It’s never a good day to read about Doug Wilson

Remember Doug Wilson? I’ve never met him, but I met a few of his creationist acolytes when I visited the Palouse a few years ago, and they were a remarkably slimy bunch. I couldn’t even imagine how slimy, though. Doug Wilson is known for founding a particularly regressive church in Idaho, and also for a debate tour he did with Christopher Hitchens (they made a documentary about it), which was a total mystery to me. I don’t know whether Hitchens wanted to give Wilson a platform for his conservative ideology, or whether he thought Wilson was an obliging punching bag.

Here, though, is a brief introduction to Wilson’s version of Christianity.

In addition to his role as pastor, Wilson is also a co-founder of New St. Andrew’s College and Grayfriars Hall, a vocational seminary for young men. He has developed a reputation for being a harsh and constant critic, spilling tons of digital ink on issues from LGBT inclusion in the church (he’s against it) to his favorite topic, the implausibility of Christian feminism. Wilson makes his reputation as a shock-jock theologian; in his tendency to bloviate, he brings to mind a certain presidential candidate: “Make Christianity great again!”

Wilson is one of the figureheads of a set of beliefs known as Biblical Patriarchy, devoted to the idea that “father rule”—the literal meaning of patriarchy—is a guiding principle for the Christian life. He is convinced the Bible teaches that a woman’s primary domain is in the home, and only after her responsibilities are satisfied there can she think about going out to get some volunteer work or, perhaps, a part-time job. Female preachers are, naturally, out of the question. “Christian women ought to be domestic,” he once said. “Everything is directed toward home and family and kids.”

You may not want to read further into the article, because it gets even uglier. One of the cheap tricks of Wilson’s seminary is that he gets community members to house his budding seminarians for him. So picture this: this predatory, misogynistic church attracts predatory, misogynistic students, who are then housed with the trusting faithful of his congregation and their families, and then…well, this isn’t a sitcom, so I can’t cheerfully say that mirthful hijinks ensue. It’s more like sexual abuse of minors, stalking, and destruction of families. Or, in other words, typical Christian family life.

And, you will not be surprised to learn, the kicker is that Doug Wilson defends his students who are molesting 13 year old girls, and blames the parents in those households. He has a point: you are a bad parent if you let a Wilson-endorsed student anywhere near your children.

We don’t need no education

Cristina Odone is not happy that her daughter is required to take science and math classes — and it’s all those damned feminists pressuring girls to go into STEM fields. She thinks it isn’t right that, under the British system, kids are required to take a couple of GCSEs in the sciences.

Now this is where my Americanism gets in the way — I’m unfamiliar with the British system, so I had to do a little digging to relate her complaint to the American system I understand. GCSEs are qualifications that demonstrate basic understanding of a subject — students take exams, after a couple of years of coursework, when they’re about 16 years old, in a collection of subjects, some of which are required, and others which are elective. They’ll typically get 8-10 GCSEs.

Speak up, readers from the UK, if I’m getting any of this wrong!

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Scott Adams, master of ignorance


I used to regularly take slaps at Scott Adams, but it got old — he’s so imperturbably stupid that it seemed mostly pointless. He thinks he already knows everything, so he’ll never learn. Either that or he’ll talk to himself in a series of positive affirmations to confirm that he’s right anyway…PZ Myers telling him he’s wrong can’t possibly compete with Scott Adams telling Scott Adams how brilliant Scott Adams is.

But now David Futrelle reminds me that not only is he stupid, he’s just an awful person. Adams has written a complaint about how poor men are so put upon by feminists, because of their rules. He tries to explain what a typical imaginary date is like.

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Yes, Mr. A, there is a significant pay gap

Every time the fact that there is a pay gap between men and women is mentioned, there’s always someone who comes charging in with denials and excuses: men work longer (because women do more work for free at home), men are wisely choosing higher-paying jobs (never noticing that we devalue women’s work), men do more dangerous work, so they deserve more compensation (wait, so there is a pay gap? And maybe we should do more safety improvements and actually compensate more for risky jobs — because they are dangerous, not because men are doing them), etc., etc., etc. It’s always a matter of finagling the numbers using implicit biases to make the glaring gaps go away.

Now Jenny Stevens goes through the rationalizations one by one, and neatly rebuts the games the apologists play for paying women less.

Online Gender Workshop: Social Construction Workers Rivet Sex to Gender

Online Gender Workshop, as ever, is brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke.

Hopefully, in our last workshop entry, we got an understanding of what social construction is, and what it isn’t. I’m a firm believer, as I said in that post, of people being better educated about social construction theory so that they can understand what is and isn’t being said when someone asserts, “Donkey is a social construct”.

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Lord, please never let Louise Mensch decide to “help” me

It’s time for a retrospective on the Tim Hunt case. Dan Waddell and Paula Higgins look over Louise Mensch’s “contributions” to the story, and unsurprisingly, discovers dishonesty, distortions, and omissions: many of the people she claimed were contradicting the story of Hunt making a poorly done sexist joke were actually confirming it, but simply saying that it was a sad attempt at humor that backfired.

In the end, the parable of Tim Hunt is indeed a simple one. He said something casually sexist, stupid and inappropriate which offended many of his audience. He then confirmed he said what he was reported to have said and apologised twice. The matter should have stopped there. Instead a concerted effort to save his name — which was not disgraced, nor his reputation as a scientist jeopardized — has rewritten history. Science is about truth. As this article has shown, we have seen very little of it from Hunt’s apologists — merely evasions, half-truths, distortions, errors and outright falsehoods.

As he points out, the story would have been a brief flare-up that could have ended with an apology, Tim Hunt’s career would have continued on, maybe a little more wisely. Instead, Mensch and others turned it into a protracted mess in which they attempted to refute the facts, and now the label of sexism is attached even more firmly to Hunt than cyclins are.

Online Gender Workshop: Detour, Social Construction Ahead edition

Online Gender Workshop, as ever, is brought to you by your friendly, neighborhood Crip Dyke.

To understand gender, it is vital to understand how it comes about. While the etiology of individual gender identities is very much in doubt, the etiology of gender as a framework, as a concept, that is not in doubt: Gender, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is a social construct.

Few feminists would dispute that. However, when I taught courses on gender-related topics to people who already espoused the idea that gender is a social construct, it frequently, even typically, became clear that they didn’t understand the statement at all. So while many might not dispute it, the statement itself is not helping us. Indeed, it appears to be hurting us. So let’s add to the discussion another statement, more commonly disputed among feminists: Sex is a social construct.

There. That should make all the rest easy.

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It’s yet another tale of misogynists building myths about feminists. Feminists are all out to get those hard-working, super-smart guys working in the tech industry, don’t you know.

Yesterday, Eric Raymond, a software development and open-source software advocate, published an explosive allegation on his blog: a recently disbanded group called the Ada Initiative, which advertises itself as helping make tech more welcoming for women, had been attempting to entrap men by using “honey pots” to seduce them and then accuse them of rape. “The MO was to get alone with the target, and then immediately after cry ‘attempted sexual assault,” wrote Raymond’s source, an IRC correspondent he doesn’t name but who he says has been “both well-informed and completely trustworthy in the past.”

Worst of all, these evil feminists have been gunning for a high-profile target: Linus Torvalds, the tech-hero founder of Linux. “Linus hasn’t spoken out about this; I can think of several plausible and good reasons for that,” writes Raymond. “And the Ada Initiative shut down earlier this year. Nevertheless, this report is consistent with reports of SJW [social-justice-warrior, a derogatory term used frequently in anti-feminist writing] dezinformatsiya tactics from elsewhere and I think it would be safest to assume that they are being replicated by other women-in-tech groups.”

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