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Jun 29 2012

Gotta disagree with you here, thunderf00t

Hi, thunderf00t. I understand that you see Freethought Blogs as unrepresentative of the wider skeptical community in terms of its views on the problem of sexism in said community. That could indeed be the case, by whatever definition you use for FTB and the community at large (who’s included? who’s excluded? are we only counting the bloggers themselves, or also the commenters? and so on) and methods you use to quantify their stances on a given issue. But I don’t think your latest YouTube-based survey succeeds in demonstrating this.

You asked your YouTube subscribers whether they agree more with your initial post on sexual harassment, or with PZ Myers’ response, and requested that they rank their position on the question from 0 to 10 – 0 for full agreement with PZ, and 10 for full agreement with you. Out of 127 respondents, most agreed with you strongly. You took this as evidence that the views of Freethought Blogs in general are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community” on the issue of sexism.

I don’t believe the results of your poll are actually evidence of that. You claimed that “this puts FTB on a trajectory to be more of a fringe group that is intolerant of non-conformity”. However, the respondents to your video were a self-selected sample. The people who watch your videos tend to be… people who watch your videos. And out of those people, the ones who responded are the ones who take the time to listen all the way through your videos, and decided to leave a comment. This can be expected to skew toward agreement with you.

I would expect similar results in my favor if I polled my subscribers on whether they agreed more with me, or with someone I was currently having a dispute with. My viewers choose to watch my videos because they tend to agree with me, and this would be reflected in the results. While I certainly expect that my viewers are all perfectly rational and able to consider any issue fairly, accurately and even-handedly, this obviously isn’t always the case in reality. I assume the same holds true for your viewers as well.

While your survey does show that some people dissent from PZ’s stance on the issue, this doesn’t actually mean that his views are unrepresentative of the wider skeptical community. It’s possible that they could be, but your poll isn’t particularly strong evidence of this. It also doesn’t mean that the views of your respondents are representative of the skeptical community. FTB could be “fringe” in terms of its collective stance on the issue, but so could your respondents. Your survey doesn’t give us reason to think either of these possibilities is more likely than the other, because there are no grounds to assume that your viewers are representative of the community as a whole, however you choose to define it. And your policy that “The thunderf00t channel is essentially a 100 % free speech zone, with no conformational bias due to blocking/ banning people”, though admirable (and one I share), is simply not enough to ensure this. Even if PZ’s views “are widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”, your latest post doesn’t show this.

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  1. 1
    annabucci

    “It’s possible that they could be, but your poll isn’t particularly strong evidence of this. ”

    I think in light of more compelling evidence, Thunderfoot’s straw poll is probably indicative of a wider audience than those at the free though blogs.

    Perhaps as time goes on, and Thunderfoot’s detractors apply their two cents in the comments section(you see, he has plenty of haters) you could re-examine the evidence, even though it wouldn’t be as strong as a properly conducted survey.

    1. 1.1
      Kels

      Calling Thunderf00t’s exercise in selection bias “evidence” is giving it far too much credit.

      At this point, I can only hope this is all one massive Poe on his part, and we’ll have a good chuckle over how he gulled the rubes afterwards.

      1. annabucci

        I don’t think the law of poe applies here.

        1. Squishophrenic

          Hey everyone, a Chill Girl has weighed in, we can go home now!

          Anna – I hope you never find out (the hard way) why we care so much about helping women stay at safe as possible.

          What I do know is this – if reality does bite you, it won’t be your fellow Chill Girls, or the ~edgy~ guys that you crush on, that’ll be there to wipe the tears from your face.

          Nah, they’ll do what you do, double down on the victim, disregard every ounce of pain, and say “OMG I’m sooo glad I’m not like those other girls, who take everything so seriously. There’s no such thing as too much attention from guys, amirite?”.

          1. Za-zen

            Amirite? No, why no you’re not right.

            What you are wrong: your response to Anna was invective disdain, projection, coupled with an irrelevant rant. Care to address he point that in all likelihood Thunderfoot means what he says?

            Or shall i scrap the above and rely thus:

            Hey everyone a crazy has spoken…………

    2. 1.2
      Ze Madmax

      If by “wider audience” you mean “more people,” then you’d be correct. More people, however, does not mean better.

      For example, let’s say you want to measure U.S. attitudes regarding cake as the superior option to pie. A 1000-person sample that is representative of the U.S. population as a whole in terms of age/race/gender/SES (i.e., proportional representativeness of these groups) would give more accurate results than a sample of 100,000 male college undergraduates aged 18-24.

      The problem is less that Thunderf00t has a bad survey, and more that he’s drawing conclusions from his data that are not at all supported by the evidence.

    3. 1.3
      Eristae

      I think in light of more compelling evidence, Thunderfoot’s straw poll is probably indicative of a wider audience than those at the free though blogs.

      Prove it. No, seriously. You speak of “evidence,” so let’s see it. I want to see what exactly convinced you that TF’s straw poll is more indicative than anything. And “I think” or “I believe” or “In my experience” doesn’t count as evidence.

      1. annabucci

        The commenters on youtube are less likely to be part of the ongoing drama infighting that occurrs between the bloggers here and a few other blogs. They’re probably not worried about being pro-pz or pro-tf because, unless they come here, they don’t have to deal with the backlash of actually disagreeing.

        That how I came to my conclusion any way, I doubt my reasoning is proof of anything though.

        1. Ace of Sevens

          Except his remaining subscribers are already the pro-TF faction of his disputes with other YouTubers, and he’s gotten in quite a few tiffs with other other atheists.

        2. Silvia

          And that is not a strength, but a weakness. Because thunderfoot told a very biased story and had previously uploaded another video full of such distortions that I call them lies (for instance he said it was the elevator gate that started the current discussion about anti harrassment and told that it was just a girl who was invited to a guys room, omitting all the creepy details). If those people had had the opportunity to know what really happened, perhaps they would think differently.

        3. JamesM

          “What is your evidence,” not “what is your opinion.”

      2. Eristae

        Okay, I’ll try to explain this.

        I want you to imagine that one day Glenn Beck decided to poll his viewers and ask them if they agreed with him or some random liberal. This poll is COMPLETELY anonymous; you don’t even have to put your screen name. Do you think this poll would be an even marginally accurate representation of whether the people of the United States agreed with Glenn Beck or not? The answer is “no.” Why? Because the people who watch Glenn Beck have self selected: the people who agree with him are faaaar more likely to watch him than people who don’t.

        TF’s poll is basically a poll asking people who already agree with him in general if they agree with him on a specific issue. It is not a poll that can tell us anything about atheists or atheists who attend conferences; it can only tell us something about TF’s viewers. That skews the poll so badly that it’s no longer useful to use to talk about atheists. There is no way to determine exactly how inaccurate it is, but we know for a fact that it is wildly inaccurate.

        Do I think that the comment ratio on FTB is going to accurately represent a cross-section of what atheists believe about any given issue? No. But TF’s YouTube viewers don’t, either, and I haven’t seen anyone on FTB is trying to use the comment ratio is some kind of binding evidence that the comment ratio represents an accurate cross-section of atheists, while TF seems to think that his YouTube poll is. This is such an incredible abuse of polls and statistics that it’s painful. TF should know better.

        1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

          @ Erista : This!

          I want you to imagine that one day Glenn Beck decided to poll his viewers and ask them if they agreed with him or some random liberal. This poll is COMPLETELY anonymous; you don’t even have to put your screen name. Do you think this poll would be an even marginally accurate representation of whether the people of the United States agreed with Glenn Beck or not? The answer is “no.” Why? Because the people who watch Glenn Beck have self selected: the people who agree with him are faaaar more likely to watch him than people who don’t.

          TF’s poll is basically a poll asking people who already agree with him in general if they agree with him on a specific issue. It is not a poll that can tell us anything about atheists or atheists who attend conferences; it can only tell us something about TF’s viewers. That skews the poll so badly that it’s no longer useful to use to talk about atheists. There is no way to determine exactly how inaccurate it is, but we know for a fact that it is wildly inaccurate.

          Quoted for truth and because its what I would’ve said here but said better.

        2. Kels

          This is further complicated by the fact that a new group who don’t much care about Thunderf00t but hates PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, Rebecca Watson, etc. would be specifically going over there and adding to the pile.

          And even further complicated by the fact that it’s pretty easy to have multiple screen names, and thus more votes, at YouTube. So the idea that this poll is anywhere near accurate is incredibly unlikely.

  2. 2
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Oh, you’re being far more diplomatic than he deserves, Zinnia.

    Anna–your fanstatus is noted.

    1. 2.1
      annabucci

      I’m not actually a fan of Thunderfoot. I’m an AXP fan actually. I wouldn’t have known Thunderfoot was here if AXP hadn’t posted about it.

      Good job at assuming though.

      1. Josh, Official SpokesGay

        Yeah, you’re a “just asking questions” baiter. Yawn.

        1. annabucci

          I’m not asking questions, I’m just commenting.

        2. charlescollom

          In law school, when a professor asked me a question using the Socratic method, I should have yelled, “YOU’RE A JUST ASKING QUESTIONS BAITER” at him. Maybe I’ll try it with a client or judge when I have nothing to say.

          1. Squishophrenic

            Disingenuous. There’s a huge difference between asking questions, and “just asking questions”, and you know it.

  3. 3
    Forbidden Snowflake

    I checked TF’s blog, because I couldn’t believe he would do something that stupid.

    OMG, he actually did that. He tried to prove a point about the skeptical community with an online poll.
    I am concerned that PZ might die of laughter.

    1. 3.1
      'Tis Himself

      Not just an online poll but a YouTube poll.

    2. 3.2
      Eristae

      And not just a YouTube poll, a YouTube poll of the people who who watch his videos. Yes, that’s right, he asked people who already watch his videos how much they agree with him.

      It’s like watching Fox News run a poll on how quickly homosexual ObamaCare will spell the end of Truth, Justice, and the American way

    3. 3.3
      StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

      I know TF is new here but surely he’s aware of the PZ Myer’s speciality tradition of online poll “pharnygulation”? Where, y’know, all us FTBers go and crash online polls so they read the right way.

      Trying to prove something to an audience that does that every third day or so by using an online poll. Yeeesh. How stoopid can you get?!

      1. Forbidden Snowflake

        The question of what, if anything, TF was thinking is on my mind as well, StevoR.
        It just doesn’t compute.

    4. 3.4
      Arancaytar

      Well, he did post an online poll that didn’t end in a landslide for PZ. That’s sort of uncommon.

  4. 4
    gworroll

    What I’d love to see Thunderf00t do is take some of the harassment policies instituted or proposed by various rationalist organizations, and do a thorough review. It would be helpful to see exactly where he stands on this topic.

    He’s said that he recognizes harassment happens, and that action is warranted when incidents occur. But that’s about all he’s said. Any discussion of specifics is drowned out in howling over how the prominence of the discussion is dividing the rationalist community and giving enemies of reason ammunition.

    Of course, he’s just throwing fuel on the fire of the flame wars with his recent rants, so I’m not entirely sure what he expects to accomplish here. Someone who has been around the internet like he says he’s been has to know this. Call for a more respectful discussion and more respectful treatment of opposing views? Ok, I could see this. Not sure it’s needed, but I could imagine useful arguments being made for this idea. But flat out saying to cut it out? That’s flamebait.

    And poll via YouTube video? Seriously? And drawing any sort of conclusions for it? Seriously? Maybe for something of relevance only to your YouTube audience, but for anything more general, at best it’s suggestive of something that might bear some looking in to. And even that is pretty shaky.

    1. 4.1
      charlescollom

      “What I’d love to see Thunderf00t do is take some of the harassment policies instituted or proposed by various rationalist organizations, and do a thorough review.”

      This is good. He does need to specify the parts of the policy with which he disagrees and why. I’m also curious about support for his claim that it will take “hard won resources” to enforce. I don’t see this as being a particularly costly policy.

    2. 4.2
      Rory

      That is an excellent idea. If he doesn’t want to be strawmanned on this, let him explain exactly what it is in the policies that he thinks is too restrictive, and why enforcing them (or even talking about them) negatively impacts the community.

  5. 5
    thelaymanatheist

    Is this like a hazing ritual of some sorts on FTB? I concur..TF should know better then to expect an unbiased result in such a fashion..

  6. 6
    skepticallydenpa

    I’m having trouble figuring out what point would be proven even if the survey did represent what the larger part of what the atheist community believed. I would see it as highlighting the privilege and sexism in our community as being a greater problem than I originally thought.

    His entire post was attacking a strawman of a sexual harassment policy, And kindly suggesting that feminists sit down and shut up(because that is how social changes are made -src).

    The point is, he is wrong. Even if the entirety of the atheist community agreed with him, it wouldn’t make him less wrong.

    1. 6.1
      Mike

      Yea. This. So what. Why the hell would the anyone in the skeptical community want to only tell people what they want to hear?

  7. 7
    nonsense

    I think the medium of the blog isn’t the best way to have an argument over this sort of matter. Making new posts to respond to someone only encourages one to try to win the argument rather than come to an understanding, as well as gain positive reinforcement from their loyal readers. Also, it sounds condescending, which amplifies the butthurt. This is true of both PZ’s and Thunderfoot’s posts, regardless of who is right, if either of them are.

    1. 7.1
      pramod

      I think the medium of the blog isn’t the best way to have an argument over this sort of matter. Making new posts to respond to someone only encourages one to try to win the argument rather than come to an understanding, as well as gain positive reinforcement from their loyal readers. Also, it sounds condescending, which amplifies the butthurt.

      I think this is really about the personalities of the writers and readers involved. I already agree with pretty much everything Zinnia says, but I feel like if I didn’t, I would be more likely to be convinced by her that I would by PZ because of his confrontational tone. But maybe the confrontational condescending tone is what you need to really knock someone out of deeply seated irrational belief.

      This is true of both PZ’s and Thunderfoot’s posts, regardless of who is right, if either of them are.

      I haven’t been following every twist and turn of this brouhaha but based on what I’ve seen so far I’m confident making the assertion that Thunderf00t has outed himself as a privileged sexist and anything he has to say about the subject of sexism must be viewed with extreme skepticism.

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    I would expect similar results in my favor if I polled my subscribers on whether they agreed more with me, or with someone I was currently having a dispute with.

    Zinna Jones, please could you do this just for the Lolz?
    Pretty sure we could set aup apointless box type bx-y options thungummy here too. And get everyone to Pharyngulate / Zinniate it.

    Could be fun, no?

    1. 8.1
      StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

      Aaarrgh typos. Sorry. For the sake of clarity that’s :

      Pretty sure we could set up a pointless tick-a-box type box-y options thingummy here too somehow.

      Naturally.

      1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

        Question : On the whole sexism debate here at FTB do you support?

        (Three boxes – tick one)

        1. Zinnia Jones

        2. Not sure

        3. Thunderfoot

        (Ticks 1 personally. Whose with me!)

        Or it could be

        1. Zinnia Jones
        2. Not sure
        3. Neither
        4. Both
        5. Thunderfool

        Ticks 1 again there. Or suchlike.

        1. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

          Oh and, of course, there’s no bias in the question or the ordering of the options or anything like that, no, no, not at all! Not even one tiniest femtoparticle sized bit! ;-)

  9. 9
    charlescollom

    Zinnia, I think he inadvertently proved a Shermerian point with his poll: everyone is, to a great extent, cocooned in a self reinforcing epistemic bubble. I take it no one has undertaken a valid survey of conference participants? It might not hurt conference planners to survey their customers to see what they want.

  10. 10
    Loqi

    I just took a survey of my friends, and it turns out 100% of people think I’m a pretty cool guy.

    1. 10.1
      BarerMender

      I took a poll of my friends. They said, “Get away from me!”

  11. 11
    earwig

    In any case, why would it matter if (which is debatable) PZ Myers’s views were not representative of the wider skeptical community? Yes, it would mean there is a lot more work to be done to persuade people to treat other people like equal human beings, but it wouldn’t invalidate the undertaking. So I don’t really see what Tf’s point is, except to demonstrate that there are a lot of people out there as clueless as Tf is on this particular issue.

  12. 12
    Daniel

    I for one am a subscriber to his channel. But when I saw the title of the last video, I thought “oh again with this ‘I want to bite women’s legs’ ” and didn’t even open the video. I also bet there is a huge number of people that thought the request (“let me prove to the world that I am right, and you gotta help me”) as just not worth the effort.

  13. 13
    joel

    If TF had not posted another word here, that goofy youtube “poll” ought to indicate that he is innocent of any notion of objectivity. I think he just likes to argue. There are a number of ‘just likes to argue’ folks here already, do we need more? I want to learn new ways of thinking about things. Boneheaded misogynists are time wasters, when is the last time you heard something new from one of them?

  14. 14
    The Nerd

    Because when I want to prove the internet wrong, I turn to YouTube comments.
    /sarcasm

  15. 15
    Matt Penfold

    What does it matter what the poll says anyway ? Do we really want to be deciding how much of a role women should be allowed in the atheist/sceptic movement based on a poll ?

    1. 15.1
      iknklast

      Well, of course we do…but make sure you don’t let the women vote, because their views aren’t going to be representative of the wider atheist (male) community.

      I can’t believe we still need to have this conversation. Sometimes I feel like my grandmother fought for nothing, and when she confidently assumed I would receive more respect than she did, she was mistaken. So, Thunderfoot is dishonoring my grandmother. Shame on him! (snark)

  16. 16
    Stephanie Zvan

    +10 for Zinnia.

  17. 17
    unbound

    And I was a big fan of “Why People Laugh At Creationists” for years. It’s hard to believe that Thunderfoot has stooped to the level of what he used to make fun of…yet there he goes.

    So sad to see someone like that fall so very low…

    1. 17.1
      karmakin

      And then he breaks out the smelling salts when people start laughing at and mocking him.

  18. 18
    Jasper of Maine

    My question is, does it matter if, for instance, only 1% of those in the skeptical community are represented? That would only mean that 99% of the community is wrong.

    1. 18.1
      Jasper of Maine

      Atheism is a fringe representation too – but I’m sure TF doesn’t regard us as wrong because of that, does he?

  19. 19
    leftwingfox

    Novel idea. I wonder if Thunderf00t would have changed his tune had VenomFangX held a YouTube poll to see whose arguments were superior.

    1. 19.1
      aleph squared

      I kind of want to do a video entitled “Why people laugh at thunderf00t.”

  20. 20
    Assassin's Cloak

    So Thunderf00t thinks that overwhelming agreement amongst his viewers is evidence that proves ‘Group Think’ FTB?

    I’ll stop laughing in a day or two, probably …

  21. 21
    plutosdad

    Well if he’s right, I’m not sure I want to be part of that skeptic movement. Just like I have many positions some might say are libertarian, but the capital-L libertarians are pretty much all middle class white men of privilege who look down on everyone else, pretty much like these anti-feminist “skeptics”. In the end, for both groups, it’s just more tribalism: white men against everyone else.

    This past month has made me realize people really suck.

    1. 21.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      Well, not to mention that most capital-F feminists, or the ones you see around the FTB blogs anyway, are disproportionately white middle-class women with disproportionate attention to what pisses said subgroup of women off. It a truism to point out that most ideologies have their blind spots and are often dominated by their most privileged members. What does begin to amount to bad faith is to pretend that there’s an ideological perspective that’s somehow arrived at inherently from a rationalist outlook, and many here seem to push ideological feminism in that role. It reminds me more than a bit of pompous Marxist claims to be “scientific socialism”.

      1. JamesM

        What is the ideology of the Capital F Feminists around here that is different from calling for a fair application of the Golden Rule?

  22. 22
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Why on earth should “more popular” or “more appealing” or “more mainstream” matter shit in a discussion about what is good and right?
    Religion is very popular, too.

  23. 23
    Iamcuriousblue

    I’ll give a major thumbs up to Thunderfoot for calling out the groupthink on FTB, or more accurately, on a subset of FTB, so soon after getting a spot here. Sorry, but if you don’t see the difference between bringing social justice issues into skepticism/atheism vs trying to shove a narrowly ideological view of what constitutes “social justice” down everybody’s throat and pretty much declaring war with the rest of said community over it, then I think you’re missing the point. In case you hadn’t noticed, the rhetoric coming from a number of the more “militant” bloggers here, and even moreso from the commentariat, has gotten to be pretty polarizing and ugly. And I don’t think that the blame for that can solely be placed just on other parties – many of the bloggers at FTB have done more than their share of fanning the flames, something that seems to be based on a mentality that being an atheist/skeptic and not sharing their particular views on feminism, identity politics, etc is something that should not be allowed.

    Furthermore, I don’t think that TF was saying sexism is a non-issue when he said that the blogs in question were “disproportionately” concerned with sexism. You can shout “privilege” all you want, but there are other issues (including social justice issues), and if you’re running a skeptical blog worthy of the name, one certainly expects something other than a copy of Pandagon or I Blame the Patriarchy. The skeptical/atheist blog world *is not* just a subset of the feminist blogosphere and not be treated as such.

    (At this point, I usually hear interjected that such objections come from “old school” skeptics who just want to narrowly focus on UFOs and Bigfoot. Never mind that when I look at skeptical blogs or podcasts by, say, Jerry Coyne or Point of Inquiry, it looks nothing like this caricature. Actually I see coverage of science and promotion of critical thinking that the FTB bloggers in question could learn a thing or two from.)

    1. 23.1
      Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

      a narrowly ideological view

      Like the idea that women are actually people.

      Here’s another hint: It’s not your business what people here blog about. You know, it’s their blogs. You don’t pay for a service, so you don’t get to make demands. If they blog about sexism too much for your taste, just don’t read the blogs. If they only blog about baby aardvarks, enjoy the cuteness or read a different blog.

      Oh, and for the “white middle class women and their first world problems”. Yeah, that’s probably why they’ve worked hard to get women of colour, poor women and trans-women on board.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        “‘a narrowly ideological view’

        Like the idea that women are actually people.”

        Strawmanning bullshit, Gilliel, and I think you know this. You’d like to create the impression that anybody who doesn’t agree with the particular line touted at FTB takes the view “women aren’t people” or women belong in the kitchen, or whatever. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not the case.

        But if you want to unpack this, there’s actually nothing inherent about seeing women as equals that implies buying into feminist ideology wholesale anymore than being pro-labor means one should be a Marxist. Nor does it imply a particular stance on anti-harassment policies, sexualization, objectification, limits on free speech, and a whole lot of other issues that seem to be matters of groupthink rather than “freethought” on the part of the very people who claim to be advocating the latter.

        1. Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

          I hate nested comments…

          But if you want to unpack this, there’s actually nothing inherent about seeing women as equals that implies buying into feminist ideology wholesale anymore than being pro-labor means one should be a Marxist.

          Well, lots of people also think that there’s no problem with beliving in some god or other and science and they are absolutely convinced of this, but let’s see for ourselves…

          Nor does it imply a particular stance on anti-harassment policies, sexualization, objectification,…

          So, tell me, how does opposing harassment policies, instruments that are proven to work against discrimination and actual sexual assault mostly, but not only, on women agree with the position that women are people?
          How does proposing that women who enter a bar have to accept that men hit on them and see them as walking meat, eye-candy and fuckholes who you don’t have to consult about whether to nibble their legs conform to viewing them as equal people?

          limits on free speech,

          Wait, stop, that’s a strawman as big that by now it should be possible to see it from the ISS. Saying that slurs marginalize non-privileged groups and should therefore be avoided does NOT limit free speech. It means that there are some words that people who are not assholes, racists, misogynists, homophobes or transphobes should not use. That is not the same as the government imposing limits on you. People impose limits on their speech every day and in every situation.

          and a whole lot of other issues that seem to be matters of groupthink rather than “freethought” on the part of the very people who claim to be advocating the latter.

          Funny enough, I see those “groupthinkers” disagree with each others all the time. Even on matters of feminism and harassment. Don’t even get me started on the commenters. Some of them passionately hate each other.
          Tell me, why should they unite on that one issue if not because they just actually agree on it?

        2. karmakin

          You really have no clue about what you’re talking about, do you?

          There’s very little unified feminist ideology. There’s actually really not. I mean the core concept..female equality..is there..but everything else is quite varied. And the funny thing is, you’re not even aiming at the right targets.

          You have no clue about the various waves of feminism and how they differ. You also have no clue that in a lot of ways 3rd wave and 2nd wave feminists differ over a lot. Pretty much everybody you’re talking about here, from most of the FTB feminist bloggers to Amanda Marcotte to IBlameThePatriarchy, are coming at it from a 3rd wave view. That is, that feminism should encompass a wide variety of views experiences and even desired goals, as opposed to second wave feminism which promoted a much more singular unified “image” of what equality was that left out a lot of people. A really good example of this is how some of the 2nd wave deals with transgenderism..not well at all.

          The big difference between 2nd and 3rd waves, in my opinion, is that 2nd wave is about identity politics. It’s about purity and power. 3rd wave feminism is about progress. It’s like night and day.

          In short, chill the hell out about feminism. We’re not the 2nd wavers, which are the ones that you’re worried about, and in fact, we’re working (and have largely succeeded IMO) in supplanting them.

          1. Emburii

            I thought IBTP was more second-wave than third? I remember she’s been dinged on trans- issues before, and that she’s very anti-pornography…

            …and, funnily enough, she gets pushback from other feminists when they disagree with her. Why, it’s almost as if feminism is made up of PEOPLE! That can disagree about things! And have different priorities! Why, it might not even be accurate to demonize all of them on the basis of the parts that you disagree with!

            But no, that would be rational so of course it can’t be true.

          2. Iamcuriousblue

            karmakin writes:

            “You really have no clue about what you’re talking about, do you?”

            Oh boy, I know I’m in for the patented –cough– “rational” arguments FTBers are so famous for. Do go on.

            There’s very little unified feminist ideology. There’s actually really not. I mean the core concept..female equality..is there..but everything else is quite varied. And the funny thing is, you’re not even aiming at the right targets.

            You have no clue about the various waves of feminism and how they differ. You also have no clue that in a lot of ways 3rd wave and 2nd wave feminists differ over a lot. Pretty much everybody you’re talking about here, from most of the FTB feminist bloggers to Amanda Marcotte to IBlameThePatriarchy, are coming at it from a 3rd wave view.”

            You are more than a tad condescending for someone who makes some very basic errors. First, I’m quite aware of the different schools of feminism and the different waves, thank you very much. Second, have you ever *read* I Blame the Patriarchy – basically second-wave radical feminism? Albeit, without the overt transphobia and a bit more culturally relevant, hence, gets a much larger audience than something like Radfem Hub. IBTP is every bit as toxic if not more so, in my estimation, since it manages to popularize some pretty hateful ideas in ways that the more purist blogs don’t. And as for the more mainstream feminist blogs, it’s pretty hard not to notice that Amanda Marcotte draws pretty liberally from IBTP, which in my estimation, does not speak well of her.

            And as for understanding differences within a particular ideology, I’ll note below that you *completely* do not a clue about the different subsets of libertarian ideas out there, which somehow doesn’t surprise me, since the so-called “freethought” crowd are pretty much committed to the idea that defense of individual rights is equivalent to full scale embrace of Ayn Rand. And the sad thing is, they probably see this kneejerk conflation as “rational”.

            In short, chill the hell out about feminism. We’re not the 2nd wavers, which are the ones that you’re worried about, and in fact, we’re working (and have largely succeeded IMO) in supplanting them.

            Actually, I think some of you are working on *becoming* them, which is why I, even as a strong believer in gender equality, am not buying what you’re selling.

            I want to note that the basic argument you’re making, “diversity in feminism” is, in my experience, an argument that’s *inevitably* employed in bad faith to imply that rejection of the specific (in this case, a movement and ideology) is actually rejection of the general (women’s rights per se). It involves employment of some shifting goal posts to create the false idea that acceptance of women’s equality translates into some narrow, partisan political goals. I’m not buying that, and I’m certainly not going to “chill out about feminism” as long as FTBers are going to continue to use it as a stick to beat opponents over the head with.

          3. LeftSidePositive

            Iamcuriousblue–I notice you never actually state what you dislike about IBTP, or Amanda Marcotte, which makes it very difficult to evaluate your arguments and your reasons for denigrating them. Not to mention that they’re not exactly what we’re talking about here…why don’t you make an actual argument for what FtBers say in regards to feminism that you don’t agree with? Otherwise, we’re getting just plain nowhere!

            Oh, and utter bullshit on that “if you believe in individual rights you must be an Ayn Randroid…” Look, there’s another group of people who care passionately about individual rights but do not string the economically disadvantaged and socially marginalized out to dry–they’re called LIBERALS, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but Ed Brayton, PZ, Greg Laden, Mano Singham all discuss civil liberties fairly extensively on their blogs (and they’re not the only ones here who do, but I’d say these bloggers include it more in their core topics), and you’d be hard-pressed to find any of them consider themselves “libertarian.”

          4. Iamcuriousblue

            There’s plenty I dislike about Marcotte. Her argument, advanced against a Good Men Project article critical of a certain mode of combative feminism (that could pretty well describe the atmosphere here), that essentially argues any argument a man makes against a feminist position is one that “defends privilege” and should be dismissed. (Thus, completely ruling out the possibility that feminists could ever make demands that go way beyond attacking privilege, into attacking basic rights.) Her “love the sex worker, hate sex work” stance on that issue. (Very good video on that here, and shows some of the more objectionable stances derived from IBTP: http://feministwhore.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/amanda-marcotte-ostracizes-sex-workers/.) The fact that she bitches about male privilege out of one side of her mouth, then when called on her class and race privilege by WOC and sex worker bloggers, talks out the other. And all wrapped up in some pretty hateful rhetoric. (I could perhaps ignore the tone problem if she was actually saying something worthwhile, but…)

            As for IBTP, what the hell is there *not* to dislike.

            Oh, and utter bullshit on that “if you believe in individual rights you must be an Ayn Randroid…”

            Um, go back and read what I actually WROTE. I’m saying that’s the standard strawman used against small-l libertarians, and as a matter of fact, I see that much in evidence around here. Notice how I’ve never said anything in defense of “free market” ideology, objectivism, or Ayn Rand, and yet the more reactive leftardish commentators have immediately assumed that’s where I’m coming from, simply based on making a strong civil liberties argument.

            Look, there’s another group of people who care passionately about individual rights but do not string the economically disadvantaged and socially marginalized out to dry–they’re called LIBERALS,

            Neither do left libertarians, the point of view I come from, thank you very much.

            In any event, in an American context, the term “liberal” is hard to fathom. There’s actual liberalism, which really does strongly embrace civil liberties, and then here’s various shades of leftism going under that name, and those may or may not be friendly toward civil liberties. Seems like a lot of the “liberals” here fall into the not-so-civil liberties friendly authoritarian left side of things from where I’m sitting.

            “I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but Ed Brayton, PZ, Greg Laden, Mano Singham all discuss civil liberties fairly extensively on their blogs (and they’re not the only ones here who do, but I’d say these bloggers include it more in their core topics), and you’d be hard-pressed to find any of them consider themselves “libertarian.””

            PZ could have fooled me about giving a fuck about individual rights *at all*, given that his diatribes against “libertarians” have failed to distinguish between the foolish economic views of right-wing libertarians and their (in my estimation unobjectionable) views supporting individual rights. But then again, PZ is not exactly the most nuanced or deep thinkers either. Which is part of the problem in terms of the example that sets for “rationalism” around FTB.

          5. Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

            Iamcuriousblue
            It’s kind of telling that your main complaints against the feminists on FtB seem to be that PZ dislikes libertarians and that Armanda Marcotte (?!) writes things you dislike…

          6. Iamcuriousblue

            OK, so at least one commentator says if you don’t support authoritarianism, you’re on the side of the privileged against the marginalized. No note of dissension by the usual commentariat:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/06/thats-not-a-godwin-thats-a-wollstonecraft/#comment-208537

            So – is this representative of the general position on authoritarianism here, or is this just an FTBer taking a piss? Because a statement like that is a confirmation of the worst suspicions about what FTB really supports.

          7. Ace of Sevens

            You’re reading a lot into that comment. The idea that is that completely anti-authoritarian, hands-off leadership will just lead to some other group exploiting their power over another. Protecting freedom does require some amount of coercion and the libertarian/authoritarian axis is false.

          8. Iamcuriousblue

            How is the “libertarian/authoritarian” axis false in a way that “left/right” aren’t? And why is any kind of anti-authoritarianism so wrong (even from the point of view of leaning that way somewhere along a scale) from a “social justice” point of view, that actually leaning somewhere toward authoritarianism is preferable. I’d really like to at least understand where the ideology being pushed around these parts is coming from, even if I can’t say I’m exactly a convert so far.

          9. Ace of Sevens

            The left/right axis is also false, though in that case, mainly because both ends are ill-defined. Libertarianism and authoritarianism are relative well-defined, but not opposites.

            The main problem is that maximally libertarian policies do not provide the most liberty/least control. An organization needs some authority to ensure liberty. In the convention example, if the organizers didn’t tell anyone what to do or say and people took advantage of this to bully other people because no could tell them to leave, that does not provide the most freedom for the most people.

    2. 23.2
      One Thousand Needles, lumper-splitter

      groupthink on FTB, or more accurately, on a subset of FTB

      In other words, a few people agree on a particular subject.

      How can you seriously accuse the people that invited TF to FTB of groupthink? If they invited him here, and they are disagreeing, then that falsifies your accusation of groupthink.

      he said that the blogs in question were “disproportionately” concerned with sexism.

      How is this not laughable when every post of his, with the exception of his introductory post, has been about sexism?

      based on a mentality that being an atheist/skeptic and not sharing their particular views on feminism, identity politics, etc is something that should not be allowed

      Not allowed? What do you mean? TF has certainly been allowed to post anything he wants.

      I think what you’re trying to say is that opposing views should be free from criticism. Because that is all that’s happening here: TF is making claims and those claims are being critically examined.

      In the case of the YouTube poll, TF’s methodology has been peer-reviewed and demonstrated to be flawed. This is standard operating procedure for scientific skepticism, yes?

      What exactly is the problem here?

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        “In the case of the YouTube poll, TF’s methodology has been peer-reviewed and demonstrated to be flawed. This is standard operating procedure for scientific skepticism, yes?”

        I’m not going to begin to defend TF’s “poll” as a remotely scientific survey of opinion in the atheist community. But one need hardly validate that point to agree with him on the larger issue. His case does not rest on that straw poll.

        Also, I think you need to look up “peer review” if you think that’s what any blogger on any side of this issue is doing.

    3. 23.3
      Zinnia Jones

      You can shout “privilege” all you want, but there are other issues (including social justice issues), and if you’re running a skeptical blog worthy of the name, one certainly expects something other than a copy of Pandagon or I Blame the Patriarchy.

      Whenever you start telling other people what issues they need to talk about and what issues they need to stop talking about, you first have to explain: Why? Why do they have to stop talking about what you want them to stop talking about? And: What are your standards by which you determine the appropriate amount of time that people ought to devote to each respective subject? How did you arrive at those standards?

      When you haven’t put forth any explanation for why anyone should have an imperative to stop talking about a certain issue, your criticism amounts to little more than yelling “shut up! I don’t want to hear about it!”

      At which point we have no reason to tell you anything but: No.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        If you want to be pretty much just a feminist blogger, I’m certainly not stopping you nor anybody else. But if that’s pretty much all somebody discusses rather than anything to do with skepticism or atheism, then I’m certainly not going to acknowledge that blogger as part of that community.

        More importantly, I think there’s a bit of a reversal here. It’s the “Freethought” bloggers who are shouting at other skeptic/atheist venues as to what their politics and what their concerns should be. And the response to this has often been variations on “No”. Something the FTB bloggers haven’t exactly taken with the same equanimity you might expect from those you’re saying “No” to.

        1. Zinnia Jones

          It’s the “Freethought” bloggers who are shouting at other skeptic/atheist venues as to what their politics and what their concerns should be.

          You treat these like two mutually exclusive categories: “Freethought Blogs” and “other venues”. They’re not – they’re actually two overlapping categories. The reason this issue came up in the first place was because women who participated in these “other venues” drew attention to it. Some of these women also happened to be on FTB.

          That is not grounds to depict this as some kind of FTB-against-the-world, oppositional in-group/out-group dynamic. It’s not, and acting like it is does no one any good. It just foments the assumption that no one outside of FTB agrees with this, when in fact numerous major secularist groups have already updated their policies in response. This is not about teams. It is not about tribes. It’s about addressing an issue. And fewer people have said “no” to this than you seem to think.

          The same holds true for atheism and feminism: Talking about feminism does not mean you’ve stopped talking about atheism. Talking about feminism does not come at the expense of talking about atheism. This is not zero-sum, and there is an intersection here. We can talk about both and there’s no reason to tell people not to.

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            Well, that’s a pretty picture you paint Zinnia, pity about the reality. The reality is that it’s gotten to be pretty fucking ugly and tribal, and I think FTB, or at least the subset in question, has gone a long way in promoting it. And, yes, if you want to count Skepchick and a few others, you can find others that are in agreement with you, but if you go beyond that, you’re going to find a lot of dissension and some serious questions about the tone and atmosphere that FTB has brought to the skeptic community. In particular, I think Ask an Atheist did an excellent analysis of the issue, one that unfortunately was met with a mountain of bullshit and denial here. Links here:

            http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/10/the-problem-of-dogmatic-feminism/
            http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/07/sexism-it-exists-amongst-and-between-atheists/
            http://askanatheist.tv/2012/06/07/sexism-it-exists-amongst-and-between-atheists/

            Furthermore if it was just a matter of discussing feminism and atheism, or better, how feminism intersects with atheism, then I still think FTB falls short. Greta Christina is the only one of the feminist FTB bloggers to even begin to write about this in a thoughtful way. The rest are about staking a position and bashing anybody who doesn’t agree with it, and not really arguing their point in any kind of rational way that’s going to convince anybody who isn’t already in die-hard agreement.

            If you want to talk about the intersection of skepticism and social justice issues versus adherence to a “line” as a “litmus test” for being a skeptic, Greta Christina had a very good post on the subject that I’m largely in agreement with:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/13/litmus-tests-skepticism-social-justice/

            However, the actual practice of the FTB subset we’re discussing really does fall far short of that ideal, and I think one need look no further than the comments section of the above post to see just what a poor grasp of the nuances of this issue the typical FTB commentariat actually has. It is clear that for many FTB bloggers and commentariat, adherence to rational thought implies adherence to a very narrow political line. The problem with that mentality should be self-evident.

          2. karmakin

            Quite frankly, there’s no real difference between working for social justice and equality as a litmus test and not promoting creationism as being a litmus test.

            Which is stupid. We’re simply talking about rational ideas here where people think that they’re idea is correct and other ideas are wrong.

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            Karmakin writes:

            “Quite frankly, there’s no real difference between working for social justice and equality as a litmus test and not promoting creationism as being a litmus test.

            Which is stupid. We’re simply talking about rational ideas here where people think that they’re idea is correct and other ideas are wrong.”

            Oh wow, did you really make this stupid of an argument? Do you even understand the difference between *fact* and *opinion*?

            Some basic schooling is in order – rational people reject *creationism* because it is a body of theory that demonstrably does not square with empirical, tested *facts*. Things like liberalism and conservatism are based upon *opinions* about what is a more desirable social order, often based on some very pre-rational assumptions. George Lakoff has written about this at length. Now liberals and conservatives both may support their arguments with varying degrees of empirical fact (often employed selectively), and can easily fall into ideas that are unsupported empirically through narrow adherence to partisanship. For example, American conservatives embrace of creationism, or the embrace of postmodernism and extreme social constructionism by all too many on the left.

            I have no problem with people who want to apply reason to advancing political goals. I do have a *big* problem with those who argue their political goals are the very manifestation of reason.

        2. JamesM

          Question for you: do you think conference organizers should have a policies in place to deal with harassment of their attendees? Do you feel like there are too many cat, cephalopod, and police brutality posts? Those posts have nothing to do with atheism or skepticism and outnumber posts concerning feminism by quite a large margin, yet no one complains about those posts. Why do you suppose that is?

    4. 23.4
      Ace of Sevens

      Well, not to mention that most capital-F feminists, or the ones you see around the FTB blogs anyway, are disproportionately white middle-class women with disproportionate attention to what pisses said subgroup of women off.

      What do you think legitimate feminism is and how is it distinguished for the “capital F” variety?

      As for being middle class and white, Taslima and Sikivu aren’t white. Maryam is white, but not of European ancestry. Natalie isn’t middle class. I’m not sure of the class background of most of the writers. This is in addition to all the feminist bloggers here who aren’t women. What kind of representation would you consider proportional?

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        I’m not defining “legitimate” feminism, but if you look at the fact that I’m responding to another post differentiating between “capital-L” and “small-l” libertarianism, the context should be clear enough. There are broad approaches to an issue and there are grandiose ideologies that claim a laundry list of answers to a whole range of issues. Once again, I give the example that to belong to the labor movement, even be a labor leader, does not in any way imply that you need to subscribe to any kind of Marxist ideology. I don’t think grasping this point is terribly complicated, though based on reading the comments here, perhaps it is for some people.

        1. Ace of Sevens

          Seeing as Greta was TF’s most prominent critic on FTB over this, I don’t see how that’s a good example of how THunderf00t is making a good point calling out the groupthink and Greta is the only one who isn’t part of it.

          1. Iamcuriousblue

            Actually, I’d say Greta is a damn good example of an otherwise-good blogger who’s gotten dragged down by the partisan atmosphere of FTB. And just because I disagree with the stances she’s taken does not mean I don’t think she hasn’t written some smart, nuanced posts before, one’s that I’ll quite readily refer to.

            And those of you who are crowing about the need for skepticism to engage with social issues really ought to read her post on social justice and “litmus tests”. And I mean, actually *read* it, because I gather from much of the commentary following the article that a lot of people didn’t.

            The point being that evidence-based discussion of social issues is a good thing, but that does not begin to imply lockstep agreement on political issues or ideological perspective by atheists and skeptics.

  24. 24
    george.w

    Please. “Groupthink” is easy to prove scientifically; it’s when a bunch of people in a group think they disagree with me. To see that they are wrong, all you have to do is a scientifically valid survey of my friends as defined by people who subscribe to or frequently visit my video channel.

    This is more or less what creationists mean when they accuse naturalists of groupthink for all thinking evolution is true.

    Thunderf00t, I am disappointed in you.

  25. 25
    miller

    While I certainly expect that my viewers are all perfectly rational and able to consider any issue fairly, accurately and even-handedly, this obviously isn’t always the case in reality.

    Even if people are perfectly rational and even-handed, selection bias is enough to take you the whole way. Some rational people will agree, some will disagree, but the disagreers tend not to stick around as long. Any blogger/vlogger who is not aware of the major selection bias in their own audience is a very clueless blogger indeed.

  26. 26
    Zinnia Jones

    Iamcuriousblue:

    That is an interesting way of showing the supposed insularity and isolation of Freethought Blogs and the perspectives you’ve assigned to the community as a whole: providing three links, all from a single other website, which could surely not be insular or isolated either. So this is what constitutes “a lot of dissension” to you.

    1. 26.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      I could also point to several posts by Russell Blackford as well, not to mention the ongoing blogwars that FTB has been engaging in over the last year. Surely if opposition to the FTB agenda is so small and isolated, there wouldn’t be such a strong need on the part of FTB bloggers to spend such a large amount of energy shouting it down.

      1. Zinnia Jones

        I’m not going to go along with terms like “the FTB agenda”, because there is no such thing. Explain whatever ideas you’re talking about in more descriptive terms that don’t connote tribalism, militancy, and uniformity among FTB.

        The time spent addressing certain perspectives is not reliable evidence of the prevalence of those perspectives. You’ve just mistakenly connected two things which are not necessarily related, and I’m not going to accept such an alleged link without some kind of evidence to support it.

        If your only point is something along the lines of “Russell Blackford and askanatheist.tv doesn’t necessarily agree on how much of an issue sexism is”, then that’s great and all, but who cares? This doesn’t prove anything else that you’re claiming.

        Also, who the hell is Russell Blackford?

        1. Iamcuriousblue

          Russell Blackford, an atheist writer who also blogs at Center for Inquiry, and has had some very critical things to say about the attacks on DJ Grothe and the bullying atmosphere of FTB in general. And if he too is such small potatoes, then why have Pharyngula and several other blogs here been so quick to jump on his every twitter post? Evidently, critics are striking a nerve. I wonder why that is?

          As for “FTB agenda”, I’m of course talking about the subset of FTB bloggers that identify strongly as “feminist” and do quite a bit of blogwarring and outright bullying in order to advance that agenda. PZ Myers being the king of these, and setting the very nasty tone that sets the example. Jason Thibault (who can be particularly abusive), Ophelia Benson, and Stephanie Zvan, I see little from beyond blogwarring. Greta Christina is probably the most intelligent and nuanced of this set, but has made it clear that she’s essentially promoting a kind of war for the triumph of feminist ideology within skepticism, as one of her recent posts have made clear. I’ll also point to Comradde Physioprof and Taslima who basically promote a kind of kneejerk, and in the case of Taslima, extremist feminism that is completely divorced from any kind of intellectual depth whatsoever; the only favorable thing I have to say about them is that they at least steer clear of drama.

          And while I talk about an “FTB agenda”, of course, that doesn’t mean all Freethoughtblogs, because there are several that are dissenting ones. Clearly, Thunderfoot does so, and I have to wonder if the FTB bloggers who decided to give him a forum are now regretting it. Also, Chris Hallquist has had several posts calling out the atmosphere at FTB, something he’s gotten some flack for from the usual suspects. (I’ll also point out that Chris Hallquist has better coverage of science and inquiry issues than most other FTB blogs – a skeptic blog actually giving adequate time to science – how about that?)

          1. Zinnia Jones

            Evidently, critics are striking a nerve. I wonder why that is?

            You mean someone said disagreeable things, and people disagreed with them? Well, color me shocked. You seem to think that merely addressing someone must therefore lend some legitimacy to whatever their stance is. It doesn’t. When you throw out names like Russell Blackford, what are we supposed to think? “Oh my, Russell Blackford doesn’t share their views – clearly there must be an error that they’ve overlooked…”

            No. I’m not particularly convinced of anything by citations of one person or another who disagrees. We already know that some people disagree with some FTB bloggers on these issues. It does not show that FTB themselves have somehow sparked an all-out war within the community. It does not show that the dominant paradigm of this current issue is “for FTB or against FTB” (and I find it rather suspect that you’re so intent on openly encouraging this). It also does not mean that their views of people who disagree become any more valid or correct merely because people have taken the time to refute them. This is a leap of logic that does not hold.

            In contrast, you yourself apparently see no need to address the actual content or substance of the people you disagree with. Instead of responding at all to what they’re talking about, you attack them simply for having talked about it. You don’t bother to show how they might be wrong – you only want them to stop saying anything. You condemn them just for opening their mouths. This is not an argument. Neither are unsupported accusations of “outright bullying”, “abuse”, “kneejerk”, “extremist feminism”, and “divorced from any kind of intellectual depth”, made without any semblance of evidence to back them up.

            All of this is why I am not persuaded of the validity of any of your claims.

          2. Ace of Sevens

            So your list of people to illustrate how FTB is beholden to a kind of feminism that caters only to the needs of middle-class white women contains one middle-class white woman, and she’s the one you like.

            Also, “looks like I’ve touched a nerve” is a standard argument for irrationality.

          3. Iamcuriousblue

            Well, specifically, your claim is that critics of FTB are a small and isolated group out of touch with what is supposedly a consensus in the atheist community. And what I’m arguing is if it’s so minor and isolated, then why is so much of the content of several blogs here have such a large percentage of their posts dedicated to angry reactions to said minor and isolated opponents.

            And, really, ZJ, you really want to defend the intellectual depth of Physioproffe. Here’s his blog – I challenge you to find anything other than some assertions in search of an actual argument, plus a few recipes:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof

            And, as for Taslima, it seems like many of her posts are barely fucking legible these days, much less well-argued. Let’s start with this one:

            http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2012/05/30/men-hate-womans-body/

            Sorry, but if this is what a supposedly “rationalist” set of blogs has to offer, that’s just sad.

            As for taking on the content or substance of the blogs in question? Perhaps “You’re either a loyal feminist or you’re slime” isn’t exactly a point worth addressing. And, yes, much of what I’m calling out is tone, but then tone is important.

            And, as for the idea that I’m “silencing” anybody is laughable. If you want to apply that critique, why don’t you apply that to the very bloggers you’re defending, who are at least as attackey toward anybody they disagree with and have a hell of a lot larger audience than I do.

  27. 27
    Crispytoad

    Just to let everyone know, TheAmazingAtheist favourited Thunderf00t’s latest video (found out because I’m a subscriber of his). Given that TheAmazingAtheist has nearly twice the sub count (294,303 vs 154,613), Thunderf00t’s poll should now be more representative of the wider community (although TheAmazingAtheist has done a few videos criticizing feminism, such as failure of feminism, so his subscriber base will likely agree with Thunderf00t).

    1. 27.1
      Ace of Sevens

      The number of subscribers someone has does not determine how representative their fanbase is. TheAmazingAtheist is the biggest misogynistic nutbag who’s a major figure the atheist community. Did you see him mocking a rape victim (a male rape victim, but he couldn’t seem to catch on to that part) or his screed about Laci green? (Speaking of which, I would be very happy if FTB picked up Laci Green.)

      1. Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

        (Speaking of which, I would be very happy if FTB picked up Laci Green.)

        Yes, please!

        And ahhh, yeah.
        The amazingly misogynist atheist and TF, the perfect duo to keep on off youtube…

      2. LeftSidePositive

        (Speaking of which, I would be very happy if FTB picked up Laci Green.)

        YES!!!

  28. 28
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    I cannot believe this needs to be said. How can someone be so logical in one area and so entirely devoid of any logic whatsoever in another? If a creationist ever made these types of arguments (super-select sample size, anecdotal evidence) he would eviscerate them.

    1. 28.1
      sofiarune

      Actually, he is not very good at gutting creationists when it comes to non-scientific arguments. We all have things we’re good at. Thunderf00t happens to be very very good at science but a lot of people seem to forget that expertise is non-transferable. Being good at science does not automatically make someone a theologian or a philosopher or anything else.

      I say this as someone who is pursing a career in science.

  29. 29
    charlescollom

    It is possible that Thunderf00t isn’t a malicious, illogical man, but simply wrong on his analysis. Zinnia’s initial post appears reflective of the assumption that Thudnerf00t is just wrong.

    I’m starting to suspect there is a series of (quasi) cultural divides in the community concerning flirting vs unwanted “sexual attention.” It is exacerbated by the bulk of each side assuming any disagreement with their opinion, no matter how trivial, is prompted by some malicious impulse. It was just as silly for Thunderf00t to poll his followers for evidence of his proposition as it is silly for feminist bloggers to display troll messages threatening rape or murder. Given the medium, it’s just not probative of anything and serves only to distract from the actual issue: preventing the behavior that falls in the gray area between “illegal” and “welcome.”

  30. 30
    Emburii

    I’m not actually sure why his greater ‘representation’ is important, actually. People are upset because some atheists/skeptics also have a social focus justice and will tend to agree with each other that this is important, so they claim this is bad and show their opposition to ‘groupthink’ and ‘echo chambers’ by…agreeing with each other. An agreement that is somehow magically different and more freethinking than silly feminist/equalist opinions, of couse.

    1. 30.1
      Iamcuriousblue

      In other words: “They just hate us for our social justice!” Sounds more than a bit like bad arguments I’ve heard from the other side of the political spectrum.

      And, really, a pretty arrogant one, because the kind of political line taken on these blogs is pretty far from synonymous with “social justice” on the whole. This shouldn’t be news to you, but there’s significant disagreement on what constitutes the good society and the just society, and no one perspective has a monopoly on “social justice”. Some of us who are critical with the hardline feminism and identity politics advocated by the usual suspects here would argue that perspective pits social justice against individual rights in ways that are ultimately damaging to both, and will serve to create the very opposite of a just society.

      Now if you want to have an evidence-based debate around that, great! But to start with “We support social justice and those who don’t agree with us are against it” is a kneejerk position, and I don’t think one that can remotely be called “rationalist”.

      1. Emburii

        Well, some people certainly do seem to disagree with the very idea of it, so I’m not sure how it’s a bad argument. Nor am I really clear on why you claim it’s ‘pretty far from social justice’ as a whole, since it maps pretty well to most ‘outside’ discussions using that particular term. It’s entirely possible, of course, that there are people who’ve taken the term and said it applies to their MRA/Libertarian stance as well, but that’s not where it started and not how I hear it commonly applied except by people reacting to the original use by feminists/equalists.

        And of course there’s disagreement on what makes a better society or not. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be. I am, however, saying that it’s kind of funny how people who don’t like this shared perspective in turn demonize the very idea of a common focus by…touting their common focus and using ‘argument from majority’.

        1. karmakin

          Not to mention that quite frankly, Libertarian ideas are simply wrong, incorrect, not in touch with reality. To be blunt, they are irrational. To put it simply, government intervention is NOT the only restraint on freedom that we have, and in fact, power differentials serve as a much larger restraint on personal freedom for most people. I.E. by not having a harassment policy you are restricting the freedom of women who don’t want to be harassed to go to various events.

          Why is their freedom and liberty not important?

          No, Libertarian ideals are to ensure that the people with the power keep the power. Entirely irrational.

          1. Emburii

            Eh, Libertarianism about as effective as any idealized system, which is to say not very; no plan survives contact with the enemy and all that. Communism would have the same issue.

            The lack of rational thinking comes more with the people who love the idea of abolishing taxes, all government control, and civil proceedings, and then refuse to accept Somalia as an example of such an outcome.

            More to the point, some of them might claim that taxes are ‘socially unjust’ and thus they are interested in ‘social justice’ as well when they talk about abolishing them, but that’s true only in the sense that they are using the term in a reactive fashion to attack the ideas of those they disagree with.

          2. Iamcuriousblue

            “Not to mention that quite frankly, Libertarian ideas are simply wrong, incorrect, not in touch with reality. To be blunt, they are irrational. To put it simply, government intervention is NOT the only restraint on freedom that we have, and in fact, power differentials serve as a much larger restraint on personal freedom for most people. I.E. by not having a harassment policy you are restricting the freedom of women who don’t want to be harassed to go to various events.

            Why is their freedom and liberty not important?

            No, Libertarian ideals are to ensure that the people with the power keep the power. Entirely irrational.

            And *this* is where you make your make your most weakly partisan argument, sir. I’ll actually agree with Emburii for once (sound of hell freezing over) and point out that, indeed, libertarianism is no more rational or irrational than any other idealized system.

            I’ll also point out that you too have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to small-l libertarianism. “Libertarian” in a general sense simply means the opposite of “authoritarian”, and could mean anything from free-market libertarianism to libertarian Marxism to civil libertarianism to anarchism. So, is it really authoritarianism you’re trying to defend as somehow an inherently more logical way to order society?

            Second, for somebody who claims to reject second-wave feminism in favor of the third-wave kind, you’ve basically recapitulated one of Catherine MacKinnon’s most contestable arguments. And it’s one that I fundamentally reject – in short, yes, there are other forms of social power other than the State, but formal State-granted authority is no small thing to put it mildly, and the idea that formal state power should be employed liberally as a counterbalance for differences in interpersonal power is one that’s pretty problematic, to put it mildly. Negative liberty vis a vis the State is worthwhile regardless of the social and economic nature of the society, and I think any system or ideology that rejects this is not one that would lead to anything I would call a “just society”. In fact, the track record of countries that have rejected negative liberty in the pursuit of supposedly higher social justice goals has been pretty bad from a general human rights standpoint.

            Also, it could be argued that the idea that women need special protections relative to men is one that posits women as weak and inherent victims, rather than granting the idea that adult women can stand up on their own feet and handle themselves in interpersonal conflicts. It might even be said that the kind of feminism too many here are advocating amounts to the idea of “the radical notion that women are children”. Now as it happens, I *do* support a general, non-micromanaging, gender-neutral anti-harassment policy that does not go overboard and ban things like “sexual imagery”. I think Center for Inquiry and American Atheists have shown very good judgment in this regard, even if it isn’t enough for the ultra-feminists at FTB.

          3. Kels

            I rather like how Iamcuriousblue transitioned from “capital-F feminists” (term undefined) to “ultra-feminists” (term also undefined, but doesn’t it sound scary?).

          4. kaboobie

            “Now as it happens, I *do* support a general, non-micromanaging, gender-neutral anti-harassment policy that does not go overboard and ban things like “sexual imagery”. I think Center for Inquiry and American Atheists have shown very good judgment in this regard, even if it isn’t enough for the ultra-feminists at FTB.”

            I have only seen praise and a few constructive suggestions offered for the AA and CFI policies here on FTB. Which “ultra-feminists” are you referring to?

  31. 31
    Zinnia Jones

    Iamcuriousblue:

    And, really, ZJ, you really want to defend the intellectual depth of Physioproffe.

    Actually, no, I was not defending this at all – I was pointing out where you neglected to substantiate your claims. There is a subtle but important difference.

  32. 32
    sofiarune

    I know that Thunderf00t is already trying to explain away the bias in his poll by arguing that his channel didn’t focus on this issue previously therefore there should be no bias on this subject. Despite the obvious issues he’s also not recognizing that there has been another level of selection to this. He lost subscribers who would be more inclined to disagree with him over his first video on the subject. Another issue would be that people who don’t like this subject or find his views on it offensive may simply not watch that particular video. Not to mention his channel has dealt heavily with material involving personal rights trumping pretty much everything else (unless it’s dividing a house…or something) so that’s yet another layer of bias in his favour and against having a harassment policy that may limit said freedom.

    Ultimately, those polled aren’t just his audience but also members of his audience that are polarized on this issue, likely in his favour. He may have some consistent “haters” (what was that he said about words that come up in lieu of an argument, again?) but I don’t think the people entrenched in this are anywhere near representative of the atheist “community” at large. Frankly, I don’t think most atheists actually care about “community” in the first place.

    Just my two cents.

    1. 32.1
      cityzenjane

      TFoot – lost me YEARS ago when he proved to be as pigheaded and obtuse about questions around the intersections of race/ethnicity/religion – as he has proven to be about sexism. I suspect he lost a lot of viewers that go round…and gained the ones who were AS obtuse.

      Hence, the poll thing is hilarious…if he has a skeptic card to lose…he should lose it on that basis alone.

      I was shocked to hear he had a place to blog here and relieved to hear it didn’t work out.

      As for his free speech….he can blog/vlog where ever he wants.

  33. 33
    Rutee Katreya

    Oh no, a bunch of cis, hetero, able, NT white dudes in a movement that is majority cis, hetero, able, nt white dudes are objecting to a space being less terrible than normal. Frankly, I’m pretty sure Thunderf00t is more representative of the wider atheist movement, and would have said that before this argument; I just don’t see how that would make him correct or right, it would just mean the skeptic movement mostly sucks.

  34. 34
    Jayceemess

    thunderf00t has been dull as dishwater here so far, and I really wish that his cheesy controversy-generating tactics didn’t ALWAYS work. I will resume reading if he ever laughs at creationists again. The feud with PZ is such a yawn. The f00t is a pathologically defensive, wrongheaded jerk, apparently. Like other good dogmatic thinkers, he’ll defend his nonsense beyond the lowest depths of tedium. Sounds like a Christian to me. Now I shall shut up about it, lest I stoke this silly flame war.

  35. 35
    klatu

    It’s been confirmed that TF and Greg Laden will leave FTB.
    Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.

  36. 36
    Maruku

    You make great points overall. I think Thunderf00t should probably use his poll to demonstrate what he really wants to instead of doing what you claimed he did (which he really did).

    It’s obvious he wants to demonstrate that PZ Meyers is being an idiot even if he may feel unprofessional saying so. I kinda wish he just would say something of the sort, if that’s how he sees it, though.

    Of course, only if he backs it up with evidence (like he’s been doing pretty well so far).

  37. 37
    r4i

    HC showdown brother for the first time in history [Preview] SB, maximum key 47th Super Bowl teams to clash with the San Francisco · 49ers QB Baltimore Ravens (SB). It is the first confrontation HC brother John Harvuot of Ravens, 49ers league history by Jim Harbor main attraction is when all is said r4i http://www.r4kaartr4i.org

  1. 38
    The drama! The drama! Thunderf00t! Why? Why? « SINMANTYX

    [...] I just noticed that ZJ also critiqued the post. Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  2. 39
    Projection » Almost Diamonds

    […] Here’s where they refused to provide any detail for assertions they were making about me. […]

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