We used to think the internet could be self-policing, too

Back in the old days, the internet was full of kooks: there was the timecube guy, and Archimedes Plutonium, and Robert McElwaine (UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT information is ENCOURAGED), and the Velikovskiites, and a host of other strange folk, and that was fine. The weirdos spiced things up, and besides, their followings consisted mostly of people laughing at them. The most troubling thing now is not that there are oddballs, but that there are huge mobs of people following and agreeing with them, and amplifying their message to an absurd degree. Alex Jones would have been a classic Usenet crank, for instance, ridiculed and mocked, but now? He’s raking in the dough and is advising the president.

A Buzzfeed article pins much of the blame for that on one outlet, YouTube.

The entire contemporary conspiracy-industrial complex of internet investigation and social media promulgation, which has become a defining feature of media and politics in the Trump era, would be a very small fraction of itself without YouTube. Yes, the site most people associate with “Gangnam Style,” pirated music, and compilations of dachshunds sneezing is also the central content engine of the unruliest segments of the ascendant right-wing internet, and sometimes its enabler.

To wit, the conspiracy-news internet’s biggest stars, some of whom now enjoy New Yorker profiles and presidential influence, largely live on YouTube — some of them on the site’s news channel. Infowars — whose founder and host, Alex Jones, claims Sandy Hook didn’t happen, Michelle Obama is a man, and 9/11 was an inside job — broadcasts to 2 million subscribers on YouTube. So does Michael “Gorilla Mindset” Cernovich. So too do a whole genre of lesser-known but still wildly popular YouTubers, people like Seaman and Stefan Molyneux (an Irishman closely associated with the popular “Truth About” format). As do a related breed of prolific political-correctness watchdogs like Paul Joseph Watson and Sargon of Akkad (real name: Carl Benjamin), whose videos focus on the supposed hypocrisies of modern liberal culture and the ways they leave Western democracy open to a hostile Islamic takeover. As do a related group of conspiratorial white-identity vloggers like Red Ice TV, which regularly hosts neo-Nazis in its videos.

We’ve long known how awful YouTube commenters are — in general, comment threads there are a nightmare of alt-right freaks, indignant misogynists, racists, and fanatical consumers of niche media. There is virtually no accountability in YouTube comments, and it has become another outpost of the 4chan mentality. And further, as mentioned above, flaming lunatics thrive as media personalities on it, because they gladly affirm prejudice and bigotry and often, bizarre Libertarian views. I’d heard of several of the people mentioned, but had never encountered one, Davd Seaman, who is featured in the article, so I had to look him up.

I watched one video by Seaman.

ONE.

I could take no more. Here it is:

Seaman is a prominent #pizzagate conspiracy theorist — you know, the unbelievable, batshit stupid idea that there is a secret child molestation conspiracy ring run by major Democratic figures out of a basement lair in a specific pizza parlor that has no basement. These are the kinds of guys who wax wroth at the outrage of innocent, imaginary (they can never name any of the victims) children being sexually abused, while simultaneously insisting that the Sandy Hook murders were a false flag operation, and all the innocent, named children were actors.

In the above video, Seaman also goes on and on about Bitcoin and gold-based currencies. None of what he says is backed up by reason or evidence, but only by his stridently held opinions. He has a following, though: take a look at the comments on the Buzzfeed article. They are eye-opening. There are lots of angry people who are convinced that Alex Jones and David Seaman are telling the Truth.

In a world full of clowns, Bozo is king, and it looks like YouTube is the media of choice for gullible fools.


Oh, I forgot! One thing he claimed, bizarrely, was that the recent announcement about possible habitable planets was a distraction to keep people from hammering John Podesta about his imaginary pedophilia. It wasn’t just NASA conspiring to snow us all, he said there was also the recent discovery of an alien artifact in Antarctica.

Say what? Did you hear anything about an alien artifact. I hadn’t. The only thing I could find was an unbelievable crackpot story about Visit to Antarctica Confirms Discovery of Flash Frozen Alien Civilization. No, this wasn’t news. No, it isn’t distracting anyone. Apparently, we’re at the stage where cranks are complaining about other cranks stealing their thunder.

We’ve taken the first step in deconverting the Pope

It’s kind of a backhanded compliment — atheists are a little better than crooks! — but I guess it’s moving him in the right direction.

Christians who exploit people, lead a double life and get involved in “dirty business,” scandalize the church, Pope Francis said in a sermon Thursday in Rome. In fact, it might be better just to be an atheist.

“And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down,” Francis said, according to Vatican Radio.

I’m charitable, too. I’m willing to admit that many Catholics are, in fact, better than child-rapers.

Heretics must be erased

Creationists have a big problem: reality contradicts their beliefs. They are all in a situation of having to deny reality to some degree, but the question is…how much? Do you just go full on crackpot and declare that all of science is wrong, and that you just have to realize that God created everything with the illusion of great age? That’s tempting, but might be too great a reach for some. Better still is to deny the interpretations that conflict with your fable, and recast all the evidence in light of the Bible. That allows you to claim science supports your views while rejecting the science, which is a neat trick.

But there are multiple alternative ways to do that! Creationists have focused on two major problems with Biblical geology. One is the age of the Earth; the Bible makes it sound like our origin is relatively recent and human, while all the scientific evidence says its ancient. Another related problem is change: geology documents all kinds of upheavals, from seashells on mountaintops to warped strata in the rocks to the slow accumulation of sediments. That sure sounds like we need a lot of time to accommodate all that change.

One popular strategy was to shove all those ancient changes into a long period of time outside the scope of the Bible: yes, the Earth is old and there was a lot of irrelevant chaos over vast periods of time, but the Bible isn’t talking about that — it’s about God’s relationship to humankind, so it fast forwards through all the stuff about God’s relationship to dust, gas, and rocks. This was probably the most popular explanation at the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century.

You may notice, though, that that rationale is no longer in vogue, even if it is just as compatible with the Bible as anything can be with that mess of contradictions. Instead, most creationists push a peculiar alternative.

The Earth is young. And all those geological changes occured during one cataclysm mentioned in the Bible, the Noachian Flood.

This is why modern creationists are obsessed with the flood. This is why Ken Ham spent all that money building a giant fake ark: The Flood (and the Fall) are their giant excuse. Geology and biology are all about change…well, hey, the Bible has you covered! It’s just that all that changed occurred in one year.

It’s a weird and very specific idea, and not a necessary one at all. Where did it come from?

We know exactly where it came from, and so does Ken Ham: he credits one book, The Genesis Flood, by Whitcomb and Morris. All you have to read to understand the ‘science’ of Answers in Genesis or the Institute of Creation Research is that one book. It was incredibly influential and set the dogma of creationism in stone. All the modern creationists acknowledge its importance.

But where did Whitcomb and Morris get this idea? We know the answer to that, too. We know exactly who the most influential creationist in the period from the Scopes trial in 1925 to The Genesis Flood in 1961 was: it was George McCready Price, who was both fanatical and prolific in promoting his crackpot ideas about Flood geology. Read The Creationists by the historian Ron Numbers; he’s thorough in describing the efforts of fundamentalist Christians to rebound from the debacle of Scopes, and George McCready Price is everywhere and central in their attempts to recover some credibility.

One catch: Price was a heretic. He was a gosh-darned Seventh Day Adventist, and he was always praising the visions of their prophetess Ellen White and working SDA doctrine into his accounts.

Ken Ham hates it when you link his theology to George McCready Price. He wrote an article denouncing the idea, stating that it was a false accusation that what we believe at AiG had its roots in the Seventh Day Adventist movement with Ellen White. No, no, those heretics had nothing to do with his obsession with the Flood!

At the same time, though, Ham acknowledges the indebtedness of the creationist movement to Whitcomb and Morris.

It is widely recognized today by both friend and foe that the modern creation movement—now growing steadily across America and other western nations—had its genesis in the early 1960s. But it happened in a somewhat surprising manner. First, it came through God using Henry Morris, a soft-spoken, bespectacled academician living in central Virginia. Second, the resurgence of the creation movement in modern times (a movement that had become relatively quiet since the Scopes trial of 1925) was launched not at a major rally led by Dr. Morris nor through any controversy in the courts or schools—nothing noisy whatsoever. In fact, the event was not even associated with the first chapter of Genesis and the account of creation.

The resurgent movement’s surprising trigger was the release of Dr. Morris’s groundbreaking book The Genesis Flood (coauthored with Dr. John Whitcomb). But what a stir that book created. The impact of this now-classic work was such that many church historians have concluded that Dr. Morris was a giant—perhaps unparalleled—in the battle for biblical inerrancy, as he defended the most-attacked book of the Bible. This unassuming scholar was to spearhead an international movement that was to shake the very foundations of the evolution establishment and, just as importantly, challenge the church to accept biblical authority from the very first verse.

All this is true. It doesn’t answer the question, though: where did Whitcomb and Morris come up with flood geology as a unifying concept? Whitcomb was a theologian, Morris was an engineer; neither were geologists. They had to get this idea from somewhere, and if you read The Genesis Flood and any of George McCready Price’s numerous tracts and papers, it’s obvious. Morris and Whitcomb were idea launderers. They took the flood geology of a Seventh Day Adventist and washed off the taint of Ellen White. And now Ham is in denial.

Oh yes he is! The gang at BioLogos (ooh, ick) looked into it. Poor George McCready Price and Ellen White have been mostly expunged from AiG’s history of creationism.

While conducting research for this column, I searched for Price’s full name on the AiG website, as well as a separate search without using his middle name (which found just one more article along with nearly 100 false positives). The result was unexpected, but revealing. AiG is a massive site devoted to almost every imaginable aspect of creationism, including a very large number of articles partly or entirely devoted to the history of the ideas and the movement. Yet my search for Price produced only nine articles—a remarkably small number, given the enormous role that he actually played in the history of creationism. Henry Morris’ name appears in more than 500 articles, with Whitcomb’s close behind. And, searching for Ellen White yields only three articles. Many other historical figures who didn’t really contribute to creationism come up far more often. Dozens of articles mention Robert Boyle, nearly 200 mention Johannes Kepler, and even more mention Isaac Newton. Now, there’s nothing odd about AiG showing much interest in great scientists from the seventeenth century, even someone like Newton who denied the divinity of Jesus, but the near absence of Price (and White) is passing strange.

Even better, they go to the earlier books of the Sainted Henry Morris, and guess what? Morris himself declares the source of his ideas about geology!

There are a few geologists, even today, who hold to some form of the flood theory. Probably the outstanding example is George M. Price, who is probably as conversant with the whole subject of historical geology as any man living. Because of his views, he has been subjected to a great deal of criticism and ridicule by orthodox geologists, but his wealth of accumulated facts and his incontrovertible logic have never been answered. Much of the material in this chapter is taken from his works.

It wasn’t just Price, either. Morris credits a lot of Adventists for his ideas.

In the bibliography at the end of that chapter, Morris listed four books and four articles by Price—far more than anyone else cited there. He also listed three articles by Adventist author Benjamin Franklin Allen and a very rare item by another Adventist (though not apparently of the Seventh-day variety), namely, The Flood: The Fact of History (1890), by Charles Totten, a military officer and Anglo-Israelite who probably originated the modern urban legend that astronomers have confirmed Joshua’s missing day. More than half of the twenty-three works, including eight by the man he identified as most important, were written by Adventists.

Oops. Not only can’t Ken Ham get the science right, he even distorts the history of his own worldview.

Poor George. He truly was a crackpot, and totally wrong about everything, but now he’s being carefully scrubbed out of all of the official state portraits of the creationist movement.

Why haven’t women already realized what you can do with super-glue?

mensez

Would you like better control over your periods? Then ask a man who knows nothing of female physiology and doesn’t bother to test his solution. He’s a man, he must be right. Rebecca tears down this product for ‘feminine hygiene’, called Mensez, and which is simply a stick of glue to…glue…your vagina…shut. No, seriously. That’s how he proposes to control your periods.

I’m thinking it might be useful to men, too, who need to control explosive diarrhea. Or to shut their mouths when they’re talking too much.

Anyway, the inventor’s own brother showed up in comments to say what he thinks.

braddopps

He hasn’t tested it, but he’s put together a website with stock photos to sell it. No product, and it would be nice to say he must be marketing genius, except that calling it “men-sez”, and promoting it as “lip-stick”, with a logo that looks like a pair of testicles, kinda shoots that idea down.

It’s like a nonsensical fantasy novel

I have sad news, everyone. Ken Ham has finally blocked me on Twitter, so now I’m getting all the humorous Answers in Genesis news second hand…like this glorious announcement. The Ark Park has a new exhibit! It’s a diorama showing the wicked antediluvian humans putting on gladiatorial games, with dinosaurs.

AiGArena

That is so damned Biblical that I think I shat out a prophet while I was laughing so hard.

Although, I have to admit that it is amazingly cinematic. Imagine how much better the gladiator scenes in HBO’s Rome or that Spartacus series would have been if they’d occasionally brought a T. rex into the arena.

It also reminds me of the fabulous (in all meanings of the word) Jim Pinkoski, he of pygmies and dwarfs fame, who invented this spectacular scene for the end of his Noah’s Ark comic book in which fallen angels mounted on dinosaurs attacked the Ark to prevent it from sailing.

destroytheark

Religion just means that you get to make everything up.

They got rocks in their hoo-ha

Yoni-eggs

Gwyneth Paltrow…oh, hey, I can just stop right there. You’re already cracking up at the joke. We’re done. I’m just going to unwind from classes with a cup of tea, you go on with whatever you were doing.

Oh, OK — Gwyneth is selling “jade eggs”, smooth stones, that you’re supposed to stuff up your ladybits and then walk around, doing your business or whatever, while they do magic things for you. She interviews the person who makes these things, named Shiva Rose, and we are enlightened on a number of strangely twisted ‘facts’.

I learned about the jade egg through the yoga community that I was in, and I sort of went down the rabbit hole of researching the practice—there was not as much information about it then as there is now. But it made intuitive sense to me: The word for our womb, yoni, translates as “sacred place”, and it is a sacred place—it’s where many women access their intuition, their power, and their wisdom. It’s this inner sanctum that we can access when it’s not in use creating life. Sadly most people use it as a psychic trash bin, storing old or negative energy. I see it as a place to celebrate ourselves as sexual, powerful beings, or as mothers, not a place to carry negative or un-dealt-with emotions. I’ve always been into crystals, so learning about jade eggs (which are gems) has been a natural progression for me—this particular jade, nephrite jade, has incredible clearing, cleansing powers. It’s a dark, deep green and very heavy—it’s a great stone for taking away negativity.

This sounds exactly like something the MRAs would agree with: a woman’s power and intelligence isn’t in her mind, but in her vagina. It isn’t. Also, whenever you hear the phrase “cleansing powers”, and it isn’t talking about detergents, you know you’re going to get a load of bullshit. Ditto for “clearing” and “negativity”.

I also find this phrase telling: there was not as much information about it then as there is now. That’s only because frauds like her have been busily making shit up and stuffing it onto the internet. There is not more information now, there is more garbage — she just can’t tell the difference.

If you really want one, Gwyneth is selling them for only $66. Here’s an even better deal, though: a gynecologist is offering free advice. You should take it.

As for the recommendation that women sleep with a jade egg in their vaginas I would like to point out that jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside and so the egg could act like a fomite. This is not good, in case you were wondering. It could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.

Regarding the suggestion to wear the jade egg while walking around, well, I would like to point out that your pelvic floor muscles are not meant to contract continuously. In fact, it is quite difficult to isolate your pelvic floor while walking so many women could actually clench other muscles to keep the egg inside. It is possible the pained expression of clenching your butt all day could be what is leading people to stare, not some energy glow.

Gwyneth Paltrow seems like a nice, well-meaning but incredibly privileged person who is affably promoting ignorance and exploiting the gullible for personal profit. She may have a pretty smile and better manners, but she is almost as bad for society as the loud-mouthed trumpkins. She happily enables stupidity and makes it seem like a desirable state.

Evidence that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth…together!

The Ark Park and the yokels who visit it are made for each other. An article Louisville Magazine describes the awe and wonder the fake ark inspires in attendees.

Golly, someone said when the Ark came into view. Oh my goodness.

Four guys built that, another man said. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Yep, sure is unbelievable. Here’s a photo of an early phase in the construction.

ark_crew

One, two, three, many. Yes sir, four people made it.

Then there’s the point where visitors explain that gravity doesn’t exist.

Gravity has never been proven, because gravity is a large object attracted to a smaller object, and it’s never been seen. If gravity existed, a BB and a bowling ball should bump into each other. So you see how guys like Newton get caught in their own lies.

So, if I held a BB near, say, a big rock with a diameter of about 13,000 km, they would just hang there and not bump into each other? ‘k.

The reporter asked Georgia Purdom a rather fundamental question: why?

“So why an Ark?” I said. “Why build it at all?”

We want people to see that the Bible is true, Purdom said. Just as there was a judgement in Noah’s day, there’s another judgment coming, and those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their personal savior will spend eternity in hell.

Such nice people.

But really, my favorite part is where he asked Andrew Snelling for evidence that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time. Easy, he claims.

Purdom introduced me to geologist Andrew Snelling, who followed Ken Ham to the U.S. from Australia and for the last nine years has been the director of research for Answers in Genesis. I said,
“There were dinosaurs on the Ark, right?” Snelling nodded. Right.
“Then why aren’t there dinosaurs today?”

Dinosaurs went extinct after they left the Ark. After the Flood, we had the Ice Age. We had a radically different world. Some creatures weren’t able to adapt. But most cultures in the world have some legend about dragons, and these dragons are actually a good description of dinosaurs. The Chinese, for example — their dragons are depicted on scrolls pulling the chariots of emperors. And there was a story called Beowulf in which the king slays a dragon, and this happened in Norway.
“So you take Beowulf to be evidence of dinosaurs existing?”
Yes, Snelling said. It was an eyewitness account.

Huh. I just happen to have the Heaney translation of Beowulf right here, and this is the description of the dragon.

Unyielding, the lord of his people loomed
by his tall shield, sure of his ground,
while the serpent looped and unleashed itself.
Swaddled in flames, it came gliding and flexing
and racing towards its fate.

So it’s kind of a writhing, scaly, giant, worm-like creature. That breathes fire. That’s definite; it repeatedly talks about flames and smoke and burning. Are we then to believe that dinosaurs could breathe fire?

Here’s a Chinese dragon dinosaur for you. It doesn’t look much like any dinosaur species I know of, but apparently we are supposed to take “eyewitness accounts” as the gold standard.

Beijing_Nine_Dragon_Wall

Incredible. Literally incredible.

Dogma comes in many flavors

Ask an atheist, and they will tell you that religion poisons everything. There is an understanding that human nature is not fixed, but is susceptible to all kinds of influences — people make decisions based not simply on what they are, but on how they were brought up and shaped by their environment. They are likely to note that an American is most probably a Christian, not because they thought it through and worked out the logic and evidence, but simply because they were brought up in a predominantly Christian culture; if they’d been born in India they’d most likely be Hindu, in Italy Catholic, in Iran Muslim, in Sweden Lutheran, etc.

Where this awareness fizzles out, though, is in domains where we’ve absorbed and accepted the dominant worldview — suddenly, the conventions become not a plastic response to history and contingency and idiosyncratic circumstance, but “human nature” and the arguments become all about the necessity of maintaining the status quo: “that’s the way it is”, “are you some kind of freak?”, “we wouldn’t be this way if it weren’t adaptive.” There is a pressure to conform, because everyone is expected to behave the way everyone else is.

We wouldn’t hesitate to be iconoclastic if the issue is one of faith. Break it down, we’d say, shatter those chains and think for yourself. Other topics, though, are suddenly taboo. Try to go to most atheist meetings and question, for instance, conventional notions of masculinity. A significant number of those radical superstition-breakers will be appalled and start whispering about you, and divisions will form and some will cast you out. There will be references to such distinguished defenders of the fixity of gender norms as Steven Pinker and Christina Hoff Sommers when they want to appear highbrow, and mutterings about cucks and SJWs when they don’t care. They are willing to be infidels only on narrow matters of religion, but on anything else, they are as hidebound and inflexible as the most dogmatic Catholic.

But they are wrong. Masculinity is not one simple thing. There is no rulebook that says “You must have short hair; you must enjoy football; you must sneer at queers; you must eat steak and work out on weekends.” Having a penis does not imply that there is a suite of behaviors you must accept, while not having one means you cannot engage in them. There is a link between biology and behavior, but it’s weaker than you think and requires constant reinforcement from culture in order to sustain itself. We know this is true because different cultures have different notions of masculinity. There is no one true male nature.

Cartomancer has a long and thorough post on the nature of masculinity in ancient Greek culture. It’s amazing. Right there at the root of contemporary Western culture, they can’t even get this fundamental biological essentialism right — different cities had different perspectives on what it means to be a man, almost as if the Y chromosome does not dictate every aspect of your identity.

I have spent some time outlining the Homeric models of manly behaviour, because they show us threads that continued to be important in the culture of the Classical city-states of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, widely regarded as the high water mark of Greek culture. But to talk of one Greek culture is clearly a mistake. The different city states each took their shared Homeric inheritance and distorted it in different directions, placing emphasis on different aspects of their shared culture and in so doing creating different and competing conceptions of masculinity.

Spartan culture, for instance, was radically authoritarian, militaristic, anti-intellectual and anti-capitalist. Full Spartiate citizens were expected to be full-time warriors, living in communal barracks with their fellow men and spurning the trappings of wealth, comfort and sophistication. To them courage was everything, the model of Achilles their ultimate goal. The Spartan approach to courage comes across well in the saying, recorded by Plutarch, that Spartan mothers expect their sons to come back carrying their shields or on dead on top of them (that is, having won the battle or having died trying – throwing away your heavy metal hoplon shield to better escape a pursuing enemy was an unforgivable crime in Sparta). The Greek word we usually translate as “courage” is andreia – literally “manliness”, and the two were pretty much synonymous in Sparta (compare the Latin virtus, from vir, man, which is the root of our “virtue”).

They don’t say much about femininity — there’s another lengthy essay that needs to be written — but it’s too often implicit that the feminine is the mirror image of the masculine. If courage and virtue are manly traits, then women must be timid and weak, or they are violating norms. If men of other cities are less diligent in pursuing glorious death in battle, they must be “pussies”, or that universal put-down, “women”. If a woman expresses courage like a man, she must be “butch”, a “dyke”, and must therefore be ugly and less desirable as a woman.

We are soaking in these attitudes. Fire up an online video game and do poorly, and watch the reaction: you must be a “pussy” or a “fag”. It’s gotten so bad that if you merely defend the equality of women, you are a damnable SJW who is betraying men.

But we can fix that! We tried to bring up our kids to be tolerant and open and willing to explore their identities beyond blindly accepting gender-defined paths, and I think they turned out pretty good. There are sub-communities within atheism that are conscious of other ways of thinking than the default patriarchal set, just as there are better ways of thinking about the universe than the indoctrinated godly explanations. We can learn to be better and recognize the artificiality of so many conventions in our society, so we can break them. This ought to be understood as the default position of atheist organizations everywhere. No gods, no masters, no dogmas about human nature.

There’s a flip side to human plasticity, though. If we’re flexible enough that we can be made better, then we must also recognize the possibility that culture can make us worse. If atheism is liberating, it’s also true that Catholicism is persuasive, and we could be living in a society that constantly tells us we need to be more Christian (hey, we do!). If the truth is that gender roles are more complicated and less rigidly dictated by biology than many people believe, there can also be a culture that promotes the lie that there is only one true way to be a man, and we have that, too, and it harms people as badly as the most demented religion out there. It’s called the alt-right, or the manosphere, or machismo, or any of a thousand names that some will automatically accept as virtuous (it’s built into the language that man equals virtue, after all.) Abi Wilkinson reports on her experiences with toxic masculinity.

In modern parlance, this is part of the phenomenon known as the “alt-right”. More sympathetic commentators portray it as “a backlash to PC culture” and critics call it out as neofascism. Over the past year, it has been strange to see the disturbing internet subculture I’ve followed for so long enter the mainstream. The executive chairman of one of its most popular media outlets, Breitbart, has just been appointed Donald Trump’s chief of strategy, and their UK bureau chief was among the first Brits to have a meeting with the president-elect. Their figurehead – Milo Yiannopoulos – toured the country stumping for him during the campaign on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour. These people are now part of the political landscape.

On their forums I’ve read long, furious manifestos claiming that women are all sluts who “ride the cock carousel” and sleep with a series of “alpha males” until they reach the end of their sexual prime, at which point they seek out a “beta cuck” to settle down with for financial security. I’ve lurked silently on blogs dedicated to “pick-up artistry” as men argue that uppity, opinionated, feminist women – women like myself – need to be put in their place through “corrective rape”.

I know about the “men going their own way” movement, which is based around the idea that men should avoid any sort of romantic or sexual relationship with women. I’m aware of “traditional marriage” advocates, who often argue that you should aim to marry a very young woman as she’s likely to be easier to control. I also learned the difference between an “incel” who is involuntarily celibate, and a “volcel” who makes a deliberate choice to avoid sexual activity, and sometimes also masturbation, often in the belief that ejaculation depletes their testosterone and saps them of masculine power.

I’ve read their diatribes, too, and what I find dismaying is how often they cite science as somehow backing up their views, but to their minds, “science” means rationalizing their rigid and deterministic gender essentialism. Good science says no such thing. Neither does history or philosophy or sociology or anthropology or psychology. We have a responsibility to stop these lies. They are as damaging to human psychological development as dogmatic Christianity or Islam, and if you are concerned about removing obstacles to our species’ potential, as most atheists will say they are, then you have an obligation to combat the propaganda of these pseudo-scientific Y chromosome worshippers as you do the propaganda of religion.

We growed a little more

Quietly, in the dead of night and in disguise, we stealthily slipped in some new people on the FtB roster. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

You can go visit them yourselves, but keep it on the down low. If it ever got out what a hive of rapscallions and scallywags we were nursing at the SJW teat, they might call us rude names or something.

I can’t claim to be a prophet…yet

A reader has warned me that I might be guilty of the sin of prophecy. Back in 2014 I wrote this:

I will make a prediction, right here and now. The number of people identifying as “nones” will grow in this country in coming years, because we’re on the right side of history, and because organized religion is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on other-worldly issues that don’t help people. The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people.

And then they pointed out the results of this Gallup poll from the summer:

beliefingod

Nope. Not going to claim I’ve been sadly vindicated yet. As the article from Gallup points out, there’s a lot of wobbliness due to the precise wording of the question. I’d also suggest that the previous year’s abrupt downswing in religiosity looks more like noise, so this year’s upswing is nothing but regression to the mean. There are still signs of a slow trend away from belief in gods, but it’s nothing dramatic, and we’re not seeing widespread acceptance of overt atheism. As the article explains, the variations may not be meaningful of any kind of shift in ideas.

The exact meaning of these shifts is unclear. Although the results can be taken at face value in showing that fewer Americans believe in God than did so in the past, it is also possible that basic beliefs have not changed — but rather Americans’ willingness to express nonreligious sentiments to an interviewer has. Whatever the explanation for these changes over time, the most recent findings show that the substantial majority of Americans continue to give a positive response when asked about their belief in God.

I’m still going to argue that atheism needs something more than a denial of the existence of gods if it is going to achieve wider popularity. We’re riding on a slow swell of anti-clericism, but we need to get into the curl of a more active social relevancy.

We also can’t deny that we hold a minority view. But the “good” news is that the resurgence of Republican theocratic meddling might yet inspire more anti-religious views!