A match made in…

Milo Yiannopoulos is going to be speaking at Clemson University in South Carolina. I’m so sorry, South Carolina; you get to host a diffident dork who’ll be declaring that feminism is a cancer.

But at least he’ll be speaking in the right place, in Tillman Auditorium, which is named after Ben Tillman. This Ben Tillman.

Ben Tillman’s long and bloody public career began in 1876 at what would ultimately be called the Hamburg Massacre.

The then 29-year-old Tillman led the members of the Sweetwater Sabre Club, a.k.a. the Edgefield Redshits, against a local militia group, all black. Several African-American militia men were killed in a pitched battle with red-shirt-wearing white terrorists. After the militia surrendered, five of them were called out by name and executed. A few weeks later, when vigilantes captured a black state senator named Simon Coker, Tillman was present when two of his men executed the prisoner while he was on his knees praying.

Later, the terrorist leader Tillman explained his intentions on that fateful July 8 day: “It had been the settled purpose of the leading white men of Edgefield to seize the first opportunity that the Negroes might offer them to provoke a riot and teach the negroes a lesson; as it was generally believed that nothing but bloodshed and a good deal of it could answer the purpose of redeeming the state from Negro and carpetbag rule.” In a 1909 speech at a Red Shirt reunion in Anderson, Tillman reiterated this point, noting that he believed in “terrorizing the Negroes at the first opportunity by letting them provoke trouble and then having the whites demonstrate their superiority by killing as many of them as was justifiable.”

He added, “That we have good government now is due entirely to the fact that Red Shirt men of 1876 did all and dared all that was necessary to rescue South Carolina from the rule of the alien, the traitor, and the semi-barbarous negroes.”

Wait…why does Clemson honor Tillman in the first place? Maybe you deserve Yiannopoulos, after all.

This thread is just for Ellen


Look at the previous thread, which is primarily about unconscious bias and subtly pernicious effects of racism. Buried in the middle of it are two paragraphs about the Ellen/Usain Bolt controversy, because my accuser made a big deal about it, and because I swear half my email right now is all about defending Ellen Degeneres.

Then read the comments. Most of them are about Ellen, Ellen, Ellen. She’s not racist, people insist! That photo had no racist implications! I know a black person who was not offended by it!

I even pointed out the weird inappropriateness of this obsession about Ellen in the thread. No one cares. Everyone keeps arguing about Ellen. I’m going to have to call this Ellen’s Rule: any thread about racism will become all about defending white people from accusations of racism.

So here, this is just for you. The only topic allowed in this post is Ellen. Talk all you want about Ellen. Get it out of your system. Please purge yourself completely. I kind of like Ellen myself, but she is not the central figure in American racism at all.

I get email


It’s been a great couple of days for getting angry email from people who deny social realities. Take it away, Robert!

PZ, there is a reason that the social sciences are pseudo science, fake science. I was floored by the fact that you so naively believe the utterly laughable assumptions of proponents of implicit bias. The reason you do this is not because you trust that the science is rigorous, rather because it fits your political predisposition and naturally anything that does that will be supported by you. Ellen chose Usain Bolt because he just happens to be the fastest human that has ever lived. Had that human been a blonde man from Sweden, guess whose back Ellen would have been riding. It wouldn’t have been Bolt’s. I know it’s difficult for knee jerking alarmists and SJWs like you, but please start to consider the fact that not everything that involves white and black equals racism. Certainly your kind can find any wacky social science theory to “prove” anything you want, but that’s precisely why this kind of “science” is often mocked. One example is an SJW or feminist claim that men who are not sexually attracted to overweight women are “fattists,” while at the same time other wacky social theories claim that men who are attracted to overweight women are “fetishists.” Either way, the man is bad. Similarly, SJWs like you like to be able to paint your biases with the brush of fake science theories, such as in the case of Ellen Degeneres. PZ, do us all a favor and stay in a real science lab and stop lifting the banner of pseudo science. I know that your political biases will make that impossible for you to do, that no amount of evidence would be enough to overcome your silly passions, but whatever.

Social scientists study the most complex phenomena we know of. That means there are mistakes and false starts, but they are also trying to drill down into extremely important processes for us human beings. If we’re going to accuse anyone of bias and distortions its the people who deny the existence of implicit bias. The reason I accept it — and really, I’d rather believe that I was a paragon of egalitarianism, but all the evidence says that we all do have bias — is not because of my political prejudices but because good, robust, experimental evidence has shown it.

For example, I recently had training in how to recognize implicit bias, and here are a couple of excerpts from the presentation. This is perfectly adequate scientific evidence that it exists, and that is the reason that you should not deny it.

CV Evaluation & Hiring – Assistant Professor of Psychology

“The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study,” (Steinpreis, Anders & Ritzke, Sex Roles, 1999)

• Academic psychologists rated identical CV for “Brian” and “Karen”

• Both male and female reviewers rated male applicants better in all categories and were more likely to hire male applicant

Identical Resumes & Sexual Orientation

“Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination against Openly Gay Men in the United States,” (Tilcsik, American Journal of Sociology, 2011)

• Pairs of matched resumes sent for 5 different occupations in 7 states

• Overall, applicants who listed a gay campus organization had 40% fewer callbacks

• Largest difference in Ohio, Texas & Florida (compared to California, New York, Nevada and Pennsylvania)

Undergraduate Lab Manager Review

“Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students,” (Moss-Racusin, Dovidio, Brescoll, Graham & Handelsman, PNAS, 2012)

• Male & female science professors asked to review apps for lab manager position

• Both male & female professors rated male applicants more competent, more “hireable”, more suitable for mentoring, and offered males higher salaries

Job Callbacks – Identical Resumes

“Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” (Bertrand & Mullainathan, American Economic Review, 2004)

• “White” vs. “Black” names, 2 skill levels each

• Overall, whites had 50% more callbacks than blacks

• Highly skilled whites had 30% more callbacks, while highly skilled blacks had a much smaller increase in callbacks

These are relatively easy studies to do, because it’s not hard to keep a lot of the variables constant. Use exactly the same résumés or papers, just change the names or one little detail, and send them out and count the responses. It’s been repeated and confirmed multiple times. It is not a surprise that there exists a bias against blacks, gays, and women, yet it has been tested and demonstrated scientifically.

Let’s call it like it is: people like Robert are science denialists. I might go even further, and say he is an obvious-reality-in-front-of-your-nose denialist, no better than a flat-earther or creationist.

What about Ellen and her photoshopped image riding Usain Bolt? It may surprise Robert, but I agree that she chose to make that image because Bolt really is fast, not because he is black. She quite likely even likes and respects him, and it wasn’t made because she has a bias against him. However, what it does display is a lack of awareness of history and the treatment of black people in America. She may like Usain Bolt, but she sent a message to every black person in American that she’s ignorant of the context, and we’d all like to think better of Ellen Degeneres.

What if the photo had included a leash tied with a hangman’s knot, and Bolt was carrying a watermelon? Would that finally convince you that maybe an image can transmit an ugly message with deep connections to a terrible, evil history?

And no, us SJWs agree that “not everything that involves white and black equals racism”. But we’re also aware of shades of gray, and unlike Robert, don’t think we should totally erase the real problems with a good coat of whitewash.

That “fattist” stuff is just plain weird. I’m going to guess that Robert is an MRA, whining that those dang feminists want to make him have sex with fat girls, who are icky.

I can say with authority — an evo psych kook recently declared me King of the SJWs, and he must be right — that SJWs don’t think anything like that caricature Robert invented.

Here’s the SJW position, as near as I can make it. Everyone is different, and everyone has different sexual preferences. Despite my status as SJW royalty, I don’t get to dictate to you or anyone else what you find attractive. I think you’ll also find that social scientists can confirm for you that human beings do consider physical appearance when making mate choices. Being choosy about who you will have sex with is perfectly normal, and doesn’t make you “bad”. There are about 7 billion people I haven’t had sex with, and have no desire to have sex with, and that’s OK — I’m pretty sure they won’t take this gaudy crown away from me if I fail to have passionate intercourse with everyone on the planet.

Also, relax, Robert: no SJW, fat or thin, is going to force you to have sex with them, or call you mean names if you don’t. This is a non-problem. And because we recognize the diversity of human sexual desire, I can assure you that maybe, somewhere, there is someone who is turned on by ignorance and bigotry, and who weighs just the right amount, and you too can have a mutually fulfilling, voluntary, close personal relationship with them, and we SJWs will all be happy for you.

However, SJWs do object to something here: you don’t get to judge the humanity of someone on the basis of their BMI. You shouldn’t discriminate against people who are over- or under-weight. I’ll also suggest that you’ll have stronger relationships with other human beings if you interact a little more deeply with them — and no, asking them to hop up on the bathroom scale you haul around with you everywhere does not count as a significant interaction.

For someone who so eagerly donned the mantle of the arbiter of good science and who demands “evidence!” before he’ll abandon his bigotry, I notice that he provided none and will no doubt ignore the evidence I provided.

But that’s fair. I’m going to ignore Robert forevermore myself. I know, this is unconscionable, because how can I make that decision when I don’t even know how much Robert weighs?

P.S. Paragraphs, Robert! Look ’em up!

Malaugmented reality


Unfortunately, you don’t need fancy computers and high tech 5-senses interfaces to get this effect, where your reality is distorted by filters in your head. This is the human condition. We do it all the time.

Here’s an example: a comic book used to manipulate the wetware in kids’ brains to make them think gay people are wicked.


We grow up with these little modules planted in our skulls by well-meaning families and friends who also have them in their heads, and it isn’t a little box mounted on our necks that we can conveniently rip out to perceive “reality”. There ain’t no such thing possible — it’s implicit in the modeling of the world we see around us, because we don’t accurately “see” the world, we build it. Everyone is walking around in a virtual reality all the time, and what matters is how well it reflects an underlying substrate of matter and energy, how well it allows us to interact with our fellow avatars, and how much damage and how much benefit we provide to each other. This is true not just for them, fellow liberal/progressive secular humanists, but for us.

The people who made that anti-gay comic are using a version of virtual reality that creates enemies all around them, and justifies wrecking their lives. It’s also kind of crude and generates a blocky, black & white universe that doesn’t have much nuance or fine detail.

How’s yours doing?


The Lakota and Dakota are fighting another battle in which they are the underdogs: North Dakota oil interests are building a pipeline across the state, right near the Standing Rock reservation and their water supply, the Missouri, Mississippi, and Big Sioux rivers.

You know, oil pipelines leak, right?

So look at these amazing photos of the current standoff.



The police keep standing on the wrong side of every fight, don’t they?

Statistics are not a substitute for taking action

Yesterday it was Ray Kurzweil. Today it is Steven Pinker. What is it with these people trying to reassure us that the world is getting better for the average person? They’re the real world equivalent of the ‘This is fine’ dog.

Look, I agree with them: in many ways, the world is gradually getting better for some of us, and slowly, increasingly more people are acquiring greater advantages. I am personally in a pretty comfortable position, and I’m sure life is even better for oblivious buffoons hired by google to mumble deepities, or for Harvard professors. Pinker and Kurzweil even make the same trivial argument that it’s all the fault of the news:

News is a misleading way to understand the world. It’s always about events that happened and not about things that didn’t happen. So when there’s a police officer that has not been shot up or city that has not had a violent demonstration, they don’t make the news. As long as violent events don’t fall to zero, there will be always be headlines to click on. The data show — since the Better Angels of Our Nature was published — rates of violence continue to go down.

[Read more…]

If you see something, say something

Nazia and Faisal Ali were flying home from a vacation in Paris, when…I think from their names you can guess what happened. They didn’t make it home that day.

A flight crew member had complained to the pilot that she was uncomfortable with the Muslim couple in the second row of economy class. The woman was wearing a head scarf and using a phone, and the man was sweating, she allegedly told the pilot.

The pilot contacted the ground crew. He would not take off until couple was removed.

The flight attendant also heard her use the word “Allah”. Very suspicious. Of course they were kicked off the flight…they were prolly terrissssts. Because they were brown.

Or maybe this is who they are.

Faisal and Nazia Ali, both of whom emigrated to the United States with their respective families from Pakistan, became U.S. citizens 16 years ago. They are parents of three sons, ages 5, 4 and 2. He is 36 and works as director of operations for Healing Touch, a home health care company that he owns with his father and brother. He has a degree from the University of Cincinnati. She attended Wright State University. They worship at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester Township.

Delta Airlines has their own spin.

The Delta statement reads: “Delta condemns discrimination toward our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender. As a global airline that brings hundreds of thousands of people together every day, Delta is deeply committed to treating all of our customers with respect. Delta continues its investigation into this matter and will issue a full refund of these customers’ airfare.”

No. This was bigotry, plain and simple, and the flight crew, the ground crew, and the French police colluded happily to discriminate against someone on the basis of nothing but bias and air.

Imagine if, in the spirit of “If you see something, say something”, I were on a plane, and I waved over a flight attendant, and whispered, “That 20-something white guy in 9C makes me uncomfortable. I heard him say ‘Jesus’ on his cell phone, and he looks nervous and sweaty.” Would they kick him off the plane?

I don’t think so. White people in America are assumed innocent, while brown ones are always suspect.

I hope, at least, the cost of an overnight hotel stay and a flight from Paris to Cincinnati were deducted from the pay of the falsely suspicious flight crew member.

What we were vs. what we said we were

This is a factually true statement from Clint Eastwood.

Everybody’s walking on eggshells, said Eastwood, 86. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist.

He’s right. When I was growing up, too, these things weren’t called racist. They were blatantly, unashamedly, disgustingly racist as fuck, but no one called them racist. If only we could go back to the Good Old Days, when we were all complacently complicit in horrific discrimination and denial.

Clint Eastwood has made some really good movies, and we all obligingly bought our theater tickets and happily gave them positive reviews and all kinds of awards. We acted as if being an excellent film-maker would excuse all of his failings as a human being. I appreciate that he’s made it quite clear that good artists can be terrible people, as he joins that ugly pantheon of crappy artists who have respectable skills: Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and now Clint Eastwood.

I won’t be watching his new movie, Sully. There’s a gaping hole in his soul that makes him an untrustworthy observer of the human condition.

A gathering of wickedness and ignorance

I just saw on Facebook that someone I know is going to peek into this rally in Buffalo today.


Yikes. This is not good. That symbol on the poster is the runic odal — it stands for the Volksdeutsche movement, or the ‘pure’ Germans. WLM is a racist movement, plain and simple; the NSM are outright neo-Nazis. The ARS is the Aryan Renaissance Society. ANA is the Aryan Nationalist Alliance, an umbrella organization trying to bring a hodge-podge of bigots together. The person posting it is Rebecca Barnette, who is a nasty piece of work. The “88” in her email address is a “Heil Hitler” reference.

I suspect this rally will be small, but the reek of concentrated flaming shit will be intense.

Still, this is in upstate New York, home of CFI. I just learned that it may also be home for my son Captain Connlann, who has been given a preliminary (it may change between now and November) assignment to Fort Drum. If he ends up there, I’ll certainly be making the trip to the Syracuse area every year or so.

I will credit them for honesty, though. They at least know what the “All Lives Matter” slogan implies.


They’re also big fans of Donald Trump. Surprising, I know.

It was a rout.

Is it a neo-Nazi rally when only one neo-Nazi shows up?

On a warm, sunny Saturday at Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, well-known white supremacist Karl Hand of Lockport was the only evidence of a much-anticipated “White Lives Matter” rally.

And Hand was outnumbered by about 350 to 1.

I’m just going to call him the Amazing Racist from now on

He’s done it again. The Amazing Atheist is very upset that people are calling him a racist because he says racist things, so he’s made a video in which he demands that everyone stop calling him a mean name. His argument for why calling him a racist is unjust is basically that he claims everything he said was true…but then, that’s what every racist says about their arguments.

He claims there are two main reasons people accuse him of racism, and then proceeds to make the same old racist arguments with greater vehemence, like that will persuade. The two things he tries to defend are:

  • He’s pro-gentrification. He argues that it improves neighborhoods, and that is a good thing, which is true. The problem, though, is that it does so in a way that does not benefit the people in those neighborhoods. He even acknowledges that gentrification displaces people: he argues that it makes no difference, they’re living in a “shithole” and they’ll just move to a different “shithole”. Treating black people as a fungible mass is racism. You don’t deny that you’re racist by ignoring systemic effects of historical oppression and acting as if current oppression is no big deal.

  • He claims that black culture is a victim culture, and boy, does he ever hate victim culture. Feminism is also a victim culture, don’t you know. Apparently, victim culture is whenever a group or person that has been targeted for victimization actually speaks up and complains about the problem, says the atheist complaining loudly that he’s being victimized by SJWs.

Martin Hughes notices the irony.

Here’s the point I want to make absolutely clear. I don’t particularly care whether you label The Amazing Atheist a racist or not. What I’d like to say is that when The Amazing Atheist talks about race, he simply does not know what he’s talking about, and a lot of his fan base doesn’t, either. He’s an ignorant asshole.

And either one of those things is fine. I like ignorant people who will admit that they are ignorant, and I can stand assholes who actually have the intelligence and knowledge to logically back up their condescending tone. But the two of them together is as annoying as nails on a chalkboard.

And this combined with the fact that he is a hypocritical crybaby is grating. I can stand crybabies. Just be consistent about it. But the crybabies who go out of their way to label other people victim cults for hurting their feelings…and hypocritically sets up a victim cult of hundreds of thousands that caters to their every sniffle…. I’m sorry. I don’t get that.

I also don’t get that the Amazing Racist has never really said anything compelling or interesting about atheism, but has become popular by raging against feminism and minorities, neither criticisms that are particularly well-supported by atheism (and many of us would argue that they are antithetical to the humanist implications of godlessness), yet he sets himself up as a prominent, representative atheist.