Quantcast

«

»

Apr 23 2014

The Deepening Rift

When I visited Iceland a while back, one of the sights I got to see was the dividing line between Europe and North America — one spot on the actual, physical dividing line between the tectonic plates. It was a literal rift.

rift

Another fascinating thing about it is that it’s growing. These plates are slowly drifting apart, and we expect the Atlantic Ocean to grow larger in the coming millions of years. This is not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just what is.

You can see a growing rift right now: just look at the atheist movement. In particular, one really good marker right now is to look at Melody Hensley. Melody has been a vigorous activist for CFI, organizing many meetings in the Washington DC area, and in particular acting as the driving force behind the impressive Women in Secularism meetings. If there are real Brave Heroes in this movement, she’s one of them. I’m on Melody’s side of the rift.

On the other side…well, a mob of shrill nobodies, who don’t seem to do anything for the movement at all, but are really good at non-stop whining and lying. They are entitled shits who get furious if you block them on twitter or ban them from your personal blogs, but mainly seem to be involved in pursuing vicious vendettas against feminism, social justice, or anyone who dares to suggest that atheists ought to be doing more than just chanting that god is dead.

I am not on their side. I’m actually wishing we had a nearby subduction zone so they’d get sucked down into a more appropriate region.

Their latest cause célèbre is to howl in rage because Melody has been diagnosed (by a professional, not some ignoramus on Twitter) with post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, as a consequence of years of harassment and bullying. This is a legitimate diagnosis: years of watching crime dramas on TV may have given you the impression that PTSD only affects soldiers in war zones, but real psychologists and real doctors will tell you otherwise: all kinds of prolonged stressors can produce PTSD symptoms. So if you’re one of the idiots ranting that you can’t get PTSD from bullying/stalking/harassment, you’re on the other side of the rift from me, and you’re also factually wrong. Which is amazing, considering that atheists should be putting a very high premium on following the evidence.

Then the other response is that if Melody can get PTSD from ‘mere’ online bullying, then she is demeaning the experience of soldiers who get PTSD from bombs going off near them— you know, ‘legitimate’ PTSD. This is absurd. They’re trying to rank degrees of trauma? That doesn’t discredit the fact that they’re all trauma. Someone saying they’ve got PTSD from source X is not an attack on someone getting PTSD from source Y. It’s painful to watch: it’s as if someone said they had prostate cancer, and instead of sympathy and help, they got accused of belittling breast cancer patients, because that’s a real cancer…and then someone starts tearing into those people because saying that breast cancer is a serious disease is equivalent to shitting all over pancreatic cancer patients. No, it’s not. They’re all bad. It’s a group of outsiders trying to establish a hierarchy of suffering solely so they can disparage one group. It’s dishonest and despicable.

I’m on the side of the people citing the scientific and medical evidence. I’m not on the side of people abusing the facts to further bully others.

And now, of course, their real agenda is becoming apparent: the Melody-haters who also reject the medical facts are finding common cause with misogynists and the usual incoherent ranters of the inappropriately named Men’s Rights Movement are are upset that mere rape and death threats against a woman might be wrong. It’s clear that the reason for all the bullying isn’t that Melody is weak, or lying, or oppressing people, because she isn’t — it’s because she’s a prominent, strong activist fighting for better representation of women in atheism and skepticism. That is her crime. And so those people on the other side of the rift will hound her to oppress and silence her.

Here I stand, on my side. Not only will I take pride in my choice, but if you try to tell me that I somehow have to heal this rift, I’ll ask you…”WHY?”

87 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Legitimate PTSD is like legitimate rape…….

    It’s telling how similar the memes are.

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    she is demeaning the experience of soldiers who get PTSD from bombs going off near them— you know, ‘legitimate’ PTSD.

    Funny how much that sounds like “legitimate rape”

  3. 3
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I like this side. Far fewer shit-flinging howler monkeys.

  4. 4
    cubist

    As best I can tell, any method of healing this particular rift which even might have a chance of succeeding, must necessarily involve getting the bigoted asswipes to stop being bigoted asswipes. And that is why the rift should be healed.

    Now all we need to do is figure out how to get bigoted asswipes to stop being bigoted asswipes. Should be a piece of cake, right?

  5. 5
    cejones

    I don’t understand why the ‘men’s right movement’ even exists. Their pathetic world view makes it hard to not be embarrassed to be a man. Do the individuals show any sign of growing up as they age, or are they permanently consigned to some sort of angry adolescent stage of baseless resentments?

  6. 6
    peptron

    It sounds like the procrastinator’s motto: “Why work on problem X, while Y is a worse problem?”.

    While about Y, they would answer : “Why work on Y, while Z is a worse problem?”. While about Z, they would answer : “Why work on Z, while A is a worse problem?”. While about A, they would answer : “Why work on A, while B is a worse problem?”. While about B, they would answer : “Why work on B, while C is a worse problem?”. => For the rest, go at CTRL+C CTRL+V.

  7. 7
    raven

    On the other side…well, a mob of shrill nobodies, who don’t seem to do anything for the movement at all, but are really good at non-stop whining and lying.

    1. Couldn’t we convince them to join a fundie xian cult? They would be far more useful to atheists if they did. And fit in much better.

    They don’t add anything. They subtract a lot though.

    2. I’m wondering how many of them there are. The internet is a powerful kook amplifier. A few guys spending 24/7 in mom’s basement babbling away can look like a lot.

    This is one case where we really need some hard social survey data. No point in wondering when you can collect data,…and then know.

  8. 8
    doublereed

    I thought the whole point of calling it “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” was to make it more broad than “shell shock”, “soldier’s heart”, and “battle fatigue” because we recognized that the same symptoms were found in other people.

  9. 9
    A Masked Avenger

    if you try to tell me that I somehow have to heal this rift, I’ll ask you…”WHY?”

    Depends a lot on the definition of “try to heal this rift.” The approach of purging the unworthy from our list of “people fit for society” tends to produce ineffective minorities–look at almost any denomination, fractionated into dozens of sub-denominations, each viewing the other as unfit company. In a democracy, it’s kind of important to manufacture a majority, even though any majority will be full of less savory individuals.

    None of which implies that anyone should be creating a welcoming environment for harassers. If “heal the rift” means “make misogynists feel comfortable,” then fuck that noise.

  10. 10
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Now all we need to do is figure out how to get bigoted asswipes to stop being bigoted asswipes. Should be a piece of cake, right?

    This is not a criticism of you, please note. But I think what we actually need to do with bullies is:

    1. Marginalize them. Collectively. Give them no air, no place to speak on our blogs, etc.

    2. Shun them loudly and publicly. Don’t engage. Express shock and outrage at their evil behavior and do it so other people can see it.

    3. Pressure other bloggers/influential people to get up off the pot and kick the scumbags out. No more “let’s find some common ground.”

  11. 11
    Inaji

    As someone who has PTSD, you have all my empathy and sympathy, Melody. My support, too.

  12. 12
    kellym

    It’s *not* just a “a mob of shrill nobodies” who support the abuse against Melody. Barbara Drescher is Educational Programs Consultant at the JREF and in a Skeptic Ink post about the issue accused Melody of being someone who “perceive any and all criticism as bullying,” and as someone who was guilty of bullying herself. Dave Silverman follows Phil Mason, and not Rebecca Watson, on Twitter. Many fairly influential “leaders” don’t want to alienate, and sometimes agree with, the pro-harassment club.

  13. 13
    ludicrous

    cejones @5

    ” are they permanently consigned to some sort of angry adolescent stage of baseless resentments?”

    Please don’t shit on adolescents. They don’t deserve it and it makes you a jerk.

  14. 14
    Marcus Ranum

    If you go along the rift to Thingvellir, the ancient icelanders used to use the shelf of rock as a natural amplifier (I guess they transacted politics by yelling, even before republicans were invented) It’s an amazingly beautiful place and if you can visit, I recommend it. There are spots where the “crack” is filled with water of such amazing clarity that if you look down, it appears to be about 4 feet deep. But it’s more like 30 feet, and the water is so cold I can feel my scrotum shrivelling at the memory, 5 years later.

    Deep rifts aren’t so bad! They’re useful for dividing continents and are necessary to any ethical system.

  15. 15
    Dunc

    @5: It’s very hard to get reliable demographics, but what data we do have (limited and biased as it is) indicates that they’re mostly in the 18-25 age group. Stephanie has a post on it: But How Do You Know the MRAs Are Atheists? .

  16. 16
    Marcus Ranum

    Avicenna Last wrote about PTSD the other day; apparently when some of the assholes heard that he had explosion-related PTSD one of them sent him to a youtube link of balloons being popped.

    My mind is still boggling.

  17. 17
    monad

    @6 peptron:
    Plus the punchline: you get to undeniable problem E and then say “ok, but how do you expect ME to do anything about something like THAT?”

  18. 18
    twas brillig (stevem)

    ” are they permanently consigned to some sort of angry adolescent stage of baseless resentments?”

    Please don’t shit on adolescents. They don’t deserve it and it makes you a jerk.

    Please don’t attack him for being slightly sloppy. He is not saying adolescents all have this F.U. attitude, like you are objecting to. He is just identifying the attitude as present ONLY in some adolescents; or saying the attitude, itself, is “adolescent”; as in an attitude that has not matured into adulthood.
    .
    Are the MRA’s *real* Atheists? Or are they the faux-atheists the Xians accuse Real-Atheists of being? You know, the faux-Atheist who simply rejects Gawd because he doesn’t like Him [denial ain't just a river]; as opposed to the Real-Atheists who simply ask for evidence that Gawd is real? Just because they SAY they are atheists doesn’t mean they ARE; show us some evidence. The “rift” is non-existent: uhhm, it’s just the rift between atheists and non-atheists. THAT rift definitely exists, and keeps growing all the time. The MRA’s are just theists trying to infiltrate Atheism by claiming to be of similar mind, when they really want to destroy atheism and make it their OWN.

  19. 19
    Pierce R. Butler

    … we expect the Atlantic Ocean to grow larger in the coming millions tens of years.

    FTFY. The other oceans, too.

  20. 20
    twas brillig (stevem)

    after reading “But How Do You Know the MRAs Are Atheists? I’m left with my previous question [modified]: is “No religion” the same as “Atheist”? I still assert that their declaration, “God doesn’t exist!” is a simplistic view of Atheism; more “faux” than “real”.

  21. 21
    AstroKid Nj
  22. 22
    doublereed

    @21

    Your critique of PZ is that there are assholes other MRAs? Seriously?

    That may be the dumbest thing I’m going to read today, but who knows what your next post will bring.

  23. 23
    kestra

    I look at Melody Hensley’s twitter stream and I just see Orwell’s FIVE MINUTES HATE over and over and over. At this point, the people hating on her aren’t even doing it because they are part of the atheist/skeptic movement and dislike her for whatever reason, they’re doing it because the heard from a tweet of a tweet of a tweet that Melody was “reporting on veterans” and “lying about having PTSD from twitter.” Someone (or some combination of ones) wanted to crush her with the Hate of the Internet, and invoking Veterans is a pretty good way to do it.

    I’ve seen it often, just like a pecking party (I’m rocking the High School Summer Reading List Book References today!). Someone, usually NOT actually a vet, hears some garbled story online about someone who is “disrespecting veterans” by not saluting the flag or preventing prayers from being said in cadet schools or some other bassackwards claim only very distantly related actual events, and it is off to the races for the Wingnut Army. From what I’ve seen, someone ran this game on Melody, knowing full well what it would bring crashing down on her, and that person or persons then sat back as the internet brushfire spun into an ever-widening conflagration of outrage. Even now, I’m sure some military enthusiasts somewhere are hearing about this fourth- or fifth-hand and revving up their Outrage Machine.

  24. 24
    AstroKid Nj
  25. 25
    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    And lo and behold, AstroKid Nj manages to go even dumber, as predicted by Doublereed in 22. Well done mate.

    So why can’t any of the “Not all MRAs are misogynist assholes” crowd ever meet the We Hunted the Mammoth (Formerly Manboobz) challenge, then?

  26. 26
    swampfoot

    #24:

    When you’re older, I hope you’ll enjoy being on the wrong side of facts, history, and decency.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Remember, there is always LEGITIMATE CRITICISMS to be found in a barrage of verbal abuses. That is why the amount and the vileness of the abuses do not matter. The receiver of the barrage must dedicate their time to find these precious nuggets so that might learn and grow as humans.

    And hopefully SHUT THE FUCK UP!

  28. 28
    AstroKid Nj
  29. 29
    Kevin Kehres

    @28.

    That you consider thunderfoot and Radford “widely respected” critics demonstrates your total cluelessness. Hell, I don’t even know who the other two are — but I can’t be bothered to find out.

    Just another privileged white boy who gets his jollies negging the girls, I suspect.

  30. 30
    kestra

    Christina Hoff Sommers is widely respected? Oh, that’s… that’s rich.

  31. 31
    doublereed

    @28

    Did you just claim that Thunderf00t is “widely respected”? And… PZ is not, then?

    I mean, I definitely expected you to go dumber. That much was obvious. But that is hilarious.

    I have no idea what “legitimate” criticisms of Melody you’re talking about. Everything I saw on there was just normal denialism or insults. “You couldn’t possibly have it” blah blah blah. Petty and nasty.

    And you’re responding pretty quickly, so now I have to make further predictions. Getting banned between #150-250 of this page. Not really sure why FtB has such a lax banning policy, but there you go.

  32. 32
    Jackie

    astrokid,
    MRAs are misogynists. It is not a social justice movement any more than the KKK are a social justice movement. You’re lies are pathetic. Don’t be so stupid as to defend those scumbuckets here and expect anything but pointing and laughter.

    *points*
    *laughs*

  33. 33
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Also funny that the MRA is holding up Uberfeminist as a rational and unbiased source.

  34. 34
    Jackie

    Oh, and astrokid, don’t use ablist slurs when you are lying about feminists. It helps us fill our Bingo cards faster, but it isn’t allowed.

  35. 35
    David Marjanović

    The other oceans, too.

    Nope. The Earth isn’t growing; the Pacific is shrinking.

  36. 36
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    For the people who do not know, astrokid is both a member of the pit and of AVfM.

  37. 37
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    My point is that PZ is desperate to smear ANYTHING on the MHRM.

    Correction: The MRAs wallow in their own feces and howl outrage at anyone who says they smell bad.

  38. 38
    thetalkingstove

    Did you know that uberfeminist recently did some factchecking, and independently reached the conclusion he’s a fraud?

    Wow, a link to a the kind of obsessive anti-feminist blog that we’re talking about when we say MRAs are assholes. Great evidence, dude!

    What’s next, some Thunderfoot videos?

  39. 39
    zenlike

    Meh, don’t bother with Astrokid.NJ, one of the more well known and vile MRA/WGtoW/Slymepitters out there. He will shortly be banned for being a slymepitter. Maybe not all MRA’s are misogynists (I doubt that’s the case, but just to humor him), but he certainly is one.

  40. 40
    AstroKid Nj
  41. 41
    rq

    David @35

    Nope. The Earth isn’t growing; the Pacific is shrinking.

    Ah, but water levels are rising.

  42. 42
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    My apologizes for not caring enough about your exploits to keep up with where you post, astrokid. When I first ran into you, you were part of the pit.

  43. 43
    Kevin Kehres

    @39: Point taken. Sometimes I wish for more-interesting trolls to keep my eye teeth nice and sniny.

    But I think it’s hilarious that it considers t-foot “widely respected”. That’s a hoot. I suspect a Cheet-O overdose.

  44. 44
    Charly

    Hmm. I have ocasionally tenditis in both carpals from working on PC. But people working with some heavy machinery (air-pressure hammers etc.) can get that too. So, analogous to the F00t in the mouth logic of MRAs, I actually do NOT have tenditis, because I do not work with heavy machinery?

    You can break your bone by dropping weight on it. You can also get just as painful and debilitating results from too long work (fatigue fractures). But those also do not exist, according to above mentioned logic.

    WTF?

    What is so difficult to understand about the fact, that from health point of view different things can lead to the same result? And there were times when I thought that atheists really do value evidence and reasoning.

  45. 45
    AstroKid Nj
  46. 46
    kestra

    No one cares about your Internet Club Affiliations dood.

  47. 47
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The fact remains that you were part of the pit when I first ran across you, astrokid. And you were one of the first persons I blocked when I started using Twitter.

    And I will now drop this because, as I said before, I care nothing for your exploits. Nor do I think you have any LEGITIMATE CRITICISM to offer.

    I have done enough to derail this thread.

  48. 48
    Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    Pretty sure you missed the point of this post, astro. We are happy with the rift. Did you think you would accomplish anything here other than confirming our disdain for you?

    Tldr: fuck off

  49. 49
    Jackie

    Take it to the ‘dome, astrokid. This thread isn’t about you or debating whether or not MRAs are pathetic, whiny, bigots.

  50. 50
    PZ Myers

    Astrokid is one of the more repulsive slymers — he’s openly misogynist, and a notorious harasser on twitter. Nope, he’s not permitted to post here.

  51. 51
    ThorGoLucky

    Sympathies to all PTSD sufferers. I’ve had only short bouts of non-war-related PTSD and it’s truly double-plus unfun.

  52. 52
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Here is an example of Uberfeminist’s logical picking apart of “racist WoC” argument. Right now, he is obsessed with Suey Park and a young out spoken woman of Indian descent. This young woman recently had a Twitter rant about young white women at Coachella appropriating Indian dress.

    Uberfeminist, that stall-worth battler of racist injustice, wrote one of several blog posts about her, attacking her racist and feminism fueled hatred. At one point, he compared white women wearing Indian designs to a woman putting on a French made dress.

    Let that sink in for a minute. The French have been actively selling their culture worldwide for centuries. Meanwhile, in recent decades, wannabe hipsters have been appropriating Indian dress in order to appear exotic. And somehow, in the mind of Uberfeminist, this is the same thing.

    This is the person that astrokid is holding in high regard.

  53. 53
    MrFancyPants

    Seems like this thread would be a good place to mention again the Melody Hensley has a fund set up for PTSD research that could use some more donations.

  54. 54
    Chaos Engineer

    All I had to do was sit back and catalog how wimminz themselves (seemingly associated with military) are critiquing Melody

    I like the word “seemingly” here.

    It demonstrates just how far the M”HR”A movement has fallen: It’s forced to start from the assumption that women lie about everything, even in situations where it benefits the M”HR”A position to assume that they’re telling the truth.

    So they can’t say that the critiques came from “women associated with the military” or “military personnel (seemingly women)” or even “Internet posters (seemingly women in the military)”. They’re forced to use the phrasing up above.

    For now, I mean. In another six months it’ll probably be forbidden for them to repeat anything that a woman has said.

  55. 55
    Raging Bee

    …some of my fav people left (David Byron…

    DavidByron is nothing but a hatemongering bigoted shit-stirring liar, and has been since 2002. Calling him a friend instantly flushes what little credibility you have down the toilet. Did he ever back up his repeated claim that “the extermination of all men is a core feminist value”? Didn’t think so.

  56. 56
    atheist

    Here I stand, on my side. Not only will I take pride in my choice, but if you try to tell me that I somehow have to heal this rift, I’ll ask you…”WHY?”

    Not only do we not have to “heal this rift”, we are incapable of doing so. We can’t force immoral people to grow a conscience, and we can’t prevent bigots from feeling bigoted. Only thing we can do about the MRAs/Slymepitters is help the rest of society to understand they are dangerous.

  57. 57
    Great American Satan

    Not nearly enough attention is being paid to kellyM @12. I can understand a lot of people here wouldn’t have anything to say to that or it would be too much of a bummer to engage, but I want to know more about the subject.

    kellym, is that true? What other atheist/skeptic leaders are either slyme hugging or fence riding? I think at this point it’s a safe assumption the entire JREF is in bed with slyme, TAM is a lost cause for anyone looking for a safe place to posse with other skeptics, etc. How bad is it in the rest of the atheoskeptiverse?

  58. 58
    AlexanderZ

    Great American Satan #57:
    Don’t forget Dawkins and his “Dear Muslima” defense and the fact that he’s refusing to appear in any gathering that has Rebecca Watson.

  59. 59
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    What other atheist/skeptic leaders are either slyme hugging or fence riding?

    David Silverman is the king fence rider. And he won’t listen to anyone questioning him about it either. He’ll just scream about “allies” and “disagreement,” except when the disagreement is with him, in which case he’ll personally attack everyone disagreeing with him.

  60. 60
    Seize

    Avicenna Last wrote about PTSD the other day; apparently when some of the assholes heard that he had explosion-related PTSD one of them sent him to a youtube link of balloons being popped.

    (Marcus @ 16) *jaw drop*

    That is a neat, capsular demonstration of how an online behavior could lead to a demonstrable bad mental health outcome for the person who it is directed at.

    What kind of coward tries to use the illness of an opponent to get the upper hand in a dispute?

    I too side with Melody. Hang tight sis.

  61. 61
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Thanks #53, MrFancyPants, I did not know about that, and will donate post-haste.

    I like this side of the rift. The people here don’t suck.

  62. 62
    Hj Hornbeck

    MrFancyPants @53:

    Seems like this thread would be a good place to mention again the Melody Hensley has a fund set up for PTSD research that could use some more donations.

    Seems like more than enough excuse for me to donate. Stay strong, Hensley!

  63. 63
    Hank_Says

    Melody says “I have PTSD from being harassed”; she receives more harassment.

    Avicenna says “I have PTSD from being near explosions”; someone links him to a video of bursting balloons.

    Many people on the Manly Rage Advocate side of the rift, upon receiving certain knowledge, obviously have absolutely no trouble with encouraging and personally engaging in behaviour that will, with high probability, be triggering. They do so knowingly, without remorse and even with pride, yet they simultaneously want us all to know how super-reasonable and logical they and their positions are. Obviously, it’s difficult to see the logic and reason in a position when it’s subsumed by torrents of gleeful abuse and unapologetic hatred. Not only does it put the lie to claims of reasonableness and logicity, it’s an overly emotional way to present an argument (a criticism the Moonbat Rapologist Army frequently makes of its approved targets, the barely-concealed point being that emotional arguments are BAD and to be dismissed – except, apparently, if you’re bellowing them at a feminist).

    The DSM probably has a number of terms that describe behaviour engaged in without empathy or with full knowledge that it will cause pain.

    I choose to call such people “fucking arseholes” and would no more want to heal any rifts between us than I would want to chum up and fellowship with the Westboro Church, the current Kim or a pack of fucking orcs.

  64. 64
    freemage

    Not only does the Rift not need to be healed; it needs to be expanded, the base lined with land-mines, and the ridge on our side settled with anti-aircraft weaponry–and then we need to put up a big ol’ privacy fence behind the big guns so we don’t have to look at these disgusting shits any more.

  65. 65
    kellym

    Great American Satan #57:
    Yes, it’s true! The JREF has, over time, come down almost entirely on the side of the harassers. Silverman, leans strongly towards remaining friendly with and promoting the work of several harassers. And as alexanderz mentioned, Silverman supports Dawkins’ blacklisting of Rebecca Watson. I’d consider the military atheists of Rock Beyond Belief to be full-on harassment supporters. One of their leaders has called the ‘pit “harmless and funny.” Another leader of the same group threatened to Twitter-harass a feminist with whom he disagreed, then recently on his Patheos blog, linked to the tfoot video promoting the harassment of Melody Hensley. CFI’s Ron Lindsay broke his civility pledge last year to launch an attack on Watson, after she directed some mild and pretty-much-accurate criticism toward a speech he gave. Harassers and misogynists are tough enough to deal with, but support of atheist/skeptic leadership has made me leave or stop my support of several groups.

  66. 66
    Marcus Ranum

    The JREF has, over time, come down almost entirely on the side of the harassers

    I am one subscriber they have lost, and would cheerfully contribute to lawyers going after them, if it comes to that. Rawrr!!!

  67. 67
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Harassers and misogynists are tough enough to deal with, but support of atheist/skeptic leadership has made me leave or stop my support of several groups.

    Yep, while I haven’t supported certain elements for a while, their leadership makes it certain I will never contribute again. Until said leadership repudiates the MRA atheist/skeptics as immature fuckwitted idjits.

  68. 68
    F.O.

    PZ, why are you so attached to the “atheist” word?
    I know plenty of atheists who are vastly gullible or lack empathy.
    There are several reasons for someone to reject religion that have nothing to do with evidence or compassion.
    One coherently can disbelieve in gods and still be an asshole.

    Why continue to use a word that is misunderstood by the religious and legitimately claimed by a lot of people you don’t want to be associated with?

    You always say that you want to go beyond “atheism”, so why not drop the word altogether?
    Why not just call yourself a “humanist” or whatever?
    At least the main humanist manifestos include, besides metaphysical naturalism and evidence, also social justice and empathy, it would make it much easier to call out any asshole trying to get the label.

  69. 69
    Al Dente

    FO @68

    Why not just call yourself a “humanist” or whatever?

    Because while many atheists are humanists, not all humanists are atheists.

  70. 70
    Jerry

    Swampfoot in comment #26 is right. Pointing out unacceptable behavior, and even ostracizing it, over time can have good results. Lynching, wife-beating, and child abuse all used to be acceptable behavior in “good society”. Other people pointing out how that hurt individuals and society has led to changes in the accepted norms, with many people changing their minds, and the remaining holdouts no longer being considered quite so “good” any more. In most parts of the country, it doesn’t even require a federal case to convict most of these crimes. (Yeah, we still have a way to go.) I expect misogynists and MRAs will land on that dungheap, maybe even in my remaining lifetime.

  71. 71
    Georgia Sam

    This thread exemplifies why I don’t engage in debates with mean & stupid people, & why I question whether doing so is worthwhile. For one thing, I don’t have the temperament for it. Bad behavior makes me angry, & interpersonal conflict makes me anxious. Those emotions interfere with my ability to sleep and to concentrate on things I need to do, which wears me down physically & reduces my quality of life. I can easily believe that I might develop a kind of PTSD if that was happening every day for months or years. Moreover, there is not enough time in the world to respond to the intense barrage of shit that the assholes continuously throw at people they dislike. Even if I could survive without sleep or food & type 100 words per minute, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, I would always be falling farther & farther behind. Bottom line: As tempting as it may be to jump into the verbal battle against ignorance & mendacity, it just isn’t worth it to me.

  72. 72
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    FO, #68:

    Do you claim a gender? Is it one a lot of people wouldn’t want to be associated with because of negative connotations? Is it a gender that is frequently misunderstood and/or comes with baggage of stereotypes and assumptions?

    Why do you continue to claim that gender? The gender skeptical have a duty not to use any language that is already meaningful to the non-gender skeptical in a world where the non-gender skeptical are as frustratingly misinformed as they are in this one.

    Stop claiming a gender, FO. Stop it now.

  73. 73
    Monsanto

    I think the view of the MRA is that legitimate PTSD can only come from legitimate rape. They have a profound understanding of such things.

  74. 74
    Brian Radovich

    As a disabled veteran with PTSD, I stand with Melody Hensley. I almost feel obligated to, because as long as Melody Hensley feels comfortable sharing her PTSD diagnosis and adding to the conversation, that also means that I get to be just the smallest amount more comfortable about admitting that I have PTSD. I know that puts me on a particular side of the rift, but I like this side. I feel it lacks the harsh theist moral ethos the other side seems so unwilling to give up.

    That said, some of you may want to skip reading my disclaimer because I am probably going to take a steaming dump on any good impression of me that first sentence gave you.

    By using “veteran”, I mean that I meet the exact qualifications for veterans status set up by my state. I served 180 days of consecutive active duty within one year, was honorably or generally discharged, and thus qualify for veterans preference on all of my applications for employment. Under this definition, the fact that I served all of that time during peace time, and never saw combat doesn’t matter. The other “real veterans” at my law school peer pressured me into joining the student vet’s club, because they thought I belonged in there, too.

    By “disabled”, I mean that my state’s office of vocational rehabilitation has qualified me for services and decided I merit that status. PTSD, (and crippling depression/anxiety) qualifies me as disabled. Not permanently so, but enough that they give me counseling and help me to find work.

    I’m also screwing up the PTSD myth because I got mine from two car accidents during law school. I’d be minding my own business in Torts class, someone outside would honk their car horn and I’d immediately take cover under the table, because I would swear there was a white Chevy Astro van headed straight for me. Having your car turned into a one seater will do that to a person, I guess.

    My point is this: there’s a particular morality that gets bought into with the Protestant Work Ethic, (see “predestination” if you want to feel bad about working in a lower income occupation). As part of that morality, we see certain work as more valuable than other. Being more successful makes you a more moral person. Same thing with injuries. Certain injuries are better than others. If you’re Tom Cruise in Born on the 4th of July, you’re treated a bit differently as a disabled veteran than if you’ve just got depression, for instance. The actual process of treatment is actually similar: they treat the immediate injury, ensure you can cope with that injury, then release you and do follow up checkups as needed. But the different outcomes mean that anyone meeting Tom Cruise’s character doesn’t immediately pick up their child and cross the street when they find out what’s wrong with him. PTSD is still very much a bad kind of disability, its only if you got it doing something heroic enough that you become tolerable.

    That, I think, is the rift. The MRAs and others on that side still buy into the predestination morality. They may claim atheism in all else, just not that. I’m assuming that we are on the other side. Based on that morality, I’m the bad kind of veteran, and I make that much worse for myself by having the gall to use the bad way to get the bad kind of disability. You see, as long as people like Melody feel comfortable enough to actually speak at the table, I get to feel comfortable enough taking a seat at that table. I’ll NEVER feel comfortable in that seat, but at least I get to be there. On this side of the rift, I get to be a person, not a problem.

  75. 75
    rq

    Brian
    Nope, my good impression of you was not ruined.
    I’m glad to be on this side of the rift, with you and all the other excellent commenters expressing so above.

  76. 76
    Maureen Brian

    Thank you for writing that, Brian Radovich. It’s useful, rational, elegantly expressed. You certainly belong on this side of the rift. I’m glad to see you here.

  77. 77
    hillaryrettig

    Patriarchy is so insecure it even needs to take ownership of the “cool” diseases.

  78. 78
    Kevin Alexander

    The way I see it the divide is between atheists who have rejected god for lack of evidence and those who have rejected god because they are infantile solipsists who can’t stand the idea of anyone or anything more important than they are.

  79. 79
    Hekuni Cat, MQG

    Brian – Thank you for speaking up. I’m very happy you’re on our side.

  80. 80
    Jackie

    Brian,
    Thanks for sharing your support and your experiences. My good opinion remains intact.

  81. 81
    David Marjanović

    Not really sure why FtB has such a lax banning policy

    It doesn’t have a single banning policy – each blog has its own. On Pharyngula, only PZ can ban people, so nothing happens while he’s asleep and/or busy.

    Patriarchy is so insecure it even needs to take ownership of the “cool” diseases.

    Exactly.

  82. 82
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Brian:

    Thank you.

    I am a disable vet (I blew my knee out in training). I have ‘PTSD-like symptoms’ from being down in New York City after September 11. The only car accidents I have been in have been minor but I sort of understand.

  83. 83
    Inaji

    Brian @ 74:

    PTSD is still very much a bad kind of disability, its only if you got it doing something heroic enough that you become tolerable.

    QFT. PTSD is one of those things I tend not to talk about, because if it’s mentioned, people expect an explanation. In detail. It wasn’t long ago I had to find a nice way to say “none of your business” to a doctor at a pain clinic, who really didn’t need the gory details.

  84. 84
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    One of the doctors I have discussed my PTSD-like symptoms declared that I could not possibly have PTSD as I had never served in a combat zone. He is a psychiatrist.

  85. 85
    Inaji

    Ogvorbis:

    One of the doctors I have discussed my PTSD-like symptoms declared that I could not possibly have PTSD as I had never served in a combat zone. He is a psychiatrist.

    Jesus Christ, ignorance abounds. I’m sorry, Ogvorbis.

  86. 86
    Crimson Clupeidae

    PTSD is akin to metal fatigue (in my engineering specialty). You can break metal with one big load that it can’t handle. You can also make it fail with lots of little loads that individually, are well within the capability of the material to cope with.

    Either way, the break is just as bad. I doubt the MRAssholes would get it, though.

  87. 87
    Ing

    @Crimson

    I’m sure this has been said but it probably bares repeating

    They get it, they don’t care.

    It’s the same with the “awkward guys” and that bullshit. They know exactly what they’re doing this is just a fig leaf. An excuse to let people avoid believing an uncomfortable truth.

Comments have been disabled.