Comments

  1. Monocle Smile says

    On first listen, I didn’t really like the way the MRA was handled, but after a second painful time around, it’s difficult to deal with someone who absolutely refuses to answer a “yes/no” question posed to him a half-dozen times. Also, the principles he described aren’t just radfem values. I don’t have any love for the actual radfem movement, but so many mainstream feminists are labeled as radfems because they said something “mean” on the internet that the term is losing clarity.

  2. corwyn says

    One vote for “That’s a subject for a different program” response to Feminism / Men’s Rights.

  3. JJM says

    I don’t think the final caller was very clear in what he was saying, but it was a bit of a cheap shot of Russell to refer to MRAs at the end. Same as for Monocle Smile @1 above. The caller’s difficulty was in expressing the difference between feminism as equal rights for women, which I’d like to think just about all atheists/secularists would support, with the kind of batshit crazy radical feminism we keep hearing lately, for example over the recent UVA fiasco.

  4. Russell Glasser says

    The call screener’s notes literally said “Men’s Right Activist.” That’s apparently what he told them. It’s a cheap shot somehow to use terminology that they themselves are applying to themselves?

  5. JJM says

    Russell. Fair enough, obviously I didn’t know what the screen caller’s notes said, the only mention of MRAs was from you in the context of MRAs sending hate mail, not about the caller himself.

  6. Monocle Smile says

    I’ll side with corwyn on this one.

    I do have to comment, however, that this topic is going to come up over and over again, most likely, and it’s because members of AXP have associated themselves with feminism at some point. The MRA types thus view them as permanently poisoned and won’t ever leave it alone. I mean, these people still whine about “elevatorgate.” They can’t get over the fact that someone said something they didn’t like on the internet.

  7. Russell Glasser says

    I’m sorry about the hostile environment, Ibis. I don’t really know what would have been the right thing to do in that situation. Presumably you noticed that my first inclination was to hang up on the caller, but Martin encouraged me to take him. Would you preference be to never take calls like that without Jen or Tracie on hand? Or never at all?

  8. JJM says

    Russell, unless you’re really struggling for callers I can’t see the benefit of taking a call like that. That’s not to say that there couldn’t be a good discussion on the topic with a caller that was a bit more eloquent than the caller you had, but it was clear that this caller wasn’t the one for that – obviously you didn’t know that until he started but were there really no other topics other callers wanted to discuss?

  9. Russell Glasser says

    I was talking to Ibis, not you, JJM. For the record, your opinion on this topic is of no interest to me whatsoever. You lost my attention at “batshit crazy radical feminism,” and you may expect it to remain lost.

  10. JJM says

    Well obviously to Russell there’s no radical feminism so extreme that it could be called batshit crazy. That tells me something about him.

  11. says

    @Russell,

    Honestly, I don’t know. I get that it’s complicated. First, I doubt very much that a guy wanting to complain about feminism would call if Jen or Tracie were hosts that day. He *wanted* to have a conversation with men about feminism over the heads of women. Taking the call meant that there was an opportunity to change minds or educate the audience (I imagine that was Martin’s thinking too—though I’m not sure the way this particular call played out got anywhere). As far as the chat goes, no one was breaking the rules, but it was full of anti-feminist crap as soon as the call started. The sad fact is, there is a good portion of your audience that hates feminism, which in effect means they are for the status quo which is against women’s equality. I don’t know what you can do with that. [thinking] Yeah, maybe take the call and invite the caller to call back when Jen or Tracie is co-host to at least prevent the “let’s all talk about whether women are oppressed without having a woman in the room” vibe.

  12. Muz says

    Although no one on that call was using the term ‘radical’ in this way, if I remember right, Feminism that accepts the theory of a still socially patriarchal society is Radical Feminism.

    Naturally this gets confusing as in common parlance ‘radical’ is synonymous with ‘bomb throwing militant’ rather than ‘pertaining to the basis or core of something’.

  13. Russell Glasser says

    I think it’s a good suggestion, Ibis. I want to be supportive but I don’t really want to be talking about women’s issues without involving any of the women we actually have available. I’ll keep that in mind if we get a similar call.

    I view anti-feminists as being in the same bucket with 9/11 Truthers — nominally they are a part of our audience who thinks they agree with us about many things, but when we don’t take their pet issue seriously they get peevish. I’ve seen hundreds of comments pile up when conspiracy theorists get on board, and it’s tedious and unrewarding to try to engage with them for very long.

  14. says

    @Muz Exactly. How exactly do people think equality for women can be achieved if we don’t get at the roots of systemic and cultural sexism? That’s what radical feminism means. Of course, the caller *was* actually against radical feminism in this sense, since he denies that men hold most of the power in society, because there’s one single data point that shows more women vote than men. Forget that most of the candidates are men, the funding is by and for men, the political positions are held by men, the wealth, the lobbyists, the media (both news and entertainment), the police, the military, the bankers, the corporate hierarchies, most academia……

  15. says

    I think taking the MRA call was a good idea. Feminism is a point of contention in the atheist/skeptic community (at least online), and addressing it has the potential to educate people and change their thinking on the subject.

    Personally, I find listening to a stuttering, stammering MRA who weakly attempts to defend a stupid argument to be a lot more fun than listening to yet another atheist call in to talk about yet another difficult conversation he’s having with believers in his life.

    In fact, I think there’s a good discussion to be had on exactly what is meant by terms like “patriarchy” and “privilege” and why and how they are relevant to atheism. For example, there is undoubtedly “religious privilege” that exists, and other kinds of privilege (such as male privilege) are bound up in – and reinforced by – dogmatic religious beliefs that bleed into secular culture and the ways in which society conditions us to think about things. I think there’s an interesting show to be done on the subject of privilege as a concept (that is, as social advantages possessed by a group that are largely invisible to the members of that group). It may even be an excuse to do a “topic” at the top of a show once again.

    I don’t agree that a comparison between anti-feminists and conspiracy theorists is valid because conspiracy theories deal with questions of fact, while feminism and anti-feminism deal largely with questions of value. For example: the stuttering, stumbling MRA caller on this show didn’t disagree on the fact that there are more men in government than women. He disagreed on the question of what constitutes “power,” which is a fuzzier question that gives these people a different kind of wiggle room than conspiracy theorists have.

    But I think questions of value *can* be – and in fact *should* be – rationally discussed in an open forum. As I said, feminism is a source of contention in the atheist/skeptic community, and it’s an issue absolutely tied up with dogma, beliefs inflicted on us by our culture, the ways in which we interpret evidence…if that’s not an appropriate topic for one of the most popular atheist/skeptic shows, then I don’t know what is.

  16. says

    As far as the actual subject of “patriarchy” goes, I think it’s downright insane to try to argue that we don’t live in a society that is still predominantly run by men, and it’s nuts to try to argue that there isn’t “male privilege” that affords men vastly more social advantages than any (far more miniscule) “female privilege” that may or may not exist.

    But there *is* a legitimate discussion to be had about how these concepts are applied. I’ve seen a number of feminists who express themselves in ways that could be a lot clearer, and it’s no wonder that the anti-feminist types often have a twisted understanding of feminism. For example, some outspoken feminists try to use the concept of patriarchy as a causal mechanism, trying to boil down complicated ideas into a far too simplified idea: “because patriarchy.” Patriarchy isn’t an independent entity, and it doesn’t “do” anything: it’s a label we put on a very complicated intersection of various social phenomena that *produce* the kind of society where men disproportionately have power.

    The fact is, people tend to use various kinds of linguistic shortcuts to discuss phenomena that are way more complicated than those shortcuts would suggest. For example, consider ideas like “Patriarchy causes X” or “You’re just saying that because of privilege – check your privilege!!” or “All men are potential rapists” or “Men can’t be raped.” There’s a sense in which all of those ideas are valid, but there are senses in which those ideas are also deeply misleading. The problem is that the substance of the issues is complicated enough that they cannot be summarized in a pithy little slogan without being misleading, and those pithy sayings – or, rather, the mistaken interpretations that some have of them – therefore tend to enrage certain segments of the atheist/skeptic community (which, it should be remembered, can often tend to be rather literal-minded and wary of any ideas that sound kind of questionable and/or ideas that seem to be presented in ways that make it appear as if they are not open to question).

    Therefore, I think substantive discussions of these issues are actually very useful for the atheist/skeptic community, and I would submit that dismissive reactions are rather counterproductive (“What? He’s someone who disagrees? Get lost!”).

  17. Narf says

    @19 – Los
    Or, to put it another way, a lot of the conversation would be cleared up if people used their in-group and out-group voices when speaking to people of the given group. Using shorthand that everyone in your community understands instantly doesn’t help when you’re speaking to those who aren’t fully versed on the issue.

    Of course the actual MRA’s are so far gone that they won’t sit still for the clarification, but it can be important when talking to others who aren’t so polarized.

    The MRA’s remind me of one of my creationist coworkers, a few years back. When I tried to clear up the bat-shit insanity that his fundamentalist preacher had thrown together as the straw-man of evolution that he was arguing against, my coworker kept asking why the opinion of the biologists was more important than that of his preacher, when determining what the theory (and yes, he said it was just a theory *groan*) of evolution was. It’s the same thing with feminism. If you want to know what feminism is, ask a freaking feminist, not a misogynist.

  18. JT Rager says

    Listening to the show currently and some initial thoughts on the “gay marriage” studies. I think it would help if we could emphasize as a community that it just doesn’t do to say a study is biased. If it’s biased, you need to demonstrate that. Look into the study, look at its methodology, look how it derives its conclusions, and if there are flaws in the paper they should be apparent. Peer review filters a lot of crap out of journals, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that could have been done better or flaws in the paper.

  19. JT Rager says

    Also, for the record, I enjoyed listening to the MRA caller. Every time he raised a point it got refuted and he had to stammer through his argument to keep going. It’s exactly what we hear from the theists. I don’t think atheist organizations should necessarily be feminist by default, though I think they should do it if they actually care about equality. The ACA appears to have a feminist backbone, and as such they should be able to reflect it by defending it on TAE.

  20. BenJ says

    I think Russell and Martin came off as jerks and bullies in this episode.
    I wanted to hear what this guy had to say about feminism and atheism, but you just talked over him and cut him off before he could even explain what he wanted to say.
    It reminded me a little of how Ray Comfort is big on telling the public what atheists think (he makes up what he wants them to be like), instead of listening and asking them or letting them say what they think.
    The most unfortunate thing is that this episode will now be repeated endlessly on Atheist TV. Will the impression it gives about atheist discourse be good or bad?

  21. VeNOO says

    I would like to clarify one thing about the position of Russel and Martin.
    Imagine ideal society with absolutely no prejudices and no discriminacy. And imagine that we still have the percentage of women and men in the positions of power different from percentage in general population due to natural differences. Is this a problem? Should we introduce reverse discrimination to equalize this percentages?
    Just to avoid hate responses – I don’t claim that there are no prejudices, that there are no discriminacy or that one gender is “better” in any way that the other. But I want to understand the position.

  22. says

    That’s a pet peeve of mine – the arbitrary dismissal of an analogy for an irrelevant reason.

    A common analogy when trying to describe how electricity works in electronics, is to compare it to how water flows through pipes. A resistor is like a pipe that narrows in diameters, for instance.

    But people like caller would say that the analogy fails because electricity isn’t water… completely missing the point. How dose that defeat the analogy? With people like this, the only way to construct a proper analogy is to make the analogy identical to itself – creating a tautology.

    The comparison of gay marriage discrimination to racial marriage discrimination is an incredibly apt one. Saying that it’s racism, therefore the analogy doesn’t work, is a complete non sequitur.

    If we broaden the evaluation from “you can marry someone of the same race” to whether you can marry the consenting adult of your choice, then the problem becomes apparent. We aren’t saying that “black people can’t get married” is the racial discrimination. We’re saying that there’s a group of people who can’t get married, and the basis of that legal restriction is race – something that would need a valid secular justification…. something a little less vacuous than “it’s applied equally”

    We can take every reference to race above, and swap them out with sexual orientation, and it’s functionally identical. We’re still talking about consenting adults who cannot get married, and the basis of that restriction is sexual orientation…. thus, discrimination.

    I’m curious if he could come up with a valid basis for dismissing the comparison that actually matters to the intended point. I would have thought libertarianism would be fine gay marriage, since otherwise, we’re talking about big government dictating the social values and laws of the people.

  23. Monocle Smile says

    @VeNOO

    Imagine ideal society with absolutely no prejudices and no discriminacy. And imagine that we still have the percentage of women and men in the positions of power different from percentage in general population due to natural differences

    Imagine monkeys coming out my ass.
    I don’t find imagining (in my mind) impossible situations to be of any value. Here’s the key failure of your hypothetical: the “natural differences” you cite are virtually mythical. They don’t actually exist in any significant sense.

  24. VeNOO says

    2Monocle Smile
    Great. Exactly the reaction I expected *facepalm*

    Natural differences exist in very significant sense. Not speaking of how hormones influence behaviour (aggressiveness etc) the simplest one is that it is much easier for man to be a father than for a woman to be a mother (well, because we don’t lay eggs) How they influence the percentage in question is another issue. I don’t claim that they are significant factors BUT I neither assert that they don’t exist at all. So my question is in fact do the hosts strongly believe in their insignificance or they want equal representation of society among the power holders even if this means some discrimination?

  25. blue says

    You guys did a great job with the MRA and the libertarian. The MRA kept trying to say that just because most powerful people are men doesn’t mean that they’re not feminists, and that the fact that more women vote than men must mean that those men that women elect are feminists. Of course the flip side of that is that not all women are feminists, and that the electorate does not run on sheer numbers. I could vote for anyone and my vote would not come close to being counted becase of gerrymandering and the electoral council. As an indicator of real societal attitudes and the real power base business and media are way more enlightening. The Sony emails were a nice window into the boy’s club of the corporate world.

    There are huge natural differences between men and women. But the abrriers to women participating in politics, big business and media are social (old boys club) and logistical (no work life balance). It we could deal with the work life balance thing then everyone would be better off, but equally, if we dealt with the ego-driven old boys crap there would be plenty of women who are happy to have no life outside work, just as there are plenty of men who are happy to.

    @JT Rager, I don’t think TAE has any very sciency hosts who could do that. Certainly with creationists it always comes down to philosophy rather than science.

    @Russell, IMO anyone is qualified to give rational refutation and arguments. If white people shut up about racism and straight people shut up about gay rights, then would we have made the progress we have today? Of course it sucks a bit to se you able to do it without being called shrill or threatened with rape, but that’s just me being jealous.

  26. Monocle Smile says

    @VeNOO

    the simplest one is that it is much easier for man to be a father than for a woman to be a mother

    That’s a deepity. To the extent that it’s true (women have a uterus) it’s trivial, and to the extent that it’s profound (referencing fabricated gender norms), it’s false.

    So my question is in fact do the hosts strongly believe in their insignificance or they want equal representation of society among the power holders even if this means some discrimination?

    The hosts can answer for themselves, but personally, I would fully expect a representative body to be organically microcosmic of its constituent population if all discrimination is indeed eliminated, at least to a certain degree. I wouldn’t expect the percentages to line up precisely, but they’d be in the ballpark. Why would you expect this to not be the case?

  27. says

    @VeNOO, the reason for the need to change the status quo is because of those very differences. The way men have status-driven pissing contests and women just walk off and do the work and show their value by being a good team player is why women are so under represented, not because women don’t want to be in charge/work in media or whatever. Those very male styles of jockeying for status and position are rewarded by the (male) higherups, and the few women who’ve adapted enough to get high up. Until there are a roughly equal number of men and women and systems to control for unconscious prejudice people will continue to be rewarded for traits and behaviours which are shared bythe higherups.

    Apparently Sheryl Sandberg’s book is great to coach women to play the “male” games. (scare quotes because they’re not entirely or exclusively the province of males)

  28. Cimmerius says

    I do think we should give credit to the libertarian caller for admitting the mixed race analogy might be valid. He didn’t change his mind right there, but if he really thinks about it he might. It was a small difference between him and the MRA but it could be significant.

  29. VeNOO says

    @Monocle Smile
    Having to be pregnant (which is a massive physical and mental burden) in the most active part of your life for not being child-free is not a “fabricated gender norm” but a real fact. Nontrivial because it leads to huge career disadvantages that are not easily compensated. And without woman’s devotion to proceed with her career it’s practically impossible to compensate. If extracorporeal pregnancy were achieved and became common I’m sure that women’s participation in a lot of areas would rise significantly.

    @blue
    But that’s not a problem of prejudices rather than a system favoring “contesters” over “team players” (and other way is hard for me to imagine in politics) Prejudice enters if the “contester” behavior is condemned for women and that you can and must fight.

  30. Monocle Smile says

    @Cimmerius
    He took me by surprise as well, but then he threw it all away when he said later that associated with the LGBT crowd would make the atheist movement look bad. I mean, c’mon, man.

    @VeNOO

    Nontrivial because it leads to huge career disadvantages that are not easily compensated. And without woman’s devotion to proceed with her career it’s practically impossible to compensate

    There’s a point to be explored here and in some respects I agree, but I think this is an artifact of a double standard. Pregnancy lasts about nine months, and the woman isn’t rendered immobile or unfit for anything outside of strenuous physical activity. It’s just assumed that she’s going to be the primary caretaker and thus unable to contribute to her career. Now, take a look at Sweden, for example…in politics, gender representation isn’t exactly evenly split, but it’s much, much closer than in the US. Why is that?

    If extracorporeal pregnancy were achieved and became common I’m sure that women’s participation in a lot of areas would rise significantly

    I’d be tempted to agree, but we know for a fact now that girls are discouraged from entering specific fields (like STEM fields) starting at a very young age.

  31. says

    BenJ @#23: Your tone-trolling is, in the immortal words of Megatron, “duly noted… and ignored!”

    re: the MRA, He wanted some men to whine to about how awful women are to him. He got a drubbing instead. I’d call that a small victory, though if he’d had the chutzpah to call when Jen or Tracie were hosting he’d probably have been physically hurt by the sheer verbal asskicking he’d receive.

    re: the neo-feudalist, how can you tell he’s a neo-feudalist? Because the first thing he did was regurgitate some of the most clapped-out, tired, hoary old chestnuts possible while claiming they were some new, fresh perspective. Then he got rolled. I was screaming at my phone as I listened out of sheer blinding rage at his inability to process even the most basic logic.

    How do the hosts do it? I mean, I’d be going through stress balls at the rate of three a day having to listen to some of this twaddle.

  32. bigwhale says

    Was he seriously denying a patriarchy by citing the dictionary? People can get a doctorate degree in the current patriarchy. His arguments are hardly better than “if evolution, why are there still monkeys? The dictionary says evolution means change; why haven’t monkeys changed?”

    If he actually wanted to learn there is a ton of information out there. He needs feminism 101, not to assume he figured it all out by himself.

  33. petrander says

    I’m so happy the last caller was taken and his views very clearly denounced, even though I agree with Ibis that it would have been better if Jen or Tracy were there. Of course, one may strive to always have at least one female as host, but that may be impractical.

    I regularly bump into anti-feminists in atheist venues on social media and find the discussions extremely irritating. Many of them have clearly made their mind up that “feminists are stoopid” and no amount of logic or skepticism can rock that faith. The discussion of this call helps the movement among atheists that anti-feminism is in fact the “bat-shit crazy” position and unworthy of a those that value skepticism.

  34. petrander says

    Pregnancy lasts about nine months, and the woman isn’t rendered immobile or unfit for anything outside of strenuous physical activity. It’s just assumed that she’s going to be the primary caretaker and thus unable to contribute to her career.

    WIth all due respect, being someone who has been observing the effects of the “triviality” of having a uterus up close and the after-effects pregnancies have on a woman’s life and career, it is no small feat having to conquer that particular lil’ issue. It’s in any case not as simple as saying: “Well, you’re just out for a few months, but then back again at full strength.”

    A pregnancy is a major interruption in the pursuit a career. Additionally, it can causes long-lasting bodily problems. Depending on circumstances and the woman’s body, the after-effects can clearly be felt chronically, especially on the skeleton. Also, naturally, children do tend to gravitate mostly towards, and require attention from, the mother. It would go against any parental instinct just to ignore that for the cause of gender equality.

    But really, we should let actual women come and bring these issues to the light. I’m just saying it should not be taken lightly.

  35. Henry says

    I just changed my mind on this.
    At first I was angry at Russel and Martin because the caller was rigth under his definition of Patriarchy, there is no Patriarchy and Russel and Martins arguments were invalid. I saw it this way.
    A Christian might say there is a god, because in bible it says god made the world, there is a world so the bible must be right and there must be a god, analogisly Martin and Russel claimed there was a Patriarchy (defined by the caller as a organized system which keeps women away from positions of power), a system that keeps women away from power and all statistics bear out that thats true, women are less represented in positions of power, so the premiss that a organised system intend on keeping women away from power is true.

    I thought Martin and Russel were wrong in this case, women are underrepresented, but there could be a miriad of reasons for that and I can’t see any evidence that there is in fact a Patriarchy as defined by the caller, women can vote, women can run for any government position, I can’t see any evidence for a conserted effort to deny women access to power.

    But and this is were I changed my mind. Patriarchy is more often defined as a system were men hold more power then women. If that’s the definition and we are not talking about this fictional organised conserted effort to keep women from power, then I’m on board. I think this detail is were the confusiin stems from.

    Women were keept from power and a patriarchy as defined by the caller was commonplace a hundred years ago, but it was abolished, still the effects of this system are still here women are disuaded from takingg positions of power but thats a cultural remnant which is still hau ting us, not a organised effort. There are organised efforts though to cut womens rigths, but I think these are still remnants from our less enligthened past.
    So there is patriachry and it needs to go, still it’s not the kind of patriarchy the caller described, so technically he was right.

    That brings up the question how a non patriarcle society should look like.
    50/50 men and women, seems to be impossible if not enforced by quotas and law, by the common definition of patriarchy a 51% men 50% women in positions of power society would still be a patriarchy. When is a society equal?

  36. Brendan Brendan says

    As a longtime fan, I was very disappointed by this conversation, much as I am disappointed with the general anti-skeptical attitude many people of the skeptic and atheist communities have towards feminism. In this conversation, the caller’s lack of eloquence, his nervousness, and the ability of the hosts to endlessly interrupt him were all used to bully him instead of engage in a conversation. It’s this unwillingness to engage in a real conversation that is typical of advocates of religion and woo, so it’s disheartening to see it in this context.

    His point was clear to anyone who is listening: Defining power as simply who holds formal leadership positions is facile. Power is significantly more complex, especially in a democracy. A woman’s vote is worth no less than a man’s vote. Women are not excluded from the political process in any way. In fact, women vote more often than men. If women use that power to elect men, then that is a reflection of how women choose to exercise their power, not an example of them lacking power.

    Another example of the problem with this is Martin and Russell’s assertion that there aren’t women in their particular fields. So what? If you worked in education, social work, psychology, or life sciences then your experience would largely be the opposite. There is a subtle sexism towards women inherent in this argument. In order for that complaint to be valid, you have to assume that the fields that women dominate are somehow less important or vital than the ones men dominate. You have to disregard the hard work and accomplishment that women achieve in the fields they do dominate. Why is biology less important than computer science? Why is being an educator less important than being a CEO?

    Women control over 60% of consumer spending, the lifeblood of our capitalist economy, they vote more often than men, they dominate the educational system (both in terms of graduation rates and being educators), and they dominate numerous important job fields, including many scientific ones. All of those things are power, real power, and none of them require holding 50% of the formal leadership positions, the vast majority of which amount to being a figurehead. The world is more complex than that. The reality of the situation is that men and women are both plenty powerful. You only create the illusion of a gap by oversimplifying the concept of power and then assuming that the things men choose to do more often are more important than the things women choose to do more often.

  37. Monocle Smile says

    @Henry

    still the effects of this system are still here women are disuaded from takingg positions of power but thats a cultural remnant which is still hau ting us, not a organised effort. There are organised efforts though to cut womens rigths, but I think these are still remnants from our less enligthened past

    If acts of Congress don’t count as “organized efforts,” I don’t know what does. Call these “remnants” all you want; law are getting passed that push us further backward as a society.

    That brings up the question how a non patriarcle society should look like

    I referenced Sweden before. The Nordic countries might not be perfect in this regard, but they’ve progressed much, much further towards the ideal goal than we have. That’s a good starting point.

  38. Henry says

    “If acts of Congress don’t count as “organized efforts,” I don’t know what does. Call these “remnants” all you want; law are getting passed that push us further backward as a society”

    I never claimed there are no forces activly trying to turn america back into a patriarchy.

    Congress is trying to pass laws restricting womens rights, which is abhorent and they are coming at this from a patriarchle background, which I do not question.

    But concerning positions of power.
    Which law has congress enacted to keep women from attaining positions of power?
    There must be laws and rules activly keeping women from running for goverment offices and high ranking jobs, to meet the callers definition of patriarchy.

    As I said I don’t agree with the callers position and believe by a broader definition of patriarchy the USA would qualify, but not under the callers definition.
    I think there is a patriarchy but not a patriarchy enforced by rules and laws, as was suggested by the caller, but a patriarchy based on presumptions and biases.
    Biases and presumptions which can and should be fought.

  39. says

    #23: It reminded me a little of how Ray Comfort is big on telling the public what atheists think (he makes up what he wants them to be like), instead of listening and asking them or letting them say what they think.

    Then you either weren’t paying attention, or were letting some biases of your own affect how you perceived the conversation. We did, in fact, ask the caller to clarify his position multiple times, and in the easiest way possible. When he asserted that the concept of patriarchy (male dominance of society) was a “radical” feminist idea, we repeatedly asked him to state, yes or no, whether or not he agreed with the notion that men hold disproportionately more power in society than women. Instead of answering this with a simple yes or no, he danced around the question in every way he could. Sure, more men are in Congress then women, but all women can vote, so… it evens out… or something?

    Do I need to note that when theists, creationists, etc., call up and offer waffly, ill-formed arguments, and we confront them by pinning them down on basic issues that need to be addressed in a straightforward way, without prevarication or bullshit, viewers are brimming with praise for how we handle it? Treat an MRA the same way…suddenly we’re jerks.

    #39: While I’m glad you had something of a change of mind, I can address this:

    Patriarchy is more often defined as a system were men hold more power then women. If that’s the definition and we are not talking about this fictional organised conserted effort to keep women from power, then I’m on board.

    In point of fact, both are true. The first is true because of the second.

    I can, again, give you a quick example from my own industry. Only 9% of studio feature films (a lower figure than my original estimate) in 2013 were directed by women. A female director I know was denied representation by an agency on the basis that “we already have a female director on our roster.” (No apparent 1-person quota limit for men.) Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the $192 million-grossing Twilight, was not asked back for any of the sequels, and repeatedly gets turned down for other jobs on the basis that the producers don’t feel the material would benefit from a “woman’s perspective.” These are the same producers who are happy to let men direct stuff like Sex and the City and Bridesmaids.

    You can point to other industries, other professions, and see similar patterns. The “fictional organized concerted effort” to deny women opportunity that you don’t believe exists is known, among people who get out of the house occasionally, as the “old boy’s network,” and it is a form of acculturated sexism where men gatekeep their positions of power, and deny entry to outside (women, racial minorities, etc.) participants simply because they can. It doesn’t have to be intentionally malicious to happen. The men who partake are just products of the system they reinforce, and one will naturally be resistant to sharing the privilege you’ve enjoyed all your life by default, without even being aware of it. The benefit of movements like feminism and the civil rights movement is that it does what Dawkins repeatedly stated he was trying to do with The God Delusion: to raise consciousness.

  40. Brendan Brendan says

    Martin, you asked him repeatedly whether men held most of the positions of office in government. He answered that multiple times by saying that only about 20% of office holders were women. He would then try to move the discussion forward about what “power” means, such as whether holding office actually reflects power, and you would cut him off and keep repeating that initial question, even though he had already answered it. YOU defined power as simply holding formal positions of leadership, and then demanded that he agree with that framework or else you wouldn’t talk about anything else. It was far below the level of discourse that many of us have come to expect from The Atheist Experience.

    When you say that if you treated a theist this way nobody would care, you have it backwards. You acted like theists do towards you. They say that you must accept their framework in whole or else they refuse to discuss the issue. When you try to get into actually drilling down on definitions of framework, they keep bringing the discussing back to using their preferred way of talking about everything. This is exactly what you did.

    There are numerous problems with the framework you were advocating, but since you completely stonewalled any attempt to discuss that framework, the issue could not be explored. For example, imagine a country with just one elected representative who ran the government. Under your definition of power, if that person is a man the country is a patriarchy, and if that person is a woman the country is a matriarchy. This is obviously patently absurd. Power is more complex than that. Women wield more power than men in a significant portions of our society. They control the vast majority of consumer wealth, they make up the majority of the voters, they make up the vast majority of college graduates, and they absolutely dominate education and healthcare, two of the most important and powerful areas of modern society.

    The point the caller was trying to make was that women make up the majority of active voters, and a sizable majority at that. If women CHOOSE to elect more men as the way they exercise their voting power, then that is an act of their power. That is their preference, which their vote gives them the power to exercise. This is no different than the fact that women finish college at far greater numbers than men for a variety of reasons including a natural advantage in education (earlier brain development), and access to large amounts of college funding that men do not. With this power, they choose to get involved in specific fields more often, such as education and life sciences. The fact that women choose to go into slightly different fields than men on average does not mean that women are less powerful. It means that once they have the power to choose to do what they want, they do what they want, and that may not be EXACTLY what men want demographically.

    By no means does this mean everything is perfect. Sexism is still a problem. Gender issues are still a problem. However, the last few decades in particular have seen a radical shift in the dynamic, and it’s clearly reached the point where it is facile to sum it up as “men powerful, women weak”. Attempting to shoehorn this more complex reality into that paradigm is how you end up arguing that being a solid majority of voters is not power, and dominating life sciences, education, political science, sociology, social work, psychology, and numerous other fields is not power because women don’t ALSO dominate computer science and physics.

    My last attempt to leave a similarly polite disagreement here appears to have not been approved, which does not surprise me given how this call was handled and how incredibly dismissive the posts here have been thus far, so I just hope these messages are getting to you.

  41. Monocle Smile says

    @Brendan
    A few issues, to start.

    YOU defined power as simply holding formal positions of leadership, and then demanded that he agree with that framework or else you wouldn’t talk about anything else

    Uh, the process of making laws is much, much, MUCH more than merely “leadership.” Are you just totally unaware of the past few years of Congressional activity? Women are facing repeated assaults on their bodily rights, among other things. And it doesn’t matter one shit if women are the slight majority (portraying their proportional voter base as “vast majority” and ignoring gerrymandering entirely is incredibly dishonest, BTW) of the voter base if you only have men to vote for. Countless elections are solely composed of old white dudes as candidates. The problems in the system start so much earlier than both you and the caller imagine them to start.

    This is no different than the fact that women finish college at far greater numbers than men for a variety of reasons including a natural advantage in education (earlier brain development), and access to large amounts of college funding that men do not

    Given that women are still unable to influence society to anywhere near the same degree as men despite this “power,” this is actually a huge blow against your argument, not for it. You whine that the hosts focused on lawmaking bodies when discussing power (they also mentioned Fortune 500 CEOs, which leads to an even bigger blow against your argument), yet name fields that women “dominate” when those fields have little to no influence on how society operates. Those fields are woefully under-appreciated (social work and education, especially) and aren’t taken nearly as seriously by the people who shape society as they should be. This is dishonest doubletalk.

    My last attempt to leave a similarly polite disagreement here appears to have not been approved, which does not surprise me given how this call was handled and how incredibly dismissive the posts here have been thus far

    This happens to every first-time poster. EVERY first-time poster. And your posts just got approved Please don’t spoil all the discussion-worthy material you posted by acting like a “muh muh CENSORSHIP” douchebag troll. We get plenty of those as it is.

  42. VeNOO says

    #43
    Great, using shampoo ads for arguments is a new level. Which is by the way the most bullshitiest video I’ve seen in the long time. The funny thing is that I’ve seen some of these “double standards” working in the exactly opposite way – negatives used for men while positives used for women. At least by the men not by jealous women, ha-ha! I agree with exactly one thing – that not very bossy woman executive will be more likely to be called bossy than man (while “bossy” person will be called by their ill-wishers “bossy” regardless of gender) That one is sexist and should be dealt with. But the problem with solving it easely is that, you see, not every negative description of a woman or an action towards a woman by a man can be blamed for his sexism!

  43. houndentenor says

    I was surprised to hear a so-called libertarian call in and claim to be using secular arguments against gay marriage that are straight out of the religious right playbook. Martin and Russell did a good job but as is always the case when being gish-gallopped they missed a few things that need to be rebutted.

    1) There have been Unitarian UCC and other churches marrying gay couples since at least the mid 70s. Obviously those marriages weren’t legally recognized but the churches considered them valid. If marriage is a religious matter like some claim it is then why are those marriages less valid than Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist ones. By what authority is the state allowed to discriminate against Unitarians?

    2) The question of whether or not gay couples make good parents is a valid one and worthy of discussion when it comes to the topic of whether or not gays should be allowed to adopt. In some states gays are still barred from adoption (including Florida). But since gay couples who are not married have been raising children for decades without being married and many gay couples have gotten married in the last few years but don’t have children, that’s not a valid argument against gay marriage. It’s irrelevant.

    3) The only study showing gay people being less suitable as parents is the Regnerus study which has been debunked countless times and it usually dismissed when brought up in legal proceedings. The other studies show gay couples to be as good or better parents. (I suspect the better comes from the fact that gays generally have children because they want to and I suspect that similar outcomes would be found among parents who had to go to some effort in order to have children through adoption or medical intervention of some kind.) (Note: I was going to provide a link about the Regnerus study but there were SO many available links that I didn’t know where to start. A quick google search will provide more information that you ever wanted to know about this piece of shit study.)

    So, once again, there is no secular argument against gay marriage and so the caller makes me skeptical that he is in fact secular or atheist. At the very least he’s not very good at critical thinking as all of his arguments have been debunked in case after case. In fact the one expert witness called by the anti-gay marriage side in the Prop 8 trial admitted under oath that children being raised by gay couples would be better off if their parents’ relationship were recognized by the state. There’s just no valid argument against consenting adults being allowed to marry. Only the religious one is ever offered and that only seems valid to those who follow that particular religion. It should have no bearing on the rest of us.

  44. says

    One thing that annoys me about MRAs is their use of “radical feminist”, also on this thread. I seriously doubt the MRA or the commenter above railing against “batshit crazy” feminists has a clue what radical feminism is. Let alone that the anti-sex work and anti-trans radfems actually do harm. But given they also do harm to women, not men, then I guess they mostly couldn’t care less.

  45. atheist4thecause says

    Hey guys! I’m the caller, and so I’ll try to clear some stuff up. I feel like every time I tried to explain things I got cut off, and that seems to have led to some confusion.
    1) Yes, I’m a Men’s Rights Activist (MRA). I believe in equality for men and I believe that in many parts of society men face either inequalities and/or discrimination. I don’t understand why this puts me in some evil category. I like to think that I look at the evidence, I do not send hate mail to anybody, and I try to be reasonable. What’s so bad about that? (On a side note, there is a misconception that MRA’s don’t believe in equality for women, but EVERY SINGLE MRA I know or have talked to believes in equality for women…and I’ve talked to a lot of other MRA’s.)
    2) I see a lot of attempts to silence within the feminist movement, and censorship was a big point I wanted to bring up, but I was never given the chance to talk about. Look at how where feminism goes, censorship goes. Grand Theft Auto 5 was pulled from Target because of feminist complaints for “violence against women”. I’d like to point out how much more violence against men there is in that game. Look at how ads are attacked for sexualizing of women by feminists and they get pulled, but the sexualizing of men is allowed. You can look at policies that have eroded due process, especially at colleges, which silence the accused. Feminists are constantly talking about how men shouldn’t have a say on gender issues, how people shouldn’t be able to defend themselves from false accusations because it causes a flare-up to victims, etc.
    Time and time again, feminists create censorship in their movement. This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the atheist movement has done, which is attempt to open up dialogue almost every place the movement has gone. In fact, you can see the harm being done by combining the feminist movement (assuming you believe in open dialogue) with the atheist movement, because the most censored parts of the atheist community have elements of feminism to them. (Look at Atheism+.)
    3) Patriarchy. If patriarchy existed, I think most people would agree that men would do beneficial things for themselves. When we look around at who is being impacted by what, we see male homelessness making up 85% of the homeless population, male suicides making up 80% of the suicide deaths, the imprisoned population making up around 94% of the population, males graduating high school at a rate of about 7% less than females, males getting into college at a rate of about 10% less than females, and women get custody of the children 93% of the time in court, among other issues. These are serious issues. Are these what we would expect to see in a society where men have an inherent benefit?
    There’s also the point on patriarchy theory of women being excluded from society. We don’t see this. There are MANY laws protecting women. Society is completely open to women in the workplace, including the position of President of the United States of America. Sure, no woman has achieved that position yet, but they have the opportunity to. Women can vote, and make up 54% of the voter turnout. I don’t think it’s accurate to just give stats about how many of each gender are involved in government to show representation of women (Dr. Warren Farrell is an example I gave of a man elected by primarily by women to represent women’s issues), but we do see around 20% of congressman being women, and rising quickly. This is a sign of opportunity, not exclusion, and it’s much higher than the number of atheists in government.
    I brought up the media on the call. Russell brought up some statistic he Googled without looking into what that number actually represented and how it was collected, but my bigger point had more to do with how most media has a feminist agenda. What do Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and all of the other high-profile cases of police brutality all have in common? Most recognize they are all Black, and the media covers that extensively, but the media almost never talks about how they are all males. (I can’t say men because one is a boy.) Look at how the UVA false rape allegation is covered as impacting future women who want to come forward, but how much have you heard about how this hurts the actual victims? These false accusations greatly increase the likelihood of suicide by the way, but the media doesn’t seem to care, and neither does society.
    Rape Culture: Simply put, rape culture does not exist. Society does not see it as okay to commit rape. The media has proven recently just how outraged society gets about rape, and those of accused of rape have fewer due process rights than other the accused of other crimes, even though a US Air Force study actually came to the conclusion that about 65% of rape accusations were false. The only place for any sort of legitimate discussion on rape culture could be in the prison population, but even that would be on shaky grounds IMO. Rape makes up a small number of crimes, and while I agree that none are acceptable, I certainly don’t think it’s running rampant and accepted. If you want to see what rape culture looks like, look at parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
    I want to talk about some of the rape statistic myths out there that has been mainly caused by the CDC (to see a summary of it, go here http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-datasheet-a.pdf). I really wish that people like Russell would point their inner skepticism at some of these feminist statistics. According to the CDC report, 1 in 5 women are raped while 1 in 71 men are raped. It goes further to show that men are almost exclusively the perpetrators and women are almost exclusively victims. These stats are just not accurate at all, and are completely out of line with what the BJS has found.
    Isn’t one of the main quotes of the AE that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? I can show you how they go those numbers (and IMO, it’s because they have an agenda). If you’re reading this, think to yourself about whether or not you believe a male being forced to penetrate another person is rape? I would say that almost everybody agrees it is. So why does the CDC put it in a non-rape category? Basically, the CDC put categories that had a large portion of male victims and categories that had a large portion of female perpetrators into non-rape categories. How convenient.
    I also wanted to bring up that a 2008 BJS study done in New York City came to the conclusion that 50% of children sexually trafficked were boys. Much of the time, trafficking research doesn’t even include men and boys, but this one did, and it had shocking results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have changed the minds of the public very much (probably because it wasn’t reported nearly as much as the ridiculous CDC report, because the media protects primarily females, not males). The last statistic I saw, which was from 2013 IIRC, showed that there were 0 beds for boy sex trafficked victims. Beds for sex child victims are tough to come by, but when they exist, they exist for females.
    I could go on and on, but I think you guys get the point. Maybe you disagree with my conclusions, but these issues are part of the reason I fight for equality for men, and why I proudly accept the label of MRA, which was first put on me by a feminist. I’m sure there are MRA’s out there that do bad things and threaten people, but in my experience that is not the majority, and it certainly isn’t me. So ask yourself: Was I treated fairly? Did I deserve to have my call skipped over? Were the assumptions made about me and MRA’s in general accurate of what I am talking about here? Do I sound like a reasonable person? Do I sound like an extreme person? This unfounded vilification of people who care about men’s rights is absolutely unacceptable.
    By the way, I know many of the readers are from all over the country (and even the world). I encourage you ladies and gentlemen to do a little test. Go to the website of your government representative. They typically have topics you can email them about. I live in Wisconsin, so the senator I looked at is Sen. Tammy Baldwin. In those topics, is men’s issues listed? On Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s contact topics, she has “Womens Issues” listen but no “Mens Issues”, no “Gender Equality”, and not even an “Other”! This is an example of the government including the voice on women’s issues and excluding the voice on men’s issues. There are absolutely no politicians I know of that have made a career out of protecting the rights of men, but there are politicians who have made careers out of protecting the rights of women. This is why we end up with legislation like the Affordable Care Act, which covers female birth control but not male birth control. Who’s being excluded?

  46. says

    The compilation of canned MRA talking points above is such a glorious, Mons Olympus-sized monolith of bullshit that it will take far more energy than I care to spend on Christmas Eve to bother refuting all of it. The rest of you, feel free to respond as you see fit. But I will, for the time being, offer a brief bit of snark in response to his final sentences, which I think are representative of the silliness of the whole:

    This is why we end up with legislation like the Affordable Care Act, which covers female birth control but not male birth control. Who’s being excluded?

    Uh…”male birth control” is commonly known as “condoms,” and you can buy them right over the counter, without the need for a prescription or an insurance co-pay.

    In the meantime, male legislators around the country staunchly oppose insurance coverage for women’s birth control pills and abortions — but have no problem with those same insurance plans covering Viagra. Male legislators pass laws requiring women to undergo medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds, and to be read anti-choice propaganda containing overt falsehoods (such as abortion causes breast cancer), before scheduling an abortion, for the sole purpose of shaming them into changing their minds and accepting the “consequences” of being sexually active by choice. But… patriarchy is a myth, remember!

    I mean, fucking hell. MRA’s.

  47. Muz says

    It’s christmas and I’m thinking of unpacking a wall of MRA nonsense. Something is wrong with me

    Anyway, rather than do the whole job, I’ll just skip to this bit;

    Was I treated fairly?

    If this is the stuff you are bringing to the table, yes. They were right to cut you off before you got deep into regurgitating a whole lot of rote talking points. If you think you are doing you or your team a favour by showing zero understanding of the topics at hand and merely parroting some spurious and specious logic you got from MRA sites and videos, you are dearly mistaken.

    Did I deserve to have my call skipped over?

    See above. All the sealioning in the world won’t save you.

    Were the assumptions made about me and MRA’s in general accurate of what I am talking about here?

    Yes. You have merely repeated well worn waffle that shows little or no interest in actually understanding the arguments or issues in question. You didn’t arrive at any of these thoughts or positions yourself and are functioning as a bot, essentially. The “arguments” you make/repeat are themselves so disinterested in the actual discourse and terminology in question (like patriarchy or rape culture) they are of the same intellectual level as saying “If evolution means change and we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” and “If global warming is real, why is it still cold out?”.
    Which is to say not an intellectual position at all, but purely political spin intent of fostering ignorance.

    Do I sound like a reasonable person? Do I sound like an extreme person?

    No and Yes. As I said, by repeating spurious talking points that are employed by awful people and spread around the internet these past few years, simply to designed to countermand feminism purely from anti-feminist motivations, you mark yourself from the get go as someone who has not put a single iota of thought into this and is passing around canned opinions designed to confuse, slur and obfuscate the issues.
    Whatever one thinks about the call at the time you have now made it abundantly clear that you are exactly the sort of person the hosts thought you were and they were correct to make their assumptions about where you wanted to take the call and cut you off.
    If you want to have a proper discussion about any of this you’re going to have to try a lot harder.

  48. blue says

    @VeNOO, sounds like bullshit until you live it. How many times have you been called bossy? (I’m assuming you’re male)

  49. says

    And for Mr MRA, condoms cost less than a dollar each, and you only have to pay that each time you have sex. They also leave me extremely vulnerable to pregnancy, which would cost my insurance company anywhere between $20,000 and $2 million. An IUD costs $2,000 upfront and is 99.9% effective for five years. The pill costs about $60 a month, every month, even if you only have sex a couple of times. Do a little research next time before you blindly spew talking points.

  50. says

    Gosh, blue, are you sure you aren’t just offering up some of those “feminist statistics” about birth control? I mean, there may be an Air Force study that totally refutes all of that.

  51. Brendan Brendan says

    Uh, the process of making laws is much, much, MUCH more than merely “leadership.” Are you just totally unaware of the past few years of Congressional activity? Women are facing repeated assaults on their bodily rights, among other things. And it doesn’t matter one shit if women are the slight majority (portraying their proportional voter base as “vast majority” and ignoring gerrymandering entirely is incredibly dishonest, BTW) of the voter base if you only have men to vote for. Countless elections are solely composed of old white dudes as candidates. The problems in the system start so much earlier than both you and the caller imagine them to start.

    That’s right, the process of making laws is much, much, MUCH more complicated than you are making it out to be. Legislators rarely even write the legislation they vote on, and zero of them have the power to pass law by fiat. It’s a complex process that involves voters, polling, interest group pressure, thinktank contribution, and a whole host of other factors. Portraying it as a system where the gender of the legislator, who themselves are little more than figureheads, is a major factor in the process is just silly. The opinion of the legislator is barely a factor at all. They act in accordance with the powers that place them in office, which start at the voting booth.

    You brought up a great example of how this is the case: Abortion restrictions. It’s a fantasy that this is about men dictating to women what to do with their bodies. Support for abortion restrictions is only marginally different between men and women, and in many cases women poll higher than men in favor of specific restrictions, such as bans after 20 weeks:

    http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1931

    The legislators and executives that support abortion restrictions are doing so because their voters, including their female voters, want them to do it. If those positions were held by women, they would be held by women who support abortion restrictions (and many already are), because that position is necessary to win those voters over. The gender of the legislators and executives themselves is immaterial to the discussion. What their voters will come out to vote for is the point, and the fact is that female voters are about as likely as male voters to support certain abortion restrictions, and sometimes they are even MORE likely than the men to support them.

    This really exposes some of the seedy underbelly of this particular feminist narrative: It really only counts left wing, liberal women as women. As a left wing, liberal man, I fell very much into this trap in the past, and I was a sexist for it. Now, I realize that women are a lot more complex than that, and it was wrong of me to discount women who didn’t share my political leanings. A lot of women are very, very conservative, and very, very, very, very socially conservative. They are just as much women as left wing, liberal women are. They are not witless pawns of conservative men. They are competent adults with the agency to form their own opinions and make their own choices, and a LOT of them support abortion restrictions.

    There is a discussion that can be had about whether these abortion policies themselves are sexist and discriminatory. I think they are both of those things a lot of the time to a lot of the people involved, and you probably agree. However, it is not a case of men oppressing women; It’s a case of pro-life people oppressing women. This doesn’t fit the patriarchy narrative, and that is what is so dangerous about such false narratives. They distract from the genuine issues. If you misdiagnose the problem, you aren’t able to prescribe effective solutions.

    [QUOTE]Given that women are still unable to influence society to anywhere near the same degree as men despite this “power,” this is actually a huge blow against your argument, not for it.[/QUOTE]

    This is as clear an example of begging the question as I can possibly imagine.

    [QUOTE]You whine that the hosts focused on lawmaking bodies when discussing power (they also mentioned Fortune 500 CEOs, which leads to an even bigger blow against your argument), yet name fields that women “dominate” when those fields have little to no influence on how society operates. Those fields are woefully under-appreciated (social work and education, especially) and aren’t taken nearly as seriously by the people who shape society as they should be. This is dishonest doubletalk.[/QUOTE]

    Appealing more to formal positions of leadership, such as CEOs, does nothing to refute my argument that formal positions of leadership are unimportant. That said, let’s talk about your example of CEOs. The vast majority of CEOs are men, but women control consumer spending at minimum equally with men, and by almost all accounts to at least a slightly greater degree, possibly a large degree:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/do-women-really-control-80-of-household-spending-1054/

    The sectors of the economy that actually matter to the life of the average person are the ones related to manufacturing, distribution of goods, and providing services. Those are all dictated by consumer spending. Men are not granted power by a handful of other men having formal leadership positions in corporations. In markets, power is enacted through consumer spending patterns. The job of a CEO is to maximize the profit of the corporation. In the case of corporations that actually interact with consumers, and therefore impact their lives substantially, the way to maximize profit is to appease consumers. Women already have this power, at LEAST to the same proportion as they make up the population. The CEO, and the board in general, are just employees who are hired to appease those consumers.

    You seem to only think that one thing is important: Formal leadership positions. You’ve effectively discounted everything else, even going as far as to say that the educational system has little to no role in shaping society. However, I would bet everything I own that if I asked you to list the problems that African-Americans face, one of your first issues would be lack of access to a good education. Do you honestly believe that if men dominated education, you wouldn’t be sitting here telling me that men are dictating how we teach our children society works, and that that reinforces the patriarchy? I think you need to take a step back and be honest with yourself about that. I think you are doing exactly what I was doing not that long ago: Accepting positions and arguments based solely on whether they fit the predetermined narrative, to the point that I was twisting myself into bizarre positions in order to maintain this idea of patriarchy.

    Remember, my argument here is not that women do not face gender issues. They do. What I disagree with is that this can be attributed to “patriarchy”. The causes of the genuine issues are far more complex, and have a lot more to do with cultural norms and expectations than with one sex oppressing the other. I could rattle off a list of issues men face that women do not, but I don’t think that would be terribly productive, because it might lead you to conclude I was saying men have it “worse” or that “Hey, everyone has problems”. That’s not the issue. The issue is that gender problems are significantly more complex than “patriarchy”, and they manifest themselves in ways that just don’t line up with “patriarchy”. The reality is too complicated to package up in that neat little box, and trying to cram it into that box does a disservice to everyone, except those who make their bones pushing the narrative.

  52. Brendan Brendan says

    My post got a bit mangled due to my poor understanding of the HTML tags. The first paragraph was obviously a quote.

  53. says

    #56: It seems pretty evident to me that the reason you think patriarchy is a “false narrative” is that you’re likely interpreting the concept as some sort of clandestine, comic-book cabal of misogynist Illuminati who meet in secret in a hidden underground bunker in Area 51 and gather around a large, round granite table while Dr. Evil strokes his cat and lays out the month’s agenda for subjugating womankind under the bootheel of their male masters.

    Patriarchy means simply that we live in a male-dominated culture. And we do. It’s as plain as the nose on your face, and the advances that women have experienced in this culture, such as their ability to hold jobs outside the home and vote, plus the fact they vote (as you’ve pointed out) in such a high turnout, are thanks to — wait for it — feminism. And every one of these advances was opposed forcefully, vehemently and violently by the male-dominated power structure at the time.

    To say that there are women who support the social agenda and morés of patriarchal conservatism is not even close to being evidence that patriarchy doesn’t exist. It only proves that some women have embraced patriarchal morés. You see anti-abortion women amongst conservatives, yes. Their motivation for holding their views is that they sincerely believe that abortion is an act of murder. But as Christian conservatives specifically, they are coming from a place of patriarchal influence. Christianity is an overtly patriarchal religion, right down to its roots of worshiping a single, “father” male deity, whereas pre-Christian polytheistic belief systems had numerous gods of both genders. The Bible commands women to “be silent” in the face of male leadership, which is not only what keeps women from being allowed into the priesthood of most Christian denominations, but for generations set society’s rules that “a woman’s place is in the home,” and all of that.

    So yes, when both conservative men and women oppose women’s reproductive rights, you are still seeing patriarchal power at work. What you’re doing is either failing to recognize, or simply ignoring, a trivial and common fact known to any student of history or sociology: Oppressed peoples often internalize, and even participate in, the systems that oppress them. During the suffragette movement, after all, you’d have had no difficulty finding any number of women who opposed their efforts and thought they were doing women more harm than good by agitating for rights they presumably didn’t need, when there were children who needed raising, don’t you know.

    Also, this:

    You seem to only think that one thing is important: Formal leadership positions. You’ve effectively discounted everything else, even going as far as to say that the educational system has little to no role in shaping society.

    Horseshit. Never said anything of the kind.

  54. Brendan Brendan says

    Martin, I’ve explicitly gone out of my way to be very clear about my views and despite this you have no problem immediately erecting a really silly strawman that bears no resemblance to what I have actually said. It would serve your argument to address my points, instead of simply addressing a cartoon MRA caricature. As I said earlier, this type of thing is below what I normally expect of yourself and the other hosts of the show.

    For example, I never said feminism never accomplished anything. I never even said feminism doesn’t raise any legitimate modern problems. It does. Patriarchy and rape culture, however, are not legitimate modern problems.

    I never said that socially conservative women are proof that patriarchy doesn’t exist. I said that socially conservative women vote, and they vote for men and women that agree with them on those social issues. This was a response to the idea that men holding formal positions of leadership were imposing their will on women. They aren’t. They are responding to their voters. You are shifting the goalpost. I undermined the idea that men holding so many formal leadership positions is evidence of patriarchy, and you shifted to talking about how women who disagree with you politically are just unwitting pawns of the patriarchy. It’s a clever slight of hand, but it’s still just goalpost shifting.

    If you follow this thread, you can see the slow morphing of what “patriarchy” means. First, it meant men held power. Now, it just means that society is “male-dominated”, which is just a meaningless, unfalsifiable concept. This is a perfect example of watering down a term until it is unfalsifiable, which you have no problem ripping apart people for doing when they water down “religious” to the meaningless “spiritual”. It’s a lot easier to defend an ill-defined concept than a rigid one, isn’t it?

    Oppressed people do internalize their oppression, but they don’t do it at the same rate their oppressors do, and that is why your argument doesn’t work. We are talking about resitrictions that women often support to a GREATER degree than men do. To say that this is because they have internalized oppression is just absurd, as well as remarkably dismissive and condescending. Denying such a massive percentage of women their own agency and capability to make decisions and form opinions is incredibly insulting and baseless. Your point would be more believable if we were talking about 80% of men and 10% of women, but we aren’t.

    You can’t just declare that christianity is patriarchal, therefore any ideas that you don’t like that christians in general hold are patriarchal. That’s obviously fallacious, and just based on narrative fulfillment.

    Here’s a crazy, crazy idea: Maybe many women oppose late term abortion because they have an innate maternal instinct that makes them uncomfortable with the idea of killing a fetus that has developed that far. It’s possible women form their opinions in good faith based on intelligent assessment of the situation and personal preferences…. instead of just being inept pawns of patriarchy. It really never ceases to amaze me how quickly the ardent defenders of women will resort to telling me how women don’t know what is good for them.

    It’s a bit ironic that you would reference being a student of history. It was in fact graduate studies in history that made me realize I was wrong about these things, because I was exposed to the incredible complexity of the world and it really shattered my views, which I realized were dramatic oversimplifications based on my desire to make a narrative work instead of draw conclusions from evidence.

  55. Brendan Brendan says

    Martin, I’m not only talking to you. The person I was directly responding to explicitly stated that the fields that I said women dominate, including education”have little to no influence on how society operates.” If you disagree with him, that’s great, but responding to his exact phrasing is not “horseshit”.

  56. says

    If you’re addressing multiple people in a comment, it would help to refer to each person by name as you address their specific points so as to avoid confusion.
    Moving on:

    For example, I never said feminism never accomplished anything. I never even said feminism doesn’t raise any legitimate modern problems. It does. Patriarchy and rape culture, however, are not legitimate modern problems.

    Women, who (unlike you) face their effects every day, say differently, and the examples of both are sufficiently plentiful that I find their views on the matter more persuasive than yours.

    Anyway, it’s evident you’re turning into Mr. Arguing-to-Argue at this point, as indicated by the fact your rebuttals now consist of obsessive nitpicking. And that you’ll spend reams of verbiage spouting stuff as self-evidently silly as this:

    If you follow this thread, you can see the slow morphing of what “patriarchy” means. First, it meant men held power. Now, it just means that society is “male-dominated”, which is just a meaningless, unfalsifiable concept.

    Of course it isn’t unfalsifiable. Here’s how to falsify it: show either that more women than men, or that no more men than women hold positions of power, influence, wealth and governance in our society.

  57. says

    Soooo what I am hearing is that after thousands of years…in literally hundreds of cultures…. which were completely male dominated… top to bottom… eon after eon…. It took a mere ~ 100 years…. or more honestly – the last 30 years – only 10 or so of them in a trully globalized culture (though not really…an infant global culture emerging in say the last three….) …let’s say 40 years of upfront out front challenge to male dominance….

    We’ve (the few who actually do openly and unapologetically call themselves feminists)… have wiped out thousands of years of culture/habits/sentiment/impulse/resentment……and managed to restructure the entirety into an – anti-Patriarchy…. the opposite of a male dominated culture?

    Wow… feminists are super heros!

    Except that in the vast majority of cases….

    Men are still in charge…
    My reproductive autonomy is still up for debate and often legistlation BY MEN…
    6 in a THOUSAND rapes are prosecuted
    Domestic violence is still the number one way women die by the hands of another…
    Pay equity is not here
    We are still surprised to see women in charge
    We are still barking back at women who complain about sexism – casual and overt
    We still talk regularly about how Hilary looks tired today rather than what policy she argues for (I don’t even like her but, often feel forced to defend her against this asisinine state of affairs)
    Rape and death threats are considered a joke…
    Stalking is treated as something cute…
    Football players “careers” are the first concern when players gang rape girls…

    This is the opposite of patriarchy?

    I’m living the dream!

    Or…. perhaps a lot of you are simply full of shit.

  58. says

    For example, I never said feminism never accomplished anything. I never even said feminism doesn’t raise any legitimate modern problems. It does. Patriarchy and rape culture, however, are not legitimate modern problems.

    No one asked you to be the arbiter of legitimacy…. Here’s a concept.

    Women will be defining their own priorities without regard to your input or feelings or thoughts on the matter.

    It’s hilarious, though, to watch you try to pick and choose for us….where our energies might be best spent.

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Brendan Brendan

    Patriarchy and rape culture, however, are not legitimate modern problems.

    I can understand someone not knowing the definitions of terms used by feminist circles. However, Martin just explained the meanings of terms. Thus, the only appropriate reply is this:

    HaHaHa!

    Oh wait. You’re serious? Let me laugh harder.

    If you follow this thread, you can see the slow morphing of what “patriarchy” means. First, it meant men held power. Now, it just means that society is “male-dominated”, which is just a meaningless, unfalsifiable concept. This is a perfect example of watering down a term until it is unfalsifiable, which you have no problem ripping apart people for doing when they water down “religious” to the meaningless “spiritual”. It’s a lot easier to defend an ill-defined concept than a rigid one, isn’t it?

    Seriously, you are a privilege-blind asshat. Get out more. Listen to women talk about their problems. Realize that your male experience of the world isn’t the only one.

    Next you’ll be telling us that racism isn’t a problem either. I mean – black people vote too, right? Meant ironically and unironically. I seriously expect you to hold that position, but it’s also a ridiculous position to hold.

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    As for the gay marriage caller:

    I always liked the argument that his “classic” notion of marriage is definitionally gender-discrimination, and thus already should be unconstitutional. Can you imagine any other kind of contract where we would be ok with that kind of gender discrimination? Imagine the gov passing a law which says that only women can sell cars to men, and only men can sell cars to women.

    I’m also a fan of invoking JS Mill’s Harm Principle. One principle effect is the principle that if some law is based only on animus for another group without a basis in harm or benefit – i.e. “if they’re icky” – then the law is bullshit. That’s the totality of laws against gay marriage. They have no other basis except animus – the caller’s pseudoscience papers notwithstanding.

  61. shockna says

    If you follow this thread, you can see the slow morphing of what “patriarchy” means.

    Other people repeatedly telling you “dude, your strawman is bullshit, and not at all what that term means” doesn’t mean the meaning actually changed. It means you used a terrible definition.

    Any claim that patriarchy is a “simple concept and box to squeeze all issues into” is itself using a vastly oversimplified, heavily strawmanned definition of patriarchy.

  62. VeNOO says

    #53
    Well not in exact words (which is hard because I don’t live in english-speaking country) but in the meaning I’ve been called so a lot of times, practically every time I gave orders to someone who has a different opinion. I’m called pushy practically every day. I’ve been also called a lot of times show-off (in english too). I also use myself these a lot to describe both men and women. The funny thing is I’ve heard only one time in my life woman called show-off by a man but frankly I’m sure that I’m simply unlucky.
    I don’t claim that there are no such problems or even that they are rare but it is this kind of strawman bullshit that wards off.

  63. Daniel Myers says

    @ Brendan Brendan

    I may be over simplifying your statements and, if so, please let me know but it seems to boil down to a single statement. That is simply; It isn’t just men’s fault!

    The fact is, whether you cop to it or not, women do not hold a proportionate positions of power in our society as compared to men. This leaves only one possible conclusion; men do. I would suggest that you stop quibbling over whose fault the problems are because, as you have consented, the problems exist and whatever labels you wish to attach to them are irrelevant.

    I propose that as members of the gender in possession of said power we are in a remarkable position to exercise that power to fix the problems. And it is our moral obligation to do so.

    I believe Emma Watson made a similar point when she addressed the UN on Sept 20 in the HeForShe campaign. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to veiw it.

  64. VeNOO says

    By the way, why on earth should have I written my two last posts addressing that stupid video??? Have I ever claimed that there is no discriminacy of women now??? I only wanted Martin and Russell (I’m extremely sorry by the way for the typo in your name in my first post, shame on me) to clarify the following question (which they didn’t),

    Natural differences exist in very significant sense… So my question is in fact do the hosts strongly believe in their insignificance or they want equal representation of society among the power holders even if this means some discrimination?

    Are you sure, blue, that you wrote this to me not to someone existing in your imagination?

  65. dmyers says

    Quick note, as this may seem to be a repeat post later. I attempted to present this earlier as a first time poster. However due to an oversight, I supplied the wrong email and am uncertain that it will be posted without a valid email to back it. Carrying on.

    @ Brendan Brendan

    I may be over simplifying your statements and, if so, please let me know but it seems to boil down to a single statement. That is, simply;

    *It isn’t just men’s fault!*

    The fact is, whether you cop to it or not, women do not hold a proportionate positions of power in our society as compared to men. This leaves only one possible conclusion; men do. I propose that as members of the gender in possession of said power we are in a remarkable position to exercise that power to fix the problems. And it is our moral obligation to do so.

    I would suggest that you stop quibbling over whose fault the problems are, because, as you have consented, the problems exist and whatever labels you wish to attach to them are irrelevant.

    I believe that Emma Watson made a similar point when she addressed the UN on Sep 20, 2014, as part of the HeForShe campaign. If you have yet to view it I encourage you to do so.

  66. Brendan Brendan says

    Martin, you are refusing to provide coherent arguments to anything I am saying. You just keep attacking me, shifting the goalpost, and essentially declaring yourself too good to debate this issue with me. You believe that you are right about this because some women agree with you. So what? Some women agree with me. So what? That doesn’t matter. A lot of Christians and white people believe that there is a war on them in this country. Do you believe there is a war on Christmas just because some Christians say there is. After all, you aren’t a Christian, so how dare you question their experiences?

    Furthermore, things like patriarchy and rape culture aren’t the type of things verified by personal experience. They are supposed to be aggregate effects, some kind of net effect of how society works, so your argument that women say so isn’t capable of explaining these things. All that shows, at best, is that women face sexism and gender issues, which I never refuted. I am refuting your beliefs of the the society-wide cause of those issues and the solution to those issues.

    It’s also worth noting that not all women agree with you. Not all feminists even agree with you. For example, RAINN, the largest sexual abuse help network in the country, does not agree with the diagnosis of rape culture, and actively speaks against it. This is just another example of trying to minimize the roles and opinions of women that don’t agree with you politically.

    You want me to “show either that more women than men, or that no more men than women hold positions of power, influence, wealth and governance in our society.” I’ve already provided a series of arguments to do exactly that, but you have completely ignored them. Instead of addressing my points about why formal leadership positions are not that important, and women do dominate a significant portion of society including being the majority of voters, you’ve chosen to relentlessly attack and strawman me, and basically tell me that you are too good to even have this discussion because the evidence is so obvious that you shouldn’t have to make your case. Where have I heard these arguments before? From half the theists that call your show.

    cityzenjane, I will address your list:

    “Men are still in charge…”

    I don’t think formal positions of leadership are terribly important, and I wrote about this extensively above.

    “My reproductive autonomy is still up for debate and often legistlation BY MEN…”

    As I said above, your reproductive autonomy is not under attack by men. Women support abortion restrictions about as often as men do, and in some cases such as restrictions after 20 weeks, women tend to support it MORE than men do. Politicians take up this cause because their voters want them to, and the fact is that their female voters want them to just as much as their male voters.

    “6 in a THOUSAND rapes are prosecuted”

    There are logistical problems with prosecuting rape in a country that has a standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Unfortunately, many rapes generate little to no hard evidence. Still, it does not help rapes get prosecuted to scream in everyone’s face that nobody will ever take your rape accusation seriously, which is what people are doing when they make arguments about rape culture.

    “Domestic violence is still the number one way women die by the hands of another…”

    That’s true, but it’s a statistical trick. According to the DOJ, about 40% of spousal murders are wives killing their husbands, so the disparity isn’t actually that large. It’s only such a large percentage of female murders because men are ALSO so likely to be murdered by someone who isn’t their wife.

    “Pay equity is not here”

    Once you actually control for life choices, the pay gap shrinks to such a small number that it could be explained by any minor unaccounted for variable.

    “We are still surprised to see women in charge”

    I’m not.

    “We are still barking back at women who complain about sexism – casual and overt”

    Sometimes that happens, but it’s also true that sexism against men is taken far less seriously. Sexism is a problem. I just don’t think it’s a particular problem of one gender. Both genders perpetuate sexist stereotypes against both genders.

    “We still talk regularly about how Hilary looks tired today rather than what policy she argues for (I don’t even like her but, often feel forced to defend her against this asisinine state of affairs)”

    I think that things like this are largely confirmation bias. You take note of what you consider sexist when it fits the agenda. Conservatives relentless attack everyone they don’t like over minutia, and it isn’t just women that they do this to. I’d be willing to bet they make it gendered more often for women than for men, but I don’t buy that it’s so extreme that it’s a genuine issue.

    “Rape and death threats are considered a joke…”

    Sometimes yes, but the actual rape of men is taken far less seriously than the actual rape of women. Male prison rape is still a very acceptable punchline, even though male prison rape is so common that it causes more men to be raped than women on average. To the extent that you are correct about these things being considered a “joke”, it isn’t really gendered at all. Can you imagine a major comedy motion picture coming out today where a man ties a woman down and rapes her? Me neither, but Wedding Crashers has a woman do that to a man and nobody really cares. As usual, this is more complex than “men powerful, women weak”.

    “Stalking is treated as something cute…”

    No it isn’t. It’s a serious crime. Nobody ever calls stalking “cute”. This is the type of bizarre shit you are led to believe when you step outside the real world and into the bubble.

    “Football players “careers” are the first concern when players gang rape girls…”

    I’m assuming this is a reference to Steubenville? Even though the girl in that case wasn’t really gang-raped. What happened to her was horrible, but it wasn’t a gang-rape. Again, this is an issue that it’s easy to wrap it up in the box but the reality is more complicated. There is an epidemic across the country of towns that will do anything to protect their young sports stars. It isn’t just rape this happens with. There are cases where the town tries to protect them from murders they committed, such as Shenandoah. The crime in this case happened to be sexual assault, but when you see a similar pattern with all kinds of crime, including murder, it’s wrong to chalk it up to being about rape.

    “This is the opposite of patriarchy?”

    I never said we live in the opposite of patriarchy. I said that patriarchy is not a valid model to explain the reality of gender issues in the country. The evidence doesn’t back it up, and the solutions you get by blaming patriarchy don’t actually solve those issues.

    Even if I accepted this notion of patriarchy, it doesn’t adequately explain anything, unless you accept the idea that if men have power they use it to marginalize and abuse women, which I think is patently sexist. Do you think a matriarchy would necessarily mean the bulk of women would abuse and marginalize men with their power, even accidentally? I don’t, because I have a high opinion of women, and men for that matter, as a whole. You have to do better than “Men are in charge, X problem exists, therefore X problems exists because men are in charge”. Aside from failing to even truly prove the first part of that, it just doesn’t actually connect and explain anything.

  67. says

    A final reply, because 1) it’s Christmas, for fuck’s sake, and even if this privilege-blind asshat (in EL’s words) doesn’t have family and loved ones to spend the day with, I do, and 2) Jesus Christ, what a privilege-blind asshat.

    Martin, you are refusing to provide coherent arguments to anything I am saying.

    I am. You just don’t like what I have to say. Where have I heard that before? From half the theists that call our show. (BOOM)

    You just keep attacking me, shifting the goalpost, and essentially declaring yourself too good to debate this issue with me.

    I’m not shifting a thing, but I will cop to attacking. (Goalpost shifting is when you say that you agree feminism raises legitimate concerns, and then when an actual feminist woman turns up to voice her concerns, you go into a point-by-point lecture on why they’re not legitimate.) Because I find it rather futile to engage someone who’s arguing to argue, who thinks he’s in a position to declare what is and is not a “legitimate issue” to women whose lived experiences are different from his own (all the while insisting he’s not the sexist one here, which raises irony to the level of performance art), who’s primarily invested in proving that sexism doesn’t really exist the way feminists say it does because everyone’s lived experiences are fundamentally the same if you’d just look at it all from the right angle. I find intellectualized sexism to be deathly dull after a while. Refusing to look at the world through any less other than one that flatters your own self-image and reassures you that you are not, in fact, a member of any system that oppresses anyone else, even unwittingly, is not conducive to a greater understanding of how the world works for people different from you.

    You believe that you are right about this because some women agree with you. So what? Some women agree with me. So what?

    For someone who kvetches that I’m not addressing his arguments, I note you did a fine job of skating over all I said about how people on the receiving end of oppression internalize their oppression. And if you think I have a problem “trying to minimize the roles and opinions of women that don’t agree with you politically,” then the very kindest thing that can be said is you have the same problem, as your position seems to be that the views of conservative women sympathetic to anti-feminism render the views of feminist women largely irrelevant.

    That doesn’t matter. A lot of Christians and white people believe that there is a war on them in this country. Do you believe there is a war on Christmas just because some Christians say there is. After all, you aren’t a Christian, so how dare you question their experiences?

    Uh, maybe because I don’t have my head so far up my own ass and that of my self-serving ideology that I can’t distinguish real experiences from imaginary ones. Would you like to know what isn’t actually happening in America? Anyone trying to stop the celebration of Christmas. Would you like to know what is happening in this country? Women having their reproductive freedoms taken away, women being told they’re either lying about their rapes or that they led their assailant on by what they were wearing, women actively being denied entry into countless professions (or advancement in their professions) by the entrenched old boy’s networks that run them, women earning less pay than men for the same work…and on and on and on.

    Really, if you actually cannot see the difference between women’s accounts of real-world marginalization and oppression and the self-pitying whinging of Christian fundamentalists about a “war” completely ginned up on Fox News, then you simply need to log out of r/redpill or wherever you spend most of your time, get out of the house and talk to actual people.

    It’s also worth noting that not all women agree with you. Not all feminists even agree with you. For example, RAINN, the largest sexual abuse help network in the country, does not agree with the diagnosis of rape culture, and actively speaks against it.

    Good for them and RAINN does fine work, but on that I think they’re wrong. (And having read the quote from Scott Berkowitz, I don’t think he’s denying rape culture exists, so much as stating that it’s wrong to blame rape culture and not the rapists themselves for their rapes.)

    Rape is not a crime that takes place in a vacuum, and to deny it has a cultural element is willfully blind. When (to list one example out of countless) a bunch of teenage boys in Steubenville can pass around an unconscious girl like a sack of potatoes, gang-rape her and actually video themselves doing it because they honestly do not know that what they’re doing is rape, and then, when they are convicted, will be supported rather than condemned for their crime by everyone in town, and major news organizations will sympathize with “the poor boys” whose college football prospects are now dashed and not have one word to say in sympathy for the victim — then you are looking at a culture that declares boys to be more important than girls as a rule, that “boys will be boys” is really all that needs to be said when a rape occurs, and that girls are the ones who must take responsibility for their own rapes simply by not drinking, and so on. (And since I suspect you’re planning to rebut me here by pointing out the boys were in fact convicted in this case, I repeat I am describing the attitude of support they received among the general public and even the media. That is rape culture.)

    Sometimes yes, but the actual rape of men is taken far less seriously than the actual rape of women. Male prison rape is still a very acceptable punchline…

    Yeah, and do you know what we call it when people think prison rape is a joking matter? Rape culture.

  68. Monocle Smile says

    @Brendan

    the actual rape of men is taken far less seriously than the actual rape of women. Male prison rape is still a very acceptable punchline, even though male prison rape is so common that it causes more men to be raped than women on average. To the extent that you are correct about these things being considered a “joke”, it isn’t really gendered at all

    I’m assuming this is a reference to Steubenville? Even though the girl in that case wasn’t really gang-raped. What happened to her was horrible, but it wasn’t a gang-rape. Again, this is an issue that it’s easy to wrap it up in the box but the reality is more complicated

    Coming from the guy who claims rape culture doesn’t exist, I think it’s safe to say Martin’s case is rested.

    Also, your claims about the pay gap are wrong and you’ve dishonestly ignored the fact that we know that “life choices” are largely coerced from a young age. We KNOW this.

  69. says

    Actually stalking is pretty much ignored until you have a body.

    I’m not going to ruin the rest of my day dealing with your shit as “the energy to refute bullshit is exponentially higher than what it takes to produce it.”

    I hope you got coal in your stocking.

  70. says

    Also, this one, which probably deserves an Academy Award in Most Pointless Exercise in Hair-Splitting:

    I’m assuming this is a reference to Steubenville? Even though the girl in that case wasn’t really gang-raped. What happened to her was horrible, but it wasn’t a gang-rape…The crime in this case happened to be sexual assault.

    In actual fact, “on March 17, 2013, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were convicted of rape after the trial judge found they had used their fingers to digitally penetrate the victim’s vagina and that it was impossible for the incapacitated girl to have given consent.”

  71. blue says

    @56 Martin, I admit it, you’re right, it’s really just a plot because we love free stuff, and also wanton sex. Nothing gets us down like having to say no to an opportunity to trap a man into taking his kids away and getting child support! 😉 Hope you had a great Christmas.

    When you get the inevitable calls on Sunday, it might be illuminating to first determine what sorts of priviledge the MRA does believe in. I would put money on them being the most tortured, put upon and instantly pre-judged against middle class straight white men in the world, while all the gay, black, poor, or female folks get all the breaks (and the dates, because for a disturbing number of them it seems to come down to sex).

    @67 VeNOO, you can’t say an ad about the use of the English language in English speaking cultures is stupid because you don’t use or see used the equivalent word in your language in your non-English speaking culture. I can’t even start to summarise all the subtleties, you’re just going to have to take our word for it that yes, bossy is not a word that applies to men. You just don’t call men bossy, the subtleties of the meaning are not applicable to men even if your dictionary gives it a simple gender neutral definition. If I called a man bossy, he’d probably find it offensive mostly because I was feminizing him. It may be similar to the phenomenom that in the US, the c word is only used against women and is sexist, while in other English speaking countries it’s a general purpose swear word and is not sexist. However, w—ker is only used against men and is sexist. I’m sure there are similar subtleties in your language.

  72. davecampbell says

    Martin wins best phrase of the week!

    “which raises irony to the level of performance art”

  73. Mike Bethany says

    It’s a shame Russell and Martin lost all semblance of rationality when talking to the MRA guy. Just because he was nuts didn’t mean they had to go there too.
    .
    Martin and Russell expressed no desire to know why there is a the disparity of representation between women and men. They started with a belief and through correlation they claimed causation. They had already made their minds up so why bother trying to find the truth?
    .
    They had a chance to prove that feminism is important and needed. Granted I’m talking about real feminism, not the thinly veiled social Marxism and misandry we seen too often masquerading as an equal rights movement today.
    .
    Russell and Martin had a chance to stand up for all people, regardless of their sexual plumbing. Instead they just looked like bullies unable to support their views with reason.
    .
    What a shame. I’m deeply disappointed in them both.
    .
    And what is up with this horrible forum software? Damn it sucks.

  74. Monocle Smile says

    I’m guessing “real feminists” are to feminism what S.E. Cupp is to atheism.

    Martin and Russell expressed no desire to know why there is a the disparity of representation between women and men

    We get it. You think there’s some “natural difference” bullshit that can explain pretty much every gender disparity in the country. We’ve heard it thousands of times, including several just in this thread. It’s nonsense. What you call “natural differences” are actually inculcated by society at a young age. Seriously, it’s like none of you have read the multiple (recent) studies concerning girls and STEM careers. Girls aren’t worse at math and science. They’re just told that they are from the time they start school.

  75. says

    When they use phrases like “social Marxism and misandry,” it’s clear none of them have read anything but MRA websites and the usual tosh from Christina Hoff Sommers (who fits the role of “S.E. Cupp of feminism” perfectly). At least Mike managed to resist calling us “manginas.”

    Russell and Martin had a chance to stand up for all people, regardless of their sexual plumbing. Instead they just looked like bullies unable to support their views with reason.

    Again, if it had been a Christian fundamentalist or creationist, and not an MRA, whose feet we were holding to the fire and from whom we were demanding straight answers to straight questions instead of dodging and waffling, we’d be hearing what an awesome job we did with the caller.

  76. colonyofcells says

    Maybe both martin and matt should try an unrefined vegan diet with daily vitamin b12, or a pritikin diet to lose weight and have better health. happy new year.

  77. MMM says

    I have a suggestion for you: When you post a new episode on Youtube, and you link to this site where we can make or just read comments, could you point it to the thread of the actual episode, instead of just to the front page of your blog? It would especially be handy for the older episodes, so we don’t have to scroll down the page and click the page number dozens of times before we can find the comment thread of episode #439 for example.

  78. Mike Bethany says

    Hmm, my second post isn’t here. I’ll just chalk it up to the terrible site software. Since my post “disappeared” I’ll just paraphrase:
    .
    When you stop using reason to defend your arguments you’re no better than irrational theists.
    .
    My reaction wouldn’t be the same if Martin acted as emotional when talking to a theist, I would have been just as put off.
    .
    If you can’t discuss the issues with extremist feminism then you aren’t being rational.
    .
    If you can’t have a civil conversation I have no desire to converse with you. I don’t speak to crazy theists and I don’t speak to crazy atheists. They’re both a waste of time because they can never admit they’re wrong.
    .
    If it sounds like I’m talking down to you it’s because you’re acting like a child.

  79. Mike Bethany says

    … would be the same if Martin … I mistyped, my mistake.
    .
    Again, what is with this horrible forum software that can’t handle paragraphs or allow people to edit? Who can’t just admit they were wrong when they picked this terrible software?

  80. Monocle Smile says

    @Mike Bethany
    You started off poorly, and now you’re just trolling. Like, you managed to tone-troll, throw out red herrings, whine like a fucking baby, and even bitch about meta stuff out of AXP’s control in the same post. I’d wager you’re done.

  81. Sam B says

    Having only just got around to listening to this episode I was a bit disappointed with the hectoring and badgering tone from the hosts towards the last caller. I then had to actually look up the acronym “MRA” as it’s not something I’d previously heard here in the UK. Then I come to this blog and see the level of vitriol, in particular from Martin Wagner, and I start to wonder why there can’t seem to be a civil discussion about all this. I don’t think the call or the caller’s follow up post above warrants this level of vitriol.

  82. Sam B says

    Looks like any opposing views, however mildly expressed, aren’t being allowed through. So that’s one long time viewer you just lost.

  83. jkoberg says

    It’s difficult to find the most up-to-date videos on YouTube. Can you guys put all the repeats on another channel somehow?

  84. Gnostic says

    Atheism is the rejection of any yet-encountered god claims. It is completely orthogonal to gay marriage, feminism or any other issue.

    I generally agree with the hosts’ positions in this episode, but I would be perfectly happy if you cut these types of calls a little shorter. Once an off-topic caller refuses to answer a simple yes/no question, there’s really not much left to discuss, is there?

    Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone!

  85. officalvillageidiot says

    Every time I hear the phase, Mens Rights I always translate it into Men’s Privileges Status Quo and I am male, Equal rights means an equal start in life, nothing more nothing less How hard is it to understand!!

  86. officalvillageidiot says

    My version of the Trinty
    All praise to Darwin, Dawkins is his messenger with Hitchens is the holy ghost. I am sorry I have had that one running around in my head for a couple day, damn dope I really should take up drinking againI use to be funny

  87. Monocle Smile says

    Jesus H Fuck. I’m extremely tempted to call “sock account” on Sam B. Seriously, it’s the same goddamn complaint worded the same goddamn way. Also, nobody cares if any of you butthurt babies stop watching.

  88. blue says

    jkoberg, if you click on an account name on youtube, there’s an option to see all videos, sorted chronologically. That should help you. For current episodes I actually listen to the podcast, which is uploaded to itunes within hours of the show each week.

    SamB, every new commenter has their first posts screened. If you think there’s someone standing by to screen you on the weekend at Christmas and therefore a delay of 41 minutes is worth a tantrum, well, I don’t know what you expect.

  89. says

    Seriously. It’s also always fun to note that it’s the whiniest, most butthurt comments that complain we’re responding to callers with emotionalism rather than reason.

  90. says

    Did not enjoy the last call of the show. Martin and Russel barely gave Drew anytime to state his position and kept interrupting him when he tried to give an answer. They instead bombarded him with false dichotomies and Russel at the end completely straw-manned Drew’s position. As an atheist who neither supports radical positions like feminism and men’s rights activism, I feel both Martin and Russel failed to properly address the original question and only continued to attack Drew’s perceived underlying position. Atheism says nothing on men’s rights or feminism, and that should have been the end of that discussion.

  91. Just Another Listener says

    I agree with #101 Galina.

    I believe the initial point of the caller was that the show should stay away from non-atheism topics.

    What followed was ugly and off-topic.

  92. Monocle Smile says

    @101, 103

    Do you folks get just as butthurt when they discuss gay marriage, evolution, abortion, neuroscience, history, epistemology, etc? Because you seem to be arguing for sticking to “dictionary atheism,” which gets boring fast. The ACA has stances on several of those topics, and thus AXP is free to explore them. I notice that comments like yours don’t pop up unless something like feminism is discussed. Why might that be?

    Also, 103…you’re completely wrong about the “point of the caller.” The note from the screeners literally said “Men’s Rights Activist” and nothing he said had anything to do with the show.

  93. robertwilson says

    Feminism is not a radical position. Big red flag goes up whenever even calls feminism a radical idea.

  94. Just Another Listener says

    @Monocle Smile #104 – I encourage all topics, as they relate to atheism, feminism included. Regardless of the caller’s topic (MRA, fetal rights, gun rights, gay rights, etc.) if the hosts didn’t tie the discussion back to atheism, I would have the same complaint.

    People have social stances which are commonly due to religious beliefs. This includes gender rights.

    In the video @45:10 Martin: …as example you have anti-gay rights people who’s opinion is rooted in religion…

    He talks for a bit about how a social issue, gay rights, ties to religion. Once the caller admits the reason for their position (god says so), the hosts have a great opportunity to address the underlying reasons with logic and critical thinking. I recommend re-listening to his comments here.

    This is a great mechanism for making people think about their stance.

    This never happened in the MRA/feminism discussion.

    > Also, 103…you’re completely wrong about the “point of the caller.” The note from the screeners literally said “Men’s Rights Activist” and nothing he said had anything to do with the show.

    I do recall the show saying that he was a men’s rights activity. However, isn’t it the job of the hosts to choose callers and direct the topic? If the caller’s topic had nothing to do with the show, maybe the hosts shouldn’t have put him on the air.

    If the topic, and the caller’s justifications for their stance, doesn’t tie back to atheism, it may not be the best topic for the show. I kept waiting for the hosts to tie things back to atheism (like Martin talked about in the clip I mentioned). The discussion seemed to devolve into something else. I thought the caller’s main point was for the show to stay on point.

    Please also note that I am not “butthurt” as you put it. Frankly, that’s homophobic language I don’t appreciate. I just feel that the show should stick to identifying where theology provides the foundation for a caller’s beliefs and work from there.

    I never expressed an opinion either way on any social issue. I only tried to share my interpretation of what happened.

    You might consider this “boring” but the best calls, in my opinion, are the ones where a caller tries to defend a stance (political, social or theological) from a biblical perspective. That’s what I enjoy. That’s what I hope happens every show.

    My comment to the hosts and ACA. Thanks for continuing to provide a terrific show that illustrates so clearly how to employ logic and critical thinking to so many topics.

  95. robertwilson says

    @Just Another Listener
    “You might consider this “boring” but the best calls, in my opinion, are the ones where a caller tries to defend a stance (political, social or theological) from a biblical perspective. That’s what I enjoy. That’s what I hope happens every show.”

    It would make every show very “samey”, probably boiling down to asking why should I believe the bible/accept it as an authority or some such question every time.

    More generally it’s a bit disingenuous to say that feminism has nothing to do with atheism when the topic is very much at the forefront in many atheist communities today as well as some communities with common members (STEM fields, sci-fi, gaming). Sure, technically one has nothing to do with the other but technically atheism has nothing to do with telephones so why should anyone call the show?

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It’s their show, and I see no reason why they should be restricted by us in deciding what the content of the show should be. What do the hosts (and other people behind the scenes) want the show to be?

    The only way I can see my opinion, or any other listener opinion, to be relevant is if they ask us what they show should be.

    And if they did, I would answer that I want calls like this to be taken, because I think that the show should talk about alternatives to religious ideas as appropriate. For example, I want a core part of the show to be better moral systems, e.g. humanism, which includes feminism and social justice. (The show regularly does this anyway.)

  97. Sasha says

    @73

    As a woman who is running for office in my own country, who identifies as

    feminist, and a long follower of the show, i have to say that this thread

    is a bit misogynistic, but mostly, really, really condescending to women.

    ———
    This paragraph was added later, to explain some details i mention,

    shouldn’t be skipped.
    ———
    I think that telling some essential details about my life will help

    understand the following text.
    I am 65 years old, born in the soviet union. I graduated on biology and

    started working for a contractor of the soviet government; later i was

    moved to germany on a scientific collaboration and then to the usa for a

    private business. After the soviet union collapsed, my title as a scientist

    was out of value, and my job was no more, so i started working with a

    friend of mine, then graduated on sociology on the states. A few years

    after 9/11 i moved back to russia to help with social change, seeing that

    they weren’t on a good path, and i’ve been traveling back and forth. Now im

    running for office for a district, but currently on vacations visiting

    family, and hence having the time to write this.
    ———

    Although the united states has more problems with sexism than other western

    democracies, i still don’t think patriarchy describes whats going on there,

    as opposed to the middle east, for example or 19 century Britain. Also with

    rape culture, I can’t believe The Martin Wagner has no skepticism about

    this…
    And i couldn’t believe hat you got behind the idea of the wage gap and i

    quote you “women earning less pay than men for the same work”.

    THAT’S ILLEGAL, it’s in your legal code, READ IT, and it does not happen:

    same job, same amount of dollars per hour. This was the topic of a whole

    class i took in the nineties while studying sociology, how the civil rights

    movement put emphasis in work related discrimination and managed to pass

    that and other laws. In short, the problem with the wage gap hypothesis is

    that it is an average and dealing with averages you might as well conclude

    that africans are more criminal… But of course there are a lot of factors

    for that last point: growing up in ghettos or countryside is not the same

    as being born in the suburbs, or in central Moscow. That changes the

    options and decisions in your life drastically, same with work and sex.

    And while we are on to work related sexism, its true that there are sectors

    that are misogynistic and have a “boys club”, as you put it, but you seem

    to be very condescending toward women, in the sense that you don’t give

    them agency, almost at all. Women can choose, you know that, right? Its

    true that there are gender roles imposed as childs, but do you really think

    that when it comes to making a big decision a woman is going to do what

    someone put in her head like a robot, and not weight the pros and cons? As

    a lesbian woman i never had to make some decisions, since i knew very early

    that i didn’t want kids, but for many women, career and job choice depend

    on the fact that they want children and expect a man to support them for a

    few years. Many of the younger women whom i studied sociology with didn’t

    think they would need to make a living for themselves, and choose that

    career “just to do something” (it’s an actual quote). Some of them had

    interests in other areas, like science, medicine and law, but choose not to

    because of how time consuming those are, and if you are planning of being a

    mother, time is not something that you have. They knew well what choice

    they preferred and sincerely i envy american girls for not having to worry

    about their future and for having someone to back them up economically (of

    course it wasn’t like that in the great depression), but on the other hand

    it was the lack of desire for kids (and lack of romantic relationships)

    what made me work hard and achieve my goal of being a working scientist,

    until the unions collapse sadly.

    On the other hand, it “seems” that in other countries women follow their

    interests more often, i don’t know if this is correct but one newspaper

    reported that STEM fields in china have close to 50/50 distribution. I do

    not believe this is the case. I mean, that data about china might be true,

    but i do not think that it is because of interests, but rather because they

    have to, to support their parents and close relatives. And the opposite

    could be as well what explains the west: being free to choose and having

    higher acquisitive power as a society (retirement for old people) might not

    encourage them to work as hard as men are expected.

    This is not to say that interests don’t play a role; i mean, how many women

    do you know that say something like “yes, being a plumber would be kind of

    nice”; but again they are not expected to do this, and to call this minor

    gender roles “misogyny” is really far out. Its like comparing people not

    expecting homosexual couples to have kids (which is not the same as people

    expecting them not to have kids), with straight out homophobia, just

    because its not in the general mindset, the ethos, the zeitgeist, does not

    mean that people are fomenting opposite roles actively, or that they hate

    gay and lesbians. Well, they are not fomenting opposite roles and hating

    until you get to the christians, and that is a strong point about usa and

    how they try to legislate, sadly.

    But again, american women today are free and protected, in all sense, its

    not like they have to farm like my grandmother and mother or starve to

    death, its not like they are willing and happy to go into a mine, knowing

    they are helping their family. They don’t NEED or WANT to do this and yet

    they feel entitled to higher paying jobs, when they are not even willing to

    be plumbers. My mother was lucky she married a middle class tailor for the

    soviet government, or me and my siblings would have been born in a farm

    without that many opportunities, and it was my mother who wanted me and my

    sister to be nurses, while my father wanted us to pursue something he

    considered higher for his daughters, he gave us that choice. American Women

    can and do choose a lot more than almost everyone in this planet, yet they

    still expect men to be the working force of their country. These are some

    weird expectations, america.

    And while we are at this, what was that about the call? The fact that there

    are not that many woman in congress or governorships seems more a result of

    women choosing not to be involved and have an easier life, rather than

    patriarchal oppression (like the middle east, where they can’t vote) or

    even gender roles. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to explain how in other

    decades of american history women were more politically involved and felt

    entitled to express their opinion even without the support they have today,

    those were bold women. Seriously, if you are a woman in the united states,

    follow my example and get involved, even run for office, look at margaret

    thatcher or merkel, they did, why don’t you?. After all it doesn’t matter

    if 60% of voters are women, if the people you can vote are 95% male,

    chances are that you’ll only hear from males in mainstream media. And

    american women lifestyles are part of the problem, we know males will do

    these jobs, someone has to do it, but why not you?

    After all that, it may look like im in favor of equality, but it seems

    americans have a weird concept of equality. The fact that women are

    underrepresented in engineering looks like a problem, but that males have

    the same deal in education: nobody bats an eye. I don’t have a problem with

    these situations, they are non-problems because i don’t think that

    segregation its whats happening. But you, americans, you seem to not only

    want equal opportunities but equal results, and that is like communism,

    or more commonly called forced equality. I’m only in favor of equal opportunities, but then if

    people want to encourage some group to do certain task, or play a certain

    role, i don’t oppose that, a long as there is a choice for others outside

    that group to be part, or for people inside the group not to be part. For

    example i bring up plumbing because as a kid, i saw some fantastic work

    being done when accompanying my father one day, for many years i wanted to

    play or experiment with tubes, but never seriously considered it as a job

    as i had more opportunities than the average russian woman. And i think we

    should encourage men to do these hard jobs, and we should value those jobs

    more (which are perceived almost as slave work in america, instead of what

    keeps society working), but if a man wants to be a nurse, he should have

    the right, and if a woman wants to be a plumber, she should have the right.

    Sadly i don’t see many women converting this right into a self imposed

    obligation to society, and so they distance themselves from many aspects,

    while men do all kinds of jobs and roles.

    And for the end, everyone’s favorite subject in this thread it seems: rape

    culture.

    I can not comprehend how you, almost-always-reasonable martin, go from

    bands of adolescent males raping some girls, because of stupidity, hormones

    and an over sexualized media (and im not talking about just girls being

    over exposed here, im talking about ads with both semi nude women and semi

    nude men, expectations, and expectations for sex, or that blonde girl

    perfection stereotype obsession and that black guy perfection stereotype

    obsession, to name a few mediatic cliches), let me say that again:

    stupidity, hormones and media, to thinking that it is a custom that is

    accepted in this culture, or even that is popular among smaller groups.
    I’ve worked with rapist treatments in the late nineties and most of these

    guys did it alone one time and repent or where coerced by other male

    perpetrators and didn’t really know how big a mistake and offense it was.

    I’m not excusing what they did, they deserve severe repercussions, but im

    not willing to say that every one of them is a convinced rapist that knows

    what he is doing. Don’t attribute to malice (hating women, or thinking they

    are only “meat”) what can be attributed to stupidity and hormones. Hey,

    colleges and football teams have problems, that’s for sure, and something

    needs to be done about it, but going as far as saying that male rape is

    funny because of rape culture, when everyone knows, and yes, in america

    everyone knows that the rape of a woman is not fucking acceptable, is going

    too far. Male rape is not even acceptable, yet still considered lesser and

    even funny. And male rape is funny because of the incongruence of the

    concept, same as any other joke: male is seen as powerful and able to

    defend itself, rape takes that away, now there is a duality. If it were

    because of rape culture, the reaction you would expect would be respect for

    the rapist, not pity and empathy.

    Also, with the case of the public defense of that football team, i think

    its a serious case of you, cherry-picking. Most if not all other cases of

    rape that get public have such a negative reaction to the rapist, and

    empathy for the victim, which is the contrary of your example. And it seems

    that once you rape somebody, you stop being human and can not be injured or

    discriminated; that’s where the empathy of the people come in. These boys

    fucked up someones life, but their own too. If there was a rape culture

    they wouldn’t have to be registered as sex offenders and be ostracized,

    homeless, without a job; instead they would get a job raping women and

    congratulated. Sure, in some circles children are not being taught about

    sexual respect and consent, and that definitely causes most of the problem,

    but that’s not the same as being the small percentage of convinced rapist

    that you are not gonna eliminate ever; and definitely not the same as a

    rampage of rape culture in all circles of society. Perspective, please.

    About the part of blaming the victim, saying that she shouldn’t drink that

    much, that’s common sense, its not even good for you, but mainly, do you

    think that the small percentage of convinced rapists are going to care

    about your rights? NO, that’s why we have the obligation to defend our

    rights, and not being a knocked out drunk seems to be the easiest way.

    Since passed out people can’t defend themselves, don’t put yourself in that

    situation; you want to pass out? leave that for home, drink until you fall

    asleep, but ignoring common sense precautions and saying “tell men not to

    rape” is definitely not going to stop sociopaths, take some fucking

    responsibility, they won’t. You wouldn’t let an anesthetized hamster near a

    wolf, right? well, don’t put yourself in the position of the hamster, don’t

    accept drinks, take some fucking responsibility.

    Feminism has done some great work during the 19th century and the 20th, but

    today, when they protest meetings of MRAs focused on – WAIT FOR IT – not

    hating women but – WAIT FOR IT – actual mens issues like divorce, child

    custody, homelessness and suicide, you know there are some extremists in

    that group, and same as islam, i don’t see us, moderate feminists speaking

    out against this. There is been two attempts in the two last decades to ban

    male contraceptive pills, and they both succeeded, it is scary, but it

    looks like the same that was happening in the 50s and 60s to women. White,

    privileged, young women that do not care about russia, india, africa,

    middle east have co-opted part of the movement, its our obligation to

    defend third world womens rights and ours and keep them in check, just like

    christians do now with their nutcases, as opposed to islam which still

    favors extremism a tad more.

    As for definition of feminism, i define it as a movement that seeks equal

    rights and responsibilities for women, in comparison to men. Not as a

    movement that seeks equal rights for men and women.

    I don’t like those movement to be all about rights, because it looks as the

    previously oppressed group is taking the rights without the obligations, i

    also don’t like the fact that they are specific and separated. Same for

    LGBT, wouldn’t it be better if instead of being specific, they all allied

    in a coalition for equality and each one tackled their own problems being

    backed up by the others? Instead of shouting “Hateful MRAs” or “Much stupid

    Pastriarchy” or “Burn homophobe bigot”, wouldn’t it be better to open

    dialogue and agree which problems are real and not theoretical? Let’s stop

    with the stupid-concepts wars and lets get down to the facts, do some

    science, find the cause and agree if it is a problem. No more each one on

    its own, some of the recent academia has to be revised, because its

    ridiculous, you can’t call someone a transvestite or transsexual anymore

    because its offensive to transgender people, some are saying; even when

    THEY ARE 3 DIFFERENT THINGS…
    Aren’t we tired of getting told what language to use? Aren’t we ready to

    talk with concepts and split their hairs?

    Anyway, im getting carried away, i hope some of that got to you, and hope

    that this topic comes up again in TAE, there is much progress to be made

    yet.

    Best wishes, Sasha
    (fake name, obviously since im a public figure)

  98. Russell Glasser says

    My first impression of that last comment is that I disbelieve the story of an allegedly foreign female politician who cites her personal experience as if it makes her an authority, then recites standard MRA talking points about the legal situation in the United States. The MRA movement’s got a long history of inventing female and minority sock puppet accounts in this fashion.
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/09/new-chat-logs-show-how-4chan-users-pushed-gamergate-into-the-national-spotlight/

    I’m also curious about the extremely idiosyncratic grammar slips like “The Martin Wagner,” which don’t seem to be typical of other Russian writers I’ve seen, while many other passages of your writing sound like a typical English speaker.

    “Sasha,” if you’d care to private email me (russell@russellglasser.com) with a publicly available link letting me know who you are and what you’re running for, I’ll gladly post a retraction of this comment. I have no intention of sharing your identity, but it’s really weird to me that you simultaneously want to invoke your personal experience credibility and also remain anonymous.

  99. Monocle Smile says

    @Sasha
    Not responding to that mess. It’s a secular version of Gish Gallop. But I do want to hit on two things (aside from recommending that you learn how to format).

    And i couldn’t believe hat you got behind the idea of the wage gap and i
    quote you “women earning less pay than men for the same work”.
    THAT’S ILLEGAL, it’s in your legal code, READ IT, and it does not happen:
    same job, same amount of dollars per hour

    This is just false. If you knew anything the US, you’d know that there’s loads of stuff in our legal “code” that isn’t enforced. The gap is clear and in some fields, such as medicine, it gets as bad as 30% even when you control for position. In fact, the gap is even bigger than the below link indicates because minimum wage jobs tend to be equal, bringing down the “average” gap. Your statement is wholly disconnected from reality.
    http://www.consad.com/content/reports/Gender%20Wage%20Gap%20Final%20Report.pdf

    Its true that there are gender roles imposed as childs, but do you really think
    that when it comes to making a big decision a woman is going to do what
    someone put in her head like a robot, and not weight the pros and cons?

    Oh my Jehoshaphat. What a ridiculous pile of trash. There’s this entire field of science called “psychology” and whole idea of indoctrination is that you’re totally unaware it’s happening or has happened. Here you’re arguing that there’s no such things as the subconscious, or Stockholm Syndrome, or emotional manipulation, or any other psychological nuance. Lady, we know that this bullshit “life choices” line is false because we’ve done studies with control groups disproving your crap. Again, a full disconnect from reality.
    http://www.aauw.org/research/why-so-few/

    Also, your closing couple of paragraphs are absolutely terrifying. You mis-attribute problems to causes, you pretend that certain massive problems don’t exist, and your “recommendation” for LGBT groups sets off my big, red Concern Troll siren. I’m not sure you live on Earth.

  100. Just Another Listener says

    @MonocleSmile #111

    I took your advice and read the Consad Wage Gap Final Report. The first few pages were very enlightening. I recommend everyone to read them.

    Your report appears to refute your point.

    The study you referenced says it found “an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.” It also said, in terms of justifying corrective action, that “there may be nothing to correct.”

    A wage gap of 5-7% is not that bad. It should be zero, but the wage difference is hardly the (paraphrasing) “women are paid seventy cents for every dollar a man earns” many people proclaim.

    To quote your report:

    “…This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.”

    “There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap”…. These variables include:

    1. A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work.

    2. A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for child birth, child care and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home.

    3. Women, especially working mothers, tend to value “family friendly” workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation.”

    “Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.”

    The report goes on to show how there was a large wage gap decades ago but that the gap has been dramatically decreasing to the ~6% wage gap we see today.

    Apologies for any odd formatting.

  101. Monocle Smile says

    @Just Another LIstener
    Good job not reading the rest of my post, since I’ve addressed your comments in advance. I posted the study to show that the numbers exist; I just don’t buy their crappy explanation because of the second link. Furthermore, as I said, the study doesn’t adequately explore the gap in specific fields.

  102. Avi says

    @Brendan Brendan Your comment (#72) was just about perfect. I think that the arguments being made are emotional arguments and I find it odd coming from Martin. I think if he wasn’t so close to this issue he might be able to be more objective. I respect his opinions very much but I think that he, along with many in the atheist community, are dead wrong on these issues. There is no room for radical feminism. I’ll stick with equal rights, not men’s rights, not women’s rights (which despite claims of many, that’s what feminism is, not just in the dictionary but in reality). Just equal rights.

  103. officalvillageidiot says

    I have always been a proud Aussie especially in a multi-culture society that seems to work, its not prefect but we are working hard to make it a better and fairer society, unfortunately there has been times that I haven’t been proud, When we got our first female openly atheist Prime Minister Ms Gilard , I knew we had entered the 21st Century, then the attacks started all based on her gender and beliefs and I was ashamed that we hadn’t evolved as far as I had hoped and now we have a Homophobic, Anti-Women. Anti-Science, Climate denier Roman Catholic PM Abbot. What can I say, at least we have compulsory voting which seems to stop the totally crazies from taking over the Government, I do believe that the US would benefit if it did the same

  104. Just Another Listener says


    Here are Matt and Martin giving us a good example of how to discuss feminism:

    Female Fundie Vs Feminism – A.E. #590: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDHhuJEv6io

    Going back to my original point, I don’t like how the “MRA” topic/caller was handled. The call became about whether patriarchy is real. I don’t watch the show to hear discussions about topics (hard science or social science) that do not tie back to atheism. If the position of the speaker is based upon religious dogma, then that’s where the hosts should lead the discussion. If there is no tie-in to religion, then the call may not be right for The Atheist Experience.

    Think of the show as a game of golf. The hole is where you want the ball to go. The hole, for this show, is atheism. If the caller hits the ball (aka the topic) into the weeds (away from the hole) then it’s the job of the hosts to help guide the ball back onto the green and toward the hole. The hosts are great at using critical thinking, logical fallacies and the Socratic method to help guide the callers toward the hole. Every topic should tie back to atheism. I believe that’s why the show is called The Atheist Experience.

    A good parallel example: in the past, when a creationist caller wanted to debate scientific findings, Matt has said (paraphrasing):
    (1) why are you calling an atheism show to debate science, shouldn’t you be talking to scientists, and
    (2) even if you are right, disproving “X” in no way goes toward proving that your god exists.

    In my opinion, the MRA/feminism call went into the weeds and never made it back onto the green.

  105. Monocle Smile says

    @JAL
    Fantastic comment. That’s well-reasoned constructive criticism. I listened to the call you linked and the call with Russell and Martin again, and you have a solid point. Even the frustrating libertarian calls recently have tied into atheism, at least at some point, and while the call in #897 started out with “the atheist movement,” it indeed went somewhere else and never made it back.

    There’s a bit of a sharp contrast between the first caller about gay marriage (running out of reasons to oppose gay marriage sans religion is relevant to atheism) and that last caller that makes your point.

  106. Tim Edgar says

    The guy that called in asking to reverse the Gay Marriage thing by asking how the hosts would react to, in a world where everyone married only opposite sex, a church suddenly starts clamoring for Gay Marriage Rights. They tried to use the analogy of a church trying to get EVERYONE had to get married in a specific manner (they used the example of a particular type of house of worship).

    I feel that a better analogy would be polygamy. That seems much closer to the question the caller asked. What if a church started requesting polygamy rights?

    Thoughts?

  107. says

    What if a church started requesting polygamy rights?

    I’m okay with polygamy if all involved are consenting adult partners. The grim reality of polygamy is that it mostly occurs in isolationist religious cults like the FLDS, where unwilling women are basically bred from childhood to be the sex slaves of male leaders.

  108. Funslinger says

    @9 – Russell wrote: “I’m sorry about the hostile environment, Ibis. I don’t really know what would have been the right thing to do in that situation.”

    I think the caller’s point was that 54% of voters are female so it’s their fault that men are in power in government. The proper response would have been that those women can only vote among the candidates running for a particular office. There are far to few female options in politics so his argument is bogus. When women voters can only choose between male candidates it isn’t their fault that a male holds that office.

  109. Funslinger says

    @16 – Ibis wrote: “because there’s one single data point that shows more women vote than men. Forget that most of the candidates are men, the funding is by and for men, the political positions are held by men, the wealth, the lobbyists, the media (both news and entertainment), the police, the military, the bankers, the corporate hierarchies, most academia……”

    Exactly my point. I’m glad to see that someone else saw what the caller’s argument was.

  110. Funslinger says

    @116 -officalvillageidiot wrote: “What can I say, at least we have compulsory voting which seems to stop the totally crazies from taking over the Government, I do believe that the US would benefit if it did the same”

    I could never condone compulsory voting, but I could condone restrictive voting based on understanding of the positions of the candidates. I don’t want one voting for a candidate because he/she is the prettiest. I want one voting for a candidate because his/her positions on key points are compatible with the voter’s positions.