Anita Sarkeesian was given an award at a game developer’s conference last spring, and now we learn that assholes tried to shut it down with a bomb threat. Seriously, dudes? This is how you deal with critics?
As always seems to happen, people looked at the list which already had the problem of being grossly skewed towards men, and noticed other odd little things. Like, “hey, I follow this science person who has more followers than so-and-so, why isn’t she on the list?” Clearly, there were errors of omission, and oddly, they all seem to skew away from women and people of color. Or maybe not so oddly — it’s striking how often that seems to happen.
I have discovered the key to great riches: all I have to do is get someone famous to accuse me of being “click-baity” and trolling for cash, and in a strangely perverse turn, people start freely donating to me. Just today, I’ve been given $500 via the donate box in the sidebar! I was surprised, and I thank those of you who donated very much. So I thought I’d tell you all what I’m going to do with it.
Sam Harris recently stuck his foot in his mouth, claiming that the lack of women in active positions within atheism is because atheism lacks that “estrogen vibe” and that a “critical posture” is “intrinsically male”, which got him some heat. So he scurried off and has written a reply: I’m not the sexist pig you’re looking for.
Wrong. Right from the title, he gets it all wrong. Here’s how he could easily defuse the whole situation: acknowledge that what he said was wrong, and move on. “I spoke off the cuff, and I said things that were invalid and perpetuate the problem of sexism in atheism. I apologize, and will try to do better.” Over. No problem. We’d all be able to move on, and would appreciate that he’s trying.
Richard Dawkins: you’re wrong. Deeply, profoundly, fundamentally wrong. Your understanding of feminism is flawed and misinformed, and further, you keep returning to the same poisonous wells of misinformation. It’s like watching creationists try to rebut evolution by citing Kent Hovind; do you not understand that that is not a trustworthy source? It’s a form of motivated reasoning, in which you keep returning to those who provide the comfortable reassurances that your biases are actually correct, rather than challenging yourself with new perspectives.
It’s always the changing story that gives the liar away. We have a couple of accounts of the night in question, when Michael Shermer is accused of taking advantage of a young woman at a conference, and both of them come straight from Shermer himself. Here’s the story from Shermer written shortly after the event.