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Jun 18 2013

A child can see through it

Seth Kurtenbach is on CFI’s Course of Reason, an On-Campus blog. He wrote an essay using very simple words, and he wrote it as A Fifth Grader’s Response to the CFI Board’s Statement. It’s a wee bit elliptical, but read carefully…it’s actually rather seditious.

Sometimes the person being mean or bad is really smart, and will pretend that what he is doing is no big deal. He will say, “hey, let’s be respectful about our disagreement.” This can make the mad person look like the unreasonable one. This will make the mad person even more mad, because they are not the ones being disrespectful, it is the bad or mean person! It is a mean trick that bad smart people play sometimes. You should be careful about this if you ever disagree with someone about something. If you are the bad or mean person, you should try to not be so bad and mean, and you should also apologize for being bad and mean.

Sometimes it is really hard for a person to admit that he was disrespectful. The best thing to do is to do the right thing and apologize for being disrespectful. The worst thing to do is to pretend you weren’t disrespectful, or to ignore the other person’s feelings. This will never make things better. You should keep this in mind if you ever accidentally disrespect someone and make them mad.

I get the impression some of CFI’s people are a little bit displeased.

48 comments

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  1. 1
    John-Henry Beck

    I saw a comment on Twitter that more critical posts are coming on the CFI on Campus blog. They do seem to be popping up all over the place.

  2. 2
    spandrel

    The Board says that they appreciate the varied opinions and insights communicated to them. “Appreciate” means to like something that someone does. This really confuses me, because I think a lot of the opinions and insights communicated to them were from people who were very upset. I think this was part of the controversy they talked about in paragraph two. This confuses me because the controversy makes them sad, but they also appreciate it.

    It’s kind of awesome that the CFI statement says nothing and yet is self-contradictory.

  3. 3
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    I keep on asking myself what it will take for the CFI to realise how much they’ve fucked this up and to start thinking about ways to fix it.

  4. 4
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I keep on asking myself what it will take for the CFI to realise how much they’ve fucked this up and to start thinking about ways to fix it.

    I get the feeling, CFI, like the Randi Foundation, is run by liberturds. They are too arrogant to get any messages.

  5. 5
    echidna

    Wowbagger,
    My two cents: On the assumption that the CFI board are acting in accordance with their own wishes, I think that the CFI didn’t make a mistake with their response – they meant every word. They don’t say sorry because they are not sorry. They don’t admit fault because they don’t see that they are at fault. They say they are unhappy with the controversy over the conference – and they mean exactly that. They are signalling that a conference dedicated to women speakers was a mistake, and that it was an event that they did not support, just as Ron Lindsay signalled in his opening “Welcome” speech.

    I think they are signalling withdrawing support for WISC.

  6. 6
    hypatiasdaughter

    This will make the mad person even more mad, because they are not the ones being disrespectful, it is the bad or mean person!

    Could we engrave this on a plaque or perhaps tattoo it on a few foreheads?

  7. 7
    PatrickG

    It’s a wee bit elliptical

    *snorfle* I suppose if one were completely unaware of any of this, yes, elliptical. But that was some pretty blunt writing to my eye. The title sort of gives the seditious tendencies away all by itself! :)

    I get the impression some of CFI’s people are a little bit displeased.

    I’m a bit surprised the board didn’t attempt to suppress such blog entries, myself. Or are they planning on a future wish to express sadness at the fact that some of their people might be the teensiest bit upset with them?

  8. 8
    thinksanddrinks

    The comments of “Weeblo” and “Ageris” are, at the most, ridiculous, and at the least, sexist hate speech. It is as if they cannot understand relatively straight English with a strong cultural message (little kids getting it when they do not). I have read a number of posts about this whole mess, and I am appalled that the targeted *clowns* do not get what the feminists (of which I am one, of opposite gender) are talking about. People do not harrass or put down one another based on gender. Note that I am, with my terminology, leaving the sexist haters out of the class “people”. I would not accept these a-holes as friends as skeptics or ANY OTHER BASIS. They are not humans.

    [Yes they are. Very human. All too human. --pzm]

  9. 9
    thinksanddrinks

    I don’t know how the ads on your site are managed, but you might want to look into it. When I came in to register, I got an ad to support Allen West. I understand that liberal blogs like this one may be targeted by ultra-right idiots; perhaps you could devise defenses?

  10. 10
    thinksanddrinks

    To the CFI board: a line from Psych: “Euthanize yourself.”

    [NO. Stop right there. --pzm]

  11. 11
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Please don’t go there.

  12. 12
    anteprepro

    They are not humans.

    Not fucking cool. We do not accept dehumanizing people. No, not even very stupid people. No, not even fucking assholes. No, not even outright evil people. You don’t need to boot them out of humanity to express your disdain for them.

    When I came in to register, I got an ad to support Allen West. I understand that liberal blogs like this one may be targeted by ultra-right idiots; perhaps you could devise defenses?

    It’s not targeting as far as I recall: they use a system for ads that is based on keywords for the article. So bash Christians all we like, we’ll still get Christian themed ads entirely because we are talking about Christians. (At least I think that is how it worked, I could be misremembering things)

  13. 13
    thinksanddrinks

    If they do not act human …

  14. 14
    SallyStrange

    They acting extremely human.

  15. 15
    SallyStrange

    Not really interested in anybody euthanizing themself either. You fellas must be new around here.

  16. 16
    PatrickG

    If they do not act human …

    First, this is quite human. I enter into evidence all of human history. Humans do this kind of shit. Of course, just because humans can do it doesn’t mean they should. But that’s an entirely different subject.

    To the CFI board: a line from Psych: “Euthanize yourself.”

    You seriously need to stop. This is not a place where encouragement of harm (to self or others) will fly. Just stop now. Consider apologizing for it, while you’re at it.

  17. 17
    PatrickG

    On the other hand, I have no qualms about telling SallyStrange to go look in a mirror and say “I will stop posting 3 seconds before PatrickG” 1000 times.

    Gawddammit!

  18. 18
    Jenna Stewart

    Not cool, thinksanddrinks.

    “They are not humans.”

    Even if they’re assholes, they’re still humans. Stop it.

    “To the CFI board: a line from Psych: “Euthanize yourself.””

    Very not cool. Telling people to kill themselves is kind of a very asshole-ish thing to do.

    “If they do not act human …”

    They’re humans, so I’d say they’re acting human.

  19. 19
    SallyStrange

    Take heart, PatrickG – my omission of the word “are” was not a misguided attempt to reproduce northeastern USA Black American dialect.

  20. 20
    Weed(less) Monkey

    CFI BoD: Disintegrate, you bastards.

  21. 21
    thinksanddrinks

    OK, I see your point. They are not acting like humans, but they still are humans. I should just say they are not acting like humans.

    As for the “euthanize” comment, I thought it was funny on the show. I thought it was funny now. I think they are reprehensible now. I do not think they will follow my advise in any case. If they or anyone else does not like it, they are free to do so.

  22. 22
    anteprepro

    If you continue to insist on dehumanizing completely human assholes, people will not mince words with you. Especially in conjunction with the term “euthanize”. This is not an acceptable way to speak of people, any more than it is acceptable to insult people on terms of gender.

    Here’s a kind tip to help you on your way in the right direction: Consider being less optimistic and far more realistic about what constitutes “normal” human attitudes, thoughts, and behavior. There is a good dose of sexism, racism, selfishness, callousness, dishonesty, idiocy, etc. involved. It’s not just in a special class of super evildoers that we find such qualities. Don’t put humanity on a pedestal.

  23. 23
    PatrickG

    @ SallyStrange: Your misuse of grammar was what gave you the edge, though! :) I should learn write fast.

  24. 24
    John Morales

    thinksanddrinks:

    I should just say they[“Weeblo” and “Ageris”] are not acting like humans.

    Still wrong.

    Since they’re humans, any act they take is a human act.

    (There’s a difference between human and humane)

  25. 25
    anteprepro

    They are not acting like humans,

    Yeah, bullshit. For reasons already explained. It’s within spitting distance of normal.

    And this seems just like a paltry excuse to continue exactly what you were saying before. Is this really something you need so desperately bad? Or can you just not admit that you were wrong?

    I thought it was funny now. I think they are reprehensible now. I do not think they will follow my advise in any case. If they or anyone else does not like it, they are free to do so.

    It doesn’t matter. Telling someone to kill themselves is not only not a tasteful joke, it is a borderline threat. Especially in the context of saying that they aren’t even human. It also is insensitive to people who are or who have been suicidal. “Funny” isn’t a defense for that. Just like “Comedy” isn’t a valid defense for sexism.

  26. 26
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Thinksanddrinks:
    Stop and think about what you are saying.
    “This group of people are not human because reasons .”

    You know another class of humans who were considered by many to be less than human?
    Black people. Remember slavery?

    You know how history textbooks whitewash the treatment of the Native Americans?
    Dehumanizing a group of people led to genocide.

    You know what rape is? Denying the bodily integrity and individuality of another human being too often leads to sexual abuse and rape. You know who are usually the targets of such?
    Women.

    Surely my point has been made and bringing up Nazi’s is unnecessary at this point.

    Dehumanization of others-no matter what the reason-has led to countless atrocities committed by one group of humans to another.

    The disdain I have for people who dehumanize others is tremendous, yet I will not ‘other’ them. I will not deny their humanity.

    Neither should you.

  27. 27
    katkinkate

    Unfortunately, thinksanddrinks, they are acting totally human; tribal in fact, in protecting their area of control from outside forces, in this case feminists. The development of civilization has been trending toward more humanist values over the years. This tribal behaviour is part of what we are trying to leave behind. The younger generations will always be in the van with the older generations tending to hang back trying to slow down the movement forward. This is why it takes so long for social change to happen.

  28. 28
    David Marjanović

    That is all.

    It’s kind of awesome that the CFI statement says nothing and yet is self-contradictory.

    + 1

  29. 29
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    It’s kind of awesome that the CFI statement says nothing and yet is self-contradictory.

    Awesome indeed. Well said.

  30. 30
    carlie

    I should just say they are not acting like humans.

    Do you know anything about human history? They are acting exquisitely human.

  31. 31
    Charly

    @thinksanddrinks: You seem to be under the impression, that Pharyngula is hate group where your BS will fly freely and with encouragement.

    As you, hopefully, see by now, this is not the case. I am baffled, however, how anyone who actually reads Pharyngula and comments – even cursory, like I do – can write things you did and expect anything else than disintegration of their claims.

    There is a group of people, however, who do claim that Pharyngula and its commentariat are hate group spewing exactly what you just did.. I sincerely hope you are not just a troll who went here to confirm their bias with baiting. If so, it seems obvious the bait has not been taken and you should go away. If not, then perhaps apologies are in order.

    Deaththreats/wishes are never acceptable and welcome around here, no matter how veiled.

  32. 32
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    There’s a difference between human and humane

    And, indeed, between inhuman and non-human, which seems to be what’s confusing (I hope it’s just confusion) thinksanddrinks.

  33. 33
    LykeX

    @thinksanddrinks
    I get the reaction, but your comments are:
    a) factually incorrect
    b) not acceptable

    Shit happens. Take a time out and calm down. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to rephrase, defend or otherwise dig your way out. It’s not going to end well. Accept the correction and move on.

  34. 34
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    @thinksanddrinks

    Please do not repeat yourself. Reflect on what you’ve said, and if you have any sense of decency kindly retract your words, or at the minimum accept the correction and move on.

    Calling people inhuman and telling people to euthanize themselves is something others might do, but not us, not on Pharyngula.

  35. 35
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    leebrimmicombe-wood

    Calling people inhuman …

    Thanks for highlighting the confusion I mentioned.

    “Inhuman” is good usage. It means barbaric, callous, unfeeling. It does not mean “not human.” To call someone “not human” is, in fact, an inhuman act.

  36. 36
    WithinThisMind

    ‘Inhumane’ is lacking kindness and compassion, not behaving in a humane (the word is humane, not human, there is a very important e on the end) manner.

    ‘Not human’ is dehumanizing.

    I’m rapidly considering removing the word ‘inhumane’ from my vocabulary. Not because it isn’t a good word, but because so many conflate it with ‘not human’. In some ways it’s like the word ‘niggardly’. There isn’t a problem with the definition or origin of the word itself, but so many people have difficulty with the term it’s probably best to let it fade into obscurity until the possible day when humanity pulls it’s head out of it’s collective ass.

  37. 37
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    Pardon my crudeness, but human beings are capable of some really fucked-up shit. We must never lose sight of that by taking someone’s humanity away.

  38. 38
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    ‘Inhumane’ is lacking kindness and compassion, not behaving in a humane (the word is humane, not human, there is a very important e on the end) manner.

    (This is getting kinda meta, I realise, but I find it interesting.)

    Oddly, “inhuman” and “inhumane” have much the same definition, even though the former looks like it should mean “non-human,” and the common usage supports that definition too. I’ve never seen “inhuman” used to mean anything but unfeeling etc. outside of conversations concerning dehumanising language, when suddenly people start claiming that it means “unhuman.”

    I guess I’m expressing curiosity more than making a point: I just wonder why that is.

  39. 39
    karmacat

    This 5th grader understands this situation better than a lot of adults. In abuse situations, the one being abused is much more emotional. The abuser is calm and collected, because he/she is the one in control of the situation. The abuser is motivated to keep the one who is abused off-balance and defensive

  40. 40
    biogeo

    Pharyngula commenters (and PZ), I am impressed. A lot of communities are happy to accept comments like thinksanddrinks’ as long as they are attacking the “enemy.” I think the elevation of principle over tribalism is rare and praiseworthy.

    Regarding the actual content of the post, I hope this indicative of enough discontent within CFI’s constituent organizations to lead to a change in leadership of the national organization. Does anyone know enough about how CFI is structured to know if this is possible? I know something similar happened with Paul Kurtz, but I don’t really know the details about it.

  41. 41
    Hershele Ostropoler

    Human beings are capable of some fucked-up shit, but human beings are also capable of improvement. I’m glad the CFI board is composed of humans; it means there’s hope they’ll see where they are now wrong.

  42. 42
    Ubi Dubium

    @34

    Please do not repeat yourself. Reflect on what you’ve said, and if you have any sense of decency kindly retract your words, or at the minimum accept the correction and move on.

    Which is exactly the message that needs to get through to Ron Lindsay and the CFI board as well.

  43. 43
    anteprepro

    Pharyngula commenters (and PZ), I am impressed. A lot of communities are happy to accept comments like thinksanddrinks’ as long as they are attacking the “enemy.” I think the elevation of principle over tribalism is rare and praiseworthy.

    Well how else are we going to establish a groupthink echo chamber hivemind that quashes dissent and free speech? I’m sure that us telling thinksanddrinks not to dismiss the humanity of MRAs et. al. is just more word policing from the feminazis. Just more emotional and hyperbolic responses to people who are On Our Side, just more throwing allies under the bus because they don’t agree with us in every respect. “See, if course the atheist feminazis over there wouldn’t accept for us accepting their FTBully dogma, they don’t even accept people who do accept general feminazi dogma if they aren’t Righteous and Pure enough!” Or something. Like I said in another thread, they don’t have any real principles, so they are completely willing and desperate enough to turn anything into a weapon. Willing to spin anything negatively. Willing to be completely myopic and hypocritical if it will score them points in the argument of the week.

  44. 44
    Jacob Schmidt

    biogeo

    Pharyngula commenters (and PZ), I am impressed. A lot of communities are happy to accept comments like thinksanddrinks’ as long as they are attacking the “enemy.” I think the elevation of principle over tribalism is rare and praiseworthy.

    Actually, I think the best way to start a tribe is to have a hard set of principles. The tribes without one tend to fall apart whenever there’s a controversy (the skeptics movement, religious groups, etc.)

    For the record, anyone who claims that misogyny and dehumanization are inhuman acts is more ignorant of history than an 8 year old (even I knew about slavery and settlers murdering natives en mass).

  45. 45
    johnradke

    Daz @38

    “In-” as a prefix can basically mean anything. There’s “inflammable”, where it acts as an intensifier, “injustice” where it negates the root, “indoors” where it means “on the inward side of”, etc.

    So in this case “inhumane” boils down to “the opposite of humane”, whereas “inhuman” is more like “opposed to human(ity)”.

  46. 46
    Jacob Schmidt

    Technically, “able” is the suffix to “inflame”, as in, “That which is inflammable can become inflamed.” This is why flammable and inflammable have the exact same meaning, despite the apparent negative prefix.

  47. 47
    Stacy

    I suppose if one were completely unaware of any of this, yes, elliptical. But that was some pretty blunt writing to my eye.

    PatrickG, this is one of those rare instances when us humanities/lit/word people have an edge on the STEM crowd in the skeptic/atheist world. I know of several smart people, aware of the context, who were unable to parse this.

    (Don’t know whether you’re a humanities person or not, so take my “us” up there to refer to myself and fellow-travelling English Major dweebs.)

  48. 48
    PatrickG

    @ Stacy:

    Engineering dweeb here. But it seems really hard to skip past the title and one of the earliest paragraphs and miss the tone of the writing, even if some of the specific later portions fail to compute.

    In the second paragraph, we learn that the CFI Board has a wish. A wish is a want, or a desire. Some people believe wishes come true under certain circumstances. For instance, some people believe a genie can make a wish come true. Other people believe wishing upon a star makes your wishes come true. I don’t believe in those things, but maybe the Board does.

    That’s not hard to parse (or at least i don’t find it so). That’s just downright insulting (and deliciously so), particularly when speaking of/to a skeptical organization. Sick burn, as I believe the kids say these days. :D

    Anyway, I’m a bit startled to hear that smart people aware of the context have difficulty parsing this statement. I wish to express my sadness at your bringing this to my attention. Or something.

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