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What happened to This Week in Christian Nationalism?

Many people have asked what happened to Chris Rodda’s blog. I wondered that, too — it disappeared very abruptly, without warning and without notification to all the other bloggers here. There was nothing nefarious about it, though: she voluntarily asked Ed Brayton to pull it, Ed was traveling so he couldn’t inform all of us, and just had time to ask our tech master to do the deed. Rodda explains on Facebook.

So, I have now officially left FTB. By my request, my blog there has been completely scrubbed. This was actually a long time coming, but today was the last straw. Although there are some friends and other bloggers there who I really like, that site was just not where I belonged. I thought that my being a secularism and religious freedom activist would be enough, but the honest truth is that some atheists are as bad as the fundamentalist Christians that we fight, and after the comments I was seeing on my post there today — the same post that has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response on both HuffPo and Daily Kos, and also from MRFF supporters and even a few unlikely sources — I knew that it was time for me to leave FTB. So, that’s that, my blog there is now gone.

Apparently, what crystalized her decision was that several of us criticized a recent post, the one that she cites on Huffington Post, in which she was very irate that Mikey Weinstein, who is Jewish, was called an atheist on Fox News. She was right to be annoyed, and made a good case for the nuisance of constant misrepresentation of Weinstein and the MRFF by right wingers, but I think she made the argument that calling someone an atheist was defamation. I said so; I mentioned that I often get the flip side of that, being ‘accused’ of being a Jew when I’m not, and that we’d be rightfully appalled if I acted insulted and thought I was being defamed by being called Jewish.

Despite the fact that I’ve long appreciated her work and think she was an asset to the network, this criticism was apparently the final straw for her, and she left. Maybe that’s for the best, given that she seems to think “atheist” is a legally actionable slander, and also that she thinks the praise of the HuffPo readership is actually worth something.

Comments

  1. Alverant says

    I liked the Sunday Funnies posts until she stopped them. I’m not sure why though. I read that post about Weinstein being called an Atheist. I’m not sure if I’d call it a defamation, but in light of how Atheists are perceived in this country and the intent Fox News had in calling him an Atheist then I would say it was meant to be a defamation.

    I wasn’t a regular reader or commentor on her blog so I’m not sure what exactly drove her away. But I will say that maybe we as a group here on FTB shouldn’t be so harsh in our criticisms of each other and be nicer to each other even if we disagree.

  2. says

    Al
    “I liked the Sunday Funnies posts until she stopped them.”

    Yup! I thought she was being a bit too sensitive when she stopped the funnies just because someone objected to (IIRR) one of them…

  3. says

    No. There were no harsh criticisms of her post — don’t play that game. I think there’s altogether too much objection to criticism in the atheist/skeptic community. You’d think people would know that our willingness to criticize our own should be regarded as a virtue and a strength.

  4. Kevin Kehres says

    Too bad. I support the troops and her and Mikey’s work.

    I understand why she is sensitive to being “branded” atheist by Faux News — it’s a diminishing/othering tactic by their enemies. But I think she has to recognize that being irate over being called “atheist” doesn’t necessarily sit well with people who are “actual” atheists.

    Being diminished/othered by being called a “Jew” didn’t bother PZ. If his reaction had been “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A JEW,” it would have been the equivalent response to hers. He had the opposite response; that speaks volumes.

    Becoming irate at being “othered” is a sign that the tactic worked and will continue to work. If only to change the focus away from the issue of the overabundance of Christian Dominionists among high-ranking military officers. I hope she comes to realize that and changes her attitude and response; but not her insistence that their organization be rightly classified as being secular and not atheistic.

  5. nich says

    She does good work, but I also recall she got super defensive when some commenters didn’t take kindly to some of the comics she posted occasionally on weekends. Some of them were fat-shamey from what I recall. She got called out on it by a handful of commenters, so she fired off an angry post about people not having a sense of humor and dumped the feature entirely.

    And of course Douche Beyond Belief basically pulls the Donald Sterling defense and says the MRFF did nothing wrong because Weinstein LIKES atheists, but he just can’t be seen associating with them because OTHER people don’t like them and it’s injurious to her reputation. We can be friends, we can’t just go to his basketball games because WHAT WOULD THE NEIGHBORS THINK!?!?

  6. says

    Nich @ 5:

    And of course Douche Beyond Belief basically pulls the Donald Sterling defense

    Oh FFS. Pathetic.

  7. Alverant says

    #3 I didn’t say there were harsh criticisms of her post. I said there were harsh criticisms of posts here on FTP as a whole. There’s also a big difference between criticizing our own and just being mean and I see a lot of instances of meanness when it isn’t called for.

  8. blf says

    I also recall she got super defensive when some commenters didn’t take kindly to some of the comics she posted occasionally on weekends. Some of them were fat-shamey from what I recall. She got called out on it by a handful of commenters, so she fired off an angry post about people not having a sense of humor and dumped the feature entirely.

    Yes, that matches my memory with one caveat — I don’t specifically recall the precise nature of the one comic in the last funnies post that did attract a lot of ire (possibly including a complaint by me, I know I at least considered posting one) — but her reaction absolutely floored me: Accusing people of having no sense of humor ? Seriously?

    I missed the latest kerfuffle so am still rather puzzled as to the “reasoning” behind her reported request. It’s sad to see her go, it was one of the better blogs here at FtB.

    (And now there seems to be some rain dripping on my head. I fink I need to go close some skylights before the 2nd floor floods…)

  9. nich says

    It’s injurious to her reputation

    HIS reputation. And more accurately it was the MRFF’s defense. The blog in question simply bought into it. It’s total bullshit. And yes, I recognize that on the whole Donald Sterling is genuinely a douche whereas Mikey and the MRFF simply pulled a douche move. They definitely do good work, as does Chris. I just wish they would see what the issue was and have crafted a more carefully worded statement that isn’t basically ammo against atheists: “You’re so disliked, Mikey Weinstein of all people doesn’t want to be associated with you!” There were way better ways of handling this than turning atheist into a slur.

  10. cswella says

    Yes, that matches my memory with one caveat — I don’t specifically recall the precise nature of the one comic in the last funnies post that did attract a lot of ire (possibly including a complaint by me, I know I at least considered posting one) — but her reaction absolutely floored me: Accusing people of having no sense of humor ? Seriously?

    It was a Helen Keller joke aimed at deaf and blind people.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    I hope FtB will find a(nother) new voice from the proverbial foxhole before long.

    This makes at least the third military-related blog to have bivouacked here and then decamped in three years.

    Best wishes to Chris Rodda and MRFF, wherever they go!

  12. says

    Alverant:

    I said there were harsh criticisms of posts here on FTP as a whole.

    What’s FTP?

    There’s also a big difference between criticizing our own and just being mean and I see a lot of instances of meanness when it isn’t called for.

    That’s a subjective call, don’t ya think? Gratuitous meanness isn’t a good thing, however, when a person blogs their ideas and thoughts, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’ll be criticized now and again. People certainly feel free to criticize PZ, and I don’t see him taking his blog and flouncing off the playground.

  13. karmacat says

    It is concerning that she had to hide her association with FTB. The problem was with the people who are unable to avoid generalizations and unable to see her as an individual. The problem is not with FTB.

  14. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Alverant,

    But I will say that maybe we as a group here on FTB shouldn’t be so harsh in our criticisms of each other and be nicer to each other even if we disagree.

    There’s also a big difference between criticizing our own and just being mean and I see a lot of instances of meanness when it isn’t called for.

    Or we could hold “our own” to the same standards we expect of everyone else. I agree with PZ at #3, there is definitely too much balking at being criticized in the community.

  15. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    but the honest truth is that some atheists are as bad as the fundamentalist Christians that we fight

    Is it wrong of me to wish, whenever I hear this shit-stupid conceit, that it was true and the shit-stupid purveyor of it were to be cornered by a few?

  16. nich says

    @15: No. What’s childish is to tell a bunch of people that you’re leaving FTB because it’s blocked on bases then run off to Patheos and whine that PZ was mean to you. At the risk of going further off topic, dig up their intro post. Also note they recently posted a video by Thunderdouche whining about feminists.

  17. Trebuchet says

    Sorry to see her go. She could, however, be a little tone-deaf. The cartoon that caused the flap was truly offensive, IIRC.

    As I said in a comment on her post, Kelly’s calling Mikey an atheist was clearly INTENDED to be defamatory. And considering her employer, Kelly very likely knew it was a lie. Legally, that’s a whole different story. No chance whatever of any successful legal action. It’s something that would have caused Ken White to call Chris a “censorious asshat”. Or worse.

    Somewhat on topic, I’ve been a bit worried lately about the overall health of FTB. Multiple closed or moribund blogs still on the main page. The redesign that was to happen “any day now” about three years ago. Disappearance of the tech issues button. The preview function. I know you’ve all got day jobs (except, I guess, “Darksyde Andrew”) but I’d like to see the site run just a hair better.

  18. robertfoster says

    If you really want to enter a neuron sucking morass wade into the debate about Who Is A Jew. You’ll never find your way out. Even Jews can’t agree.

  19. David Chapman says

    Some happier FTB news for yez : Christina Rad is back posting videos again! Yaaaaaaaay! :)

  20. anteprepro says

    I would really like to know what atheists, specifically, she thinks “are as bad as fundamentalists”. I would love to see her examples. But, of course, since she decided to just completely nuke her blog, which is damn suspicious or bordering on a ridiculous over-reaction in my humble opinion…I don’t know.

    I think that she may have tried to isolate herself from the debates about women’s rights and as a result she hasn’t dealt with MRA bullshit and much preferred it that way. Her little sector of FTB was usually just people nodding sagely in agreement and bopping the occasional Christianist troll on the head. So, yeah, if she doesn’t want to deal with atheists disagreeing with one another, and doesn’t want to deal with people who are very consciously on the defensive regarding how the underprivileged are portrayed, then she is probably best leaving FTB. I’m surprised if she is this sensitive to criticism and arguments within atheism that she has lasted here as long as she did.

  21. says

    We’re getting frustrated, too. We hired a pro company to do our makeover, and they’ve been dragging. It’s holding everything up, too — we’ve got a whole new wave of people to add, we held up because of the redesign, and now the redesign is taking longer than it should.

  22. says

    There’s also a big difference between criticizing our own and just being mean and I see a lot of instances of meanness when it isn’t called for.

    No one was mean to Chris. She was well-regarded here.

  23. nich says

    Tabby@15:

    It’s a bit difficult to find since they brought over their FTB content with them so here it is. It’s buried below the fold. If you’re wondering what the weird pic of the guy in the hat is, it’s a screenshot of the scene where a character in the movie Half-Baked quits his job. Wonder what he meant by including that?

    But yes, I’m childish.

  24. Trebuchet says

    Good to know, PZ. Now I can go back to worrying about Dana Hunter, who hasn’t posted since her “mental health” post.

  25. screechymonkey says

    I think it’s probably for the best.

    I get where Chris Rodda and the MRFF are coming from. They’re doing good work fighting a tough, never-ending battle for people’s rights, and I’m sure it’s annoying having some of us complain about some of the “collateral damage” from that fight. And if they can’t be bothered to respond to or deal with those complaints, or feel it’s taking up too much time to do so, then they might as well move their blog, because there isn’t much point in being on a blog network if you’re not interested in communicating with its audience.

    Of course, I still think all those criticisms are entirely legitimate, and I’m disappointed with her, Mikey, and the MRFF for reacting this way. This was all so unnecessary. The MRFF is insisting that it had to respond this way because that’s the only way that’s effective — but what counts as “effective” here? Do we think for one second that Fox News is going to run a retraction? Fat chance. Is the MRFF actually going to follow through and sue for defamation? Even aside from the merits of such a suit, is it really a wise use of the organization’s resources? Most likely, this letter is going to end up in Fox’s circular file, and nothing more will come of it.

    So since it’s just a P.R. gesture anyway, why not make it a good one, one that honors the MRFF’s commitment to protecting the rights of all servicepeople? Why not make all the points they wanted to make about the diverse religious composition of the MRFF’s membership and leadership, about how many/most of the complaints MRFF addresses come from Christians who are being made to feel that they’re the “wrong kind” of Christian, and how this is exactly the kind of religious pluralism and freedom that the First Amendment is supposed to protect, without throwing atheists under the bus?

  26. says

    screechymonkey:

    Why not make all the points they wanted to make about the diverse religious composition of the MRFF’s membership and leadership, about how many/most of the complaints MRFF addresses come from Christians who are being made to feel that they’re the “wrong kind” of Christian, and how this is exactly the kind of religious pluralism and freedom that the First Amendment is supposed to protect, without throwing atheists under the bus?

    Throwing atheists under the bus is a venerable tradition in the States.

  27. says

    I wish her blog hadn’t been scrubbed yet, i would have liked to see some of the referenced comments that were here and not over at the HuffPo, because since i wasn’t a frquenter there, I’m left feeling somewhat baffled.

    I also have the irritating sense this is going to become another “FTBullies” story.

  28. jamessweet says

    I read the post in question. I cringed briefly over the “defamation” comment, but decided not to say anything (I figured her point was clear enough: Assuming Weinstein is an atheist is as effed up as assuming PZ is a Jew — nothing wrong with being either one, obviously, but the assumption displays some pretty clear ignorance and prejudice). If others did, the proper response would have been to just, you know, amend the post to take out that line about defamation, because the rest of the post was fine.

    Similarly, with the Sunday Funnies, the right response would have been to either remove the offending post (or say “Fuck you I don’t care”) and just go on doing it. Criticism of an action doesn’t mean criticism of the person… but FtB can be merciless with criticism of the action, so I can see why Rodda might have had trouble with it. It can be a rough atmosphere. I hope she does well elsewhere.

  29. says

    some atheists are as bad as the fundamentalist Christians

    I’m getting the impression from what others are saying here that we’re bad because of past history with what I hear was a bad Sunday Funnies piece (which I did not see, but I do remember her posting about ending it because of people not being able to take a joke or what have you) and because we didn’t like her last post as much as people on HuffPo. That seems like a rather misplaced comparison. I’m assuming, then, that we’re “as bad” because we don’t allow people to engage in certain actions. E.g, “fat shaming” from what I gather on the Sunday Funnies piece. Yeah…if that’s the case, that sounds about as silly as the fundamentalists or far-right conservatives who try to make it appear as though liberals are hypocrites because, as they claim, we demand tolerance but won’t tolerate their intolerance.

    @25 nich

    But yes, I’m childish.

    It would seem what you’re saying here is that it’s OK to stoop down to near their level. Well, then, yes, you are indeed childish.

  30. anteprepro says

    Leo Buzalsky on “Douches Beyond Belief”:

    It would seem what you’re saying here is that it’s OK to stoop down to near their level.

    lolwut?

  31. A Masked Avenger says

    Kevin, #4:

    Being diminished/othered by being called a “Jew” didn’t bother PZ… Becoming irate at being “othered” is a sign that the tactic worked and will continue to work…

    That’s some selective reasoning there. Pick an example from everydaysexism.com, and then imagine someone saying, “Becoming irate at ______ is a sign the tactic worked and will continue to work…” You’re suggesting that victims should toughen up and learn to laugh off the harassment directed at them.

    PZ was able to laugh off an antisemitic attack at least partly because, as a non-Jew, he has no experience of antisemitism. His vantage point is analogous to the man’s who says he’d be pleased if women stopped him on the street and asked him to get into their van.

    The slur aimed at PZ was indeed antisemitic, and defamatory. Not because “Jew” is inherently a bad word or because there’s anything wrong with Jews, but because Jews happen to be a target of hatred. In just the same way “woman” (or “girl” or “body part here”) are used as slurs, and what makes them slurs is the hatred behind them, rather than any quality of women or their body parts. And in just the same way, “atheist” can be a slur. Atheists aren’t routinely sexually assaulted (unless they happen to be women), and they don’t get crosses burned on their lawns (unless they happen to be black), or swastikas painted on their doors (unless they happen to be Jews), but they are also targets of hatred in parts of the US. In the Bible belt, merely identifying someone as an atheist can have significant consequences.

    I can’t speak for Chris Rodda, but identifying “atheist” as a slur sounds like an accurate enough assessment of the situation. This occurred on a Fox News program, at which James Dobson was also a guest–so the context was a show aimed at a right-wing Christian audience in which Weinstein was facing right-wing Christian opponents. The effect would be to prejudice the majority of viewers against MRFF, despite the fact that 96% of their clients are in fact Christian. Poisoning the well by misidentifying Weinstein and MRFF as something the majority of viewers are bigoted against is a pretty good definition of “defamation.”

    It seems a bit unfair that PZ interprets this as if Rodda has something against atheists. Gendered slurs are routinely recognized as slurs on this blog, and the people who call them out aren’t accused of misogyny for doing so.

  32. says

    Leo @ 31:

    I’m getting the impression from what others are saying here that we’re bad because of past history with what I hear was a bad Sunday Funnies piece (which I did not see, but I do remember her posting about ending it because of people not being able to take a joke or what have you)

    Here’s a rundown of the ableist cartoon which caused Rodda to shut it down: http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5619

  33. Holms says

    …Maybe that’s for the best, given that she seems to think “atheist” is a legally actionable slander, and also that she thinks the praise of the HuffPo readership is actually worth something.

    Was a parting jab necessary?

  34. anteprepro says

    *reads Inaji and chigau’s link*

    Holy fuck but Paul Loebe is a trollish, amoral shitweasel.

  35. anteprepro says

    Masked Avenger:

    I can’t speak for Chris Rodda, but identifying “atheist” as a slur sounds like an accurate enough assessment of the situation. This occurred on a Fox News program, at which James Dobson was also a guest–so the context was a show aimed at a right-wing Christian audience in which Weinstein was facing right-wing Christian opponents. The effect would be to prejudice the majority of viewers against MRFF, despite the fact that 96% of their clients are in fact Christian. Poisoning the well by misidentifying Weinstein and MRFF as something the majority of viewers are bigoted against is a pretty good definition of “defamation.”

    Let’s try this again: What if, instead, they called him gay? Would that be “defamation”?

  36. nich says

    Inaji@35:

    That is a lot worse than I remembered…

    (And hey, who’s that there in the comments making cruddy jokes abut Braille? I’d say more, but I wouldn’t want to act childishly or anything…)

  37. nich says

    anteprepro@37:

    Maybe it’s just Teh 4Chan Culture™ and he was just doing it for the lulz?

  38. says

    Holms (#36) –

    Was a parting jab necessary?

    My sentiments exactly. I was expecting to see well wishing at the end, and instead saw something that matched the reasons Chris Rodda gave.

  39. A Masked Avenger says

    anteprepro, #38:

    Let’s try this again: What if, instead, they called him gay? Would that be “defamation”?

    Fuck yes: it would be subjecting him purposely to the hatred of homophobes. If he were, in fact, gay, it would technically not be “defamation,” but it would still be reprehensible: intentionally exposing someone to the hatred of bigots is reprehensible.

    You’re attempting to insinuate that my objection to intentionally exposing people to others’ bigotry, somehow implies that I share their bigotry. I.e., that by calling it “defamation,” I’m suggesting that there’s something wrong with being gay. That’s transparently false: I object to the use of “woman” as a slur, too, and not because I have anything whatsoever against women. And so do you.

  40. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Paul Loebe is a mega-asshole who, when called on it, tries to hide behind “you just hate the troops” rhetoric.

  41. nich says

    In just the same way “woman” (or “girl” or “body part here”) are used as slurs, and what makes them slurs is the hatred behind them, rather than any quality of women or their body parts.

    To which one MUST respond to such defamation with “EWWWW! I’m not a girl!”.

  42. A Masked Avenger says

    To which one MUST respond to such defamation with “EWWWW! I’m not a girl!”.

    Or, if one isn’t a precious twit, by saying, “Gendered insults mark you as a sexist. Thanks for identifying yourself as someone whose opinion is valueless.”

  43. Alverant says

    #24
    Again, I’m talking about FTB as a whole and not specifically against Chris.

    Yes, Inaji, gratuitous meanness (like poking fun at a typo) is not a good thing. It may be subjective but there should be some commonly agreed upon standards.

  44. ibyea says

    Holms
    Well, considering Chris herself had a parting jab with the “atheists as bad as fundamentalists”, I am honestly not too angry at PZ for that comment.

  45. A Masked Avenger says

    @ibyea

    Actually, what Chris said was, “some atheists are as bad as the fundamentalist Christians that we fight.” There’s a significant difference (whether one agrees or disagrees with her particular beef).

  46. says

    Oh for fuck’s sake, Nich. I wasn’t defending Paul Loebe or Chris Rodda or anyone else. I was saying calling someone “Douche Beyond Belief” is childish. That is not the same as defending people who certainly can and have acted as douches.

  47. unclefrogy says

    when ever I see any controversy over cartoons that are in bad taste I can not help wondering how would this guys work be seen by those complain
    http://www.callahanonline.com/index.php
    I have had discussions with people before about art and what it is or should be, cartoons are a sub heading under art. There is no universal standard to what art is, not any more their are particular tastes of individuals and they are not all the same. There is something else that many not involved with art do not understand it is particularly appropriate to remember when thinking of art produced in the contemporary or more modern times, though it has been true all through history. That is that to some degree or other all art is an experiment and is in part judged on the success of the experiment and some times the failures tell more than those that succeed not that different from experiments in science.
    sorry for the derail and sorry I did see the offending work.
    uncle frogy

  48. mikeyb says

    Well that’s too bad. Anyone who can read and sort through the endless drivel of David Barton and set the record strait has my deepest respects. I too have mixed feelings about HuffPo. It is far and a way the largest progressive site on the web, so remains an essential mechanism for dispersing progressive ideas on the web to a widespread audience. Too bad because there are many many more much better progressive sites on the web – DailyKos just being one example. On the downside of course is the woo peddling, occasional anti-science guest snipes and more in general the total embrace of the dominant 24/7 gossip entertainment culture. And of course, the way they treat their own employees is lacking to say the least in progressive values.

  49. nich says

    @49:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, Nich. I wasn’t defending Paul Loebe or Chris Rodda or anyone else. I was saying calling someone “Douche Beyond Belief” is childish. That is not the same as defending people who certainly can and have acted as douches.

    Holy fucking shit. Their blog is called Rock Beyond Belief?????? And Loebe and Griffith are pretty well known for their douchery? I’m not seeing what the fucking problem is beyond maybe a lack of creativity?

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  50. anteprepro says

    Masked Avenger:

    Fuck yes: it would be subjecting him purposely to the hatred of homophobes.

    Subjecting him purposely to the hatred of homophobes =/= defamation.

    It isn’t defaming unless you believe that the label or association, in question, is inherently a bad thing. It is certainly considered a bad thing by homophobes, and by the people who sling “gay” as an insult. They want it to be defamatory. But if we call it “defamatory” we are saying that those people are right. That the average person on the street will agree with their view that the label is inherently bad.

    (Though as I type this out, I realize that this pretty much supports Rodda: A lot of people out there really DO think atheist is inherently bad and defamatory, moreso than “gay” or “Jew”. Yet the latter two groups still face more oppression and discrimination, so go figure).

    You’re attempting to insinuate that my objection to intentionally exposing people to others’ bigotry, somehow implies that I share their bigotry.

    Your psychic powers are failing you..

    Or, if one isn’t a precious twit, by saying, “Gendered insults mark you as a sexist. Thanks for identifying yourself as someone whose opinion is valueless.”

    Which is, again, quite a distinct reaction from implicitly buying into the premise behind the gendered insults by calling it “defamation”.

    Actually, what Chris said was, “some atheists are as bad as the fundamentalist Christians that we fight.” There’s a significant difference (whether one agrees or disagrees with her particular beef).

    Irrelevant quibble is irrelevant. The point is that Chris left here under the complaint that the people who criticized her at FTB are “as bad as fundamentalists”. Again, I would be very entertained to know what exactly her complaint was and her targets were, but I think it is fair to say that it is likely that her complaint is either with the debating style of some commenters/bloggers and/or social justice issues she doesn’t like feeling pressured into joining in on. But, needless to say, that comment was a parting shot. Whether it was at most commenters, some commenters, specific bloggers, FTB in general, or whatever, it was most assuredly aimed in this general direction.

  51. anteprepro says

    Fucking fuck me and blockquotes today.

    Tabby says:

    I wasn’t defending Paul Loebe or Chris Rodda or anyone else. I was saying calling someone “Douche Beyond Belief” is childish. That is not the same as defending people who certainly can and have acted as douches.

    Your concern is noted. (It is childish to call them douches, even if you admit they are acting like douches? Oooookaaaay….)

  52. ibyea says

    Masked Avenger
    The “some” here is a target. The target are the people who criticized her. So saying “some” doesn’t negate the fact that she left with a jab at the people here.

  53. Rob Grigjanis says

    anteprepro @52:

    It isn’t defaming unless you believe that the label or association, in question, is inherently a bad thing.

    Well, that’s your definition.

    Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

    My bolding.

  54. says

    It is childish to call them douches, even if you admit they are acting like douches?

    Calling out behaviour vs. name-calling.

    But if noting the difference makes me a concern troll…

  55. Seize says

    I too find “Douche Beyond Belief” most distasteful, but only because there are so many excellent options that acutally rhyme with “Rock.”

    Tabby @ 60, no, you’re not a concern troll, but you’re approaching a tone troll. And a pointless one at that, seeing as you apparently are not trying to undermine any of nich’s positions. Common taters here are hardly known for our civility.

  56. A Masked Avenger says

    Anteprepro, #53:

    It isn’t defaming unless you believe that the label or association, in question, is inherently a bad thing…

    This is the crux of your argument, and it’s bullshit. If I call it “defamation,” I’m not saying that the association is inherently bad: I’m saying that it will be perceived by someone as inherently bad, which is why the association was made for the purpose of causing those people to form a negative opinion of them.

    In any case, this whole argument is bullshit. Have you any proof to offer that Chris Rodda actually thinks there’s anything inherently bad about being an atheist? Other than your strained inference from her use of this word in her HuffPo piece? Go ahead and present it.

  57. says

    Seize, I’m not a new commentator, I’m just not particularly active. I know how it is around here.

    When I see right-wingers go on about “Obummer” and “Moochelle”, I think they’re being childish. When I see MRAs and Slymepitters talk about “Rebec**t T**Tson”, I think they’re being childish. When I see something like that coming from someone I’d otherwise agree with, not only do I think it’s still childish, but I’m disappointed. It’s not about tone, it’s about being better than the name-callers. It makes it really hard to call them out on it when our side is doing the same thing.

  58. says

    I was one of those who did comment on that last post. I said that I disagreed with what was being done, and that it essentially bolstered the idea that “atheist” is a dirty word to be ashamed of. I was very polite.

    I never received any response, because apparently mine were the last posts. P.Z. got a very snappish, defensive response to his comment. I thought the post was over the top, and so outraged that it really laid on the idea that being associated with the word “atheist” was a horrible, horrible thing. I think if this had been approached differently, with less … what is a good alternative word for the modern meaning of “hysteria? … I and others would have have felt thrown under the bus.

    I live in the same state as Mikey, in the same city, and have been taking his newsletter for a long time. I wrote directly to Mikey and received a very punctuation-laden response, though again I had expressed my disagreement in a measured way. He has continued to send me articles from atheists who are not troubled by this action, and I have explained that my opinion is not likely to be swayed, though I respect the opposing opinions of other atheists.

    Still, all in all, I have to say that the over-the-top reaction by Chris and Mikey is really what strikes me as problematic, and not the responses I saw . . . bearing in mind that I did not see any private communication they received. If they are reacting to what few negative responses on that final blog post, the outrage is completely incomprehensible to me.

    The whole thing leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, and Chris’s actions seem to cement the idea that they really do NOT want to be associated with atheists.

  59. anteprepro says

    If I call it “defamation,” I’m not saying that the association is inherently bad: I’m saying that it will be perceived by someone as inherently bad, which is why the association was made for the purpose of causing those people to form a negative opinion of them.

    Even if you don’t view the association as inherently bad, it relies on the assumption that most people will find the association negative. Calling upon that association as defamation cements that association as negative. It cements “gay”, “Jew”, and “atheist” as inherently defamatory terms. There are other ways to call out this bullshit without throwing entire groups under the bus by outright stating that being tied to that group constitutes a reputation shattering insult. Even if it is true, even if there are enough bigots out there to mean that your reptutation really IS damaged by this false association, you are still affirming “It is a bad thing to be Group X” by framing your opposition to being mistakenly and deliberately miscategorized for propaganda purposes in terms of being defamed.

  60. anteprepro says

    Tabby

    When I see right-wingers go on about “Obummer” and “Moochelle”, I think they’re being childish. When I see MRAs and Slymepitters talk about “Rebec**t T**Tson”, I think they’re being childish. When I see something like that coming from someone I’d otherwise agree with, not only do I think it’s still childish, but I’m disappointed. It’s not about tone, it’s about being better than the name-callers.

    Name calling is serious business.

    I have a REALLY hard time believing that you are a regular reader of Pharyngula and yet still have such a simplistic, knee jerk opposition to “name calling”.

  61. nich says

    When I see right-wingers go on about “Obummer” and “Moochelle”, I think they’re being childish.

    Obummer might lack creativity, but who the fuck cares if somebody calls him Obummer if the criticism of him has substance? Moochelle is fat shaming so fuck that. When the ‘pitters call Rebecca Watson that nasty name, that’s not being childish, that’s being a garden variety fucking misogynist. To claim that calling Paul “It’s Funny Cuz She’s Blind” Loebe a douche is worse (“not only do I think it’s still childish, but I’m disappointed”) than the garbage above cuz I should know better earns you a great big fuck you.

    Fuck you.

  62. David Marjanović says

    It’s as if Rodda had never fucked up in her whole life before and was now totally overwhelmed by the reactions because she wasn’t used to fucking up. o_O How does anyone reach that kind of age while retaining this kind of… innocence?

    *reads Inaji and chigau’s link*

    Holy fuck but Paul Loebe is a trollish, amoral shitweasel.

    It’s really astounding.

    I have had discussions with people before about art and what it is or should be, cartoons are a sub heading under art.

    *eyeroll* The cartoons weren’t posted so people would appreciate them as art. They were posted so people would find them funny.

    When I see right-wingers go on about “Obummer” and “Moochelle”, I think they’re being childish.

    I agree.

    When I see MRAs and Slymepitters talk about “Rebec**t T**Tson”, I think they’re being childish.

    I disagree: they’re being consciously, deliberately, bullyingly misogynistic.

    …Yeah, OK, “Moochelle” is misogynistic in that you’re not going to find a man being called a cow; but it’s not in the same league.

  63. David Wilford says

    @ 67:

    A public service announcement of sorts, but anyone can search comments made here easily enough by using Google. FYI, I found you.

  64. David Marjanović says

    I have a REALLY hard time believing that you are a regular reader of Pharyngula

    Doesn’t comment extremely often, but definitely regularly. I remember the name quite well.

    Moochelle is fat shaming

    …Oh. I’ve learned something, then. Over here (far away from the US) the association to “cow” is stupidity instead.

  65. David Wilford says

    @ 69:

    The cartoons weren’t posted so people would appreciate them as art. They were posted so people would find them funny.

    I disgree. Comic humor is definitely an art form that can be funny as well. For example, XKCD is deceptive in that it looks simply drawn, but Munroe is really a very good comic artist who has command of his medium. I especially enjoy how he takes the possibilities of the digital canvas he works on to make scale part of his work:

    https://xkcd.com/482/

  66. says

    I’ve read the post at HuffPo, and – while I forgot specifically to look for “defamation” – I’m not really seeing the problem. She says at one point:

    And how is Mikey supposed to defend himself against your “accusation” that he’s an atheist without risking offending all the people in this country who actually are atheists? It’s like President Obama having to defend himself against the “accusation” that he’s a Muslim without sounding like he thinks there’s something wrong with being a Muslim. That’s what happens when people like you, Ms. Kelly, and your cohorts at Fox News turn a religious belief or ideology into an accusation — it forces a person, whether it be our president or Mikey Weinstein, into the incredibly awkward position of having to refute what is a false statement about their personal beliefs while at the same time not wanting to offend the many people who really do hold those beliefs. It galls Mikey to feel like he has to add that “not that I think there’s anything wrong with atheists” disclaimer to his saying that he himself is not an atheist. There is just no good way for him to say that without him feeling like he sounds like a racist following some statement about their whiteness with “not that I have anything against black people.” It would be like “accusing” you, Ms. Kelly, of being a brunette, and you having to defend your blondness without risking offending every brunette who tunes into your show.

    I did, though, have a problem with the “funnies” post. I think I planned to comment and by the time I’d signed in the first comment had appeared saying the funnies weren’t so funny that day, which I thought was adequate. Her response to the criticism in that instance was surprisingly bad. I did appreciate a number of her posts, especially the ones about David Barton, but am ambivalent about pro-military blogs here in general.

  67. nich says

    David Wilford@72:

    However, I don’t think it was included in the Sunday Funnies as some example of comic as art medium. In fact, if I recall, the funny in question is just some old photo of Helen Keller holding her dog with a crappy caption, so the point is kinda moot.

  68. Hj Hornbeck says

    As a longtime lurker around here, I too can vouch that Tabby Lavalamp’s been around for years.

    I’m wondering if some of this can be explained by military training. Killin’ isn’t something that comes naturally to human beings, and one of the ways around that is to encourage groupiness. The world is split into FRIEND and ENEMY, and the former is clearly identified as the group who would give everything to you if they could, as a group that are unquestionably loyal to one another.

    As a side effect, though, that enforces conformity and an intolerance for “traitors.” If you show signs of questioning your fellows, expect a swift and harsh reaction that signals you’ve strayed from the path. It could explain why Rodda can shrug off harsh criticism, hate mail, and death threats from her “opposition,” yet is sensitive to mild criticism from Myers and other “comrades.”

    Whatever the case, it’s a shame to see her go, she and the MRFF do good work. Ah well, bookmarks will be updated.

  69. Holms says

    #47
    Well, considering Chris herself had a parting jab with the “atheists as bad as fundamentalists”, I am honestly not too angry at PZ for that comment.

    Ah, the tried and tested ‘they did it first’ behavioural defense.

    It’s simple. If you disapprove of a particular act, don’t fucking emulate it.

  70. Holms says

    ARGH I previewed! And then I edited a bit and didn’t preview it again! Ah well, pebkac.

  71. David Wilford says

    @ 74:

    I haven’t seen the funny in question, but IMO such Helen Keller-type humor is both dated and mean. But it still crops up on occasion, which is a testament to Keller’s fame as an extraordinary person.

  72. David Chapman says

    23
    PZ Myers

    We’re getting frustrated, too. We hired a pro company to do our makeover, and they’ve been dragging. It’s holding everything up, too — we’ve got a whole new wave of people to add, we held up because of the redesign, and now the redesign is taking longer than it should.

    When they finally achieve motion, could you prevail on them to make these poxy little avatars bigger? They’re very ego-cramping. And the site would look a lot cooler.

  73. mothra says

    The ‘parting jab’ was a mild tit-for-tat as in game strategy. I think a reply was necessary because fundamentalists cause damage in the world by being fundamentalists. When atheists cause damage in the world, it has nothing to do with being atheist, but all with being a bad person. As Steven Weinberg said: ‘Good people do good things, bad people do bad things, for a good person to do a bad thing, that takes religion.”

  74. A Masked Avenger says

    anteprepro, #65:

    Even if you don’t view the association as inherently bad, it relies on the assumption that most people will find the association negative. Calling upon that association as defamation cements that association as negative.

    Arguably true, because lots of people are too stupid to grasp the difference between, “You are calling him X in order to capitalize on anti-X bigotry!” and, “You are calling him X, which is a terrible thing to do because X are scum!” I honestly can’t tell whether you appreciate the difference here: it’s the difference between Rodda making an unfortunate choice of words, and Rodda actually being a bigot.

    Folks in this thread seem rather bent on suggesting that Rodda is at least a little bit bigoted, starting with PZ’s, “Maybe [her leaving is] for the best…” If so, you’re relying on slender evidence, construing an (arguably) ambiguous word choice to deprive her of the benefit of the doubt, despite the fact that “She was well-regarded here.” Surely you can do better than that. If she has some sort of bias against atheists, surely you can find less ambiguous evidence of that.

  75. A Masked Avenger says

    @Mothra,

    I think a reply was necessary because fundamentalists cause damage in the world by being fundamentalists…

    This is garden variety othering, and it’s dangerous precisely because we’re predisposed to overlook our own failures and magnify the failures of the other. In the same way that it’s not torture when America does it, and it’s not terrorism when America does it, and it’s not mass murder when America does it, and America is righteous when it invades dictatorships after propping up the same dictator for decades…

    Asserting that the Other “causes damage in the world” by virtue of existing is walking a very dangerous line. It is comfortingly manichaean, of course. Fundamentalists harm women’s rights by virtue of the mere fact that they are fundamentalists; Dawkins, Shermer, and their ilk are merely bad apples at worst, or innocent victims of unexamined cultural biases at best. Special pleading is seductive.

  76. says

    It’s too bad she decided to leave. Despite the infrequency of the updates, the subjects were generally interesting. I never read the Sunday Funnies she used to do so I don’t know about any of that, but I can’t imagine that she would get enough criticism to torpedo her blog from her latest. Of course, I didn’t necessarily like that Mr. Weinstein being referred to as an atheist could be considered “defamation,” but I certainly didn’t feel offended by Ms. Rodda’s reference to it since I recognized that this was probably exactly the intention of FOX News (which does offend me). No point in denying that being identified as “atheist” would, indeed, unfairly prejudice others against Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF. Still, though I feel this may have been an overreaction, she has the freedom to associate with whomever she wishes, so if she doesn’t like the atmosphere here she should feel free to leave.

  77. unclefrogy says

    I get some distinct from some here that art is not supposed to be funny? By what authority can someone decide what is art and what is not?
    This is 2014 there is no longer an Academy to certify what is considered art good or bad there is only the capriciousness of current taste like I said most people forget the fact that art is to a large extent an experiment.
    I regret that I did not see the cartoon in question but captions under stock photos are not uncommon Mad Magazine ran them on a regular basis and lampooned may sacred cows in doing so. If any one particular person finds then to be unappealing or not does not change the fact that it is still art. Art is not always meant to appeal to all people.
    A bad joke is still a joke
    What to me is crappy art is still art and may not be crappy to you.
    Is that bad?
    uncle frogy

  78. says

    I think it’s pretty clear that the person CALLING him an atheist meant it as a bad thing – the intent may have been defamatory, even if it was about as insulting as calling someone intelligent. I realize that’s not the point that was made, but it’s there, I guess.

  79. David Chapman says

    80
    mothra

    As Steven Weinberg said: ‘Good people do good things, bad people do bad things, for a good person to do a bad thing, that takes religion.”

    Steven Weinberg should on no account give up his day job. That remark is irritating and silly; saying something quasi-profound about a gravely serious subject, the evil that humans do. It just is not true that it takes religion for that. Other ideologies will do it just as well as religion, such as nationalism.

  80. mothra says

    @ Masked avenger #82, I had no intention of ‘othering’ individuals. But I think there is a basic property of religious fundamentalism that harms society in general and harms the person holding the fundamentalist beliefs. Does this clarify?

    @David Chapman #86 Religion is one of many things that can cause otherwise good people to do bad things. It happens to be one of those things easily identified and in the context of a discussion about atheism and religion is a useful construct. In the wider world, yes, the subject of ‘the problem of evil in the world’ is far mor complex than a throw-away quote. .

  81. imthegenieicandoanything says

    I followed her pretty closely, but drifted off because she wasn’t doing much – for a long time – but re-posting comics and such.

    Wasn’t she writing a book as well?

    I assumed it was simply that she’s become too busy to bother with the blog. Or bored with it.

    I wish her well. I do not believe her reasons for quitting are very convincing, though.

  82. anteprepro says

    Masked Avenger

    I honestly can’t tell whether you appreciate the difference here: it’s the difference between Rodda making an unfortunate choice of words, and Rodda actually being a bigot.

    Considering that I don’t at all believe Rodda is a bigot and was never implying such, maybe you should direct that condescension towards yourself. Just a suggestion.

  83. see_the_galaxy says

    But I will say that maybe we as a group here on FTB shouldn’t be so harsh in our criticisms of each other and be nicer to each other even if we disagree.

    The comments sections do a lot of harm, actually. And since we’re oppositional (going up against powerful well funded opponents), we would do well to reflect: that since viciousness hurts us (and therefore helps our opponents) and since our opponents aren’t idiots, it follows that a lot of disruptive trolling (not all, but some) is not authentic, but must be Christian or right-wing sock puppets.

  84. Rob Grigjanis says

    David Chapman @86: You’re quite right that the quote out of context is silly. Replace ‘religion’ with ‘dogmatism’, and it’s much better. But the quote comes from a speech about religion (ID, actually). Read the whole thing (there’s some cool science in there as well) and then argue that he should stick to his day job.

    Where religion did make a difference, it was more in support of slavery than in opposition to it. Arguments from scripture were used in Parliament to defend the slave trade. Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God’s will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.

  85. says

    For what it’s worth, I hate when people make insults out of or make snide jokes & puns about someone’s name. I spent several years of childhood being taunted about my last name, something I couldn’t change. Calling someone a douche who is acting like a douche, or making a snide pun to call them out for their douchiness by using the name of their blog is not in the same ballpark.

  86. David Chapman says

    87
    mothra

    @David Chapman #86 Religion is one of many things that can cause otherwise good people to do bad things. It happens to be one of those things easily identified and in the context of a discussion about atheism and religion is a useful construct. In the wider world, yes, the subject of ‘the problem of evil in the world’ is far mor complex than a throw-away quote. .

    I’m sorry I don’t have any intention to be aggressive, but you’re talking nonsense. There’s no ‘context of a discussion’ and ‘wider word.’ There are just things which are true, things which are unknown, and things which are misleading and fatuous. And nobody, least of all someone with high-powered intellectual authority, has any business saying things that are misleading and fatuous about where evil comes from.

    91
    Rob Grigjanis

    David Chapman @86: You’re quite right that the quote out of context is silly. Replace ‘religion’ with ‘dogmatism’, and it’s much better. But the quote comes from a speech about religion (ID, actually). Read the whole thing (there’s some cool science in there as well) and then argue that he should stick to his day job.

    No. My reply to Mothra applies to you, too.

  87. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There’s no ‘context of a discussion’ and ‘wider word.’ There are just things which are true, things which are unknown, and things which are misleading and fatuous.

    Which applies to all religions, as they are based on imaginary deities and mythical/fictional holy books. Very misleading….

  88. Steve Caldwell says

    nich @18 wrote:

    @15: No. What’s childish is to tell a bunch of people that you’re leaving FTB because it’s blocked on bases then run off to Patheos and whine that PZ was mean to you.

    That’s news to me … I work on a military installation and every blog on FTB is reachable at work except for Pharyngula.

    Patheos is reachable at work and so are most wordpress.com blogs (e.g. Jerry Coyne’s blog).

  89. Rob Grigjanis says

    David Chapman @93: This really is the era of the sound byte. One dodgy sentence in a brilliant essay can result in “should on no account give up his day job”. The message to me is not that Weinberg is out of his depth, but that you are lazy.

    There are just things which are true, things which are unknown, and things which are misleading and fatuous.

    And you seriously believe that these things are measured in isolated sentences, as short as possible for your convenience? You sorry bastard.

  90. gardengnome says

    TWCN was one of the six blogs here that I read daily. Chris’s posts were infrequent but very interesting. I know nothing about the comments that seem to have discouraged her from continuing; I only rarely read any comments because they’re often such tripe.

    I’m sorry to see her go and I find the site that much diminished.

  91. Renee says

    I can understand her wanting to leave, this is a normal thing amongst bloggers. Sometimes the fit isn’t quite right, maybe there is animosity or personal issues, or another blog offered a better option, etc. The reasons are many.

    What I do *not* get is removing all traces of the blog she so diligently wrote, and many were dedicated to reading. There was so much good information, and ideas there, it is a shame for it to be eliminated like it was. Why be so extreme? We (readers in general) appreciated the work she did, and it was a good window into to a subject few even know about.

    Short version: The total removal of her blog is very disappointing, regardless of reason for it.

  92. David Chapman says

    Rob Grigjanis@96

    You should take the time and trouble to think carefully about what I said, because you like Mothra, wanted to claim that the context was important, that the remark was only “silly out of context.” That’s not true, it’s just plain silly, and like I said, Weinberg has a responsibility to think more carefully. Or not write on the matter at all. It’s quite possible to do serious harm by writing nonsense and unfortunately, if you write that nonsense well it can be more destructive than if you do it badly. And this is a major problem for the anti-religious movement, which is one of the most important ideological movements that have ever been: It is plagued by talented people who are mistating the case. ( Or rather the cases, because there is more than one issue involved. )

    And you seriously believe that these things are measured in isolated sentences, as short as possible for your convenience?

    I said nothing of the kind. But it’s certainly possible to put an amazing degree of irresponsible nonsense in one brief sentence, and Professor Weinberg has demonstrated his ability here.

    And leaving the (non-) issue of context aside, it’s the sort of remark that gets repeated out of context as well; as Mothra demonstrated, and his repetition of it is not the first place I’ve seen it. It was designed to be. It’s aphoristic. When a Nobel prize-winning physicist writes something like that, damn sure it’s going to get repeated and repeated. It’s a literary soundbite, and that’s why I hate it. In writing it, Weinberg wants to encourage people to think about these things in a lazy and half-arsed, insufficiently involved way. And that’s why I don’t want to read the guys essay.

  93. Rob Grigjanis says

    David Chapman @99:

    In writing it, Weinberg wants to encourage people to think about these things in a lazy and half-arsed, insufficiently involved way. And that’s why I don’t want to read the guys essay.

    You read one sentence, and divine the author’s intent. No need to read the essay, because you can read the author’s mind based on that one sentence. You’ve obviously never read any of Weinberg’s physics. Nothing half-arsed about it. Ever.

  94. David Chapman says

    100
    Rob Grigjanis

    2 May 2014 at 8:57 pm (UTC -5)

    David Chapman @99:

    In writing it, Weinberg wants to encourage people to think about these things in a lazy and half-arsed, insufficiently involved way. And that’s why I don’t want to read the guys essay.

    You read one sentence, and divine the author’s intent. No need to read the essay, because you can read the author’s mind based on that one sentence. You’ve obviously never read any of Weinberg’s physics. Nothing half-arsed about it. Ever.

    I don’t ‘divine’ the author’s intent in writing that essay, I don’t know what it’s about, besides what I might surmise from what’s been quoted. I can read the author’s mind as expressed in that one sentence, because I can read that one sentence. I judge his intent in writing that sentence, and in my judgement, his intent in writing that sentence stinks. That’s why I don’t want to read any more that he’s written.

    You’re not tackling the initial issue I raised about the inadequacy and irrelevance of the common argument, that context is spectacularly less important than it is often claimed to be in these matters. You’re still conflating sentence and context here, because you don’t want to take in what I’m saying. The only way that context could redeem that remarkable aphorism of his is if it said somehow that this sentence was not to be taken in its obvious plain and evident sense; and if this context says that, which would be very strange indeed, you certainly haven’t mentioned it. I don’t say that I now know all there is to know about Stephen Weinberg in regard to these matters. I am saying that I dislike him, and that no matter what the rest of his work says, his approach to these matters is one I’m hostile to. In coming out with — and indeed repeating, as he has done — that little masterpiece of philosophical fatuity, he’s shown that he doesn’t respect his audience and he doesn’t respect the truth. And he manages to perpetrate this at an intersection of two of the most profound and important questions in human experience: the struggle against religion and the origin of human evil. And that’s why I don’t respect Professor Weinberg.

  95. Rob Grigjanis says

    David Chapman @101:

    You’re still conflating sentence and context here, because you don’t want to take in what I’m saying.

    Am I ignoring your context? My bad. I judged you based on one a bunch of horrible sentences. And that’s why I don’t respect you.

  96. ck says

    I’ve got to agree with David Chapman. Implicit in that quote from professor Weinberg is the idea that you can separate people into distinct “good people” and “bad people” categories. The fact of the matter is that there is a very big overlap between the two categories. The feature of religion that he ought to be criticising in that sound bite is that religion is an easy way for people to do harm while believing that they’re doing good (but certainly not the only one).

  97. Ichthyic says

    It just is not true that it takes religion for that. Other ideologies will do it just as well as religion, such as nationalism.

    I think you will find authoritarianism is what underlies most instances of supposedly good people doing bad things for a “cause”.

    both religion and nationalism attracts highly authoritarian personalities like flies are attracted to… well, you get the idea.

    so actually, in part it is completely true to say it takes religion… since it is the dogma of religion that is specifically organized around taking advantage of authoritarian personalities.

    so long as you are being inclusive, instead of exclusive, you have a small point. lost in the larger point of the thrust of Weinberg’s argument though.

  98. fatpie42 says

    She says that her writing was much better received at Daily Kos. How can that be true? She decided to delete the contents of her blog there all the way back in 2010. And, once again, it was because commenters didn’t like what she had to say.

  99. says

    IIRC, the “Sunday Funnies” ended because it included a joke about disabled people, which disabled people didn’t find quite as funny as she did.

    If you make a joke about X, where people are disadvantaged by X and can’t help being X, then the fact they don’t laugh doesn’t mean they’re humourless. It means you’re being a jerk.

  100. says

    nich (#68) –

    Moochelle is fat shaming

    It’s a doubly awful insult. I hadn’t thought of fat shaming or Limbaugh inferring that she’s a cow. I thought it was the usual rightwing racist propaganda about “moochers” and “welfare queens”.

  101. says

    For what it’s worth, I hate when people make insults out of or make snide jokes & puns about someone’s name.

    I agree!

    Unless they changed their name to something risible (and you know it) in which case mocking their choice may be in bounds.

  102. David Chapman says

    103
    ck

    I’ve got to agree with David Chapman.

    Thanks C.K.

    104
    Ichthyic

    3 May 2014 at 12:32 am (UTC -5)

    so actually, in part it is completely true to say it takes religion…

    In part it is completely true?? :)

    so actually, in part it is completely true to say it takes religion… since it is the dogma of religion that is specifically organized around taking advantage of authoritarian personalities.

    Sorry, that doesn’t make sense. :)

    so long as you are being inclusive, instead of exclusive, you have a small point. lost in the larger point of the thrust of Weinberg’s argument though.

    :( Oh!? You’re saying my thrusting point is smaller than his? ( Weeps)

    Or perhaps less thrustworthy?

    Look, I’m obviously going to have to say the unsayable here, guys:

    SCIENCE can lead good people to do bad things. Including, you know, physics?? Weinberg’s field?
    So he comes out with crap like that, not because he doesn’t know it’s nonsense, but because he is actually defending his position as a leading exponent in the scientific field that has given people like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush the power to destroy life on this planet. ( A lot of the research that made this possible was done as science, pure and simple: Let’s find out stuff. That can’t possibly be morally wrong, can it? )

    Oh, but science is not in the least morally ambiguous, sayeth Weinberg. Those religious bastards, over there ( pointing ), there the ones that teach good people to do evil things.

    The thing is, once people such as we atheists agnostics & sceptics become enthusiasts for science and the scientific method, we tend to want to forget the dark side of scientific enquiry. We want to push the evil and the moral dillemmas over in the direction of religion. Those fuckers.

    Then people lament out loud: ‘You can’t talk to those God fanatics, they have such a black and white conception of reality!!’

    Well so they do, but there are famous, influential and high-ranking atheists within the anti-religious movement who are perfectly happy with provoking and maintaining our distortions as well. Professor Weinberg is one of these.
    Religion, for all its lamentable follies and cruelties, proffers this admirable benefit, at least in the eyes of such people:it embodies an excellent scapegoat for diverting attention from the massively disturbing aspects of science, in particular nuclear physics, thus cleaning up the latters image.

  103. nich says

    Look, I’m obviously going to have to say the unsayable here, guys:

    I think your point is unsayable because it is dumb. I actually kind of agreed with your original point further up, but now you’ve gone off the deep end in defending it. There is no law of physics that commands a scientist to build an atom bomb, or a biologist to engineer a superbug, or a chemist to cook up VX. It wasn’t physics that made scientists bad, it was ridiculous ideas like nationalism and its ugly cousin patriotism. Unconditional surrender. Even before the atom bomb, we managed to destroy huge parts of Europe and Asia with plain old bullets and bombs and bodies.

    Jesus Christ, next you’ll be telling us art makes people do bad things because people make child porn.

  104. jasonfailes says

    Holy Hell, I was open to hearing her perspective until I went over there and read what she had to say. Evidently, PZ is a “fake” feminist because he’s ironically used the term “trophy wife” and posted PG cephalopod erotica.

    Also, something, something Greg Laden, but there are no links so I can’t even learn more about whatever the hell happened there.

  105. nich says

    jasonfailes@111: That sounds like you are referring to Justin Griffith’s kiss-off. The Greg Laden thing refers to some incidents that occurred about a year or so ago during the whole Elevatorgate/Slymepit/Thunderf00t shitstorm that led to HIS departure from FTB. I think Chris Rodda is acquainted with the RBB folks since they both deal with military religious freedom issues. Paul Loebe reblogs some of her stuff and frequently shows up in her comments to “support” her (see the Funnies links above) but the blog at Patheos does not belong to her. I do know that Chris Rodda took a mild shot at PZ in a comment she made to her Facebook post, but as far as I know she does not think PZ is a phony.

  106. HappyNat says

    I remember the sunday funnies with the Helen Keller “joke” (“Ha she’s blind, get it!”) and cringing. I remember reading the comments and was surprised at the people, including Chris, defending it based on the “you don’t have a sense of humor” and dismissing disabled people saying it was hurtful. That’s the last time I went there.

  107. David Chapman says

    110
    nich

    Look, I’m obviously going to have to say the unsayable here, guys:

    I think your point is unsayable because it is dumb.

    Woops, too late, I said it anyway.

    I actually kind of agreed with your original point further up,

    Well I hope you still do.

    but now you’ve gone off the deep end in defending it.

    OK, if you do still agree with it, how would you defend it? ( If you’ve changed your mind, tell me why that instead.) ( NB It might be time for a Thunderdome at this stage. I don’t mean I raven for verbal aggro, I mean we’re way off topic at this point. )

    There is no law of physics that commands a scientist to build an atom bomb, or a biologist to engineer a superbug, or a chemist to cook up VX.

    Aren’t there?? Must be something wrong with my equations………One lives and learns.

    It wasn’t physics that made scientists bad, it was ridiculous ideas like nationalism and its ugly cousin patriotism.

    I happen to think nationalism and patriotism are valid and important ideas actually. Which is my general drift: the World, including questions such as whether nationalism, for example, is good or evil, is very complex and puzzling. Ergo someone who is a genuinely good person can make a mistake and do something very wrong, even though they set out to do right. It happens all the time, with all sorts of ideas and that’s why Weinberg’s claim to the contrary is so ridiculous and repugnant.
    You, good person or not, can do evil things under the sway of all sorts of ideas and ideologies and vocations, including very good ones. Life is complex that way.

    Even before the atom bomb, we managed to destroy huge parts of Europe and Asia with plain old bullets and bombs and bodies.

    That’s true, none of those derive from scientific research, of course. Oh, wait a minute…..

    Jesus Christ, next you’ll be telling us art makes people do bad things because people make child porn.

    I completely promise I won’t. Anyway, to address your objection: No of course there are no laws of physics that tell good people to do evil things. If that’s the best you can do I don’t even know how to argue with you about this. I’ll just say what I’ve said. Even wonderful and vitally necessary ideologies and ideals, including science, can lead good people to do wrong. You can commit crimes fighting for democracy, for equality, for freedom. And people frequently do. ( This is not a feeble intellectual peeing contest we’re having here. This is important stuff. ) And you can commit crimes searching for scientific truth as well. I get freaked out when people of Professor Weinberg’s ability and standing try to pretend that life is easier than that. It’s a pig that life is that difficult, but there it is.

  108. David Marjanović says

    I get some distinct from some here that art is not supposed to be funny?

    …what?

    I work on a military installation and every blog on FTB is reachable at work except for Pharyngula.

    *blink*

    The US military censors the Internet? How scared can they be?

    Or are you talking about the People’s Liberation Army?

    I happen to think nationalism and patriotism are valid and important ideas actually.

    What? Why?

  109. nich says

    I happen to think nationalism and patriotism are valid and important ideas actually

    Well bully for you.

    You can commit crimes fighting for democracy, for equality, for freedom.

    Well duh. And people may USE science to commit those crimes but they don’t commit them BECAUSE of science, unless you are using “because” in a way that Weinberg was not. It’s a tool. I can use a hammer to commit murder but I probably didn’t do it because HAMMER, unless you mean it worked “because” the hammer is good at cracking skulls. Just like I can use the principles of art to create some vile crap, like say a cartoon mocking blind people and worse, but I did not do that because ART. Anymore than we bombed the shit out of Japan because SCIENCE. You go from shooting down the simplistic idea that religion turns awesome people into raving killers but then make the silly point that well SCIENCE can be used to make bad stuff so people are made bad because SCIENCE so neener neener neener.

    It was a dumb point and trivially true at best.

  110. nich says

    OK, if you do still agree with it, how would you defend it?

    By saying that there are a fucktonne of reasons that a seemingly good person can do bad things. That boiling it all down to religion is hugely oversimplifying things. But I darn well wouldn’t try to come up with a cute little answer designed to zing the science-luvvers: “Oh yeah! Well we used science to figure out how to split the atom, so SCIENCE makes good people bad too, natch!” unless I was doing it to show how silly that game is.

  111. nich says

    And you can commit crimes searching for scientific truth as well.

    But it’s not a crime to split the atom and, while I grant I am not a physicist, I’m pretty sure there is more you can do with that knowledge than nukes your enemies.

    However, I admit I can come off as dickish in my responses and being a fan of science, I was perhaps too quick on the SIWOTI trigger. I’m pretty sure I agree with what you are getting at overall.

  112. unclefrogy says

    @ 115 in my haste I read what was not there spell-check said it was all spelled correctly.

    I got the impression that some here thought art was not supposed to be funny. some times it is sometimes there are jokes inside. some times it is ugly on purpose even.
    it’s a small point and maybe not of interest to many others disregard it if you want It makes no difference.
    uncle frogy

  113. David Chapman says

    118
    nich

    However, I admit I can come off as dickish in my responses and being a fan of science, I was perhaps too quick on the SIWOTI trigger.

    But me fan of science too! :)

    I’m pretty sure I agree with what you are getting at overall.

    Cool. :)

  114. says

    Unclefrogy @50

    when ever I see any controversy over cartoons that are in bad taste I can not help wondering how would this guys work be seen by those complain
    http://www.callahanonline.com/index.php
    I have had discussions with people before about art and what it is or should be, cartoons are a sub heading under art. There is no universal standard to what art is, not any more their are particular tastes of individuals and they are not all the same. There is something else that many not involved with art do not understand it is particularly appropriate to remember when thinking of art produced in the contemporary or more modern times, though it has been true all through history. That is that to some degree or other all art is an experiment and is in part judged on the success of the experiment and some times the failures tell more than those that succeed not that different from experiments in science.
    sorry for the derail and sorry I did see the offending work.

    There are some really substantial problems with this line of reasoning that are going to drive me nuts unless they’re addressed. It’s nothing personal, but it is a pet peeve of mine. I have two degrees in art, so I would like to think it’s actually an area of my expertise.

    The primary point I would like to make is that the form doesn’t excuse the execution. Regardless of whether or not comics are/can be art (an old debate, to be sure), the Hellen Keller image was just offensive. Likewise, regardless of whether or not games are/can be art, the Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian game is just offensive.

    I wasn’t familiar with Callahan before I saw your link, but even those comics do something the Keller one didn’t. The Keller joke is “haha, blind people can’t tell things apart and are stupid.” Callahan’s jokes at least go as far as, “people don’t want to shake an amputee’s hook, so he will charge them to not engage in what is otherwise a common courtesy.”

    This comment actually reminds me of a post from Mike Krahulik on Penny Arcade (before I stopped reading) in which he talks about how some game’s female character has boobs bigger than her head and virtually no clothes, but it’s totally playing with a trope, and the purpose of art is to drive discussion, so the fact that there’s a discussion about how this blatantly filthy misogyny is embedded in the game means that it’s good art. No. It doesn’t. It means that some sexist fart hammers put a sex object in a game, but totally drew attention to it. That doesn’t make it not a problem. Tropes Vs. Women actually directly addresses it almost every episode when she says that calling it a trope but still using it doesn’t make it not a trope.

    Making an ableist joke but recognizing that it’s an ableist joke doesn’t make it not ableist.

    My wife will warn you that I will talk context all day, so please believe me that there is no context excuse, either.

  115. says

    I should add to that last sentence “provided I am remembering the correct image–not sure I saw it on TWICN, but I am pretty sure I have elsewhere.” Based on the description here and in the linked archive of comments, I’m pretty sure they are one and the same.

  116. Pierce R. Butler says

    For the curious: the same Rodda post that triggered our host’s (mild) criticism and Rodda’s bridge-burning evacuation also went up at Talk to Action.

    Much as I admire T2A, the absence of any “what’s wrong with being an atheist?” perspectives in the comments there does not surprise (though not seeing any such in the O.P. certainly disappoints).

    Shallow oversights —> Deep Rifts.