Everybody’s an expert

There’s another thing Paula said, that’s much much more trivial, so I didn’t want to combine with the Nazi&Stasi totalitarian accusation – but it’s one that I keep getting and it’s really…a bad thing to do, so I want to address it too. Actually it’s not all that minor, as a thing to do – but it was about me, so it’s minor in that sense.

It started where I left off, with

I disagree. I see real strains of totalitarian thought over there. And I lived in a totalitarian state for 2 years.

The other said

Incidentally, I do hope you are as strident in your condemnation of threats against eg Ophelia Benson. That’s serious.

Paula said

What threats? There was no threat. Only ridiculous, OTT ‘concern’, which just goes to show how silly these overreactions are.


The reason it’s a bad thing to do, as I said a week ago, in response to Russell Blackford’s claiming to know more than he knew about what I was reacting to, is that you can’t judge what it’s like to get a threat (or threat-like message) if you’re not the one who gets it. You can’t judge, and you should be able to figure that out. Within reason. I don’t mean that if one gets a pretty postcard that says “Having a lovely time!” it’s reasonable to think that’s a threat. But within reason – you should be able to figure out that something that can be read as a threat might well be scarier to receive than it is to read about someone else receiving. See what I mean? It’s not real to them because they don’t have to do anything about it. I did. I had to decide whether what looked threat-like actually was a threat. Fortunately Tim Farley helped enormously with that, by doing all the hard work involved. But I didn’t know that was what was going to happen when I had to decide what to do.

So. It wasn’t “ridiculous.” It wasn’t OTT. It wasn’t “concern.” It wasn’t silly. It wasn’t an overreaction. It’s easy for Paula to think it was, but she didn’t receive it.

I’ll just remind Paula – clearly she’s reading me, in the same benevolent spirit as Abbie’s friends – that I didn’t squall and tear my hair the instant I read the first message. I puzzled over it and then sent a reply saying oh come on, it’s not going to be that bad, just maybe awkward at times. That’s not ridiculous, or OTT, or silly, or an overreaction, is it.

It was the last part of the second message that did sound threat-like.

I’m happy that PZ was not shot (gun or uppants camera) at GAC, but that gives me scant reassurance that you will *not* be shot either way in Las Vegas.

Please do not respond to this message. If you adopt safety measures, whether I’ve suggested them or not. DO NOT TELL ANYONE, including me.

Don’t you dare tell me that doesn’t look anything like a threat. Don’t you dare tell me I was silly to think it might be meant as one.

And don’t tell other people things like that, either. Have some sense. You don’t know. Leave it to the cops, or to people who are involved. Don’t sneer at people who think a threat-like warning looks like a threat. Have some sense, some epistemic humility, some decency.


Stinking Islamists in Mali have destroyed Timbuktu shrines

Right after UNESCO listed the city as an endangered world heritage site. Take that, UNESCO! Take that, blasphemous infidel western kaffir filthy secular impure internationalist proponent of heritage and culture and human artefacts.

Ansar Dine, one of the armed Islamist groups which has seized control in northern Mali, has said no site would be safe in Timbuktu.

“Ansar Dine will today destroy every mausoleum in the city. All of them, without exception,” spokesman Sanda Ould Boumama told AFP through an interpreter from the city.

The Ansar Dine spokesman suggested Saturday’s action was in retaliation for the UNESCO decision on Thursday to put the World Heritage site, a cradle of Islamic learning founded in the fifth century, on its endangered list.

“God is unique. All of this is haram. We are all Muslims. UNESCO is what?” he said, declaring that Ansar Dine — which wants to impose sharia law in the region — was acting “in the name of God.”

Yes, we know, and that’s why we hate you.

The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism

I usually avoid the word “privilege,” because it’s a red rag to a bull and I’m nothing if not accommodating, but sometimes…

Like now, at Thunderfoot’s Palais de Contempt.

…what I have been trying to tell deaf ears on freethoughtblogs for the past week, that their views are poorly positioned to achieve their stated objectives and are widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community in:

1)      The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.

2)      The way that those who disagree on the matter of sexism are attacked with a disproportionate amount of strawmen, invective and branding (misogynist, MRA, etc etc).  This is a behavior more in line with bullying than free thought.

We give a disproportionate amount of attention to sexism – because obviously sexism is a very minor thing, because hardly any people are women.

That’s privilege. He’s clueless about sexism because he has the privilege of not being the object of it. Hey, it’s trivial, because it doesn’t happen to him! Case closed.

And it’s bullying to talk about misogyny merely because there are guys around who are talking about kicking us – that is, me – in the cunt. I’m bullying, by saying it’s misogyny; the guy who’s talking about kicking me in the cunt is a victim of my bullying. Derp!

Justicar says:

If that’s true, it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of baboon writings. That’ll fuck up anyone’s critical faculties.

Consent need not be explicitly granted. Indeed, of all the times I’ve been raped, err, had sex with people after ingesting a date rape drug, I mean, having a glass of wine over dinner, I can’t recall a single conversation that entailed extracting consent from my rapist, err, sexual partner.

And if anyone ever asked me “If I can have your permission, may we now engage in a little sexual intercourse?” or anything like that, I’d have Hoggle have a sex change back to a man after his having had a sex change to kick Ophelia in the cunt to in turn kick my lousy date in the dick.

Is Thunderfoot right that our views are “widely unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community”? Are Thunderfoot and Justicar more representative of “the wider rationalist community” than we are? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. At any rate, I do know I want to stay away from their segment of it. I can’t, entirely, because some of the members of that “community” help themselves to my name and then talk about kicking me in the cunt…but I sure as hell want to.

At the end of Kasr El Nil bridge

Don’t read this unless you’re prepared to be upset and enraged. It’s Natasha Smith’s account of being grabbed, stripped and assaulted by a swarm of men in Cairo a couple of days ago. It’s horrible.

Don’t read even this brief excerpt unless you’re prepared. Trigger warning, in short, though I don’t usually like the term.

Men began to rip off my clothes. I was stripped naked. Their insatiable appetite to hurt me heightened. These men, hundreds of them, had turned from humans to animals.

Hundreds of men pulled my limbs apart and threw me around. They were scratching and clenching my breasts and forcing their fingers inside me in every possible way. So many men. All I could see was leering faces, more and more faces sneering and jeering as I was tossed around like fresh meat among starving lions.

Meanwhile “Thunderfoot” says we people at FTB talk way too much about sexism.

So get off Twitter. We see you are still on Twitter.

A guy who talked shit to Tory MP Louise Mensch and threatened her children via email was given a suspended 26-week sentence earlier this month.

Zimmerman targeted Mensch after last summer’s riots when the Corby MP suggested that sites such as Twitter ought to be closed down if the police thought it necessary. Mensch was also in the public eye as a member of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, which questioned Rupert and James Murdoch over phone hacking.

Oh well in that case – obviously she deserved anything he chose to deal out.

Addressing her as the “slut of Twitter”, Zimmerman said: “We are Anonymous and we do not like rude cunts like you and your nouveau riche husband Peter Mensch. We are inside your computer, all your phones everywhere and inside your homes.

“So get off Twitter. We see you are still on Twitter. We have sent a camera crew to photograph you and your kids and we will post it over the net including Twitter, cuntface. You now have Sophie’s Choice: which kid is to go. One will. Count on it cunt. Have a nice day.”

Well if she doesn’t like that kind of thing she should just stay home and shut up.

Chopping children for god is not abuse ok

Via Zinnia – more vicious shite from Brendan O’Neill.

There are many bad things about the modern atheistic assault on religion. But perhaps the worst thing is its rebranding of certain religious practices as “child abuse”. Everything from sending your kid to a Catholic school to having your baby boy circumcised has been redefined by anti-religious campaigners as “abuse”.

Yes imagine that! Some people are so depraved that they actually think it’s “abuse” to slice off part of an infant’s penis to please an imaginary god. How could that possibly be abuse?! 

This use of emotionally loaded language to demonise the practices and beliefs of people of faith has reached its ugly and logical conclusion in Germany, where a court has decreed that circumcision for religious purposes causes “bodily harm”, against boys who are “unable to give their consent”, and therefore should be outlawed.

Because obviously slicing off part of the penis in no way causes “bodily harm”; and obviously infants are perfectly “able to give their consent”; and anyway causing bodily harm without consent is obviously not something that should be outlawed. Right?!

No. It is bodily harm; it is without consent; it is far from obvious that it should not be outlawed.

The labelling of religious practices as “child abuse” is the most cynical tactic in the armoury of today’s so-called New Atheists. They are effectively using children as human shields, as a cover under which they and their beloved state might interfere in both family life and the realm of religious conscience in order to reprimand people for believing the wrong things and carrying ou[t] “cruel” practices.

“Cynical tactic” forsooth. I have a feeling I’ve been here before – marveling at the gall of Brendan O’Neill accusing anyone else of using a “cynical tactic.” I don’t think the former Living Marxism guy believes a word of this bullshit, I think he just enjoys the sport.

He’s chicken-shit, too; the comments are closed.

How to rig everything in your own favor

Dispatches from the “Sharia tribunals what could possibly go wrong” file: Charlotte Rachael Proudman in the Independent:

After fleeing a forced marriage characterised by rape and physical violence, Nasrin applied for an Islamic divorce from a Sharia council; that was almost 10 years ago now. Despite countless emails, letters and telephone calls to the Sharia council as well as joint mediation and reconciliation meetings, the Sharia council refuse to provide Nasrin with an Islamic divorce. Why? Because of Nasrin’s sex. An Imam at the Sharia council told Nasrin that her gender prevents her from unilaterally divorcing her husband, instead the Imam told her to return to her husband, perform her wifely duties and maintain the abusive marriage that she was forced into.

What more do you need to know? What more does anyone need to know? After millions of years of human history wouldn’t you think we could start to get this right by now? No, don’t force girls and women to marry someone; no, don’t forbid girls and women to escape men who abuse them. No, don’t make special asymmetrical rules by which men can do whatever they want to and women might as well be donkeys.

Read the whole thing, but be very careful of your teeth while doing so, or you’ll find you’ve ground them to powder by the end of the page.

H/t Babar Riaz.

Hostile conduct and intimidation

CFI has announced its new policy on hostile conduct/harassment at conferences.

This is huge. Huge. I’ll tell you why. It’s the first part. Hostile conduct.

That’s what I’m worried about, personally as opposed to generally, I can tell you. I’m certainly, and obviously, not worried about sexual overtures, as the cyber-stalkers love to remind anyone who will listen. But I certainly am worried about hostile conduct, since I’m treated to it day in and day out. Therefore I’m very pleased that CFI put that aspect first.

Ron Lindsay has a great post about the background and the thinking. [Read more…]

We know they’re miserable – we made them miserable!

David Robert Grimes has a piece on the Dublin anti-abortion ads. He points out that it’s not true that abortions tear apart the lives of the women who get them.

Dr Nada Stotland has published extensively on the topic, including a paper for the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “The Myth of the Abortion Trauma Syndrome” in which the legend of Pas is firmly put to bed. “Currently, there are active attempts to convince the public and women considering abortion that abortion frequently has negative psychiatric consequences. This assertion is not borne out by the literature: the vast majority of women tolerate abortion without psychiatric sequelae,” she wrote.

Unless people see to it that they feel guilt and sadness.

A corollary of the research was that while women did not suffer long-term mental health effects due to abortion, short-term guilt and sadness was far more likely if the women had a background where abortion was viewed negatively or their decisions were decried – the kind of attitude fostered by “pro-life” activists.

This leads to the dark irony that while groups of this ilk claim to support women, they increase the suffering of women who have had abortions – the very women they ostensibly claim to help.

So typical of the church: pretend to be concerned while actually being crueler than the average street thug.