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May 15 2013

I think we call that an own goal

An article in the Houston Chronicle blog, Female atheists fight for equality in freethought movement, goes out of its way to find some people who disagree with that sentiment. I don’t know whether the author was being cunningly ironic or not (he is a religion writer), but he really picked the worst possible critics, which I find amusing.

“A lot of women are coming out as atheists and freethinkers,” said Hensley, “whether they want to become an active member of the community is another question.” Not only do women face backlash from religious groups opposed to their atheism and feminism, but there are sources of adversity within the secular community as well. Sites such as Slymepit.com and A Voice for Men are countering Women in Secularism’s claim that atheism and feminism fit together hand-in-glove.

As Justin Vacula of Skeptics Ink said, “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning long held beliefs about women and men.”

Yes, because reason never leads to the abandonment of traditions and beliefs. Somebody hand that man another shell for his shotgun so he can blow off his other foot.

And to find critics, the author had to go to two hate sites. I think the point is clear.


The article I linked to has since been revised, specifically to include a more accurate Vacula quote.

“I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

I’m speechless.

241 comments

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  1. 1
    carlie

    Also, it labels the Surlyramics table as “female freethought paraphernalia”. I was not aware that surlyramics each came with its own vagina so as to be able to identify its gender.

  2. 2
    carlie

    *not that one needs a vagina to be female, damn it i didn’t mean it to come out that way

  3. 3
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Justin fucking Vacula. They really had to dredge the bottom of the barrel to come up with a bottom feeder like him.

    Yeah. Just because our long-held beliefs about the differences between women and men were fed almost exclusively by religion doesn’t mean we should abandon those beliefs when it makes me uncomfortable to do so. I mean, we all know the value of tradition, amiright?

    Fuck. Me. I shall never use the word skeptic in a positive manner again. Ever.

  4. 4
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Just . . . wow. That’s some classy journalism right there. And Vacula’s a master of self-trolling, which many people consider to be quite a waste of time.

  5. 5
    ChasCPeterson

    As Justin Vacula of Skeptics Ink said, “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning long held beliefs about women and men.”

    ?
    Here’s the quote that I’m reading over there:

    As Justin Vacula of Skeptic Ink Network said in response to another piece from conference speaker Amanda Marcotte, “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

  6. 6
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    @Chas – that’s even more abhorrent. There’s no god, but I exist to bring the Justin Vaculas of the world sandwiches and beer and do their laundry. It’s like a horrifying atheist Handmaid’s Tale.

  7. 7
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The quote captures the essence of who Vacula is and what he stands for. Drop the religion but keep the baggage.

    But we must all remember, Justin Vacula and his band of braveheros do not have any sacred cows.

  8. 8
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Mattir, should I refer to you as Ofjustin?

  9. 9
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    But we must all remember, Justin Vacula and his band of braveheros do not have any sacred cows.

    Ironic choice of words.

  10. 10
    timberwoof

    It doesn’t matter that *we* know who the jerks are he quoted “for balance”. The problem becomes apparent when you look at this from the point of view of this journalist’s readers. They don’t have a clue what’s going on or who is who; he can present whatever he wants to them as the state of things and they won’t be the wiser. And now they think that secularism is a slimepit of misogynists just as bad as their own. Do they know it was an own goal?

  11. 11
    ChasCPeterson

    at least you remembered the beer.
    *dux*

  12. 12
    rowanvt

    That’s because cows are female, and therefore can’t be sacred. Bulls, however…….

  13. 13
    jenniferphillips

    yeah, the original article said what PZ quoted. It’s since been updated to the quote that Chas pulled. In fairness, I don’t THINK Vacula personally believes that women exist to serve men, but he’s such a shitty writer I gave up trying to parse whatever point he was attempting to make in his response to Amanda. Whatever the case, although this doesn’t quite have the Golden Own Goal Glow of, e.g. kicking PZ out and letting Dawkins in to see ‘Expelled’, it still makes JV & the Pitters look like the assholes they are.

  14. 14
    Randomfactor

    Justin fucking Vacula. They really had to dredge the bottom of the barrel to come up with a bottom feeder like him.

    Are there any others on that “side” who aren’t Anonynyms?

  15. 15
    Amphiox

    Donning my Conspiracy Hat, I’d say this smells of a religion writer ulteriorly seeking to discredit the atheist movement in general by associating atheism with the Slymepitters. It’ll be a “see how these atheists, without God, have no morals and treat their women like shit”.

    And sadly, he’d be right.

  16. 16
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Are there any others on that “side” who aren’t Anonynyms?

    Karla Porter. Renee Hendricks. Paul Elam. (Who wrote the first response to the article.

  17. 17
    Marcus Ranum

    Are there any others on that “side” who aren’t Anonynyms?

    Sarah Mayhew?

  18. 18
    consciousness razor

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    How fucking hard is it to connect the dots, Vacula?

    Without gods, does teleology just pop out the fucking ether or what?

    I don’t know. Maybe we also can’t reach any conclusions about the ether. Or fucking magnets: how do they work? Yeah, definitely. You’re on to something here. Dumbass.

  19. 19
    PZ Myers

    Jebus. The author updated the quote…to something even more damning.

    I didn’t intend the suggestion to give him another shotgun shell to be taken seriously.

  20. 20
    yazikus

    Jebus. The author updated the quote…to something even more damning.

    I read the original incredulously, thinking that surely it could not have been more awful. But here comes Justin Vacuala, proving me wrong.

    I do think this is the kind of press they should be getting though. People should know what the WISII haters really stand for.

  21. 21
    LykeX

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    Well, without god, how do you justify that belief? Without justification, the default position is to reject the idea.

  22. 22
    carlie

    I would love to believe that sentence was a setup, that the next word was HOWEVER… followed by reasons that it’s obvious women do not exist to serve men regardless of religious belief.

    HOWEVER,

    given everything Vacula’s ever said, I highly doubt it.

    Am I the only one who always wants to shout “It’s a cookbook!” after the phrase “to serve men”? I’ll go sit in the corner, then.

  23. 23
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Is JV so stupid that he didn’t realize he just killed his potential speaking engagements for the next few years? Clueless is more than a movie title.

  24. 24
    ck

    It’s just a pity they didn’t pick a more vile quote from Paul Elam. When he remembers not to speak his mind freely, Paul sometimes says things that seem to sound reasonable, even if he’s being utterly disingenuous.

  25. 25
    John Morales

    ObRef: To Serve Man.

  26. 26
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Carlie, you’re clearly not the only one! ;)

  27. 27
    LykeX

    So that’s why women belong in the kitchen ;)

  28. 28
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    *joins John & Carlie in the corner*

  29. 29
    vaiyt

    Justin Vacula fails to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the logical conclusion of abandoning God-given morals.

    There is, really, nothing else to say. The sheer vacuity of such a statement stands for itself. I’m just waiting now for Vacula to start throwing out his cotton/polyester clothes and praying towards Mecca five times a day.

  30. 30
    yazikus

    @carly

    Am I the only one who always wants to shout “It’s a cookbook!” after the phrase “to serve men”? I’ll go sit in the corner, then.

    Thanks for that delightful little foray into wikipedia! I now must see this episode, despite the critique that cryptographers would not be able to translate an alien language.

  31. 31
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Karla Porter, Sara Mayhew, Renee Hendricks and all the other women who side with Vacula and support him in his endeavours should be asked for comment on this statement – just make sure someone sets up a wind-farm in the vicinity because the handwaving that’ll ensue will generate a lot of energy.

  32. 32
    Francisco Bacopa

    I like that there was a revision of the Vacula quote. It marginalizes him.

    BTW, the Houston Chronicle website is very influential around here and is very old in internet terms. How else could they have gotten “chron.com” out of all the newspapers named “The ____ Chronicle”?

  33. 33
    LykeX

    I don’t see how rejecting god necessarily leads to abandoning the idea that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. Seems perfectly reasonable to me. After all, we know that humans have ribs. See? Fits the evidence perfectly! No reason to not believe that.

  34. 34
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    “I’m speechless.”

    So it’s true! Those evil feminazi’s really are determined to silence every man ;)

  35. 35
    Rob

    Fuck. I’d facepalm or headdesk, but it’s hard to manage with my jaw this far open. Is JV really that stupid? Apparently so.

  36. 36
    Azuma Hazuki

    Wowwwwww. “Own goal” nothing, that’s the equivalent of deliberately setting yourself up for the fool’s mate and then pointing out to your opponent how to do it.

    Being charitable, I think what he meant by that is “Even if you don’t have a religious impetus for the belief, people are still going to hold it.”

    And he may have a point; just based on our evolutionary history you can see where it comes from. But he’s insulting nonbelievers, and himself, by not following up with something like “However, we live in the twenty-first century, and we’re far enough from our evolutionary roots that we don’t need to live like this now.”

  37. 37
    Tabby Lavalamp

    They also went to Paul Elam for a quote. I wonder if they ever ask David Duke his opinion on immigration reform.

  38. 38
    Dave W

    The Vacula quote is from a blog post he wrote last August. In fairness to him (I just threw up a little), he’s saying he doesn’t see the logical connection between atheism and opposition to misogyny, not that he’s embracing the latter. The next sentence is “I would like to see a deductive argument for this.” Of course, that seems to be the purpose of Marcotte’s piece: providing such an argument, so there’s some serious cluelessness going on.

  39. 39
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    Azuma Hazuki

    And he may have a point; just based on our evolutionary history you can see where it comes from.

    Care to explain how human evolutionary history supports the notion “that women exist to serve men”?

  40. 40
    rowanvt

    @Tabby:

    Arrrrrgh. That asshole has the same name as my father, resulting in a lot of problems for my family. :/

  41. 41
    Azuma Hazuki

    @38/TMM

    I said you can see where the idea comes from, not that there’s actually anything to it. Have you forgotten what I am?

  42. 42
    loopyj

    Women do exist to serve men…braised in a hearty stew to warm the bellies of our children and feline familiars.

    Oh, I see that Carlie @22 has beat me to the cookbook joke. :)

  43. 43
    rowanvt

    I can’t see where the idea comes from based on the ‘evolutionary history’ of our species.

  44. 44
    consciousness razor

    I said you can see where the idea comes from, not that there’s actually anything to it.

    Uh… so along with something like this:

    But he’s insulting nonbelievers, and himself, by not following up with something like “However, we live in the twenty-first century, and we’re far enough from our evolutionary roots that we don’t need to live like this now.”

    … we should also add something like “And by the way, there’s also not anything to it in the first place, so forget what I just claimed about our supposed roots and how far we are from them. We just don’t need to be like that, and that’s got nothing to do with evolution at all.”

    Well okay then. I guess. You could probably cut out some of the bits in the middle, I would say. No need for that hypothesis, etc., etc.

    Have you forgotten what I am?

    ???

  45. 45
    echidna

    I said you can see where the idea comes from, not that there’s actually anything to it. Have you forgotten what I am?

    No, I can’t see where the idea comes from. I can see that how men might feel they exist to protect women and children, with our long gestation and infantile timespan, though.

  46. 46
    Azuma Hazuki

    @44/echidna

    Would heaven that they did! But even if they think that, most of them express it in vile, condescending, dehumanizing ways.

    Because we apparently need to be “protected” from things like equal pay for equal work, or being able to walk alone at night without fear of getting jumped and raped, or from wearing anything that exposes more than our eyes for fear of inciting male lust.

    The “protection” argument always boiled down to property. Men saw us as property from the Neolithic age right up until the present day, and in a lot of cases and places they still do.

  47. 47
    mythbri

    I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    I….I….I need help reacting to something.

    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m98hgyN2cs1qb2wg8.gif

  48. 48
    markr1957

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that “all people are created equal” somehow means “except that people like me are more equal than all the others”.
    For fuck’s sake, is Vacula really this dense? It really is this simple!

  49. 49
    hjhornbeck

    cross-posted from a magical land of butterflies and wheels:

    Oolon @2:
    That quote rendered me speechless, too. I honestly could not articulate, until I managed to repeat “there’s a more charitable reading, there’s a more charitable reading” a few dozen times and actually think of one. Now that I’ve read the link, I’ve got some much-needed context; he was echoing one of Marcotte’s lines:

    Of course, all these arguments depended on an atheist movement comprised of people who saw the way that religion and patriarchy are intertwined, and saw that refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    So OK, whew, he just blindly echoed Marcotte’s wording without realizing how bad it would look stripped of original context (but within the context of what we know about his views). Awesome, I can forgive him for that one.

    This one, however:

    While being open about atheism may be serve the larger goal of creating a world that has true gender equality, this by no means supports the assertion that atheism is consistent with pro-choice positions or feminism.

    Uh, why would it need to? Here’s the words of a noted expert on atheism, Justin Vacula:

    Atheism, as it’s commonly understood, and how I use the term, is lack of belief in any gods.

    So if we go by the strict dictionary definition that Vacula promotes just a few paragraphs before, we find that atheism is perfectly consistent with pro-choice positions and feminism.

    Moral of the story: Vacula’s a poor writer and worse thinker, but I suspect that’s old news to most of us.

  50. 50
    Sal Paradise

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

  51. 51
    mythbri

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

    Right. Because it’s not like Catholicism has any problems with misogyny.

  52. 52
    myeck waters

    Hey, I was raised Catholic too, Sal.
     

     
    Do you have a point? An actual point you would like to make?

  53. 53
    Chris Clarke

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

    Right. Because it’s not like Catholicism has any problems with misogyny.

    I think he’s saying he wants to have sex with us.

  54. 54
    rowanvt

    I think he’s saying he wants to have sex with us.

    *horrified* RUN AWAY!

  55. 55
    rowanvt

    …. stupid blockquote borked. -_-

  56. 56
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

    Considering what Catholics do to children: Oh, crap…

  57. 57
    consciousness razor

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

    I was braised Catholic. Then I did, in fact, grow up. So you are incorrect.

    I do take your point that Catholics say things which are false. That is an important thing to remember, and somewhat surprising coming from one of “you people.” It’s not exactly relevant right at the moment in this thread, but we’ll save it for later just in case.

  58. 58
    John Morales

    [OT + meta]

    No, Chris, he ain’t.

    (What, you think all Catholics are priests?)

  59. 59
    Lachlan

    Is anybody here actually capable of disagreeing without distorting and misrepresenting in the extreme? As people interested in the truth, we’re supposed to apply the principle of charity, are we not?

    The original phrasing to which he was responding, that “women exist to serve men”, was actually Marcotte’s, where she said:

    Of course, all these arguments depended on an atheist movement comprised of people who saw the way that religion and patriarchy are intertwined, and saw that refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ It does not, and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us. There are very good reasons for believing in equality, but they do not follow automatically from rejection of religion, and this is not the same as saying that atheism and feminism are incompatible!

    If Vacula is the moral and intellectual lunatic you all seem to believe he is, surely there’s no need to lie and cherry pick?

  60. 60
    myeck waters

    Hey look, it’s today’s misogynist!

  61. 61
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Women do exist to serve men…braised in a hearty stew to warm the bellies of our children and feline familiars.

    I’m not supposed to find that arousing, am I? ;P

  62. 62
    DBP

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ It does not, and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us.

    So what you’re saying is we should completely ignore you as you will never have anything useful to add to a conversation? Gotcha.

  63. 63
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If Vacula is the moral and intellectual lunatic you all seem to believe he is, surely there’s no need to lie and cherry pick?

    Why are you defending the indefensible? You have an agenda???

  64. 64
    Chris Clarke

    [OT + meta]

    No, Chris, he ain’t.

    (What, you think all Catholics are priests?)

    Tiresome as ever.

  65. 65
    M31

    consciousness razor wrote

    I was braised Catholic.

    Best typo ever, if a typo.

    I was rotisseried Greek Orthodox, but then I decanted.

  66. 66
    mythbri

    I was sauteed Mormon, but left when I got overcooked.

  67. 67
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ It does not, and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us. There are very good reasons for believing in equality, but they do not follow automatically from rejection of religion, and this is not the same as saying that atheism and feminism are incompatible!

    Then why didn’t he say that instead of implicitly rejecting the conclusion? This is someone who’s purported to advise others – public figures with extensive speaking experience – on how to present themselves, not some high school kid who’s never been in front of an audience before. If he’s being misrepresented here, he’d have to be pretty damn inarticulate, even if we ignore everything else he’s ever said ever.

    If Vacula is the moral and intellectual lunatic you all seem to believe he is, surely there’s no need to lie and cherry pick?

    The words “lie” and “cherry pick” may sound appealing, but unfortunately they aren’t just onomatopoeia – each has a meaning. I do hope that clears up any confusion.

  68. 68
    John Morales

    Lachlan:

    Is anybody here actually capable of disagreeing without distorting and misrepresenting in the extreme?

    Is that what you call a charitable view? ;)

    As people interested in the truth, we’re supposed to apply the principle of charity, are we not?

    No, not unless getting it right constitutes charity.

    (Civility is optional)

    The original phrasing to which he was responding, that “women exist to serve men”, was actually Marcotte’s, where she said:

    Of course, all these arguments depended on an atheist movement comprised of people who saw the way that religion and patriarchy are intertwined, and saw that refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    So?

    [1] Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ [2] It does not, and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us. [3] There are very good reasons for believing in equality, but they do not follow automatically from rejection of religion, and this is not the same as saying that atheism and feminism are incompatible!

    1. No. Her claim was that those arguments to which she refers all depended on an atheist movement comprised of people who saw the way that religion and patriarchy are intertwined.

    (You even quoted it!)

    2. She doesn’t attempt it because that’s not her claim.

    3. Automatically, no; conditionally, yes.

    If Vacula is the moral and intellectual lunatic you all seem to believe he is, surely there’s no need to lie and cherry pick?

    Surely not.

  69. 69
    Martin Wagner

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ It does not, and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us.

    Actually, she gave the context in the part of her quote you’re ignoring: that religion and patriarchy are intertwined. As most “traditional” idea about gender roles come from Christian beliefs, then rejecting Christian beliefs means skeptically evaluating — and usually rejecting — the “values” associated with such beliefs, when those “values” can be shown to be demonstrably harmful and oppressive.

  70. 70
    Lachlan

    Then why didn’t he say that instead of implicitly rejecting the conclusion? This is someone who’s purported to advise others – public figures with extensive speaking experience – on how to present themselves, not some high school kid who’s never been in front of an audience before. If he’s being misrepresented here, he’d have to be pretty damn inarticulate, even if we ignore everything else he’s ever said ever.

    Except that he didn’t reject the conclusion. More willful misrepresentation.

    I am however willing to accept the indictment of poor wording, and failure to anticipate quote mining.

    The words “lie” and “cherry pick” may sound appealing, but unfortunately they aren’t just onomatopoeia – each has a meaning. I do hope that clears up any confusion.

    Public masturbation is illegal, isn’t it?
    Anyhow, I actually intended to say “quote mining” instead of “cherry picking”. I’m perfectly happy with “lie” though.

  71. 71
    consciousness razor

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’ It does not,

    Do you want to support your claim, that it does not lead there? Not even an attempt from you?

    and she doesn’t even attempt to make the logical connection for us.

    If no gods, then no god-given purposes of what anything ‘exists to do’ either.

    Obvious enough. Do you need any more explanation than that?

    There are very good reasons for believing in equality, but they do not follow automatically from rejection of religion, and this is not the same as saying that atheism and feminism are incompatible!

    Who said what about “incompatibility”? Where exactly are you getting this, and what is the point?

    If Vacula is the moral and intellectual lunatic you all seem to believe he is, surely there’s no need to lie and cherry pick?

    Surely, there isn’t, no matter what his moral or intellectual condition. Have you considered the possibility that we aren’t lying or cherry picking?

  72. 72
    John Morales

    [OT]

    Chris,

    Tiresome as ever.

    Your allusion @53 to Catholics having a predilection for kiddy-fucking was not tiresome, but my response to it was?

  73. 73
    kevinkirkpatrick

    Let Y be “The God of the Bible is real” and X be some putrid falsehood that follows from Y. In short, Y IMPLIES X. “Chris” claims that since atheists believe NOT Y, they should be more skeptical of X than theists who believe Y. “Pat” points out, “That’s not actually true. Even if Y IMPLIES X, it doesn’t follow that NOT Y IMPLIES NOT X”.

    In Pat’s defense, this does not [directly] mean that Pat believes or is even implying X is true. That’s what the slimer’s apologetics will certainly be.

    However, Pat has made a mistake and Chris’ statement was spot-on. To wit: if Y constitutes evidence of X, then all else being equal, people who believe NOT Y should be more skeptical of X than people who believe Y.

    Again, it cannot be said that Pat is arguing for X. What can be said about Pat is that Pat has committed a logical error, and as a result winds up criticizing the rejection of X. Pat made a mistake; nothing more, nothing less. But the nature of the mistake has its own implications. Pat’s mistake does constitute evidence that Pat has an affinity for X (it doesn’t prove this; it’s just evidence in that direction). It’s like when someone makes a mistake on their taxes. The mistake, alone, does not mean they’re dishonest tax dodgers who want to get out of paying their fari share. However, when the mistake happens to be to their financial benefit, *that* constitutes evidence of such.

    tl;dr: All “out of context!!!” apologetics aside, Justin’s quoted statement absolutely constitutes evidence of him holding misogynist viewpoints.

  74. 74
    Sassafras

    I “love” how it was the writer of the Houston Chronicle article that pulled Vacula’s quote, but it’s PZ and his commentors that are getting accused of “cherry-picking” it.

    The anti-feminists love to claim they’re in the silent majority of atheists, but that pull quote is the type of thing that people outside this conflict really notice when they investigate it. They can claim the slymepit is on the side of equality and fairness all they want, but they fail to realize their photoshops and calling women “cunts” is really shocking to people who haven’t grown up on 4chan.

  75. 75
    Lachlan

    Martin @ 69

    Actually, she gave the context in the part of her quote you’re ignoring: that religion and patriarchy are intertwined.

    That religion and patriarchal norms are intertwined is disputed by who?

    As most “traditional” idea about gender roles come from Christian beliefs, then rejecting Christian beliefs means skeptically evaluating — and usually rejecting — the “values” associated with such beliefs, when those “values” can be shown to be demonstrably harmful and oppressive.

    I’ll quote again what she actually said:

    …refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    This is very explicit wording. It’s also false.

  76. 76
    eigenperson

    The only reason to believe X is if an invisible sky monster made it so. Therefore, if the invisible sky monster doesn’t exist, it logically follows that there is absolutely no reason to believe X.

    Now, perhaps you will argue that just because there is absolutely no reason to believe X, it doesn’t follow that X is false. But if you really believed that, then you wouldn’t be an atheist — you’d be an agnostic.

  77. 77
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    More willful misrepresentation.

    Only in your prejudiced OPINION. Which is why your word is *floosh* considered sewage, not a cogent and unbiased stream of cogency.

  78. 78
    mythbri

    18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

    19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

    21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

    22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

    IF God created Eve as a “help meet” for Adam, THEN women exist to serve men.

    IF God doesn’t exist, THEN Eve was not created. THEREFORE women do not exist to serve men.

  79. 79
    Lachlan

    consciousness razor @ 71

    Do you want to support your claim, that it does not lead there? Not even an attempt from you?

    Jebus. We really need to go over the burden of proof?

    If no gods, then no god-given purposes of what anything ‘exists to do’ either.

    Obvious enough. Do you need any more explanation than that?

    Oh please. “Exists to do” needn’t have anything to do with god-given purpose.

  80. 80
    anuran

    Just when you think the MRAs have hit bottom they start digging

  81. 81
    John Morales

    Lachlan:

    I’ll quote again what she actually said:

    …refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    This is very explicit wording. It’s also false.

    I’d call you a hypocrite were it not that I hereby practice the principle of charity and thus apply the heuristic that incompetence is more likely than malice when I note you have just cherry-picked from the quotation you earlier presented by eliding its premise.

  82. 82
    Lachlan

    mythbri @ 77

    IF God created Eve as a “help meet” for Adam, THEN women exist to serve men.

    IF God doesn’t exist, THEN Eve was not created. THEREFORE women do not exist to serve men.

    If A then B. Not A therefore not B.

    Seriously?

  83. 83
    consciousness razor
    …refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    This is very explicit wording. It’s also false.

    You’re being ridiculous. Put together an argument for why it’s false, not a fucking assertion. I submit that you cannot do that without your argument being filled with contradictions, absurdity and/or vacuity. That is generally considered bad form and “not logical.”

    Not to mention the fucking evilness involved with such misogynistic asshattery. Can’t forget that.

  84. 84
    mythbri

    “Exists to do” needn’t have anything to do with god-given purpose.

    Come again?

    Squirrels exist and they do squirrel things.

    Octopuses exist and they do octopus things.

    Women exist and they do human things.

    The only reason women would “exist to do” something like “serve men” would be if there was some kind of intent behind it, and that is not consistent with a lack of belief in god.

  85. 85
    consciousness razor

    Jebus. We really need to go over the burden of proof?

    Sure, let’s do it. The null hypothesis, in a godless universe, is not that women exist to serve men.

    Your turn, asshat.

  86. 86
    ChasCPeterson

    Me, I was sort of steamed liberal Methodist and Presbyterian (whichever had the better choir wherever we were living at the time) and then dressed with sufficient weed, jazz, and biology to completely swamp out any residual theistic flavor whatsoever.

  87. 87
    ChasCPeterson

    ‘Paul Elam’ is a pseudonym, I think. ‘Male’ backwards? too cute.

  88. 88
    mythbri

    If A then B. Not A therefore not B.

    Seriously?

    Okay, how about this:

    If A then B. If not A then not B.

    Now why the hell would we believe C if it were not based upon “If A then B”?

  89. 89
    mythbri

    @Chas

    Liberal Methodists are really better when they’re baked. ;)

  90. 90
    Lachlan

    John Morales @ 80

    I’d call you a hypocrite were it not that I hereby practice the principle of charity and thus apply the heuristic that incompetence is more likely than malice when I note you have just cherry-picked from the quotation you earlier presented by eliding its premise.

    Are you claiming that Marcotte does not believe in such a logical connection, or aren’t you? She clearly does, and nothing much else matters to my point.

    consciousness razor @ 82

    You’re being ridiculous. Put together an argument for why it’s false, not a fucking assertion. I submit that you cannot do that without your argument being filled with contradictions, absurdity and/or vacuity. That is generally considered bad form and “not logical.”

    Burden. Of. Proof.

    “God does not exist” has one implication and one implication only, that “God does not exist”. This does absolve you of the requirement of accepting certain other bullshit, but it does not compel you to reject these things, nor does it compel you to accept their antithesis.

  91. 91
    mythbri

    Sure, let’s do it. The null hypothesis, in a godless universe, is not that women exist to serve men.

    NULL HYPOTHESIS.

  92. 92
    Anathema

    You know, I imagine someday Lachlan will hear someone say, “Not believing in leprechauns, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

    And Lachlan will reply, “No it doesn’t! Just because the existence of leprechauns would imply that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that doesn’t mean that leprechauns not existing would imply that there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Why must you be so illogical?”

  93. 93
    consciousness razor

    “God does not exist” has one implication and one implication only, that “God does not exist”.

    I disagree. Care to argue for it?

    What other proposition about reality has one and only one implication, which is identical to the original? Do any spring to mind?

  94. 94
    SallyStrange

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men pigs are unclean animals that must not be eaten.”

    Same logic.

  95. 95
    ChasCPeterson

    mythbri: oh, now I get it.

    yeah. })

  96. 96
    ChasCPeterson

    pigs are unclean animals that must not be eaten

    bah

  97. 97
    Lachlan

    I disagree. Care to argue for it?

    What other proposition about reality has one and only one implication, which is identical to the original? Do any spring to mind?

    Implication was the wrong word. I suppose I can imagine implications of there being no gods, such as billions of people being dead wrong. Anyway, I would say that rejecting God does not compel you to reject ideas that are sometimes (or often, or almost always) god-given. There are surely secular rationales (which are equally stupid) for believing in the inferiority and servitude of women.

    It might be the case that proper logic and reason will compel someone to arrive at A (no gods) and B (equality) independently, but I do contest that A does not imply B.

    Anyway, I’ve forgotten why the fuck I’m arguing about this.

  98. 98
    SallyStrange

    Oh please. “Exists to do” needn’t have anything to do with god-given purpose.

    The very idea that anything besides human-created artifacts (or other sentient being-created stuff) has any sort of purpose is another piece of religious baggage that we need to leave behind.

  99. 99
    SallyStrange

    Anyway, I’ve forgotten why the fuck I’m arguing about this.

    Something about you being an apologist for misogyny, I think.

  100. 100
    SallyStrange

    Anyway, I would say that rejecting God does not compel you to reject ideas that are sometimes (or often, or almost always) god-given.

    It should compel you, if you are interested in acting rationally, to re-evaluate the probability of god-given ideas being true.

  101. 101
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I wonder if hyper-skepticism is in fact a form of motivated reasoning in the cognitive science sense? It always seems to me that obsessive nit-pickers like Lachlan are struggling to assuage a cognitive dissonance via their narrowly focused arguments.

  102. 102
    Chris Clarke

    Your allusion @53 to Catholics having a predilection for kiddy-fucking was not tiresome, but my response to it was?

    Correct.

    Also, the proper action when someone says “A kangaroo walks into a bar and orders an Old Fashioned…” is generally not to post

    [OT +Meta]

    Wrong. Kangaroos cannot talk. They are also unlikely to have a desire for cocktails with Rye Whiskey, and NSW health code laws prohibit allowing animals not on leash in establishments that serve hard alcohol.

    Also please note that I’m not interested in corrections regarding the actual status of Australian laws involving animals in proximity to dining and drinking establishments.

  103. 103
    consciousness razor

    Anyway, I would say that rejecting God does not compel you to reject ideas that are sometimes (or often, or almost always) god-given.

    No, of course not. The power of Christ compels you.

    There are surely secular rationales (which are equally stupid) for believing in the inferiority and servitude of women.

    So you’re claiming they’re not logical, a claim which you earlier said was false. Game over, dude.

    It might be the case that proper logic and reason will compel someone to arrive at A (no gods) and B (equality) independently, but I do contest that A does not imply B.

    You just said “Implication was the wrong word” in the same fucking comment as this.

    Anyway, I’ve forgotten why the fuck I’m arguing about this.

    Because you’re a misogynistic asshat who couldn’t reason his way out of a paper bag.

  104. 104
    Azuma Hazuki

    @100/FossilFishy

    I wonder if hyper-skepticism is in fact a form of motivated reasoning in the cognitive science sense? It always seems to me that obsessive nit-pickers like Lachlan are struggling to assuage a cognitive dissonance via their narrowly focused arguments.

    …thank you for that. Something just went off, flashbulb-style, in my head seeing that. It reflects on me here.

    Do you suppose it’s got something to do with a personality type? One more prone to OCD, depression, and/or anxiety?

  105. 105
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Is the MRA-of-the-day perhaps under the misapprehension that the technical use of logical implication is the only meaning of the word? I call Vulcan and Raised By Wolves.

  106. 106
    John Morales

    Lachlan:

    Are you claiming that Marcotte does not believe in such a logical connection, or aren’t you? She clearly does, and nothing much else matters to my point.

    The post is about Justin’s failure to see: “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”, so what Marcotte may or may not believe is hardly an issue to this failure.

    (He fails to see it because, like you, he misrepresents the claim by eliding its very premise; if he meant he failed to see how religion and patriarchy are intertwined, then that’s what he should have written)

    Try as you might to derail the topic, Justin’s declared failure remains it. :)

  107. 107
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    [meta, OT, and thirsty]

    And now I want an Old Fashioned, haven’t had one in years. Thanks Chris, only four hours till quitting time dammit.

  108. 108
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    I’m sorry Azuma, my speculation was just that, I’ve no training in the cognitive sciences. I will say that your willingness to embrace unevidenced conclusions about metaphysical things because of the deep weirdness of quantum physics has struck me as such. But this is waaaay, off topic here, so I’ll leave it at that.

  109. 109
    bargearse

    From Vacula’s blogpost:

    I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to ‘the logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men. I would like to see a deductive argument for this. Anyway, Marcotte’s framing of issues, as we have already seen with her ideas concerning opposition to abortion, is very oversimplified. There is a vast array of positions falling under the umbrella of feminism and much disagreement amongst persons who consider themselves to be feminists. Is there really a ‘not-insubstantial percentage’ of people, as Marcotte asserts, who are activist atheists who believe that ‘women were put here on Earth for the purpose of pleasing and catering to men?’

    There are certainly atheist activists who object to some ideas that atheist bloggers such as PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, ‘Surly Amy,’ Stephanie Zvan, and Ophelia Benson (and even Marcotte) hold… but I find it very hard to believe that these same people believe that women were put on Earth to please and cater to men. How does Marcotte arrive at this conclusion?

    The first part reads like hyperskepticism to me, just a disingenuous dodge to avoid coming out and stating his position. The second paragraph is willful ignorance or a straight up lie. Marcotte reaches her conclusion by looking at how these people act. Even if they don’t believe women exist to serve men they certainly act like they wish that was the case.

  110. 110
    Jadehawk

    Mattir, should I refer to you as Ofjustin?

    *shudder*

    Am I the only one who always wants to shout “It’s a cookbook!” after the phrase “to serve men”?

    [insert obligatory spotted dick joke here]

    Is JV so stupid that he didn’t realize he just killed his potential speaking engagements for the next few years?

    I wish that were true; in reality, he’ll be every christoid’s favorite atheist. Expect him on Bill O’Reilly’s show anytime now.

    Man, am I glad I was raised Catholic. You people are children.

    so was I; unlike you apparently, I got over that silliness the same way I stopped believing in St. Nick and the easter bunny

    I was braised Catholic.

    [instert another obligatory spotted dick joke here]

    There are very good reasons for believing in equality, but they do not follow automatically from rejection of religion,

    rejecting god without rejection religious ideas seems… kind incomplete, don’t you think? of course the logical conclusion to disbelief means rejecting the religious notions of male superiority.

    “Exists to do” needn’t have anything to do with god-given purpose.

    teleology doesn’t exist outside of religious ideas. “exist to” is a religious idea, so no, “exists to do” means “god-given purpose” (or comparative woo from some other religious system)

    Burden. Of. Proof.

    burden of proof cannot possibly rest with those making a nagative proposition; that’s absurd. No, it’s on those who want to claim that women exist to serve men to show a)a teleological setup for the universe, and b)that the teleology led to women being created as men’s helpmeets.
    Traditionally, this was accomplished with the “goddidit” argument; take that away, and you’re back with the Null Hypothesis.

    “God does not exist” has one implication and one implication only, that “God does not exist”.

    that’s bullshit. it also means that all beliefs that come from the belief in that god need to be rejected in favor of the Null Hypothesis until new evidence is presented.

  111. 111
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    If A then B. Not A therefore not B.

    Seriously?

    If it doesn’t constitute a valid deductive syllogism it cannot be true? What are you, a first-term freshman?

  112. 112
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Correct.

    Also, the proper action when someone says “A kangaroo walks into a bar and orders an Old Fashioned…” is generally not to post

    [OT +Meta]

    Wrong. Kangaroos cannot talk. They are also unlikely to have a desire for cocktails with Rye Whiskey, and NSW health code laws prohibit allowing animals not on leash in establishments that serve hard alcohol.

    Also please note that I’m not interested in corrections regarding the actual status of Australian laws involving animals in proximity to dining and drinking establishments.

    Chris is NOT making any excuses for pedantphilia ^.^

  113. 113
    omnicrom

    Tell us then Lachlan: Do women exist to serve men? If so why?

    For so long this believe has been predicated on religion or some other kind of mythical tomfoolery. However rejecting god’s existence means we must follow up by examining all the things that were formerly justified by god’s existence to see if they still have a leg to stand on. If women truly do exist to serve men then surely there is some evidence that doesn’t end “Thus sayeth the lord”. If no evidence is found then the logical conclusion of atheism is that women do not exist to serve men.

  114. 114
    SallyStrange

    As far as where we draw the conclusion that some atheists think that women do exist to serve men, my big clue was the entitled temper-tantrum over anti-harassment policies. You may SAY that you don’t think women are here for the pleasure of men, but when you object to not being able to touch or proposition women against their will, one has to examine the conflict between your actions and your stated beliefs. And actions speak louder than words.

  115. 115
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    And actions speak louder than words.

    Well can’t they keep it down? Misogynists have such sensitive ears, right lachlan?

  116. 116
    SallyStrange

    Misogynists have such sensitive ears

    Any amount of noise from uppity bitches is too much noise when you’re a misogynist, yeah.

  117. 117
    changerofbits

    Holy shit, Vacula thinks half of the species are slaves and is willing to say such a thing to the press? I’m speechless, this is beyond incredible. Even most ignorant Christians aren’t this stupid.

  118. 118
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Holy shit, Vacula thinks half of the species are slaves and is willing to say such a thing to the press?

    Well, at least, he doesn’t see any reason to reject the idea out of hand.

  119. 119
    John Morales

    changerofbits, no, he’s saying that he doesn’t see how it follows that such a belief is goddism-dependent such that it could not stand without goddism.

    (And some Christians do hold that belief, which I cannot deny is stupid)

  120. 120
    Silentbob

    @ 101 Chris Clarke

    Also, the proper action when someone says “A kangaroo walks into a bar and orders an Old Fashioned…” is…

    If it was a kangaroo, surely it hopped into the bar.

    *ducks*

  121. 121
    Jadehawk

    If it doesn’t constitute a valid deductive syllogism it cannot be true? What are you, a first-term freshman?

    it’s not even the right one anyway, it just came out that way because of the shortcut the poster took. The more accurate one would be, I think

    B only if A
    not A
    therefore not B

    even that’s a bit wobbly, because I guess strictly speaking there could be other conditions under which B happened, but they are untrue or haven’t shown to be true, either.

  122. 122
    bad Jim

    I thought of the cookbook, too; some of the comments along the same lines reminded me how often food gets discussed, and I get the feeling that some of the people here are hungry all the time (though it might just be fun to talk about food).

    While it’s trivially true that a given belief isn’t false just because it has a religious origin, such an origin strongly suggests that it’s not to be taken any more seriously than the ancient notions about science or government we’ve decisively rejected.

    Not all traditional beliefs are wrong, but it’s a useful starting assumption.

  123. 123
    mythbri

    @Jadehawk

    That’s more or less what I meant. I don’t pretend to be an expert in syllogism.

    If B means that Eve was created as a help-meet, or that woman is “intended” to serve man, I can’t imagine any other conditions under which B is true that aren’t carbon-copies of the Goddidit hypothesis.

  124. 124
    Jadehawk

    Holy shit, Vacula thinks half of the species are slaves and is willing to say such a thing to the press? I’m speechless, this is beyond incredible. Even most ignorant Christians aren’t this stupid.

    he doesn’t. he just can’t write for shit, so this is how it came out (it doesn’t help that he was quotemined there; but it’s not like Vacula made it particularly difficult to do so)

  125. 125
    John Morales

    [meta + OT]

    Jadehawk, you formulation of mythbri’s contention is not wobbly, all you’ve done is made the biconditional explicit.

  126. 126
    Jadehawk

    on a separate note: holy shit, what a hacktastic article

    From May 17-19 over 300 women will be convening in Washington D.C. for the Women in Secularism 2 conference

    I wasn’t aware that all men who will attend will be magically transformed into women upon entry.

    it will combat those in the secular movement who have shown hostility towards emerging feminine secular champions.

    female, not feminine. I mean, feminine people will be there, too, but I’m not actually aware that there’s such a thing as a “feminine secular champion”.

    So far, both causes have stymied.

    that’s not how that verb works.

    I’m also not entirely happy with the way “protagonist” was used, but the dictionary says it can be used to refer to people in non-fiction leading roles. Hm.

  127. 127
    bad Jim

    Jadehawk, mythbri:

    (if A then B) is equivalent to (B if A), (A only if B), and (if not B then not A)

    Draw a big circle, labeled B, enclosing a small circle labeled A.

  128. 128
    rorschach

    /nitpick

    To wit: if Y constitutes evidence of X, then all else being equal, people who believe NOT Y should be more skeptical of X than people who believe Y.

    If Y, then X.
    Not Y.
    Therefore not X.

    That’s just the fallacy of denying the antecedent, and as a hypothetical syllogism indeed invalid.

    /end nitpick

    But as Azkyroth mentioned above, the argument presented is not a hypothetical syllogism. And religion and patriarchy are closely intertwined. And the business with the rib, too.

    How about this one:

    If god does not exist, then religious concepts of women’s roles are manmade bullshit.
    God does not exist.
    Therefore religious concepts of women’s roles are manmade bullshit.

    There. Simple modus ponens. Works for me.

  129. 129
    John Morales

    [OT]

    bad Jim:

    (if A then B) is equivalent to (B if A), (A only if B), and (if not B then not A)

    Um, no; look at the truth-tables:

    (if A then B): TFTT
    (if not B then not A): TTFT

    Note: (B iff A): TFFT

  130. 130
    Jadehawk

    @mythbri

    you know, I think making that syllogism explicit, and talking about all the issues that fit into that format, is probably a thing that someone will finally have to write/hold a presentation about; because there’s so many religious concepts that atheists still hang on to… and since “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”, we won’t be able to effectively fight religious influence on secular society if we still ceding the definitional foundations of a lot of social concepts to the religious.

  131. 131
    mythbri

    @Jadehawk

    That’s more or less why I’ve generally given up engaging still-Mormons in terms of doctrine. It’s like arguing about the “rules” of Harry Potter with your friends, only they’re not really your friends, they really believe in the “rules”, and it’s not nearly as fun.

    It’s arguing about fake things with real implications without using terms of reality, and reality is where I prefer to live my life.

  132. 132
    rorschach

    you know, I think making that syllogism explicit, and talking about all the issues that fit into that format, is probably a thing that someone will finally have to write/hold a presentation about;

    Hardly. Atheists believe that gods don’t exist. So using a modus ponens template like the one I offered @ 127, we can easily show that because gods don’t exist, any religious dogma or prescription derived from the proposition that a god does exist is indeed bullshit, and more importantly, not true.

    ;)

  133. 133
    eigenperson

    John Morales #128: Better check those truth tables again, because “if not B then not A” is very much equivalent to “if A then B.”

  134. 134
    Eristae

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    It’s statements like these that make me want to require everyone to take a course in symbolic or formal logic before they are allowed to talk about “logical” conclusions. Logic doesn’t encompass “women exist to serve men” without some kind of “if” or “then.” If women exist to serve men, then blah. If blah, then women exist to serve men. Abandoning a belief in God is abandoning a premise that would (in short) assert that “If God exists, then women exist to serve men,*” Logic demands that if your argument depends on the “If God exists” part of the premise being true and it is false, then you abandon the followup that women exist to serve men. Could you have another argument where the form would end with “then women exist to serve men?” Sure. But you’d need to actually make that argument. You’d need an If. Logically, anyway.

    *I’m skipping a bunch of steps like “and if God grants purpose in existence” and “God granted women the purpose of serving men” because otherwise this would get so absurdly unwieldy that we’d get lost.

    I would like to see a deductive argument for this.

    I loathe statements like this so much. It is absurd to place the onus on women to disprove a premise that one won’t even admit to having, to say nothing of defending. To say, “Oh, well, provide a deductive argument that ‘If x, then women exist to serve men; not x; therefore women do not exist to serve men’” while refusing to fill in x is teeth grindingly disgusting. Fill in fucking x, damn it, don’t just wave your hands about vaguely and assert that maybe there is some x for which the conclusion would be true. If you can’t fill in x, then abandon the fracking position. Shit.

  135. 135
    Jadehawk

    Hardly. Atheists believe that gods don’t exist. So using a modus ponens template like the one I offered @ 127, we can easily show that because gods don’t exist, any religious dogma or prescription derived from the proposition that a god does exist is indeed bullshit, and more importantly, not true.

    ;)

    i don’t see how this disagrees with what i said. the conversation i’m saying is necessary can be done with either version, but it still needs to happen.

  136. 136
    Eristae

    Or to provide an example that was given to me in one of my philosophy classes, the response to

    If the moon is made of green cheese, then my name is Ralph

    isn’t

    The moon isn’t made of green cheese, therefore my name isn’t Ralph

    instead, it’s

    I reject your premise!

    “If the moon is made of green cheese, then my name is Ralph” is a premise to be accepted or rejected, and then followed up on. If you’ve hacked off half of the premise before you’ve even started (….then my name is Ralph), you don’t have a thrice be damned argument.

    Gaaaaaaah!

  137. 137
    Eristae

    Oh, and I seem to have forgotten to say that the very form of “If x, then women exist to serve men; not x; therefore women do not exist to serve men” is fucked. I’m tired and I don’t think I can spell it out very well, so I’ll just reference this site for a good example and some explanation:

    Fallacy files

    To say that q is a “necessary component” of p is to mean that if one has p one must also have q, that is: “if p then q”. For example, “an engine is a necessary component of a functioning automobile” means that if one has a functioning car then one has an engine, rather than if one has an engine then one has a functioning car. So, Morris’ argument is as follows:

    If atheism/pantheism is true then evolution is true.
    Atheism/pantheism is false.
    Therefore, evolution is false.

    Even if the first premiss were true—which it is not—it doesn’t follow from a rejection of atheism or pantheism that one must reject evolution. There are many theistic religions which accept evolution as an historical fact.

    Now I’m going to bed before I remember something else I should have said.

  138. 138
    bad Jim

    Eristae, I have the same frustration when I try to understand why the fine tuning argument is supposed to prove the existence of god.

    Maybe aversion to feminism stems from the same root as the aversion to environmentalism, their common association with dirty fucking hippies. Or maybe it’s just the attitude that “nobody gets to tell me what to do”. We’d like to imagine that people will think through the consequences of their actions and act accordingly, but it’s pretty clear that, in general, they don’t.

  139. 139
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Erista, your #135 is just what this non-philosophy taking punter needed to read. It put into simple terms what I was struggling to figure out. Hooray for education and the sharing thereof!

  140. 140
    Ace of Sevens

    Vacula’s right. God not existing doesn’t necessarily mean that women don’t exist to serve men. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that psychic powers and homeopathy don’t work, but no one ever complains about that part.

  141. 141
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh dear, Lachlan is demoinstrating his inability to win an argument against a preschooler again, or as I call it, Thursday.
    Hey Lachlan, let’s examine a few “exist to” sentences, shall we?

    The dinner exists to feed me
    The burrow exists to protect the rabbit
    My purse exists to hole a few small but necessary objects
    Humans exist to feed mosquitos
    Ticks exist to give you Lyme’s dissease
    Dandelion exists to feed the rabbit
    Pollen exists to give me hayfever

    Can you spot the difference?

    [OT]

    I thought of the cookbook, too; some of the comments along the same lines reminded me how often food gets discussed, and I get the feeling that some of the people here are hungry all the time

    I rather think that there’s always somebody around in whose timezone it’s getting close to breakfast/second breakfast/elevenses/lunch/tea/supper/dinner*

    *No, I’m not a hobbit. They only have six meals a day

    Eristae

    I would like to see a deductive argument for this.

    I loathe statements like this so much.

    This.
    So.
    Fucking.
    Much.
    They handwave away your humanity and then demand that you prove that you have it. And then they get “tststsss, why are you so angry and emotional

    Ace of Sevens

    God not existing doesn’t necessarily mean that women don’t exist to serve men.

    Wrong and people have already shown why. I mean, on this planet. Sure, there could be a planet in the multiverse where a sepcies that evolved to be all male and reproduces by pissing their name in the snow became so technically advanced that they decided to create a subgroup that for reasons nobody can explain has on average tits and a vagina with the sole purpose of them being their servants.

  142. 142
    bad Jim

    Old joke. The president finds that someone has pissed “Nixon is a fink” into the snow on the White House lawn. The Secret Service investigates, and has to report that, though the urine was Kissinger’s, the handwriting was Pat’s.

  143. 143
    brive1987

    I have no sympathy with JV after wbcgate, however let’s not completely lose charity lest we also lose credibility ourselves.

    He wasn’t claiming women are there to serve men, he was clearly rolling out the now stale trope that feminism and atheism and humanism are separate philosophies that don’t inform each other. And the “serve” comment was just a rehash of Amanda’s phrase.

    We do ourselves a disservice when we so blatantly mischaracterise a position like this. The logic was wrong, the premise of his real point is wrong and his wording was clumsy but it wasn’t such an amazing WTF moment as this post suggests.

    Now his comment “I don’t see anything wrong with the tweet” in relation to Karla Porter, well that’s a different story altogether.

  144. 144
    Ichthyic

    Yes, because reason never leads to the abandonment of traditions and beliefs. Somebody hand that man another shell for his shotgun so he can blow off his other foot.

    I rather think Vacuous Vacula has already blown off both feet, his shins, and both knees.

  145. 145
    Ichthyic

    We do ourselves a disservice when we so blatantly mischaracterise a position like this. The logic was wrong, the premise of his real point is wrong and his wording was clumsy but it wasn’t such an amazing WTF moment as this post suggests.

    sorry, but there is nothing left of Vacula worth salvaging.

    try if u like, but really… there’s nothing there.

  146. 146
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    Jesus fuck, Vacula really is a piece of shit, fit only to be wiped off the bottom of decent people’s shoes and thrown out with the garbage.

    And I’m really pissed off that this dishonest journalist is insinuating that his views characterise Atheists as a whole. That fucker does not speak for me.

  147. 147
    futurechemist

    Let’s start with the if-then statement “If god exists, then X”

    If god exists, then X must be true. If god does not exist, the truth value of X is indeterminate, X could be true or false and both are equally valid in a pure logical sense. Therefore if you really want to know if X is true or not, you would actually have to consider X on its own merits, not in terms of following blindly from god existing or not.

    If X = “the sun will rise tomorrow”, X is true, at least for the next several billion years, based on what we know about astronomy and physics.
    If X = “women should serve men”, X is false, based on what we know about biology and ethics and equality.

  148. 148
    John Morales

    [OT]

    eigenperson, you’re quite right and I stuffed-up.

    (Sorry, bad Jim)

  149. 149
    erik333

    @ 146 futurechemist

    Let’s start with the if-then statement “If god exists, then X”

    If god exists, then X must be true. If god does not exist, the truth value of X is indeterminate, X could be true or false and both are equally valid in a pure logical sense. Therefore if you really want to know if X is true or not, you would actually have to consider X on its own merits, not in terms of following blindly from god existing or not.

    This.

  150. 150
    echidna

    We do ourselves a disservice when we so blatantly mischaracterise a position like this. The logic was wrong, the premise of his real point is wrong and his wording was clumsy but it wasn’t such an amazing WTF moment as this post suggests.

    So I went to Vacula’s blog to read the full thing. It is true that he is not saying that women exist to serve men, which is what that single line seems to say. But when I tried to figure out what his argument actually is, I failed, except to say that he thinks Marcotte’s logic is weak, and he gives the list of people he disagrees with. Ichthyic is right, there really isn’t anything there.

  151. 151
    brive1987

    #149 echidna. Don’t get me wrong, I found the article vacuous at best. All I’m saying is that there are better examples of his ofensiveness than this miss contextualised quote.

  152. 152
    Nick Gotts

    Anyway, I’ve forgotten why the fuck I’m arguing about this. – Lachlan

    I can help you there: it’s because you’re a stupid, misogynist, Vacula-fanboi.

  153. 153
    scott1328

    The quote PZ gives is a cherry picked quote mine worthy of the most craven creationist. There are many reasons to despise Vacula’s positions, there is absolutely no reason to misrepresent him.

  154. 154
    doublereed

    I thought the syllogism works because it implies a “purpose” to women’s existence other than their own existence. It’s like an argument from design.

    While atheists don’t necessarily have to be against arguments from design, they usually are. So it is bad logic. Not believing in God usually does imply that “women don’t exist to serve men.”

    You can fuss about the word “usually” but then you’re just not using Bayesian Reasoning and not being pragmatic.

  155. 155
    doublereed

    @scott1328

    The article quotemines Vacula, not PZ. He’s just repeating what the article said.

  156. 156
    scott1328

    PZ should have checked his sources.

  157. 157
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PZ should have checked his sources.

    Care to provide evidence, not OPINION Scott1328?

  158. 158
  159. 159
    SallyStrange

    Thanks Scott, but if you’d read the thread, you’d know that we’ve already discussed how that quote doesn’t fully represent Vacula’s position, identified his real position, dissected that, and shown why that is also wrong.

  160. 160
    scott1328

    And yet there is no retraction from P.Z. for the misrepresentation. Perhaps his most recent “Scarlet Crayon” post is a tacit retraction, since it appears to address the actual arguments made by Vacula’s OP?

    In any case, this thread is disturbing to me and disappointing.

  161. 161
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Scott, we’ll just weep great big wet tears for you and your disappointment.

    Oh, wait…no we won’t.

  162. 162
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh Scott, you mean the quote the JV changed after the OP? I don’t read fuckwits blogs. See #19 above, and you acknowledge the moving target. Which potentially makes your hypocrisy ripe if you weren’t aware of facts.

  163. 163
    David Marjanović

    I’m speechless.

    So am I. “Exist to”, a causa finalis, doesn’t even make sense without a creator.

    Donning my Conspiracy Hat, I’d say this smells of a religion writer ulteriorly seeking to discredit the atheist movement in general by associating atheism with the Slymepitters. It’ll be a “see how these atheists, without God, have no morals and treat their women like shit”.

    Well, that’s one option.

    The other is that this journalist is just like most science journalists: he has no idea whatsoever what he’s writing about.

    Celebrity deathmatch?

    refusing to believe in God, if followed to its logical conclusion, means abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.

    Marcotte simply claims outright that ‘there is no God’ leads logically to ‘women do not exist to serve men.’

    I read “abandoning the belief” as just that, abandoning the belief because there’s no longer a reason to hold it. See comments 110 and 147.

    If you’ve found a new reason, bring it on.

    No, I’m not a hobbit. They only have six meals a day

    (Me, I have about two meals: dinner and chocolate. Chocolate is drawn out over several hours.)

    I thought the syllogism works because it implies a “purpose” to women’s existence other than their own existence. It’s like an argument from design.

    It is an argument from design.

  164. 164
    David Marjanović

    And yet there is no retraction from P.Z. for the misrepresentation.

    What makes you think PZ has time to read all comments?

  165. 165
    Leo Buzalsky

    Yes, because reason never leads to the abandonment of traditions and beliefs.

    I think I see a potential flaw here — who says “refusing to believe in God,” as Vacula states it, has anything to do with reason? Honestly, I have no idea why Vacula is an atheist. Was he, like me, raised without religion? Is he even trying to promote the idea that people should be more reasonable? Or is he just wanting religion out of government (or some other reason(s))?

  166. 166
    SallyStrange

    I think I see a potential flaw here — who says “refusing to believe in God,” as Vacula states it, has anything to do with reason?

    *sigh*

  167. 167
    thecynicalromantic

    Honestly, I have no idea why Vacula is an atheist. Was he, like me, raised without religion? Is he even trying to promote the idea that people should be more reasonable? Or is he just wanting religion out of government (or some other reason(s))?

    My guess is that he’s seen that a lot of very smart people are atheists, and he wishes to associate himself with them and thereby feel and portray himself as smart too.

    Reasoning like that is why I avoided the atheist movement for so long–it seemed to me (admittedly, from the outside) to largely be a bunch of dumb people sitting around trying to portray themselves as being really smart for their ability to nod along to and repeat what the smart people were saying. I get enough of that shit in geek culture where people think being able to memorize lists of minutae is the same level of “smart” as the ability to engage with, understand, and create new material. Any idiot can memorize lists of fandom minutae if they have little enough else to do with the rest of their lives, just as any idiot can memorize rebuttals to creationist talking points.

  168. 168
    llamaherder

    I can’t help reading that quote as, “I can come up with all kinds of excuses to say women exist to serve men.”

  169. 169
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ David Marjanović

    Chocolate is drawn out over several hours.

    Ahh, a kindred spirit. I can make the stuff last for weeks. My last Lunch Bar ™ took two days.

  170. 170
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    He wasn’t claiming women are there to serve men, he was clearly rolling out the now stale trope that feminism and atheism and humanism are separate philosophies that don’t inform each other. And the “serve” comment was just a rehash of Amanda’s phrase.

    We do ourselves a disservice when we so blatantly mischaracterise a position like this. The logic was wrong, the premise of his real point is wrong and his wording was clumsy but it wasn’t such an amazing WTF moment as this post suggests.

    Then it would have been so trivially easy for him to have said “Now, I don’t believe it’s true that women exist to serve men, but I don’t think it follows just from ‘there is no god’ that it isn’t. I think it’s something you have to look at separately.” You really think it’s just an accident that he didn’t?

  171. 171
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Also, “quote mining” isn’t really the appropriate description. This is basically the same sort of thing as that scene in Aladdin where Jasmine comments to “Prince Ali” about how it’s a pity Abu isn’t there to see if he’ll slip up and acknowledge being Aladdin. Vacula slipped up and acknowledged and it was reported appropriately.

  172. 172
    Gregory Greenwood

    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) @ 170;

    Then it would have been so trivially easy for him to have said “Now, I don’t believe it’s true that women exist to serve men, but I don’t think it follows just from ‘there is no god’ that it isn’t. I think it’s something you have to look at separately.” You really think it’s just an accident that he didn’t?

    Given Vacula’s track record of misogyny, and the attitudes towards feminism and women’s rights of the ‘skeptics’ he habitually associates with, I would be nothing less than astounded if it was just an accident.

  173. 173
    David Marjanović

    Ahh, a kindred spirit.

    You misunderstand. I eat large quantities of this basic food group, equal in mass to billions of tardigrades per day. It’s called “grazing” – eating pretty much all day long, whenever I’m hungry.

  174. 174
    David Marjanović

    (Billions and billions even.)

  175. 175
    jacklewis

    Nice cherry picking of quote, you would think this is Fox news…

    If anybody bothered to read the article what it actually goes on to say is this:

    “Is there really a ‘not-insubstantial percentage’ of people, as Marcotte asserts, who are activist atheists who believe that ‘women were put here on Earth for the purpose of pleasing and catering to men?’
    There are certainly atheist activists who object to some ideas that atheist bloggers such as PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, ‘Surly Amy,’ Stephanie Zvan, and Ophelia Benson (and even Marcotte) hold… but I find it very hard to believe that these same people believe that women were put on Earth to please and cater to men. How does Marcotte arrive at this conclusion?”

  176. 176
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Jack Lewis

    I’m sure a moral paragon such as yourself would be scrupulous and honest enough to make explicit who exactly did the cherry picking…?

  177. 177
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m sure a moral paragon such as yourself would be scrupulous and honest enough to make explicit who exactly did the cherry picking…?

    But that would require honest research and not just echo.o.o.o.oing of inane and vague claims. That is beyond the capabilities of most MRA/Slympitter types.

  178. 178
    vaiyt

    Thus spake the Vac:

    I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to ‘the logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men. I would like to see a deductive argument for this.

    Here we see the Vac playing the agnostic to handwave the argument back to ground zero, because he wants to take the contrarian position but doesn’t want to sound like the scumbag misogynist he is. “Not that I believe that shit, oh no, but you see, how do you know women don’t exist to serve men? Huh? Huh?”

    The rest is just two repetitions of the same argument from incredulity. “I can’t believe there are people who believe this!” (the implication being that Marcotte is making up shit).

  179. 179
    garlic

    Thanks Scott, but if you’d read the thread, you’d know that we’ve already discussed how that quote doesn’t fully represent Vacula’s position, identified his real position, dissected that, and shown why that is also wrong.

    Great. Could you copy Amanda Marcotte, because apparently she didn’t get the memo.

  180. 180
    Eristae

    After thinking about it for a while, I’ve decided that at least part of the problem is that some people are conflating two arguments. I think the mistake stems from the belief that the logical argument that “If God exists, then women exist to serve men” is an argument that is meant to deal with whether or not women are meant to serve men. It is not. It is an argument about whether or not God exists. The full, correct argument would go as such:

    If God exists, then women exist to serve men
    Women don’t exist to serve men
    Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

    There are people who come to atheism because of this argument and there’s nothing illogical about it. But this argument can’t deal with whether or not women do exist to serve men. Such an argument would need to be

    If women exist to serve men, then God exists [and says that women exist to serve men].
    God does not exist [and therefore doesn't say anything]
    Therefore women do not exist to serve men.

    It is in this argument where the abandonment of God results in the automatic disqualification of women as existing to serve men. This is kind of argument is the response to the assertion that women exist to serve men because God exists, which is almost universally the argument that theists who think women should serve men make. Unfortunately, because this argument sounds so weird in the vernacular, people think it’s saying something other than it is.*

    To be absolutely honest, the first argument is one of the reasons that I’m surprised that there are as many misogynistic atheists as there are. The only way we can logically get at the existence of God is to attack structures on which the concept of God depends. Doing this has a name (Modus tollens) and it’s the only way to prove a negative (prove God doesn’t exist). For the concepts of God that require that women be inferior, the fact that women aren’t inferior negates the existence of God. This is part of why I cannot comprehend the idea that feminism and skepticism of God are (according to some people), supposed to be separate. If feminism is right, then any concept of God that requires feminism to be false must be rejected. This is no different than getting at concepts of God that require a 6,000 year old earth by showing that the earth isn’t 6,000 years old. Anyone who insisted that we had to deal with God without dealing with the fact that the earth isn’t 6,000 years old would get mocked out of the building, but people who insist that God must be dealt with without addressing the fact that women aren’t inferior are protected as having “opposing viewpoints.” It makes no sense.

    And because I seem to have written a novel, I’m going to resist the urge to flip out about some people’s fetishizing of deductive reasoning over inductive reasoning when it’s clear they don’t know what the difference is. I’ll just leave it to Wikipedia to provide an example of inductive reasoning that people accept without losing their shit about it not being deductive:

    100% of biological life forms that we know of depend on liquid water to exist.
    Therefore, if we discover a new biological life form it will probably depend on liquid water to exist.

    @bad Jim
    Huh. I hadn’t thought of all this in relation to that particular example, but I see what you mean. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I encounter the fine tuning argument (even the name of this argument peeves me due to its weird co-opting of the idea of “fine tuning”).

    @FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist)

    Yay! That makes me happy.

    @Giliell

    They handwave away your humanity and then demand that you prove that you have it. And then they get “tststsss, why are you so angry and emotional”

    It’s an illustration of how they don’t know what they are talking about and it drives me batty. Basically they do this:

    Them: Provide me with a deductive argument that women don’t exist to serve men.

    Us: If women exist to serve men, then X. Not X, therefore women don’t exist to serve men. (Modus tollens).

    Them: There are and/or could be reasons other than X that would be true, making it such that women would exist to serve men. I want a deductive argument where anything that could come after “then” would be false.

    Us: ?!

    They’re demanding that we get to the conclusion (women don’t exist to serve men) without including what the conclusion depends on (X). Deductive reasoning doesn’t work that way. You can’t do this:

    If women exist to serve men, then [something I refuse to define and won't let you define]
    Not [undefined]
    Women don’t exist to serve men.

    *Quick rundown on some of the baseline rules of logic:

    (Modus tollens; rule)
    If it is a chihuahua, then it is a dog.
    It is not a dog
    It is not a chihuahua.

    OR (Modus ponens; rule)

    If it is a chihuahua, then it is a dog.
    It is a chihuahuah
    It is a dog.

    NOT (affirming the consequent; fallacy)

    If it is a chihuahua, then it is a dog.
    It is a dog
    It is a chihuahua.

    and NOT (denying the antecedent; fallacy)

    If it is a chihuahua, it is a dog.
    It is not a chihuahua.
    It is not a dog.

  181. 181
    SallyStrange

    Great. Could you copy Amanda Marcotte, because apparently she didn’t get the memo.

    As far as I can tell, she’s saying pretty much the same thing, to wit: Vacula is saying that non-religious arguments for the inferiority of women exist, but refuses to spell those out, and is criticizing people who take the refutation of the religious argument for the inferiority of women for not doing logic right. In fact, he is the one who is not doing logic, because once you accept that there are no gods who have ordained women’s purpose (or anyone or anything else’s) then the null hypothesis is that women don’t have a specific purpose and that there’s no inferiority/superiority vis-a-vis men and women as groups. Since Vacula can’t present any evidence against the null hypothesis, he is wrong to criticize those who stick with the null hypothesis.

    If you disagree with that assessment, or think Marcotte is saying something different, go ahead and explain.

  182. 182
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    I see like with most of our conversations with anti-feminist trolls on this site, it’s an endless parade of “hello, I am new person and I would like to start from the beginning of our argument without bothering to look back and see if the other misogynists tag-teaming over here brought it up”.

    Which I suppose, if your sole purpose is the cessation of discussion by so-called “enemy forces”, a nice tactic if nothing else. Especially if you want to focus on trivialities and moving the story onto “is this woman evil” than the actual meat of the problem.

    And the meats as it were are several.

    We have the fact that anti-feminist backlash to feminist’s inclusion to atheism has progressed in similar fashion to the hate-group opposition in movements like black civil rights and the queer rights movement. They’re quoting the equivalent of Family Research Council for their all-important “some say X, while others disagree” narrative. Even if the quote was no more damning than I dunno “Kittens sure are cuddly”. The fact that your so-called hero is sharing the spotlight with Paul fucking Elam whose claim to fame is being a SPLC-identified hate group, promoting a terrorist manifesto on his front page, and thinking that harassing women is activism is not a fucking good thing and kind of a sign you need to be rethinking your support.

    We also have the fact that that quote is pretty horrendous. And no, the “but he was just borrowing Amanda Marcotte’s words” shtick doesn’t cut it. I write for a comedy blog that in-depth rips apart the most vile wingnut works we can find. Some of the statements I’m quoting are terrifying. So you know what I do? I comment on that horribleness. I certainly don’t use their statements to create sentences which are both horrifying in and out of context that suggest that half the population were meant to be the other half’s slaves secularly.

    And then there’s the problem of “no man is an island”. So many of our trolls want the universe of our conversation to consist of three people, Justin Vacula, Amanda Marcotte, and PZ Myers. That’s because Justin Vacula’s words end up being way more damning when you factor in the context of the world.

    See, saying that “oh yeah, there’s tons of secular reasons for hating gay people/women/abortion” and wanting it to be treated like a neutral statement is laughable in context. Because in context people have tried and tried to find a secular reason for all those things. Largely because the courts don’t want to hear a bunch of religious nonsense. So, people have looked and haven’t been able to find anything that wasn’t tied right back to a religious basis.

    So going, “oh the work hasn’t been done yet, we can’t say for sure that there isn’t a secular basis to hate” (hint, a better way to say what would have been less embarrassing to say, but certainly not what he was trying to say), rings false because the religious factions went out, did the work, tried desperately to find this mythical unicorn and came home empty. Right now, atheist misogynists are doing the same and they’re coming up empty on naturalistic explanations for a “world where women exist to serve men”. All arguments end up circling back to “because our culture says it due to religious baggage, women must follow it” or an attempt at rephrasing religious origins for women’s subservience (see replacing universe for Creator or just trying to leave the origins vague).

    This means, for the morons, that Justin stating that there must be secular reasons in order to try and discredit Amanda isn’t a neutral statement for the glory of being all super sciencey, but a straight up denial of where the burden of proof currently lies (constant hypotheses trying to prove women’s inferiority and “natural” subservience being found repeatedly false, while feminist theories on equality when given equal opportunities, when tested turning out to be repeatedly accurate) and an attempt to use social power in order to deflect responsibility of proof back on the minority group without power as if that history of evidence doesn’t exist.

    One more thing, that means that all the little misogynists running around here trying to reset the conversation back to zero constantly are doing the same thing and honestly, it is hard to buy statistically that this is occurring due to random chance and isn’t to at least a strong majority of the practioners, a deliberate tactic to try and manufacture an illusion of argument strength where there isn’t any and to overall waste minority group members’ time (hence why all of them also all try and play the “no, burden on proof is on you. What you provided some, let me use some freshman level philosophy debate-club buzzwords to claim that ipso facto you haven’t so I don’t have to provide evidence for my assertion, which is to be treated as self-evident).

    And let’s come to the last thing on our list.

    The fact that Justin Vacula’s post in context is a sexist dribbling of complete and utter fail even without that quote.

    Nearly every line is “nope, her evidential statements about how there aren’t secular arguments against Y, is totally false, because there are so many secular Y arguments and thus you should always view her arguments with suspicion” without EVER ACTUALLY SPELLING OUT said arguments or even linking to them.

    Like if I was critiquing someone stating “there is no biological evidence for transsexuality”, you can damn be sure I can bust out a bunch of examples of the top my head, like the cross-cultural occurrences and occurrences in times of great oppression or the inability of psychological or psychiatric methods to alleviate the condition if it was entirely a mental delusion. I wouldn’t just go, nope, there are totally tons of those. And that’s when I do have the culture of proof behind me on the subject.

    If I was arguing a point that had been repeatedly been shown to be scientifically false like “nothing existed 7000 years ago” and I tried to pull that shit? People would look at me like a bloody fool and they’d be right to. More so if I then tried to go “PZ Myers claims to be so wise in thinking that things existed 7000 years ago, but clearly there are many reasonable reasons to think otherwise and thus PZ Myers is an idiot”.

    Fuck, he even acknowledges that his super awesome secular arguments have no fucking weight

    Although the arguments may fail, they exist. Although religious appeals may contribute to anti-abortion positions, it’s not simply a religious/faith-based issue.

    See? Sure, any attempt to argue for a secular reason to oppose abortion reveals it to be a fallacy that could only be true if you assume a divine creator who cares about pre-formed potential and regards it as either as important or more important than human life, but… they exist, thus anyone who says that there are no arguments is a lying poo-poo pants who should never be taken seriously.

    Except, no, the point of a real secular argument against something is something that is at the very least internally consistent with itself and doesn’t rely on supernatural events or rationale to make it work. If all your secular arguments are bad and break down with the slightest encounter with reality, THEY ARE NOT SECULAR ARGUMENTS.

    There’s also this weird thing he constantly does where he’s trying so hard to do the mango-gathering thing (you know, hitting each part of someone else’s post point by point and eviscerating every instance of stupidity), but obviously doesn’t know how to do it. So he starts quoting sections and just ripping into each section separately each from completely different arguments and with just plain weird obsessions with minute trivia or complete failure to even practice rudimentary reading comprehension.

    Which, unfortunately, means the whole work, taken as a whole, in context, just ends up serving as a giant focus on Justin Vacula’s intellectual weakness and how he tries to use puffing himself as a big man who takes down vapid females with their non-logics as an emotional crutch for his complete inability to defend the supposed secular origins of his beliefs about women, abortion, and other issues.

    If I was using his post for one of my blog entries, I probably would eviscerate it on misogynist grounds because that’s what comes through. A pitying defense of misogyny that refuses to actually defend one’s points, rather favoring to smear the name of those who are and play-act at being a big smart man whose self-identity as being inherently better than 50% of the population by birth-right far outweighs any commitment to either atheism or logic.

    So please, let’s do examine that giant pile of bullshit and shifting arguments and attempts to pretend that there is a wealth of secular arguments for misogyny where none exists in context.

    It will only “help” your well-earned reputation for being intellectual mice throwing a derivative tantrum of the inclusion of people who are not white cis straight men into “your” clubhouse.

  183. 183
    LykeX

    I see like with most of our conversations with anti-feminist trolls on this site, it’s an endless parade of “hello, I am new person and I would like to start from the beginning of our argument without bothering to look back and see if the other misogynists tag-teaming over here brought it up”.

    Which, curiously, is exactly the same kind of behavior we see from creationists and theists in general. If an argument has been refuted, don’t abandon it. Just wait a while and then repeat it, forcing people to refute it all over again.

    I think it’s a result of groups that have no internal circulation of disconfirming information. Thus, the only time they get into contact with any contrary point of view or argument is when they come here to try out their apologetics.
    After the argument is done, they go back to their friends, but they don’t tell them about what was said and they don’t modify their arguments to address critique. So, each individual has to gain their understanding by themselves. There’s no sharing of experience, so there’s no collective increase in understanding.

  184. 184
    Utakata

    /delurking…

    “I fail to see how refusing to believe in God leads to the ‘logical conclusion’ of abandoning the belief that women exist to serve men.”

    Barbaric.

    There are many reasons to despise Vacula’s positions, there is absolutely no reason to misrepresent him.

    …what makes you think Justin Vacula is being misrepresented?

    And yet there is no retraction from P.Z. for the misrepresentation.

    When PZ finds evidence that his stated disposition of Vacula needs to be retracted, he’ll retract it. Until then, I don’t even think Vacula is denying this is what he intended, regardless of context he said/posted it in.

  185. 185
    Jafafa Hots

    Nothing exists to do anything until something with intent gives it purpose.
    Without a god, women cannot “exist to” serve men, or anything else.

    People can give purpose to things, this radio exists to entertain me, etc.
    So anywhere it is claimed that women “exist to serve men,” that is simply something that people have decided to claim – but that claim can’t retroactively be applied to something people didn’t create.

    When Vacula says that no god does not equal “women do not exist to serve men” he can only be reserving room for the reasons for women to exist in his opinion, for his purposes.

  186. 186
    Gregory Greenwood

    LykeX @ 183;

    Which, curiously, is exactly the same kind of behavior we see from creationists and theists in general. If an argument has been refuted, don’t abandon it. Just wait a while and then repeat it, forcing people to refute it all over again.

    I think it’s a result of groups that have no internal circulation of disconfirming information. Thus, the only time they get into contact with any contrary point of view or argument is when they come here to try out their apologetics.
    After the argument is done, they go back to their friends, but they don’t tell them about what was said and they don’t modify their arguments to address critique. So, each individual has to gain their understanding by themselves. There’s no sharing of experience, so there’s no collective increase in understanding.

    There is also the very real possibility that this is the product of something far more calculated, where the goal is to arrive in drips and drabs into an existing conversation and repeatedly attempt to reset the discussion to go over ground already covered at length; a form of JAQing off that is intended to frustrate the other side until they refuse to go over that same ground yet again, where upon the people employing this tactic promptly declare victory and get the sense of personal validation they crave. This was expressed by Cerberus very eloquently @ 182;

    One more thing, that means that all the little misogynists running around here trying to reset the conversation back to zero constantly are doing the same thing and honestly, it is hard to buy statistically that this is occurring due to random chance and isn’t to at least a strong majority of the practioners, a deliberate tactic to try and manufacture an illusion of argument strength where there isn’t any and to overall waste minority group members’ time (hence why all of them also all try and play the “no, burden on proof is on you. What you provided some, let me use some freshman level philosophy debate-club buzzwords to claim that ipso facto you haven’t so I don’t have to provide evidence for my assertion, which is to be treated as self-evident).

    It is not very surprising that such a dishonest tactic is favoured by both xian and misogynist trolls.

  187. 187
    erik333

    185 Jafafa Hots

    Would I be wrong to say “the purpose of legs is to provide locomotion”? I’m not an english native, perhaps there is a better way to describe the situation? It seems clear to me that lots of naturally occuring things have “purposes” of sorts, maybe “function” is better?

    More on topic; It seems pretty obvious to me that even with a god, the thought of that god caring enough about humans to pick favourites among them is patently absurd. Even if somehow we knew for a fact that a god existed, the bible could still be safely regarded as a pile of bullshit.

  188. 188
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I stopped reading the comments somewhere about #160, so forgive if someone has already said this.

    The problem is that people (i.e. Vacula et al.) are reading this as:

    If God exists, then women exist to serve men.
    God doesn’t exist.
    Women may or may not exist to serve men, but we can’t tell that from this syllogism because the premise is false.


    In fact, the logic really goes something like this:

    If things in the universe have a purpose, that purpose must be instituted by some intelligence.
    The only intelligence that could institute a purpose in half of the human species is a god.
    Therefore, if women exist to serve men, such purpose was instituted by a god.
    God doesn’t exist.
    Therefore, there is no such purpose.
    Women don’t exist to serve men.

  189. 189
    PatrickG

    @ Cerberus;

    Great comment all around, but this part really jumped out at me:

    Which, unfortunately, means the whole work, taken as a whole, in context, just ends up serving as a giant focus on Justin Vacula’s intellectual weakness and how he tries to use puffing himself as a big man who takes down vapid females with their non-logics as an emotional crutch for his complete inability to defend the supposed secular origins of his beliefs about women, abortion, and other issues.

    That pretty much sums it all up. Except maybe that use of “unfortunately”. ;)

  190. 190
    erik333

    188 Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    Could you expand a bit on premise 1 and 2?

    “If things in the universe have a purpose, that purpose must be instituted by some intelligence.
    The only intelligence that could institute a purpose in half of the human species is a god.”

    It’s unclear to me how an intelligence is required as an author for “purpose”. Is “purpose” here distinct from “function”? Is “the purpose of eyes is detecting light” a mal-formed sentence? (not english native)
    Premise two seems really weird to me. Why would humans be obliged to comply to god’s opinion apart from “might makes right” (which just requires the power to enforce it)?

    I don’t see how your argument works for say an anthill with queens and drones etc, and it should if it is sound? Perhaps I’m missing something implied with “purpose”.

  191. 191
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    erik @190

    I started to make a longer comment, but it comes down to this factor of how the terms are used.

    Objects can have either purpose or function. A purpose is what they are made to do. A function is something that can be done with them or something they can do.

    A person can have functions. Things they are able to accomplish in a system. They can only have a purpose if you assume a world where people are merely the puppets on strings of a mocking creator, i.e. a task they were deliberately made to fulfill.

    Remove the creator and they can only ever have functions, even if a society steeped in a religious tradition of language argues otherwise.

    And that becomes bigoted when you note that it is those from minority groups who are most common assumed to have universal “purposes” that extend to their whole categories. And moreso when you note that when white cis male people talk about their purpose from their Creator, it is almost universally about how those not them are set to be used by them.

    Which would also be why those like Justin Vacula are loathe to lose a “purpose” to women if they abandon a belief in God even if it means creating a dissonant part that believes in a “creator” in order to justify having said belief.

  192. 192
    consciousness razor

    Perhaps I’m missing something implied with “purpose”.

    Go back to how this started for some clues: “women exist to serve men.”

    This describes the purpose of their existence. In other words, in the grand scheme of things, there is a plan (or a design), and it is their job to fulfill some purpose or another to make that plan happen.

    That is simply what “exist to” or “exists for” means. It could be “exist to rule over the planet” and it’s still their “job,” so to speak. Since individuals aren’t responsible for their own existence (unlike other “purposes” which may have a different relationship*) this kind of a job is not determined by them. It has to come from some other source. If that were the case, it’s reasonable to ask who is planning this? Who came up with some design and gave people (or whatever) some job to do to accomplish it? And what exactly is that overall plan that this entity wants to accomplish? (Here is where goddists often retreat to their god’s “mysterious ways” and pretend that it helps.)

    But this requires a “who,” not just any “what” like an inanimate object. You need something intelligent or sentient like animals (humans included) which have intentions, can make predictions, etc., and act upon those in order to have that sort of relationship with whoever/whatever is being given a purpose. So, we know that the universe as a whole (or existence itself) isn’t intelligent, and we know there are no gods who are intelligent who made the universe…. So we know there is no such thing.

    *In other cases like the ones you gave, we could talk about the “purpose of an eye” but this can generally be reformulated in non-teleological language. It just isn’t convenient to do that a lot of the time. We’re used to talking about social relationships and tools and so, where it is pretty much necessary, but that language gets transported to natural events and objects, existence, etc, where it simply doesn’t belong. We can talk about giving ourselves purposes (giving ourselves projects to do) or making artifacts for some purpose that we have decided is worth pursuing, etc. Even those can be tricky conceptually (how can I use a gun for something other than shooting stuff?); but in important ways, they’re not like the claim that there’s some sort of cosmic, ultimate reason for something’s very existence. Especially not when it’s about a conscious intelligent organisms (e.g., women or men) who are perfectly capable of providing goals for themselves, without any need for external support.

  193. 193
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    scott:

    In any case, this thread is disturbing to me and disappointing.

    Should I hold my breath, anticipating an explanation for why this thread is disappointing and disturbing? Or was your intent to throw this out without elaborating?

    Looking at your comments, I wonder if you intend to join Lachlan in the JV Fanboi club.

  194. 194
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    consciousness razor @192

    Yes, what you said, though in addition to your footnote, I would add that we talk about the purpose of an eye, but technically an eye’s primary function is more accurate. It’s just English (and languages in general, but especially English), is a Frankenstein’s Monster of idioms and common usage. And since religious “purposes” and ways of thinking that assume that things in life are designed to make life easier for those who are dominant group humans and therefore the only humans to be considered fully humans are privileged, those of us speaking casually about things will naturally gravitate towards them. In much the same way as a pregnant mother might refer to the thing inside herself as a child even though she knows it not to have the same rights and characteristics of a born child.

    But yeah, linguistics aside, it’s worth noting here as well that it’s not like Justin Vacula made an oopsie by using the word purpose incorrectly. He made an argument that women exist to serve men. That there are secular, areligious arguments which are good or at least certainly more compelling and “natural” to conclude than the opposite (that the lack of a religious argument makes it impossible to argue for a woman’s place without being internally inconsistent).

    In short, the problem is something a lot of MRAs and assorted anti-feminists believe. That women’s natural existence is as an inhuman servant dispensing affection, sex, and child care and that when a man goes without it is because somewhere there is a FemaleCo Brand Toaster Oven that is malfunctioning and failing its natural duty.

    If Justin Vacula and others want to die on the mountain of that belief, they’re going to have to show how it is in anyway a true and accurate depiction of reality and not just the last gasps of those who want all the social power of a religious patriarchy, but none of the having to bow before God crap.

    Their cowardice, or at least the cowardice of his defenders, reveals that they know this position to be untenable, unpopular, and part of a bygone age the organizations they wished to be a part of are dismantling.

    It’s almost like atheism, when followed to natural conclusions lends itself rather well to social justice issues and other liberal arguments.

    As if reality had a liberal bias or something.

  195. 195
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Looking at your comments, I wonder if you intend to join Lachlan in the JV Fanboi club.

    That was obvious from his first post. These MRA sympathizers can’t be very good at pokers. Their tells scream…

  196. 196
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    @167:

    Any idiot can memorize lists of fandom minutae if they have little enough else to do with the rest of their lives, just as any idiot can memorize rebuttals to creationist talking points.

    As a comic book geek and massive Buffy fan who has memorized quite a bit of minutae from both, I thank you for this insult.
    Have you ever stopped to think that some people memorize things better than others and that it doesn’t require massive amounts of time or “having nothing else to do with their lives”?

    Asshole.

  197. 197
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Cerberus:

    I see like with most of our conversations with anti-feminist trolls on this site, it’s an endless parade of “hello, I am new person and I would like to start from the beginning of our argument without bothering to look back and see if the other misogynists tag-teaming over here brought it up”.

    Of course not.
    Each of these are special snowflakes with something “new”* to add to the “argument”**, and need not be bothered to see if anyone else has come up with such a novel idea.

    *as in “heard many, many times already”
    **as in “not really an argument because those of us who have given consideration and thought to equality do not consider opposition to feminism to be an ‘argument’ “

  198. 198
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Cerberus:

    That’s because Justin Vacula’s words end up being way more damning when you factor in the context of the world.

    This^^.
    For the luvva FSM, those anonymous pissants defending Justin Vacula in this thread appear oblivious to the *other* shit he’s said which support his misogyny.

    Which, unfortunately, means the whole work, taken as a whole, in context, just ends up serving as a giant focus on Justin Vacula’s intellectual weakness and how he tries to use puffing himself as a big man

    He’s the ultimate Voice for Men.
    He’s all What about MeMeMe?

  199. 199
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    It’s unclear to me how an intelligence is required as an author for “purpose”. Is “purpose” here distinct from “function”? Is “the purpose of eyes is detecting light” a mal-formed sentence? (not english native)

    In a loose way, we do use “purpose” and “function” interchangeably a lot of the time, but as consciousness razor says, in this context, we can tell that we’re talking about something intended by an intelligence because a neutral ‘function’ wouldn’t apply. “Women exist [in order] to serve men.” How do we come to exist? It’s that thing that must impart the purpose or function. Since unthinking natural forces brought us here, there is no intended purpose. There is no moral imperative in a neutral, natural function (which is ultimately the same for every living thing, btw: to replicate its genes). What’s left? *Man-made* purposes.

    Premise two seems really weird to me. Why would humans be obliged to comply to god’s opinion apart from “might makes right” (which just requires the power to enforce it)?

    I don’t think we would be obliged to comply (unless the god also made it impossible to do otherwise). But non-compliance wouldn’t negate the god’s intended purpose for us. Think of it like this: I could breed and train a seeing eye dog (imagine I’m doing this from scratch). The dog’s purpose would be to help (serve if you will) a visually impaired person. That’s what is was bred and born and even trained to do. If the dog rebels or runs away and lives freely, an argument could be made that it “exists in order to serve Jane, the visually impaired girl” no matter what it is actually doing. But whose intent is that? Who instilled that purpose? Me.

    People could do the same to other people (we usually call this slavery), but Vacula’s argument isn’t (explicitly) countering Marcotte’s statement with “You can’t say atheism leads to the conclusion that women don’t exist to serve men because you’re forgetting about slavery.” Implicitly though, that’s the only option remaining.

  200. 200
    Ichthyic

    And yet there is no retraction from P.Z. for the misrepresentation.

    what misrepresentation?

    do please, just for me, write down EXACTLY what PZ said.

  201. 201
    Ichthyic

    But yeah, linguistics aside, it’s worth noting here as well that it’s not like Justin Vacula made an oopsie by using the word purpose incorrectly. He made an argument that women exist to serve men.

    I don’t think he DID make that argument in the linked article.

    Instead, he just failed to acknowledge what the consequences ARE for removing the influence religion has had on male privilege.

    IOW, his argument was ignorant and specious and vacuous. Not necessarily misogynist in specific intent.

    thought we already established that?

    point is, why is anyone even paying attention to Vacula to begin with? Never was a great thinker or writer.

  202. 202
    Ichthyic

    He’s all What about MeMeMe?

    yes, exactly. This has always been the quintessential definition of Vacula.

    reminds me of Michael Ruse, without the extensive vocabulary.

  203. 203
    Ichthyic

    Perhaps I’m missing something implied with “purpose”.

    teleology is a complicated notion in biology.

    I know that english is not your primary lingo, but maybe this will help some:

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/teleology-biology/

  204. 204
    Ichthyic

    …and I link that mostly for the much more detailed discussions that occur in the large bibliography of primary sources listed.

  205. 205
    sadunlap

    @ 194 Cerberus: Fucking Oppression, Man

    If Justin Vacula and others want to die on the mountain of that belief, they’re going to have to show how it is in anyway a true and accurate depiction of reality and not just the last gasps of those who want all the social power of a religious patriarchy, but none of the having to bow before God crap.

    Their cowardice, or at least the cowardice of his defenders, reveals that they know this position to be untenable,

    The cowardice is what jumped out at me when reading the source for his quote (I always like to see the context). It’s a mealy-mouthed “I’m not making the argument (or am I?) I’m just pointing out that this feminist person made her argument badly.” Puh-Leeeeze.

    He fails to grasp that the “women exist to serve men” proposition entails an affirmative responsibility on his part to prove, not that it’s some sort of “default status” that continues to stand without religion. He fails to address the question that, without religion, what the hell’s propping it up?

  206. 206
    Ichthyic

    How does Marcotte arrive at this conclusion?”

    Hey, Jack. You know, you could always read Amanda’s piece and see for yourself.

    nawww, you just came here to claim tangential victimhood.

  207. 207
    Amphiox

    Is “purpose” here distinct from “function”?

    Yes, for the purposes in which they are used pertaining to this conversation, they absolutely are.

    Which is why, in the english language, they are, like, you know, two distinct words.

    For while their meanings overlap, they are not identical.

  208. 208
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    It’s unclear to me how an intelligence is required as an author for “purpose”. Is “purpose” here distinct from “function”?

    Short answer: yes.

    Longer answer: do women seem, to you, to have the sort of obvious relationship to men that eyes do to light, such that it’s logical to say that their “function” is to serve men? You aren’t ignoring the context to have an “academic” abstract argument, are you?

  209. 209
    erik333

    @Cerberus, Amphiox, Ichthyic, Ibis3, consciousness razor etc.

    As i understand you the distinction is largely “is” (function) vs “ought” (purpose), I’ll have to study the argument again when time permits. Thank you. (Things do get complicated when thinking about emergent properties of feed-back systems)

    @Ibis3

    With your dog example, what role would “will” (or perhaps more controversial “free will”) play here? From the trainers’ perspective, the dog doesn’t seem to have the right to express anything like either – it’s supposed to be a complete and utter slave to your intent. If you allow for things having some will of their own, “purpose” to me seems to go out the window as something that is actually binding – for the dog. The human perspective is the one of the dog’s, in this example. God or society might have enough might to enforce the policy, sure, but they wouldn’t necessarily have the right.

    So yes, if humans are automatons (possible, though the governing variables seem sufficiently hidden for the outside observer to make that model unusable in practice) – then I agree “purpose” might apply, but even most religious people don’t seem to be arguing (despite omniscience) that we are.

    @208 Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    No, they do not. I am ignoring the context in order to find out if the argument presented was actually a good one, rather than a bad argument that only happened to come to the right conclusion. If it didn’t apply to situations like an anthill, (And I couldn’t see a reason why it wouldn’t apply equally well, or not, in both situations.) I either was missing something or it was a bad argument – I find it meaningful to find out which.

  210. 210
    John Morales

    erik333, function:purpose :: description:meaning.

  211. 211
    thecynicalromantic

    Have you ever stopped to think that some people memorize things better than others and that it doesn’t require massive amounts of time or “having nothing else to do with their lives”?

    Yes.

    Rote memorization is still the lowest form of learning.

    I’ve also memorized a fair bit of useless fandom shit in my time. I don’t pretend its a mark of great intellect, though. A mark of dedication, perhaps, but definitely not intellect.

  212. 212
    roro80

    Just a quick comment to marvel at the mountain of win that is @Cerberus #182.

    Context is *exactly* what this thread was missing. Even if you want to reinterpret “exist to” as “has the biological function of” or “evolved for the purpose of” — which is a dubious proposition considering that the hypothesis has to do with the existence of a creator — the statement made by JV treats the very existence of women as an academic exercize and nothing more. Sure, we could posit these theoretical secular reasons that women might exist to serve men, but doing so ignores the fact that I know that I don’t exist to serve men, as do huge numbers of other women. I don’t exist to serve men, I am a woman, therefore women don’t exist to serve men. Women don’t exist to serve men, so a deity/creator that relies on women existing to serve men cannot and does not exist. He could say I’m lying about the premise, but that would presume he knows better than me why I exist, which is the essense of what he’s saying. He’s saying he knows better than women why women exist, therefore he is an asshole. Thus proven.

  213. 213
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    This quibbling over the meaning of “purpose” is reminding me alot of a similar argument over “cause”.

    Why is it that these assholes are so eager to find some way to excuse or support sexist crap?

    Looking for some faint glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe someone is correct in saying some stupid misogynist crap is not being fair to the stupid misogynist who made the claim. It isn’t being smart or open minded. It is just being desperate to support awful, bigoted ideas. It sounds to me exactly like Christians do when they insist “We all worship something” and then stretch the meaning of worship to mean just about any amount of respect or affection. It’s bullshit and if the defenders of JV weren’t so emotionally invested in their own sexist worldviews, I think they’d see that quite clearly.

    So far in this thread I’ve seen women compared to limbs, organs and dogs all in the service of trying to prove that Vacula’s original statement was not sexist drivel. I see this often from sexist fundies who oppose reproductive rights or misogynists who think it is women’s job to prevent men from raping. We’re compared to houses, cars, livestock etc. Tip: If you cannot think of women as people, you might want to sit out any further discussion about what is and is not sexist.

  214. 214
    mildlymagnificent

    Rote memorization is still the lowest form of learning.

    Not really. It’s the form of learning, practice and repetition, that leads to automaticity. Automatic recall involves very little mental effort so the more stuff you can get into automatic mode, the more energy you have to spare to apply to thinking things through or to learning more basics.

    I’m currently deeply in love with brain plasticity and brain training stuff. (Husband recovering from brain injury.)

  215. 215
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m currently deeply in love with brain plasticity and brain training stuff. (Husband recovering from brain injury.)

    In my case, the Redhead from a hemorrhagic stroke. Seeing potential signs over a year later. My hope. her holding a knitting needle.

  216. 216
    mildlymagnificent

    Hah! Just remembering the mantra – brain plasticity is not your friend. Seems to me that some of these jerks who’ve settled on a way of seeing and “thinking” about the world could do with a little brain training themselves.

    The big issue is that if you don’t continue to examine or even challenge your physical and mental habits, brain plasticity ensures that what you’ve always done is what you’ll continue to do. If you don’t revisit ideas or question things you’ve taken for granted in the past, there is not much chance of you really “thinking” about or incorporating new or different ideas into your customary way of regarding things. It’s possible that you will change imperceptibly over time if you happen to work or live with people and adopt some of their speech and behaviour patterns as most of us will do. But if you don’t think it through, you’re as likely to acquire bad habits as good ones.

  217. 217
    mildlymagnificent

    Nerd. Husband isn’t as badly afflicted as the Redhead, but some things are still huge challenges. Accepting that you really are not doing some things as well as you might is a huge barrier. If you won’t acknowledge that there’s something that needs more practice/assistance/ training or whatever, you’re not in the best position to take advantage of the therapy or other assistance that’s offered.

    At least he’s signed up for the online brain training system recommended by The Brain That Changes Itself site, rather than one of those not very systematic / useful things most people are attracted to. Sticking with maintaining attention / concentration and similar problems for now.

    Shame there isn’t something similar for ethics and being-a-decent-person.

  218. 218
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Mildlymagnificent, the Redhead lost large muscle control, but here mental faculties always tested well. Somebody listening to her would notice a flat voice, but that’s the extent of the damage for “speech therapy”, which also included cognitive functions. This is compared to “physical therapy”, which was walking, and “occupational therapy”, arm and hand control, both of which she could use.

  219. 219
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    MM, sorry if I sound like I’m trying to one-up-you. I’m not. But you do know you have someone who has first hand empathy with your situation. Which is all I meant.

  220. 220
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Oh look, a teal deer!
    Sorry. Feel free to skip the rant if you want to. I’m leaving it here anyway.

    If reason has nothing to do with atheism, then why do these same atheists seem so willing to stress it’s importance when they are arguing against religious myths and beliefs? Has anyone ever seriously put forth the idea that people who believe in the story of Noah, but just don’t include a god in that belief should be valued and respected in the atheist community? What if despite not believing in God, they still believe people can spontaneously turn into pillars of salt? If reason and fact don’t matter, then why does the truth about the existence of a god matter? What’s wrong with creationism in schools if the facts don’t matter? True, one need not do anything at all to be an atheist. Without indoctrination, we’d all likely be atheists. But, I’m not interested in reason and facts because I’m an atheist. I’m an atheist because I’m interested in reason and facts.

    Sure there are lazy people who can’t be bothered with thinking and those who are just not capable of it. There are people without compassion. Some of those people are atheists. Some atheists are bigots. Some atheists may in fact be Holocaust deniers or serial killers. So what? That does not mean we need to respect their laziness, violence or repugnant and false beliefs. We don’t have to be nice about how wrong they are. We do not need to embrace bigotry or be neutral in the face of it to make lazy, incorrect or immoral people more comfortable.

    Vacula has made the claim that one can still believe that women exist to serve men independent from theistic belief. He does not provide any secular arguments for that belief. He doesn’t need to. His bias is obvious. His dislike of feminism is so strong that he’s currently attending a feminist event just to stir shit and make people uncomfortable. Yet, he clearly has supporters. People are calling him a brave hero. What if he’d said that you can believe poc exist to serve whites, without believing in the curse of Hamm/God etc, therefore atheism and racism are not incompatible? (Yes, dear n00bs, the opposite of feminism is sexism.) Let’s say he also did not provide any reasoning for this and that he was actively harassing poc in our community and those who support their equality? What if he wrote for Stormfront and then attended an event that focused on the intersection of racial equality and secularism and acted like the same monotonous turd he always does? He’d be a stupid, racist shit, wouldn’t he? Who’s hero would he be then? (Wow, I just realized I don’t want to know the answer to that.) Without belief in God, you can be a homophobe too. You don’t need religion to be wrong. You don’t need it to be an asshole. But when atheists are wrong or raging assholes, they should get called out on it by us first, not embraced and defended as if they have a special right to be ignorant assholes. I don’t believe in gods. I don’t believe in fairies either. The only reason I’m motivated to seek out an atheist community but not a A-fairest community has to do with the impact theism has on humanity. Not only is sexism wrong and irrational, it harms people. That’s why feminism matters to me. That is how it is tied to my atheism. That’s why it matters to most people who care about what is right and true and decent. See, individual atheists can be those things too. This movement cannot embrace reason and truth while embracing sexists and other bigots. Reality is not compatible with their beliefs any more than with those who deny the Holocaust or believe in the flood myth. Neither, for that matter is basic human decency.

  221. 221
    LykeX

    Has anyone ever seriously put forth the idea that people who believe in the story of Noah, but just don’t include a god in that belief should be valued and respected in the atheist community?

    Straight to the point. Sure, if you insist on a really minimalist atheist position, I guess you could defend it, but really, who are you kidding?

    If a position has no other support than belief in god, then lack of belief in god does imply a rejection of that position. The only way that anyone would claim otherwise is if they were being pedantic to the point of idiocy or… if they had some other agenda. Given Vacula’s history, I’m going with the second option.

  222. 222
    Ichthyic

    The people trying to claim atheism has nothing to do with theism seem to forget the very genesis of the word atheism.

    If the world had no theists, they would have a point.

    that is not this world, so they don’t.

  223. 223
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @Jackie

    Since you criticised me, I just want to point out that my comparison of women and dogs was constrained to a world where God exists and is a misogynist, misanthropic tyrant who creates humans to be sycophants and women to be men’s slaves, not the world we live in.

  224. 224
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    roro80:

    I don’t [exist to serve men], I am [a woman], therefore [women] don’t [exist to serve men].

    The conclusion may be true, but that logic is just wrong …

    I don’t [have bad teeth], I am [English], therefore [English people] don’t [have bad teeth]

    Cue Austin Powers

  225. 225
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    OK, I’ll offer universal vs. existential qualifiers. But it’s late and I should quit while I’m behind off the side of the track with a puncture. :-/

  226. 226
    LykeX

    I was just about to point that out. I’m glad you caught it yourself.

    Obviously, the statement “women exist to serve men” doesn’t refer to individual women, but allwomen. Therefore even a single counter-example serves to demonstrate that it’s wrong.

  227. 227
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Yeah.

    It’s just a little … irritating … to see the “exist to serve” trope implicitly attributed to Vacula when it was originated by Marcotte. (For what it’s worth, I say this as someone who reads stuff on the internet but doesn’t read either of them. First person to call me a fanboi gets a feather duster and comfy chair.)

    I kind of want the whole debate restarted with 1 Cor 11, which imposes restrictions on both sexes. ;-)

  228. 228
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    *sigh*

    Soft cushions and a comfy chair.

  229. 229
    consciousness razor

    It’s just a little … irritating … to see the “exist to serve” trope implicitly attributed to Vacula when it was originated by Marcotte.

    … who rejected it.

    So what’s irritating? I haven’t seen anyone attribute the origin of the phrase to him, implicitly or not. But he could’ve rejected it too, on lots of different grounds. Instead, he spewed even more mealy-mouthed, non-thinking, obviously-sexist apologetics. I’d say that’s probably a little more irritating than whatever you’re talking about. But could you explain anyway? I really don’t get it.

    I kind of want the whole debate restarted with 1 Cor 11, which imposes restrictions on both sexes. ;-)

    I don’t know what whole debate that is, but the less garbage I hear about the Bible, the better.

  230. 230
    roro80

    Thanks #225 and #226.

    #224 it is your logic that is incorrect.

  231. 231
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    Sorry, Ibis.
    After reading the rest of the thread, it just rubbed me wrong. You’re right. I mistook your point entirely. My bad. Retracted.

  232. 232
    chalchiuhtotolin

    Ugh. The comment section on that article is utterly flooded with MRAs.

  233. 233
    Ichthyic

    I don’t know what whole debate that is, but the less garbage I hear about the Bible, the better.

    seconded, but then I’ve learned just to avoid threads that degenerate to those discussions anyway.

    apologies to CJO, to whom I’ve often referred anyone who IS interested.

  234. 234
    John Anderson

    It’s not feminism and atheism that are incompatible. It is feminism and free thinking that are incompatible. Feminism is essentially a religion that doesn’t worship a deity.

  235. 235
    chigau (違う)

    John Anderson #234
    That was a very silly statement.

  236. 236
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    [dials snark generator back as far it will go in honour of the three post rule]

    Please give us your definition of feminism John Anderson.

    [looks about for open flame and any other ignition sources in anticipation of incoming straw]

  237. 237
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    While we’re at it, I think I’d also like to hear John Anderson’s definition of a religion…

  238. 238
    LykeX

    Feminism is essentially a religion that doesn’t worship a deity.

    Isn’t that what believers keep saying about atheism? And with exactly the same amount of backup for the claim, too.

  239. 239
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    It’s not feminism and atheism that are incompatible. It is feminism and free thinking that are incompatible. Feminism is essentially a religion that doesn’t worship a deity.

    That comment is very similar to a ketchup sandwich.

  240. 240
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Looks like John Anderson is arguing using religious methods. Anything he says must be accepted at face value, and refuted by us. Whereas, in the skeptical and freethinking community, he must provide evidence to back his assertion. And he has disappeared after making an unevidenced and inane assertion. Sniff, smells of MRA/Slymepit.

  241. 241
    Raging Bee

    Feminism is essentially a religion that doesn’t worship a deity.

    Creationists say the same thing about science. They’re full of shit, and so is John Anderson, for the same reasons.

    Also, I notice that Lachlan’s comments are nothing more than an enormous diversion from the undisputed fact that Justin Vaculous said something incredibly stupid and inexcusable. The most charitable interpretation of his words would be that he chose his words very poorly — and yet here come MRA apologists like Lachlan, desperately trying to defend even the stupidest words from their own faction, by any threadjack necessary.

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