    So yeah, the retraction was nice but then he started digging a new and different hole! Be nice! I wouldn’t have changed my mind if you were nasty! Gee, maybe only nice polite sweet-spoken ladies are entitled to full human rights? Yeah. Not so much.

    But also, this fails to account for the role of invective in preserving safe spaces. Yes, seriously. A space in which I am expected to placidly and politely argue that really, no, it’s not ok for me to be enslaved or tortured, but y’know, I can see where you are coming from – that is NOT a safe space. It’s plain old space as usual, where I’m expected to choose between swallowing shit or ruining the afternoon (to cite Melissa). In this space, if someone says I should be forced to be an unwilling incubator or that maybe I might deserve to be raped, they will get loud, angry, rude pushback. That’s much safer. The commentariat here don’t put up with dehumanising shit, which means I don’t have to.

  94. willradik says

    You’re doing it wrong. : ) I’ll try not to bother you guys again with the excluded middle.

  95. mythbri says

    @flyingsquirrel

    It seems reasonable that once the point of viability is crossed that fetus does take on a different character due to the state of its development.

    No, it’s not reasonable.

    I am a woman with bodily autonomy 100% of the time. Not just for twenty weeks. Not even for 99.95% of the time. 100% of the time.

    Restricting access to abortion based on “viability” is not respecting any “rights” of a fetus. It’s not even granting a fetus the same rights as born persons. It’s giving the fetus more rights than ANY other person has, because NO ONE has the right to use my body against my will, even if it will save a life.

    I cannot compel you to donate an organ, or blood, or bone marrow or other tissue to save my life. You cannot compel me to donate my entire body to save someone else’s.

    There is no such thing as ‘abortion on a whim’. Pretending that there is perpetuates the chipping away of the rights of women.

    Most abortions happen early on in the pregnancy. When abortions occur later in the pregnancy, it means that something has gone drastically, seriously wrong. The pregnant person’s circumstances may have changed drastically. There may be problems with the fetus. There may be problems with the health of the pregnant person.

    It is not ‘on a whim’.

  96. mildlymagnificent says

    That there is a shift when the interests of the fetus begin to supersede that of the mother but prior to that shift states aren’t supposed to regulate

    Bullshit.

    A fetus of any “advanced” stage of development is thereby presumed to trump any and all bodily rights of a woman. Whereas an existing child cannot demand anything, even if it’s bone marrow or a kidney or any other lifesaving procedure on that same woman’s body. Nobody’s ever explained to me why a woman who might otherwise have chosen to continue a pregnancy shouldn’t abort a fetus – in order to have a lifesaving transplant in favour of an existing child who has become ill.

    I say again. Bullshit.

  97. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @mythbri

    I see what you are saying. The law does not agree with you. However, as with most laws, there are exceptions and typically those instances where things have gone horribly wrong* are accounted for as exceptions to the law – so they are effectively non-issues. So those extreme cases aside, I’m still unclear how that isn’t reasonable. If you know a decision has to be made at by a certain because if it isn’t then (barring those circumstances above) you’re out of luck. I am pro-choice, but I find that your argument (again barring the extremes you mentioned) as untenable as the “life begins at conception” arguments.

    It’s certainly your body, but after viability you’re responsible for the fetus’ because by that point you’ve chosen to allow it to be the fetus’ body too.

    * or “Most abortions happen early on in the pregnancy. When abortions occur later in the pregnancy, it means that something has gone drastically, seriously wrong. The pregnant person’s circumstances may have changed drastically. There may be problems with the fetus. There may be problems with the health of the pregnant person.” as you put it.

  98. krubozumo says

    I would just like to say that, as was mentioned in the first comment on this thread, it is certainly possible that people comment here and elsewhere posing as atheists and expressing repugnant and hateful ideas in an effort to create the impression that those opinions are characteristic of atheists. It is just too easy to resist because “we” don’t arbitrarily censor any dissenting voice.

    Having read through most of the thread hastily, I am inclined to think that this kind of strategy to sew dissension and derail the disussion into debates over unrelated but emotionally visceral things is very common.

    So I want to go back to the purpose of the original post. Which it seems was the question, what can we do better? My response is, simply be ourselves.

    I can’t really imagine any human who embraces the absence of superstition, at the same time thinking that females are somehow inferior creatures. Nor any of the other incindiary opinions that are so remarkably tossed up in any thread here you might choose to name that affronts the total devotion to delusion that is religion.

    We are all born without religion. If we were left alone, we would remain that way.

  99. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @mildlymagnificent

    Two things. One you are confusing the concept of a person vs a fetus. An existing child is a person not a fetus thus has the same rights and responsibilities that accompany that status. A fetus is not and does not have the equal rights of a person in the eyes of the law.

    Two. A fetus cannot and does not “trump any and all bodily rights of a woman” there are plenty of situations where post-viability abortions are allowed by law. Typically, in situations where extreme harm or death to the mother could occur (and other situations of similar severity).

    If those exceptions were not there, I would agree with you that it is bullshit but since those exceptions are in place (though there are states trying to chip away at them – which is unacceptable) I have to disagree with you.

  100. glodson says

    Well, I was writing another post in my head entirely, but I’ll leave that for later after one has a cooldown.

    What can I do better?

    I’m asking myself this because it only seems fair. I think where many atheists, skeptics, and otherwise rational people can go off the rails is when the focus gets turned to tightly to them. It is easy to see the faults in the reasoning of others, to pick apart the beliefs of others.

    It is tougher to look at one’s own beliefs. Which is where much of this push-back might be coming from. They squirm when the light is shined on them. They don’t want to examine their attitudes that are sexist. They don’t even want to acknowledge that they are sexist. Why? Because it goes against their narrative. It is like faith in reverse, in a way. They’ve got so much invested in being rational that if they’ve made a fundamental error in how they see women treated in our culture that admitting it would mean they were irrational, and guilty of the same lapse of judgements we insult religion for.

    Okay, not all of those pushing back are like this. But some are. This nastiness seems to stem from the idea that we’re betraying them by not including them. Like they are entitled to the space that is atheism and skepticism. It is theirs, they aren’t wrong, and they can’t be wrong because they are rational. It is something in the core.

    This is just conjecture on my part, but I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that many of the nastiest ones really want respect from us. They want us to see they are right, and respect them. When that doesn’t happen, they lose it. Bad. The theist, the creationist, the anti-choice nut, the gun nut all can be annoying and even vile. But they don’t seem to be as nasty or have the same focus. Maybe it because they don’t care about us. It isn’t about us, it is about fighting what we stand for. For the anti-feminist atheist, it is about us.

    Then again, maybe I’m just reading into this and they are just a bunch of assholes.

  101. willradik says

    Alethea H: Apparently I’m way out of my element here. Those aren’t situations I was imagining at all. In fact I truly wasn’t imagining any situation until I was asked to give a specific one. I couldn’t think of one and that’s why I decided I was wrong.

    Your comments make me think you guys are apparently used to dealing with high caliber frothing sexist idiots here and I’m doing something wrong that’s making me look like one of them on the surface in some sort of Batesian way. You’re talking about things that I would never have even conceived. I’m the ignorant outsider and I’ll take the blame, but I’d ask you to please consider how quick you’ve been to judge me and make assumptions about my conceptions.

  102. klatu says

    [delurk]
    re: civility
    [assertion]
    When the topic is really fucking important (e.g. someone’s personhood or bodily autonomy), civility just doesn’t cut it.
    “We’ll just have to agree to disagree” may sound nice and perfectly agreeable, but that’s exactly the problem.
    Allowing bigots to end the conversation on a conciliatory note only serves to promote the belief that such irreconcilable conflicts can be safely ignored. They cannot, and they should not. Because the more often these conflicts “just go away”, the less is done about them.
    It’s a matter of visibility.
    [/assertion]

    re: Dawkins
    Privileged white guy decides he is the only one “objective” enough to decide other people’s rights for them. Congrats, Dawkins, you win at patriarchy with bonus points for comparing women to livestock ( and at being a hypocrite for being the opposite of a progressive. Oh, the irony…)!
    [/delurk]

  103. mythbri says

    @flyingsquirrel

    I see what you are saying. The law does not agree with you.

    So what? Slavery used to be legal. The law is not always right.

    However, as with most laws, there are exceptions and typically those instances where things have gone horribly wrong* are accounted for as exceptions to the law – so they are effectively non-issues.

    Whaaaaa? Non-issues? You think that women have never died because they’ve been denied life-saving care because some Catholic hospital administration has to abide by obscene and irrational mandates? This “extreme” circumstances are NOT always accommodated by the law – in fact the law is used as a cudgel against women in these extreme and desperate circumstances. Lawmakers have compared women to livestock, in a law that would have made it illegal to remove a dead fetus from a woman, forcing her to go through a dangerous birthing process to delivery what is essential so much dead meat. Exactly how familiar are you with the abortion “debate” in the United States? Because it is from this perspective that I am addressing you.

    So those extreme cases aside, I’m still unclear how that isn’t reasonable. If you know a decision has to be made at by a certain because if it isn’t then (barring those circumstances above) you’re out of luck.

    So anti-choice activists and legislators that have shut down every abortion clinic in the state except for one – and the fate of that clinic is by no means certain – have no effect on preventing women from being able to meet the cut-off deadline for having an abortion? Anti-choice activists and legislators that keep pushing back the deadline have no effect on preventing women from being able to get an abortion in time? Requiring trans-vaginal ultrasounds when they are not medically necessary has no effect on preventing women from being able to get an abortion in time?

    The law is used as a cudgel to chip away at the rights of women. Stop citing the law as if that makes it okay to take away someone’s bodily autonomy.

    I am pro-choice, but I find that your argument (again barring the extremes you mentioned) as untenable as the “life begins at conception” arguments.

    I’m amused that you actually said “I am pro-choice, but”. I have no patience for you, or other people who say this. This is not an issue with as much nuance as you think, and if you are a male-bodied person, then of course it’s easy to distance yourself from understanding how de-humanizing it is that people feel like they can just legislate away the control you have over your own body.

    It’s certainly your body, but after viability you’re responsible for the fetus’ because by that point you’ve chosen to allow it to be the fetus’ body too.

    Nope. Consent can be revoked at any time. This argument does not work in any other situation. Even in a situation where you’ve promised a life-saving tissue donation to someone who will DIE without it, you are not obligated to go through with that donation.

    Also, a point of advice here: if you really are pro-choice, then I suggest that you STOP using the word “responsibility” solely in the context of carrying a fetus to term. Having an abortion is an equally responsible decision to make. NO ONE is qualified to judge the relative “responsibility” or appropriateness of someone’s decision to have an abortion or carry a pregnancy unless they ARE that person.

    Citing the law is not a valid argument for removing my bodily autonomy, but thanks for letting me know you’re okay with forcing me to go through a life-altering medical experience against my will, because the LAW says so. You realize you’re talking to an actual person, right?

  104. Dabu says

    Dawkins shows his soft side, getting misty-eyed as he weighs up whether hurting the fetus is worth a woman’s bodily autonomy being retained. Maybe he thinks that women’s suffering has no Higgs bosons, rendering it massless on the great scale of weighing ethical decisions. But any ethically aware person, upon realizing they may endorse a position of telling a woman “No, despite your wishes, the fetus comes first and we’re leaving it right there.” needs to back up the bus and have a fucking hard rethink. Richard Dawkins used to have a degree of ethical awareness. I hope it hasn’t Flown away.

  105. glodson says

    The whole ‘I’m pro-choice but…” thing strikes me as disingenuous.

    “I’m not always pro-choice, but when I am, I grant women their bodily autonomy.”

  106. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @glodson. Well said. Very insightful

    @klatu Civility must be maintained. Not doing so under the pretext that is “won’t cut it” shows nothing more that either the weakness of an argument or the weakness in expression of that argument. Everyday in courts all across the land, matters of life and death, imprisonment or freedom, and matters of extreme financial importance are argued and solved, civilly. If they can do it, day in and day out, there is no excuse for others not to do so too.

    Also, I understood Dawkins as comparing the fetus to livestock and each creatures ability to feel pain relative to their development. That said, maybe I misunderstood. That is why I have a problem with all of this hubbub being based around 8 statements limited to 145 character each. Sometimes details and points go missing or misunderstood.

  107. mythbri says

    @flyingsquirrel

    By the way, Canada allows for abortion on demand, with no “viability” restrictions – although they have issues with appropriate access in some areas, just like the U.S.

    How many late-term abortions do you think happen in Canada, as compared to the U.S.? If there are no restrictions, then there must be a significantly greater amount than the U.S., surely.

    Why don’t you go do some research and then come back to report on your findings, mmm?

  108. says

    flyingsquirrel27 @ #118:

    Civility must be maintained.

    Not at the expense of someone’s rights. I absolutely, completely, and utterly refuse to be civil in the face of an argument that says that anything can trump the right to bodily autonomy. Nothing is more important in this world than that. It’s why I’m pro-choice.

    Let me use a only-very-slightly-less-charged example, and one that relates to one of the only ways I’m actually underprivileged:

    If a theist wants to debate the relative points of atheism, I’m all for being civil. If they start telling me that Hitler was an atheist, that evolution is a lie, that atheism is inherently evil, that I’m evil, and that atheism should be against the law, then civility can get fucked. I’m barring my fists and getting loud, the cuss-words will start flying, and if they start tone-trolling me, they’ll end up with a broken jaw.

    Civil rights are not debatable.

    Period. End of subject.

  109. mythbri says

    It’s a good thing all of those activists were so civil when campaigning for de-segregation in the United States.

    That is why they’re called Civil Rights, isn’t it?

  110. Dabu says

    When the people opposing your goals want you to be civil, that’s a perfect reason not to be.

  111. Onamission5 says

    Godfuckingdammit but I am so tired of being compared to livestock.

    That’s… all I have to say at the moment.

    Oh wait, no it wasn’t. I was also going to say that my own foray into movement atheism was much like Melissa McEwan’s, which is why I stayed silent so long. I had no desire or energy to spend trying to claw my way out of the sexist, self-congratulatory muck in yet another OWG dominated space in order to say a handful of words and get tossed to the bottom of the heap again. It was a relief to find out that there were spaces I could go where impassioned and even downright angry non-OWG voices were not only audible, but listened to as though they had actual credibility. That is what brought me to FTB and that’s what keeps me coming back. So, yeah. Thanks for that, and keep doing it, all y’all.

  112. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @mythbri

    Let’s step back a minute. First, I didn’t say that extreme circumstances were always account for, they typically are. Any time they are not, it is a tragedy and a failure that should not be tolerated.

    Second. There are multiple levels of laws and you are treating all of it the same and that is an error. The law of the land is as I’ve stated it above. However, as I have stated above, there are states that are trying to push those boundaries to places that you and I can certainly agree they should not go. If and when states do that, those law will be challenged and should (if there is any consistency on the court – which is up for debate) be overturned. The problem, of course, is the intervening period between the passage of these BS laws and their prospective overturn.

    Third. You may have misunderstood what I meant by responsiblity. I did not mean as to the responsible/irresponsibility of the decision. I wasn’t making a value judgement on someone decision to have, or not to have, an abortion. What I meant was if you buy a puppy you are responsible for it. If you choose to go past the point of viability, you are responsible for it.

    I find it interesting that you begrudge me for citing the vary law that allows abortion to be legal in the first place. This is Roe v Wade. In case you didn’t know before that abortions were illegal, period. So the very thing you are saying I’m using to “remove your bodily autonomy” is the very thing granting that to you in the first place. The only stopping a total ban is the the interpretation of the constitution.

    @glodson re #117. I’m not granting anyone anything. I’m expressing my stance on an issue. Moreover, like it or not, it is the law that grants these things. I agree with what Roe v Wade stands for. If you think that makes me something other than pro-choice you are welcome to think that, but I would disagree.

  113. says

    Yeah, Dawkins is putting his foot in his mouth again.

    After reading his comments at that link, I’m thinking it’s more like he’s putting his head up his ass.

    (Is that too harsh? Oh well.)

  114. says

    flyingsquirrel, why do you seem to think it is acceptable for women to be forced to hope that their particular situation has been “accounted for” by the law, so that they will not become one of the (hardly) lamentable “tragedies” you so offhandedly mentioned? The very idea of exceptions leaves plenty of sloshy room for lying women to evade the law as religious fundamentalists so greatly fear, so the exceptions that might “account for” tragic situations are being narrowed all the time. Why do you believe that women should be OK with having their right to bodily autonomy limited by the law at all?

  115. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @ #120: If you think lack of self control (i.e. being uncivil) makes an argument more effective you are incorrect. If you cannot argue your point civilly you should let someone do the speaking for your points who can. I’m not saying don’t vigorously advocate for your rights; I’m saying “watch how you say” things.

    @#122: Did you see MLK out there swearing at people and being an uncivil ass? No, he took the high road. He was civil, eloquent, and well-spoken and accomplished a lot.

  116. athyco says

    As an anonymous commenter, I can’t say that there’s anything more you can do, PZ, in terms of Pharyngula. As much as I’d probably laugh to read your fisking of a Justin Vacula blog post like “Blame and intent,” I’d not want him to crow over that level of attention. (Or, really, to subject you to that dreck.)

    You probably are already, but be on the same page, if you would, with Ophelia and Stephanie as to reactions to JV being at Wis2. Things he’s said and written about them (and Amanda Marcotte and Surly Amy) after he fell all over Lee Moore and his “peace process” have disgusted me. If a windfall allowed me to sign up tomorrow, I’d feel obliged to check in with them since the interaction I’d prefer with him might not be one that would benefit them most.

  117. says

    I’m sorry to say it, jackiepaper, but I think people like you are a big part of the problem with divisiveness we’re experiencing in this movement right now. And when I say people like you, I don’t mean women. (Accusations of sexism won’t work as a shield against everything.)

    Just a point of clarity, Wilradik, while you’re cooling down: the divisiveness is a feature, not a bug.

    See, if you claim to be an ally, but then, it turns out that the mere act of saying mean things to you and using nasty words is enough to “divide” you from the cause of equality for women–if it’s enough to cause you to turn on the people you purport to want to help–then guess what? you were never an ally to begin with, and we are all better off knowing that. You are better off because now you know that your stated intentions did not match your actions. If you are not lying about your intentions, then you will gain because you can change. If you are lying about your intentions, then we gain because we don’t have a false ally at our side, pretending to support us but actually lying in wait to knife us in the back at the earliest opportunity.

    So don’t complain about the invective on the part of “women like jackipaper”, which would also include women like myself and pretty much every woman here. Every single damn one of us has had that moment where some asshole flipped the switch from “Yay women’s rights” to “Shut up woman, you’re making my man fee-fees uncomfortable.” It’s so fucking common, and it’s common because it’s sexism and sexism is common in our culture, and when you do that, you are doing sexism. Women being confrontational is essential to change. Women being confrontational is precisely what the misogynists hope to avoid, because women being confrontational in support of their human rights upsets the sexist status quo. Women being confrontational in support of their human rights IS divisive, and that is a Good Motherfucking Thing.

  118. mythbri says

    @flyingsquirrel

    And I’m saying that Roe v. Wade isn’t good enough, although I certainly don’t want it to be overturned. Women have enough problems with people trying to take away our rights as it is.

    And I misunderstood nothing. How many times do you think I’ve had to have this conversation? I disagree with what you said, and I resent you using the word “responsibility ONLY when it applies to carrying a pregnancy to term. In this sense you meant it as an obligation, not a value judgement. I still disagree. I tend to do that when people tell me that they think my rights are forfeit.

    But the actual topic of this post is how women are made to feel unwelcome in the atheist community. You are a prime example of why, as is Dawkins.

    I am not a debate. I am not a thought experiment. I am a person.

    I am being de-humanized.

  119. glodson says

    I’m not granting anyone anything. I’m expressing my stance on an issue. Moreover, like it or not, it is the law that grants these things. I agree with what Roe v Wade stands for. If you think that makes me something other than pro-choice you are welcome to think that, but I would disagree.

    The law is wrong. It is that simple. There are issues in which we can find nuances. But it is insulting to say that women should not have control over what goes on inside their body at a point.

    Why? Why should we even entertain this notion?

    Don’t get me wrong, it is a trap I fell into. And it is insulting.

    You said:

    It’s certainly your body, but after viability you’re responsible for the fetus’ because by that point you’ve chosen to allow it to be the fetus’ body too.

    Here’s a problem with this line of reasoning: many states are working for a de facto ban on abortions based on this idea. According to abortions in the second trimester or later which are not done for saving a woman’s life most often are because a woman wanted the abortion earlier, but lacked access to it. There’s also changes in circumstances so that she feels she’s unable to take the child to term.

    By making this statement, that a woman has chosen to allow the fetus to be viable isn’t always true. From the cited article:

    The majority of patients who had second-trimester abortions indicated they would have preferred to have them earlier, the researchers reported. While later abortions are unlikely to be eliminated — for example in cases where women find out about fetal anomalies late in the pregnancy — they could be reduced, Jone said.

    “Prior research has found that things like finding an abortion provider, making arrangements and tracking down the money are barriers,” she said. “If we remove these barriers to first-trimester abortion services, this could potentially decrease the need for second-trimester abortion services.”

    We should be concerned about this because it means that women are suffering through an unwanted pregnancy longer, dealing with all the physical and emotional trauma that goes with it. And it is used as a means of rationalizing banning abortions. As the GOP pushes more restrictions, this problem with grow. And this line of reasoning will lead to more women being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

    And there is a measurable effect of denying a woman an abortion.

    So, what I’m saying is that when we start trying to draw a line in the sand to tell women that they no longer have bodily autonomy, we are eliminating their choice. We are exercising control over their bodies. We are saying that women cannot be trusted to decide from themselves at a point. It is insulting, like women get abortions after 20 weeks on a whim.

  120. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    I am a woman with bodily autonomy 100% of the time. Not just for twenty weeks. Not even for 99.95% of the time. 100% of the time.

    Restricting access to abortion based on “viability” is not respecting any “rights” of a fetus. It’s not even granting a fetus the same rights as born persons. It’s giving the fetus more rights than ANY other person has, because NO ONE has the right to use my body against my will, even if it will save a life.

    Mythbri @ 108

    You totally blew my hair back with that post. I also believe that bodily autonomy is sufficient reason for the right to abortion, but I’ve always held that viability gave the fetus certain rights. I guess I never saw how logically inconsistent that idea was. As you say, it grants a fetus rights no one else has.

    I was talking to my partner about this (Dawkins’ terrible tweets) today and he took the tack that abortion was a “necessary evil” but in a world where contraception was 100% effective, we wouldn’t need abortion because then women would have to deal with “the consequences of their decision.” I laid out *very stridently* what was wrong with this position. I did however leave wiggle room for “viability” and now I wish I hadn’t. As you said–no one has the right to use my body without my consent EVER.

  121. mythbri says

    Martin Luther King Jr. was not the only single Civil Rights activist in the history of the country. And his style was non-violence, not an obsession with civility.

  122. says

    If you think lack of self control (i.e. being uncivil) makes an argument more effective you are incorrect.

    What the hell makes you think that incivility results from a lack of self control, you stupid fuckface? Sorry, but I have no patience for obvious victims of Dunning Kruger like yourself tonight. Oh wait, I’m not fucking sorry. That’s just dumb. Fix your thoughts. Make sense. Use logic. Incivility and self control are tangential to each other. There’s no causal relationship, shithead. Pretending like there is one is a useful cudgel for you to rhetorically beat people over the head. Say something inflammatory but polite, and then smugly sit back tut-tutting at their alleged lack of self control when they use some cuss words to point out that their basic humanity should not be up for debate. Is that really the hill you want to die on, Mr. Fake Vulcan? Using harsh words and *gasp* even swear words makes a communication more effective at communicating emotional content, like outrage at the violation of one’s rights. Is there something fucking wrong with that? Banning strong language will ban strong emotion, and strong emotion is a necessary part of every struggle for civil rights. “Calm down, don’t be so sensitive, don’t be so over-emotional” is the eternal cry of the oppressor, and why? Because they know that confronting the emotional realities of the suffering caused by the sexist status who within which they are so comfortable will remove the foundation of the entire thing. That’s what you’re doing here. So stop it, IF you’re not trying to be a sexist douchebag. IF IF IF IF. If you don’t stop this fucking bullshit, then don’t fucking complain if someone, like, say, me, calls you a sexist douchebag, okay? You’ve been fairly warned.

    For fuck’s sake.

  123. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @#127 I don’t appreciate you making light of the those tragedies. You talk like you don’t think I mean what I say. I hate the way they’ve chipped away at Roe v. Wade over the years, I find it positively infuriating.

    What I also find interesting is that people are jumping at me because I want to protect and uphold Roe v. Wade. At the moment things are trending toward damaging Roe v. Wade and everyone is argument about being more broad. In case no one noticed, Roe v. Wade is under serious threat perhaps now would be a good time to band together and shore that up and broadening it after it is secure. To do otherwise would be a waste of energy.

  124. says

    The stupid, dumbass, braindead idea that anger or incivility are the result of being out of control really pisses me the fuck off, in case you couldn’t tell.

  125. glodson says

    What I also find interesting is that people are jumping at me because I want to protect and uphold Roe v. Wade. At the moment things are trending toward damaging Roe v. Wade and everyone is argument about being more broad. In case no one noticed, Roe v. Wade is under serious threat perhaps now would be a good time to band together and shore that up and broadening it after it is secure. To do otherwise would be a waste of energy.

    I dislike this stance because it lets the anti-choice nuts off the hook. We uphold Roe v Wade, they can still find ways to restrict access to abortion. Only when we make them confront no limits on the right to abortion can we be said to doing good.

    Otherwise, we are maintaining the status quo, a status quo that let’s the GOP abuse the right to abortion for the sake of the unborn.

  126. mythbri says

    @Cyrano

    I’m glad to know that my post had some effect. I appreciate your comments in general, and this one means a lot. Thank you for saying that.

  127. says

    Roe v. Wade is under serious threat perhaps now would be a good time to band together and shore that up and broadening it after it is secure.

    A person might also argue that one of the reasons it has been able to be chipped away at is because it was not broad enough, and that the way to fix that is to push for a new law clear enough that it can’t be weaseled out of so easily.

  128. flyingsquirrel27 says

    #136 Sally Strange. You’ve proven my point for me. Whatever point you had (or thought you had) was lost in the way you said it. I also find it funny that you would talk to me like that in the comments section of a blog talking about how people are attacked and made to feel unwelcome in the comments and forums.

    I’ve done nothing to you. In these comments I’ve given my opinion, clarified my opinion, and learned a few things as well. So you attacking me has done me no real harm and you’ve made yourself look like a jerk for attacking someone who has done nothing to you. At worst I’ve disagreed with you, though I’ve not responded to any of your comments before this one and we have been in no dialog so perhaps you have some reevaluating to do if you think shouting at a total stranger in a public forum is acceptable behavior.

  129. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Civility must be maintained.

    That’s a nice philosophy, and on the whole I agree. But sometimes it gets exhausting to have to educate every ignorant person, especially when they revel in their ignorance and use “gotcha” statements and think they’ve made a point. Sometimes, I think its legitimate to say, “Look, you obviously don’t understand this issue and you need to study it.”

    I might also add that its vastly unfair to expect an oppressed person to always be nice and sweet to their oppressor and educate them on oppression, rather than get angry and/or expect their oppressor to educate themselves. (This is a general statement, in reply to your general advice. I’m not saying that’s what happened here.)

    Furthermore, insults are a perfectly valid rhetorical choice. If someone is arguing stupidly, sometimes they need to be told that they are being stupid. I don’t feel that I should sacrifice accuracy in argument to civility. ESPECIALLY because civility tends to maintain the status quo and let people remain blissfully ignorant about oppression. Fuck. That.

  130. says

    @#127 I don’t appreciate you making light of the those tragedies. You talk like you don’t think I mean what I say. I hate the way they’ve chipped away at Roe v. Wade over the years, I find it positively infuriating.

    I was very nearly one of those “tragedies” in a Catholic hospital with a doctor who lied to me about the danger and my options – well before the ‘line in the sand’ week 24 in my state. Don’t you lecture me on “making light of those tragedies” you detestable hypocrite.

    You are a trolling shit-disturber. Take your fake “civility” and shove it.

  131. Dabu says

    Did you see MLK out there swearing at people and being an uncivil ass? No, he took the high road. He was civil, eloquent, and well-spoken and accomplished a lot.

    So did the just as eloquent and far less civil Malcolm X.

    But King wasn’t trying not to offend anyone. He was attempting to deliver his message in the clearest, most direct way he knew, and polished, engaging speeches played to his strengths. Sure, Letter From A Birmingham Jail may not contain a ‘fuck you’ in every other sentence, but no one who reads it could mistake King for a conciliatory individual.

  132. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @139 and 141.

    Both good points. I guess I just don’t see that as realistic at this point. That may be a flaw in my vision. I see it as I’m in a city that is under attack and edging close to falling and the most prudent course of action is to secure the city before trying to conquer the land beyond. I just don’t see enough momentum to do both simultaneously. I will admit that perhaps there is more that I’m not seeing. If that is the case, I would be interested in learning more.

  133. glodson says

    Both good points. I guess I just don’t see that as realistic at this point. That may be a flaw in my vision. I see it as I’m in a city that is under attack and edging close to falling and the most prudent course of action is to secure the city before trying to conquer the land beyond. I just don’t see enough momentum to do both simultaneously. I will admit that perhaps there is more that I’m not seeing. If that is the case, I would be interested in learning more.

    The first step is realizing there’s areas where there should be no compromise. We have no reason to. The other side has nothing I want, and there’s nothing I’m willing to concede.

    Not all issues are like this. Some issues there are. This is definitely not one of them. People tend to be more on the side of pro-choice.

    Yes, many still want to set limits, but that can be shifted if we pin people down and not let them get away with shit.

    Also, drop the tone trolling. That doesn’t work around here, and it is really way past the point of being annoying.

  134. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @145. I don’t mean don’t offend people. I just mean that people can get their point across without being jerks. Malcolm X accomplished very little in comparison to MLK and I would argue that’s because of tact.

    For example, most people respect a peaceful protest and abhor a riot.

  135. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @glodson What is tone trolling? I’m being serious, this is only the second PZ blog I’ve commented on.

  136. says

    Malcolm X accomplished very little in comparison to MLK

    Malcolm X, at the very least gave white people to whom MLK would have otherwise “too radical” a reason to embrace MLK as the moderate. (Hey, kinda like you’re doing!)

    And saying that is shortchanging Malcolm X egregiously.

  137. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Rats, my comments keep getting eaten.

    Flyingsquirrel–often, a “riot” vs a “protest” is in the eye of the beholder, or the privileged person. So it is with tone arguments, oftentimes. The person who wants to maintain the status quo is the one who holds all the cards in the “be nice” argument.

  138. Galactic Fork says

    @#127 I don’t appreciate you making light of the those tragedies. You talk like you don’t think I mean what I say. I hate the way they’ve chipped away at Roe v. Wade over the years, I find it positively infuriating.

    Argh! You are the one making light of those tragedies. They are not tragedies because they fell through the cracks of a system that should have prevented them. You seem to see them as tragic because you think there’s nothing we can do about them. The system is set up… but dangit, sometimes things just fall through the cracks. How tragic.

    They are tragic because the system shouldn’t be that way in the first place. There shouldn’t be restrictions period. Whether they “account for” some things or not.

  139. says

    @flyingsquirrel27 @149:

    Tone trolling is when you complain about how people say something rather than actually address what they have said, and derail the conversation in the process. It is what you have been doing. Stop it.

  140. Snoof says

    Because nobody has posted it yet:

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    – Martin Luther King Jr, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

    Yes, King’s phrasing was very civil. His sentiment was not. If you want to read more, the full text is available here.

    (I vaguely recall Greta Christina writing an excellent post on the topic of civility and anger, but haven’t been able to find it. Does anyone remember what it was called?)

  141. says

    See, if you claim to be an ally, but then, it turns out that the mere act of saying mean things to you and using nasty words is enough to “divide” you from the cause of equality for women–if it’s enough to cause you to turn on the people you purport to want to help–then guess what? you were never an ally to begin with, and we are all better off knowing that. You are better off because now you know that your stated intentions did not match your actions. If you are not lying about your intentions, then you will gain because you can change. If you are lying about your intentions, then we gain because we don’t have a false ally at our side, pretending to support us but actually lying in wait to knife us in the back at the earliest opportunity.

    So don’t complain about the invective on the part of “women like jackipaper”, which would also include women like myself and pretty much every woman here. Every single damn one of us has had that moment where some asshole flipped the switch from “Yay women’s rights” to “Shut up woman, you’re making my man fee-fees uncomfortable.” It’s so fucking common, and it’s common because it’s sexism and sexism is common in our culture, and when you do that, you are doing sexism. Women being confrontational is essential to change. Women being confrontational is precisely what the misogynists hope to avoid, because women being confrontational in support of their human rights upsets the sexist status quo. Women being confrontational in support of their human rights IS divisive, and that is a Good Motherfucking Thing.

    sallystrange QFT

  142. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Flyingsquirrel27, MLK was hardly the only civil rights activist. If he was, that would have been a movement that ended quickly.

    Also, MLK saw the need for people like Malcolm X and not just because it make him the easy to embrace moderate.

    Also, do nor short change what Malcolm X accomplished. Decades after he was murdered, plenty of black people find inspiration in him.

    “By any means necessary.”

  143. Dabu says

    I just mean that people can get their point across without being jerks. Malcolm X accomplished very little in comparison to MLK and I would argue that’s because of tact.

    For example, most people respect a peaceful protest and abhor a riot.

    If there’s any deficit in Malcolm X’s accomplishments compared to MLK’s, I’d say getting murdered in 1965 had far more to do with that than a lack of tact ever did. What riot? Are you saying Malcolm X instigated riots? If so, you’ll need credible links. My brief perusal of the man’s career indicates that he did quite the opposite.

  144. willradik says

    Women being confrontational is precisely what the misogynists hope to avoid, because women being confrontational in support of their human rights upsets the sexist status quo. Women being confrontational in support of their human rights IS divisive, and that is a Good Motherfucking Thing.

    @Sallystrange 131

    Argh! You’re quite right. Not just about this quote but pretty much everything you said in 131. It makes sense to turn away people who might be half-assed allies and I can see why there might be some oversensitivity. And you’re right that an acerbic misunderstanding wouldn’t be enough to make me somehow want to oppose civil rights for women or any other aspect of equality.

  145. flyingsquirrel27 says

    @glodson

    Thanks for the info. I’m not going to apologize for being a noob and not knowing that these things have been discussed before (regarding the legal perspectives) I wanted to participate and thought I was raising valid and interesting counterpoints to the discussion.

    As far as the “tone trolling” I didn’t realize that was a thing. But since it apparently is and from the definition, I guess I’m doing it (though I wasn’t commenting with the purpose of raising the level of discussion; I was commenting to comment). I think it is ridiculous that grown, presumably educated, people can have a civil discourse through writing. I’d be more forgiving if it was in person due to the immediacy. That said, if that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is. I’ll respect that. Since I prefer not to be shouted and cursed at (unless I’ve done something that deserves it) I choose to refrain from commenting. Though I’ll continue reading the blog as I have been for a long time.

  146. says

    “By any means necessary.”

    I always was perplexed by people who saw that statement as problematic.

    Seems to me that that truth is self-evident.

  147. Rey Fox says

    I hate the way they’ve chipped away at Roe v. Wade over the years, I find it positively infuriating.

    Well, all that talking about “responsibility” to the fetus is just giving them the inch from which they take a mile.

    Whatever point you had (or thought you had) was lost in the way you said it.

    Sally is not to blame for your shitty reading ability.

  148. glodson says

    Since I prefer not to be shouted and cursed at (unless I’ve done something that deserves it) I choose to refrain from commenting. Though I’ll continue reading the blog as I have been for a long time.

    I’m shocked you are shocked by this reaction. In fact, I think you got rather good responses, if somewhat angry. They addressed what you said, your points and arguments, and treated you like you were acting in good faith.

    At first. Making appeals to civility don’t work.

    Look at like in your day to day life. I don’t know about you, but when I’m pissed and someone tells me to calm down in a what I see as a condescending way, that’s when I really start to express my anger.

    Anyway, if you take anything way from this, just know that many people feel very strongly about a woman’s right to her autonomy, and people who deal with this issue also are used to people treating women like they lack the ability to make sound decisions about her own body.

  149. unclefrogy says

    I grew up in a different time and place from many of the people here. I would never have dreamed of telling an African American that they should be slightly less bellicose or how to advocate for their rights *, than I would have yelled back at the L.A.P.D.. if they pulled me over because they wanted to.

    You can say what you want the way you want to, so can I.
    You nor I can tell another person what they feel or how they experience anything. If they feel abused or not they get that right themselves I would say right here that those who do want to define someone’s abuse or characterize their reaction to it or how they should proceed to try for a solution to their problems without being approached and asked what should they do. I think they should take their advice and their judgment back to their ivory tower or maybe to a therapist and try to discover why the way others try to confront their problems bothers them so much that they have to give unsolicited advice and argue about it.

    *(I learned that I would have got something like “What the Fuck Who asked you? white boy!”
    for my trouble)

    uncle frogy

  150. says

    Though I’ll continue reading the blog as I have been for a long time.

    Don’t take this as a shout, but how could you have been reading this blog for a long time without knowing full well the form that discussions take here, let alone the notion of “tone trolling?”

  151. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Any one who is truely even a semi-regular reader of this blog know what happens when a person presents an argument that proposed infringing on people’s rights. These are not abstract arguments. These are real events happening to real people.

  152. Annah Green says

    Melissa McEwan? Really?

    While the message may be valid, it has to be tainted by the messenger. McEwan is well known for a brand of “feminism” which wallows in an eternal victimhood. Her blog is a sycophantic cult of personality and maintained by the systematic banning of anyone who dares to offend McEwan and her ever-so-easily offended feelings. The most irritating thing about it is that it provides easy fodder for right-wingers who want to paint all feminists as shrill, emotionally-damaged whiners.

    While I’m not involved in it directly, by the reports there is indeed a problem with women and movement atheism. But there are more credible, intelligent feminists spreading the message about this, such as Rebecca Watson or Amanda Marcotte – articulate feminists who have not chosen to turn themselves into caricatures.

    Melissa McEwan does not speak for me as a woman, and she doesn’t speak for me as a feminist. If I was part of movement atheism, I wouldn’t run the risk of having her seen as speaking for me as an atheist either.

  153. herxheim says

    What can I do better?

    a) if someone complains about being called a stupid cunt, tell them to toughen the fuck up.

    b) stop trying to hijack the ‘atheist movement.’ if you want to be an atheist and a feminist, more power to you. but stop acting like they’re the same damn thing.

  154. Freodin says

    I don’t frequent the net-places where people are called “stupid cunts” for disagreeing. But I guess that if I went there trying to defend the attacked person, I would be attacked and insulted.

    I don’t support such a behaviour.

  155. John Morales says

    herxheim, cute how you quote yourself.

    a) If someone complains about someone complaining about being called a stupid cunt, tell them to toughen the fuck up.

    b) The atheist movement isn’t being hijacked, it’s growing up.

    (If you imagine PZ thinks they’re the same thing, why does he tag them differently?)

  156. carlie says

    I don’t frequent the net-places where people are called “stupid cunts” for disagreeing.

    But that’s the fun part – we often don’t know what those places are until it happens. We can spend months, years in a place, getting to feel like a part of the community, feeling like these people really “get” us, until the one time something about women comes up and it pops right out and slaps us across the face when we didn’t even expect it. And then we might protest, after getting over the shock of it, and that’s when the deluge starts and we realize everyone we thought agreed that we were the same class of people they are…don’t. And then we get to decide whether to swallow shit or ruin the entire afternoon. And eventually swallowing shit starts to get really old.

  157. deoridhe says

    Melissa McEwan speaks for herself as a woman and a feminist, and that’s good enough for me.

  158. opposablethumbs says

    flyingsquirrel27, patronising, condescending and pretentious douche.

    For someone who is so all-fired clued-up about civility, I am shocked – shocked, I tell you – that you appear to have no idea how unconscionably, comprehensively and spectacularly rude you are being.
    .
    The right to bodily autonomy, the right to be fully human, is not an intellectual conundrum thought up for your cerebral amusement or a matter of comfortably superior armchair debate, nor are they tokens in a game for you to score formal debating points over someone in order to demonstrate and enjoy your “superior” ratiocinating skills. That you can say with a straight face that you read a lot here, but do not seem to have noticed the hundreds of times this and related points have been raised before, does not say a lot for your ability to read for comprehension. I am so glad you have decided to go back to reading rather than commenting; I really don’t need to know exactly when and under what circumstances you think you have the right to forcibly prevent me from making decisions about my own body.
    Yeah, and let’s have forced organ donation and forced blood donation while we’re at it. You won’t mind at all when you’re dragged bodily out of your home or workplace and carted off to hospital for a medical procedure you don’t want, will you? After all, they’ll only restrain you and make you a criminal if you refuse. It was your responsibility when you just up and got born with a blood type that someone else needs, after all.

    Oh, and I almost forgot: fuck you.

  159. thumper1990 says

    PZ #4

    It is a minority that behaves like that, but a majority that sits back and shrugs when it happens.

    QFT. This. Is a tiny minority who do all the vile misogynist shit, the issue is that when they do it, it is also a tiny minority who get angry about it. Plenty of people shake their heads and go “Oh, well that’s not very nice” and then usually go on to explain how they don’t represent all atheists, which obviously they don’t. But it’s rare that anyone actually gets angry about it. And that enables it.

  160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve given my opinion, clarified my opinion

    Except your OPINION is irrelevant compared to facts. Your opinion can *floosh* be dismissed as fuckwittery. Which it is.

  161. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    flyingsquuirrel27,

    For example, most people respect a peaceful protest and abhor a riot.

    In 2003, we held the biggest ever peaceful protest in the UK against the coming invasion of Iraq. Well over a million people. It made fuck-all difference to whether the invasion happened, or the UK took part. Back around 1990, OTOH, the government introduced a blatantly unfair local taxation system. There were riots – involving far fewer people. The new tax was soon abandoned.

    Are riots always better than peaceful demonstrations? No, certainly not. But nothing gets the attention of the elite like a riot.

    I wanted to participate and thought I was raising valid and interesting counterpoints to the discussion.

    You were wrong.

  162. says

    I actually think you and Chris Clarke do very well, but Dawkins sure can be a real othering ass.

    He might even deem PZ worthy of his time. Because the poor man suffers from the fact that in the days of the internet there are no more gatekeepers who block out the voices upper-class college-educated guys don’t deem fit to be heard…

    Willradik

    We’re supposed to be good at opening a dialogue with others who don’t share our beliefs or practices and then we’re all, “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!” with each other.

    Why on earth should I seek to compromise with people who don’t think I’m fully human, or a version of human that’s predestined to making kids and sandwiches?
    Yes, my way or the highway. I’m not settling for 3/5th of a dude, 4/5 or 199/200.

    jackiepaper: I won’t ask you. I wasn’t asking you. I wasn’t suggesting anything to you. I was answering PZ’s question.

    So, jackiepaper is explicitly not part of the “we” that can do better. Interesting…

    echidna: I’m talking about my line, though.

    You can have your fucking line. Nobody is taking it away from you. You just don’t get to demand that we follow it, too. My way or the highway? My ass, that’s what you’re doing.

    And I love that teapot, too, but the only reason I know about the damn teapot is because I read about it in a book by Richard Dawkins.

    So what? Should his sexism therefore be ignored?

    I’m sorry to say it, jackiepaper, but I think people like you are a big part of the problem with divisiveness we’re experiencing in this movement right now.

    This movement isn’t nearly divided enough. In that case, people like jackiepaper are the solution, not the problem.
    flyingsquirrel

    After reading the article and the tweets by Dawkins (RD), I’m not as quick to condemn Dawkins as all of the people in the comments there.

    RD explicitly said that a fetus ability to feel pain could override a woman’s bodily autonomy. He explicitly said that her bodily autonomy isn’t the best argument. He explicitly opened the abortion debate as if there was something to discuss.
    <blockquote

    It certainly seems silly to attack someone based on a handful of tweets and assume you know the whole argument on an issue as complicated as abortion.

    WTF is complicated about abortion? You either support a woman’s right to her own body or you don’t. There is no nuance in this.
    That there is a shift when the interests of the fetus begin to supersede that of the mother …
    So, there actually is a point when in your opinion women get degraded to the status of lifestock because the fetus is more important.

    So in that context, I don’t see why that makes him a big jerk.

    That’s for the same reason fish have not word for wet.

    The law does not agree with you.

    Which law? British? German? Canadian? USAmerican?
    This is not a discussion about laws. Laws can be wrong. Does Jim Crow ring a bell?

    It’s certainly your body, but after viability you’re responsible for the fetus’ because by that point you’ve chosen to allow it to be the fetus’ body too.

    Show me where I signed a legally binding contract. I consented* to host it, I can revoke that consent.
    You’re claiming that it is reasonable for lawmakers to know better than women when things have dramatically changed and that they don’t.
    Just fuck off. You are NOT civil, no matter if your words are, because your argument is not.

    klatu

    When the topic is really fucking important (e.g. someone’s personhood or bodily autonomy), civility just doesn’t cut it.

    More important, no matter how nice the words you use are, you cannot civilly argue that I should be treated less than human.

    Dabu

    Maybe he thinks that women’s suffering has no Higgs bosons, rendering it massless on the great scale of weighing ethical decisions.

    Well, whether women can suffer and feel pain seems to be totally besides the point for him…

    Annah Green

    But there are more credible, intelligent feminists spreading the message about this, such as Rebecca Watson or Amanda Marcotte – articulate feminists who have not chosen to turn themselves into caricatures.

    Of course, of course. Heaven forbid that any woman ever said something too radical. In that case, whatever she may say before or afterwards has to be dismissed.
    Oh, wait, that’s exactly what happened to Rebecca. IIRC the words she said were “guys, don’t do that”. You can hate or love Melissa McEwan as much as you want, but we won’t play “good feminist – bad feminist” here.

  163. thumper1990 says

    @Susan #15

    Oh for fuck sake. Why must Dawkins insist on continually undermining my admiration for him?

    He starts off well. Essentially, “It has been proven that adult pigs feel more pain than human foetuses, therefore anyone who is pro-life and states foetal pain as an argument while still being happy to eat pork is a hyppocrite”. Fair enough, good point. Why did he then have to go and fuck it all up? FFS Dawkins.

  164. Annah Green says

    Of course, of course. Heaven forbid that any woman ever said something too radical. In that case, whatever she may say before or afterwards has to be dismissed.

    You will, of course, be able to show where I criticized McEwan for being too radical, as opposed to criticizing her for being censorious, histrionic and self-absorbed?

    but we won’t play “good feminist – bad feminist” here.

    This thread is premised on an ongoing argument of “good atheism” vs “bad atheism”. And yet it is invalid to point out that McEwan practices a form of “bad feminism” which serves to bring other feminists and even the very real issues she sometimes gets around to legitimately addressing into disrepute?

    Are we supposed to suspend value judgements when a blogger has a cult of personality that persists in regarding criticism of her as an individual as an attack against feminism or women in general?

  165. says

    Giliell #177 – Yes, to your whole post. Thanks for putting it so well. That is exactly it – uncivil ideas and attitudes toward women remain uncivil even if they are dressed up in pretty language.

    And this: For example, most people respect a peaceful protest and abhor a riot.(from trollsquirrel)

    Most dominant groups of people prefer peaceful protest and abhor a riot, because they can ignore the peaceful protest while a riot actually frightens them into making concessions. They do not respect peaceful protesters or rioters – but they are more comfortable with peaceful protesters because they know they still have control over them. It’s about power. Just as calls for “civility” from assholes who want to relegate half of humanity to subhuman status have nothing to do with language and everything to do with controlling the conversation.

  166. Doug Hudson says

    179, Annah Green, yknow, I’ve heard those exact same arguments (“cult of personality”, “regarding criticism of her as an individual as an attack against feminism”, “McEwan practices a form of “bad feminism””) somewhere else. Hmm.

    Oh yeah, people describe PZ and Pharyngula the same way! PZ is a “bad atheist”, the Horde is “an echo chamber”, PZ is “hurting atheism.”

    If you aren’t just trolling, you might want to consider what it implies when you use the same arguments as the slymepitters…

  167. hypocee says

    Yes, once is too often, but that “punch” doesn’t. Her church wasn’t on uh the Internet?

  168. Anri says

    #136 Sally Strange. You’ve proven my point for me. Whatever point you had (or thought you had) was lost in the way you said it.

    Not on all of us.
    It might be that the problem lies not in the sender, but the receiver, in this case.

    I also find it funny that you would talk to me like that in the comments section of a blog talking about how people are attacked and made to feel unwelcome in the comments and forums.

    And I find it funny – well, not funny exactly, but pitiful – that people equate being made to feel unwelcome due to being a woman with being made to fell unwelcome due to being dead flat wrong.
    See if you can spot the difference.

    I’ve done nothing to you.

    Being wrong in public is not doing something to Sally in particular, true.
    Is it equivalent to having done nothing in general?

    In these comments I’ve given my opinion, clarified my opinion, and learned a few things as well. So you attacking me has done me no real harm and you’ve made yourself look like a jerk for attacking someone who has done nothing to you.

    Only if you accept what has been done as an ‘attack’.
    Otherwise, what Sally has done is ‘been rude in correcting someone who is being wrong repeatedly’.

    At worst I’ve disagreed with you, though I’ve not responded to any of your comments before this one and we have been in no dialog so perhaps you have some reevaluating to do if you think shouting at a total stranger in a public forum is acceptable behavior.

    When they won’t listen to inside voice, you try outside voice.

    Since civil language can be used to say horrible things, and rude language can be used to correct terrible ideas, the tone of the language does not determine the value of the message. And if you can’t look past the tone to see if something of value is being said, that’s really and actually your problem, not anyone else’s.
    Please learn this.
    (There, see? I said ‘please’, so my message is more correct than if I had not… right?)

  169. says

    Annah Green

    Are we supposed to suspend value judgements when a blogger has a cult of personality that persists in regarding criticism of her as an individual as an attack against feminism or women in general?

    Nope, you’re supposed to take it up with them or write your own damn blog about it instead of derailing a thread about the discrimination of women with your personal vendetta against Melissa McEwan.
    If your only point in case is “but it was written by Melissa McEwan who is a horrible person and who haaaaaarms feminism” instead of criticising the substance then I congratulate you to doing the first actual ad hominam I’ve seen in a while.

  170. Loud - warm smiles do not make you welcome here says

    #75 Anthony K

    I’m just doing some self-adjustment thinking on this. I’m glad to be able to offer support in the way Crip Dyke wrote about, but it’s exhausting*. And I’ve been spending less time here because I’ve been trying to do my best to support others, like Ophelia Benson, who are constantly being ground down, and don’t seem to have as much support as there is here.

    I’ve not finished reading the thread, so apologies if this is repeat sentiment, but this espouses exactly what’s great about this community, or this ‘side’ in the war over sexism.

    The ability for self-reflection, examining your own biases, admitting mistakes (such as retiring the porcupine meme) is just awesome. Massive Kudos, Anthony.

  171. harvardmba says

    Gee — what a surprise! Her story confirms what I’ve written here, oh I don’t know … a dozen times. Let’s read that last bit again:

    “I would say I felt exactly as welcome in movement atheism as I did at my Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, but that would be a lie. No one at St. Peter’s ever called me a stupid cunt because I disagreed with them.”

    Yeah, well — as I’ve posted here, the reason is simple: The requirements to entry into A+ (or atheism, etc …) are the lowest bar imaginable. Simply, you don’t believe in god. That’s it. Nothing else.

    Is anyone really surprised that atheism is comprised of millions of petulant man-child types with inner hatred toward women? No, or course not. And the hatreds don’t stop there — no! Anyone who’s read these pages knows the sky is the limit for these atheists when it comes to hate.

    This faux-movement is DOA. I’m an atheist and I want nothing to do with all the hate these wretched man-children spout.

  172. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    We will fail if we can’t change this.

    What can I do better?

    If you ever want to have a co-blogger, consider give the job to a woman…Ups! too late.

  173. jackiepaper says

    Gillel, I’ve noticed that when someone says that feminism “wallows in victimhood” it means that the feminist being referred to dares to talk about victimization at all. In these critic’s minds good feminists shake it off and don’t make such a big deal out of the violence, sexism and rampant rape culture. Much like the people calling for a nicer approach, they don’t think anger in the face of violence and oppression are warranted and so no one else should either.

    You know who revels in victimization Annah? The people creating victims. If you take issue, not with the perpetrators but with the way their targets dare to speak of their experiences, you’re victim blaming. You’re heaping scorn on the wrong people. It should not fall to women to be nicer and less concerned about the shit that happens to us. It should fall to the abusers and misogynists to stop harming women.

    I’m also sick of seeing, “But MLK was so nice!” Yeah and that worked out so well for him, didn’t it?

    Also, the civil rights movement was not one man’s struggle.

    As to “people like me” causing a divide. I agree. We could just shut up and take it and the sexists fuckwits would feel right at home. Eventually people like me would get tired of being treated like that and quietly slink away to leave folks to speculate that atheism and skepticism are “more of a guy thing” without anyone to correct them. That’s the only unity that was had before and some people want it to go back to being just like that. Too bad. If uppity women who don’t hand out cookies perturb you, go away. Get on the other side of the rift. I’m not here to teach you. Presumably you could, if you cared, go forth and educate yourself. I’m not here to win you over politely if you think my rights are “complicated” or have a “middle ground”. I’m not here to prop you up in anyway. I am defending myself against ideas, attitudes and actions that are actual dangers to me in my actual life. I should not be expected to answer those incredibly insulting ideas, attitudes and actions civilly.

    ..and if you think suggesting that forced birth might be a burden women simply have to bear in some situations is a civil suggestion, fuck right off. It most certainly is not.

    Thanks for the support, Horde. You literally had me misty-eyed. *hugs*

  174. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    We will fail if we can’t change this.

    What can I do better?

    If you ever want to have a co-blogger, consider give the job to a woman…Oops! too late.

  175. Roberto Aguirre Maturana says

    We will fail if we can’t change this.

    What can I do better?

    If you ever want to have a co-blogger, consider give the job to a woman…Oops! too late.

  176. says

    I would. But giving women opportunities does not mean denying them to men — and this was a case where someone was talking about going for a new gig with whom I’ve long been simpatico. And so far, I think he’s working out pretty well, despite having a penis.

  177. says

    I’ve been up over 24 hours…so all I can say is kudos jackiepaper, anri, doug hudson, Anthony K, Nick Gotts and Nerd of Redhead, too!

    I’m not here to win you over politely if you think my rights are “complicated” or have a “middle ground”. I’m not here to prop you up in anyway. I am defending myself against ideas, attitudes and actions that are actual dangers to me in my actual life. I should not be expected to answer those incredibly insulting ideas, attitudes and actions civilly. (exactly!)

  178. Eristae says

    I don’t have much time (must get to work!) but I really want to say this:

    MLK is “nice” only in retrospect. Yes, he was nonviolent, but he was never acting in a manner that the privileged found comfortable. If he had been, there would have been no place for his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In that letter, you can clearly see his very impassioned response to being told that he needed to rock the boat less in the name of achieving change. He, too, was told to be less radical, to not upset the privileged so that the privileged would not be turned off his message. He didn’t listen. There’s a reason he was shot.

    I’ll quote him from that letter:

    First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    If a feminist said that today, would she be commended for her niceness? If she said that lukewarm supporters of women are worse than outright rejectors of women’s rights, would she be praised for her civility? Or would she be condemned fiercely for speaking a way that was likely to “alienate” potential supporters?

    I think we all know the answer.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This faux-movement is DOA. I’m an atheist and I want nothing to do with all the hate these wretched man-children spout.

    Compared to your inane immature drivel? You never say anything cogent.

  180. says

    And mythbri, QFT:

    No, it’s not reasonable.

    I am a woman with bodily autonomy 100% of the time. Not just for twenty weeks. Not even for 99.95% of the time. 100% of the time.

    Restricting access to abortion based on “viability” is not respecting any “rights” of a fetus. It’s not even granting a fetus the same rights as born persons. It’s giving the fetus more rights than ANY other person has, because NO ONE has the right to use my body against my will, even if it will save a life.

    I cannot compel you to donate an organ, or blood, or bone marrow or other tissue to save my life. You cannot compel me to donate my entire body to save someone else’s.

    There is no such thing as ‘abortion on a whim’. Pretending that there is perpetuates the chipping away of the rights of women.

  181. says

    Society and the law can’t even compel a father (or a mother even!) to donate blood, tissue or organs to their own baby five minutes after it exits the womb, ffs. Forced-birthers love to present the straw argument “but no limits on abortion mean a woman might abort at 39.5 weeks gestation!” – how about if more people were to counter that with “How is one week after a birth different from one week (or ten weeks or fourteen weeks or 20 weeks) before the birth? It’s a culture of LIFE, isn’t it forced-birthers? Well, after birth, that baby will have not one but TWO parental bodies to harvest necessary stuff from. And while we are at it, what about other babies, innocent children, adorable preteens – no matter if they are your biological offspring – all life is precious, isn’t it! Why do we not, as a society, make donor registration compulsory and donating when matches are found equally compulsory?

  182. says

    We will fail if we can’t change this.

    What can I do better?

    All of those ‘pitters keep accusing you of highjacking the movement? Perhaps it’s time you actually did. I’m thinking that you and the other pro-feminist “leaders” (say, starting with those people who agreed to write a post for Surly Amy’s series, plus all the women who are out there advocating for change) get together and develop a strategy for moving forward. It’s really time to treat the sexist jerks in the movement (including the big names like Richard Dawkins) just as you would Islamist or Christian misogynists. Stop engaging them, and start shunning them. The thing is, every time one of them comes out with more sexist assholishness, I can’t help but think “If this guy were saying the exact same crap, but with a racist rather than a misogynist slant, he’d be a pariah. If he were a Holocaust denier instead of a denier of sexism, there wouldn’t be bloggers posting about his next speaking engagement or television appearance. There would *be* no more speaking engagements.”

  183. thumper1990 says

    @Flying Squirrell #142

    At worst I’ve disagreed with you, though I’ve not responded to any of your comments before this one and we have been in no dialog so perhaps you have some reevaluating to do if you think shouting at a total stranger in a public forum is acceptable behavior.

    Wait, I’ll call the Waaaahmbulance…

  184. Emrysmyrddin says

    I’m a human being. I’m also a woman. Being in the second group does not, despite some peoples’ view, preclude me from the first.
    .
    I understand that some men can sometimes find it somewhat difficult to comprehend the fear of pregnancy slavery, of being physically entrapped, of forced birth, of your country’s government saying: “You’re fully human, sure, right up until this bit here, where we get to make the decision for you regardless of your own free will…” Often, one is not even safe from this head-patting, condescending view in one’s own partner/family relationships, despite the natural assumption that these people would be more invested as seeing one as fully human.
    .
    I understand that it might be difficult, but, hey, ‘your’ (plural, general) lack of understanding is not an excuse to prop up, or even be mealy-mouthed about, that system of biological slavery.

  185. deephlat says

    When religious people say, “atheism is just another religion,” they are correct in terms of the churchlike group psychology of “atheist meetings.”

  186. Emrysmyrddin says

    deephlat: Elaborate, or prepare yourself.
    .
    mutters: Three post rule, three post rule…

  187. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Gillel, I’ve noticed that when someone says that feminism “wallows in victimhood” it means that the feminist being referred to dares to talk about victimization at all. In these critic’s minds good feminists shake it off and don’t make such a big deal out of the violence, sexism and rampant rape culture. Much like the people calling for a nicer approach, they don’t think anger in the face of violence and oppression are warranted and so no one else should either.

    BINGO!

    If you don’t like Melissa McEwan, whatevs. Take it up with her, don’t read her posts, whatever. I honestly can not care less about some random person on the internet’s opinion of one writer.

    But don’t come here, play the heavily loaded sexist “she’s such a hysterical over-reacting attention whore victimhood-wallower” and “she’s such a baaaaaaaad feminist that harms “real” feminism” and expect to not be called out for it. Because that shit is straight up bullshit.

    And dear Maude, Dawkins. How much more horrible can he get? That “argument”, if you can call it that, that at a certain point a fetus’s potential to feel pain outweighs a woman’s right to her own body really reeks for all the reasons the Horde already explained so fully.

    I also just want to add DITTO to everything CripDyke said in #5. I can not tell y’all how vitally important this heavily guarded safe space is for me, even if I don’t post nearly often enough (most often I’ll probably just be saying ‘what Gilliel/Caine said!’). Reading the comments, or hell, just knowing that there is this one solitary corner of the internet where oppression is LOUDLY and RUDELY (and yes, the rudeness is important! I have to spend my entire fucking life making nice with assholes and bigots and abusers, including in my own family; this space where I’m able to express my anger and read others express theirs is IMPORTANT) not tolerated makes me despair less when most days I feel like I’ll drown in the despair. So thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

  188. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    When religious people say, “atheism is just another religion,” they are correct in terms of the churchlike group psychology of “atheist meetings.”

    What do you mean? Seriously, no snark, I have not the vaguest cooking clue what you are talking about or referring to here, so would you please explain?

  189. thumper1990 says

    @deephlat

    The Oxford English Dictionary, recognised the world over as the foremost authority on the spelling and definition of words in UK English, defines religion thus:

    “Definition of religion
    noun
    [mass noun]the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods:
    ideas about the relationship between science and religion•[count noun] a particular system of faith and worship:
    the world’s great religions
    •[count noun] a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion:
    consumerism is the new religion”

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/religion

    The sharing of a single arbitrarily chosen aspect does not justify defining something as that which it is clearly not; even less so when that aspect is merely asserted rather than proven to be true.

    Now, in the context of this thread I am currently suspicious that your post is merely an opening gambit in a series of accusations of “feminist groupthink” however, I must remind myself of the Three Post Rule and allow you the chance to explain yourself before assuming the worst. So, explain yourself; but please, no more bad analogies.

  190. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    When religious people say, “atheism is just another religion,” they are correct in terms of the churchlike group psychology of “atheist meetings.”

    Gee, another unevidenced assertion. *floosh* sent where it belongs, in the the sewer. Show how you arrrived at your conclusion using evidence. Be sure to include the imaginary deity we are praying to, and the holy book everybody is reading from…

  191. jackiepaper says

    Here’s Michael Nugents 8 ways to unify the precious movement. 7 of which amount to, “Be nicer. Your rights are just another topic open to debate.” Only one suggests that sexism in this community is an issue worth tackling and even in that one he diminishes that problem by adding, “regardless of the scale of that problem”.

    http://www.michaelnugent.com/

    FFS.

  192. Freodin says

    #183. Anri

    And I find it funny – well, not funny exactly, but pitiful – that people equate being made to feel unwelcome due to being a woman with being made to fell unwelcome due to being dead flat wrong.
    See if you can spot the difference.

    What Melissa McEwan wrote was “No one at St. Peter’s ever called me a stupid cunt because I disagreed with them. “.
    To use your words… because someone thought she was dead flat wrong.

    I don’t know what she disagreed about – or what she was wrong about. But I think there is more to feminism than the right to abortion.

    Don’t get me wrong: I 100% support the right of women to have an abortion. And I think that everyone should support that right. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or ignore the ethical questions that arise.

    I disagree that it is a simple question, that there are no complexities involved. We can argue about that… but if you (whoever of you) start to call me a whatever-expletive-of-your-choice… you are not better than the unwelcoming people Mrs. McEwan mentioned.

  193. Emrysmyrddin says

    Disagreement 101:
    .
    ‘Cunt’ = slur based on inherent attribute
    .
    ‘You’re a fucking idiot’ = insulting the stupidity of your argument
    .
    You’re welcome.

  194. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    re jackiepaper—Count me as another one who’s got her back. Don’t you fuckers dare try to make her a scapegoat to excuse your outrageous uncivil condescension and dismissal of women’s full humanity. We can see what you’re doing and it won’t fly.

    re Melissa McEwan—Regardless of McEwan’s faults or virtues what she wrote is right on the money and her experience is representative of what many women would say. I have friends with good judgment who would say there is a “cult of personality” problem at Shakesville, so that in itself isn’t a ridiculous thing to say on its face. But it’s also beside the point in this context, talking about this particular piece of writing on this particular topic.

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I disagree that it is a simple question, that there are no complexities involved.

    If one considers bodily autonomy, it is a simple question without complexity. It only becomes complex when one tries to devalue women to incubator status. So, you aren’t making any sense.

  196. duce7999 says

    I think that we absolutely need to get more inclusive with the ladies. I also think that we aren’t able to stop there. I think we need to actively reach out to all races and ethnicities as well. We have made a lot of gains in the last few years, but if we continue to be a mainly white club, then I fear we will share the same fate as the GOP and their diminishing national presence.

    I have to admit that I have become relatively bored with atheism/secularism and have instead chosen to pay more attention to progressive issues in general. If all we ever do is get together and say how silly religion is, how long can that stay interesting? We have to have a constructive purpose. I think the best thing we can do right now is science and math education.

  197. kate_waters says

    Every damn time. Every. Single. Damn. Time.

    Whenever there is a post about women, women’s rights, or abortion the regulars here have to do a “Women are Persons with Rights and Bodily Autonomy”

    Every time the topic comes up in meatspace there has to be a “Women are Persons with Rights and Bodily Autonomy” 101.

    If you’re a woman, you’re constantly bombarded with messages that you are not only responsible for making every penis within a thousand miles stand up like a telephone pole no matter your sexual orientation or gender presentation (you fat, ugly, unfuckable cow/dog who is so shallowly obsessed with her appearance), but you’re also responsible for preventing those penises from coming near you in any way that any person on any day decides isn’t to their liking (you brazen hussy/slut/town bicycle, and why won’t you fuck me, you frigid bitch?). You’re responsible for making sure you aren’t assaulted by a rapists (you stupid idiot, what did you expect when you’re always “asking for it”), or suffer street harassment at the hands of random assholes (Boys will be boys who can’t control themselves so you have to control yourself or it’s just what you deserve), or beaten by an abusive partner (It’s just as much your fault, anyway. You’re just another liar who is faking it and why should I help you when you’re too stupid to leave a guy who punches you black and blue.). You have to work so people don’t tell you you’re a lazy gold digger, but remember that having a job is selfish and takes you away from Kinder, Kuche and Kirch…

    …and on top of all that and SO much more we’re also tasked with educating random assholes on how to be decent human beings.

    And we’re expected to be sweet and kind and oh-so-gentle when we do it. It’s enough to make me puke.

    Frankly, I’m constantly surprised at how incredibly civil everyone here is in these threads, given the fact that we’re essentially fighting to be considered humans. That anyone who’s here “tone-trolling” or “concern-trolling” thinks the environment here is intemperate during these discussions simply boggles.

    Then again, I shouldn’t expect much in the way of critical thinking from a group of people who don’t understand that women are people.

  198. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Yeah, I’m another one who simply can NOT understand how abortion is oh so very, very complicated and nuanced.

    I mean seriously? Not your body, not your call. That’s just about the extent of how “complicated” I am able to make it.

    But then, to paraphrase Steersman sniping at Giliell over at Crommunist’s blog, apparently something about [my] refusal to allow “nuance” to move this into some “morally grey” area somehow interferes with my ability to do “thinky work”, so what the hell do I know? I’m just the slave whose body will be co-opted, after all.

  199. Rey Fox says

    Yeah, well — as I’ve posted here, the reason is simple: The requirements to entry into A+ (or atheism, etc …) are the lowest bar imaginable. Simply, you don’t believe in god. That’s it. Nothing else.

    A+ has a higher bar of entry than atheism, that’s what the damn “+” is there for. You’re either monumentally bad at reading, or you just don’t care, or you’re willingly conflating the two in an all-purpose whine about name-calling. Not that I should expect anything different or better from you, given your history here. Tip: You get a whole let less “hate” here if you don’t say stupid things.

  200. says

    I have a real problem with Michael Nugent’s suggestions.

    Here I am, interested in science, equality, secularism, that sort of thing.

    Over there on the other side of the “rift” are a small mob of shrieking slimeweasels, howling about how much they hate us, and busily producing lazy photoshops of any one they don’t like.

    WHY should I be interested in closing the rift?

  201. says

    One of my male atheist friends responded to it with an argument about how it’s okay to dehumanize a barista as simply a means to an end,…

    It’s what?

    ***

    I think that we absolutely need to get more inclusive with the ladies.

    Why do I hear Al Green in the background?

  202. Freodin says

    If one considers bodily autonomy, it is a simple question without complexity. It only becomes complex when one tries to devalue women to incubator status. So, you aren’t making any sense.

    Does bodily autonomy mean that no one has the right to mess with your body without your consent?

    If yes, what about the right to bodily autonomy of the fetus?

    Uncomplex answer: it does not have such a right. It is not a person. It is only a bunch of cells.

    That would mean that the arguments like “It is not the the fetus gets equal rights… it gets MORE rights than the mother.” are meaningless. A fetus does not have any rights and should not have any.

    Complex question: when does it start to have rights? And then we get into all this debate about pain and viability.

    As for “devaluing” women to incubator status… there is a lot that women are devalued to, but in this case I’d say this is a special situation. It IS a unique situation… there is no other that is comparable. Not organ donations, not even siamese twins. Women ARE the incubators of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men and women, you cannot deny that.

    Now the question is what we make of this difference. Do we use it to “devalue” women? Do we try to ignore it – consequences be damned?

    Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?

  203. Emrysmyrddin says

    Oh, oh, pick me!
    .
    Because we’re all so MEEEEEAAAAAN, especially when it comes to demanding to be treated as human beings! If the rift became smaller, well, we’d all just get along, be positionally aligned again, with bunnies and rainbows and sammiches on demand…wait, whaddya mean I have to make the sammiches? Hang on a tick…

  204. kate_waters says

    Freodin:

    Stop treating women as an intellectual exercise. Stop “debating” our humanity.

    Seriously. STOP.

  205. Emrysmyrddin says

    Explain to me the tuuuurrrible consequences of allowing each individual woman and transman to choose whether or not they might want to be ‘an incubator’. (vom.) Please. Volcanoes? Earthquakes? Cats and dogs living together?

  206. Eristae says

    @195/me

    Crap, I totally posted what two other people had posted. Noooo!

    Anyway, I meant to have this in my post but I forgot:

    If anyone doubts that MLK’s letter was not some nice, civil letter that would have received a measured and thoughtful response, I challenge you to do this:

    Go to any forum where a debate about what Richard Dawkins said is being debated. Any of them. Then post something like this:

    “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that women’s great stumbling block in their stride toward freedom is not the Taliban or Quiverfull Christians, but the moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

    Or, if that’s isn’t specific enough, say something like, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that women’s great stumbling block in their stride toward freedom is not men like Shelley Shannon [the man who shot George Tiller] or Rush Limbaugh, but men like Richard Dawkins.”

    Then come back and tell me how that worked out.

  207. The Mellow Monkey says

    SC

    It’s what?

    His argument was that when you visit a coffee shop, you do not care about the barista as a human being. Their thoughts, feelings and desires don’t matter. They are simply an object to be used to get what you want. Since he found this socially acceptable, he felt objectifying women was equally acceptable.

    His argument was based on many misunderstandings of…everything.

  208. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but in this case I’d say this is a special situation. It IS a unique situation… there is no other that is comparable.

    Unevidence assertion, *floosh* dismissed as fuckwittery.

    The only way for this to be true is if the fetus has greater status than the woman. Which means devaluing the woman, or overvaluing the fetus. There is no complexity unless you are trying to limit something that doesn’t happen. Which is late term abortions on whim.

    Women ARE the incubators of humanity.

    But they have bodily autonomy. Who gave you the right to tell them what to do with their bodies? Hint: NOBODY.

  209. mythbri says

    @Freodin

    If you and I were having this conversation in person, would you be saying to my face that you think it’s okay to force me to go through a life-altering, potentially fatal medical experience against my will because “unique” and “special”?

    You’re right that there is no exact comparison. That’s not a failure of women and female-bodied persons to convince men, though – that’s a failure of men and male-bodied persons to respect the bodily autonomy of people who will have experiences they NEVER will have.

    If there WERE an exact comparison, if there WERE a circumstance of equal magnitude in which the bodily autonomy of men and male-bodied persons were infringed upon, I don’t think we would even be having this conversation. The idea that bodily autonomy is a universal and basic human right would never, ever be debated.

    There is no “special” or “unique” circumstance in which it’s okay for you to force me to go through something that would be horrifically scarring for me, both mentally and physically. That is torture. That is de-humanization.

  210. Snoof says

    This faux-movement is DOA. I’m an atheist and I want nothing to do with all the hate these wretched man-children spout.

    And yet you continue to post, and post, and post.

  211. Eristae says

    @Freodin

    Women ARE the incubators of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men and women, you cannot deny that.

    What? No. I can deny it all I want. Incubators are inanimate objects possessing the sole purpose of incubating things. They have no thoughts, no feelings, no desires, and when they stop working, one either fixes them or throws them out.

    I cannot stress how much I object to the comparison of a woman to an incubator.

  212. Freodin says

    Unevidence assertion, *floosh* dismissed as fuckwittery.

    The unique situation I am referring to is the complete reliance of a human being on the body of another human being. That happens only in this special case. And thus I think it has to be dealt with as a special case.

    The only way for this to be true is if the fetus has greater status than the woman. Which means devaluing the woman, or overvaluing the fetus. There is no complexity unless you are trying to limit something that doesn’t happen. Which is late term abortions on whim.

    So the relative values of different humans has already been objectively settled? Fine, I wasn’t aware of that. I will of course change my position immediately!

    But they have bodily autonomy. Who gave you the right to tell them what to do with their bodies? Hint: NOBODY.

    Yes, they DO have bodily autonomy. And even though no one has given me the right, I still assert that a woman has every right to do with her body as she pleases.

    And still I might almost lose my civility when people try to paint me as the enemy for keeping to ask the question whether there might be a better solution.

  213. Anthony K says

    Explain to me the tuuuurrrible consequences of allowing each individual woman and transman to choose whether or not they might want to be ‘an incubator’. (vom.) Please. Volcanoes? Earthquakes? Cats and dogs living together?

    They won’t think about the issue as dispassionate, rational, smoking jacket and leather armchair debaters, apparently.

  214. says

    As for “devaluing” women to incubator status… there is a lot that women are devalued to, but in this case I’d say this is a special situation. It IS a unique situation… there is no other that is comparable. Not organ donations, not even siamese twins. Women ARE the incubators of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men and women, you cannot deny that.

    Now the question is what we make of this difference. Do we use it to “devalue” women? Do we try to ignore it – consequences be damned?

    Oh yes, it’s a special situation. It’s the very most special situation of all.

    Women are ‘the only incubators “we” have’? Who are “we”? I don’t think you mean humankind. I think you are getting nearer to the root of misogyny – it’s the fear that some men have of the “consequences” of not controlling women. The fear that those “consequences” might be that some woman somewhere might refuse to gestate some man’soffspring – and it could be his!

    Granting that women are entitled to bodily autonomy leaves the door open for those lying evil things to find any old excuse to abort some man’s embryo -she will have total control! And women definitely will kill wantonly regardless of whether there is a love bond between the pair who have conceived – women don’t have human emotions, morals or ethics; they are manipulative, conniving, opportunistic killers. Letting women have any say, let alone control over men’s reproductive power is unacceptable! – and the competition between men for women might become savage, which means men would be harmed and society would be in chaos (damn those women for making men crazy!).

    No. It’s better for society if all women are forced down and forced into reproductive slavery – that way any man who can manage to impregnate a woman is golden. Therefore patriarchy.

    Do you mean those kinds of consequences?

  215. says

    Women Blacks ARE the incubators slaves of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men whites and women blacks, you cannot deny that.

    Sound any different to you?

    I am a person, not the incubator of humanity. If I choose to do some labour to gestate and bring a child into the world, that’s up to me. If I choose not to at any point in time, that’s up to me. Not the state, not you, not a master sex, not some guy claiming ownership of my body.

  216. Anthony K says

    Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?

    We have. It’s abortion without restriction. That’s the best possible of all solutions.

  217. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?

    The only workable solution is you acknowledging the truth, women have bodily autonomy, and you have absolutely no say in how they control said body. We don’t have to use what you say as anything other than fertilzer. How do you like being marginalized? If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

  218. Anthony K says

    Also, I’ll take being called a mangina over being forced to carry a pregnancy to term every fucking second of every fucking day.

    It’s ZERO GODDAMN FUCKING BAD, comparatively.

  219. mythbri says

    @Freodin

    And still I might almost lose my civility when people try to paint me as the enemy for keeping to ask the question whether there might be a better solution.

    What better solution? It is not possible to transplant a pregnancy. There is no such thing as an artificial womb. The only solutions possible are to increase sex education, increase access to contraception, and increase access to abortion. All of those things will combine to reduce the need for abortion, but nothing – not even transplants or artificial wombs – will ever ELIMINATE the need for abortion entirely.

  220. Emrysmyrddin says

    Still waiting for the long, long list of Consequences inherent to affording every human being the right to control their reproductive abilities.

  221. Freodin says

    @mythbri
    No. I never said I would force you, or support others trying to force or hinder you to excercise your free will. I think that any attempt to shame, threaten or coerce women into a solution that denies their choice is abhorrend.

    Yet this horrible scarring mental and physical torture is the only existing way for new humans to come into existence. So while I would never do anything to force you to give birth, I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    Am I a woman hater for thinking this way?

  222. Emrysmyrddin says

    while I would never do anything to force you to give birth, I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    It’s called consent. I can’t think of a word vile enough to call you that you don’t get this.

  223. Eristae says

    Yes, they DO have bodily autonomy. And even though no one has given me the right, I still assert that a woman has every right to do with her body as she please

    If you really believe this, then you should have no problem with a woman removing a fetus from her body at any point.

  224. says

    The unique situation I am referring to is the complete reliance of a human being on the body of another human being. That happens only in this special case. And thus I think it has to be dealt with as a special case.

    And here we have the crux of the matter. The festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny: because while everyone talks about the “complete reliance of a human being on the body of another human being”, everyone pretends we are talking about the fetus. But we are not. We are talking about the man.

    The battle over reproductive rights in patriarchy is, in essence a battle to establish men’s right to use women’s bodies to reproduce. http://www.niftyatheist.com/2012/08/why-cant-womanbe-more-like-man.html

  225. mythbri says

    @Freodin

    I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate [sic] both parts – old and new human.

    The “solution” is for women to have wanted children. The “wanted” part is crucial, for both the women and the potential children.

  226. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The unique situation I am referring to is the complete reliance of a [potential until born] human being on the body of another [real and existiing] human being.

    Fixed that for you. You will give a woman bodily integrity until you take it away by forcing her to carry a fetus to term. You don’t believe in bodily autonomy. There is no ifs, there is no special consideration, she either has it or she doesn’t. And you don’t think she does. And won’t until your special considerations hit the dumpster of hypocrisy.

  227. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    , I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    There is no way for that to happen without devaluing the woman. You haven’t shown any capability of that happening. If women have full bodily autonomy, with abortion, given the dictates of medical ethics, anytime. You haven’t presented any proposal. All you are doing is WHINING.

  228. says

    question whether there might be a better solution

    And a better solution than what exactly? We have the only solutions to unwanted pregnancies that we need. What we need is a) better access to those solutions (including zero legal restrictions, more education about those options, and free, ubiquitous contraception, Plan B, medical and surgical abortion); and b) no more social stigma about choosing not to be pregnant.

  229. Emrysmyrddin says

    >tired variation on the old ‘but Mankind will DIE OUT if the women have a say in it all!1!”
    .
    Current world population: 7,104,099,866 (thanks, World Bank)
    .
    blink blink
    .
    Try again; do better, too.

  230. The Mellow Monkey says

    Yet this horrible scarring mental and physical torture is the only existing way for new humans to come into existence. So while I would never do anything to force you to give birth, I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    Some fertile women and trans men will want to carry fetuses at some point in their lives. Some fertile women and trans men will not want to carry fetuses at some point in their lives.

    Taking away the bodily autonomy of the people who do not want to carry fetuses at that point in their lives is not necessary to keep humanity going.

  231. Anthony K says

    Am I a woman hater for thinking this way?

    Why is this important to you? Why do you feel the need to make this issue about you, and how you are perceived? How is this relevant?

  232. Rey Fox says

    Still waiting for the long, long list of Consequences inherent to affording every human being the right to control their reproductive abilities.

    FEWER BABBY!

    Um…that’s all I can think of.

  233. Eristae says

    Yet this horrible scarring mental and physical torture is the only existing way for new humans to come into existence. So while I would never do anything to force you to give birth, I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    If all you’re talking about is what you hope for, if you believe abortion should be legal without limit despite your own personal feelings, then I have to admit that I don’t understand what you are trying to say when you talk about “when does the [fetus] start to have rights” and “try[ing] to find a workable solution.” Rights to what? Solutions to what?

  234. Eurasian magpie says

    Freodin,

    Indeed you are right to say that women are the only sex that are “incubators” as you so charmingly put it. From this it does not follow that women are obligated to “incubate” until full term every time a conception takes place. It is not obvious to me that we would be running out of people anytime soon so that birth rates need to be amped up.

    Yet this horrible scarring mental and physical torture is the only existing way for new humans to come into existence

    the horrible and scarring part referred to unwanted pregnancy. Do you think people here advocate for mandatory abortions or something?

  235. says

    Anthony K, I think he is expressing the angst of the completely reliant human being dependent upon persons with uteri to reproduce. If those incubators are allowed to decide whether or not to incubate this sort of older human’s offspring, then there could be terrible CONSEQUENCES (for the person without a uterus).

  236. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Women ARE the incubators of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men and women, you cannot deny that.

    And all this does is give more support to the “If you don’t have a uterus, STFU” argument.

    yes, ciswomen and cismen (because that’s all you’re talking about, of course) do have some biological differences. So what?

    How in the world does our having differences somehow mean women should have less rights? And you can stop pretending that’s not what you’re arguing for. We can read betwen your lines.

  237. Pteryxx says

    >tired variation on the old ‘but Mankind will DIE OUT if the women have a say in it all!1!”

    it was a stupid and disgusting argument when it meant “if women’s consent is necessary for sex/flirting, sex/flirting will END” even though women generally don’t risk death or permanent injury from flirting.

  238. thumper1990 says

    @Freodin

    From reading your posts, you appear to be stuck in something of an ethical quandary. You seem to be genuine in your belief that women deserve bodily autonomy, but also adhere to the culturally entrenched idea that foetuses are baby humans that warrant saving. You are left trying to reconcile those disparate beliefs and thus end up in a fence-sitting position.

    At some point you need to come down on one side of the issue or another. Either you believe people have an unquestionable right to bodily autonomy, or you do not. Either you believe that it is OK to tell women what they can and can not do with their bodies, or you do not. You can sit there wishing your hardest for a “better solution”, but you don’t seem to have one and if you think about it there cannot be one. Either the woman’s rights trump the foetus’s, or vice versa. Which is it?

  239. Emrysmyrddin says

    Freodin, right now, you’re probably being overwhelmed by TEH MEEEEAN. Stop and think about why your oh so reasonable points are being taken that way. All you need to do is follow the logical conclusions of your Reasons and Consequences to a society that does – what? – when a pregnant person does not want to be pregnant any more, but the state decrees that they must remain so until delivery. Then hide your head for a while. If you’re not weeping in shame when your mind finally smacks up against this horrific dystopian nightmare then, well, you’re no loss.

  240. Freodin says

    Why is this important to you? Why do you feel the need to make this issue about you, and how you are perceived? How is this relevant?

    I tried to make my contribution to this thread on the lines of “how can we be more inclusive by not calling woman ‘cunts’ for disagreeing. Do we have to insult those who disagree?”

    I made the mistake of mentioning the abortion topic in my post. And lo and behold! instead of answering to the relevant topics of inclusiveness, I have to hear how vile I am and an example of the festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny and how I don’t really believe what I explicitly stated – repeatedly – that I believe.

    Abortion is necessary and it is a right. Yet it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

  241. says

    At least the bloody MRAs are open about their desire to have rights over women and over who has reproductive control. These mealy-mouthed civil manipulators try to hide their fear-filled agenda behind pretentions of “support”.

    Here’s an idea, Freodin, how about trying this: try to regard women as bona fide human beings just like you with ethics and civility and feelings and the ability to feel pain… and then make an effort to build a relationship with one who you like and who likes you back. Call me crazy, but maybe if you make an effort to act like an actual civilized human being, instead of blathering on about consequences if you or society cannot draw a line behind which women switch from persons to incubators – hey, maybe your worries would actually be over!

    Building a loving relationship with another person – it’s just so crazy, it might work!

  242. Emrysmyrddin says

    It’s not a matter of ‘excitement’. It’s a matter of reality. And I don’t particularly want to share Hobnobs and ginger beer with someone who thinks that a ‘potential human’ outweighs my choices about my health. Perhaps that’s the point you’re missing about ‘inclusivity’.

  243. jackiepaper says

    Thanks Josh.

    Eriste #229, Can you even imagine?

    PZ, Agreed. Michael is calling for people to be kind to the cruel, as if that will stop the cruelty, as if responding to them “uncharitably” is provoking them to continue being bigots. Bigots and bullies don’t require provocation and they don’t go away or stop when people are simply more patient with them. The idea that he thinks debates concerning my autonomy or whether or not “She was asking for it”, “Women lie about rape to get attention / ruin men’s lives” etc can be labeled misogyny is repellent to me.

    Frankly, I don’t see the atheist movement without the + as worth the effort at this point. Creationism and prayer in schools is not nearly so damaging to individuals and society as the rape/bully culture, misogyny and sexism in schools. (or racism, transphobia, homophobia, etc.) They’re all bad and they can be combated together. But if I keep being told to choose, I’m not choosing to put my time and energy into a movement that keeps suggesting I throw myself under the wheels of the bus for the greater good. I don’t want to be nicer about being treated as less than human. It took me getting more angry than afraid to even speak up at all. If I’m going to simmer down about something, it’s going to be the a/s community.

  244. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Freodin, why does this cause you SO MUCH distress? Do you not think that the “babies” aborted may actually be better off? Do you think that life is inherently good and desirable?

  245. mythbri says

    @Freodin

    Abortion is necessary and it is a right. Yet it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    How many women do you think, ever, in the history of the world (because abortion has been around pretty much as long as there have been humans), have found out that they are unexpectedly pregnant and think “OMG how awesome! I finally get to have one of those abortions I’ve been hearing about so much!”

    Don’t try to dismiss my concern with accusations of “groupthink”. That’s a really patronizing way to minimize the impact of what we’re telling you. If you can ascribe this to “groupthink”, then there’s no reason to take it seriously, is there?

    I am deadly serious. I do not WANT to have an abortion. I take steps to prevent that from happening. But I will have one if I need one.

  246. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    So instead of being an adult and addressing other’s concerns or even pretending you’re actually reading what they’re saying, you insult and attack them while simultaneously whining about being attacked.

    Just fuck off already. You dug the grave of your credibility.

  247. thumper1990 says

    @Freodin #265

    Stop whining. You are not being accused of being a ” festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny”. That is hyperbolic to the point of ridiculousness. People are saying you don’t get it and are subscribing to a culturally entrenched view that is itself misogynistic. It is not your fault that you are a product of your environment, but it is your fault that you are refusing to stop and think about it, and recognise your attitudes for what they are. That’s why people are getting annoyed.

    Now I asked you a question at #263 that I would really be very interested to hear an answer to.

  248. says

    I have to hear how vile I am and an example of the festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny

    The bolded are my words and I did not link them to *you* being “vile”. I said that the festering stinking fetid root of misogyny is the fear of some men of losing control of their own ability to reproduce and being forced to wait for a woman to accept them as reproductive mates. That patriarchy pretends to be defending “fetal rights” but it is, in fact, protecting men’s rights to use women’s bodies to reproduce.
    It is why women have been limited to their biological function for most of human history – it is why women have been reduced to the status of livestock or chattel…

  249. Anthony K says

    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Oh, Jesus fucking Christ.

    I was raised Catholic. I’m pushing forty. There is not a single point germane to this discussion you can make that I haven’t already made twenty years ago.

    Groupthink my fucking ass.

    Can you stop stroking your own dick long enough to grok that some of us have been there and done that?

  250. jackiepaper says

    ” I have to hear how vile I am and an example of the festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny and how I don’t really believe what I explicitly stated – repeatedly – that I believe.”

    No one said that and no, you don’t have to hear it. You can leave. I can’t stop being a woman. But sure, you’re the real victim here. Tell us more about how awful it is for you to be told you aren’t being a staunch ally when you want to introduce your lack of excitement into a discussion of my rights. Go on and tell me about how for the greater good my rights must be forfeit. I’m used to it.

  251. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Oh, and the most important question I wanted to add to my 269:

    Do you think women just casually, gleefully and joyfully have abortions for the sake of killing “potential humans”, that they do not/can not consider the potential human angle vs. why ever she needs the abortion for herself and her situation, and do it better?

  252. says

    Hey Freodin… try this one:

    “You have the right to do whatever you want as long as you do not violate somebody else’s right to do whatever they want.”

    In the case of pregnancy, the fetus is violating the woman’s right to bodily autonomy. If the fetus is a person, and the woman does NOT consent to that violation, then the fetus is a criminal.

    If the fetus is NOT a person, then it doesn’t have rights until it becomes a person, which I don’t think happens until the umbilical chord is cut.

    Because… and this a very simple thing… bodily autonomy CANNOT be trumped, and the fetus doesn’t have that until the umbilical chord is cut. This is not complicated subject.

    But if a woman’s right to bodily autonomy is not enough (though it really should be)… there are over 7 billion people on this planet. It’s actually too late to start thinking about the consequences of overpopulation.

  253. omnicrom says

    I tried to make my contribution to this thread on the lines of “how can we be more inclusive by not calling woman ‘cunts’ for disagreeing. Do we have to insult those who disagree?”

    No we don’t have to insult people who disagree about topics up for debate. But Human Rights are not up for debate. I and many others on this blog absolutely REFUSE to give even an inch on discussions of Human Rights because there is absolutely no compromising on them. If you come in here full of Goddidit you’ll get a warmer reception (though one still with plenty of disagreement) then if you come in here talking about how abortion is “complicated”.

    I made the mistake of mentioning the abortion topic in my post. And lo and behold! instead of answering to the relevant topics of inclusiveness, I have to hear how vile I am and an example of the festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny and how I don’t really believe what I explicitly stated – repeatedly – that I believe.

    Abortion is necessary and it is a right. Yet it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    If you believe in unilateral availability of Abortion then you do a bang-up job of mimicking the arguments of one of the milquetoast moderates who are generally pro-choice but sometimes think that maybe abortion is “Complicated” and needs to be “Considered carefully”. And then you go on to continue to take plays out of the “concerned pro-choice moderate” playbook. Also there’s that fun little bit of egomania when you martyr yourself for the cause of civility and denounce Pharyngula as engaging in “groupthink” for ABSOLUTELY REFUSING TO GIVE UP A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO BODILY AUTONOMY.

    If you REALLY want to re-rail this discussion and the abortion thing was indeed a mistake here’s what you need to do: apologize. No, not a defensive notpology like this post where you shift the blame but an actual apology where you come out and admit you weren’t as clear as you should have been. If you want to change subjects to what you say you actually wanted to talk about suck up your ego, can the passive-aggressive snipes at the tone, and grow some thicker skin. I very much doubt you’ll like this blog’s answers on your questions anyways mind, and if that’s the case I suggest you leave and find a cozier less strident corner of the net.

  254. Emrysmyrddin says

    I said that I couldn’t think of a vile enough word to call you if you could not recognise that the difference between having a wanted pregnancy and being a mere unconsulted incubator was consent. I know most of the fucking world has a really big problem with the C word, right, but I expect better from someone who frequents a skeptic blog. Foolish of me, I know, and we’ve all been burned by that expectation, but hell, what else do you call someone who is confused about wanted pregnancy and forced pregnancy?

  255. blitzgal says

    The unique situation I am referring to is the complete reliance of a human being on the body of another human being. That happens only in this special case.

    Incorrect. As someone else has already pointed out upthread, a person cannot be compelled to offer life-saving organ or tissue donation, even if they know the person WILL DIE without it. That is the exact same scenario. And for some reason, our justice system understands bodily integrity in this instance, but does not understand bodily integrity when one body is literally inside of the other. And women are dying because of it. Not only that, but women are dying when it is known that the fetus WILL DIE, regardless of any medical intervention. We still force them to remain incubators. We still try to force 9 year old girls to give birth to their rapist step-father’s babies, even when we know the girl is likely to die, AND our lovely Catholic church excommunicates her mother, and the doctors who perform a life-saving abortion, but do not excommunicate the man who raped her.

    You want to have a philosophical discussion about morality while ignoring the actual reality of how this shit plays out in the real world. And in the meantime, women and girls are DYING. So forgive me, but I’m not about to remain civil with you. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

  256. Eristae says

    @Freodin

    Abortion is necessary and it is a right. Yet it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Who, exactly, do you think is excited by the prospect of a woman having an abortion? I think even the staunchest of pro-choicer would agree that abortion is the option that women take when their other, preferred option falls through.

    However! Because I am a moron, I will list some of the things that would make me less likely to have an abortion if I were to become unexpectedly pregnant:

    *Guaranteed, sizable maternity leave.
    *Guaranteed, shaming-free financial assistance.
    *Guaranteed, accessible healthcare.
    *Guaranteed, reliable in home assistance.
    *Guaranteed, accessible childcare options, including options for if my child became ill OR
    *Guaranteed assistance in all the other things I am doing (work school) if my child became ill.
    *Guaranteed housing.
    *Guaranteed employment.
    *Guaranteed education opportunities.
    *Guaranteed denial of paternity rights if the father was abusive to either me or the child with a guarantee that the abuse won’t just be shrugged off as “not that big of a deal.”

    Barring those things, abortion will always be very much on the table for me, and even with all those things (which I will not get), there are still other factors that might lead me to have an abortion (examples: emotional instability in me, defects in the fetus, etc). And all this is coming from someone who wants children.

    So, if one wants better solutions, one can work on achieving the things on the list I just put forth. It won’t convince all women to not have abortions, but it will make women who are like me less likely to have them.

  257. Maureen Brian says

    Persons wishing for a change of out-of-tune violin might like to pop across to Michael Nugent’s blog where we have one hero of rationality arguing that Pharyngula used to be full to the gunwales with homophobic and transphobic abuse until outside pressure – from the slympitters, no less – caused it to clean up its act.

    Also that a temporary disagreement between, say, myself and Harriet Hall would in itself be evidence of misogyny.

    It has to be seen to believed. And even then it’s difficult!

  258. glodson says

    Yeah, well — as I’ve posted here, the reason is simple: The requirements to entry into A+ (or atheism, etc …) are the lowest bar imaginable. Simply, you don’t believe in god. That’s it. Nothing else.

    This is beyond stupid. Anyway, let’s clear this up.

    The bar is low too for being a Christian. Believe that the world has at least one very minor zombie outbreak about 2000 years ago, and you’re in. It is very easy to be Muslim, just believe some illiterate dude in the desert wrote a book as told to him by an angel. It is very easy to be Mormon, just believe a guy named Joe Smith. We can do that with anything.

    Further, you are incorrect. To be an atheist, you can either actively believe there is no god, or just reject the notion there is no god based on the lack of evidence. Many of us do both. In general, for any description of god, I reject this unless evidence for this general deity is supplied. But when talking of specific fictional deities, I actively disbelief and will point out why.

    Now there’s a difference between just being an atheist and A+. The A+ movement is specifically trying to address another issue. A+ is trying to address the consequences of living in a godless universe. That’s why social justice matters, that’s why we talk about what we do.

    If your reading comprehension was anywhere near where it should be, you would have worked that out on your own. Maybe this guide will help.

  259. Anthony K says

    If you believe in unilateral availability of Abortion then you do a bang-up job of mimicking the arguments of one of the milquetoast moderates who are generally pro-choice but sometimes think that maybe abortion is “Complicated” and needs to be “Considered carefully”. And then you go on to continue to take plays out of the “concerned pro-choice moderate” playbook.

    Groupthink! Groupthink!

  260. Freodin says

    Stop whining. You are not being accused of being a ” festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny”. That is hyperbolic to the point of ridiculousness. People are saying you don’t get it and are subscribing to a culturally entrenched view that is itself misogynistic. It is not your fault that you are a product of your environment, but it is your fault that you are refusing to stop and think about it, and recognise your attitudes for what they are. That’s why people are getting annoyed.

    So please tell me: what are my culturally entrenchend misogynistic views?

    Now I asked you a question at #263 that I would really be very interested to hear an answer to.

    In my view, the rights of the woman trump the rights of the fetus. That is a personal, subjective and rather emotionally based view.
    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

  261. glodson says

    @herxheim comment 168

    I have a list for you too, cupcake!

    What can herxheim do better?

    1. Stop posting on the internet.
    2. Unplug herxheim’s computer.
    3. Obtain some compassion and empathy.
    4. Try to not be so much of a douchebag.
    5. Expand your vocabulary as to find insults that don’t reduce people to a set of gentials that you seem to find distasteful.
    6. Be more creative.
    7. At least work on your trolling as to be interesting.
    8. Go fuck yourself.

  262. Anthony K says

    I have to hear how vile I am and an example of the festering, rotten, stinking fetid root of misogyny and how I don’t really believe what I explicitly stated – repeatedly – that I believe.

    If that’s uncomfortable, how would you like a nice, relaxing fetus shoved up your ass for nine months?

  263. jackiepaper says

    Why is it that certain people need to accept their fate as less than equal for the greater good? We need to simmer down for the sake of unity. We need to relinquish our rights so that flirting/sex/babies can happen. (Women must be controlled. Teh gayz must be controlled. Otherwise we’ll destroy humanity.) It is as if there is no way that some people can imagine a world in which we have equality and survival. Why, it is as if there is a structure in place that perpetrates these ideas and enforces them throughout our culture to the point that people accept them without question.

    That is actually the only thing that cannot survive if we have equality; the patriarchy. If gays marry and women have control of their own bodies, society will not die out. The patriarchy however, will. So, yeah the world as we know it will end. That’s a good thing. The world as we know it is pretty fucking awful to alot of people and that should end.

  264. Matt Penfold says

    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    We are not discussing two humans are we ?

    The fact you cannot even grasp that tells us you are an intellectual pygmy.

  265. Freodin says

    If that’s uncomfortable, how would you like a nice, relaxing fetus shoved up your ass for nine months?

    Is that the “others have a lot more harsh problems than you do, so shut the fuck up” argument? I thought this one was disliked herearound?

  266. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    Women lose.

    Still wondering “what [your] culturally entrenchend misogynistic views”are?

  267. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Abortion is necessary and it is a right. Yet it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Can you leave your circular thinking long enough to consider reality. Potential is just that. A fertilized egg is a potential human being. But it has a long way to go to get there. You are so tied up with “human being”, that you ignore the potential. I ignore potential that until it is a reality. It isn’t a human being until first breath of air. That is a distinction that I won’t waver from

    Now, women either have bodily autonomy or they don’t. If they do, the fetus never comes into play in thinking about abortion. It is an irrelevancy. If you focus on the fetus, and feel at some point it must come to term, you are devaluing a true human being, the woman, and ignoring her bodily autonomy. You can’t have it both ways. It has to be one or the other. There is no middle ground here. Pretending there is shows your lack of cogency.

    Take you whinging and concern elsewhere. You have nothing cogent to say on the subject.

  268. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Is that the “others have a lot more harsh problems than you do, so shut the fuck up” argument? I thought this one was disliked herearound?

    Coward. You know damn well what he meant. Stop trying so goddamn hard to be an offended victim and read.

  269. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I thought this one was disliked herearound?

    Take your concern and tone and leave it where it belongs. Somewhere else. You aren’t saying anything cogent, and haven’t said anything I haven’t seen since Roe v. Wade was announced. You want to change our minds? Stop with the concern and shown real evidence. Which you know you don’t have.

  270. Pteryxx says

    We need to simmer down for the sake of unity. We need to relinquish our rights so that flirting/sex/babies can happen. (Women must be controlled. Teh gayz must be controlled. Otherwise we’ll destroy humanity.) It is as if there is no way that some people can imagine a world in which we have equality and survival.

    QFT.

    Also, blood donation? Marrow donation? Organ donation, even from living donors? Still. Happen. People choose to undergo these procedures, sometimes painful and risky procedures, at their own risk, with their own full consent and the world hasn’t come to an end. Surgery hasn’t ground to a halt because nobody’s donating blood or tissue, even though society could certainly do more to encourage donations. And that’s without any laws forcing or coercing donation, without any prospective-donor lotteries, without anyone telling non-donors they should be ashamed of themselves or interrogating them about their reasons.

    So why are women as a class considered less trustworthy, less reasonable, and less altruistic than random, anonymous strangers?

  271. Eristae says

    Okay, I’m going to point something out.

    I think that most people here will agree that my responses are pretty civil. I don’t say this as a positive or negative, just as a fact. It’s who I am and how I work.

    Now, I would like one to compare the number of responses that I’ve gotten from Freodin to the number of responses that people who are “rude,” “mean,” and “uncivil” have gotten.

    And then I’d like one to consider why people are “rude,” “mean,” and “uncivil,” and I’d like them to consider the alleged ineffectiveness of “rudeness,” “meanness,” and “incivility.”

    This happens all the time. People complain about “rudeness,” “meanness,” and “incivility,” but what posts do they spend their time paying attention to? The ones they assert are “rude,” “mean,” and “uncivil.”

  272. glodson says

    @Freodin

    Great, another women as thought experiment poster. Because that worked out so well earlier when someone tried to reduce a woman’s bodily autonomy to an exercise in academia.

    In my view, the rights of the woman trump the rights of the fetus. That is a personal, subjective and rather emotionally based view.
    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    What rights? The fetus has not rights. Further, this issue is asinine. It is like there’s some assumption that women are just waiting for a late term abortion, or doing a late term abortion on a whim, or that they will frivolously abort.

    The only reason to talk about this is because one has a contrived reason for a fetus being viable, but the woman is still seeking an abortion. At best, that’s maybe the 23rd week, at a rate of about 20%, or so. That is well into the second trimester.

    So.. let’s look at some data. Here’s some data! Now this study includes women who are between the extremely low bar of 23 weeks and 16 weeks, as those are late term abortions. Basically, women who seek late term abortions do so because of a change in circumstances or because they were denied abortion services earlier.

    Now, is there is a consequence to denying abortion? Often, there is.

    So, here you are. Talking about a circumstance in which you think you can reasonably limit a woman’s bodily autonomy, that you know better than the woman who is carrying the child. You want to draw a line in the sand, which anti-choice people love. They love it because they get to force women to jump through hoops with the hope of delaying the abortion so that she can’t have it legally, or succumbs to the emotional pressure and has it.

    Further, this exercise adds that emotional pressure by reinforcing the idea that a woman has some obligation to the parasite. She doesn’t. Only when a woman consents to play host does she have some obligation. Obligations she are choosing to take on. Women don’t abort pregnancies on a whim. Most women here seem to know, and well understand, the pressures involved.

    Stop digging.

  273. thumper1990 says

    @Freodin

    Thank you for answering. Your culturally entrenched misogynistic views are that it is somehow OK to impose restrictions on a woman’s bodily autonomy. And make no mistake, that is what you are suggesting doing, regardless of whether you personally believe them to be reasonable restrictions or not. Any measure which upholds the foetus’s right to be born (no such right exists, btw) is necessarily going to limit a woman’s access to abortion and thus interfere with her right to bodily autonomy (a right which does exist).

    What do we usually do when two people’s rights conflict? We decide which right trumps the other. If you believe that a woman’s bodily autonomy trumps that of the foetus, then there is no contradiction. The woman’s rights come first. That’s it.

    I know it’s not nice to be told that some of your views are misogynistic, but the fact of the matter is they are. You are not unique, everyone here was infected by cultural misogyny and have had to confront their preconcieved notions. Hell, I’m not nearly done confronting all of mine. What’s improtant is that you recognise the need to, and try to do so. People are getting angry at you because you don’t appear to be trying.

  274. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Freodin.
    Seriously. Listen.

    Pregnancy, and giving birth, are:
    (1) Necessary for the continuation of the species (at least, until we invent artificial wombs).
    (2) Painful, disfiguring, and life-threatening.

    If a woman or trans man decides that they want to go through this, great. Awesome. Hooray! Throw a parade. Celebrate. *confetti*.

    That “if” at the beginning is important.

    No woman or trans man can be REQUIRED to go through pregnancy and birth. I DO NOT CARE if they are the last fertile uterus-bearing person on Earth. They cannot be REQUIRED to endure this.

    If they don’t want to be pregnant, if they don’t want to give birth, if they don’t want to have children, then:

    THEY DON’T HAVE TO.

    And no one – NO ONE, NOT YOU, NOT ME, NOT ANYONE – has the right, obligation, or duty to tell them that they should, coerce them, or force them.

  275. thumper1990 says

    @Eristae #297

    They pay attention to them, but they don’t answer them. They just whine about uncivil they are. It’s tactic used by people with no argument so they can avoid having to elaborate on whatever vacuous point they started with.

  276. jackiepaper says

    Maureen, Thanks, but I’m done there. Michael’s blog has become an annex of the Slimepit. The usual lies are being tossed around. “We’re only disagreeing! That’s not misogyny! FTBs is the REAL problem! “I’ve never seen that so I don’t believe it happens, that’s skepticism!”

    No point in going there. These people are not ignorant of the augments against what they’re saying and doing. They have had ample opportunity to learn the facts from the fiction. They just don’t care. We could offer them pie and coffee and prop them up on satiny pillows while we patiently go over it all again. They are happy as they are and that’s not going to change. Michael has made them feel welcome. He’s given more space to air their woes. The poor mistreated things feel validated. So, I say let them have his blog. I hope he enjoys his new friends.

  277. says

    #136 Sally Strange. You’ve proven my point for me. Whatever point you had (or thought you had) was lost in the way you said it.

    If somebody told you that “Energy equals motherfucking Mass times the Speed of Light squared, you fucking shithead,” would you be lost in a welter of confusion about what equation they were referring to because *gasp*! naughty words?

    Because that’s basically what you’re saying here. You’re too stupid to comprehend my post, not because my post is incomprehensible, but because you refuse to comprehend it.

    That’s your problem, not mine. And I don’t understand why you bother posting here if you have such a severe handicap. Half of the conversation is going to be veiled to your comprehension anyway, so there’s zero chance of you being able to participate and add something useful.

  278. Maureen Brian says

    Fair enough, jackiepaper! I had to ban myself from going back to answer that garbage.

    And thanks for all your comments here and elsewhere.

  279. Emrysmyrddin says

    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    We call the UN.
    .
    What do we do when the rights of a human person conflicts with the rights of something which contains human cells, that is growing exponentially and using the resources (often irreversibly) of the aforementioned human person, but is not itself a human person?
    .
    The argument here is not humanity. A tumour is made of Human. A person’s conjoined-twin-limb is made of Human. We do not assign something personhood because it has human bits, we assign someone personhood based on their consciousness, their separateness, their cognition; I’m told neurologists and other very learned -ists and -ologists have spent years defining this personhood thingie. That’s why someone with no sign of brain activity gets switched off.
    .
    I am here. I am not a ‘potential’ – I am actualised. I have memories, thoughts, feelings, experiences, ties, rationalisations – I am a person. Until a foetus becomes a baby – until it is out of ME and able to be cared for by THEE – it is not a person, merely human.

  280. Anthony K says

    Is that the “others have a lot more harsh problems than you do, so shut the fuck up” argument? I thought this one was disliked herearound?

    I offered you the opportunity to do some actual research.

    But, you’re committed to being a victim in an issue that, as you put it, is one between the rights of the fetus, and the rights of the woman.

    So how do you figure into this equation at all?

    (Oh, and fuck you.

    I just threw that in there so that when you respond to me, we’ll know absolutely that my terrible abuse of you doesn’t seem to affect you in any real way.)

  281. ChasCPeterson says

    Michael Nugent’s blog where we have one hero of rationality arguing that Pharyngula used to be full to the gunwales with homophobic and transphobic abuse until outside pressure – from the slympitters, no less – caused it to clean up its act.

    Had to look. Of course, it’s Gurdur, the poster-child for Dunning-Kruger. He thinks that criticizing the statements of a woman is a ‘gendered slur’ and therefore ‘misogyny’. Dumb as a box of rocks.

  282. Eristae says

    @thumper1990/302

    Mmm hmm. It’s why I get so frustrated with the “but I would just listen to you if you were civil!” crowd. No, you damned well would not listen; civility clearly leads to being ignored while incivility leads to complaints about being uncivil. In neither situation is there “listening.”

  283. jackiepaper says

    Freodin,

    Back in the day when I was but a bit of pulp, my misogyny could have wrestled yours to the ground and stolen its lunch money. I’m a woman. Did I intend to internalize misogyny? Nope. But I did. I absorbed it along with racism, trans and homophobia, ablism etc. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t asked to be trained up that way. I did not structure society that way. When I was called on it, it hurt my feelings. But those calling me out were right. I was wrong. I was doing the damage to them and they were only telling me what I had done. Don’t be angry at us for telling you you’re being misogynist in your thinking. Be angry at the system that did that to you without your consent or even your awareness. It is insidious. I’m sorry it happened to you and I’m sorry it happened to me. But I’d be wrong if I thought that I had the shittiest end of that stick. Often, I am still wrong. It is a work in progress to see my privilege and shed my -isms. Please do yourself a favor and listen. If you don’t want to espouse misogynist things, you are doing it wrong.

  284. Matt Penfold says

    Mmm hmm. It’s why I get so frustrated with the “but I would just listen to you if you were civil!” crowd. No, you damned well would not listen; civility clearly leads to being ignored while incivility leads to complaints about being uncivil. In neither situation is there “listening.”

    There is also the fact that the person complaining about the lack of civility is invariably uncivil themselves. Mooney’s law, after Chris Mooney who is a master at being an impolite fucker whilst telling people to be nice.

  285. jackiepaper says

    Maureen,
    Oh no, thank you! Yeah, I almost went back. But, I changed my mind. If Michael’s method works, good. I’m leaving it to him.

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

    I go away for a few hours and we get, what? Well, Freodin’s thread and other comments about abortion, blah, blah. [I do see how we got there from Dawkins, but really? On this thread? What can we do better = make sure we have a good, coherent rationale for restricting abortion rights?]

    But also, yet again, tone trolling.

    Look, do we really need to have this argument again? It’s perfectly possible to decisively undercut a position or opponent without swearing or using any offensive language whatsoever.

    Here are a few examples of someone angry or expressing disagreement without being all rude about it:

    You have failed me for the last time, Admiral. Captain Piett?
    Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy field, and deploy the fleet, so that nothing gets off the system.
    You are in command now, Admiral Piett.

    The Empire will compensate you, if he dies. Put him in.

    Perhaps you think you’re being treated unfairly?

    You know it would be unfortunate if I had to leave a garrison here.

    And now, your highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base.

    See? Even when terribly upset, pushed to the brink by the uppity folks who prefer to resort to extreme rhetoric – like calling this composed, civil person a “master of evil”! – this is a man who never swears.

    You see! We can aspire to the high character of one who can his own emotions. What? You still disagree?

    I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  287. betakappa says

    It is horrible to see this as the talk about being rational is lip service and enables people who are jerks to express themselves wrapped in a different costume.

  288. Anthony K says

    [I do see how we got there from Dawkins, but really? On this thread? What can we do better = make sure we have a good, coherent rationale for restricting abortion rights?]

    Happens every time.

    Every time.

  289. says

    [I do see how we got there from Dawkins, but really? On this thread? What can we do better = make sure we have a good, coherent rationale for restricting abortion rights?]

    It’s verra verra complicated, don’t you know? There could be consequences, see? We need a nuanced, carefully-considered approach to this situation to ensure that all possible tragedies are accounted for. We need laws that draw a firm line, so that those with uteri can be guided because we are just a teeny bit concerned that they might not be capable of making an ethical choice. Perfectly reasonable and rational, don’t you agree?

  290. thumper1990 says

    @Eristae

    Mmm hmm. It’s why I get so frustrated with the “but I would just listen to you if you were civil!” crowd. No, you damned well would not listen; civility clearly leads to being ignored while incivility leads to complaints about being uncivil. In neither situation is there “listening.”

    QFT *nods enthusiastically*

    I always try to be polite, because I know that when someone is rude to me I get annoyed and focus less on the debate, and also just because I don’t like to be rude to people who don’t deserve it. Of course my patience eventually runs out and I end up swearing at the fucker. But it doesn’t seem to make people actually listen to me when I am civil. They tend to answer my questions, but they don’t listen.

  291. Freodin says

    @Thumper1990

    Thank you for answering. Your culturally entrenched misogynistic views are that it is somehow OK to impose restrictions on a woman’s bodily autonomy. And make no mistake, that is what you are suggesting doing, regardless of whether you personally believe them to be reasonable restrictions or not. Any measure which upholds the foetus’s right to be born (no such right exists, btw) is necessarily going to limit a woman’s access to abortion and thus interfere with her right to bodily autonomy (a right which does exist).

    What do we usually do when two people’s rights conflict? We decide which right trumps the other. If you believe that a woman’s bodily autonomy trumps that of the foetus, then there is no contradiction. The woman’s rights come first. That’s it.

    I know it’s not nice to be told that some of your views are misogynistic, but the fact of the matter is they are. You are not unique, everyone here was infected by cultural misogyny and have had to confront their preconcieved notions. Hell, I’m not nearly done confronting all of mine. What’s improtant is that you recognise the need to, and try to do so. People are getting angry at you because you don’t appear to be trying.

    Thank <i]you for indeed answering my question back and not going into some kind of socratic sophistery.
    But I really do have a problem with your answer. You said that I hold the position “that it is somehow OK to impose restrictions on a woman’s bodily autonomy. And make no mistake, that is what you are suggesting doing, regardless of whether you personally believe them to be reasonable restrictions or not.”

    How can you make such a statement, when I repeatedly stated that I 100% support the right to bodily autonomy of the woman and that I reject – abhor! – every method that is introduced to take away this right? If you can find any statement of mine – anywhere – that suggests any – reasonable or not – restriction to that right, you and all the others that want to convince me how misogynist my position is would have a point. But I didn’t. You are arguing against what you want to see, not what I have said.

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone, and (sorry Eristae for not answering: I just agree with you too much) I will support any reasonable way to achive that… but not by infringing on the woman’s rights I never said anything else anywhere.

    I disagree on several, oh “intellectual” points with some people here… for example what it means to be “human”. And for my disagreement on such a point – a point that is obviously long solved and no matter of debate in any philosophical school – I am called an “intellectual pygmy”.

    I guess Mrs. McEwan would have felt a lot more welcome in the atheist community had she been called “pgymy” instead of “cunt” ‘for disagreeing’.

  292. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *hands niftyatheist a tankard of five-day-old grog for #318*

  293. Anthony K says

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone

    Scissors, meet testicles.

  294. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    when I repeatedly stated that I 100% support the right to bodily autonomy of the woman and that I reject – abhor! – every method that is introduced to take away this right?

    Any consideration of the fetus having to come to term except by the choice of the woman takes away that bodily autonomy. We know that. You keep trying to hide it under a pile of inane vergiage, but it has to be there if she must take a fetus to term. Your hypocrisy is showing. Make up your mind and live with the consequences.

  295. Emrysmyrddin says

    I refer you to my post @215.
    .
    You have still not yet proffered your upthread ‘solution’ to abortion, nor your mentioned Consequences.
    .
    Abortion will always be necessary. You don’t get to decide what constitutes necessary.

  296. Freodin says

    @Nerd
    Where did I ever state that there are these considerations EXCEPT BY THE CHOICE OF THE WOMAN?

    Point out just ONE! You cannot. Because I did never make such an assertion.

  297. glodson says

    How can you make such a statement, when I repeatedly stated that I 100% support the right to bodily autonomy of the woman and that I reject – abhor! – every method that is introduced to take away this right?

    So, when you wrote…

    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    … were you just asking the question?

  298. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone,

    Who gives a shit if you have a problem with abortion? You aren’t anybody we have to answer to. If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one.

    You have no say in what other people do on that subject. Why can’t you understand that? The real question you need to answer, is who the fuck are you to tell anybody they must carry a fetus to term? Where is your recent signed letter from an imaginary deity giving you that authority? If you don’t have such authority, what happens is nothing of your fucking business. You know that if you have the least bit of intelligence. Why do you keep being dishonest?

  299. thumper1990 says

    @jackiepaper #310

    Back in the day when I was but a bit of pulp, my misogyny could have wrestled yours to the ground and stolen its lunch money. I’m a woman. Did I intend to internalize misogyny? Nope. But I did. I absorbed it along with racism, trans and homophobia, ablism etc. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t asked to be trained up that way. I did not structure society that way. When I was called on it, it hurt my feelings. But those calling me out were right. I was wrong. I was doing the damage to them and they were only telling me what I had done. Don’t be angry at us for telling you you’re being misogynist in your thinking. Be angry at the system that did that to you without your consent or even your awareness. It is insidious. I’m sorry it happened to you and I’m sorry it happened to me. But I’d be wrong if I thought that I had the shittiest end of that stick. Often, I am still wrong. It is a work in progress to see my privilege and shed my -isms. Please do yourself a favor and listen. If you don’t want to espouse misogynist things, you are doing it wrong

    Quoted for mother-fuckin’ truth! This. All of that *waves hands vagely* right there, is fucking gold dust. Freodin, for fuck sake, pay attention to this. It’s the last paragraph of my #300 said much, much better. Jackiepaper deserves all of the kudos for this.

  300. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Point out just ONE! You cannot. Because I did never make such an assertion.

    You keep implying that with your concern. Your concern is really saying that. We both know that, but you hide behind a dog-whistle. If you believed in true bodily autonomy for women, we wouldn’t be discussing your dishonesty of trying to pretend the fetus is anything other than to be ignored. You would have agreed with us and shut the fuck up.

  301. Emrysmyrddin says

    I disagree that it is a simple question, that there are no complexities involved.

    Does bodily autonomy mean that no one has the right to mess with your body without your consent?

    If yes, what about the right to bodily autonomy of the fetus?

    As for “devaluing” women to incubator status… there is a lot that women are devalued to, but in this case I’d say this is a special situation. It IS a unique situation… there is no other that is comparable. Not organ donations, not even siamese twins. Women ARE the incubators of humanity. The only ones we have. This is a distinctive difference between men and women, you cannot deny that.

    Now the question is what we make of this difference. Do we use it to “devalue” women? Do we try to ignore it – consequences be damned?

    The unique situation I am referring to is the complete reliance of a human being on the body of another human being. That happens only in this special case. And thus I think it has to be dealt with as a special case.

    I might almost lose my civility when people try to paint me as the enemy for keeping to ask the question whether there might be a better solution.

    Yet this horrible scarring mental and physical torture is the only existing way for new humans to come into existence. So while I would never do anything to force you to give birth, I still can hope for a solution that would accomodate both parts – old and new human.

    What do we usually do when the rights of two humans conflict?

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone, and (sorry Eristae for not answering: I just agree with you too much) I will support any reasonable way to achive that… but not by infringing on the woman’s rights I never said anything else anywhere.

    Your words. We’re waiting for:

    1. Solution to ‘the problem of abortion’

    2. Consequences to giving women ultimate authority over their own reproductive choices

    Elaborate as you have been asked or continue spinning down the u-bend of irrelevance and repetition.

  302. Anthony K says

    Where did I ever state that there are these considerations EXCEPT BY THE CHOICE OF THE WOMAN?

    Point out just ONE! You cannot. Because I did never make such an assertion.

    So then, what the fuck are you still talking about this for?

  303. Freodin says

    @Emrysmyrddin
    And the poor will always be with us (sorry for using a bible quote). Thus we should never ever do anything against poverty.

    I don’t have any solution at hand, and I see the ongoing necessity of abortions. Personally, I set my hopes in the developement of artificial wombs. And I know that even these won’t get rid of the necessity of abortions. Perhaps I am wrong in my perception, but a lot of people here seem to hold the position “we have the perfect solution to unwanted pregnancies: abortion. No need to look for anything else.”
    People also seem to hold the position (some explicitly stated) “It is not human until it breathes.” Can you not understand that this position is at least debatable?

  304. says

    flyingsquirrel27:

    If you think lack of self control (i.e. being uncivil) makes an argument more effective you are incorrect. If you cannot argue your point civilly you should let someone do the speaking for your points who can. I’m not saying don’t vigorously advocate for your rights; I’m saying “watch how you say” things.

    Nonsense. You can save your finger wagging for some other occasion, alright? A person can be “uncivil” with perfect self control. You display a complete dearth of imagination when fantasizing a person being completely out of control and spitting all over their keyboard. By the way, it’s become downright tiresome of unimaginative assclowns like yourself citing MLK as a paragon of gentle civility. The man was remarkably uncivil, and a good thing, too. He was just feted as the mythical “acceptable black leader” by all the old white guys at the time, who were scared shitless by other leaders who were a tad more blunt in their approach.

    So far (and I’m only up to your post at 128), your arguments have been utter shit, so you shouldn’t be surprised to be called out on them and I’d work on concentrating more on the flaws in your thinking than whether or not others bother to tie themselves into fucking knots over tone, especially when it’s our lives on the line.

  305. Pteryxx says

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone

    That’s known as the argument-from-ickiness. It’s also been addressed, actually.

    And you know, Ben Goren, that there are lots of people who are supporters of abortion rights who might find the idea of abortion “icky”, just as there are people who support the idea that people should be allowed to have malignant brain tumors removed who might find the idea of brain surgery “icky”.

    How do we tell if these people are true, reliable allies? They are the ones who don’t make a big deal (ie no deal) about their personal “squeamishness”.

    It just ISN’T RELEVANT.

    Unrestricted access to abortion for all women in all circumstances is IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/08/august-2012-molly-alethea-h-crocoduck-dundee/comment-page-1/#comment-450897

    “I think abortion is icky/wrong, but I support it anyway” doesn’t get anyone any cookies. It’s judgmental and that’s something women really don’t need, since we live at the time when they are facing those judgments all the fucking time already. It also gives a bit of ground to those who want to deny a woman’s right to choose. You see it as saying “finding abortion icky is no reason to ban it”, a pro-lifer (unless accusing you of lying about finding it icky) will see it as “aha! he admits abortion is wrong”. And that’s not helping us.

    I would suggest that you keep the part “but I find it icky” to yourself.

    Sort of like I would suggest to anyone saying “I support equal rights to marriage, but I think gay sex is icky” to keep the last part to themselves.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/08/august-2012-molly-alethea-h-crocoduck-dundee/comment-page-1/#comment-450858

  306. thumper1990 says

    @Freodin #320

    I most certainly am not arguing against a point I want to see. I don’t want to see the point I’ve been arguing against come from anyone, ever.

    And what I’ve been arguin against is this:

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone

    As I said before, “Any measure which upholds the foetus’s right to be born (no such right exists, btw) is necessarily going to limit a woman’s access to abortion and thus interfere with her right to bodily autonomy (a right which does exist).” Can you not see that?

    Now you may very well mean that you would like to eliminate abortion through increased use of contraception, better sex education etc. rather than making it illegal, and that’s great. But you must acknowledge that you are never going to eliminate the need for it entirely, only ever reduce it.

    And more importantly, if you are not in fact advocating a legal limiting of abortion rights, then what exactly has been your point this entire thread? Because I certainly have been under the impression that you were advocating some sort of abortion restrictions, though unspecified, due to your post #225, and I assume everyone else was too.

  307. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Perhaps I am wrong in my perception, but a lot of people here seem to hold the position “we have the perfect solution to unwanted pregnancies: abortion. No need to look for anything else.”

    Funny, most folks here want readily available birth control, proper sex education, with the presumption sex will happen prior to marriage, and that appropriate protections should be taken. Just like the Netherlands, who decided they wanted to make abortion rare, and did so by preventing pregnacies in the first place. I’m not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice. I have no business in the doctor’s office with the doctor and their patient. Their decision, not mine.

    People also seem to hold the position (some explicitly stated) “It is not human until it breathes.” Can you not understand that this position is at least debatable?

    Not debatable. At all. Legal definition, and you get a certificate of live birth in every state. Medical definition. You confuse potential with real. Not my problem. but rather yours. Deal with it elsewhere.

  308. says

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone

    Scissors, meet testicles.

    By George, I think you’ve done it Anthony! You’ve found the solution Freodin says he has been looking for!

    No need to ever cause the need for an abortion now – never have to have an abortion. No conflict at all, forevermore. Once Freodin has the simple procedure, you’ve exercised your bodily autonomy and choice. Since you would never interfere with/police another person’s bodily autonomy or choices, your work is now done and you can rest easy at last!

  309. glodson says

    People also seem to hold the position (some explicitly stated) “It is not human until it breathes.” Can you not understand that this position is at least debatable?

    Who gives a shit?

    When a woman elects to bring the pregnancy to term, at that point, I pretty consider the fetus well on the way to being a full human. Because she’s invested in the fetus and elected to bring it to term. Further, I don’t consider the fetus, even then, the being fully human as it may be necessary to abort for a medical reason.

    Here’s what’s pissing me off about this. This is a fucking red herring. I have directly shown that women who get late term abortions, past the 16th week which is still well before the fetus is viable, typically wanted the abortion earlier. But circumstances prevented that. Your desire to discuss this shows a bias.

    Then you stated the bias, you don’t like abortion. And now you want to discuss when a fetus is human. Why? What reason do you have for this discussion if not for finding a reasonable circumstance under which you get to have a say in a woman’s bodily autonomy?

    You seem to be a coward, hiding behind making this discussion about abstracts as to find a time when it is “reasonable” to deny abortion, without bothering to look at reality.

  310. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Malcom X was uncivil MLK was civil

    Both where shot dead

    Almost as if the tone wasn’t at all what upset people

  311. Freodin says

    And more importantly, if you are not in fact advocating a legal limiting of abortion rights, then what exactly has been your point this entire thread? Because I certainly have been under the impression that you were advocating some sort of abortion restrictions, though unspecified, due to your post #225, and I assume everyone else was too.

    My point is right there in post #225.

    “Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?”

    In this case, can we find a workable solution without accusing our opposite of being the enemy.

  312. silverwane says

    Ignoring all this derail, I haven’t been to this site before and only followed through links from Shakesville. And I have to say, I am very very happy to see many atheists, both male and female, standing up for these issues. I’m very very happy that my concern that the comments on this article would be full of vitriol was not fulfilled by what I’ve seen here. (And I haven’t read them all, and I can see that there’s a couple of fuckwads, but I was very pleased that there’s a lot of people who are not)

    When it comes to the question of how to do better, I think Melissa McEwan’s follow-up gives a few very good points. And you all should read it. I’ll also throw in: do not forget about these issues. There’s this pattern that happens a lot. People learn women (or another group) don’t feel welcome, there’s a discussion about it, and then everything goes back to same ol’ same ol’.

    Do not allow that to happen. Become agencies of change yourselves, no matter how small your effect seems to be.

  313. Freodin says

    I don’t like the idea of colonoscopy. I would like to see it gone.

    May I now accuse you of wanting to take away peoples right to have one?

  314. Emrysmyrddin says

    There are many ways to reduce the incidence of abortion. You don’t find it strange that the anti-choice brigade are also against free contraception, against science-based sex and relationship education, against easy access to early terminations, and against child benefit/welfare? These are the social programs pushed hard by the pro-choice brigade. Despite all these measures, abortion will always be the safety net, for the impoverished, for the desperate, for the ill, for the wanted babies who turn out to be unviable. In this climate, every chip against the personhood of women and their right to choose to end their pregnancies for whatever reason is a victory for the anti-choicers. When you accuse ‘us’ of ‘no need to look for anything else’, you are imputing our thoughts as careless, case closed, problem solved. I can assure you that these positions are hard-thought and hard-won. They have to be – they affect US. In real life. Reality. Perhaps in 2020 we’ll have artificial wombs (we haven’t even got hoverboards yet); by then we’ll be realising the problem of massive overpopulation and will probably need to re-think our whole reproductive strategy as a species.
    .
    I hold the ‘not a person until disconnected’. I was very explicit. While it is connected, to me, for me, no, this is not debatable. If it were up for debate then you are once more implicitly stating that this unconscious, undeveloped, brain-offline primate has decision-making abilities and a ‘right to life’ that are at least on a par with mine, as a fully-actualised adult human person. That is an incredible position. Until someone else can take it on, by definition it’s a parasite.

  315. blitzgal says

    Perhaps I am wrong in my perception, but a lot of people here seem to hold the position “we have the perfect solution to unwanted pregnancies: abortion. No need to look for anything else.”

    You are wrong.

  316. says

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone,

    Well there’s your problem right there, kiddo.

    See, in my mind, that is, the mind of a woman who has been pregnant when she didn’t want to be, Abortion is a Good Motherfucking Thing.

    Where the fuck do you get off saying you want abortion gone?

    Why on earth do you call it a bad thing in the first place?

    You trying to tell me that me exercising my right to control my destiny and avoid being a slave to my biology is a bad thing?

    No, that’s not what you were trying to do? Well, you sure fucking sound like it.

  317. glodson says

    Funny, most folks here want readily available birth control, proper sex education, with the presumption sex will happen prior to marriage, and that appropriate protections should be taken. Just like the Netherlands, who decided they wanted to make abortion rare, and did so by preventing pregnacies in the first place. I’m not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice.

    Well said.

    Instead of talking about when a fetus is human, or other exercises in intellectual masturbation where someone reduces a woman to a thought experiment, how about concentrating on preventing the unwanted pregnancies? This would go a long away, a very practical way, of making abortions more rare. It will save women the time, pain, money, and other costs of an abortion, and the women wouldn’t have to face the extreme small risk of the procedure.

    Anti-abortion people, if they actually gave a shit about the pregnancy, would win. Pro-choice people would win. Women in general would win.

    Of course, we know the anti-choice people don’t give a shit about the fetus or the woman.

  318. says

    Freodin… if you agree with, then what is goal in “playing” devil’s advocate? If you don’t think a fetus is a person, then what’s the problem?

    If you do think a fetus is a person, then I refer you back to the linertarian argument I advance in favor of pro-choice above.

    Also, guess what? I agree with you. Abortion does suck. I’m not stupid enough to think we could ever eliminate abortion, but I have multi-step plan that WILL reduce the amount of abortions significantly:

    1. The woman’s right to bodily autonomy trumps all. This is not up for negotiation.
    2. Legalize abortion full-stop without restrictions.
    3. Enforce comprehensive, progressive, safe-sex education IN ALL GRADE SCHOOLS, with an emphasis on knowledge and safety, not abstinence. Make sure that this education continually emphasizes the sexiness and importance of explicit consent.
    4. Allow complete, unrestricted, and free (or tax-payer funded) access to ALL forms of birth control for both men and women.
    5. Stop denying the sexual agency and general sexuality of women.
    6. In all this, recognize, consider, accept, and teach the acceptance of all the different kinds of sexuality (there’s many more than just heterosexuality) and trans*.

    Watch the rate of abortions drop like a 1-ton bag of bricks.

    Stay on the path forever.

  319. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    May I now accuse you of wanting to take away peoples right to have one?

    Personal opinion versus legislated loss of bodily autonomy. You just won’t get it. You are stuck in your circle of illogical thinking, and can’t get out. Try “none of my business”. Start from there. Repeat that as necessary.

  320. says

    You keep implying that with your concern. Your concern is really saying that. We both know that, but you hide behind a dog-whistle. If you believed in true bodily autonomy for women, we wouldn’t be discussing your dishonesty of trying to pretend the fetus is anything other than to be ignored. You would have agreed with us and shut the fuck up.

    Freodin, what Nerd is saying is the point, can’t you see? Your whole point on this thread is that you have a problem with women having total control over what happens to their bodies because you consider there to be another human with rights involved – another person whose rights must be “balanced” with the woman’s – and you won’t admit to the fact that this whole stupid back and forth has been because you do not, in fact, wholeheartedly endorse full nodily autonomy for women. You have argued – obliquely at times, but quite clearly – for limitations on women’s bodily autonomy because it is complicated, nuanced, difficult, etc etc.
    Come on, be honest for once in this thread – it is the reason why you keep arguing! If you agreed that women are entitled to complete control over what happens to and within their own bodies regarding reproduction, then this thread would have stopped at 100 posts.

  321. glodson says

    “Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?”

    In this case, can we find a workable solution without accusing our opposite of being the enemy.

    A workable solution to what?

  322. Emrysmyrddin says

    In this case, can we find a workable solution without accusing our opposite of being the enemy.

    From my #264: All you need to do is follow the logical conclusions of your Reasons and Consequences to a society that does – what? – when a pregnant person does not want to be pregnant any more, but the state decrees that they must remain so until delivery.
    .
    Your answer to #264 would yield your ‘solution’, then we can get on with this.
    .
    Your quote – follow it through to the conclusion. I am pregnant(not). I do not want to be pregnant. The state protects the foetus’ ‘right to life’ in this hellish dystopia of yours. What is the outcome of this scenario?

  323. thumper1990 says

    @Freodin

    You are still not getting it, are you? There is no other solution. You want to reduce abortion? Great. Better access to contraceptives, better sex ed, etc. etc. you know all this. Free and readily available unrestricted abortion + this will result in the best possible situation for everyone. If a mere reduction is not good enough and you insist that none must happen ever then you need to make it illegal, and that is completely fucking immoral and out of the question.

    Look, you are starting to annoy me because you are being ambiguous and I am beginning to suspect I have been wasting my time. You want abortion eliminated? Fine. Lay out exactly how you would go about doing that, please. Do not sit there making vague noises about a better solution without outlining what that solution may be.

  324. glodson says

    Do not sit there making vague noises about a better solution without outlining what that solution may be.

    I hate this. I hate it when people are vague. I often suspect it is because they want us to come to the conclusion they already have, but don’t want to be the one to outright state it. They know they don’t have a great point, so they hide it in hopes of someone else doing the work for them.

  325. says

    Freodin:

    I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone

    Oh deary me, best abolish it, then, couldn’t possibly have you feeling uncomfortable, right? Do you never tire of being a willful idiot when the subject is anything to do with women, Freodin?

    You actually stated the problem in your little whine – you don’t like the idea of abortion. That means you have no idea of the reality faced by millions of women every single day. You don’t know how they feel, you don’t know the circumstances of their lives. You don’t have a clue as to what the life of a forced birth child might be like, let alone that of the woman who was forced into birthing, and more to the point, you don’t care, because there’s your overriding sense of ickiness to be considered, eh?

    The abortion I had some 3 decades ago made my life immeasurably better, and I can assure you that non-existence was by far the kindest option for that former bundle of cells in my uterus.

    What would be nice is if you could manage to engage your brain instead of your testes, and at least attempt to think such an issue all the way through.

  326. Pteryxx says

    Perhaps I am wrong in my perception, but a lot of people here seem to hold the position “we have the perfect solution to unwanted pregnancies: abortion. No need to look for anything else.”

    Well, the wrong in this has mostly been addressed by quicker commenters. From my edited comment though:

    Where on earth did you get these toxic misconceptions of what abortion is, much less what women are?

    For your consideration:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/01/is-abortion-a-tragedy.html

    Comparing and discussing the view of abortion as a tragedy, if a lesser tragedy, versus abortion as a benefit.

    McGrath, then, argues that abortion is always a tragedy, but that women choose abortion when that choice is less tragic than the alternative. McGrath’s post actually made me think of another recent post by the anonymous OB who will be soon traveling to Wichita, Kansas, to replace the late Dr. Tiller.

    Why, then? Why do this work? One answer is, because I love it. It’s not tasteful, these days, to admit taking joy in abortion. We’re supposed to regard it as a necessary evil at best, a minor tragedy. But there’s nothing I love more than being able to take the hand of a desperate woman and say to her, yes, I can help you. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than the palpable relief and thankfulness when I tell a woman that she’s no longer pregnant. With a five minute office procedure, I can help someone take back her life. I am incredibly excited and blessed to be able to do this work for women who would otherwise have no choice.

    Libby Anne’s conclusion:

    My view? Abortion isn’t a tragedy. The unwanted pregnancy that threatens to completely upturn a life, or the wanted pregnancy blighted by fetal abnormality or maternal health condition, that is the tragedy. For many women, then, abortion is the way out of a tragic situation. This is why the most common emotion women feel following an abortion is relief. The abortion itself is not a tragedy. In fact, the abortion itself is usually a blessing, a grace, and a gift.

    Please read the entire article and the links she references.

  327. Jacob Schmidt says

    Not done reading the thread yet, but holy fuck I need to address this.

    Freodin

    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Why should I give a single, lonesome, flying fuck about some random jackasses opinion on what some women choose to do with their body?

    Let me spell it out for you: It’s not your body, so your opinion is worthless.

  328. Rey Fox says

    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    Then they shouldn’t get abortions.

  329. says

    Freodin:

    Personally, I set my hopes in the developement of artificial wombs.

    Oh? How would that be a solution to an unwanted pregnancy? You seem to think women get abortions simply because they don’t want to get fat and stretch their vaginas out. You aren’t really that stupid, are you? I had an abortion because I did not want a child. That means I did not want a child – where the fuck the fetus was gestated wouldn’t make any damn difference.

  330. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Freodin: “Don’t get me wrong: I 100% support the right of women to have an abortion. And I think that everyone should support that right. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or ignore the ethical questions that arise.”

    Ah yes. Ethical questions that one will never have to confront personally-they are the best kind, aren’t they? We can be all hypothetical and stuff, and walk away saying “What a good boy am I! I’d never have an abortion.”

  331. mythbri says

    @Freodin

    “Or can we try to find a workable solution without calling each other “manginas” or “woman haters”?”

    In this case, can we find a workable solution without accusing our opposite of being the enemy.

    Restricting access to abortion and denying rights to women and female-bodied persons is inherently misogynistic, because it infringes upon the rights of a specific group of people. You’ve said that you don’t hate women, and I pretty much believe you – but I don’t agree that you can hold an anti-choice or “I’m pro-choice, BUT” position that is separate from the fact that debate on these issues harms a specific group of people. That’s just the way it is. No man or male-bodied person is ever going to be directly affected by talk of restricting bodily autonomy in this way.

    Just because your intent in holding an anti-abortion but pro-choice position is not explicitly malicious does not mean that it doesn’t cause harm. I believe that the state of abortion rights and access in the U.S. as it is today is a direct result of people who are “I’m pro-choice, BUT”. Those are the people who are mostly likely to compromise on an issue that harms women and female-bodied persons. Those are the people will not fight as hard to protect the bodily autonomy of women and female-bodied persons.

    Can you think of other circumstances in which you would advise people to accept people who claim to be friends but speak like the enemy? (And I’m using those terms in an illustrative sense, not a literal one.)

  332. Rey Fox says

    In this case, can we find a workable solution without accusing our opposite of being the enemy.

    We have one. Unrestricted access to abortion. Plus birth control and all that other good stuff. What are you arguing about?

  333. Rey Fox says

    or ignore the ethical questions that arise.

    Unless you’re directly connected to the pregnancy in question (preferably by actually being the mother-to-be), then those questions are not yours to ask.

  334. Anthony K says

    Why should I give a single, lonesome, flying fuck about some random jackasses opinion on what some women choose to do with their body?

    Especially some fucking carbon copy Stepford Philosopher who will blind himself to the evidence in order to justify his self-delusion that he’s the only one who’s ever agonised over this terrible, oh-so-terrible conflict of maternal and fetal rights.

    Fuck, this is why I got out of Poli Sci. Too many fucking useless shits all patting themselves on the back in the exact same way for being the most original thinkers ever, while quoting pastiches of Aristotle and Bentham.

    To give Freodin credit, he’s certainly not quoting dead philosophers. In fact, it seems pretty clear he’s totally unaware that any thinking on this subject has occurred before he showed up.

  335. Freodin says

    @nifryatheist
    Perhaps I am really to stupid and simply have missed it. The question “is there another human with rights involved”.
    And here my problem begins – not with womans rights or anything. It is the assertion that everyone but me here seems to have that this question is settled once and for all without any doubt and that anyone who disagrees with that is worthy of ridicule and insult.

    It is possible to talk about these questions, accept potential disagreements and still come to the conclusion that we both work towards the same goal. An open and welcoming community. That was what the point of this post was, wasn’t it?

    Or you can answer any perceived or real disagreement with posts that drip of “how stupid you are to say that.”

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

    it kills a “potential until born” human.
    Can you not leave your groupthink long enough to accept that some people are not excited about that?

    I think everyone here gets that, but then, maybe that’s the groupthink talking. But I have never seen anyone here argue for compulsory abortion. I have seen plenty of arguments for compulsory non-abortion.

    No one has the right to compel a stranger to modify or not modify that stranger’s own body. That’s the argument that people are making here in support of freedom of abortion-related-conscience.

    If you haven’t figured out that the purpose of that argument is every bit as much to protect those who would never consider an abortion as those that would consider having an abortion, then perhaps there is some groupthink going on. But it’s not by your rhetorical opponents.

  337. Rey Fox says

    And to expand on my #364, the other side is the enemy. That might make you uncomfortable, but it’s true.

  338. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Wow, I finally managed to read the whole thread. Or at least up until comment #364, who knows where the count will get in the time it takes me to type this comment.

    I really hate the “fewer abortions” argument. No. Abortions are not the problem, abortions are a solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancies. If you care about women, you will want fewer unwanted pregnancies.

  339. glodson says

    It is possible to talk about these questions, accept potential disagreements and still come to the conclusion that we both work towards the same goal. An open and welcoming community. That was what the point of this post was, wasn’t it?

    I thought the point was making the community more welcoming to women as the community is already male dominated. The point was to show that the religious groups sometimes treat women better than the treatment dished out by atheists. The point was to find a way to shed misogynistic overtones.

    Asking dishonest and loaded questions about abortions, talking about how you don’t like abortions, treating abortion like the problem when the problem is the unwanted pregnancy, ignoring what people have told you, and still pushing to have some ethical debate on when we should consider the parasite residing in the womb to be human is a complete and utter failure on your part.

    This issue is important. To use it as fodder for some tone trolling bullshit about how we should sit back and watch as someone attempts to academically dissect when a fetus is a human which is often done to justify anti-choice nonsense is insulting.

    And if you say something stupid, you should expect the reaction of “how stupid you are to say that.”

  340. Rey Fox says

    An open and welcoming community.

    Should there be limits to how open and welcoming we are? Are there people and ideas that we have no reason to welcome? Think about who you are potentially casting your lot with here.

  341. says

    Freodin:

    It is possible to talk about these questions, accept potential disagreements and still come to the conclusion that we both work towards the same goal. An open and welcoming community. That was what the point of this post was, wasn’t it?

    You’re the one who took a left turn from the topic and decided to make your ickiness factor over abortion the focus of the thread. Given that, what is this “same goal” we’re all working towards? The rest of us feel there is only one right, ethical position when it comes to the autonomy of women. You feel that it’s possible that autonomy should be compromised due to your emotional response when it comes to abortion.

    An open and welcoming community is great, however, that doesn’t proffer immunity from criticism, especially when you proudly present shit on a plate and act all surprised that no one else was impressed. By the way, the point of this post was that the community should be welcoming of women. Given that point, you decided to go on and on and on about how you don’t like abortion. You don’t see the problem here?

  342. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Freodin: “I don’t like the idea of abortion. I would like to see it gone”

    So how are you on the idea of overflowing orphanages, on teens unable to complete their education, on poverty, on child abuse,…? Infanticide? Sometimes abortion is simply the least bad option.

  343. Esteleth, stupid fucking starchild Tolkien worshiping douche says

    Jesus fuck.

    I don’t “like” abortion. Likewise, I don’t “like” tumor-excision surgery, injectable insulin, or prosthetic limb replacements.

    I don’t like them because I don’t like that they’re necessary. Because that necessity implies that someone suffered.

    Want to reduce the necessity of abortion? GREAT. Advocate for cheap and accessible effective contraceptives, so fewer women who don’t want to become pregnant in the first place don’t get pregnant. Advocate for better access to nutritious food, so fewer women who want children suffer from nutrient deficiencies that lower their fertility, get pregnant with fetuses that have deficiency-related abnormalities, or miscarry due to malnutrition. Advocate for the “yes means yes” model of consent so fewer women are being impregnated against their wills. Advocate for a fairer society, so fewer women say, “I’d love to have a child, but I can’t afford it right now.”

  344. silverwane says

    I hate to contribute to the derail but…sigh.

    @Freodin at #367

    Do you believe that you have a moral obligation to give up parts of your own body so that another human being can survive? Say, organs, blood, tissue, so on and so forth? As long as it won’t kill you…you know, we can say that the other human being has a right to survive too. What if they will die without the procedure? Are you morally obligated to do this? Is everyone in that situation morally obligated to do it?

    You know, when we talk about the “abortion debate,” things like that don’t come up very often, but I think they are very relevant. If we’re not morally obligated to give up parts of our body because of bodily autonomy in those situations, why is the situation of pregnancy any different?

    Pregnancies involve real people with real bodies making real decisions. Going through pregnancy is an enormous physical burden – a sometimes dangerous physical burden. It is no small thing that you are asking people to do.

    If you really want to have less abortions, you should not ban or demonize abortions; when abortions were banned, they still happened. They were just far more dangerous, resulting in more death overall. You should instead support free birth control and sex ed access.

  345. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The question “is there another human with rights involved”

    No, there is a potential human involved, not a human. Category error on your part, a form of lying.

    It is the assertion that everyone but me here seems to have that this question is settled once and for all without any doubt and that anyone who disagrees with that is worthy of ridicule and insult.

    What’s the matter, we aren’t taking your faux concern and misogynic opinion seriously, and let you know that in no uncertain terms? What’s your real problem? You don’t like being dismissed? Then you don’t dismiss and devalue women…

    It is possible to talk about these questions, accept potential disagreements and still come to the conclusion that we both work towards the same goal.

    Who the fuck gave you permission to dictate to us how this goes. There middle goal. You show your ideas, or shut the fuck up. We don’t have to agonzie about something simply because you do. Especially when we made our evaluations years ago, and you bring nothing new to the table. Nothing to change our minds. Your OPINION isn’t relevant to us.

    That was what the point of this post was, wasn’t it?

    Not what you thought. You appear to have reading and comprehension problems.

  346. says

    Freodin, there is no question in the minds of people who consider people with uteri to be fully human beings that any unintended, unplanned, accidental or forced pregnancy – while composed of cells which could become a human baby if the woman invests tremendous personal resources into it – is nevertheless not another independent human being with rights. The matter is unambiguous to me and, I think, to most people who are honestly pro-choice. There are no rights to consider but the rights of the person in whose uterus is occupied by the unwanted pregnancy.

    I don’t actually think you are too stupid to get this at all – I think you are clever enough to be deliberately vague and to pretend to be an ally when you are ambivalent about women’s rights at best and something else altogether at worst.

  347. says

    Silverwane:

    You know, when we talk about the “abortion debate,” things like that don’t come up very often,

    Oh yes they do, at least here. They come up so often, we can recite those arguments in our sleep.

  348. silverwane says

    @glodson

    Yep, thank you. This sort of conversation erupting when we are talking about how to help women feel welcome to the community is, well, not very welcoming.

    I am glad to see so many people step up, but it’s still aggravating that what could have been a worthwhile discussion about how to better the atheist community has turned into this.

  349. Doug Hudson says

    As if it weren’t infuriating enough that anti-choicers deny women the right to bodily autonomy, the fact that prohibiting abortion manifestly DOES NOT WORK gives their position an extra special bit of extreme douchebaggery.

    Even minimal research shows that in every country where abortions are illegal, women still have abortions. The wealthy go to other countries where it is not illegal, the poor have back-alley or do-it-yourself abortions. Of course, the latter options are horrifically dangerous, but the reasons why women have abortions are often so compelling that they are willing to risk death or disability to have one.

    In the face of overwhelming evidence, the anti-choicers like to pretend that outlawing abortion would make it go away, when in reality, it would just result in the deaths of poor women.

    Just more evidence that it isn’t about the fetuses at all, its about controlling women.

  350. silverwane says

    @Caine, Fleur du mal

    I do not envy you that. Arguing against brick walls is extraordinarily exhausting.

    When I mentioned that comment, I was specifically thinking about the implications of pro-life arguments, and a lot of the things they leave out. Plenty of other people have made that argument before; I was thinking of an ethicist whose name is escaping me at the moment who said those very things when I wrote!

  351. says

    Doug Hudson:

    Just more evidence that it isn’t about the fetuses at all, its about controlling women.

    Oh yes. No one ever cares about the quality of life all those poor, poor fetii would have had. Actually, the potential child never figures into it at all, except as a tool for emotional manipulation in preventing or stopping abortions from taking place. After that? You won’t find a single anti-choicer giving a shit about that oh-so-precious life.

  352. says

    Hello, Niftyatheist! I can’t express how happy I am to see you back here again! Me, been busy, work, work, work. /OT

    Thank you! I’m very glad to see you, too! Sorry for OT everyone – it was my first sighting of Caine since I’ve been back. :D

  353. glodson says

    @silverwane

    You don’t need to thank me. We should be talking about making the community more inclusive to women, to gay people, to trans people, to people of color. The white male thing, we got that. I’m already comfortable.

    One of the reasons that I stopped going to church, even though I clung to my religious beliefs, was that I had a problem with how the community treated people for being of the wrong gender, sex, race, or sexuality. That was fucked up. I hated it.

    Now, looking at the attitudes that some in the atheist/skeptics community, I see many of the same problems, which likely have the same root cause. It won’t get better unless men like me speak out. It is easy for those with privilege to dismiss the criticisms of those not in their group with a handwave. It is harder when someone in their own group points it out.

    I don’t know why some guys are uncomfortable about talking about how the make the community more inclusive to women.

    The other thing is that discussion is not about making the community open to any jackass with any idea. Some ideas won’t be accepted. Ones that tend to embrace misogynistic attitude, racist attitudes, homophobic or transphobic ideas, ableist ideas. Not everyone should be made comfortable.

    However, one shouldn’t be uncomfortable because of their race, gender, sex or any other intrinsic quality. Seems like this should be a standard attitude.

  354. jackiepaper says

    And here my problem begins – not with womans rights or anything. It is the assertion that everyone but me here seems to have that this question is settled once and for all without any doubt and that anyone who disagrees with that is worthy of ridicule and insult.

    Translation: Forget the women, let’s talk about how you meanies hurt my feeeeeelings!

    No, your problem begins and ends with exactly that^ See that up there? See where your feelings are what we really need to talk about? That’s your problem.

  355. says

    The whole “Every abortion is a tragedy” and “55 million abortions? Tragic!” thing is just silly. We’re talking about births that don’t happen, people who don’t exist to care one way or the other about the fact that they don’t exist. It’s not like there are all these people floating around in limbo, angry and suffering because they never got their chance to live. They just aren’t. A wanted pregnancy ended in any way is of course a terrible and painful experience for the woman who was pregnant and often others, but the idea that every abortion is tragic, but not every miscarriage, every use of contraception that prevents a pregnancy, every decision by people one day not to have sex when it could have resulted in a pregnancy, and so on just makes no sense. For whom is it supposed to be a tragedy?

  356. says

    Silverwane:

    I do not envy you that. Arguing against brick walls is extraordinarily exhausting.

    Yes, it is, but we do it all the time here, and have been doing it for years on end. Just gotta look on the bright side, it keeps the fangs all sharp and sniny.

  357. glodson says

    After that? You won’t find a single anti-choicer giving a shit about that oh-so-precious life.

    My favorite: people telling me how important life is in one breathe, then going on to embrace the death penalty. Good job, Texas!

    Life is sacred, until the state says it is time to murder you!

  358. Anthony K says

    So, back onto the topic of women feeling welcome in the atheist community:

    We’ve had ourselves a big ol’ debate, and learned that, outside our groupthinking echo chamber, some people think abortion is problematic on its face. I didn’t know that, and I’m fairly certain nobody else did until Freodin showed up, but we know now.

    So, how ya feelin’ women? Safe and Welcome? Can we move on to the discussion of how anti-harassment policies will hinder atheist hookups at cons?

    No emotion, please. Smart men are talking.

    PZ asks what can we do?

    I suggest euthanising the movement, for the good of all.

  359. jackiepaper says

    But at the same time I find myself constantly dismayed at the difficulty of moving atheism beyond the same old cliques, of making it a human movement rather than a well-off white guys’ movement.

    So, just to be clear, could the people coming here to tell non-well -off white dudes to be nicer about receiving treatment that makes them feel unwelcome in this community? Because that makes us feel unwelcome in this community.

    No, this isn’t about you and about how we can make the areas you already dominate more comfortable for you. That wasn’t the question.

  360. silverwane says

    @glodson

    I do want to thank you, though, because I want to make clear that I appreciate you not staying silent about this. Staying silent when you see other people do marginalizing things is basically tacit approval.

    “I don’t know why some guys are uncomfortable about talking about how the make the community more inclusive to women.”

    There’s many reasons to this, but one of them is the reasons why the community is not welcoming to women. There’s a lot of casual sexism that’s thrown around in atheist communities. A lot. Furthermore, many of the people who are casually sexist like that defend their sexism with bad science, with “reason,” and basically with atheism. Many of these people will say that religion is the root of societal ills, and then they’ll crack a joke about how women can’t do math and how they should get back in the kitchen. Or something.

    Another reason is that many of the prominent white male atheist “leaders” are also sexist, and the way they write and talk takes white male experience as the “center” of experience, as if that perspective is somehow more objective. But…then this means that white male experience is more objective than women’s experience. And, since objectivity is taken as the center of all reason and logic, men are made to be the reliable centers of reason and logic- and women are not.

    I could go on with this for a while.

    But, of course, all these things are terrible, and they’re not really supportable in science at all. But, this is an application of male privilege. Like all instances with privilege, it is a herculean effort to get people to begin to question their privilege, and to be willing to tear it down.

    The sort of stubbornness that Freodian is showing in this argument is indicative of this. There’s a bunch of arguments put forward, hir points are countered at every turn…and yet, there is a refusal. There is a refusal to listen at all. Instead, the argument is just dragged on and on until one side throws up its hands.

    When you are a lone woman trying to come into an environment like this, when you are constantly told you are less-than by people you think should be on your side, and when all those people pat each other’s backs in agreement and support…well…a lot of times, you end up being the one to throw up your hands and move on.

    I’m an academic philosopher, and I am a white woman. I’ve been a lifelong atheist. I even helped restart a freethinkers group on my undergrad campus. But I do not consider myself part of movement atheism, because I just don’t feel welcome, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned and more.

  361. Chaos Engineer says

    Is that the “others have a lot more harsh problems than you do, so shut the fuck up” argument? I thought this one was disliked herearound?

    No, but I can see how you’d get confused. The argument you’re thinking of takes the form, “You’re not allowed to work on a solution to Problem X, because Problem Y is much worse”. The argument you were responding to was “If you have Problem X, you’re not allowed to solve it by inflicting a much worse problem Y on other people.”

    Some practical examples: “You can’t complain about sexism in the US because Saudi Arabia is even worse” matches the first type. “Your personal discomfort with abortion is not a good reason for passing anti-abortion laws” matches the second type.

    The general moral principal is, “Everyone should work on solutions to various social problems. You’re allowed to pick the problems you want to spend time on. It’s OK if you can’t spend any time on a particular problem, as long as you don’t actively try to make it worse.”

  362. glodson says

    @silverwane

    Well, damn.

    I am at a loss for words. You’re welcome.

    I’m glad some guy who likes to mouth off helps, even if in a small way.

  363. says

    Hallo, Chris!

    Jackiepaper:

    But at the same time I find myself constantly dismayed at the difficulty of moving atheism beyond the same old cliques, of making it a human movement rather than a well-off white guys’ movement.

    I know the feeling. It’s difficult, to say the least. I think the skeptisphere has a great deal to do with attempting to keep things static, there’s a great deal of pressure to maintain the status quo, because dealing with “safe” subjects in the academically dustiest possible way avoids all the messiness of being human.

  364. silverwane says

    @glodson

    It really, really does help! A lot of times, people in the position of privilege will stay quiet, for whatever reason. And then, if there is a person who has been marginalized, all of a sudden the onus is on them to come up with a response.

    When you are in that position, there is no guarantee that, if you speak up, everyone won’t turn on you. They might tell you you’re being oversensitive. That you just need to get over it. That you are WRONG WRONG WRONG and that they have nothing to question, to even think about. You might even get ostracized.

    So, even if you’re not okay with what was said…sometimes you’ll stay quiet. Because swallowing that bit of shit seems better than the prospect of ruining the entire day, by people acting like you are less-than.

    So, someone who isn’t directly in that position speaking up is very important.

    Furthermore, it’s a sad reality, but because of your male privilege, you are seen as a greater authority, even on what women directly experience. I know that’s happened with my white privilege; it’s a lot easier for me to call out something that is racist, because no one is going to try to say I’m just being “oversensitive.” Basically, people are a lot more likely to take me seriously than they would if I was black.

    So, that’s another reason why it’s really important.

    And that’s why I wanted to say thank you. :)

  365. Doug Hudson says

    @Caine, 386, maybe they should be called “pro-fetus”? Or just “misogynist douchebags”, whichever.

    These seemingly endless “debates”, in which the trolls (or true believers, which are often indistinguishable) come here to blather about abortion or feminism or whatever, do serve a purpose–even though it is very unlikely that the person will be persuaded to change their mind, the arguments can 1) help readers understand the issues and 2) give a bit of hope that, yknow, the slympit doesn’t represent the atheist community.

    Of course, arguing with these assholes has to be exhausting, and I salute the commentariat who do so.

  366. silverwane says

    Adding to that, if you are in the position of privilege and you speak up about sexist, racist, classist, etc. things when you see them, that also can help make people who are women, black, poor, any combination of those and more, feel comfortable in that space.

    If any of you haven’t read Melissa McEwan’s followup to this post, you should: http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/my-advice-to-atheist-men.html. She goes into this and more.

  367. says

    It is the assertion that everyone but me here seems to have that this question is settled once and for all without any doubt and that anyone who disagrees with that is worthy of ridicule and insult.

    Anyone who disagrees? No. You, specifically… that’s another story. Stop conflating the treatment of FREODIN with the treatment of “anyone who disagrees.” That’s just an obvious fabrication, what some might call a deliberate, cowardly lie, designed to allow you to escape from the consequences of your being wrong and insulting.

  368. jackiepaper says

    Yay for the Caine sightings!

    Anthony,
    So, how ya feelin’ women? Safe and Welcome? Can we move on to the discussion of how anti-harassment policies will hinder atheist hookups at cons?

    Fuck it. Let’s just make the backgrounds of atheist blogs pink and bloggers can include diet tips. That’ll bring the ladyfolks in by the droves.

    I suggest euthanising the movement, for the good of all.

    There’s a switch. Sacrificing the movement to help people rather than sacrificing people to help the movement.
    Yes sir, I like it.

  369. silverwane says

    I know you’re being sarcastic but…this issue hits very close to home with me, and I’m not 100% sure I appreciate the joking. I’d much rather have actual discussion about this!

  370. jackiepaper says

    I see…the blockquote force is weak with this one.
    oops again.

    Speaking of, Crip Dyke, that was awesome!

  371. says

    Doug Hudson:

    These seemingly endless “debates”, in which the trolls (or true believers, which are often indistinguishable) come here to blather about abortion or feminism or whatever, do serve a purpose–even though it is very unlikely that the person will be persuaded to change their mind, the arguments can 1) help readers understand the issues and 2) give a bit of hope that, yknow, the slympit doesn’t represent the atheist community.

    Yes, we’ve had enough people de-lurk over the years to say thank you that it helps to keep us all going. Even so, having these same damn discussions over and over and over and over and over again is beyond tiresome. And I’ve only been vocal here for 5.5 years, unlike those who have been here and vocal for much longer.

  372. jackiepaper says

    Yes Silver, I’m very much joking and you know what? For a second, it felt good. It felt good not to be hitting my head against the same old wall in frustration and it felt good to think the sarcasm would not be lost.

    Yes, it hits home with me too. Sorry I attempted some levity.

  373. says

    If I were to become pregnant today, I would have an abortion by next week.

    And I would be HAPPY about it. I would celebrate.

    There would be joy.

    No sadness. No shame. No guilt.

    And I would want to experience it fully and would want to know everything. That way I could educate other women on what to expect. (I also like when trainees and interns are around for doc visits. I am not easily embarressed or ashamed.)

  374. says

    I find it hilarious that EDWARD GEMMER showed up in Liss’ comments to complain, yet again, about being called a rapist and being mocked for being in an interracial relationship, among other lies. I remember making fun of him for characterizing his interracial marriage as an “intimate relationship with the black community.”

    Talk about unwilling to let things go!

  375. silverwane says

    I just think it’s telling that we went back on-topic, and suddenly, there are crickets in this thread compared to the amount of discussion flying back and forth. It was making me uncomfortable that the two main people talking about it – aside from myself and glodson – were joking that way about it… I know you’re satirizing the idea of “how do we make this acceptable to women?” and I’m not trying to take away levity from you. But I am trying to explain why it made me uncomfortable, and I was trying to not be silent about being uncomfortable.

    I’m not trying to point my fingers at anyone in particular, but I would also like to see people step up and take part in this discussion as well. If we don’t talk about it, then we will slip back into same’ol same’ol…and if you really want things to be different, you can’t allow that.

  376. says

    Silverwane:

    I know you’re being sarcastic but…this issue hits very close to home with me, and I’m not 100% sure I appreciate the joking. I’d much rather have actual discussion about this!

    We are having an actual discussion. Threads here veer all over the place, there’s little to no moderation, sarcasm, black humour and naughty words are standard, trolls are fed until they explode.

    You’ve been doing a considerable amount of preaching to the choir, Silverwane. We’re all familiar (more than familiar) with everything you’ve brought up. We’ve been fighting the good fight for years, often on a daily basis. We work hard to deserve our moments dripping with sarcasm.

    If you haven’t read here much, you might want to familiarize yourself with at least some of the epic threads, such as http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/21/an-experiment-why-do-you-despise-feminism/#comments and http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/02/matt-dillahunty-being-all-reasonable-and-stuff/#comments and http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/14/before-you-reach-for-the-its-not-guns-its-the-cray-cray-argument/#comments and http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/11/27/douche-defends-douching/ and http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/16/nyt-women-cause-rape-by-being-too-scarce/

    All of those recent threads are pages long and will give you a good sense of how things go here.

  377. jackiepaper says

    Marilove, Hi!

    I’m used to seeing you elsewhere. So cool to see you here.
    I wish I could say I’d celebrate. But the money and distance to a clinic would be enough to have me in knots. I’d certainly be happier with an abortion than an unwanted pregnancy. The abortion would be difficult to obtain. A forced birth might emotionally and financially break me.

  378. says

    Silverwane:

    I’m not trying to point my fingers at anyone in particular, but I would also like to see people step up and take part in this discussion as well. If we don’t talk about it, then we will slip back into same’ol same’ol…and if you really want things to be different, you can’t allow that.

    FFS, we do step up. Every godsdamn day for fucking years. You are new here – try to stop pointing fingers and preaching. Enough already.

  379. Anthony K says

    silverwane, I apologise for my comment, which jackiepaper quoted (just clarifying, because it’s on on me). I did not intend to trivialise the issue and cause further hurt, and am sorry for doing so.

  380. says

    Jackiepaper:

    But the money and distance to a clinic would be enough to have me in knots.

    That’s the whole point of all the laws states have passed, all the restrictions. Abortion may as well be illegal, given how difficult it is to obtain one for the majority of women. If I were in a situation to need one, there’s one clinic in all of ND that provides them. I’d have to have the money, and it’s a considerable amount and get myself to the Grand Forks area. That’s an *easy* time, compared to a lot of other states, such as the leader in making sure women feel like cattle, our neighbour, SD.

  381. Pteryxx says

    If any of you haven’t read Melissa McEwan’s followup to this post, you should: http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/my-advice-to-atheist-men.html. She goes into this and more.

    Seconded. She’s been tweeting direct suggestions, such as:

    Simply not having to encounter not being called a cunt in your comments sections isn’t good enough. My humanity isn’t a debatable issue.
    — Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) March 15, 2013

    I was about to approach that. Since when is using insults or not using insults (as distinct from *slurs*) even relevant to feminism or being inclusive towards women? The slurs are just the most obvious problem. What about tackling all this other stuff?

    There was the exclusion from conferences, the sexist posts, the sexual harassment, the appropriation of religious and irreligious women’s lived experiences to Score Points and the obdurate not listening to those women when they protested.

    In fact, female atheists’ protests were greeted much the same way with which my protests had been met in my patriarchal church. Silencing. Demeaning. Threats.

    So in order to do better, we need (among other things) to be on the lookout for insult-free silencing, demeaning, exclusion, appropriation, and threats, not just the blatantly obvious. Especially in things we, as individuals, ourselves might say. (It’s really easy to notice when you’ve just let a c-word or f-word slip out. Much harder to tackle ‘oh crap, what did I just say that got everyone so mad at me, I was being polite and reasonable, wasn’t I?’)

    Yeah, that’s 101-level. It also needs a hella lot of repeating to finally sink in.

  382. silverwane says

    Well, I apologize for that. I’d only heard of this place before with things like this: http://www.shakesville.com/2011/08/lady-atheists-reluctance-to-engage-with.html Which, I know was apologized for, but past experience with atheist communities and the information I had prior to stepping in here did concern me.

    I’m not going to apologize for feeling uncomfortable at the comment, because I did feel uncomfortable because of my lived experiences. It was not clear to me whether or not these issues were being taken seriously, and I wanted to make sure they were.

    I guess I’ll step out, now.

  383. says

    Silverwane:

    I guess I’ll step out, now.

    There’s no need to step out, simply a need to familiarize yourself with Pharyngula. Don’t make assumptions and do some reading, okay?

  384. glodson says

    That’s the whole point of all the laws states have passed, all the restrictions. Abortion may as well be illegal, given how difficult it is to obtain one for the majority of women.

    Add to that the increasing hoops that a woman has to jump through for a medical procedure. They want to make it as taxing as possible, and take as long as possible. They can still say it is legal, but they are doing this for the good of the women… When all it is a tactic to either make the delays insurmountable for some women, and use a bit of social and emotional pressure to deter abortions in others.

    It is a sickening and dishonest tactic. They know full well what they are doing, and they really don’t give a shit about the pregnancy, or the woman. As long as she doesn’t get an abortion.

    Hell, I put the no-exception laws in that category as well. When the GOP relents, they can say the “compromised” by allowing women who are raped or have their lives in danger to have abortions.

  385. jackiepaper says

    Silver, absolutely. I get it. That wasn’t meant to be an end of the discussion, just a break from headdesking.
    I’m not trying to further derail. I am sorry. This is serious.

    My suggestion is to stop trying to heal the rift. Move on. Lend more support to A+ and Humanists. Call the clueless privileged and the bigots out. Leave the old guard in the dust and move on without them. I want progress, not stagnation.

  386. jackiepaper says

    Silver, you don’t need to go anywhere or feel bad about being uncomfortable with something that I or anyone else said.

  387. says

    @381) Oh yes they do, at least here. They come up so often, we can recite those arguments in our sleep.

    (And I apologize in advance if I re-hash anything old; this thread is moving fast, I lost my place in it, and I’ll be here all day trying to catch up and never have said anything at all if I don’t speak up now.)

    So, if these arguments come up so often- arguments about abortion, bodily autonomy, and a woman’s absolute right to have an abortion whenever she damn well pleases- why not hash them out on a 101 page, and if someone comes into a topic repeating the same old tiresome arguments about viability and “I’m pro-choice BUT”, they can get a link to that 101 page, and then the conversation can just move on and go back to the original point of discussion. People who absolutely insist that the points made in that 101 are “complex” and who want to discuss them further are welcome to do so, but do it in the Thunderdome so they don’t continue to derail everybody else.

    We’re never going to get ahead if people keep derailing threads to talk about abortion again. So, how about decide as a community that that particular issue is settled, and then maybe we can get back to the topic at hand, which is what atheists, especially white, male atheists, can do to ensure that marginalized people (which includes women, but also people of colour, people who identify as LGBTQ, and I’m sorry if I’m missing an obvious group here, I’m trying to write through an Ativan fog and that can lead to forgetting things) feel welcome within the atheist movement. That’s an important conversation, and it’s one worth having, but we can’t have that conversation if we constantly have to have the same tiresome 101 arguments over and over again.

    Okay, now to figure out where the fuck I was reading this monster of a thread.

  388. glodson says

    I guess I’ll step out, now.

    There’s no need to leave. Unless you got something to do. Then, yes, there is a reason to leave.

    But really, it isn’t that bad. I’m pretty much the dumbest, and still newish, regular. If you are honest, and deal with criticism, even if harshly worded, you’ll be fine.

  389. says

    Glodson:

    Add to that the increasing hoops that a woman has to jump through for a medical procedure.

    Yes. South Dakota has been a leader in that regard since ’06. The laws they have passed are absolutely sickening. It’s not enough, all the the successful efforts they have made to prevent women from successfully obtaining an abortion, they also happily passed the religious conscience some years ago, in regard to pharmacists and pretty much everyone, so that a woman in SD can have one hell of a time obtaining effective contraceptives as well.

  390. jackiepaper says

    Caine & Glodson,

    Oh, I know. I’m on the opposite end of the state from our only abortion provider. That is meant to make exercising my rights as difficult for me as possible. The same state continues to cut funding to the department of health and family services and to Medicaid coverage and WIC.

    Beastly, is what it is.

  391. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    I have to be honest, at this moment, I am not feeling up to yet an other fucking abortion debate about where the limits should be for women.

    But I will say this to Freodin and this should be repeated to every other person who pulls this shit.

    This is an an abstraction. These are people’s lives. And before you ever talk to any pro choice person, first deal with the realities. In the US, violence has been used to murder doctors, nurses and other people working with abortion clinics. And that threat of violence keeps people from entering the field. Abortion clinics have been bombed and burned down. Nuisance laws have been passed in order to closed down clinics. Groups like Planned Parenthood have been defunded. The RCC buys up hospitals and place their own rules against birth control and abortions.

    Before people like Freodin raise their shit, they should realize the loses women in the US have recieved in the last thirty years. Not not get fucking upset that some of us dare to get upset dealing with the same shit yet again. And know this is not just an abstract “I don’t like it”.

  392. glodson says

    @ Caine

    I hate that religious exemption bullshit. God, I hate it. That fucking idea that religious liberty means the right to impose their twisted morality onto others.

  393. says

    FionnaBhair:

    So, if these arguments come up so often- arguments about abortion, bodily autonomy, and a woman’s absolute right to have an abortion whenever she damn well pleases- why not hash them out on a 101 page

    There are links to Social Justice and Economics and the Social Justice Link Roundup on the sidebar. Those took a great deal of work on the part of a few people. Would you like to know how much they have helped?

    If you hold the secret to getting assholes to actually click provided links and actually read the content at such links and come to a complete understanding and not keep arguing, by all means, let us know.

    A lot of these discussions do get moved to Thunderdome, however, when such subjects come up, they aren’t ignored, which you can plainly see. We simply don’t let such shit slide here. I know it’s frustrating, it’s frustrated and annoyed me beyond measure plenty of times. In the meantime, there’s nothing preventing you from discussing the topic of the post.

  394. glodson says

    @ jackiepepper

    I know that my state is well on the way to defunding Planned Parenthood.

    I guess all those women who get treatment from the organization are just fodder for their war on abortion.

  395. mythbri says

    I don’t like the way this thread de-railed into yet another Abortion 101 argument, but it IS related to McEwan’s post. This is how women are made to feel unwelcome – at least, I know that I am made to feel unwelcome this way.

    So I have to make a choice about whether or not to participate in a derail, or to allow a harmful idea to go unchallenged – what am I supposed to do? Part of this is due to the time I’ve spent commenting at Pharyngula, but I simply cannot let this go. Saying nothing implies acceptance at best, and agreement at worst!

    I am so tired of having to have the same conversation again and again and again and again and again – but what choice do I have? Even in this space, which is relatively safe, I have to have this conversation over and over.

    I am tired of Philosophy Dudebros treating my humanity as a thought experiment or debate. It’s de-humanizing.

  396. says

    Glodson:

    I hate that religious exemption bullshit. God, I hate it. That fucking idea that religious liberty means the right to impose their twisted morality onto others.

    So do I. With the RCC now buying hospitals all over the place, we’re going to be seeing much more of said poisonous shit.

  397. says

    Jackiepaper:)

    I am on my Kindle fire…sorry for any typos lol.

    Money wouldn’t be a big deal, thankfully my partner makes good money. And if that didn’t work, I have an awesome father. He would gladly help.

    I live in phoenix so I would have a waiting period. Stupid and annoying but I would deal.

    I had a recurring anal abscess a few years ago. An abortion sounds like a piece of cake compared to that lol.

    It would be a minor inconvenience for me but nothing more. (But that is just me. Everyone is different. )

  398. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not trying to point my fingers at anyone in particular, but I would also like to see people step up and take part in this discussion as well.

    I’ll do what I usually do when the women are talking about almost anything, especially how to make women more welcome. Shut the fuck up and listen. Meanwhile, mix up some swill and popcornz those discussing the issue.

  399. Anthony K says

    It was not clear to me whether or not these issues were being taken seriously, and I wanted to make sure they were.

    I guess I’ll step out, now.

    Please don’t. I can’t really answer PZ’s question. I can share what I’ve learned from non-privileged groups, but I’m not a member of those groups. I cannot and don’t want to speak for them, much as sometimes I forget myself and think so.

  400. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    That asshole, Edward Fucking Gemmer was never mocked for being a rapist nor being in an interracial relationship. (If being in an interracial relationship was cause to be mocked, we would all be starting with SallyStrange and move down the line.) He was mocked for whining that if the use of “cunt” and other misogynistic slurs were ended, it would be open season on straight men. And he was mocked for being one very stupid person.

    That is why he fits in so well with the Slymies. They have a narrative that is impervious to facts.

  401. glodson says

    So do I. With the RCC now buying hospitals all over the place, we’re going to be seeing much more of said poisonous shit.

    The part I don’t get is that this is okay when we talk about contraception or abortion. People accept it.

    Hell, look at the insurance bullshit from companies like Hobby Lobby. They don’t want women to use part of their compensation, insurance, on contraception. Because god. That’s part of their employee’s pay. Hell, what stops a company run by Jehovah’s Witness people from saying “we can’t support blood transfusions, so our insurance won’t cover those.” Or a group with dietary restrictions saying, “hey, you can’t use the compensation we give you for working to buy ham!” Or get tattoos, or even buy condoms.

    It is highly selective in how these “religious objections” seem to play out.

  402. Anthony K says

    If being in an interracial relationship was cause to be mocked, we would all be starting with SallyStrange and move down the line.

    I think I’ve mentioned the several that I’ve been in, several times, and never once gotten flack for it. What I’ve not done is used them to deny my white privilege.

    Gemmer’s a fucking lying shitbag.

  403. Annah Green says

    But don’t come here, play the heavily loaded sexist “she’s such a hysterical over-reacting attention whore victimhood-wallower”

    Once again, you are deliberately trying to conflate criticism of an individual with sexism. I did NOT use the word “hysterical” which, as you point out, is sexist. I used the word “histrionic”.

    There exist a large group of histrionic, self-absorbed bloggers on the net identifiable as a group. These are (mostly) NOT women – they are the right-wing nutcases, the likes of Erick Erickson or Theodore Beale. McEwan is not as bad as them, but shares many of the same traits.

    The fact that you had to twist my criticism to paint me as somehow “sexist” demonstrates your lack of good faith.

  404. says

    Glodson:

    It is highly selective in how these “religious objections” seem to play out.

    Oh yes. Gotta keep those wimmin in their proper place, you know. One of things starkly highlighted and clarified in Misogyny by Jack Holland was that throughout history, misogyny has consistently held two conflicting beliefs about women: 1) they are intellectually deficient, fragile, flighty, over emotional and require a dominant hand and must be guided and highly restricted and 2) they are all highly intelligent, manipulative, scheming, and ambitious with evil intent.

  405. says

    Annah Green:

    The fact that you had to twist my criticism to paint me as somehow “sexist” demonstrates your lack of good faith.

    Oh, I don’t think that’s the case. We can read your original post, you know.

    While the message may be valid, it has to be tainted by the messenger. McEwan is well known for a brand of “feminism” which wallows in an eternal victimhood. Her blog is a sycophantic cult of personality and maintained by the systematic banning of anyone who dares to offend McEwan and her ever-so-easily offended feelings. The most irritating thing about it is that it provides easy fodder for right-wingers who want to paint all feminists as shrill, emotionally-damaged whiners.

    Let’s see: tainted, therefor not valid, eternal victimhood, sycophantic, cult of personality, ever-so-easily offended feelings, shrill, emotionally-damaged whiners.

    Yeah, no dogwhistles there. :eyeroll:

  406. Anthony K says

    1) they are intellectually deficient, fragile, flighty, over emotional and require a dominant hand and must be guided and highly restricted and 2) they are all highly intelligent, manipulative, scheming, and ambitious with evil intent.

    I’m pretty sure dear old Dad was great at merging those two thoughts seamlessly, while vacillating between whining that emotional abuse was more damaging than physical abuse (as if he only ever indulged in the latter) and denying he ever took part in the latter at all.

    Caine, funny, the same was said about Jews

    And FtB. We’re the most dangerous blogging network nobody ever reads.

  407. says

    Anthony K:

    I’m pretty sure dear old Dad was great at merging those two thoughts seamlessly,

    All manner of people have no trouble merging those two thoughts seamlessly, but they sure as hell have one hell of a hard time seeing how they conflict. It’s one of the reasons it often feels like you’d have better luck discussing feminism with a dirt clod.

    And FtB. We’re the most dangerous blogging network nobody ever reads.

    Hahahahahahahahahaha. Yep.

  408. Richard Smith says

    On the basis of the woman’s unique status as an incubator, what are the odds that, eventually, “reason” would lead to the conclusion that incubators need to incubate, which requires eggs to be fertilized, demonstrating man’s unique status as a fertilizer. And, just as incubators got to incubate, fertilizers got to fertilize, so it becomes every man’s duty to do what they can to ensure that all operational incubators are kept… employed.

    Nobody’d ever try carrying it to such an extreme, though. Even just the thought of it sets me all a-quiver, full of dread at such a society.

  409. Anthony K says

    It’s one of the reasons it often feels like you’d have better luck discussing feminism with a dirt clod.

    I should try that with him, now that he is one.

  410. says

    Richard Smith:

    And, just as incubators got to incubate, fertilizers got to fertilize, so it becomes every man’s duty to do what they can to ensure that all operational incubators are kept… employed.

    Nobody’d ever try carrying it to such an extreme, though. Even just the thought of it sets me all a-quiver, full of dread at such a society.

    Oh, we’ve seen plenty of people bring such an argument here, generally in rape threads, where we get to hear about it really being all about a man’s evolutionary, biological imperative to “seed” women.

  411. Richard Smith says

    @myself (#450): I should probably have started that with “On the premise…”

  412. Pteryxx says

    Even just the thought of it sets me all a-quiver, full of dread at such a society.

    oh I see what you did there. *nod*

  413. deoridhe says

    Could there be a way of trying to organize grass roots progrAms to help with the practical aspects of abortion? I’m thinking something like donations tendered for transport, paying bills, paying for days off work, etc. Something like the programs with escorts for women through harrasing crowds.

  414. says

    Deoridhe, there are already a lot of collectives helping out with transportation and places to stay in many states. One of the best things you can do is to find out how many legitimate women’s clinics are in your area and how many provide abortions and support them financially or in any other way they specify. In ND, the only clinic is the Red River Clinic in Fargo. (Not Grand Forks, like I said earlier. Duh.) The Red River Clinic has a Women in Need fund, to help pay for abortion, contraception, ultrasound, or transportation, meals and lodging related to a woman’s appointment.

    Find out what’s going on with your local clinics – there’s probably a lot you can do.

  415. says

    @431

    I don’t claim to have the secret to getting assholes to click on links, other than to perhaps direct them to the relevant link. I mean, didn’t the tone troll stop tone trolling after we told him what tone-trolling was?

    While I understand nobody around here likes to let shit slide, and you guys keep the knives good and sharp, and that’s great, but it seems to be that any thread where anyone so much as whispers the phrase “bodily autonomy”, someone troll (or highly clueless individual) comes in with his “I’m pro-choice, BUT” arguments, and the original topic is lost. Multiple people have said, rehashing this argument all the time is tiresome. So, why not just give the anti-choicer a link and send them on their merry way. That way, you don’t feed people trolling threads like this, and people can discuss topics a bit more advanced than basic 101-level feminism.

    See, personally, I like a good abortion debate every once in a while. Helps me keep my claws sharp, and all. The thing is, when I step into a space like this, I see those debates all the damn time, and while it’s great that the vast majority of people here support choice 100%, the frequency with which this topic comes up sends the message that in the atheist community, my rights as a woman are constantly up for debate, and that sort of message definitely isn’t a welcome mat for women. Plus, I burn out a lot faster than some of you, and I’d much rather tell the trolls to do their 101 and go away while the adults are talking about other issues.

    That was more or less one of the points McEwan made responding directly to PZ about how men can do more to ensure women feel welcome in the atheist community. There are some things that just shouldn’t be up for debate if you want to make women feel safe here, and a woman’s bodily autonomy is one of those things. Furthermore, it’s something of a silencing tactic if we start a discussion on one topic, only to have the conversation degrade to a debate on abortion rights time and time again.

    Plus, it’s like I said in my first comment: we can’t move forward if we’re constantly having to have the 101 discussion with every dudebro who shows up thinking that there might be some situations where a fetus has rights, or whatever the tired argument of the day happens to be.

    So, yay for this community supporting abortion rights. Now, can we please not have that discussion the next time feminism gets mentioned in an atheist space?

  416. PatrickG says

    Please note that I’m making the inexcusable mistake of commenting on a 450 comment thread while having only read 150 comments. But, as to how I can be better:

    I realize I should give into that urge that says “comment, just comment — even if you don’t have something deeply profound to say, or aren’t willing to write an essay at the moment”. It’s not a lot of effort to just politely point out that someone’s argument really sucks and deprecates the agency of women. I should do better at publicly confronting such bullshit.

    So yeah, that’ll be my new resolution after this thread. Comment more in support of “controversial” human rights.

    @ Eristae:

    We don’t even force organ donations on dead people. We could save more lives by mandating that corpses lose their bodily integrity* along with having lost the person who once resided in said body, but nooooo, we can’t have that, because a person’s body is sacred once there isn’t a person inside of it anymore!

    Pfwow! I’ve seen this argument before, but your (emphasis mine) rendition here just made me sit up and go HELLO! Totally using this next time I run into one of the antichoicers I get into regular verbal fights with. Thanks!

    And @Eristae, Mythbri, glodson, NateHevens, SallyStrange, … and all the other people who were sort of awesome in this thread (as far as I’ve read)… I’d name my future progeny after you all, but naming a kid Salistaebrinateson seems guaranteed to ensure bullying. :)

  417. PatrickG says

    Also, I confess that once the conversation turned to “BUT MLK WAS POLITE” I knew I had to comment on the previous material first, because it’s not hard to see where that’s going to go.

    Reading on…

  418. says

    So, yay for this community supporting abortion rights. Now, can we please not have that discussion the next time feminism gets mentioned in an atheist space?

    :Laughs: Well, when you get the great Pharyngula Horde to agree 100 percent on responding one way and only one way on specific subjects, let me know.

  419. Doug Hudson says

    Annah Green, @442, I’m not sure why it matters to you that Shakesville is “the center of a cult of personality”, since no one is forcing you to read or comment there…

    But even if your allegations about Shakesville are correct, why would they affect how one reacts to Melissa McEwan’s statements? So what if she runs a website that doesn’t allow dissent and serves as an echo chamber for her? Does that mean her ideas are somehow inherently flawed and not worth considering?

    That would be an “ad hominem” (argument made personally against an opponent instead of against their argument), and that is generally frowned upon any place that honest discourse is valued.

    So, drop the “Shakesville is evil” line, and say what you think is wrong with the ideas that have been advanced…or go to your “Shakesville Hater’s Club” meeting, whichever.

  420. Pteryxx says

    Multiple people have said, rehashing this argument all the time is tiresome. So, why not just give the anti-choicer a link and send them on their merry way. That way, you don’t feed people trolling threads like this, and people can discuss topics a bit more advanced than basic 101-level feminism.

    Well, some of us *cough* do throw out relevant links and previous discussions. It’s still on the clueless person to recognize that they should take the (first, second, third, fourth…) opportunity to actually go there and read a discussion that didn’t directly involve them, where the exact same arguments weren’t some new thing that they’d never examined in depth before. As long as they keep cluelessing on, the regulars are back in the same old dilemma… counter the crap, or let the crap slide. Have a look back; I didn’t specifically tell Freodin to shut up or quit derailing (and I’m pretty sure I didn’t cuss) but xe didn’t show any sign of reading, or even *noticing*, the resources I suggested.

    Keep in mind that this particular space is *not* heavily moderated, because PZ doesn’t have the time or inclination to follow everything himself. So the regulars could lean more towards shoving the derail into Thunderdome, for instance, but again if the clueless person doesn’t take the hint, same old dilemma again. (If they were good at listening or self-examination on 101-level topics, they wouldn’t have become a problem in the first place, would they?)

  421. Eristae says

    @PatrickG

    Thanks!

    On another note, because we are talking about abortion . . .

    OMFG North Dakota just banned abortion after a heartbeat can be detected! Which can sometimes be detected at six weeks! Considering that a pregnancy is measured from the date of one’s LAST period, this means that you can only have an abortion for two weeks after your first missed period! And North Dakota has one clinic! And a 24 hour wait period!

    OMFG I’m freaking out.

  422. mythbri says

    I think that what Fionnabhair is suggesting would give us a very welcome respite from having to defend the idea that women are people all the time, and not only when it’s convenient and un-icky.

    Perhaps to avoid derails like this, PZ and Chris could take more of an active role in moderation – not banning commeters that wanted to challenge the pro-choice position, but rather provide them with a useful link, and then tell them that they’re welcome to further discuss abortion in the Thunderdome. Thus threads can stay on topic a little easier.

    I think that’s a workable suggestion, but dependent upon how much time PZ and Chris want/have to invest in moderation, more than they do already.

  423. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So, why not just give the anti-choicer a link and send them on their merry way.

    Because they wouldn’t respond the way you think and chase the link. They will stay and proselytize. We have tried that. They keep arguing as they must convince us, not the other way around. Just like the idjit today.

  424. glodson says

    I think that’s a workable suggestion, but dependent upon how much time PZ and Chris want/have to invest in moderation, more than they do already.

    Failing that, perhaps we could throw out a link to Thunderdome when a discussion seems to be in danger of derailing. Maybe going as far to reply in the Thunderdome first, then link to the reply.

    Probably won’t work, as really, the point I suspect is to derail this conversation. Perhaps nothing will work, not even have PZ or Chris link to the Thunderdome. The troll will likely just try to engage PZ or Chris directly to keep the conversation on them.

  425. says

    Mythbri:

    Perhaps to avoid derails like this, PZ and Chris could take more of an active role in moderation – not banning commeters that wanted to challenge the pro-choice position, but rather provide them with a useful link, and then tell them that they’re welcome to further discuss abortion in the Thunderdome. Thus threads can stay on topic a little easier.

    That’s been done, you know. Didn’t change anything. It’s not like PZ or Chris magically shows up on someone’s doorstep and forces them to post only in Thunderdome. The one thing people can do is to continue to talk about the topic, ignoring the derail. I’ve done that plenty of times, and eventually, the discussion picks back up on topic.

  426. says

    mythbri basically nailed what I was getting at: no, trolls probably won’t take the hint and shove off, but if PZ and Chris incorporated it into the comment policy and threads were moderated that way (both in terms of official moderation, where possible, and the Horde making sure that trolls know that line of discussion is Thunderdome-only material and then not engaging the troll any more than that), then I think it could work.

    Ensuring that topics dealing with feminism don’t derail into yet another abortion debate will probably require some sort of comment policy change. I know the moderation style around here is pretty loose, but if it makes women feel safer here, though- and isn’t that kind of the goal?- then perhaps a small tightening is the best corse of action.

  427. says

    but if it makes women feel safer here, though- and isn’t that kind of the goal?

    Not exactly. The women here tend to be on the uppity, ferocious side, but this particular derail, discussing the derail, is more about the tediousness of having the same arguments over and over. Some things are guaranteed – in discussions of feminism, frinst., there will always eventually be a “what about the menz?” post. We know how that goes. Derails are a regular factor here, such as the one we’re indulging in right now. As you can see, people don’t mind derails when the subject is one they wish to discuss. That makes it all a bit tricky.

    I don’t think more moderation is the solution. Chris Clarke already moderates his threads attentively, whereas PZ doesn’t much care for it (or have the time) unless monitors are sending alerts and such. Different spaces address different needs. I think Carlie expressed this elegantly here.

  428. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but if PZ and Chris incorporated it into the comment policy and threads were moderated that way (both in terms of official moderation, where possible,

    PZ’s level of moderation is low. HE scans threads for ‘pitters and other vermin, mostly leave the rest of the posts alone, especially if the horde is engaging. I don’t think he wants to do more. If today’s idjit kept it up for another day, he might have been banished to the Thunderdome. But I suspect not.

  429. says

    Eristae:

    OMFG I’m freaking out.

    Yeah. Looks like the idiots are drooling to follow SD’s lead. Jesus fucking Christ. Time to shovel more pennies into Red River Clinic – I wonder how long they’ll be allowed to keep operating.

  430. PatrickG says

    @ Eristae: You’re welcome! And thanks again to all the other awesome people in this thread. :)

    And having finished the thread…. maijebusalmighty, WTF was all that with freodin’s (parapharased) ‘I support bodily autonomy, but I want to have a discussion about how we can undermine that in any way possible.’

    Hate to continue the abortion-related derail, but I do want to throw out that the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon happens every spring. Bowl for access! I’ll steer clear of advertising my own particular organization’s ‘thon, but if you like to bowl, consider some spare change for your local group. Strike a blow for access! Keep legal abortion out of the gutter! And don’t ever let people like freodin split you from your convictions!

    And before you comment, I’ve already got the honey and anthill lined up for punishment. I just couldn’t resist.

    P.S. Yes, even in my apology for bad puns…. I feel ashamed.

  431. PatrickG says

    And as further derail, I’m subscribed to this topic but not getting notifications. Irritating, that.

  432. says

    Ms. McEwan’s entire post is based on the assumption that

    1) atheists, by virtue of being atheists, cannot, should not and must not be misogynists. As if in her world it was unfathomable that atheists could possibly ever be misogynistic. As if misogyny could not ever happen in atheist world view or as if misogyny was a function of atheism, as opposed to people who are atheist just happening to be misogynists too.

    2) there is something about atheism that makes misogyny wronger or more unusual. As if she expecting religious people to be misogynistic but was totally flabbergasted that atheist men can be misogynists too. misogyny.

    As to #1: there is nothing about atheism that says men cannot and should not be atheists. She is acting like this was unusual. Misogyny is not a function of atheism nor does atheism forbid or contradict misogyny. The reason for that is that other things beside spiritual belief or lack thereof inform and feed into someone’s misogyny. I don’t understand why she is holding atheist men to a different standard with regard to their views on women instead of acknowledging that misogyny comes in many forms and a variety of people and creeds can be misogynists.

    If atheists use atheism to justify and excuse their misogyny you can say the same about any misogynist who uses all sorts of excuses and justification under the sun to justify their misogyny. Why single out atheists? There are misogynists everywhere – it is not a function of or special to atheism.

    As to #2: i find the use of such a line of arguing akin to those who want to discredit atheism by stating that hey Hitler was an atheist, or Stalin was an atheists or whatever dictator or genocidal murderer was an atheist, therefore, atheism is bad and can be bad. As if atheism informed Stalin’s murderous ambitions much the same way religion and catholicism have informed the Inquisition.

    I appreciate people pointing out their experiences, namely that they have encountered misogynists and bigots among a group they otherwise agree with. But to somehow state or even imply that atheist men should not be misogynists because they are atheists seems like a moot point. As an atheist myself, I dont walk around thinking that all other atheists must be smart, educated, warm, inclusive, giving, compassionate feminists. To even make such an assumption and then be pissed that people in reality – surprise, surprise – arent that way is silly and making an issue out of a non issue. Wanna talk about and criticize misogyny, go for it. I am on your side. But dont go there pretending that atheist men cannot ever be sexist as if atheism forbade sexism.

  433. says

    On moderation:

    I don’t have an issue with clamping down harder if need be — far from it. I’ve been very light-handed in my moderation out of respect for PZ’s history and preferences, and the blog’s corporate culture.

    But I don’t think telling people to limit topics to the Thunderdome will influence anyone but the people who aren’t posing a problem.

    Lindy West said it very well a couple weeks ago:

    What are you supposed to do when someone asks you to “prove” that feminism isn’t a massive conspiracy theory in a country where we’ve only had 39 female senators in the nation’s entire history, and 20 of them are serving right now? What kind of a stupid fucking question is that? What are you supposed to say when the 8,000th faux-incredulous jackass throws you the same argument about the wage gap or the draft or bumbling dads in Tide commercials—as though holding each of their hands individually through the empirical facts of the world around us is a worthwhile use of my time. As though feminist academics haven’t filled books (decades of books) with answers to that shit already. As though they believe that if they can keep you occupied refuting their flimsy trump cards over and over forever, they can stave off any changes to the culture that keeps them on top.

  434. John Morales says

    Wendy:

    Ms. McEwan’s entire post is based on the assumption that

    1) atheists, by virtue of being atheists, cannot, should not and must not be misogynists.

    I think not; clearly there are atheists what are misogynists, and therefore only the “should not” isn’t counter-factual.

    2) there is something about atheism that makes misogyny wronger or more unusual.

    Yes: that something is that there is no theistic basis to be so.

    (Atheists lack one particular source of wrongness compared to theists)

    But dont go there pretending that atheist men cannot ever be sexist as if atheism forbade sexism.

    Duh. Atheists can be anything except theistic, and nobody here denies that.

    (Your attack a straw dummy)

  435. says

    I don’t understand why she is holding atheist men to a different standard with regard to their views on women instead of acknowledging that misogyny comes in many forms and a variety of people and creeds can be misogynists.

    If atheists use atheism to justify and excuse their misogyny you can say the same about any misogynist who uses all sorts of excuses and justification under the sun to justify their misogyny. Why single out atheists? There are misogynists everywhere – it is not a function of or special to atheism.

    Religion has a long history of misogyny and those who are theists have a belief system which is misogynistic at the foundation. When it comes to atheists and skeptics, you have people who are generally happy about the fact that they are intelligent enough to think rationally and critically, therefor they reject religious belief.

    Given this group of people who tend to be rather self-congratulatory on their powers of intellect and rationality, it’s a very large pill to swallow, seeing a large group of self-declared atheists and skeptics indulging in deliberate misogyny, such as what the slymepit is doing. Continued campaigns of harassment and threats going on two years? Even most theists wouldn’t do such a thing. However, a segment of atheists and skeptics not only do such things, they revel in it.

    But dont go there pretending that atheist men cannot ever be sexist as if atheism forbade sexism.

    No one has done that. Everyone is sexist, there’s simply no way to avoid it. The trick is to be aware of it and change your own thinking and behaviour. There is, however, a very serious and valid reason to address what has been taking place in the atheoskeptisphere. It ain’t pretty. If you are unaware of all that has been taking place over the last two years, you have a whole lot to catch up on.

  436. Doug Hudson says

    WTF? Is it just me, or is Wendy Kroy’s post at 478 completely nonsensical? Her assertions about what Melissa McEwan said are so far from the truth, they don’t even qualify as a straw man; its like she’s debating a mirror universe version of what the post actually said.

  437. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    conservatives are willing to do anything to stop abortion including terrorism and murder while liberal allies are still wringing their hands about how tragic abortion is. Its no surprise were losing

  438. says

    Doug Hudson:

    WTF? Is it just me, or is Wendy Kroy’s post at 478 completely nonsensical?

    Oh, it wasn’t nonsensical, just a cheap shot dressed up in a “oh, let’s be reasonable and fair!” blanket. After all, you mustn’t say bad things about atheists, they aren’t nearly as bad as theists, right? Right? Any sort of criticism must be seen as a terrible diatribe against those poor atheist menz, especially seeing as it comes from one of those terribly uppity types of feminist. Gosh, we just don’t understand the menz! They can’t help it and all that!

  439. says

    Oh no, leave the pseudo-intellectual trolls. By all means.

    There are some things I’m just dying for an excuse to trot out, especially now that I’m convinced they don’t actually want to learn so there’s no point in providing sources and holding their hands so their wee fee-fees don’t get hurt.

    I LOVE this community because there is confrontation. All the confrontation I’ve done or really wanted to do gets played out here, and it warms my withered, cold heart.

    Doug: It’s not just you. I’m thinking she was put up to her comment by someone else because it made no sense and had nothing to do with the post or McEwan’s post.

  440. says

    @ Doug Hudson: how is what I am saying nonsensical? The blog was talking about how misogyny is prevalent among atheists too and all I am doing is asserting that misogyny is prevalent among all groups – religious or not and to expect feminism as the default position for atheists is misguided. Why else would she bring it up if she didn’t think there is something about atheism that makes misogyny so puzzling and unacceptable, more so than misogyny under any kind of thought and belief system. Just because you do not believe in god or a god and are an evolutionist etc , it does not mean you cannot hold misogynistic views or be a bigot in many other ways. There are atheists who can be rapist and sexually abuse women. Atheists are not the pinnacle of human development. They just choose not to believe in fairy tales and made up crap to define their lives – it doesn’t mean they are infallible human beings without flaws who cannot make mistakes and be wrong in other areas, including being sexist.

    2 Caine: “Given this group of people who tend to be rather self-congratulatory on their powers of intellect and rationality” –> yeah, way to talk about and dismiss atheists as a bunch of self righteous assholes – as if the rationality they apply to things such as existence and our being and the origins of the universe were just the unfounded musings of a bunch of narcissists. As to the rest of your response, see my above response. If “Atheists can be anything except theistic” then why are we having this discussions.

    I dont know who and what slympit is but it seems like you are taking the actions of a lunatci fringe to imply sexism as a major part of atheism. Speak of your strawman. My point was that I am stunned you people and McEwan are stunned that sexism is not only reserved for the religious people and that atheists can be that too. Congratulations. Welcome to the real world where people dont entirely conform to the stereotypes you assign to them.

  441. says

    @ mouthyb, Vagina McTits: dont say that what I said is made up shit or that i’m trolling simply because it is in over your head and you don’t get it ipso facto i must be trolling or imagining things.

  442. The Mellow Monkey says

    It would appear that Wendy Kroy is as good at reading this thread as she is at reading McEwan’s post.

    Apparently, if we complain about sexism among atheists, this is the same as being baffled that it exists among atheists.

  443. Eristae says

    @Wendy Kroy

    I’m not even sure how to respond to your post because it doesn’t seem to actually connect to anything. So, I’ll just make some general statements about your post.

    1) There isn’t anything weird or bad about holding people in your in-group to a higher standard then you hold other people to. For example, there are things that I tolerate in coworkers that I would never tolerate in friends. An atheist woman who is operating within an atheist community/movement is going to be more upset by misogyny within the atheist community/movement for this very reason.

    2) People point out misogyny within Christian groups all the time. Do you spend time running around insisting that they shouldn’t deal with Christian misogyny, but with only misogyny itself? If so, please show me an example. If not, why?

    3) As Caine said, religious people purport to follow a very misogynistic text whereas atheists tend to declare that they are following reason. When a Christian are misogynistic, it’s consistent, albeit yucky. When an atheist pulls that shit, it’s both hypocritical and misogynistic.

    4) For years people have been pointing to religion as some kind of great causal agent in misogyny. When those very same people prove to be misogynists, it’s bound to invoke feelings of betrayal in those who actually believed the people making this claim.

    5) No one is saying that atheist men “can’t” be misogynistic; if they “couldn’t” be, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It is only because they can that there is anything to discuss.

    6) I say that everyone shouldn’t be misogynistic. Atheists don’t get a pass on this.

    7) Many atheists have used the misogyny displayed by religious people as a hitting point against religion. Thereafter refusing to deal with misogynistic atheists is baffling and hypocritical.

  444. John Morales says

    Wendy:

    My point was that I am stunned you people and McEwan are stunned that sexism is not only reserved for the religious people and that atheists can be that too.

    You’re stunned about a mirage.

    I dont know who and what slympit is but it seems like you are taking the actions of a lunatci fringe to imply sexism as a major part of atheism.

    So, you contend that “we people” are “stunned that sexism is not only reserved for the religious people and that atheists can be that too” and simultaneously trying to “to imply sexism as a major part of atheism”.

    (You think the confusion in on the part of “we people”? ;) )

    Welcome to the real world where people dont entirely conform to the stereotypes you assign to them.

    <snicker>

    (You don’t stereotype “we people” — no, not at all!)

  445. says

    Wendy, I know you’ve been told this before in the thread, but to my reading NO ONE is disagreeing that sexism is rampant. Seriously. NO ONE.

    What they appear to be saying is that people who value their critical thinking skills seem to also be fairly happy to stop where it’s convenient to them (eg before they have to reflect on taking advantage of people in ways societies reward them for and change their behavior.)

    The subsequent line of thought reads: if these people are so interested in being and maintaining criticality, why the fuck aren’t they examining their own behavior and changing it so that they stop hurting people to make their lives easier?

    All too often here, the answer that comes out of extensive conversations is that they don’t have to care (for their own sake), so they don’t. It’s too much trouble to think about sexism or racism, and besides, if women are meant to be subservient, it’s always someone else’s turn to make the sammiches.

    The point is that to value a philosophy that emphasizes reflection, truth and understanding, but to refuse to pass the point where it’s no longer convenient is inconsistent. And, to the extent that this inconsistency serves their self-interest, they are both hypocritical and selfish.

    All of this at the expense of others.

  446. says

    It seems to me rthat you religious nut jobs are just using the shakesville article on atheism and misogyny to shoot cheap shots at and criticise atheism to reaffirm your unfounded that religion, fairy tales and superstition are the answer while atheists are these sexist subhumans even one of their own (McEwan) cant stand. Very good. But next time I suggest arguing an issue based on merits rather than piggy backing on someone else’s criticism because it is opportune for your agenda of massive religious bullshit.

  447. Eristae says

    It seems to me rthat you religious nut jobs are just using the shakesville article on atheism and misogyny to shoot cheap shots at and criticise atheism to reaffirm your unfounded that religion, fairy tales and superstition are the answer while atheists are these sexist subhumans even one of their own (McEwan) cant stand.

    The fuck? We’re atheists. Have you . . . read any of this blog at all?

  448. says

    2 Caine: “Given this group of people who tend to be rather self-congratulatory on their powers of intellect and rationality” –> yeah, way to talk about and dismiss atheists as a bunch of self righteous assholes – as if the rationality they apply to things such as existence and our being and the origins of the universe were just the unfounded musings of a bunch of narcissists. As to the rest of your response, see my above response. If “Atheists can be anything except theistic” then why are we having this discussions.

    If you plan on continuing your willful ignorance and obtuseness in this thread, then please take a moment to learn how to quote. Use: <blockquote>Place Quoted Text Here</blockquote>

    I did not dismiss atheists as self righteous assholes or a bunch of narcissists. I’m an atheist, you know. My explanation to you was extremely mild. Your reaction to it, not so much. There must be some reason you’re taking any criticism so personally. Yes, atheists are people minus the religion. However, (again), people who pride themselves on not being gullible should not be so prone to refusing to examine their own biases or terrified of examining their own privilege. They should be more open than most to thinking a position or issue all the way through, rather than being content with their sexism or misogynistic views. Do I expect atheists to try and be better human beings? Yes, I do. It’s not good enough to declare that “science is good, secularity is good, no thinking person should believe in bigfoot and there’s most probably no god of any kind” then sit back and pat themselves on the back continually.

    The fact of the matter is that there are a whole lot of atheists and skeptics who are self-righteous assholes who happen to have a narcissistic view of things. There’s little point in ignoring that. I want atheism and skepticism to be inclusive movements, I want them to lead the way in just how good a secular and humanist view and life can be great things. Yeah, that’s all very ideal. Even so, we can make it happen, however, it won’t happen by ignoring the scum all over the walls, who are doing their best to make atheoskepticism as exclusive as possible.

    I dont know who and what slympit is but it seems like you are taking the actions of a lunatci fringe to imply sexism as a major part of atheism.

    No, of course you don’t. Yet another person utterly ignorant of what’s going on, but you’ll barge in and be an assclam anyway, because of course you’re right! Creepy Christ, talk about narcissistic…

    As for sexism being a major part of atheism? IT IS. What did you miss about *everyone* being sexist? Ignoring what people say here, after they have taken all this time and trouble to type their thoughts out is quite rude, y’know. Sexism isn’t just a major part of atheism, as we’ve found out. That’s where knowing the history of recent events is helpful. I think I’ve had enough of helping you out, “Wendy”. If someone else feels like furnishing you with two years of back history and about 6 dozen links, they can.

  449. wondering says

    It seems to me rthat you religious nut jobs are just using the shakesville article on atheism and misogyny to shoot cheap shots at and criticise atheism to reaffirm your unfounded that religion, fairy tales and superstition are the answer while atheists are these sexist subhumans even one of their own (McEwan) cant stand. Very good. But next time I suggest arguing an issue based on merits rather than piggy backing on someone else’s criticism because it is opportune for your agenda of massive religious bullshit.

    This is the most hilarious unintentionally funny thing I’ve read all year. Pharyngulites on Freethought Blogs accused of being religious.

  450. says

    Wendy:

    It seems to me rthat you religious nut jobs are just using the shakesville article on atheism and misogyny to shoot cheap shots at and criticise atheism to reaffirm your unfounded that religion, fairy tales and superstition are the answer while atheists are these sexist subhumans even one of their own (McEwan) cant stand. Very good. But next time I suggest arguing an issue based on merits rather than piggy backing on someone else’s criticism because it is opportune for your agenda of massive religious bullshit.

    You don’t seem to know where you are, dear. Right now, you’re in a deep den of atheists.