The intersection between rationalists and feminists

Jason discusses Ron Lindsay’s apology and, while accepting it, suggests ways to expand it.

“My talk repeated tropes that are used against feminists and feminism in many of the same ways that creationists attack atheism and evolution. Accusations of dogmatic atheism, suggestions that Piltdown Man disproves evolution, and accusations of attempting to control the scientific discourse by not ‘teaching the controversy’, all would have been as ill-received at an atheists’ convention as were my assertions about dogmatic feminism and silencing of men was received by the feminists in attendance. Knowing that the conference we’d put together would specifically attract the intersection between rationalists and feminists, raising the spectre of the more irrational complaints against this crowd was every bit as ill-received as it should have been.”

I think that part about attracting the intersection between rationalists and feminists is absolutely key. I’ve been wanting to tell Ron the same thing ever since the talk. I think now the lines are open again, and I think he’ll listen.

It’s as if he’d forgotten what kind of people are drawn to CFI in the first place. Here’s a hint: it’s not woo-huggers! It’s not people who love bad arguments or woolly legless generalizations. It’s people who want reasoned discussion, not people who break out in hives at the very thought of such things.

There is one fundamental commitment. Notice I didn’t say dogmatic, I said fundamental. (Well there’s probably more than one, but I’m talking about the one that’s a stumbling block for some people – but not, I think, for Ron.) It’s the commitment to equality, or to egalitarianism. That brings with it, however itchy it makes some people, worries about under-representation. It’s always been my understanding that that’s why a conference specifically by and about women was seen as a good idea.

But none of that means that the women who would be interested in participating in such a conference would be dogmatic woo-heads, because the conference would still not be at the Center for Dogmatic Woo. People who like dogmatic woo aren’t drawn to CFI. People who are drawn to CFI aren’t drawn to dogmatic woo.

The conference that actually took place demonstrated that. It was a fantastic conference. I look forward to being able to post the videos that will show that.


  1. dogfightwithdogma says

    Ophelia deluded? I think not.

    He’s unworthy of any trust.

    For me this is just too rigid a stance to take. For sure, Ron is going to have to earn back the trust he squandered. I think his apology is a small, but good step in that direction. Time, IMO, to give him a chance to regain the trust he pissed away. Let’s see what actions he follows up with before we decide that he can never, ever, again be trusted.

  2. MrFancyPants says

    Why do you say that, arbor? He’s taken the step of apologizing, that’s deserving of guarded trust for now. In coming days, we may learn what his motivation was, and that may change things. But for now I don’t think there is any reason not to accept his apology at face value.

  3. says

    Drat. Now my brain wants to run off and design the letterhead for the Center for Dogmatic Woo, complete with crystals and chakkras.

    I wonder how much of Lindsey’s mental picture of the speakers came from people like Vacula and Stangroom?

  4. MrFancyPants says

    I wonder how much of Lindsey’s mental picture of the speakers came from people like Vacula and Stangroom?

    Ron’s strawman understanding of what is meant by “shut up and listen” certainly aligns with Vacula’s. Most likely the bulb went off in his head when so many people explained how he had gotten it so completely wrong, and he’s honest enough to recognize that.

  5. csrster says

    “I’ve been wanting to tell Ron the same thing ever since the talk. ”

    Yes, but will he shut and listen just long enough for you to do so?

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