I like the idea of MOOCs — massive open online courses — as ways to help spread the information at universities to a wider public. I don’t like the idea that these can replace real universities, though. It buys into the assumption that what universities deliver is big brains talking at a passive audience, when that’s only a small part of the experience. Scicurious is unimpressed, too.
Look, you want to learn? These online courses are a good supplement, and give you an opportunity to hear from experienced instructors. But if you really want to dig deep, there’s the disciplined grind as you try to master the minutia of a subject, there’s the hands-on lab experience, there’s give-and-take with peers and professors that you really need to bring it home. MOOCs just don’t do that.
[We are fortunate to have this transcript, taken by a company stenographer, from one of the early efforts of the resistance to instruct an army company in tactics. Although we now have more sophisticated technologies to hold these invaders in check, it is instructive too see how the American military in the 1950s struggled to cope with an unusual enemy, a struggle that was described in an excellent documentary produced by Warner Bros.]
Men — and ladies — the purpose of this briefing is to instruct you in the basic anatomy of the enemy. We have lost many soldiers to the assumption that these are just elephant sized beasts and that this is an exercise in big-game hunting; post-mortem analysis has found that many wounds that appear as if they should be instantly lethal actually miss major organs and allow the monsters to rampage on relatively unimpaired. I am here to shake up your assumptions and give you better targeting instruction so that you will more effectively kill the enemy.
Get this out of your heads right now. These are not overgrown familiar animals. These are giant ants.
Michael Nugent has been accused of being “bullied or cajoled” into his support for women in the atheist movement. It’s strange that people think a small group of bloggers have that much power and influence, and it’s also obvious that anyone making that accusation doesn’t know Nugent at all. So he has written a post denying that he has been pressured, and repeating the seriousness of the problem.
There is also the wider context of sexism in general. If we as men faced this pattern of sick online abuse simply because of our gender, I suspect that we would urgently take action to tackle the problem. If we fail to take the same action when women face this problem, our inaction reinforces prejudice and discrimination against women generally. We may not mean to do that, and we may not even be aware of it, but the impact of our inaction remains the same.
Tackling sexism is a complex problem, with no magic answers. We should rigorously analyze the extent of sexism in our communities, both online and offline, and we should test and refine the best ways to eradicate it. But we must not deny that it exists, or reinforce it with prejudice and discrimination. Instead we should actively work to create inclusive, safe and supportive communities, in which we can live together as equals, regardless of our race, gender, sexuality or ability levels.
And we should work together on this so that, ultimately, we never again have a fifteen year old atheist girl excitedly posting online about her Christmas present of a Carl Sagan book, then reading crude comments about adult men wanting to have sex with her, and having to respond: “Dat feel when you’ll never be taken seriously in the atheist/ scientific/ political/ whatever community because you’re a girl. :c ”
I can tell you why he takes this position, though: because he is a decent human being. That also tells you what I think of the people who oppose this new emphasis on equality in the atheist/skeptic movements.
It’s a new year, and Thunderf00t hasn’t changed a bit — he has a new video where he’s apparently ranting about how feminism is poisoning atheism, which I haven’t watched, so I can’t judge. But there are hints that it’s more of the same. It’s been picked up and praised by A Voice For Men.
Here are a few of the amusing reactions that the video elicited from that gang. Well, they would be amusing if they didn’t testify to a deep hatred of women.
Well, now I look upon these women as nothing but Clowns who have deliberately allowed themselves to brainwashed into believing stupid things like the Earth is flat or some other stupid crap. The vomit that spews from their mouths is not just stupid, it is absolutely laughable. I now sit here laughing my head off at what I read. In my own social movements in life, I laugh at the idiotic dialog of the females I come into contact with. It is unbelievable the level of childish trash that issues forth from the mouths of women whose ages range from 20 all the up to nearly 70.
Women, WILL NEVER BE EQUAL TO MEN!
I don’t care how they put it, because the simple overwhelming fact throughout the history of Mankind, is that women have NEVER been equal to men and they never will be.
We are on this earth for completely different reasons and “never the twain shall meet.” (thanks Kipling, such a great saying)
That’s from a self-described orthodox Catholic, raging about believing in “stupid crap”. This same commenter is concerned that the Catholic church is a liberal, feminist organization.
I am angry at what feminism has done to all belief structures. They hijack everything to change it to be their own. As I said previously, the Liberal organisation of the Catholic Church is overrun by feminists and has been responsible for the spreading of this disease throughout the modern world.
And then there are the traditional excuses for “manginas” coming from people who are unable to think of a single reason for women other than gratifying the penis.
Just another classic case of feminists colonising a formerly male-dominated arena, then attempting to change its rules (unwritten or otherwise) to better suit themselves. If that alienates men, so much the better (and better yet if it criminalizes men).
And, as usual, some of the worst offenders are the mangina-enablers, collaborating in a transparent attempt to score some feminazi ass. *shudder*
Just for laughs, there are a few there who don’t like atheism, either, and really detest Richard Dawkins.
I wasn’t criticising Atheists, I was criticising Dawkins.
I personally think the man is an idiot. I have watched some of his interviews and all he does is drop bombs in conversation, by demanding his religious opponents prove their points, but I have not seen him prove anything himself. Indeed he is a bit like watching feminists in an interview trying to survive the argument when it’s obvious they lack substance.
For some reason, none of this entices me to watch Thunderf00t’s video.
By the way, I learned a new acronym! The MRAs have all these weird little code words I have to look up to figure out what the heck they’re talking about: the new one is NAFALT, or “Not all feminists are like that”. It’s a condemnatory phrase: you are bad if you recognize the range of thought in the feminist community and don’t lump them all into one evil long-haired, smooth-skinned, bosomy chimera of wickedness.
Now I’m waiting for the first MRA to show up and claim I’m cherry-picking the comments, saying NAMRAALT.
Well, it’s time for my usual wild night of partying…oh, wait. I never do that.
My wife is out at a neighbor’s party, while I’m sitting at home, nursing a painful tendinitis flare-up, and drinking…tea. Sorry, image. I’ll probably just read for a while, and if I’m feeling rambunctious, I might have a wee glass of wine before bed. Or maybe not.
I really can’t get overly excited about rolling over a calendar.
So, what are you fashionable and exciting people doing tonight?
Here’s an interesting scenario: how an ‘evil’ super-genius could take over the world. Basically, it involves building a new nation-state which openly and thoroughly embraces science and technology, not just electronics, but also biotechnology. It’s a little bit pat — apparently, there are no trade-offs and compromises in building a super-scientific nation, and none of the technologies ever create any new problems of their own — but what struck me most is that there’s nothing villainous in the story at all. It pisses off conservative nations (like the US), and makes everyone panic over the imminent obsolescence of their technologies, but no, the ‘super-villain’ isn’t trying to harm anyone, but just trying to advance humanity.
Also, there’s a Mary Sue element to it all. The guy just moves to a poverty-stricken African nation, and purely by the power of his amazing intelligence, instantly raise a science city…infrastructure isn’t an issue, the collaborative nature of science doesn’t come into play, he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.
Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. It is an interesting twist on the comic book super villain, but it’s been done before — isn’t this just Dr Doom?