Yes yes

Huh. Another Dear Muslima, because the last one worked out so well.


He appears to be talking, or to think he’s talking, about timidity in making moral judgments. But how odd, and how deeply unpleasant, that he chooses that example of all possible examples. That it’s the rights of US women he chooses to hold up to ridicule and hostility because they are less threatened than those of women in theocracies. It’s odd and deeply unpleasant the way they keep doing this – letting the mask slip.

Update: This is also a public Facebook post, which makes it easier to reply to.


  1. says

    I’m afraid these sorts of comments are going to persist until women stop being so darn uppity

    I hope that the way these comments persist is in the wayback machine, when social scientists are researching misogyny in the early 21st century, and these men’s writings lie spread out to dry for inspection, like dead rotting vermin, and that someday people read them with a crawly “eeeew” sensation like readers of today read racist writings from the 19th century.

  2. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    It is only about 150 years since the treatment of women in the US was damn near identical to the treatment that Boghossian is referring to.

    The folk who make such comparisons are for women’s rights when they are making bigoted comments about Muslims and then against them at all other times.

    Back in the day, Margaret Thatcher was the same way with trades unions, for them in Poland and attempting to eliminate them at home.

  3. says

    I’m confused. By their own logic, shouldn’t these Very Serious Thought Leaders be concerned about bigger problems than some bloggers and Twitterers having inconsistent intellectual standards?

  4. Anthony K says

    Yes yes, women are put in sacks and beaten, but that’s no better or worse than in the US where women make less than men.

    Well, being beaten and put in sacks is certainly better than being treated as a witch, and Dawkins can tell you all about how terrible that is.

  5. Anthony K says

    By their own logic, shouldn’t these Very Serious Thought Leaders be concerned about bigger problems than some bloggers and Twitterers having inconsistent intellectual standards?

    Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach philosophy to others via twitter. That’s how the saying goes, right?

  6. electrojosh says

    Wait – have I missed something? I have heard an interview and seen a talk by this guy but thats about it. Is he also part of the “feminism-is-ruining-atheism” train? How disappointing

  7. Athywren says

    For fuck’s sake, when did our intellectual leaders become strawman machines? Yes, Mr Boghossian, it is worse to put someone in a sack and beat them to death than to pay them less. Congratulations on working out that deeply confusing and complicated philosophical conundrum. Doesn’t mean we should maintain the lesser injustice.

    I was hungry this morning, so I bought a little breakfast snack bar thingie after I got off the bus – I consider hunger to be a bad thing, you see. But there are people starving in other parts of the world! Clearly, I should starve myself until they get fed! Or… or I could continue to attend to my own needs while doing what I can to help and support those whose problems are greater than my own? It would certainly be wrong of me to compare my hunger to theirs, but this does not negate the fact that my hunger existed and needed addressing. I can, after all, do as many as two things; perhaps even three on a good day!

  8. doubtthat says

    Has anyone tried to show or explain these back and forths with the pitters to an initiated party?

    I mean, I follow this stuff fairly closely. I read the Freethoughtblogs regularly, but every time I venture into a neutral playing field (or formerly neutral in the case of Nugent), the pitters just vomit out these obscure ancient grudges and an endless list of minor charges of hypocrisy that only thinly work when you interpret obviously figurative language as literal.

    They’ve become such an insular cadre of insecure dolts, vapid dupes, and just plain old assholes, that I don’t see how they can communicate with anyone who doesn’t speak their secret code. What would you think if you didn’t know who Ophelia or Stephanie were and the history of being targeted by these numbskulls? Could you even figure out what their problem was?

    “Hey, this woman said Dawkins was a sex criminal.”
    “Yeah, that sounds bad , oh, no she didn’t, it says so in that comment.”

    How does it go any further than that? It’s bizarre and fascinating (recognizing that I’m not the target of the shitty harassment – obviously not fascinating to the people they bother endlessly).

  9. doubtthat says

    Whoops, replied to the wrong thread, feel free to delete that last comment. Meant to post it in the pit-tastic threads.

  10. kevinalexander says

    Just think of the money we could save on school lunches for poor kids if we just fed them dirt like the kids in Somalia eat.

  11. says

    It’s such a dishonest line of argument. Why is he writing books about trying to “engage the faithful in conversations that will help them value reason and rationality, cast doubt on their religious beliefs, mistrust their faith, abandon superstition, and irrationality, and ultimately embrace reason” when those faithful aren’t the ones doing the enslavement of school girls or the beheading of infidels?

    Also, there are women here being put in sacks and beaten (and/or the equivalent). Also, the pay gap in the US is a symptom of a disease that also results in women being put in sacks and beaten there (wherever there happens to be today).

  12. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Warning. mansplaining (with an extra helping of sarcasm) ahead:

    Lemme explain what Bogus-ian means, deary.

    Wimmin have it easy. All they have to do is hang around the house, eating bon-bons all day, and occasionally make a sammich. Meanwhile, the menz…you know, the one’s with the penii, have to do all the dirty, hard work, like standing around construction sites wolf-whistling at passing wimmin. You know how hard that is!?!?

    If the worst thing you have to do, sweetie, is endure a wolf whistle (it’s a compliment really), all day, then you have no right to complain when there are wimmin in other parts of the world who have it much worse.

    We menz will tell you when it’s ok to come out of the kitchen and start working for actual equality. But only after you make me another sammich, honey.

    Clear now? I will leave it to my good friend, Mr. Mike Nugent to explain how important it is to do so very nicely, when we menz finally decide to allow it, sugar.

  13. Athywren says

    @Crimson Clupeidae
    If anything, it’s the men who have it worse! We do, after all, have to deal with the horror of sitting on hard chairs!

  14. anbheal says

    Dear Martin Luther King and Malcolm X: Jim Crow is not nearly so bad as Slavery, and a nice sharecropping gig is easily better than a lynching. So STFU.

  15. says

    On a related note vis a vis women in the west being paid less than men on average, I found among the (mostly depressing) comments on the facebook post, this interesting link, the gist of which is that women are paid less because fields viewed as being “women’s work” are undervalued in general. This is not news by any means, but that article made the very revealing comparison between the status (and income) of medical doctors in the USA (high status, traditionally male profession, well paid) versus in Russia (low status, traditionally female profession, poorly paid).

    This is the first time I’ve seen that particular example (which may be a function of me just not reading about it widely enough). Pretty damning example, though, and it’s hard to argue with the logic.

  16. dshetty says

    but but but all of this pales in comparison when we insult male leaders of the Atheist movement.

  17. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    Can anyone point to an occasion where the ‘Saudi Arabia’ argument has been made and the point hasn’t been either to defend men harassing women or Israel persecuting Palestinians?

    If we are going to only be allowed to deal with issues in strictly increasing order of importance then surely women’s rights come before the placement of ten commandments monuments in state capitols.

    And now that ISIS has emerged and is worse than the Saudi regime, shouldn’t Dawkins and co STFU about the Saudi regime until ISIS is defeated? I suspect that isn’t the plan.

  18. sambarge says

    MrFancyPants @ #18

    The de-valuation of work by feminization is fully documented in labour history. The reason we talk about pay equity (versus equal pay for the same job) is the valuation or classification of labour or job duties that are viewed a “feminine” or “masculine”. Physical strength, for example, is rated higher than accuracy in data entry and, not surprisingly, physical strength is a stereotypically male trait (unless we’re talking about labour that requires physical strength that is defined as female such as housekeeping or laundry workers, then there are no points or recognition for the physical strength required to do the job).

    The easiest examples of the devaluation of work when it is feminized is bank tellers and other clerical work. When clerical work was done almost exclusively by men, the job was considered a skilled and valued profession. As women entered the field (and, importantly, men left it) clerical work was devalued – even as it became more technologically difficult to perform. Likewise, nursing has started to attract more men as it professionalized and started to demand decent remuneration. However, shaking the taboo of a man “doing women’s work” has proven harder than attracting women to work that was historically classified as male. The stigma attached to women’s work is pernicious.

    The history of labour is full of examples like those. Social attitudes towards the value of certain work is definitely tied to our perceptions of the maleness or femaleness of certain duties.


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