Examples of ‘nasty pushback’ against some atheist/skeptic feminists on the Internet

by Michael Nugent on March 3, 2013

This is part of a dialogue with Justin Vacula about why some feminists receive what he describes as “criticism and hate” and “nasty pushback” on the Internet, and why some people direct such criticism and hate and nasty pushback at these feminists.

Trigger warning: For readers not familiar with the type of material published on The Slymepit website, please be aware that you may find the comments quoted in this article to be abusive, shaming and very disturbing.

Justin, thanks for your response to my two questions. I’m going to reply in three parts, so that we can cover all of the issues, while also keeping distinct focus on each of them.

  • this post responds to your first answer,
  • the next post will respond to your second answer,
  • the third post will answer the questions that you have asked me.

My first question for you was:

Justin asks why some feminists receive what he calls “nasty pushback” while others don’t, and he concludes that it is because of the way that they present themselves on the Internet. He says of this “nasty pushback”:

“It’s not to say the nasty pushback is morally justified, but it’s just to state a fact; it’s just to state how the internet “is.” It’s not to justify the behavior.”

Justin, here’s my first question for you. Can you go a step further than that, and say that at least some of “the nasty pushback” is morally unjustified, and can you give some examples of morally unjustified nasty pushback?

Your reply to this was:

“Indeed, some nasty pushback is morally unjustified. It’s difficult, though, to provide a one-size-fits-all definition of morally unjustified [internet] behavior. Anyway, here are two examples of morally unjustified behavior [which should not be tolerated]: unprovoked threats of violence and initiation of violence.”

Okay, I agree with you so far. I would not use “unprovoked” to qualify the “threats of violence,” but I accept your general point.

“On the other hand, other behaviors such as name-calling, parody, and satire exist. It can be difficult to ‘draw a line’ concerning what is morally justified, amoral (neutral), and morally unjustified.”

Well, they don’t just ‘exist’ in the passive sense of just happening to be there. Individual people deliberately and actively choose to imagine, generate and publish them.

But I agree that it can be difficult to ‘draw a line’ in an abstract sense in terms of defining what type of “nasty pushback” against some feminists is morally unjustified.

So let’s take some concrete examples.

Justin, my specific question for you in this post is:

Which of the following specific examples of “nasty pushback” against some feminists on the Internet do you consider to be morally unjustified?

I’m using examples that were published on The Slymepit website. I could add examples from Elevatorgate, YouTube and elsewhere, but I think there is enough here to be representative of the “nasty pushback” we are discussing. I’ve numbered them to make it easier for you to respond.

Reminder of trigger warning:  For readers not familiar with the type of material published on The Slymepit website, please be aware that you may find the following content to be abusive, shaming and very disturbing.

  1. If I was a girl I would kick [named person] in the cunt. cunt.
  2. [named person] comes off as the most disgusting human being I have ever encountered. What a fucking self-pitying arrogant twat/bitch/cunt/asshole. Oh, was that sexist? Boo fucking hoo; stop complaining and grow a pair. Oh, was that sexist again? Fuck you.
  3. But for her victim ploy [named person] needs to believe that there are people who want her to be raped, and all her little smelly-skepchick-snatch-sniffers are more than happy to magic them into being in their own tiny shiny minds.
  4. It really bothers me when fucking special snowflakes like [named person] complain about “sister punishing” or privilege. That fucking bitch is the textbook definition of privilege. A useless, worthless cunt that gets to complain about stupid trivial shit because of her comfy, cushioned life.
  5. I find their behaviour disgusting and hilarious at the same time. I don’t argue against them, I don’t try and build bridges or attempt to change their minds. I’m just here for the laughs and to watch them dissolve in a pool of their own angry tears.
  6. [named person]’s whole strategy is to make herself a target to get attention to her bleating. What the fuck do I care if someone then tells her she’s ugly or makes funny pictures of her? That’s what she fucking wants, she can have it.
  7. *You* dont give a shit, [named person]. You care about drama and how you can appear to be a moral human while doing as little as humanly possible.
  8. And I hate to point this out, really I do – there’s a trope that feminists are ugly but damn, I recently watched a Pharyngula video, and the women ARE ugly.
  9. Many [feminists] try to be ugly on purpose (especially lesbians – crewcut hair + ugly hipster glasses), in hopes that less men will think sexual thoughts about them, and conversely, others do the opposite of that, a kind of stubborn insistence that men should find them attractive without them having to groom, or look good, or even despite looking fugly bad.
  10. [named person] is dying of some disease directly related to him being a fat cunt
  11. There’s an inverse porportion rule out there that states a woman’s fear of being raped is inversely porportional to her atractiveness. I suspect this is because attractive women have no problem acquiring the company of men, and therefore have a harder time developing bigotted assertions about them, whereas unattractive women have fewer contacts with men and therefore find it easier to hold bigotted assertions.
  12. [named person] may be a feeder. With a bit of luck, this time next year she’ll be imprisoned in a toilet with lots of bacon and cakes for company.
  13. [named person] is also [named person]’s toilet slave.
  14. that should be corrected to: “[named person] is also one of [named person]’s many, though in this instance, quite lower level, and easily forgettable, toilet slaves.
  15. [named person] has no dick. No balls. Nothing but pathetic whiney suck-hole “hope, no dream like hell to get sympathy-laid by a decrepit aging crayon-tattooed podgy cellulite-dough lard-arsed-feminazi, oh yes!” because I perform like a trained puppy when my cruel mistresses tease me with measly taunting treats that I shall never actually get.
  16. I did not start out calling [named person] a bitch, that was after she blew me off as not important enough to listen to. Suddenly I was important enough though, wasn’t I ? Funny how that works.
  17. I’d just call her a poison-cunt if it was me. How’s that bigotry you fucking retard mutant?
  18. I’m betting good money it was [named person] or [named person] or some combination thereof, which mean they and those nearest and dearest to them (like their fat, poultry-faced wives) will be getting my complete and undivided attention.
  19. [two named persons] Wow, you two are a little two-person retard train, aren’t you?
  20. Because you [named person] are a shallow unkempt fat fuck cunt desperately trying to prolong the pathetically unfortunate and entirely accidental amount of celebrity you’ve somehow managed to acquire.
  21. I skipped to the end of the current conversation and became acquainted with a commenter named [named person] who apparently doesn’t like [named person] very much–based on the fact that he concluded his comment with the phrase ‘Fuck her. Fuck her. Kill her. Dump her in a ditch’. This actually did get some negative attention from the mod and a couple of other posters. That was at 11PM PST last night. This morning, the offensive phrase that I reproduced above has been miraculously modified to read “Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her on the cheeks”.
  22. If [named person] was a fat no-life neck beard guy no one would listen to her, but since she’s a fat no-life Skepchick suddenly arguing on the internet has global consequences.
  23. Under the tennants of the Manosphere, be prepared for [named person] to get drunk, fuck some hapless beta and cry rape, rather than acknowledge she “setteled” for some “creepy” guy who she would never have looked at twice before she hit the wall.
  24. This is why [named person] will eventually transition to some other organization where she can be fat and old and bitter and bitch about her objectification.
  25. [named person] is ugly as an old catcher’s mitt packed into a mule’s asshole.
  26. Although, if it starts to go tit’s up, I’m claiming to have cancer and getting a new trench coat from donations :p
  27. I want to claim I have cancer too, but only for the pity sex.
  28. I’ve posted a few fat jokes and insults. Way I see it, anything one has the power to change about oneself, one can expect to be used for a cheap laugh: obesity, religion, or dying your fucking hair blue.
  29. I don’t have anything against fat people. On the contrary, I’ve shagged a fair few fat women in my time, and can vouch for the experience: just slap her arse and ride the waves. Most comfortable ride ever.
  30. In the spirit of equality, here is a list of fatsos: [five named people]. Congrats, you are all obese!
  31. but SJW, can kill themselves, as far as I care. Serious.
  32. Why on earth would I care if they tried to or succeeded in killing themselves? They are noxious, twisted, hurtful assholes that try to bring others down. Fuck them. They can get cancer and die.
  33. And while I would always intervene if I saw a suicide in progress, if the next day I read in a paper about some SJW killing his or herself, I would say fine. Wonderful. A good start.
  34. I need to spend some time away from this place – last night I was dreaming about the Pit, and the fat lezzers belly-smashing foreplay, as referenced in [named person]‘s .sig just wouldn’t leave my mind… So fucked up.
  35. [named person] fakes a nervous breakdown because of internet push-back and retires (again) to bed
  36. Muhahaha the evil spreads. Soon my pretties, soon we shall have the whole atheist movement chanting our chant of mysoginist victory ” cunt, cunt cunt!” They shall chant. “Rape to the [named person]” will be our warcry!
  37. I was also part of the FTP warez scene in the late 90s and throughout most of the 2000’s. Every single women I met in ‘the scene’ was a conniving, manipulative bitch. They were always trying to score points, and get all of the male attention.
  38. She is such a greedy bitch. I am seriously disgusted with her. In fact, she tops my cunt list at the moment.
  39. Physics/biology/chemistry= fat shaming. I think [named person] is expecting somebody to come to her house and do the work for her. “But I ated only three radishes orl off today and I iz still teh fat!”
  40. A photo of a named person with the commentary: From the look on his face and his hand gesture, he’s just blown his beans after thinking about caressing [named person] or [named person] or [named person]…
  41. A photo of a named person with the comment: [named person] kinda porked up I see. Maybe she needs to spend less time on her wardrobe/crying on the internet and to get up off her ass and maybe walk somewhere.
  42. A photo of Miss Piggy to illustrate a named person, and this commentary: And [named person], fat shaming? WTF? How can that be fat shaming, Miss Piggy is thinner than you! And anyway, you should feel flattered. Miss Piggy is a cool character. You, on the other hand, are a thug.
  43. Links to photos of a named couple’s wedding, and mocking comments about their marriage including [in response to a tweet by the wife about how much she loves her husband]: To me, that looks like she’s trying to tell herself she still loves a man who no longer does it for her.
  44. A photo of several named feminists with the commentary:
    – Oh no. Wow that photo could be used for chemical free pest control.
    – Yeah, and [named person] certainly looks as though someone’s tampering with her rusty tradesman’s entrance…
    – Holy shit that’s a table of fuglies! and i have beer goggles on.
    – By the way, that picture is revolting. When you look at [named person] her atrocious oral hygiene is overwhelmingly evident.
    – The other “chicks” in the picture aren’t smiling, they’re grimacing at her repulsive appearance and are disgusted by her atrocious breath. Meow [named person]!
    – What is [named person] doing with her right hand? Wanking off a hobo?
    – [named person] looks like she’s in the before shot for a tooth whitening product.
  45. A video animation of a named person masturbating over a computer image of another named person.
  46. A video of a named person edited make it seem as if he is telling another named person to suck his dick.
  47. A video of a named person edited to make it seem as if she is saying that she had sex with another named person.
  48. A video titled: “For [two named people] And Other Feminazis Who Whine About Rape All Day.” The video is of a comedian saying ‘Have you ever noticed that it’s your ugliest friend that’s the most afraid of being raped?’
  49. Referring to named people by nicknames like Rebeccunt Twatson and Cobweb Cunt.
  50. I don’t think you should have offered any sort of “cease-fire”. I cringed when I first read about it. Why should we let up? In any way? These fuckers needs to be utterly annhiliated from the atheist community. Fuck ‘em the ground.
    – No goddamn harassment policies (except those cons are obliged to have due to insurance issues).
    – No goddamn anti- free speech rules where you’re not allowed to “offend” anyone at cons/seminars.
    – I’ll call a cunt a cunt and a bitch a bitch as much as I goddamn well please, thank you.
    – No goddamn free childcare at cons. If people want to have kids, fine. If they’re stupid and got a kid without the means to support that kid, not my goddamn problem. If I attend a conference, I want my money to go to that conference’s motherfucking content (i.e. speakers, dinner, location, etc.); not [named person]‘s adopted African trans-little person.
    – Everyone is free to make as much “fake” jewellery as they want.
    – No fucking “affirmative action” in regards to the gender/sexuality/race of the speakers at conferences. If there are qualified female speakers, they will be invited. This isn’t kindergarten where we need the teacher to make everyone play with the unpopular kid.
    FTB and A+theism are ruining the good name of atheism. And we should do everything in our power to stop them.

So Justin, my specific question in this post is:

Which of the above specific examples of “nasty pushback” against some feminists on the Internet do you consider to be morally unjustified?

Please note that

  • I am not blaming all of the members of the Slymepit website for publishing these comments.
  • I am aware that there other comments published on the Slymepit website that are not similar to these.
  • I am aware that some people published some of the above comments intending them to be jokes.
  • I am aware that some of the comments are made by women, and that some are directed at men.
  • At this stage, I’m not looking for analysis of why you think particular comments are morally unjustified.

We can discuss all of that in the context of my reply to your other answer.

At this stage, I am just asking which of the above specific examples you consider to be morally unjustified, based on your ethical values as distinct from the ethical values of the people who published them.

As I said, I’ll respond to your other answer, and to your questions to me, in later posts. That way we can cover all of the issues, while also keeping distinct focus on each of them.

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{ 724 comments… read them below or add one }

501 A Hermit March 5, 2013 at 10:07 pm

What, so I should stop referring to cigarettes as ‘fags’, and West Country pork balls as ‘faggots’, because those words just so happen to not have those contexts in the US?

Of course not, no one is suggesting you should. But in another context; eg in an online discussion of sexuality with people from different cultures, you might want to avoid the term and you certainly shouldn’t use it to insult and demean homosexuals who have asked you not to use the term to refer to them.

That’s called C-O-N-T-E-X-T

When people on the slymepit are calling an individual woman “cobweb cunt” they aren’t being affectionate, or joking or using the term in some innocuous cultural sense. They are using it to insult and demean and dehumanize her.

Pretending otherwise is simply dishonest.

502 kntk March 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

In the middle of a crowded pub. Go up to the biggest, ugliest bastard there and call him a cock in front of his friends.

503 kntk March 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm

It has no power after all…

504 EllenBeth Wachs March 5, 2013 at 10:11 pm

and btw, no, I didn’t call the anonymous pitter a racist. I simply tweeted exactly what was said.

505 tina March 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

@497

Wowbagger | 05/09/2012 at 23:22 |
spectator, no decent person wants to interact with someone like you. Go die in a fire. No, I’m not being hyperbolic. I actually mean I want you to die in a fire.

Q E fucking Dee

506 Pitchguest March 5, 2013 at 10:20 pm

doubtthat – Listen to the woman.

507 Tigzy March 5, 2013 at 10:21 pm

@doubthat

1) I’m pretty sure plenty of arsonists have wished that their victims might die in a fire. I’m pretty sure that plenty of people who have wished someone would die have gone on to kill them.

2) So what, are you saying that American cultural imperatives have some sort of…privilege that other countries don’t get?

3) Words can indeed have multiple meanings. Sometimes, ‘cunt’ is used as a greeting; shit, it’s even been known to have been used as part of sexual foreplay. ‘Twat’ sometimes means ‘punch/beat up’.

‘I enjoy that you keep saying context is the key, when the very point is that these words are used in the context of belittling, harassing, and abusing women.’

Not by me, they’re not. I have no interest in belittling, harassing or abusing anyone. That said, I didn’t sign up to Dan Fincke’s civility pledge or anything, so I do sometimes deploy such epithets to express my disgust at certain individual people.

‘Since you are a master of context, are you seriously trying to argue that when someone at FtB says, “die in a fire,” they literally wish that person to be consumed by flames? Surely such a bold chap as yourself understands figurative language.’

It’s not that the person saying it means it; it’s that the person shows such an apparent lack of concern for the potential triggering factor, or the splash damage that encompasses burns victims (as if ‘die in a fire’ were some sort of desireable outcome for someone you disliked or disagreed with. Really, if it were so frivolous, would you be comfortable saying it to a burns victim?), yet by the same token, somehow manages to contrive so much concern for terms such as ‘cunt’ or ‘twat’, on the basis of the splash damage. It’s the hypocrisy of it which gets me. Honestly, if you’re that concerned about how language can upset, denigrate or marginalise people, when why not sign Dan Fincke’s civility pledge? Why be so half-assed about it?

508 Pitchguest March 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm

#504

EllenBeth, you tweeted exactly what was said out of context. Without the context, it becomes racist. With the context intact, it doesn’t. Simple as that. When you use dishonest tactics, should you really be surprised that you get pushback?

509 John Brown March 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm

@EllenBeth Wachs

I won’t be addressing you any further, but I won’t avoid a forum just because you are infesting it. So, I will decline your invitation to take my leave and hang around.

You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone. Your name shall never escape my lips or keyboard again.

Good day to you, Madam.

510 Pitchguest March 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Tigzy – Privilege over other countries on the internet. That reminds me of that really stupid quote from … was it Adam Lee? Ah! I don’t remember. But it was something along the lines of, since the majority of people on the internet peruse the internet (his words, not mine), then their sensibilities should be considered.

Damn. Nagging me now. I remember posting it on the ‘Pit. Be right back.

511 Tigzy March 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

@A Hermit

‘When people on the slymepit are calling an individual woman “cobweb cunt” they aren’t being affectionate, or joking or using the term in some innocuous cultural sense. They are using it to insult and demean and dehumanize her.

Pretending otherwise is simply dishonest.’

But no more so that saying ‘Go die in a fire. I mean it’, ‘Eat broken glass’, ‘Fuck yourself off a bridge’ etc. is insulting, demeaning and dehumanzing. As well as potentially triggering, come to that.

Really, given this background, on what basis should the rest of us accept the FTB crowd as arbiters of what consitutes a ‘respectable’ insult?

512 abear March 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm

- By the way, that picture is revolting. When you look at [named person] her atrocious oral hygiene is overwhelmingly evident.

Michael; [named person] in the above example very unfairly made a nasty comment about the hygiene of [named person#2], a very accomplished woman and pioneer feminist. The day after I made the above post to point out the bad taste of [named person#1] by parodying the insult and turning the tables on her.
You are asking Justin Vacula to explain the Slymepit quotes.
Will you ask [named person#1] to explain her nasty comment about [named person#2] when she comes to speak at the convention you are hosting?

513 Pitchguest March 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Got it!

It wasn’t Adam Lee. (Dodged a bullet there.)

It was Avicenna.

… but we are on the internet, the sad truth is the majority of Internet denizens are Americans so we non americans have to cater to them in some way or else my comments will be filled with people outraged that I wish to bum a fag off them (asking for a cigarette).

Proof.

514 Steersman March 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm

EllenBeth Wachs said (#504):

and btw, no, I didn’t call the anonymous pitter a racist. I simply tweeted exactly what was said.

Rather disingenuous at best as you most certainly did not “simply tweet” what was said. Your tweet was:

EllenBeth Wachs ‏@EllenBethWachs
#slymepitter calling black people “darkies” is likely 1 reason black people don’t feel welcome http://prntscr.com/tvg2l #SPhaters #cybermob

Looks to me like you’re saying that the use there of “darkies” is a racist statement – why else would black people not feel welcome? Which is tantamount to calling the person a racist. Context, EllenBeth, context; you might want to determine that before commenting.

515 A Hermit March 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm

“But no more so that saying ‘Go die in a fire. I mean it’, ‘Eat broken glass’, ‘Fuck yourself off a bridge’ etc. is insulting, demeaning and dehumanzing. As well as potentially triggering, come to that.

Certainly could be, which is why I personally avoid using those kinds of expressions.

On the other hand, it does seem to me that most of the people raising objections to those aren’t actually offended by them, they are just looking for equivalences in order to justify their own use of even more loaded terms like “cunt.”

And again, I have to point out that it is only on the slymepit that we find whole forums dedicated to not only tolerating but celebrating that kind of abusive tactic. On FtB the debate has been about how far such behaviour should be tolerated; on the `pit it’s almost like some people feel obligated to do it…

516 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

@505

Go read the first few posts. This has been discussed. Wowbagger has taken responsibility and apologized. Will you lot do the same for the sexist stuff?

And by the way, notice that he had to say, “I really mean it,” because “die in a fire” generally doesn’t mean that at all.

517 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

@502

Do that and call him anything, a pansy, a jerk, a douche, a loser, a Republican…whatever slur you can generate, chances are you’re going to have trouble. The reaction won’t be based on the meaning of the word, it will be based on the perceived hostility of the approach.

This thought experiment proves little.

518 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 11:11 pm

@507 Tigzy

1) I’m pretty sure just about zero of them said, “OMG Die in a fire,” before lighting the match. Just like it wasn’t a known habit of murderers to say, “jump off a bridge,” before pushing someone. THey’re all equivalent to, “go fuck yourself,” “piss off,” or similar statements.

2) No, I’m saying that any culture has that imperative. If you or some of your fellow citizens wherever you are object to a certain word, and literally nothing is lost by accommodating that objection, I will do it.

Knowing that sizable percentage of you community is insulted by a certain behavior, that behavior having little or no utility, and continuing to do it makes you an ass.

And again, the people using “cunt” aren’t using it in the chummy way you mention, they’re using it to attack.

3) Right, so how is it being used? To belittle and humiliate.

Not by me, they’re not. I have no interest in belittling, harassing or abusing anyone. That said, I didn’t sign up to Dan Fincke’s civility pledge or anything, so I do sometimes deploy such epithets to express my disgust at certain individual people.

I don’t sign those things either. Nothing wrong with a just use of an epithet. The issue is how they’re being used.

It’s not that the person saying it means it; it’s that the person shows such an apparent lack of concern for the potential triggering factor, or the splash damage that encompasses burns victims (as if ‘die in a fire’ were some sort of desireable outcome for someone you disliked or disagreed with.

First, you’re not being sincere about that, you don’t care, you don’t know anyone that cares, and you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing. Words have different uses and meanings. This isn’t about a specific word or phrase, and you know damn well that sayings often don’t carry literal meanings.

That being said, I don’t use that term. What’s ridiculous is this effort to create an equivalence. There is none.

519 Tigzy March 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm

@A Hermit

‘On the other hand, it does seem to me that most of the people raising objections to those aren’t actually offended by them, they are just looking for equivalences in order to justify their own use of even more loaded terms like “cunt.”’

It might seem that way to you; it does not make it the case, unless you’re claiming to be a mind reader.

‘Cunt’ might be more loaded in your opinion; not to me, it isn’t. In fact, this is precisely why I find the FTB crowd’s attempts to be moral arbiters of acceptable discourse so laughable: for all your talk of ‘triggering languague’, you indulge in it like worms feeding in a sewer.

@doubtthat
Wowbagger’s apology has been noted; this still doesn’t give his decidedly emphatic statement some kind of magical immunity from being brought up when the FTB crowd begin taking the moral high ground on the use of ‘acceptable’ insults.

Besides, I note that Gelato Guy’s apology wasn’t enough for PZ ‘fuck him into the ground’ Myers, so…tough shit.

520 Pitchguest March 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Oh what the fuck.

I did not realise that doubtthat had actually said pretty much the same thing as Avicenna said above. Wow. Wow. The disease is spreading.

521 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm

@519

Wowbagger acknowledge fault and changed his behavior. That sort of eliminates the hypocrisy. If you all did the same, there wouldn’t be much to argue about.

But again, for some odd reason, you guys can’t evaluate your own behavior without reference to others. It’s amusing.

If someone from FtB started calling a black member of the pit (is there one?) the N-word, and folks objected, would it make any sense for that person to say, “Well, they call people “cunt” in the pit, so I guess I can keep calling that person the n-word and everyone should just accept it”?

522 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm

@520

Pitchguest, your lack of basic reasoning skills has long been established.

This is a non-issue that you’re trying to keep alive by playing dumb. No one is upset that people call cigarettes “fags,” just like no one is upset that we continue to use the word “boy” even though it was aimed at African Americans in a very hurtful way for a very long time.

It’s just sad to watch you try so hard and achieve so very little.

523 doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

And again, Pitchguest, you and your inadequate friends are welcome to continue to use that kind of language – the harassment is another issue – but understand that you’re going to be ostracized and relegated to having other folks like you as your only companions.

That is a sort of hell beyond any imagined by the religions of the world.

524 John Brown March 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm

“but understand that you’re going to be ostracized and relegated to having other folks like you as your only companions.”

That might be the most awesome bit of self projection I’ve ever seen. Your ability to talk in circles and obfuscate is a thing of beauty.

525 AndrewV69 March 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm

doubtthat, #453 ” Ah yes, this must be why you call black people the N-word. After all, they use it with each other. I’m sure you do this on a regular basis.”

I think I see where you are coming from. So I am going to rephrase it to ensure that you understand what I am “seeing” as your perspective.

You, and others like you, see words like “cunt” to be as offensive as words like “nigger” and therefore as a “decent human being” one should refrain from saying it lest you give the impression that you are not.

I hope this is an accurate representation of what you said.

Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I personally have no aversion to using any of the above words. I also could care less if you, or someone like you formed a negative impression of me, and people like me, if I also used words like “spic”, “chink”, and “honky”.

I also suspect, that the continued use of the word “cunt” in the Slymepit is precisely because everyone “knows” that you, and people like you, find it so offensive and the majority of them do not, because of the culture they grew up in, where it is quite often a gender neutral term of affection, or mild insult depending on the context or any other reason.

I believe I could argue that calling a woman a “cow” rather than a “cunt” in certain locality would be actually a much more serious offence for example. Try it on a ladette and let me know how that works out for you. Hint, if you get glassed for calling her a cow I take no responsibility.

Furthermore, it is usually the mark of an American to get upset of the usage, so I would hazard a guess that the chance to upset an American and your rather quaint cultural worldview may have something to do with it. It is way too much of a tempting and juicy target to pass up.

On the other hand, use of the word nigger is probably an unambiguous racial slur unless it is used in the right context, for example by one nigger to another, or in other circumstances that do not readily come to my mind at the moment. Although I am reminded of that hilarious incident where Samuel Jackson:

_http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iv-drip/samuel-l-jackson-goads-a-journalist-into-saying-the-nword-at-django-junket-8438154.html
“goaded a white interviewer into saying the word, by pretending he didn’t know which “n-word” the journalist was referring to.

“No? Nobody? None? The word would be…?”

(Seriously, some honkeys and their fear of appearing racist in avoiding using the word nigger have me in stitches)

Why do I not generally not call fellow Slymepitters or other people “dyke” “homo” “spic” “cracker” “breeder” “chink” “wop” “dick” “fag” and “nigger” and words like that?

Because they are not normally part of my vocabulary. Neither are words like “arsehole” “shithead” “moron” “retard” “stupid” “ugly” “fuckwit” “moron” or “scum”.

On the other hand, I do know that it is more than likely that when I trot out some clearly identified MRA propaganda (because that is how I roll) I should expect some sort of spittle flecked invective from one or two of my fellow Slymepitters.

(it is kind of fun, but let us keep that between me and you)

So by now you, and people like you have taught me that the word “cunt” has the power over you, and people like you, to render you into a shrieking, fainting quivering mess of pottage.

And as I have a rather contemptuous attitude to that sort of hysterical reaction, not to mention that it tends to bring out the worst in me, where I actively have to resist the temptation to press your buttons. I sometimes just can not resist.

So that is my story. What is yours? Why have you given me such awesome power over you, that with one word I can render you, and people like you, into a shrieking puddle of goo?

526 Wowbagger March 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Yeah, those trying to justify their harassment campaign by referring to my ‘die in a fire’ comment – perhaps you should go back to the first page of and read where I admitted wrongdoing and have illustrated my commitment to understanding and accepting the wrongness of that by making no such comment since.

Unless, of course, you can prove otherwise?

Now, if the Slymepitters were to each apologise for their abusive comments, accept the wrongness of them and commit to making no further comments of that kind and actually stick by that – you know, like I have demonstrably done – then I can’t see that Michael Nugent or anyone else will have anything to question about their integrity or honesty or motivations.

So, Q E Fucking D indeed, ‘Tina’.

527 Acathode March 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm

@doubtthat:
I’m completely unaware of any history where the word “cunt” has been used against women the same way that the word “nigger” has been used against afro-americans.* I’ve seen such claims a few times, but never sourced or references. If you have any, please share, I’m genuinely interested in language, esp. slurs.
(*That’s not to say that I’m unaware of how western society historically have mistreated women, but that is not the same thing. )

In any case, if there is such a history, it seems that it is something local to NA or parts of NA considering that cunt certainly has a long history of used against men in the English-speaking world outside of NA. This history baggage apparently only applies to a small subset of the English speakers of the world.

Considering this, it seems blatantly absurd to accuse random people on an international forum of sexism, or worse, misogyny, simply for the fact that they don’t share your national historical baggage and views of certain words. At best, you can accuse them of not being polite for failing to acknowledge your imperialistic views that everyone, everywhere needs to cater to Americans and American history.

528 EllenBeth Wachs March 5, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Pitchguest, Steersman
Hmm, context? Okay let’s go with that. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I was right. I gave the screenshot with the context. People can make up their own mind. If that wasn’t enough context, they can go to the thread to read more. I still didn’t call anyone a racist. At worst, I referred to an anonymous poster. John Brown, however, came out of the pit, to do that exactly to me. For hours.

If, indeed, I had the context wrong, I can apologize. The question is, how about all those posts in the pit about me lacking context or a shred of evidence? Can you all that have defamed me so terribly do the same?

529 Tigzy March 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm

@doubthat

1) I see – so you’re saying that terms such as ‘die in a fire’ and ‘fuck off and die’ carry no real weight simply because an arsonist or murderer might not have expressed such wishes openly? Damn, well I guess you’ve got your justification should you ever feel the need to tell a burns victim to go die in a fire, or the loved one of a murder victim to fuck off and die.

2) So if this is the general consensus amongst the FTB mob, then why such pushback against Dan Fincke’s civility drives? If he wants to foster a blogging culture where incivility is a no-no, then why criticise him for it, if one ought to be expected to respect that wishes of those who’d prefer not to be offended by such things?

And yes, sometimes people do use ‘cunt’ or ‘twat’ to attack – but again, it doesn’t automatically mean that such attacks are misogynistic in character.

3)’First, you’re not being sincere about that, you don’t care, you don’t know anyone that cares, and you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing. Words have different uses and meanings. This isn’t about a specific word or phrase, and you know damn well that sayings often don’t carry literal meanings. ‘

I dunno, you FTBers and your faulty mind-reading skills. How do you know I didn’t have a relative who committed suicide?

You think my disgust at you people really has no basis?

530 John Brown March 5, 2013 at 11:50 pm

@EllenBeth Wachs

If you apologize for calling out a member of the pit as a racist, I will gladly rescind and apologize for everything I said about you in return, in public.

In fact, I will make a video of said apology and post it. You have my word.

531 windy March 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Now, if the Slymepitters were to each apologise for their abusive comments, accept the wrongness of them and commit to making no further comments of that kind and actually stick by that – you know, like I have demonstrably done – then I can’t see that Michael Nugent or anyone else will have anything to question about their integrity or honesty or motivations.

Who elected you the arbiter of “wrongness”? Get over yourself.

532 Steersman March 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm

doubtthat said (#409):

I will gladly defend or reject any behavior on FtB when it’s under discussion. You just bring it up to avoid having to confront the disgusting nature of your allies.

Really? How about this (1) from that exemplar and all-time champion of civilized and rational discourse, PZ Myers himself: “Crime, Evil, Fuckbrained assholes” (1)? Did you, or will you, take him to task for that egregious insult of all human-kind? In a way that is directly analogous to the claim that calling some woman a cunt is sexist, is an insult to all women?

Seems to me that, by that well-known and universally acclaimed and accepted principle (2) that “The group that’s targeted gets to decide what language they find offensive” which many here seem to have modified by replacing “group” with “any vanishingly small subset of a group”, I – as a card-carrying member of the human-race, all of whom possess, at least at last census, assholes – have a perfect right – if not a duty – to decide that that statement is offensive and an insult to me and – pari passu – to all of the rest of the human race. In which case we hereby condemn Myers as an egregious misanthrope who should be summarily “fucked into the ground”.

While you will probably find that analogy less than persuasive, I would, in that case, characterize that response as (3):

No one could explain it “comprehensively” because no matter how detailed the explanation, you would still play dumb and pretend not to get it. You’ve essentially adopted the creationist viewpoint with respect to evolution: no matter how thorough the discussion, you just say, “where’s the transitional form, where’s the transitional form…”

1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/never-forget/”;
2) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/comment-page-2/#comment-196060”;
3) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/comment-page-2/#comment-196081”;

533 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 12:25 am

@529

1) Do you really need me to explain the concept of an idiom? I know you’re smart enough to understand the concept of figurative language, so once again, the charitable assumption is that you’re just playing dumb.

2) I can’t speak for everyone, but I opposed those civility pledges for two basic reasons: 1) I think it’s useless as the assholes will just resort to dogwhistles – the Lee Atwater effect, and 2) like bipartisan nonsense in Washington, they’re based on false equivalencies.

If you’re using “cunt” and “twat” to attack women, you’re going to be assumed to be sexist. Sorry. If you don’t care, great, I certainly don’t care when Christians whine about civility when I point out their faults. Just expect consequences.

3) It’s not particularly difficult to tell when someone sincerely objects to a statement and when it’s an ad hoc conjuration for glib argumentation.

Are you suggesting your opposition is entirely based on the use of “die in a fire”?

534 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 12:32 am

@532 Steersman, drunk at the wheel

Lo, these many comments later and you still don’t really understand what you’re arguing about.

For (1), I have no objection. Recall that I said I would stand by it or condemn it without reference to the parameters you goofballs have established. I’m fine with that. I don’t necessarily agree, but whatever, I can argue against the framing. I won’t be shedding a tear for the fee-fees of sexists on the internet.

Again, offense is just the first step. The second step involves the legitimacy of the action that caused the offense and the burden generated by avoiding it in the future. I see legitimacy in calling sexists, sexist, so I don’t have a problem with PZ’s rhetoric, over-the-top as it is.

You’re welcome to be offended and object, though if you want to stop being associated with misogyny, stop the misogyny.

535 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 12:37 am

“You’re welcome to be offended and object, though if you want to stop being associated with misogyny, stop the misogyny.”

If you want to stop being called a wife beater. Stop beating your wife. You still beat your wife, don’t you?

536 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 12:38 am

EllenBeth Wachs said (#528):

I still didn’t call anyone a racist. At worst, I referred to an anonymous poster.

That’s true, that you didn’t explicitly call anyone a racist. And you didn’t dox “anonymous poster”, although you certainly put them in the docket with the screen capture link you provided in your tweet. But you had strongly suggested that they had made a racist statement which is, as I mentioned, tantamount if not identical to calling them a racist. That is, unless you – and Ophelia Benson – can explain to me how someone could accuse someone else of having murdered a third party without that being tantamount if not identical to calling them a murderer (1).

If, indeed, I had the context wrong, I can apologize.

If you do so then I would suggest posting them where the original claims were made, i.e., for examples, a tweet with the same hashtags, and at B&W.

The question is, how about all those posts in the pit about me lacking context or a shred of evidence? Can you all that have defamed me so terribly do the same?

Regrettably or not, that might be a little difficult to do for any number of reasons. For example, would you insist that all those who saw your tweet and retweeted it, and those who saw that comment at B&W and consequentially criticized the Pit, retract their statements and retweets?

However, for my own part, I don’t think I was any part of any piling-on to you, but if I did I will apologize if the evidence supports the argument. But, in passing and as a matter of fact, I had actually defended you to a large extent there (2), somewhat in error before I realized today the implications of your original tweet.

1) “_http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=benson_33_1”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=67400#p67400”;

537 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 12:39 am

@527

You’re hung up on the word.

Consider a slur created very recently by American troops in Iraq. They call the Iraqis “Hadjis” after the Indian character in Johnny Quest who wore a turban. It’s an insanely ignorant slur, but set that aside for a moment.

It has no specific history of offense in that country, yet it quickly comes to represent subjugation and violent intervention. If you called an Iraqi-American who left before the First Gulf War a “hadji,” you would be attacking them with that historical humiliation even though they weren’t directly affected by the actions that gave rise to the term.

“Cunt” is just the latest incarnation of slurs against women. There have been many more that just “nigger” throughout the history of our nation (notice, for example, that “negro,” which was the preferred, polite term for a bit, is now rather awkward to use given that it conjures a certain unfortunate historical period).

The specific words change, but the use is fairly obvious to discern. You whining that “cunt” is inappropriate is no different than whining that you can’t use “negro” anymore. Language isn’t static.

538 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 12:41 am

@535

If you have evidence of my beating of a wife (I would first establish that I was married), feel free to move forward.

All that’s require to prove misogyny are the words. The internet, you may have noticed, is fairly decent at making those words available to all. I have no reason to think you’re a misogynist, save your dedication to this post.

539 Brony March 6, 2013 at 12:49 am

@ John Brown
I see what you are getting at now with the PZ’s quote issue. I unconditionally apologize for misinterpreting the situation. I would agree that this kind of comment is inappropriate and I remember disagreeing with PZ when he made it.
Now hopefully you are done misrepresenting yourself. Despite your intentions dishonesty breeds nothing useful in any kind of impassioned debate. Now we have to wonder if your words are really your own or if you will engage in more “tricks”. I ultimately see it as another cheap tactic because it makes you an unreliable conversation partner.

That is however still still completely divorced from anything related to what I have seen complained of at FTB in relation to this situation. Sure, PZ said something we thing is wrong to say and I join you in condemning it. But that is not representative of what I have a problem with, and not representative of what I have seen the FTB folks complaining about. I have seen nothing convincing that demonstrates that PZ tries to emotionally wear down a libertarian over time or that be bans them just for being or discussing libertarianism. I have also never seen PZ follow anyone from one form of media to another to continue such. Despite the nature of his statement, he does not emotionally suppress or harass with this position. There is no equivalence here. There is a context you are ignoring. A Suppressive Person suppresses. That was merely annoying.

But even if it was hypocritical, its beside the point.

No matter what your points might be f you can’t actually address that the main complaint of the FTB folks is relentless, repeated, comments of the kinds represented by Mr. Nugent’s selections , you are ultimately blowing hot air. To put it another way, your perceived hypocrisy on the part of anyone is separate from any other behavior in question.

So this is my problem. Individuals who have the effect of de facto emotionally draining the people they disagree with instead of exchanging ideas, and/or de facto replace communication with suppression of the message. This is a matter of basic human psychology and I will back this up with citations if you wish. When a person has to spend too much time dealing with:

*bullshit about appearance, sexuality, parentage, or any other insulting language instead of their message. This includes visual attacks like photoshoped images and disturbing visual spam
*misrepresentations, distortions, and outright deception concerning their position or person. This includes fake accounts pretending to be the person, and I will toss in hacked accounts because I can see that happening someday
*repetition of the above to a level that the victim can not keep up with and distracts from their message

It tires them out. Its human behavior designed to make the person give up and go away and “Win” instead of trying to be find out what the world is really like. I loathe it like nothing else. (you already got your cookie but if it makes you feel better to rub in my misrepresentation, go right ahead. I suppose you have earned it)

So keep going on about your little trick if you want, but we will just have to talk past you and engage in textual criticism for the fun of it since your issue has nothing to do with what many of us are concerned with. If you decide to do the decent thing and actually address the reasons that bring people from the FTB “side” that would be civilized of you.

540 Brony March 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

b>@ CommanderTuvok 328

Countless posts to FfTB sites don’t make it past moderation, not because they “break the rules” (the rules obviously meaning thou shalt not disagree with [insert Creepy Clown]), but because they dissented from the FfTB agenda.

So argument from conspiracy? Rejected without evidence.

Why do you think Pitters screencap their posts? Why do you think Pitters use Freezepage?

Some will screencap for evidence if everything they need is in that shot, some people will screencap to try to “prove” they were banned for something fraudulently. Unless you screencap a whole thread That’s not evidence. Don’t be a base tribalistic primate because I’m not even assuming all “Pitters” are alike. I will investigate Freezepage out of curiosity.

It is because we all know the Creepy Clowns can’t handle dissent, and will use all manner of censorship techniques to keep their chambers agreeable to echoes.

Assertions require evidence. This is rejected until I see it.

‘NoelPlum99′ recently addressed the problem with regard to PZ’s blog, and PZ childishly produced a strawman response, saying his site did allow dissent. Naturally, PZ’s “answer” was complete bollocks. Further, ask Matt Dillahunty who conducted a very simple experiment to test the moderation at A+
Rejected without evidence. This is an assertion.

In summary, your challenge is flawed because we all know “enforcement of site policies” is open to interpretation.
That’s your excuse. Scienceblogs has site policies. I have no problem believing that the contents of the Slymepit were against the policies until you get off your ass and make an argument that includes reference to Scienceblogs policies. Rejected without evidence.

Enforcement of site policies for the Creepy Clowns means censorship of dissent, posts containing evidence contrary to their claims, posts containing rebuttals to crap the Creepy Clown followers have posted, etc. Those who are on board the Creepy Clown agenda, are free to throw their shit around their forums, ie Spokesgay, etc.

These are assertions until demonstrated with evidence. Rejected.

I consider Challenge 1 avoided with cowardice.

An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.

That works. Too bad you seem too lazy to actually demonstrate that any of that is coming from FTB.

The reaction the Baboons got at TAM – the people SPOKE. The increasing number of people in the community calling out the behaviour of Watson, PZ, Ophelia, etc. The increasing growth of the Pit. The death of A+, of which the Pit will take full credit. The annihilation of the Creepy Clowns when they dare to venture on to a neutral comment board.

Yeah I see you saying a bunch of stuff, but its all still assertions. Rejected without evidence.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/05/how-to-make-baseless-accusations-become-true-via-repetition/#comment-174993

Holy shit a link! There might just be some little part of you with the self respect to actually defend your fact statements like a civilized human being here.

Or not. I don’t accept second hand citations from people I don’t know. I’m here because I’m a nerd about honest argument and critical analysis and not because I’m a tribalistic primate. Rejected until I get a primary source to consider for myself. To be fair I did not say primary source but I have standards.

Skeptifem and Salty Current used the term towards Abbie Smith. But let me guess, those two are not “FfTB feminists”. No true Scotsman, et al.

So how did that prediction turn out?

However, I would point out that the use “gender traitor” pails into insignificance with the usage of “sister punisher” and “chill girl”. Are you going to deny these terms are used as well.

There is nothing to deny. You are all talk with a small side of second hand talk.

Consider Challenge #3 dealt with.

About as effectively as the Black Knight on Monty Python.

Like Rebecca Watson, you can tell that by their reaction to such criticism. Like when Rebecca called Ed Clint a rapist, after Ed had written up a well-supported and thoughtful debunk of Rebecca’s awful evo-psych talk.

Then produce the talk, debunk, and examples of Watson’s reaction. Rejected without evidence. These are assertions only.

With regard to Benson – did you see her response when Shermer had the nerve to call out Benson’s misquoting of him, and Benson’s slandering of him as a sexist? BTW, Shermer’s thoughtful two responses are constrated by SIX blog articles from the raging Ophelia, along with some other Creepy Clowns (inc. PZ) also writing their own blog posts. Note: it is a common tactic for Creepy Clowns to “gang up” on their targets, and launch attack posts at the same time across the FfTB network. Further, take a look at the comments on Ophelia’s blogs about Shermer.

More assertions with no support. There is a pattern here and it is not one of conversational competence.

As for the notion that Ophelia thinks she is above criticism, well, Ophelia censored comments criticising her behaviour and her response to that Shermer article.

More assertions to be rejected without evidence.

Consider Challenge #4 dealt with.

I’m laughing.

You are dismissed, Brony.

Sure if somehow you can convince Mr. Nugent that I should go. Otherwise I bet this all sound great in your head but it looks like shit.

541 Brony March 6, 2013 at 12:51 am

@Justicar 399

To which you responded, “Nope. We do as a group. Morality is necessarily social since its made up from a collection of individuals.” Thereby indicating that you disagree with the person to whom I responded.

No that was a simple statement of reality. I’m willing to admit that you are representing a group of people. My position relative to the subject is seperate.

That person argued that even if society decides the word isn’t offensive, it’s still offensive.
Objectively true. If 99 people like chocolate best and one like vanilla best “society” does not like chocolate. Society overwhelmingly likes chocolate is accurate. Anything else completely ignores the existence of people who believe differently and that is unacceptable to me. I don’t like ignoring reality. Perception is a matter of neurobiology. Offense in one person is offense objectively.

You argue that a word means what society says it means. Thus, one can run around all one likes screaming and shouting that the word is offensive. And the rest of the society is free to lightly sigh and dismiss the complaint.

Yes, and the people within society that disagree are free to try to persuade others to believe differently. Language changes. It’s a fact because these are only lines and colors and sound waves we communicate with. Our perception of the objects around us are always in flux. Again I don’t like to ignore facets of reality. I find it weakens my ability to argue persuasively. I don’t like flaw-building exercises but feel free to keep going with yours.

You then write, “Then we try to show why the word should not be used and shame when necessary.”

So I take it that you are in favor of using shaming as a method of behavior modification? Where might this leave you on the position of, oh, say, slut shaming?

That depends on your definition of slut. The definitions I have seen are not things I consider worth shaming people over since the sexual behavior of other is none of my business. So depending on your position and definitions I might be in the business of shaming the slut shamers. Society is messy, I deal.

I responded to what she wrote. If you dislike that I addressed what she in fact said, perhaps you could take her off the side and invite her to write something that will yield a response from me more to your liking. As it happens, I tend to credit a person’s agency by presuming they’re capable of saying what they mean, and meaning what they say.

And I think you are a coward incapable of answering her question.

And, as I noted, the absence of necessity hasn’t constrained her writing here. It should be no shock at all to learn that the rest of us similarly dismiss considering whether something is necessary to say before, you know, saying it.

Her writing isn’t the issue for me anymore. I’m curious about your answer. Answer her question if you can.

542 Tigzy March 6, 2013 at 1:01 am

@doubtthat

1) Do you need me to explain triggering language? Once again, would you say ‘die in a fire’ to a burns victim, or ‘fuck off and die’ to someone whose loved one has been murdered?

2) So if the drive towards civility, in your estimation, is useless, then why castigate the slymepit for deploying what you deem sexist language, when – by such a criteria – it wouldn’t make the Slymepit any less ‘misogynistic’? Why the focus on the Pit’s language, when you presumably believe that nothing would really change should that language be gone?

3) It’s certainly not particularly difficult to see that you’re doing it right there…

As I said before, my opposition – in this particular matter – is the flagrant hypocrisy of the FTBers attempting to be moral arbiters of ‘acceptable’ language without having their own house in order first.

People who viciously proclaim that others should die in a fire, eat broken glass, and commit suicide do not get to tell me what is or is not acceptable language.

543 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 1:02 am

Brony,

I appreciate the understanding. Now, I would ask that you perform the same thought exercise with any group that P.Z. Myers or anyone at FtB talks about. Just read through the posts or the comments and substitute the word “feminist” or any other ideology you identify with and see if their statements hold up.

I want you to understand this. I have absolutely no group identity with the pit. I like most of the people there, and I dislike others. I skip over many conversations. I’ve had a run in two or three times with regular commenters regarding trivial things.

The analogy has been made before, and I think it holds up rather well. The pit is like a pub. You walk inside and it’s a marketplace of ideas. Any market place is diverse and unwieldy looking, but that’s the beauty of it.

If you wish, you can have a nice, civil discussion over in the corner or you can fight it out MMA style in front of everyone. There’s room for everyone.

That’s why I don’t feel the need to condemn people over there. If I don’t like what they have to say, I put them on ignore or I just skip over it. If it’s offensive to me, I’ll say something and fight it out.

That’s the difference between the two venues. The pit is an open air market place where conversation flows.

FtB is nothing but a stage where everyone is lectured and dissent is not welcome.

I don’t care about language. I care about good arguments. The language P.Z. used in that post about libertarians didn’t bother me a bit. It was the argument he used. I proved it to be a bad argument by just substituting one word.

That’s all I care about.

544 AndrewV69 March 6, 2013 at 1:13 am

John Brown #524 “That might be the most awesome bit of self projection I’ve ever seen. Your ability to talk in circles and obfuscate is a thing of beauty.”

It also reveals a complete lack of awareness of basic differences between the sexes.

Expulsion from the herd is the sort of threat that females use on each other.

As Pitchguest is male, it is highly unlikely to register as any sort of compelling reason to get in line.

545 EllenBeth Wachs March 6, 2013 at 1:24 am

Steersman, you will apologize if the evidence supports the argument? Isn’t that precisely backward? There should have been evidence prior to the posts in the pit. That is the point.

Further, this conditional language you use to frame your argument and terms is very disappointing. Obviously ,there would be nothing I could do about anybody that retweeted ANY of my tweets just as there is nothing that John Brown can do about the people that retweeted his nor can anybody take back the hundreds if not thousands of page views that have occurred of the slymepit of all the nasty defamation that is posted there about me.

Frankly, at least John Brown doesn’t mince words and outright states he will rescind and apologize for everything he’s said about me if I apologize for calling a pitter a racist even though I don’t believe I did.

In the interest of utmost fairness, I will hereby publicly apologize for calling or implying that person was a racist if I indeed misinterpreted that post. I am sorry that it was taken that way.

546 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 1:28 am

@EllenBeth Wachs

I will have a video up by tomorrow rescinding and apologizing for my statements. I will also put said apology out on Twitter.

547 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 1:45 am

My public apology to EllenBeth Wachs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5GgrxqYirw

548 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 1:51 am

@542 Tigzy

1) Look, we may just be going around in circles at this point. I don’t use that phrase, mostly because it’s stupid, but we’re discussing the purpose of the language. “Die in a fire” is an idiomatic phrase with a similar meaning to, “go fly a kite.”

Now, some people may be harmed by that language, but it seems that they would be equally offended by someone describing a close sporting event as a “barn burner.”

But the ultimate point is that there is not equivalence between that idiom and using a word or phrase to attack, humiliate, and harass a woman. If you can explain the idiomatic use of, “…you [named person] are a shallow unkempt fat fuck cunt …(#20),” your comparison fails.

2) The harassment is the issue that requires a cessation. I’m fine with people using sexist or racist language mostly because I’d rather know who the assholes than be forced to guess.

Again, use the language all you want, but don’t complain when people point out it’s sexist. I have no problem when Christians say I’m biased against faith or religious belief because I have a good reason for the scorn I aim their direction. If you’re similarly proud about your low estimation of women, wear it overtly, but expect that a large percentage of people will want to distance themselves from you, and also understand that you feed evidence for the claim that there is a misogyny problem in the skeptical community (or, more accurately, it’s no better than any other part of life).

3) Again, your charge of hypocrisy is entirely based on you unjustifiably adjusting the scope of the disagreement to “uncivil or vulgar language.” The essence of dispute is based on the attacks on women in the skeptic/atheist community. There is some effort to avoid accidentally triggering or insulting certain groups, but that’s by far not the central issue.

549 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 2:14 am

EllenBeth Wachs said (#545):

Steersman, you will apologize if the evidence supports the argument? Isn’t that precisely backward? There should have been evidence prior to the posts in the pit. That is the point.

Which posts are you referring to? As I said before, I don’t think I said anything critical of you, much less to be faulted for, apart from the comments that I’ve referred to and that are part of the discussion on that tweet of yours. You might wish to review that main post (1) in some detail. But I am prepared to stand corrected if you have specific and valid objections. Sorry if you think that is “conditional language”, but I’m not about to apologize for something that you haven’t defined or I haven’t done.

But as to any other topics, or posts by other people, I have no control over and no responsibility for them. Although I will generally question such if I think there is cause and if I happen to see them.

… if I apologize for calling a pitter a racist even though I don’t believe I did.

While I think you’re to be commended for tendering that apology, and for at least discussing the question, it looks sort of empty to me if you’re not willing and able to make the effort to understand and conclude that your charge was in fact wrong, that you had in fact called not just one pitter a racist (1), but, seemingly, all of us that (2).

1) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=67400#p67400”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=67388#p67388”;

550 Acathode March 6, 2013 at 2:26 am

@doubtthat: Actually, I’m not so much hung up on the words, as I’m hung up about people being accused of hating, disliking or distrusting women on what seems to me as rather flimsy grounds.

You’ve yet to give a satisfactory explanation of how you’ve concluded that people on the slymepit who use slurs like “cunt” also hate, distrust or dislike women (ie. are misogynists).

According to you, people recently started using “cunt” as a slur against women. That might be so, but it’s still something that’s at most located to the NA or US, as it’s a demonstrable fact that it’s not used as a slur against women by a large portion of the English-speaking world.

Instead, a large portion of the english-speakers simply use these slurs in the exact same manner that they use “cock”, “bollocks”, “asshole”, and so on. Yet we have accusations that the posters on the slympit, which is an international forum that have members from all over the globe, are being misogynist.

How exactly, are you able to draw this conclusion, that all these people, of which you have no idea of their nationality or culture surrounding the slur, actually do hate women?

(Your example with “Hadjis” does nothing in terms of explaining how you’re able to draw this conclusion btw)

551 Michael Nugent March 6, 2013 at 2:26 am

I’ve published an interim response to Justin Vacula here:

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/06/an-interim-response-to-justin-vacula/

552 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:33 am

@550

Mostly because if they respected women, they would stop calling them cunts when women asked them to.

But look, at this point I don’t care. Those comments are logged, the point has been explained, you can go down with your ship screaming “cunt” if you like, I don’t care. I’m not someone arguing for “reconciliation.”

You can stick to your guns, pretend like you don’t understand the offense, and the result will be further division and the continued ostracizing of the pro-cunt crew.

Again, it’s a balancing test:

Offense vs. utility of the offending statement vs. burden of ceasing offense. On any calculation the value of getting to call women “cunts” is pretty fucking low.

553 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 2:49 am

doubtthat said (#552):

Mostly because if they respected women, they would stop calling them cunts when women asked them to.

And if PZ Myers respected humans then he would stop calling them assholes when men – including me – ask him to do so. Sauce for the goose; sauce for the gander ….

If you think that “asshole” and the like are par for the course, are entirely acceptable within your pale, then you can hardly object if other insults are used. If the conversation has degenerated to that point – due, in no small part, to the efforts of PZ and company – then it shouldn’t be expected that the other side is going to stop to ask you all which insults they can use that you won’t be offended by – sort of defeats the purpose and intent of insults in general. And in which case, charges of “splash damage” and sexism – particularly in the absence of evidence – can reasonably be construed to be so many red herrings, as a transparent effort to remove those off the table because you think they cut a little deeper than you’re prepared to accept.

554 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:01 am

@553

Again, it’s really not difficult to distinguish between a legitimate complaint and glib contrarianism.

Unless you can link me to your anti-asshole position prior to the creation of pit.

It’s an ad hoc position you developed to play the false equivalence game. It’s transparent and it’s lame.

555 EllenBeth Wachs March 6, 2013 at 3:07 am

Steersman, your are still parsing words when you left out the rest of that post. Very disappointing indeed.

Thank you, John. I think I don’t need to explain why I am not commenting on the video itself right now.

556 Acathode March 6, 2013 at 3:12 am

@552
Failure to comply when someone you hold in very little respect start demanding that you change your language to suit their feelings sounds like a very weak ground to accuse someone of misogyny.

Since you’re apparently aren’t interested in arguing for your case, and has so far presented very little in terms to argue for it, one has to conclude that you’re fine with throwing vile accusations around without actually being able to substantiate them.

Personally, I find that sort of behavior much more repugnant than any use of slurs on the slymepit, as it cheapens the word and diminishes the suffering of people who’ve actually been on the victims of real misogyny.

557 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:17 am

@556

Oh please, there are about 40 posts where I argued the case. It’s been explained over and over, I’m sick of repeating myself for the dense flavor of the moment.

Using “cunt” to attack women is misogyny. Sure, we can hypothesize instances where one could use “cunt” non-misogynistically, these attacks are not those examples.

But again, say what you want, it’s just an asshole’s scarlet letter.

558 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 3:37 am

EllenBeth Wachs said (#555):

Steersman, your are still parsing words when you left out the rest of that post. Very disappointing indeed.

Which post EllenBeth? You’re not doing your credibility any good whatsoever by refusing to respond to my previous questions. Looking a little disingenuous if not actually hypocritical. Or maybe you expect me to be a mind reader ….

559 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 4:19 am

doubtthat said (#554):

Unless you can link me to your anti-asshole position prior to the creation of pit.

I’ve been arguing the case for well over a year. Consider these posts, as samples from a large set, from Pharyngula (1):

Steersman says (#44):
22 February 2012 at 2:46 am

ChasCPeterson (#44),
Ditto

Oh. Another voice of reason heard from. And I suppose you think “asshole” and “fuck off” is the language of polite company and civil discourse? Or maybe just when it is used by your friends and fellow travelers against others? Who knew that was the way double standards really worked? Learn something new every day ….
—–
Steersman says (#71):
22 February 2012 at 6:03 am

Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe says (#65),
Steery, don’t use phrases like “double standards” if you don’t actually know what they mean, it makes you look stupid.

Well, let’s take a look at what Wikipedia says on the topic:

A double standard is the application of different sets of principles for similar situations, or to different people in the same situation. A double standard may take the form of an instance in which certain concepts (often, for example, a word, phrase, social norm, or rule) are perceived as acceptable to be applied by one group of people, but are considered unacceptable—taboo—when applied by another group.

Looks to me like “cunt” and “fuck off” and “asshole” are all considered profanity. Looks to me like a double standard. Take it up with Wikipedia if you’re not happy about it.

And it’s Steersman. Unless you want me to start trying for some double-entendres or corruptions on your name.

And likewise from Man Boobz (2):

Steersman | March 8, 2012 at 1:32 am
Xanthe,

Steersman, do you get tired of your schtick, hiding behind a conveniently cherry-picked dictionary definition so that when you venomously call women ignorant cunts …

However, I am most emphatically not calling “women” cunts – I called one woman that in response to being called an asshole even before there was any substantive criticism of my supposedly offending comment. I don’t particularly find profanity all that useful in moving the conversational ball downfield, but I figured that people should realize that one good turn deserves another, that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander – so to speak.

you can trot out this pseudo-intellectual bullshit that you were really saying they were ‘a mean or obnoxious person’?

Generally speaking, it really can’t be called bullshit when the dictionary clearly indicates that it refers to a single person, not a whole class. And specifically, being called an asshole right out the chute looked to me as being rather obnoxious behaviour – which should have been obvious from the context for any who hadn’t clutched their pearls and fainted away on seeing the word. Although maybe I was expecting too much from that crowd.

1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/02/21/not-as-much-fun-as-it-sounds/comment-page-1/#comment-272099”;
2) “_http://manboobz.com/2012/03/06/mens-rights-redditors-to-rebecca-watson-how-dare-you-say-we-hate-women-you-cunt/comment-page-6/#comment-132339”;

560 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 4:33 am

Brony @ 541:

You write, “(1) That person argued that even if society decides the word isn’t offensive, it’s still offensive. (2) Objectively true. (3) If 99 people like chocolate best and one like vanilla best “society” does not like chocolate. (4) Society overwhelmingly likes chocolate is accurate. (5)Anything else completely ignores the existence of people who believe differently and that is unacceptable to me. (6) I don’t like ignoring reality. (7) Perception is a matter of neurobiology. (8) Offense in one person is offense objectively.” (numbering mine).

(1) I see. So, if I claim that your writing “that person” is offensive, it would seem to be that you are obliged to concede that you’ve wronged someone because of (2).

(3) and (4) aren’t particularly relevant here inasmuch as what you’re discussing in those is the extent to which someone likes something while we’re discussing whether something is morally permitted/justified. I am happy to concede that whether one likes chocolate or vanilla isn’t a moral decision and thus not relevant here. Moreover, to say that one thing is liked best implies the existence of two inferior grades of ‘like’, which need not entail “bad”. It’s possible for there to be an entire continuum of better/worse without ever having a dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad'; viz., it’s possible to rank all flavors of ice cream, worst to best, without ever finding one that is bad.

(5) is outright moronic. We are, explicitly, discussing the views of people who are in opposition. This necessarily requires not “ignoring the existence of people who believe differently” which you find so unacceptable. Welcome to this conversation in which the existence of people who believe differently has been explicitly stated in the original article giving rise to this comment section.

(6) I’m not persuaded this is always the case, but I’m willing to be charitable in presuming that, on average, you’re more inclined to accept reality than to deny it.

(7) and (8) are interesting to me in the same way that two trains crashing is interesting; viz., if one grants (8), then one is obliged to state that because of (7), it follows whatever one thinks one has perceived thereby determines what is objectively the case. Now, if people were capable of perfect perception, there’d be no problem there, I suppose. But people aren’t capable of that, and this creates a problem. If 2 people see x and one is offended by it and another isn’t, on your reading it becomes an objective matter that the thing is offensive. This is a confusion on your part: it’s one thing to say, as an objective issue, that a person claims to be offended (which one can even grant has a 1:1 correspondence to a person being offended); it’s quite another to claim that because a person claims to be offended, whatever they claim offended them is thereby objectively offensive.

I appreciate your calling me a coward; it’s lucky for me that I don’t find that offensive.

561 AndrewV69 March 6, 2013 at 5:23 am

Wowbagger #538, doubtthat #557

I am going to take a little time to point out something because it is quite clear to me that you, and people like you, are more than a little confused as to what is going on.

It really should be obvious by now that I, and the people like me, are holding you, and people like you, up to scrunity and questioning your ethics, morals, motivations and honesty because of what you have said in the past, and what you are saying now.

562 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 5:41 am

Doubtthat @ 552 wrote, “Mostly because if they respected women, they would stop calling them cunts when women asked them to.”

I can play this game too. Let’s see how well I do: if they (ftb, A+, etc…) respected women, they’d stop telling people to stop calling women cunts when women ask them to.

Sure, you might counter that not all women are asking this of them, but that gains you no ground for it is true that not all women are asking that women not be called cunts.

563 Michael Nugent March 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

Justicar, since you are online, I want to say that I will be replying to your earlier comment when I get time to do it justice. You pose some very useful questions in it.

564 Thaumas Themelios March 6, 2013 at 5:47 am

Justicar,

Sucks for people trying to debate those of us trained in logic, eh? Nice deconstructions, my friend.

565 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 5:49 am

Michael @ 563: I’m very patient. You said you’d get to it, and I take you at your word.

566 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 6:29 am

AndrewV69 said (#194):

@Steersman #188, “And all Michael has done is to ask Justin for his opinions as to whether he thinks that they are “morally justified” or not – and presumably from a philosophical perspective.”

The thing is, I am under the impression that a whole bunch of people are presupposed to believe that “they” have the high moral ground and I believe that some, certainly I am one, do not share that opinion.

Everybody but me and thee, and I have doubts about … me. :-) Though I jest of course. But it seems to highlight the fact that that tendency to self-righteousness is a rather problematic aspect of human behaviour. You might be interested, for a number of reasons, in this observation on Libido Dominandi (1) from a Christian pastor.

However, I have no objection to either Justin or Michael presenting their opinions on the question of those 50 items – although one could make a case that Michael seems to be making a highly questionable assumption that they are “morally unjustified” even if one has to start somewhere – as long as it is understood that “opinions” is all they are; that they are merely “opening positions” in a discussion.

Now the rest is not aimed at you personally Steersman, so do not take it that way.

As far as I am concerned, you have to walk the talk without exceptions. If you want to demonstrate a higher morality than my own, you can for example stop ridiculing the Christians.

Otherwise you have no credibility if you want me to stop my equally justifiable ridicule of you.

Understood, and I generally agree with you: part of the reason for my skepticism towards Myers and “The New Atheists” in general: far too much tendency and evidence of throwing the baby out with the bathwater for my tastes. However, on the question of ridicule I’m reminded of this from Jefferson:

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.

While I am more than prepared to argue that there are great swaths of Christianity – and Islam and the rest of “The Great Religions of the World” – that justify the characterization of “unintelligible propositions” and justify the corresponding response, I am also quite prepared to argue that they possess or incorporate more than few intuitions that are quite profound and quite valuable. And those intuitions are, I think, arguably, the consequence of emergence (2) – the phenomenon that the whole is frequently very much more than just the sum of the parts, an emergence that is, I think, largely what the devotees of those religions perceive as “God”.

Although that is not to say that those intuitions are infallible: one of the aspects of emergence is that it can be construed as a form of computation – but we all know the garbage-in-garbage-out aphorism from computer science.

1) “_http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001674.cfm”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence”;

567 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 6:56 am

Oh, Michael, I should like clarify one point contained in my first comment here; namely, “While it’s true many people would not like such a comment, it’s far from clear to me that just speaking/writing those words inherently creates an injury (as is the case were it said to me).”

What I meant for that parenthetical to mean that if someone spoke those words (or any of the other phrases you selected) to me, I would NOT be injured/offended/harmed/fussed/anything of the like.

568 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

Justicar said (#76):

This sounds to me as though you are saying that either (1) there is something about those statements which is inherently harmful, or (2) to whatever extent that one thinks whether or not the harm perceived is entirely subjective, it remains the case that the subjective feelings of whoever takes greatest exception are the feelings which are privileged to displace everyone else’s subjective feelings. ….

If you’re saying (1), then it should be a rather trivial affair to figure out that almost all people will agree on the proposition they’re inherently, objectively harmful statements. ….

If (2) is the case, then this has some obvious implications: conversation will be the hostage of anyone who claims to find offense or perceive harm in a given statement. In so granting this proposition, one thereby allows for the most sensitive person to be the arbiter of who is a bad person and the like. ….

I quite agree with Michael (#563) that you’ve posed – and phrased quite well – “some very useful questions”. And while I don’t want to muddy the waters overmuch or derail or overly influence his responses, I had wanted to throw in a few brief observations and comments on them.

And first off, there is the first question you raised as to whether various statements – and jokes and cartoons – are “objectively harmful” or not. And it seems that while neuroscience has not yet progressed to the point of being able to explain consciousness – the Holy Grail of the discipline, it seems that it has progressed to the point of being able to explain various mental phenomena as various processes in the brain. And in that case one might argue that eventually at least the science will be able to “objectively” determine how much pain and pleasure is produced on seeing and reading various statements, even if there might be some residual unknowns.

However, since recourse to that method of quantifying what used to be and largely still is “subjective feelings” is not yet available, one has to, I think, fall back on the tried and true, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. While it is quite true, I think, that different people in different circumstances are going to feel varying amounts of pain and discomfort on hearing and seeing various statements and images, the difficulties you suggested in your second case – that the “most sensitive person”, if not the most insincere person, becomes the arbiter of tastes and values – precludes giving very much if any weight to subjective feelings, particularly relative to the 50 items in Michael’s list.

And as that latter conclusion seems overly harsh, and actually not all that realistic given that feelings play a significant role in most if not all of of our lives, one has to temper that “sticks and stones” protocol in some manner – possibly based on your unknown case three. And while I’m certainly not well versed in various systems of ethics, one might argue that some variations or combinations of game theory [iterated prisoner’s dilemma], one good turn deserves another, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and the golden rule might provide a reasonable starting point, particularly relative to those same 50 items.

569 franc March 6, 2013 at 7:47 am
570 AndrewV69 March 6, 2013 at 8:01 am

Steersman, #566 “far too much tendency and evidence of throwing the baby out with the bathwater for my tastes.”

I would not exactly call it that but no doubt we could find examples if we looked hard enough.

What I see actually, are those who would deem themselves as the moral arbiters engaging in some pretty “indecent” behaviour, the least of it being holding other to standards of “decency” that they exempt themselves from.

I will proffer a current example, for instance even as I type this, “those people” are yet again preparing to burn yet another witch at the stake.

In this case a certain Owlglass:
_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/03/that-had-to-hurt/comment-page-1/

You are invited to come to your own conclusions.

571 franc March 6, 2013 at 8:10 am

Michael Nugent,

You have still not addressed number one in your quote mining list –

http://greylining.com/2011/11/10/morphology-of-that-comment/

Have you no respect for reality whatsoever? Is emotion of more importance substance? Evidently so.

572 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

AndrewV69 (#570):

Thanks – will take a look. I had quoted Owlglass sometime earlier as I had thought they had some quite reasonable observations on profanities of various types. But comment #178 (1) over there might be indicative of the pitchforks being out and the townspeople being on the warpath:

Owlglass
Are you trying for a slyme merit badge?

Though I tend to agree with you about “standards of decency” – not a lot of evidence of that over there ….

573 Daniel Murray March 6, 2013 at 10:40 am

In honesty, the whole nasty pushback against secular feminists sounds made up to me. There is no particular nasty pushback against feminists on the internet.

The article gives weak examples the qualifies them in a way that gives them even less value and shows the disingenuous method used to create the article. In fact it seems just to be pandering to “feminists” . Something Mr. Nugent has a weakness for doing as well as pandering.

As for nastiness Mr. Nugent is not only silent when male members on his posts are being bullied repeatedly by women who feel that men have no right to speak, even very moderately, on the abortion issue. That is unless you are supporting the view that men have no right to speak and have their view considered valid on this.

I was in this unpleasent experience myself where and very neutral comment drew fierce “feminist” bullying to the point I directly appealed to Mr Nugent to step in. When he did he too was of the view that men had no right to have their view considered a valid view in this issue. But when I later referred to one later and namelessly as a half wit he was up in arms, after the initial fact, demanding apologies. The double standard is stark.

This is a classic example of someone initially appearing challenging but in fact just hitting safe “right on” targets and pushing on open doors. Buckets of empty rhetoric and populist pandering. Mr. Nugent is not the first and won’t be the last to bravely push on open doors and pander to safe groups as to appear challenging while actually not being. As in this article which there is not really any issue in, as regards feminists in particular. Has anyone found this being a talked about issue in a way that makes it stand out before now? I haven’t, beyond general online disinhibition. Certainly I would not have thought of feminists being set upon by hostile anti feminists being something we must address. It is a non issue.

574 oolon March 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm

In the interests of fairness I feel I must stand up for Franc as when he said “If I were a girl I’d kick her in the cunt. Cunt” what he clearly meant to say was “I wholeheartedly support women’s rights and I am a committed feminist”

Only a heartless Baboon could interpret it in any other way for gawds sake!

575 tina March 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm

doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm
“….Since you are a master of context, are you seriously trying to argue that when someone at FtB says, “die in a fire,” they literally wish that person to be consumed by flames? Surely such a bold chap as yourself understands figurative language.”

So, when you said…..

doubtthat March 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm @505
“Go read the first few posts. This has been discussed. Wowbagger has taken responsibility and apologized. Will you lot do the same for the sexist stuff?”

…….you mean that you were already aware of Wowbaggers post?………this one……..
Wowbagger | 05/09/2012 at 23:22 |
“spectator, no decent person wants to interact with someone like you. Go die in a fire. No, I’m not being hyperbolic. I actually mean I want you to die in a fire.”

But……
1. You forgot he said it?
2. Remembered, but thought it not worth mentioning because he apologised?
3. Something else? (You tell us.)

It wasn’t to spin the exchange in FtB’s favour for uninformed readers? No, that couldn’t be it. Surely not.

576 franc March 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm

@oooooooooooooolon –

Not once has my quote EVER been cited correctly.

No, you are not a baboon. You are Chester.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UVNHcob3oJg

577 franc March 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

@Tina – the full hypocrisy of Wowbagger –

http://i.imgur.com/VjwBV.png

578 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Tina, research is a tool of the patriarchy; knock that off!

579 EllenBeth Wachs March 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Steersman? People can read my words and decide for themselves if I am being hypocritical. I offered a sincere olive branch. You seem to want to be argumentative for no reason other to to be argumentative. I choose not to argue with you.

580 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

@575

Are you serious? I was commenting on the meaning of “die in a fire.” It’s an idiomatic phrase. That fact is SUPPORTED by wowbagger’s statement (which again, holy fuck, that’s all you have?).

You know this because he had to say, “No, I’m not being hyperbolic. I actually mean I want you to die in a fire.” He had to say that BECAUSE “die in a fire” almost never means, I want you to actually die in a fire.

Language for dumbasses.

581 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm

@559

Ah, so the childish, transparent effort is a year old. Well, that at least speaks to your stubbornness, which is an admirable quality depending on the context, like leading tourists to the bottom of canyons.

582 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

@562

What a facile and daft point. Are the women ASKING to be called cunts? Or are they just saying they don’t particularly care?

First, you have the problem of tokenism. Just because you can find a member or two from a group to agree with you, that doesn’t mean you can draw such broad generalizations. The fact that Clarence Thomas voices right wing nonsense tells us little to nothing about African Americans, and the inevitable Latino candidate they circulate in 2016 will tell us nothing about the views and important issues to that community.

This is an old tactic. Just because Michelle Bachman will play to your ego and whisper in your ear that all your negative impulses about feminists are totally true, doesn’t mean you have women on your side, as the 2012 elections should prove.

Second, once again, it’s not just the word “cunt” (glad another bozo floated in demanding repetition), it’s the dedicated harassment and attacks on women. If you know some people who don’t mind being called “cunts,” good for you. You’ve successfully increased your vocabulary by one word, which is substantial for you crew, I understand that.

But the question is how you handle people that tell you, “this kind of language turns a good deal of women from the skeptical community.” Setting aside the misogyny and harassment for a moment, and considering that politics is the only concern, are you really interested in making tolerance for the word “cunt” a litmus test for participating in the skeptical/atheist community?

583 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Doubtthat: do you need any more straw? Have a fire. Cook some sausages. Wear gloves. Dont fall in. You’re welcome.

584 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Well, Mr. Nugent is doing an admirable job of playing the mediator, but no, Justicar’s question is not intelligent or deep. He’s asking if offense is subjective or objective. Certainly, he must be the first person in all of philosophy to have considered such a dichotomy.

You want to do some serious thinking about this topic? Read on the legal history of freedom of speech. The challenges are no different. What is obscenity? At what point does speech become incitement? When does controlling the time and place cross over into controlling content?

First Amendment litigation has developed a balancing test, and the same can be used here:

1) Is someone offended? Why?
2) What was the claimed value of the speech that caused the offense?
3) What burden is created on the speaker by avoiding the offense?

So, when we discuss Christians taking offense at evolution being taught in schools, we see that #2 is very high. We can provide a strong argument for why science needs to be taught, regardless of how the feelings of the religious are affected. Observing #3, circumscribing the degree to which teachers can deal with the topic is a massive burden, especially since many of the Creationists want an outright ban.

Now let’s run the same test with being able to call a woman a “cunt” in your attacks. The only value we get (#2) is some notion of free speech. Freedom for freedom’s sake, which is fine, we allow the KKK to exist. But what’s the utility. What have we gained? What is the burden (#3) created by not insulting women in that manner? Are you incapable of expressing criticism without calling women “cunt” or otherwise attacking them personally?

Notice that like literally every aspect of civil society, the three criteria above are subjective. This should not be uncomfortable to anyone who has been alive. We move forward by discussing these issues, not by generating objective rules that bind and guide behavior.

Your analysis can be different from mine. Certainly Christians analyze the offense caused by the teaching of evolution differently than I do. That’s why we’re political enemies. I feel similarly about folks intent on continuing to demean and harass women in our communities. Obviously harassment has its own set of restrictions beyond speech, but if that’s your worldview, great, we’re just enemies. I’m content to move on without you.

585 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm

tina: what’s the straw? Try expressing a point for a change.

586 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Lol….bless your little socks.

587 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

“This kind of language turns a good deal of women from the skeptical community.”

Please reference this quote. Thank you.

588 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I STRONGLY recommend that everyone read the link provided in 571. Notice, among other things, the picture. Notice that he thinks this is somehow a defense of the statement, “If I was a girl, I’d kick her in the cunt. Cunt.”

589 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

@587

Fool’s game. You can go read about Skepchick’s effort to raise funds to pay for grants to allow more women to attend conferences. They’ve been at the forefront of actually generating more participation from women, they’ve been incredibly successful, and they point out that those sorts of attacks are causing difficulty in their effort.

Now you just reply with the three or four women you know who disagree, and then we argue back and forth on what I meant by “good deal,” and at the end you just want to call women “cunts,” so just go ahead, keep doing it.

590 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I also notice that you were whining about straw, but your complaint seems to be that I haven’t properly substantiated a claim. Was the straw sanctimony just more incoherent babble from you?

591 idahogie March 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm

@doubtthat —

You are doing an incredible job here — fighting against people who refuse to react well to being told “That’s insulting — don’t do that.” It’s the exact response that Rebecca Watson got from them. They just refuse to be decent people.

I have been trying to keep up — has any one of them ever explained why they haven’t gone to the mattresses to defend the use of the word nigger? I asked that awhile back, and you did as well. Why are they not demanding that freedom requires that they be unfettered to call people kike and spic? Where is their argument that people who object to those words are over-sensitive? Where is their attack on us white folks who reject those racist terms?

Have they answered that?

592 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

“Are the women ASKING to be called cunts? Or are they just saying they don’t particularly care?”

Either of those will satisfy what I said.

“First, you have the problem of tokenism. Just because you can find a member or two from a group to agree with you, that doesn’t mean you can draw such broad generalizations.”

Interesting though that might be, I’m reasonably confident that there exist more than one or two women who have no objection to being called a cunt, but do have an objection to others claiming the right to speak on their behalf. Indeed, some of them are posting in this very thread. (maybe we should dismiss them though, because, you know, if their thoughts and feelings aren’t in line with the group of women whose views you like, then clearly they’re the wrong kind of women for a man to listen to. A woman’s agency matters – so long as her opinion has been vetted.)

“Just because Michelle Bachman will play to your ego and whisper in your ear that all your negative impulses about feminists are totally true, doesn’t mean you have women on your side, as the 2012 elections should prove.”

What Michelle Bachman has to do with this is not immediately clear. Wait, is it because I’m gay and people joke that her husband is gay? Maybe I’m one of the escapees from his pray away the gay camp things? Are you fucking slighting me because I”m gay?!

Just kidding; I know you aren’t. Fortunately, I’m not a professional victim. =P

“You’ve successfully increased your vocabulary by one word, which is substantial for you crew, I understand that.”

I like being lectured by someone about my vocabulary. I especially love it when in so doing the person has, among other problems, a malapropism and a comma splice. Do carry on though.

“But the question is how you handle people that tell you, ‘this kind of language turns a good deal of women from the skeptical community.'”

Usually, I just tell them that PZ Myers says they’re whiny little shits. *ahem* I mean, I quote to them Rule 6 propounded by PZ himself, “People often say stuff on the Internets that they would never say to your face. You are strongly urged to get over it.” Source: scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/06/23/advice-to-new-commenters/

“are you really interested in making tolerance for the word “cunt” a litmus test for participating in the skeptical/atheist community?”

I am not the one making the word cunt a litmus test for anything; that would be the bailiwick of those who are oh so offended by reading it on the internet. Indeed, I am not the one who is arguing that if someone uses the word cunt that they are no longer fit to be in the ‘movement’. Do you understand how a litmus test works?

593 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm

You refuse to reference actual quotes? OK, noted.

594 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Doubthat @ 584:

“He’s asking if offense is subjective or objective.”
No, I’m not. Sorry you had difficulty keeping up. Indeed, if you read what I wrote, I ruled out (1) as being the right answer based on what I take Michael’s position to be. Indeed, I worked down to (2) while allowing for some potential (3) I’ve not yet considered. And in so doing, I put it to Michael where it is that he draws the line. You know, I asked him what he thinks. I asked him to explain his position. I didn’t ask him what other people think, or what some case somewhere says, or what the Supreme Court of the United States has said.

He’s a person. He’s an individual. I decided to be all novel and shit by treating him like one instead of trying to cabin him in some way.

“First Amendment litigation has developed a balancing test, and the same can be used here:”

Such as I’m aware, he’s not subject to the United States Constitution. Why would I be so chauvinistic as to hang the chain of a legal system to which he’s not subject around his neck in asking him what are his views on a particular matter? Remember, Michael is an individual (see above if you forget), and I’m treating him like one instead of boxing him into a position he may or may not agree with. In some parts of the world, when two adults who first meet are trying to figure one another out, this is simply known as a ‘conversation’.

This next part is particularly rich: “We move forward by discussing these issues, not by generating objective rules that bind and guide behavior.”

595 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Justi: you’re such a dickhead ;-)

596 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

@592

1) Ok, then I suggest we commission a poll. Let’s see the percentage breakdown of women who enjoy being called “cunts,” those who don’t care, and those who find it offensive. A second question will involve whether or not women want to participate in groups where people argue passionately for the right to call them “cunts.”

Until that poll is done, I will gladly allow the pro-“cunt” women to hang out with you folks, and those that don’t enjoy the abuse can self-select in the other direction. We’ve watched the realignment in politics that has led to the total marginalization of the right wing in national elections, what do you think is going to happen to skeptical groups?

2) No one is dismissing the opinion of women who don’t care about being called “cunts.” There really is no conflict between the views. I’m sure you can find more than one or two black people who don’t care about being called “nigger,” but you would never start using that word.

Once again, though, you’ve fixated on the word. It’s not so much the word as the relentless, vile attacks. I would love for you to cite an example of someone being upset at you pitters for using “cunt” with one another. The only objections have seen have to do with its inclusion in direct attacks.

3) Leaving an “r” off of the end of “you” is not a malapropism. Nice try.

4) Again, it’s fine if you want the litmus test for women participating in the skeptical movement to be, “can handle us saying ‘cunt’ all the time.” There will be a self-selection that will not work in your favor.

5) Yes, people are going to disapprove of that sort of behavior and when google searches are run when deciding who to hire for various positions and who to elevate to leadership roles, it’s going to work out very poorly for you folks.

Now, you can call that a litmus test, I won’t object. My litmus test has to do with the way you all treat women in the movement. I don’t want you around and I’m not alone. If you can’t see how the self-selection is going to work out for you, I can’t imagine you’ve paid much attention to politics over this last decade.

597 tina March 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm

“Until that poll is done, I will gladly allow the pro-”cunt” women to hang out with you folks, and those that don’t enjoy the abuse can self-select in the other direction.”

That’s big of you. So nice to be ‘allowed’.

598 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm

@594

Please. Here was your “fear”:

conversation will be the hostage of anyone who claims to find offense or perceive harm in a given statement. In so granting this proposition, one thereby allows for the most sensitive person to be the arbiter of who is a bad person and the like.

First, try reading my post again. Strike that, study what the First Amendment Balancing tests are, then determine if any are present in my post. It was my fault for assuming that folks were minimally aware of the main issues in that field of law. I thought offering a couple of examples would forestall vapid objections. My bad on that.

No, I’m not suggesting that First Amendment law applies to this issue. I was noting that your fear, that if we make allowances for the offended, sensitive folks will control the conversation, is a spurious, histrionic worry. All that is required is the creation of a simple balancing test to evaluate the legitimacy of the offense vs. the legitimacy of the speech causing the offense.

You weren’t “just” asking for Nugent’s opinion, you were making an argument, clear in the portion I quoted, of a “slippery slope” variety that was useless and utterly common.

599 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

@597

I will agree that was poor word choice. Apologies, I’d edit if I could.

600 tina March 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I know you would. That’s the point.

Can we have a poll to ask men if they like being called sexist, rape-enabling, mansplaining, misogynist dickheads.?

Where should they go if they don’t?

601 franc March 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm

doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I STRONGLY recommend that everyone read the link provided in 571. Notice, among other things, the picture. Notice that he thinks this is somehow a defense of the statement, “If I was a girl, I’d kick her in the cunt. Cunt.”

I STRONGLY recommend YOU read it before breaking your jaw knee-jerking.

602 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Here is the full context of the dichotomy:

This sounds to me as though you are saying that either (1) there is something about those statements which is inherently harmful, or (2) to whatever extent that one thinks whether or not the harm perceived is entirely subjective, it remains the case that the subjective feelings of whoever takes greatest exception are the feelings which are privileged to displace everyone else’s subjective feelings.

First, this a comically strained dichotomy. It is simply not the case that the choice is between objective, inherent harm and privileging the most sensitive members. You’ve built the silly “slippery slope” into the false choice.

Then we move to the favorite reference of your side: one comment based on an idiomatic phrase that one poster made some time ago and apologized for. Impressive stuff.

If (2) is the case, then this has some obvious implications: conversation will be the hostage of anyone who claims to find offense or perceive harm in a given statement. In so granting this proposition, one thereby allows for the most sensitive person to be the arbiter of who is a bad person and the like. And if this be the case, then I see no grounds on which you’d be able to escape having to accept that you’re a bad person if someone claims to be harmed by, for instance, reading this article… but for your (and others) granting yourself (themselves) the right to dismiss such a claim.

More frivolous crocodile tears about giving in to the sensitive ones. You see no grounds? I see obvious grounds: defending the comments that generated the offense. Your problem is nothing more than the lack of a defensible position concerning the harassment and attacks on women.

Again, we cause offense when we point out that evolution is true. That offense can be easily justified. Christians will continue to think of us as “bad persons,” and we accept that because the importance of the argument outweighs the need for Christian approval. The fact that you cannot accept this with regard to attacking women and calling them “cunts” should tell you something about your position.

And if you do accept it, why do you react so negatively when it’s pointed out?

Or is there a (3) that I just entirely fail to see?

Yes, there is a 3. An obvious one. The one we use in every legal subject. Instead of pretending that there’s only one variable, the offended, we consider all variables.

603 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm

@601

I did. I would use it as a prime example of the sorts of attacks under discussion.

You think it’s awesome, that’s great. We differ. I don’t want to be on your side.

604 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Doubtthat @ 596:

(1) knock yourself out. You commission and fund any polls you’d like.

(2) “No one is dismissing the opinion of women who don’t care about being called “cunts.” There really is no conflict between the views.”

No one is? Are you sure about that? lol

“I’m sure you can find more than one or two black people who don’t care about being called “nigger,” but you would never start using that word.”

I don’t really use the word cunt either. Indeed, until the screeching from a certain group of professional victims, I had no memory of ever using it beyond an academic use. You know because I refuse to call it ‘the c-word’. Similarly, I don’t say ‘the n-word’. I say the word nigger. Why? Because I’m not four years old. It’s also a word I don’t generally use. However, if I’m told I’m prohibited from using certain words because some person somewhere insists on it, then I take PZ’s advice again: the moment you’re told you’re not allowed to say that, the only response is to say it.

“Once again, though, you’ve fixated on the word.”

I was unaware that I had any fixation on it. Indeed, I responded to your use of it in service of making a point which was (and still is) demonstrably false.

“You pitters”… again you’re showing difficulty distinguishing between an individual and a label you’ve been told about. I don’t belong to the pit. I don’t post there. I don’t have an account there. But I’ll leave you to chase whatever phantasm floats your boat.

(4) still have difficulty with what a litmus test is I see.”There will be a self-selection that will not work in your favor.” I fail to see the downside for me. Take any conference you’d like and at each one of them better than 7 billion people are already not going to be there. Adding some trivial number of additional names to the list of people who aren’t interested in going is what’s going to bring about these supposed unfavorable conditions? Well, okay.

(5) “Yes, people are going to disapprove of that sort of behavior and when google searches are run when deciding who to hire for various positions and who to elevate to leadership roles, it’s going to work out very poorly for you folks.”

I don’t know who ‘you folks’ is supposed to be, but I’m not applying for any jobs, and I don’t have a boss who can promote me. Indeed, my life seems to be marching on fairly nicely right now. I appreciate the concern though?

” I don’t want you around and I’m not alone.”

Oh no. You and some other people don’t like me?! SHIT JUST GO T REAL UP ON THIS INTERNET!

605 franc March 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

#603 doubtthat –

So using baboon logic, you approve of both censorship and destruction of people’s careers. QED.

606 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@604

1) So you want to continue making vague references to mass opinion without any evidence?

2) You’re welcome to provide examples. I have yet to read a normative argument that women should be insulted by the word.

No, you’re not “prohibited” from using any word or phrase. If you choose to use those words, however, people will draw conclusions about your character. It’s those conclusions that you seem to be deeply concerned about, at which point the suggestion is made that you shouldn’t use those words.

As I’ve said multiple times, I’m happy when people use those words, it allows me to know who to avoid. The harassment is a different issue, and can be condemned separate from any word choice.

Fair enough, I won’t refer to you as a pitter. You may have noticed there are quite a few posts on this board, I wrongly assumed you were associated with other proud members. My apologies.

4) There are actual skeptical organizations. If you don’t care about working in leadership roles or having a say in the rule making process, than you shouldn’t care about the self-selection. The number of women is only going to increase, despite the best efforts of a good many people, and they will continue to gain power to the extent that control of these groups can be called “power.”

This will have a trickle down effect on who’s invited to speak and things of that nature. If you don’t care, you don’t care.

5) I meant jobs within the skeptical/atheist “movement,” though it may be a concern for some.

Look, you can take the self-selection as a threat, but I’m happy if you go your way and I go mine. That’s in contrast to the “reconciliation” efforts.

The sarcasm is interesting given that I’ve said the same thing. I don’t really give a shit if you all approve of me, just like I’m not concerned about my approval rating with Christians and the Tea Party.

It is your side that seems to be deeply concerned about whether folks think of them as sexist.

607 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

@605

I was unclear, I was talking solely about positions within the atheist/skeptical community.

If, however, someone does a google search on your name, reads that post you’re so proud of, and decides not to hire you, that’s your issue. I don’t know whether I “approve” of it, but you’d have to be pretty fucking good at something to get me to hire you after reading that.

608 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 3:29 pm

This is the first reasonable thing you’ve said, Doubtthat, “Fair enough, I won’t refer to you as a pitter. You may have noticed there are quite a few posts on this board, I wrongly assumed you were associated with other proud members. My apologies.”

Your problem is that you prefer to deal with labels rather than people. I deal with people rather than labels. If I’m being a dick, it doesn’t make all men dicks. It makes me a dick. Mutatis mutandis women.

609 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

@600

Do we need to go over that false analogy again?

610 franc March 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

doubtthat –

I doubt you’ve actually “read” anything in your life without injecting your own bias poison into it. This is the whole problem here – adults trying to address retarded schoolchildren.

611 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm

“It is your side that seems to be deeply concerned about whether folks think of them as sexist.”

Not for nothing, and it’s not like Justicar needs my help, but I believe he has plainly stated that he has no “side” in this. He is speaking as an individual. Why are you so insistent in persisting in this in-group/out-group mentality?

“The number of women is only going to increase, despite the best efforts of a good many people, and they will continue to gain power to the extent that control of these groups can be called ‘power.'”

I must insist that you provide some evidence that a “good many people” are actively discouraging women from joining the skeptical community. It seems to me that you are conflating certain strains of feminism with women. For the uninitiated, women are people and feminism is an ideology.

If I were to criticize communism in the skeptical community, it wouldn’t mean that I were actively trying to scare the Han Chinese away.

612 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

@608

Look, this board is filled with people from that site referencing that site. Instead of listing the dozen “individuals” making the same argument originating from the same place, I save some time.

Notice that you objected to being associated or heaped in with that group, made a request, and it was honored. Rather than arguing for 400 posts about whether you could be considered a “pitter” because the phrase has expanded in meaning from a discreet group of posters to a representation of a view point, thereby legitimizing my description of you, I just honored your request.

Let’s see how that plays out with my balancing test:

1) You wish to be treated as an individual.
2) I called you a pitter, the utility lying in some inchoate notion of what that means.
3) The burden generated by me not referring to you as such is actually less than having to explain my bullshit rationale for heaping you in with that group.

Therefore, you offense at my description of you trumps my desire to have a lazy reference for you. It seems I have lost nothing by indulging your sensitivity.

613 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm

@franc

Of the multiple lines of discussion going on, yours is by far the least interesting.

You’re proud of your work, I think it makes you look very bad, indeed. That’s the difference between us. Enjoy the great variance that is life.

614 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

@611

Because it saves time. Would you agree that you and Justicar are more or less in agreement concerning my stance? It would appear that we have sides. They can be malleable and adjusted, and just like Justicar, if you object claiming nuance to your views, I will listen.

Women are speaking out about the things that leave them cold: the treatment they receive from high-profile speakers, the abuse they receive on the internet, the lack of dispute resolution process that makes them feel confident to attend conferences…etc.

You can either be in the group that listens to these complaints and works to fix the situation (like almost all of the conferences), or you can call them “cunts” and tell them to toughen up (how’s that for a false dichotomy?). The latter group, however you want to describe them, seems intent to stick to their position regardless of the criticism. This is inhibiting women from participating according to the women.

615 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm

“Because it saves time. Would you agree that you and Justicar are more or less in agreement concerning my stance?”

Yeah, I can see that it’s saving you time. Perhaps just five or six more comments explaining how it’s saved you time will finally convince me that you’re saving time.

616 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

@611

Justicar and myself are generally in agreement until we aren’t. Or, I can reverse that. We are generally not in agreement until we are. Or, I can state it with even more nuance. I have no idea what the majority of Justicar’s views are. On the topics he talks about, we are generally in agreement, until we aren’t.

I don’t presume to put him on “my side.” If he’s on “my side,” he can put himself there. As I’ve been pointing out over and over again throughout this thread, individuals matter more than group identity.

As for your last point, I’m at a loss. I certainly don’t condone people going around willfully attempting to intimidate people just for the sake of intimidation. However, I can’t for the life of me understand why “women” as a whole would be “inhibited” from participating because of words.

You don’t think men are subject to hateful, systematic, vile speech all the time? Does that “inhibit” men from participating in events?

I suppose it might inhibit some men from doing so, but clearly not all men. Should I relate to you how many times I’ve been called a dick, faggot, fat slob, retarded, an asshole, a cunt, a douche-bag, ad infinitum?

Am I somehow more able to deflect these statements because I’m a man? Are women so weak and utterly hapless that they can’t handle words directed towards them?

This is the problem, @doubtthat. Some of us actually believe that women are just as capable of taking it on the chin as men are. They don’t have to have their delicate sensibilities protected from bad words spoken at or to them.

617 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

So, we’ve reached the “nothing but pettiness” part of the conversation? That was quick.

At least you didn’t leave without some valuable information: you’ve learned about the concept of a “balancing test,” and, evidently, that it’s sometimes efficient to refer to an aggregate view rather than each, perfect, unique little snowflake.

Glad I could help.

618 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

However, I can’t for the life of me understand why “women” as a whole would be “inhibited” from participating because of words.

1) I don’t believe you. I think you understand perfectly well why, for example, a black person would not want to consort with a bunch of people content to say “nigger” all the time. Petty point about them using it with each other anticipated.

2) Part of the reason for this is that words tend to express people’s opinions. Those opinions drive behavior as well as language. Chances are that people who are racist or misogynist in their language will be racist or misogynist in their behavior.

3) It isn’t “just” words, it’s the pattern of harassment.

You don’t think men are subject to hateful, systematic, vile speech all the time? Does that “inhibit” men from participating in events?

Yes, all the time. Consider race.

Would you attend a Klan rally and try to make the argument that their position is wrong? Neo-Nazis? Would you feel comfortable confronting Militant Muslims about your opinions of Mohammed in the mountains of Afghanistan?

This occurs constantly with varying degrees of danger.

This is the problem, @doubtthat. Some of us actually believe that women are just as capable of taking it on the chin as men are. They don’t have to have their delicate sensibilities protected from bad words spoken at or to them.

Cool, you can continue to run the school of hard knocks. Understand that you will criticized and marginalized.

619 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

” I don’t believe you. I think you understand perfectly well why, for example, a black person would not want to consort with a bunch of people content to say “nigger” all the time. Petty point about them using it with each other anticipated.”

Um, if I’m not mistaken, black people do consort with a bunch of people content to say “nigger” all the time.

“Would you attend a Klan rally and try to make the argument that their position is wrong? Neo-Nazis? Would you feel comfortable confronting Militant Muslims about your opinions of Mohammed in the mountains of Afghanistan?”

Right. Because attending a clan rally where opinion is uniform and violence is at least implied is the exact same thing as talking about the word “cunt” being used in a world-wide atheist community where opinion is about as diverse as it can be and violence is not only shunned and condemned, but put down with other forms of violence.

“Cool, you can continue to run the school of hard knocks. Understand that you will criticized and marginalized.”

I’m not the one arguing that women are delicate creatures who need my protection. You are. I can’t say that I find that offensive as a man. I do know women who find it offensive and paternalistic, however. I just find it rather pathetic.

As for marginalization…meh. You overestimate the strength of your position.

620 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm

“I don’t believe you. I think you understand perfectly well why, for example, a black person would not want to consort with a bunch of people content to say “nigger” all the time. Petty point about them using it with each other anticipated.”

I’ll translate: I realize that there’s a response to this argument, but if I call it petty then I can avoid having to do anything like work to explain how one person calling another person a nigger fails to dissuade large groups of black from hanging out with that precise group of people who use the word nigger all the time. Since this is a direct contradiction of my statement, it’s best that I just skip it and pretend as though my point has been fully made.

I’m smart, now please bow down to my argument by not noting the inconsistency that I noted because it’s petty. Thank you, and have a good day.

Signed,
Ministry of Truth

Fnord.

621 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm

@620

No, Justicar, there’s a serious difference in language. Black folks using the word with each other is very different than a bunch of white guys referring to “niggers.”

And again, you know this. “Nigger” coming out of the mouth of a dude in a white robe means something significantly different from in group use.

What do you want via explanation? Should I link to videos of cops releasing dogs in the South and Dave Chappelle’s stand-up routine for comparison?

622 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

“And again, you know this. “Nigger” coming out of the mouth of a dude in a white robe means something significantly different from in group use. ”

Right. And you must go through many levels of deconstruction to get to the point you are trying to make. The word nigger is harmful under these circumstances when spoken by these people in this context under these conditions.

The word cunt, however, is always harmful under any circumstance, in any context, spoken by any person under any condition.

623 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Um, if I’m not mistaken, black people do consort with a bunch of people content to say “nigger” all the time.

Come on guys, you can do better. We argued about context 350 posts ago. It’s not even slur-dependent. You know damn well that there’s a difference between these two statements:

1) Dawkins greats the crowd, “Hello fellow atheists.”
2) Black-garbed person speaking Arabic holding up a cartoon published in Denmark says, “This was produced by atheists.”

The in-group, out of group dynamic is the context. This really is petty.

Right. Because attending a clan rally where opinion is uniform and violence is at least implied is the exact same thing as talking about the word “cunt” being used in a world-wide atheist community where opinion is about as diverse as it can be and violence is not only shunned and condemned, but put down with other forms of violence.

It doesn’t have to be “the same thing” for the dynamic to be relevant. You asked for examples of men being dissuaded because of language. The examples are endless, you’re just used to inhabiting areas where you are safe and don’t notice the effect of words.

Recall that all we’re discussing is whether someone wants to burn calories and dollars attending a conference. It’s not like a person needs to face possible death to think that an environment won’t be a good destination for leisure time. Possibly they don’t want to argue all day about whether someone should get to call them “cunt” without criticism.

I’m not the one arguing that women are delicate creatures who need my protection. You are. I can’t say that I find that offensive as a man. I do know women who find it offensive and paternalistic, however. I just find it rather pathetic.

You’ve said as much. I’m certainly impressed by your strength and courage.

As for marginalization…meh. You overestimate the strength of your position.

That’s what Romney’s advisors were saying right up to the bitter end.

624 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm

@622

Please refer to the debate we had about this 350 pages ago.

Yes, context is important. Please cite an example of someone being upbraided for using “cunt” when not attacking a woman.

It is precisely the context that the word appears in that is causing the criticism.

625 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm

“It doesn’t have to be “the same thing” for the dynamic to be relevant. You asked for examples of men being dissuaded because of language. The examples are endless, you’re just used to inhabiting areas where you are safe and don’t notice the effect of words.”

Again, you are resorting to group think. You assume because I am a white man that I am used to “inhabiting areas where I am safe and don’t notice the effect of words.”

In point of fact, I am more used to inhabiting areas which are unsafe. And, that’s exactly why I understand the difference between words and action. Only a person who has been insulated his entire life from actual danger would ever say such a stupid thing.

A clan rally isn’t dangerous because of the words spoken. It’s dangerous because of the implied physical threat. Afghanistan isn’t dangerous because militant Muslims are saying words. It’s dangerous because they are blowing shit up.

The person standing in front of me calling me a faggot isn’t having an effect on me because he called me a faggot. He’s having an effect on me because I am looking for behavior that can actually harm me.

“You’ve said as much. I’m certainly impressed by your strength and courage.”

This is my favorite retort. I’ve seen it numerous times. You sarcastically make a dig at me for my “strength and courage,” while I insist that as a general proposition, women are quite capable of dealing with words spoken to them. The irony is amusing to me.

“That’s what Romney’s advisors were saying right up to the bitter end.”

Oh. I see what you did there. You conflated my statement with a failed political campaign. How long did it take you to come up with that zinger?

626 tina March 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm

tina March 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I know you would. That’s the point.

Can we have a poll to ask men if they like being called sexist, rape-enabling, mansplaining, misogynist dickheads.?

Where should they go if they don’t?

———————-

609 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm
@600

Do we need to go over that false analogy again?

…………………………………..

It’s excusable coz, well patriarchy? Right?

Or is there a rational justification?

627 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm

A clan rally isn’t dangerous because of the words spoken. It’s dangerous because of the implied physical threat. Afghanistan isn’t dangerous because militant Muslims are saying words. It’s dangerous because they are blowing shit up…

…The person standing in front of me calling me a faggot isn’t having an effect on me because he called me a faggot. He’s having an effect on me because I am looking for behavior that can actually harm me.

This discussion is very quickly using its usefulness.

Obviously that’s why it’s dangerous. When people are using words and phrases in the same way that the people actually harming others are using them, it’s not a massive leap of judgment to guess that there could be potential harm.

When a black person hears a group of white people tossing around the word “nigger,” it isn’t just fear of physical harm that would lead that person to avoid associating with the group. I think you can probably use your imagination to conjure some other explanations.

This is my favorite retort. I’ve seen it numerous times. You sarcastically make a dig at me for my “strength and courage,” while I insist that as a general proposition, women are quite capable of dealing with words spoken to them. The irony is amusing to me.

The women are dealing with the words. They’re criticizing the people using them. Is your argument that they should sit in silence and let people call them “cunts?” Are they allowed to object?

I certainly can’t imagine a tough chap like yourself staying silent when someone tears into you verbally. Hell, you couldn’t even tolerate having your views associated with the slymepit.

For the millionth time, no one is telling you that you can’t use certain words or phrases. The point is that those words and phrases and the manner in which they’re hurled at women makes them uncomfortable and angry. They will not choose to associate with people behaving that way, so conferences, organizations and other formal or informal skeptical/atheist groups get to decide how to proceed.

Every conference has ultimately moved away from your position. Just about all the high-profile organizations have adopted policies barring the sort of behavior you think women should just take. Again, you still have the freedom to behave that way, you just can’t do so while at a conference or participating with most larger organizations.

So again, the tide is moving away from you. Women are tough, which is why they fight your bullshit instead of just taking it.

You conflated my statement with a failed political campaign. How long did it take you to come up with that zinger?

I analogized your statement to someone who suffered a very public failure by adopting the same stubbornness you exhibit. The world is changing, not in ways that will benefit your position on this. You’re welcome to disagree, I’m not trying to convince you, it’s a claim that can only be proven with time.

Oh. I see what you did there.

No, you don’t.

628 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

@626

No, this has been discussed. Rather than me going through the effort of explaining it all over again, you can go through the effort of reading through the past comments.

629 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Gosh, doubtthat; I thought you might have given me something challenging to find (and by find, I mean go straight to since I remember it offhand).

Allow me to introduce you to a woman named Ophelia Benson. You see, sometime about 18 months ago, an Australian started to note that there was a rather not-at-all nuanced discussion about the use of twat and cunt. He was, as it happened, more concerned about the uses of cunt than the uses of twat, and that he should like to dispassionately and analytically workout some distinctions as might exist. In particular, that twat and cunt did not necessarily have the meaning in Australia that they might have elsewhere; however, he was more concerned about cunt than twat.

Ophelia was none-too-pleased with this, for you see when it comes to the use of the word cunt she is not able to be dispassionate. Its mere use is too emotional for her. In her words, “Anyway – this business of teasing out the distinctions analytically and dispassionately – that’s a lot easier for people who are not named by the epithets than it is for people who are.”

Is Ophelia named by them when they’re used in Australia as a term of endearment? She wouldn’t seem to be. But there it is nevertheless. “That is (I almost regret to say, at this point) a textbook example of privilege. When people throw around cunt and twat and fucking bitch and smelly snatch, they’re not naming Russell. They are naming me.”

Now, to be fair to Ophelia, she then went on to say, “I can be dispassionate and analytical about the (putative) distinctions under some circumstances, but not under all. I can’t do it when a mouthy woman is being called those things in public over and over and over and over again. I’m not dispassionate about that. I can’t be.”

In particular, if one is to note that in Australia, cunt can be a compliment, one can fairly expect Ophelia to respond, “Not here it isn’t. In the UK and Australia/New Zealand maybe, but not in the US – and even in the UK and Australia/New Zealand it hasn’t completely shed its misogynist aspect; not all women even there think it’s perfectly all right.”

630 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

“For the millionth time, no one is telling you that you can’t use certain words or phrases. The point is that those words and phrases and the manner in which they’re hurled at women makes them uncomfortable and angry. They will not choose to associate with people behaving that way, so conferences, organizations and other formal or informal skeptical/atheist groups get to decide how to proceed.”

And when you start to show evidence that men are walking up to women at conferences and calling them cunts, then you’ll have a point.

So far, all you’re talking about are words on the Internet which, contrary to your narrative, are not backed up with the threat of violence. When they *are* backed up by the threat of violence, people are all over that shit.

So, your analogy still fails to stand. This isn’t a clan rally. This isn’t Afghanistan. This is the Internet. People say stupid hateful things on the Internet. Some of those people say those things publicly, some anonymously.

You are running around like Chicken Little telling everyone the sky is falling and women just can’t handle the same kind of invective everyone else gets when they put themselves out there. That is fucking offensive.

I don’t use those words. I have never called anyone a cunt my entire life. Neither have I ever called anyone a faggot or a nigger. I once said something like, “Well, that’s gay,” in front of a good friend of mine (who happened to be gay) and I saw that it hurt his feelings. You know what I did? I stopped using that phrase in front of him.

That’s not the same thing as being told that you may not use certain words under certain circumstances. When I’m told what I may or may not do, especially when it comes to speech, I tend to do the opposite of that thing. Why? Because fuck you. That’s why.

Going up to people and calling them a cunt to their face with the intention of harassing them is clearly wrong. Has that ever happened in the skeptical community?

631 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Read my challenge again: find someone upbraided for using those terms in a chummy way.

At least the way you described it, there was a debate that took place. Someone mad an argument for the use of “cunt” and Benson disagreed. The subject was introduced as such.

First of all, you managed to do this without linking, so I don’t accept your summary. Is this what you’re talking about?

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/03/i-get-email/

I will concede that as written my point wasn’t clear. I did not mean that there has never been any debate about the use of the word, I meant that no one has been called out and challenged for just using the term casually between chums, which is what people tell me they do.

I don’t see that difference as subtle, but whatever.

632 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

And when you start to show evidence that men are walking up to women at conferences and calling them cunts, then you’ll have a point.

Oh please, are you serious? You think that’s how it would go down, that’s why women don’t want to attend?

At some point this became the “let’s explain obvious concepts to toddlers” thread. The concept of Dog Whistling is well-known. The notion that such hostility would that overt in person is ridiculous (though it would honestly be nicer if it were. The offending parties could easily be gathered and removed). No, the bias that leads people to attack women on the internet will manifest in more subtle ways. Ways women are more than capable of understanding.

They don’t need to backed up by the threat of violence. I don’t like hanging out with Tea Party folks. When I hear their language, unless I’m looking for an argument, I will avoid them. It isn’t because I think they’ll load up their muskets and take a shot. It’s because they have a worldview contrary to mine and aren’t particularly cultivated opponents.

Many women hear the bullshit defenses of the right to call someone “cunt” and choose to disassociate with that group. Now, if you want women in the group, you should change the language and attitudes. If you don’t, knock yourself out. I’m sure some women will still show up, but they will self-select and go elsewhere. Why would they hang out with people who constantly tell them their concerns are meaningless?

You are running around like Chicken Little telling everyone the sky is falling and women just can’t handle the same kind of invective everyone else gets when they put themselves out there. That is fucking offensive.

You are awfully proud of that little bit of internet judo. Like a cat bringing back a dead mouse, no matter how many times it’s tossed away, the stinking, rotting corpse keeps finding its way to my doorstep.

Women are tough because they don’t take your shit. You seem to evaluate their worthiness by the amount of horseshit abuse you can heap on them and still get them to hang out with you.

This is not a cogent assessment of toughness. They express their toughness by arguing that you shouldn’t be dumping horseshit on them in the first place, and they don’t back down when you try to call them cowards.

This is, by the way, a classic bully technique: provoke, harass, and attempt to humiliate, then when the target complains, call them a wimp. It’s embarrassing.

That’s not the same thing as being told that you may not use certain words under certain circumstances. When I’m told what I may or may not do, especially when it comes to speech, I tend to do the opposite of that thing. Why? Because fuck you. That’s why.

I sort of remember saying this:

“For the millionth time, no one is telling you that you can’t use certain words or phrases.”

Hey, I notice you quoted it in this very post. It’s like your mouse cursor ran over it, but you didn’t bother to read it.

You can say what you want, but you should expect their to be consequences. Just like you analyzed the situation and determined that it was more important for you to maintain your friendship than get to describe things as “gay,” you get to decide whether you think it’s important to accommodate the wishes of women.

You friend didn’t tell you that you could no longer say “gay,” you just understood that continuing to do so would result in an unacceptable consequence. This is no different.

633 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Doubtthat, you are a master of moving goalposts. Ophelia wrote an entire article. Your original challenge was not what you stated in response to me. What you have stated to me now is entailed by your challenge, but is not the only way to meet your challenge, which was, despite your poor memory or deception, “Please cite an example of someone being upbraided for using “cunt” when not attacking a woman.”

I have noted that cunt in Australia can be used as a compliment. More than that, according to wikipedia citing to an Australian dictionary is “a despicable man”.

And no, that’s not from the article you cited. You could easily highlight one of the quoted passages and do an exact search. The article is titled “crazy dot dot dot”.

But if that’s insufficient for you, and your ever-shifting goalpost, then take this (again from Ophelia Benson): “Certain epithets just are not really ambiguous; they can’t be. ‘Nigger’ is the best known in the US and maybe elsewhere; kike, raghead, kaffir are a few more. Queer and dyke have been reclaimed, and there is a school of thought that ‘bitch’ has but I think on the contrary, ‘bitch’ is more viciously misogynist than ever. And so are, as far as I know, pussy, twat and cunt. It is my considered opinion that no one who comments on Jesus and Mo would have the gall to call the barmaid any of those things, and that if I’m right about that, they should stop using them at all.”

There you have her saying that none of those people would call the woman (they were calling the men the names) a cunt, and yet they are still being scolded for using the word… even against a man. And a fictional man at that.

634 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm

“You friend didn’t tell you that you could no longer say “gay,” you just understood that continuing to do so would result in an unacceptable consequence. This is no different.”

I said I stopped using the phrase in front on him. I didn’t say I stopped using the phrase altogether. Because, guess what? I have other gay friends who don’t find it offensive; therefore, I don’t feel the need to filter out those particular words when I’m in front of them.

As the Internet is open to everyone and anyone can read my words, it is not my responsibility to make that consideration when I’m typing words which can be read by everyone who is privileged enough to own a computer and have Internet access.

You see, in the first example, I was able to filter out some language because the instances I would use it was strictly confined and it affected one person only. Had that person not been a friend of mine, I wouldn’t have really cared about filtering out the language. But, because I care about my friends more than I care about the offense of strangers, I did so.

The Internet is a completely different beast. Words go out to everyone. It would be ridiculous to lower the level of language to whomever might be offended the most by it. In this case, it’s their responsibility to filter it out. (I’m speaking generally here, not about instances where people directly message someone).

Like I stated above, I have never used the word “cunt” in any conversation other than these types. I’ve certainly never called anyone a cunt and I don’t plan on doing so in the future. You might think that the reason for this is that I don’t wish to give offense. Not so. It’s just a word I have little familiarity with and any attempt for me to use it would be stilted and come off wrong.

This is getting boring again. I would love to stick around and hear all about all the dire consequences which await me. For truly, you are the arbiter of all words, good and bad and the great decider when it comes to consequences for using those words.

Get bent.

635 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Here is what I said:

Please cite an example of someone being upbraided for using “cunt” when not attacking a woman.

That was unclear, you’re welcome to say I moved the goalpost. I will concede that if my previous statement were interpreted such that it meant “no one has ever complained or had a discussion about uses of the word “cunt” save when used to attack women,” you may have a point.

I say, “may,” because the article you refer to is a discussion and hardly invective filled. Here’s Benson:

Not here it isn’t. In the UK and Australia/New Zealand maybe, but not in the US – and even in the UK and Australia/New Zealand it hasn’t completely shed its misogynist aspect; not all women even there think it’s perfectly all right. I set off a discussion of the subject on the WMST list a year or so ago and there were a lot of emphatic comments from UK/Aus/NZ women saying hell no it’s not ok.

http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2011/crazy-american-bitches/

The discussion you reference on Jesus and Mo started when someone said, “The god of Islam is such a pussy.” I suppose we can substitute “cunt” for “pussy” and end up with the same point.

It was objected to on the grounds that it was sexist–the insult comes from the comparison to female genitalia. I don’t see a single example in that comment thread of anyone calling each other “cunt.” There’s a discussion about it.

You say it can be used as a compliment in Austrilia, but certainly we have seen no examples of such in these arguments. I have only seen it used to insult, attack.

So I will concede that it has been used to attack men (well, a god, kind of) and that started a conversation, but are you suggesting that the sort of dialog exhibited in that comment thread is what has you hot and bothered?

636 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@634

Ok, I get it, babble time. We’re at about the tenth post in a row where you ignore the point.

If you’re capable of guardian you language for the benefit of others, you understand exactly what’s being requested. You have no compelling reason not to do so, but you’re ANGRY about…something.

637 Brett March 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm

The comparison of “cunt” and “nigger” seems pretty ridiculous and trivially easy to dismiss. I must admit I’m only estimating here, but I would expect that the number of people who believe it’s possible for a white person to call a black person a “nigger” without being racist would be well below 1%. I would expect that the number of people who believe it’s possible for a man to call a woman a “cunt” without being sexist is significantly higher than 1%. I could be wrong here.

From my understanding of these words, “nigger” is something used by white people who dislike black people generally. It has not been my experience that people who use “cunt” dislike women generally. Again, I could be wrong here, as I haven’t really met anyone who dislikes women generally. I also haven’t often heard women referred to as “dicks”, “assholes” or “douchebags”. It just seems that all of these words are used for people of particular genders. But “bitch” doesn’t seem, in my experience, to mean that “because you are a woman, you are a bad or inferior person”. Just as “dick” doesn’t seem to mean “because you are a man, you are a bad or inferior person”.

I have also heard women call other women “cunt” or “bitch”, but I’ve never heard black people call other black people “niggers” as an insult in and of itself (Actually, I’ve never heard a black person refer to another black person as “nigger”). These words just seem to be completely different historically and culturally.

I don’t know, what am I missing?

638 Michael Nugent March 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I’ve discovered that several comments posted in recent days didn’t reach the site because of automated settings in the software, unrelated to the content of the comments. They have now been published.

I also want to publish two of them here, as they are important contributions that I don’t want to get lost earlier in the comment thread.

Please read both of these comments in the context that they were written and posted on Monday, and would have appeared as early comments on this post.

Comment from PZ Myers

I’ll make it easy. For the sake of argument, let’s simply stipulate that Pharyngula is far, far worse than anything listed in Michael’s post — just a thoroughly wretched hive of villainy. Every thread is evil compounded.

OK?

Now move on. The question isn’t how awful some other site is; it’s not an exercise in comparative wickedness; we’re just going to spit at FtB and flush it away, all to make you happy.

Vacula has to justify THE COMMENTS ABOVE. Not by saying someone else is worse, because that doesn’t change the fact that what’s listed up there is pretty damned vile.

Comment from Phil Giordana

Well, I’m a Slymepit regular, and bar a few comments/commenters there, I think it’s a nice community. They offer help and support more often than not, and talk about very diverse and interesting topics. No moderation (as far as nothing posted could get the forum in trouble with the Law) is a very good way of pushing skepticism.

Michael’s list is a very thorough compilation of jokes, in-jokes, stupid comments and more jokes. These are the comments I usualy skip. Morally justifiable? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But really, just look at #36, and I quote:

“Muhahaha the evil spreads. Soon my pretties, soon we shall have the whole atheist movement chanting our chant of mysoginist victory ” cunt, cunt cunt!” They shall chant. “Rape to the [named person]” will be our warcry!”

Should I give any moral judgment on such a quote? Should I, in fact, take it seriously at all? Then I’d be a dumb dick for doing so. Internet humour, for what it is, is still internet humour. Nothing you can do about it.

And before I get accused of being a vile offender WRT gendered slurs, here is what my (now removed but maybe coming up again) pharyngula wiki page said:

http://phawrongula.wikia.com/wiki/Secular_Blacklisting?file=Philg_pz_wiki.jpg

You will please note that all these instances were made in jest (except the “business” comment, but it turned out to be untrue. I think I got more sales from this mess. Thanks all). Moreover, in a language I don’t use on a daily basis. I could do the same with Ophelia Benson or a bunch of other FTB commenters. You know, the ones finishing their comment with “but bitches ain’t shit, right?”.

So, morally unjustifiable? All and none of them.

639 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Doubtthat: your original challenge was not unclear.

There is no need to ‘substitute’ one for the other. One only needs to be functionally literate to see that Benson included cunt as being similarly situated to pussy before saying that the people should stop using the term. Indeed, they should stop using it specifically because they had used it against a man rather than a woman. Thus, if pussy and cunt are on equal footing and pussy is wrong to call a man, then so too must be cunt.

For your challenge, all that’s relevant is that the term wasn’t being used to insult a woman. It’s hard to see how insulting a man with it insults a woman UNLESS you’re going to claim that using the term of necessity insults women, which is precisely what you’re claiming you aren’t saying.

“You say it can be used as a compliment in Austrilia, but certainly we have seen no examples of such in these arguments. I have only seen it used to insult, attack.”

To modify the last bit of what I just quoted, you are obligated to add “towards a woman” given your particular challenge, which was, you’ll recall, “Please cite an example of someone being upbraided for using “cunt” when not attacking a woman.” You keep trying to evade what you challenged me to do.

I say it can indeed be used as a compliment in Australia. Because it can be. I’m sure even one of your skills is able to look up a word. Perhaps in a dictionary type thing. Maybe even an Australian type of dictionary.

“are you suggesting that the sort of dialog exhibited in that comment thread is what has you hot and bothered?”

I will again thank you to stop projecting. I’m not bothered by the use of cunt. It’s not a magical incantation.

640 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

“If you’re capable of guardian you language for the benefit of others, you understand exactly what’s being requested. You have no compelling reason not to do so, but you’re ANGRY about…something.”

Yes, of course I understand exactly what’s being requested. That’s why I rebel against it. I’m not about to filter my language to accommodate the lowest common denominator or to coddle the person who may take the most offense when I’m addressing the entire Internet.

I’m more than happy not to use words like “cunt,” or “faggot,” or “nigger,” because I understand that there are varying degrees of social norms and it is generally understood that what you say about another person says more about your character than theirs (cases may vary. Parody, satire, and situations where it’s justified are excluded).

But, you have been disingenuous from the very start of this conversation. This isn’t about bad words. This is about the idiotic over-reaction to those bad words. Not everyone who uses the word “nigger” in a conversation is a racist. Not everyone who uses the word “faggot” is a homophobe, and not everyone who uses the word “cunt” is sexist.

If you want to start having an actual conversation, on terms which are equal, then stop front loading your language or excusing people who do. You can start by combating the use of the word “misogyny” in casual conversation.

You can also recognize that what you’re asking of people is inherently dangerous. Today we are having the conversation about the word “cunt.” If the people at A+ or FtB have their way, we’ll soon be having this conversation about wholly innocuous words or phrases because they cause “offense” to someone.

When you have people on a Google Hangout with P.Z. Myers saying things like, “you don’t have the right to use language that offends other people,” and people like P.Z. Myers doesn’t call them on it, there is great reason for concern.

As for being angry? Nope. I’m perfectly calm. One can tell his interlocutor to get bent without a hint of anger.

641 tina March 6, 2013 at 6:58 pm

doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm
@626

No, this has been discussed. Rather than me going through the effort of explaining it all over again, you can go through the effort of reading through the past comments.

Very well. Here, courtesy of Skepsheik March 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm on the other page is a list of mind numbingly frequent responses to posters who dare even question the FtB orthodoxy. I am sure you’ve seen them. Of those responses, which in your view are morally unjustified?

1. “I am going to personally see to it that an especially rotten and dribbly dead porcupine is rammed so far up their rectum that they are picking bits of it out of their teeth for the foreseeable future.”
2. “Fuck ‘em with decayed porcupines and red hot pokers! I’m drunk and I’m priviledged and I’m human thus fallible all hell but fuck those douchcanoes and make it hurt!”
3. “the porcupines are still located to the left of the door as you leave. Grab on. Shove it where it will do the most good (to the entire world), and then go die in a fire. Slowly.”
4. “stick a decaying porcupine dipped in hot tar and glass shards up his pustule-covered arse sideways, slowly.”
5. “Take your fucking sympathies for predators and shove them up your ass and chase them with a dead, rotting porcupine that’s been marinating in capsaicin.”
6. “You are fucking tiresome and I wish you would shove a rotting porcupine up your ass.”
7. “May a necrotic porcupine fester, unremovable in your bowels.”
8. ” He should be pounding so many decaying porcupines up his asshole that quills start coming out of his ears.”
9. “surlyramics made me a custom necklace with a totally cute porcupine and the word “insert” underneath it. I get compliments on it every time I wear it (without even any questions about why the word “insert” is under the porcupine).”
10. “Surly Amy makes a lovely porcupine necklace now. It’s adorable, and has a one word label: “insert”.

That last quote was from PZ Myers himself, promoting the business of one of his friends who is actually selling necklaces featuring the rape threat imagery.
Not that the imagery is confined to brutal bodily violation using porcupines. According to one popular commenter the violation is merely a means to an end.

“You go fuck yourself. Get something heavy and sharp. Die whilst doing it, if possible.” – AnthonyK

And in case you think these are just anonymous drive-by commenters unknown to the host, think again. Many of the above threats are by individuals who feature alongside PZ Myers on Pharyngula’s Google-hang out, Youtube broadcasts.

And in case you think I’m exaggerating, here is a completely separate list recently compiled by a feminist who was deeply offended by the rape and sexual abuse threats and violent death imagery promoted by the host of Pharyngula.

““find a splintering stick and fuck yourself up the ass”
“go fuck yourself. And then die in a fire”
“Go. Fuck. Yourself. With a Hefty Bag full of rottweilers”
“Go fuck yourself with a chainsaw in that festering pustule of an asshole of yours”
“You can fuck yourself with a razor-bladed stick and go die in a ditch, you pompous, lying, gutless, disingenuous fuck” (link)
“Take your gun, lube the barrel and fuck your self in the ass.
“you should be fucked sideways with a rusty knife”
“Do us all a favor and kill yourself before you have a chance to have children”
“you can go fuck yourself. Do it deep, long and hard.”
“Go die in a fucking fire. The world will be a better place without you in it.”
“I will, however, say that this fuck up here is a complete asshole and needs to die in a fire”
“Go and die painfully, okay?”
And just for kicks: “Go fuck yourself sideways with a rusting chainsaw, you vapid, godbotting wank”
And more kicks:”fuck yourself up the ass with a splintering cross”

642 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

@641

What do posters on FtB have to do with the way you behave?

If your friend jumps off a bridge, will you?

643 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

@640

Couldn’t avoid the slippery slope, could you? Already talked about that.

If you have a good reason to speak as you do, defend it. When I insult Christians by criticizing their orthodoxy or discussing evolution, I don’t really care how offended they are. I can explain why uninhibited science trumps their offense.

Stand by your guns, explain why you need to attack and harass women. Recall what’s under discussion, the quotes at the top of the page.

644 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

“What do posters on FtB have to do with the way you behave?

If your friend jumps off a bridge, will you?”

Annnnd scene! That’s a wrap, everyone. @doutthat has just managed to walk himself in circles so much that he collapsed in a pile of his own platitudes.

That was Oscar worthy, my friend.

645 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

“Stand by your guns, explain why you need to attack and harass women. Recall what’s under discussion, the quotes at the top of the page.”

Before you were just being disingenuous. Now you’re just being a bloviating ass. Stand by your guns, doubtthat. Explain why you still beat your wife.

Bless your cotton socks, sweet-pea. The children’s table is in the other room. This is where the adults talk.

Dismissed.

646 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm

@639

I say it can indeed be used as a compliment in Australia. Because it can be. I’m sure even one of your skills is able to look up a word. Perhaps in a dictionary type thing. Maybe even an Australian type of dictionary.

Again, context. “Boy” is used regularly even though it is very clearly a popular racial slur, even today in the South.

What would you say to a person from another country who called a black man in the United States, “boy,” because that’s a term of endearment where they’re from? Should they keep calling that black man “boy” even after the nature of the slur is explained? What does it mean about the person if they keep using the word after the request has been made?

Just because “cunt” can hypothetically be used in a non-sexist way (examples are fleeting), doesn’t mean that all circumstances of its use are proper. If it ceased to be a word used to attack women, my guess is that 90% of the objection would go away.

Ophelia Benson may still argue about it, but holy shit, all of those links included fairly civil, detailed discussions. If that’s the worst we have to live with, we’d be in pretty good shape.

647 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

@645

As I said when someone else made that stupid point, you’re welcome to present evidence of such at any time, but you may want to first establish that I have a wife. Reading words is all the evidence that’s needed for misogyny.

I’ve presented the balancing test multiple times, no one has provided much objection. If you have a substantial reason for offending someone, argue it. If you’re offending just for the sake of offending or because you don’t like women telling you what to say, you’re an asshole.

Again, say what you want, just don’t whine when you’re judged for it.

648 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

@644

Recalibrate your irony meter.

649 Justicar March 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Doubtthat:

(1) if a particular person’s feelings are hurt by hearing the word boy, they’re free to speak up on their own behalf.

(2) if by hypothetically you mean that that way has made it into the dictionary as having this meaning because it’s so common, then sure. It’s ‘hypothetically’ the case.

(3) if hearing the word cunt is the worst these people have to deal with, then we’re in pretty good shape. Mind you; they’re whining about the word cunt. North Koreans want to have enough food to avoid starving to death.

650 tina March 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Ok doubtthat: don’t sweat it. PZ himself is here to rescue you. Bless.

651 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm

1) That wasn’t the question. You are using the fact that “cunt” has a different meaning elsewhere to justify it’s use against American women. Would you do the same with “boy?” My guess is that you’d say the following, “Hey, if you really mean it as a term of endearment, then you should probably pick a word that the target understands as such, otherwise it really isn’t a term of endearment.”

2) No, I mean hypothetically, as in, perhaps hypothetically someone could introduce that use of the word on FtB, the pit, Skepchick, whatever. I haven’t seen it happen, so trying to justify the word based on what appears to be a very infrequent use (recall that not all Australians find it so cheery), is a weak argument. As with “boy,” a word can have multiple meanings, but that doesn’t justify all uses.

3) Ah, but I compared the potential state of affairs in the skeptical community to the current state. End the direct abuse and we’ve solved most of the trouble. Arguing about how to use “cunt” at that point becomes less of a serious issue.

You chose to make a funny, I think, I’m used to humor being amusing.

652 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@650

You’re right. It’s not like you could scroll back to the first fucking page of comments and notice the same point being made.

653 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

” If you’re offending just for the sake of offending or because you don’t like women telling you what to say, you’re an asshole.”

Right. Because when I say I don’t cotton well to people dictating to me what words are forbidden, you reduce that to, “you don’t like women telling you what to say.”

The point. You missed it. I am Jack’s shocked face.

Allow me to elucidate. “People,” means everyone. As a group, it exists of anyone who is a human being. That includes people of all sexes/genders/races/sexual preferences/religions/beliefs/etc, etc, etc…

You keep attempting to shift this into something nefarious. It’s not working. In fact, you’re failing miserably at it.

Get bent.

654 Dave Allen March 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

“You’re right. It’s not like you could scroll back to the first fucking page of comments and notice the same point being made.”

Hi Doubtthat.

I haven’t got much of an opinion about the rest of the conversation, but as someone who eschews coarse language could I ask that in future you type “f*cking” rather than subject me to the full force of the word?

655 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm

@654

Hi Dave, you seem like a real swell guy. At no point have I argued against or eschewed coarse language. That would be a childishly misguided interpretation of the argument.

Feel free to use fuck in my presence, or f*ck, though I can only tell what that means by context since you did such a good job of obscuring the word.

656 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm

@653

That was the royal, “you,” though I wouldn’t be shocked if it applied to you.

For the millionth time, no one is “dictating” what you can or cannot say, the point is being made that you will be judged on your word choice and people may not wish to be in your presence.

I am judging you based on your bizarre ability to understand that there are things more important than totally unrestricted (self or otherwise) speech when dealing with your friends, but you just don’t care when it applies to others. Again, no one is saying you can’t hold that view or that it will be outlawed, just that it makes you seem like a bit of an asshole.

If you don’t care about that, carry on as usual.

657 Dave Allen March 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm

“At no point have I argued against or eschewed coarse language. ”

No, but I do and am asking politely if you will refrain. To me the word carries triggering connotations of sexual depravity, and I am asking politely if – even if you personally feel comfortable with the word – that you attempt some degree of restraint in uttering it or typing it uncensored in public.

658 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm

@657

Oh look, someone new who thinks disingenuous contrarianism isn’t blatantly transparent.

Please link me to your campaign against the use of the F-word that predates this conversation or appears somewhere other than in a smarmy, trollish reply.

659 Dave Allen March 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm

“F-word” is better.

Thank you.

660 tina March 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm

You’re losing it doubtthat. Take a break, srsly.

661 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

“I am judging you based on your bizarre ability to understand that there are things more important than totally unrestricted (self or otherwise) speech when dealing with your friends, but you just don’t care when it applies to others. Again, no one is saying you can’t hold that view or that it will be outlawed, just that it makes you seem like a bit of an asshole.”

I really do care if my friend is being beaten up by a gang of thugs. I really don’t care that much if a person in England whom I don’t know is being beaten up by a gang of thugs, even if said imagery is being beamed right to my T.V.

And, you know what? Neither do you.

I really care about the feelings of the people closest to me and will take greater care not to be mean to them if I can help it. I really don’t care about strangers in Uganda who may be offended by words I use.

And, you know what? Neither do you.

Can you come up off the cross now with your fake piety and pearl-clutching? We could use the wood.

662 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I’m shocked to learn that’s your position, tina. I always prized your judgment and neutrality.

663 idahogie March 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm

doubtthat is wiping the floor with the cunt-justifiers.

And I have to add that tina seems like about the nastiest person on this thread. And given that it’s a thread involving lots of slymepitters justifying horrible, anti-social behavior, that’s saying something.

664 tina March 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Mewl….idea is harassing me :-(

Bless

665 tina March 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Please give me a lesson in behaviour Ida. Reach out.

666 Pitchguest March 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

I think Michael Nugent now finally realise how his seeming effort to slander the Slymepit, and Justin Vacula in the process, has now crashed and burned. Not only was his own house not in ‘order’, as it were, but the people he has allied with are not entirely spotless either.

The most ironic thing of all, however, is that these people often rail against suggestions to alter their language to satisfy the sensibilities of others.* They railed against Lee Moore’s offer of cease fire. They railed against Dan Fincke’s ‘civility pledge’ which they felt was insulting and that it apparently sought to make a defense for people to say horrible things as long as they were polite. And if you think about it, that is exactly what’s happening here with the words “cunt” and “twat.” But the despite the fact that those words have been sealed on FTB, over the years its membership have said such phrases as “fuck off and die”, “die in a fire” and “shove a porcupine up your ass.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kind of makes their moral outrage somewhat worthless, no?

*Ah yes, and speaking of altering language to satisfy the sensibilities of others, the blogger Avicenna on FtB and a regular, doubtthat, made the amazingly daft suggestion that maybe we should cater to the feelings of Americans on this issue because they’re one of the largest audience on the internet. Brilliant.

667 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm

@661

I care about the skeptical/atheist community because I think it serves a valuable political purpose. The strength and health of that movement will depend largely on the degree to which women and minorities feel comfortable support its aims.

When folks are behaving in such a way that women and minorities are being driven away, at that behavior has no legitimate justification or utility, it concerns me. The collapse of the skeptical/atheist community yields a number of important debates to groups that I find deeply troubling, be it religious organizations or anti-science types–anti-vaxxers, for example.

So no, I’m not just weeping about hurt feelings, though needless dickishness is…needless.

One of the laughable traits of the right wing in our country is that they cannot understand issues until they’re personally affected. Thus, Dick Cheney suddenly become a proponent of gay rights when his daughter comes out of the closet. Nancy Reagan and others suddenly argue for stem cell research when it can help their loved ones. Mature thinking involves universalizing the understanding you have of the well-being of those close to you.

668 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm

“*Ah yes, and speaking of altering language to satisfy the sensibilities of others, the blogger Avicenna on FtB and a regular, doubtthat, made the amazingly daft suggestion that maybe we should cater to the feelings of Americans on this issue because they’re one of the largest audience on the internet. Brilliant.”

Cause there’s nothing in the world like a bunch of incredibly privileged people not only telling themselves to check their privilege but telling other countries to defer to their sensibilities because…we’re the majority! Or something.

669 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm

@idahogie

Well, I wasn’t home sick these past two days, I would have abandoned this a long time ago. It’s good to see that someone, at least, is reading.

I think I’ve just been repeating myself for about the last 100 posts, but somehow I’m enjoying it more than the movies on tv.

670 idahogie March 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Nobody should avoid saying nigger just because it might offend a listener. If that is your reasoning, then you are pathological. The reason normal people avoid the word — either in conversation or in debate — is because widespread use creates a climate that reinforces the minority status of blacks.

So, no credit to any of you who refuse to use certain words on request. That is a minor side issue pertaining to basic civility and individual interaction. It doesn’t matter here.

We’re talking about creating a climate within atheism/skepticism where a highly under-representatived group feels more welcome. If you don’t want to help — in fact, if you are a belligerent ass who wants to fight back — then you are a problem. You can keep up efforts for your stupid “cause,” and you will lose. Although you will hamper progress. What a great legacy.

671 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm

@668

In what way are your sensibilities being ignored? Surely it must be more than just your desire to say “cunt.” Is that the extent of our cultural empire?

672 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

“So, no credit to any of you who refuse to use certain words on request. That is a minor side issue pertaining to basic civility and individual interaction. It doesn’t matter here.”

What words and at whose request?

673 tina March 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I cede my status. Ida is now the nastiest person on this thread. Weird, the way that works, meh. *sniff*

674 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm

“In what way are your sensibilities being ignored? Surely it must be more than just your desire to say “cunt.” Is that the extent of our cultural empire?”

Maybe read that again and parse it out. I didn’t say my sensibilities are being ignored. I said that you are insisting that other people conform to your sensibilities because there are more atheists online in America.

Which is the most ironic thing I’ve seen put across on this thread.

In your view, the rest of the world should defer to the sensibilities of the most privileged people on the face of the earth. Proof of that privilege is that there are so many atheists with an Internet connection in said country. We have the most privileged people, therefore, you must defer to us.

Like Justicar said upthread, don’t be surprised when people respond to that demand with derision. There are girls in Afghanistan who are getting acid thrown in their face or girls in China who are being left out to the elements to die who will never set eyes upon the Internet and they could give a fuck less about your delicate sensibilities about words.

And, just in case you charge me with hyperbole, I’ve been to both places and witnessed the after effects of both events.

I don’t give a flying fuck about how the word “cunt” is used in the online atheist community. Actual harassment should be condemned. People may choose to associate or not associate with people who use words they find offensive. Thankfully, we live in a society which allows that kind of dissent on either side.

675 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm

EllenBeth Wachs said (#579):

Steersman? People can read my words and decide for themselves if I am being hypocritical. I offered a sincere olive branch. You seem to want to be argumentative for no reason other to to be argumentative. I choose not to argue with you.

Horseshit.

People reading your words here (1), and here (2) on Butterflies and Wheels, particularly the latter, are quite likely to conclude that you did, in fact, accuse one pitter of being a racist, in the first case, and, apparently, all pitters of being racists in the second one. And your supposed apology here (3) really doesn’t cut it:

Pitchguest, Steersman
Hmm, context? Okay let’s go with that. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I was right. I gave the screenshot with the context. ….

I still didn’t call anyone a racist. At worst, I referred to an anonymous poster.

If, indeed, I had the context wrong, I can apologize.

Yes, and I can jump off the Empire State Building; doesn’t mean I’ve done it. I would call that a classic “not-apology”. I’ll believe it’s a “sincere olive branch” when you post a link to your explicit retraction in a tweet and on B&W.

1) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=67400#p67400”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=67388#p67388”;
3) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/comment-page-3/#comment-196178”

676 doubtthat March 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm

@674

Alright, you’ve completed the “shitty argument” circuit. I think we understand each other, I think we’re done. This is my last post aimed at you, you’re welcome to the last word.

There is no privileging of any given country. If there was a similarly offensive Australian phrase that similarly was devoid of any utility, we’d abandon that, even if it were a word we really like to say, like, “velociraptor.”

The notion that you think avoiding insult is somehow privilege is just baffling. Not as baffling as your defining of “toughness” as, takes my bullshit without complaint, but baffling nonetheless.

Knock yourself out.

677 John Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

“The notion that you think avoiding insult is somehow privilege is just baffling. Not as baffling as your defining of “toughness” as, takes my bullshit without complaint, but baffling nonetheless.”

Yeah. The point. You missed it again. Congratulations. I am Jack’s shocked face.

Onward.

678 Steersman March 6, 2013 at 10:41 pm

idahogie said (#670):

We’re talking about creating a climate within atheism/skepticism where a highly under-[represented] group feels more welcome.

Horsecrap. We’re talking about using various insults to “injure or damage the psyche” of some of our interlocutors (1):

The role of insults in the social sense may be better understood by an appreciation of how the term is used in a medical setting. Though a popular idiom refers to “adding insult to injury”, in a medical context, they are one and the same: physicians examine injuries resulting from an insult to flesh and bones, caused by various traumatic events. In speech and in social settings, insults are words which tend to injure or damage the psyche. In humor, insults may be exchanged in much the same way as fighters exchange blows in training, to develop a resistance to the pain of mild injuries, or to spar with no real intention of causing any serious injury.

Maybe you think that “go die in a fire”, “I am going to personally see to it that an especially rotten and dribbly dead porcupine is rammed so far up their rectum that they are picking bits of it out of their teeth for the foreseeable future”, and the like (2) are designed to win friends and influence people?

Once the “conversation” has degenerated to that point, do you think I or anyone else is going give much of a rat’s ass about the niceties or whether you’re offended by “cunt” and “prick” and “nigger” and “faggot” since that is, in fact, the purpose of them? And any claims that those create “splash damage” is just a shipload of red herrings.

Blow it out your ass.

1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insult#Medical”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=71782#p71782”;

679 Pitchguest March 6, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I would just like to bring attention to the fact that I am the #666th poster in this thread and tina is #665, in case you want to use that to your advantage. John Brown is #616.

680 Daniel Murray March 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Is there a case to answer for feminists being unfairly “pushed back”.. a phrase that seems to have been created by M Nugent, but maybe not. to use his logic I can say women are bad, the disclaim it but still hold the point by saying “I may be wrong”.

There is no issue of feminists being bullied. This is a fiction. Surely we can see that. do we really think, in a world where we are all basically feminists, that people who can be separated out from feminist values that in a society where we mostly aspire for sexual equality, that the people who stand out as feminists in this are people who need defending from … well everyone else?

This article is a disgrace, it stirs up a gender issue that does not exists in the way it is presented and gives examples of nasty pushbacks then goes on to say they may not be nasty pushbacks!!!

The problem is the author, Mr Nugent, he creates a false problem and then gives no backing to it and disclaims this with effecitvely saying “my examples may have nothing to do with bullying femanists” and even if they did he took them from one source and out of context.

The problem is Michael Nugent as far as this article is concerned.

681 Brony March 7, 2013 at 1:31 am

@ John Brown 543

I appreciate the understanding. Now, I would ask that you perform the same thought exercise with any group that P.Z. Myers or anyone at FtB talks about. Just read through the posts or the comments and substitute the word “feminist” or any other ideology you identify with and see if their statements hold up.

You will have to tell me what your meaning is with this because I see no equivalence, or statements that are worth more than opposition to the position. To me this issue is the one I already outlined with my apology. Yours may be separate but to me it is not worth the opposition that the Pit presents the FTB crowd.

I want you to understand this. I have absolutely no group identity with the pit. I like most of the people there, and I dislike others. I skip over many conversations. I’ve had a run in two or three times with regular commenters regarding trivial things.

That is just it though. I would not care if you had group identity with the pit when it comes to assessing your position. Group identity is not an “Either/Or” condition, its like a Venn Diagram. I have group identity with FTB but only because a larger portion of my morality is shared with them than with the folks in the pit as a matter of proportion. You could probably make a collection of people from that pit that I could get along with but that ends up being meaningless because I have moral “DO NOT CROSS” lines. Those trump anything else. Too much of the Pit is of a moral character that I have no reason to socialize or debate there.

I don’t judge an idea by the company it keeps. That is imprecise.

Honestly though I would not go to the pit anyway because I’m busy enough in my own discussion community that is independent of FTB. I’m here for my own moral reasons so don’t really want to waste the time on the Pit. I oppose beliefs, positions, and most critically behaviors that harm.

I’m here to assess the Pit’s opposition to FTB and I find it illogical. I assess the Pit’s opposition by analyzing the words of people who go there. Ideas here, ideas there. It’s all the same but the price of the pit is my soul, to be non-literal.

The analogy has been made before, and I think it holds up rather well. The pit is like a pub. You walk inside and it’s a marketplace of ideas. Any market place is diverse and unwieldy looking, but that’s the beauty of it.

I’ve been to 4chan. It’s the ADHD version but even more diverse I wager. Understand I am not comparing the Pit to 4chan as a slur. It complicated but I view the objective existence of the Pit and 4chan in morally neutral terms.

That is beside the point though because I believe my community is more broad and effective for exchanging ideas on a maximally diverse and unlimited set of subjects. I don’t hate a collection and almost never an individual. All that matters to me is killing dangerous ideas through brutal morally neutral analysis.

If you wish, you can have a nice, civil discussion over in the corner or you can fight it out MMA style in front of everyone. There’s room for everyone.

I have not objection to the unlimited means of debate among consenting persons. My only objection is the infliction of the harassment that I outlined in my previous post. So I do not socially support the Pit.

That’s why I don’t feel the need to condemn people over there. If I don’t like what they have to say, I put them on ignore or I just skip over it. If it’s offensive to me, I’ll say something and fight it out.

But do you condemn their ideas? You have to oppose ideas that you think are going to make the world a worse place if they are acted upon. If you do not, from my point of view that is immoral. You see, I like trying to murder ideas that I think are objectionable.

But I treat it like martial arts. I do not practice it on random people that offend me (not saying you do). I go to appropriate arenas that offer me the same benefits of the Pit. I am willing to tear into offensive ideas that I hear in any public place but if a person asks to be left alone I fucking leave them alone. Additionally I try to kill their ideas with extreme care for who they are because anything else would be useless and unpragmatic.

That’s right. You avoid harassment for pragmatic reasons when desiring to murder ideas. Because murdering ideas does not mean murdering the person. Anything else is barbarism or willful ignorance at best.

“Emotion Can Shut Down High-Level Mental Processes Without Our Knowledge, in Our Native Language”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508173511.htm

That’s the difference between the two venues. The pit is an open air market place where conversation flows.

That flow can be described in psychological and neurobiological terms.
Challenge 1: Can you, or how would you describe the flow of conversation under different emotional states. This is no joke. I am qualified to have this conversation with you and I can even do successfully describe this stuff to people in middle and high schools. I can certainly do my best to explain things to you to your satisfaction.

FtB is nothing but a stage where everyone is lectured and dissent is not welcome.

That is not my experience. I have been a reader of PZ and Ed Brayton for around a decade. If I were to want to convince you that someone close to you were something horrible you would not just accept me at an assertion. This is just not objectively reasonable.

Besides. They are blogs. Its the format. You go there to read what they have to say and they talk to you if they want. I don’t demand Andrew Sullivan descend into a comment thread. It would be nice if PZ or anyone really announced that they would be willing to show up to a random forum for a textual throw-down. But they don’t have to. Their ideas stand independent of how strenuously they are willing to fight the masses with them.

I don’t care about language. I care about good arguments. The language P.Z. used in that post about libertarians didn’t bother me a bit. It was the argument he used. I proved it to be a bad argument by just substituting one word.

That is meaningless to me. That merely means PZ believes one thing that I do not like. I’m sure Romney believes one thing I like and that does not make me like him. What you are presenting is FAR from enough to justify the behavior I have seen in Pit associated persons. I reject the Pit and the arguments you have presented so far. Not your whole person. I simply do not know you well enough.

Aside from that OK, you like caring for ideas. I moderate a discussion forum and it does not appear to me that you care as much as you believe.

682 Brony March 7, 2013 at 2:27 am

@Justicar 560

You write, “(1) That person argued that even if society decides the word isn’t offensive, it’s still offensive. (2) Objectively true. (3) If 99 people like chocolate best and one like vanilla best “society” does not like chocolate. (4) Society overwhelmingly likes chocolate is accurate. (5)Anything else completely ignores the existence of people who believe differently and that is unacceptable to me. (6) I don’t like ignoring reality. (7) Perception is a matter of neurobiology. (8) Offense in one person is offense objectively.” (numbering mine).

(1)I see. So, if I claim that your writing “that person” is offensive, it would seem to be that you are obliged to concede that you’ve wronged someone because of (2).

No. Offended and wronged are different. One is a mental reaction, short and primal. The other describes something more complicated that involves the moral context of the offense. You can recognize that someone is offended without knowing why therefore they are not equivalent. You must prove that an offense is a wrong. Not every offense is the same as wronging. If your political positions offend your family have you wronged them?

(3) and (4) aren’t particularly relevant here inasmuch as what you’re discussing in those is the extent to which someone likes something while we’re discussing whether something is morally permitted/justified. I am happy to concede that whether one likes chocolate or vanilla isn’t a moral decision and thus not relevant here. Moreover, to say that one thing is liked best implies the existence of two inferior grades of ‘like’, which need not entail “bad”. It’s possible for there to be an entire continuum of better/worse without ever having a dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘bad’; viz., it’s possible to rank all flavors of ice cream, worst to best, without ever finding one that is bad.
Fine, toss it. It does not matter to my argument anyway. I can do this with psychology and neurobiology. Offense is a neurobiological phenomena. If 100 people look at gay sex and 1 is offended and 99 are not. It is objectively offensive, and unoffensive at the same time. If even only one person finds it offensive. All that matters is should it be offensive? Any other argument is meaningless.

The reason I care is because not all reasons for offense are the same. Being offended at someone beating a homosexual is not the same at being offended that someone likes a different sports team yet both exist. This is not a 0 and 1 phenomena but clearly your mind can only handle simple dichotomies.

(5)is outright moronic. We are, explicitly, discussing the views of people who are in opposition. This necessarily requires not “ignoring the existence of people who believe differently” which you find so unacceptable.
Welcome to this conversation in which the existence of people who believe differently has been explicitly stated in the original article giving rise to this comment section.

How very interesting. I’m willing to believe that peoples words indicate their feelings. In 399 you wrote,

That person argued that even if society decides the word isn’t offensive, it’s still offensive. You argue that a word means what society says it means. Thus, one can run around all one likes screaming and shouting that the word is offensive. And the rest of the society is free to lightly sigh and dismiss the complaint.

The last sentence appears to be a concluding opinion of yours. Society is free to try to lightly sigh and dismiss a complaint. Is this your actual belief? Please tell me its not because I want to believe the best about you. Because to me this is de facto pretending something does not exist. The sigh gave it away as arrogant condescension so I have no problem believing that you spend your time pretending that the offense of others is non-existent. I spend a lot of my time strategically thinking about the offense of others so I can more accurately predict what they will do in an argument, or a casual conversation, and gently kill what they believe instead of rattling their psyche (People who make excuses for suffering are an exception). It’s kind of a natural skill actually so I take it very seriously.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/04/the-advantages-of-tourettes-2/

When you discover you have a natural advantage at rational thought you practice. Its not everyday you discover a legitimate mutant power.

I’m not persuaded this is always the case, but I’m willing to be charitable in presuming that, on average, you’re more inclined to accept reality than to deny it.

You have no idea.

(7)

(7)and (8) are interesting to me in the same way that two trains crashing is interesting; viz., if one grants (8), then one is obliged to state that because of (7), it follows whatever one thinks one has perceived thereby determines what is objectively the case.

No. The brain lies. It is not good at determining reality, it tries to win. If you really believe the bolded part you are much more fucked up than I thought. Anyone who cares about argument takes a study of how your brain lies to you very seriously.

Now, if people were capable of perfect perception, there’d be no problem there, I suppose. But people aren’t capable of that, and this creates a problem. If 2 people see x and one is offended by it and another isn’t, on your reading it becomes an objective matter that the thing is offensive.
No. Offense objectively exists as a function of how the networks in brains work. Offense would not exist if brains did not. Things are offensive and non-offensive simultaneously because people are different and without people there would be nothing offensive. I treat people as individuals. It remains to be seen if you do. Sort of.

This is a confusion on your part: it’s one thing to say, as an objective issue, that a person claims to be offended (which one can even grant has a 1:1 correspondence to a person being offended); it’s quite another to claim that because a person claims to be offended, whatever they claim offended them is thereby objectively offensive.
Seeing as you are completely incorrect about reality and what I think of it with respect to what offense objectively is, I am not surprised that you offend people or that you do not care if you offend them. You really suck at changing minds. Your whole strategy involves confusing the audience.

I appreciate your calling me a coward; it’s lucky for me that I don’t find that offensive.

I really don’t care what you think about me calling you a coward. It was a n observational statement and therefore emotions don’t come into it.

683 Brony March 7, 2013 at 2:36 am

My apologies but the formatting is messed up in my previous comment.

Paragraph 2 starting with “(1)” belongs to Justicar

And paragraph 4 is actually two paragraphs. Justicar’s ends with “…flavors of ice cream, worst to best, without ever finding one that is bad.”

My paragraph starts with “Fine, toss it. It does not matter to my argument anyway. I can do this with…”

That was pretty bad but the rest if fine

684 Justicar March 7, 2013 at 2:43 am

“I really don’t care what you think about me calling you a coward. It was a n observational statement and therefore emotions don’t come into it.”

Then you have no gripe whatever about anyone being called a cunt provided the person saying it appends their remarks with, “it’s an observational statement and therefore emotions don’t come into it.”

Which has been something like my position all along. Thank you for delineating the magical incantation one can use to explain why it is that another’s emotional response doesn’t come into it.

Protip for people: if you call someone a cunt, just say the magical words above and it’s then okay.

685 John Brown March 7, 2013 at 3:11 am

” I moderate a discussion forum and it does not appear to me that you care as much as you believe.”

That pretty much says everything I need to know about you.

Good day, Sir.

686 theophontes March 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm

@ Cian
I have no problem in taking the time to explain. I also appreciate that you may have become desensitised to the implications of calling someone, particularly a woman, a “cunt”. Likely you will also need some time to ponder on our discussion.

I think raising the issue of racial slurs as a means to focus on sexist slurs is a good approach. Nowadays, thankfully, people tend to be fairly sensitive to racial slurs and are very wary to use them in public. There is a sense that censure of such terms in the public does play a role in reducing racism and xenophobia. Most people accept this. Hopefully we can bring the same – and higher – levels of awareness for other types of bigotry.

My problem is the jump from hearing someone utter the word to calling them a misogynist – which really is a very serious accusation ( that I’m not saying you have made ).

Certainly. Very often the person uttering sexist statements is not generally misogynist nor sexist. People may not even be aware that what they saying is sexist. Often people are merely passing on the unconsidered statements and expressions they hear about them. This is why it is good to sensitise oneself and others to instances of sexism (or any form of bigotry for that matter). It really does help.

This is a work-in-progress for myself as well. I realise I also can say and/or tolerate sexist things. If we mean to wean society off such things though, we shall have to start with ourselves.

687 Justicar March 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

“There is a sense that censure of such terms in the public does play a role in reducing racism and xenophobia.”

Maybe my ability to use the force has been diminished; do you have something slightly more substantial than your sensing some vibrations in the aether?

“Hopefully we can bring the same – and higher – levels of awareness for other types of bigotry.”

Oh yes. The all important making people aware of something and the ensuing period of patting one’s self on the back as though one has done something. Note: in my country, we were aware of slavery for several generations. Awareness isn’t what brought it to an end.

“This is why it is good to sensitise oneself and others to instances of sexism (or any form of bigotry for that matter). It really does help.”

Yeah. It really does help. And this is why racism is gone, and gays can marry, and religious institutions have stopped preaching about how condoms perpetuate the transmission of HIV. Oh. Wait. None of that’s true. Do carry on though spreading the panacea of ‘awareness’.

688 Dave Allen March 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

“That’s partly true, but the history is also relevant. “Cock” has no power because there was never a time when it was used to belittle a societally marginalized group.”

So you say, yet regard for the rights of poultry seem scant to me.

689 Esteleth March 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Here’s what I don’t get.

Let me pull a random number out of my ass and say that 43% of women would be repelled from associating with a group they otherwise 100% agree with because they dislike being called “cunt.”

What does the group lose by saying, “Hey, let’s not call women ‘cunt’?”

Unless you’re willing to argue that an equal or greater number of people will leave if they’re denied the right to call women “cunt,” how does making an effort to welcome those who dislike “cunt” harm the group in any way?

690 Daniel Murray March 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Have to say Esteleth, hilarious response to a poor man who’s cock has no power. So what else would you add to the list of banned words?… is would be a littler purlieu to have a group that said “Hey, let’s not call women ‘cunt’?” and to ask “how does making an effort to welcome those who dislike “cunt” harm the group in any way?”

Dave’s post was witty and mature, your response pretty much played right to his point. Can you see that?

691 Esteleth March 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm

How ’bout you answer my question, Daniel Murray?

How do you, or skepticism as a movement, suffer harm by agreeing that “cunt” should be avoided?

692 idahogie March 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Just reading Letter From a Birmingham Jail, and realizing that all you ‘pitters and defenders of name-calling are exactly the kinds of people MLK was writing to. In the face of real evidence that women aren’t given equal opportunities within the skeptical/atheist movement; in a society in which women rightly fear assault and rape; in a situation where gender terms are being used to harrass women — you could do the decent thing and stand up courageously. Instead, you counsel a fake civility that preserves the status quo, and you demand that your right to use hateful words trumps the rights of women to safely participate in this movement.

MLK was talking to you people. You should listen. Because you are losing this battle, and you look bad doing it. (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html)

693 Esteleth March 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm

And, for what it is worth, I don’t like the word “cock” when used as an insult against men. I don’t see it as equivalent to “cunt,” but I don’t like it and I don’t use it. If I ever say “cock,” I’m referring (literally) to a penis. Ditto for “dick” and “prick,” except to add that “prick” is also that thing that a needle does.

694 Daniel Murray March 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

This is too funny, unfortunately to often it is not up to me to avoid cunt, if it were I assure you i would not avoid it.

But, seriously, it’s not about cunt… just say blatant pointless abuse is not acceptable. The feminist thing is a fiction created by Mr Nugent. Most people are feminists in our modern society and those who can be seen as feminists in that context are perfectly able to give abuse and stand up for themselves. Manners are something we should embrace universally, this red herring Michael has created distracts from that, he is just pandering and trying to make a statement about himself.

If you read read the article, the examples are out of context completely, the quotations are given in a vacuum as if people just spontaneously started abusing feminists. Then he goes onto his disclaimer which says they may in fact just be jokes, women talking to other women or directed at men! The article is so bad it is laughable. Before he got his “examples” Michael decided to write about feminists receiving “nasty pushbacks” then went looking to prove that!

people are rude and get personal online, they lose it. There is no connection with feminism, Michael’s article does pretty much prove that.

695 Daniel Murray March 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm

… have you heard this term “nasty pushback” much if at all before this piece? Or that feminists were victims?

696 Justicar March 8, 2013 at 4:33 am

“Let me pull a random number out of my ass and say that 43% of women would be repelled from associating with a group they otherwise 100% agree with because they dislike being called “cunt.”

What does the group lose by saying, “Hey, let’s not call women ‘cunt’?””

Apparently Australians who commonly use it as a sign of affection. You wouldn’t want us to make Australians feel as though they’re being marginalized would you? Oh wait.

Let’s rephrase your question: What does the group lose by saying, “Hey, let’s not use a word that may or may not trouble someone depending on his/her sensitivities?”

What does the group lose? Probably people who feel entitled to run around demanding that their delicate sensibilities are the standard by which any group that exists is to follow provided the sensitive person decides s/he wants to start going there.

Why stop at the word cunt? Why base the decision on what *some* women want? Why not the use of dick or cock? Some men, after all, won’t like either of those.

Why not ban discussions about rape? No doubt that will be quite uncomfortable for some people – rape after all is very often violent and conjures up unpleasant memories and feelings. We could spare all of those people their feelings by just not allowing people to discuss rape. Or racism. Or sexism. Or gay bashing. These are all unpleasant things, and some people will be hurt by hearing about.

697 idahogie March 8, 2013 at 5:34 am

Why not ban discussions about rape? No doubt that will be quite uncomfortable for some people – rape after all is very often violent and conjures up unpleasant memories and feelings. We could spare all of those people their feelings by just not allowing people to discuss rape.

That’s why decent people put trigger warnings on discussions about rape — to help people avoid those discussions. People who don’t want to hurt other people do that. It’s the right thing to do.

Of course, assholes will insist on their right to talk about rape, joke about rape, and threaten rape. After all, how people react is up to them — not any responsibility of the speaker. Ignorant asses who think thier right to use words trumps everything else — they don’t worry about those whiny rape “victims.”

Nope, those types spend their time trying to prove that they have a right to say anything they want, and that nobody should react badly. They spend their time harassing those more sensitive than themselves. Because they are tough. They are actually proud of it. They hang around in the slymepit.

698 Justicar March 8, 2013 at 6:01 am

“That’s why decent people put trigger warnings on discussions about rape — to help people avoid those discussions.”

Is there anyone who is unaware that the atheist/skeptic shindigs are anything other than rough and tumble? Why isn’t it reasonable to assume that there’s an implied trigger warning around the whole thing? Indeed, given the extent to which people are complaining about how frequent the use of bad words is, you’d think there isn’t anyone interested in the community who is unaware that ‘triggering’ words and concepts will arise.

One might even suppose that the reason these people are going around insisting on developing ‘safe spaces’ do so on the understanding that everywhere is ‘dangerous’. Of course, one can note the environment of safety they seek isn’t one where people are actually safe (for no one has been even so much as slapped once at any atheist convention of which I’m aware); nay, it’s where no word which might offend someone is to be uttered.

Surprised I am not that you have included in a series threatening rape with discussing rape. Nice equivalence there.

Rape victims are people who’ve been raped. Hearing someone discuss rape doesn’t, alas, a rape victim create.

“Nope, those types spend their time trying to prove that they have a right to say anything they want, and that nobody should react badly.”

That’s an outright lie. I’m not trying to ‘prove’ I have a right to speak; I have the right to speak and I refuse to bow down at your command when you decide my right to speak extends all the way up until the moment you hear something you dislike. Moreover, I haven’t argued for a moment that people shouldn’t react badly to what they hear that they dislike. React however you’d like to hearing words you can’t bear to hear. The fact you react poorly to the great crime of hearing an unwelcome word is no argument of any kind that the remainder of the planet must avoid speaking these words if you happen to wander by.

I note that many, if not most or all, of the people who are whining and complaining about the harassment of the slymepit come by that harassment through the accidental means of scouring the words spoken there. Know how I remain undisturbed by what’s said on, oh, say, stormfront? I manage to avoid opening up a web browser and typing in the name of the website, hitting enter and then proceeding to click links to conversations therein contained before settling down in my righteous indignation to read through it all. It’s amazing how effective my little strategy is.

I know, I know. It’s too much to expect that the professional victims adopt a strategy which includes not intentionally looking for an exciting opportunity to claim get butthurt over.

699 Steersman March 8, 2013 at 6:04 am

idahogie said (#698):

I’d believe Ellenbeth Wachs over anybody making unsourced, unverifiable accusations, any day.

While I can’t say much if anything about that particular case, I wonder whether you’ve taken a look at this (1) which strongly suggests if not proves that EllenBeth is not above making “unsourced, unverifiable accusations” herself.

1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/comment-page-3/#comment-196810”;

700 Steersman March 8, 2013 at 6:37 am

idahogie said (#699):

Of course, assholes will insist on their right to talk about rape, joke about rape, and threaten rape.

And completely clueless social-justice-warriors and “femi-fascists” of one stripe or another will complain long and loudly – frequently accompanied by copious quantities of crocodile tears – about “gendered insults”, and will argue until they are blue in the face that using “cunt” as an insult necessarily demeans all women and is thereby the most egregious case of misogynism since Marc Lépine murdered fourteen women, yet they will still insist that their right to use “asshole” is god-given, and that it is not analogously demeaning to all men and to all women, and is not an equally egregious case of misanthropism.

I would suggest spending some time perusing this article (1) on analogies, a concept that you, among a great many others, seem to have some difficulty wrapping your head around.

1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy#Identity_of_relation”;

701 Michael Nugent March 8, 2013 at 7:46 am
702 Justicar March 8, 2013 at 9:08 am

Michael Nugent @ 703: I get a 404 error when I clicked either of those; viz.,

You 404’d it. Gnarly, dude.
Surfin’ ain’t easy, and right now, you’re lost at sea. But don’t worry; simply pick an option from the list below, and you’ll be back out riding the waves of the Internet in no time.

703 Steersman March 8, 2013 at 9:49 am

Justicar said (#704):

Michael Nugent @ 703: I get a 404 error when I clicked either of those; viz.,

That 404 page has the links to those essays in the lower right corner under the “Recent Posts” heading. But the correct ones are:

1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/08/some-reflections-on-the-recent-dialogue/”;
2) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/08/why-atheist-and-skeptic-groups-should-be-inclusive-caring-and-supportive-republished/comment-page-1/”;

704 Justicar March 8, 2013 at 10:03 am

Ahh. I see them now (way at the bottom); thanks.

705 windy March 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

theophontes:

I think raising the issue of racial slurs as a means to focus on sexist slurs is a good approach.

Is it? Then can you explain why people who freely toss around ironic references to ‘bitches’ and ‘cunts’ (“bitches ain’t shit, right?”, “cuntfederacy”…) generally don’t say things like “niggers ain’t shit”? Isn’t the ironic use of sexist terms contributing to the ‘desensitization’ you are complaining about? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

idahogie:

Instead, you counsel a fake civility that preserves the status quo, and you demand that your right to use hateful words trumps the rights of women to safely participate in this movement.

“fake civility”? Wha…? Are you even trying anymore?

I have to say that these transparent efforts to appropriate racial oppression as a means to win an internet argument are more distasteful than any sexist slur. And before one of you starts the spiel about how we’re all just opposed to diversity and blah blah: I spent yesterday afternoon volunteering with science education in the township (and we know what science is gateway to, muahaha).

706 Daniel Murray March 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

This is such a non issue. It is not a gender issue! or One about feminists it is about trying to keep discussions civil. Not blocking “cunt” or “rape” .

Any group that specifically protected one group or prohibitted terms that would affect a particular group would be ridiculous and it would lose a lot by saying “We do not accept people saying things that offend women, using the word “cunt” and being offensive about “rape” is forbidden”.. just say “Members are to conduct themselves in a civil way, vulgarity and wonton abuse can lead to comment removal, a warning and in certain cases removal from the group.

This feminist agenda in the, out of context, misrepresented exampled, red herring of an article. Rudeness is in no way exclusive to being against feminists.. sorry not rudeness “nasty pushback. Interestingly the term pushback would imply a response to something but that something is not referenced. As the examples of vulgarity are self confessed as not being all examples of the feminists being “pushed back” and really should not be there I suppose it isn’t possible to give the context as it would further show up the weakness of Mr. Nugents non existent point which seems to just be pandering.

707 Michael Nugent March 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I have removed all personal allegations made by Wil K, and his follow-up personal abuse of other commenters, and associated responses.

Wil, please do not carry unrelated personal grudges onto my website.

708 Ophelia Benson March 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

But “related” personal grudges are just fine, apparently.

709 John Brown March 9, 2013 at 10:26 pm

I understand your position, Michael. But, if it were me, I would have left those posts up. It’s good to have a record of just how crazy some people are, especially if they are running through every single Internet forum/Twitter account they can find harassing one individual.

Believe me. EllenBeth Wachs and I have our ideological differences which are not likely to be resolved anytime soon, but I don’t wish that on anyone.

Wil K (or Clem Burke as he’s otherwise known) does himself no favors when he comes on boards like this and starts in with his usual schtick. It’s good for people to see his behavior rather than just hear about it second hand.

710 Cian March 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

theophontes #686

Sorry – just saw your comment addressed to me now. Thanks for the considered reply, one which I think I have to agree with.

“There is a sense that censure of such terms in the public does play a role in reducing racism and xenophobia. Most people accept this” – I do too, I think you are right about this.

“This is a work-in-progress for myself as well. I realise I also can say and/or tolerate sexist things. If we mean to wean society off such things though, we shall have to start with ourselves.” Can I also repeat this back to you, I am obviously learning or trying to all the time too. And I am sure I am still scrambling in the dark towards what is right. Your comments have given me plenty to think about … I said before that I still slightly disagreed with you on some usage of words ( but don’t despair – maybe soon I will be on your side lock-stock ).

Thank you for the brain food :)

711 Steersman March 10, 2013 at 1:40 am

Opelia Benson said (#708):

But “related” personal grudges are just fine, apparently.

Considering that Michael started the ball rolling with his listing of 50 cases of what he was suggesting constituted “nasty pushback”, many of which can, I think, quite reasonably be construed as or derived, at least in part, from “related personal grudges”, I am sure that you and Michael, as you are both fair-minded and equitable individuals, have absolutely no difficulty in extending the range of applicability of those terms to what the defense might wish to bring forward.

And somewhat apropos and as a case in point, one might reasonably suggest that what I’ve called (1) your rather egregious hatchet-job (2) of Michael Shermer over his “[atheism], it’s more of a guy thing” can reasonably be construed as some “nasty pushback” – at least unless you can explain how, in effect, calling someone a sexist, particularly in the absence of any evidence, doesn’t qualify as “nasty”. However the question of it being based on a grudge is probably moot, although your subsequent digging into his previous Scientific American articles might suggest (3) an animus that might justify that charge. Though, in passing and relative to that article of yours (4), I wonder whether you would agree that “[deeper and more resonant voices], it’s more of a guy thing”?

——
1) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/08/some-reflections-on-the-recent-dialogue/comment-page-1/#comment-198221”;
2) “_http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=benson_33_1”;
3) “_http://www.facebook.com/Michael.Brant.Shermer/posts/458103304247101”;
4) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/12/who-has-the-deepest-and-most-resonant-voice/”;

712 EllenBeth Wachs March 10, 2013 at 3:27 am

And somewhat apropos and as a case in point, one might reasonably suggest that what I’ve called (1) your rather egregious hatchet-job (2) of Michael Shermer over his “[atheism], it’s more of a guy thing” can reasonably be construed as some “nasty pushback” – at least unless you can explain how, in effect, calling someone a sexist, particularly in the absence of any evidence, doesn’t qualify as “nasty”

Except for the fact that she didn’t call someone sexist. You keep reaching to say that us feminists have said things we haven’t. Why do you keep singing this tune?

713 EllenBeth Wachs March 10, 2013 at 3:28 am

Should have quoted the first portion of that.

714 Steersman March 10, 2013 at 5:25 am

EllenBeth Wachs said (#712):

Except for the fact that she didn’t call someone sexist.

You could have fooled me – and a great many others as well, including Shermer, as they seem to have reached the same conclusion as I did. Although, in passing, I might point out that I said “in effect”. But let’s take a look at exactly what Ophelia Benson did say (1):

The main stereotype in play, let’s face it, is that women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky, because “that’s a guy thing.”

Don’t laugh: Michael Shermer said exactly that during a panel discussion on the online talk-show The Point. The host, Cara Santa Maria, presented a question: Why isn’t the gender split in atheism closer to 50-50? Shermer explained, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

And the “main stereotype” in play is sexism so that when Benson asserts that Shermer said “exactly that” – no equivocation for our Ms. Benson – she is, I figure, asserting that he made a sexist statement. From which it follows that she is asserting that he is a sexist. At least unless Ms. Benson or others can explain to me how – analogously (2) – someone could accuse someone else of having murdered a third party without that being tantamount if not identical to calling them a murderer.

You keep reaching to say that us feminists have said things we haven’t. Why do you keep singing this tune?

That is a very good question, and one I’ve been giving some thought to. And I think the answer is related to several of Michael’s points in his “25 next steps” thread, and which have been repeated in a recent comment (3) there:

Accept that each of us is likely to be right about some issues and mistaken about others. Try to approach each issue on its merits, rather than on the basis of which side you think the person is on.

Accept that we might be mistaken about what other people are trying to communicate to us, and what their motivations might be. Accept that we might have made mistakes when communicating to others, and that we might have unfairly hurt people without realizing it.

And more particularly, I think that the different interpretations of that phrase – “[atheist activism], it’s more of a guy thing” – illustrates, in stark contrast, the fact that people seem to be reaching very different conclusions about what the phrase means and implies: almost as if they were looking at opposite sides of the same coin. As William Blake put it (6) several hundred years ago:

THE VISION OF CHRIST that thou dost see
Is my vision’s greatest enemy. ….
And Caiaphas was in his own mind
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou readest black where I read white.

With more than a little relevance to more secular organizations and perspectives.

But more specifically the interpretation of that phrase seems be muddied or confounded by exactly what is meant by the phrase “atheist activism”. In which case it makes sense to replace it by something that is a little more tangible, for example, height. So we have: “[height], it’s more of a guy thing”.

From which it seems that the two sides of the coin, the two interpretations – analogous to the “atheist activism” case – are: “all men are taller than all women”, OR, “there are more men than women who are taller than, say, five foot ten”. But the first interpretation is obviously not at all true since it is quite easy to find some women who are taller than some men. Whereas the latter phrasing or interpretation is a plain and simple statement of fact. As Steven Pinker puts it in a chapter (4) of his The Blank Slate:

With some other traits the differences are small on average but can be large at the extremes [of population distributions]. That happens for two reasons. When two bell curves partly overlap, the farther out along the tail you go, the larger the discrepancies between the groups. For example, men on average are taller than women, and the discrepancy is greater for more extreme values. At a height of five foot ten, men outnumber women by a ratio of thirty to one; at a height of six feet, men outnumber women by a ratio of two thousand to one.

And taking our simplified model back to the place where the conversation goes off the rails, I figure that Shermer is not saying – as many seem to think – that “all men are more intellectual than all women”; a ridiculous and completely unsupportable statement on the face of it. But what I think he is saying – analogous to the heights – is that “there are more men than women who are intellectually active in the field of atheism”. And that latter statement is also quite clearly supported by the factual evidence. For instance, the Pew Forum survey (5) has suggested that atheists comprise about 2.4% of the population of the US, but of that 2.4% some 36% are women while some 64% are men.

But absolutely none of that says anything about the reasons for that disparity. Some of it is, no doubt, due to various environmental constraints and social values, but I expect that at least some of it is genetic – maybe males tend to have more interest in the topic, or they are naturally more anti-authoritarian – and you supposedly can’t get a bigger target as an authority than “Gawd”. Yet the fact of the matter is, I think, that it is still true to say that “[atheist activism], it’s more of a guy thing” without that in anyway being sexist, or making any moral judgements – “if that’s the way it is then that’s the way it should be” – or saying that any given woman is any more or less of an “atheist activist” than any given man.

As I’ve said, I think the facts support that interpretation far better than the one that leads to the rather egregious charge of sexism against Shermer. But if you have some facts and figures and arguments that support the latter then I’m willing to at least consider them.

However, in either case, I don’t think we’re going to get off the horns of this dilemma unless we’re all prepared to face the facts – and to consider that we “might be mistaken” in our various interpretations.

—–
1) “_http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=benson_33_1”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy#Identity_of_relation”;
3) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/08/why-atheist-and-skeptic-groups-should-be-inclusive-caring-and-supportive-republished/#comment-198702”;
4) “_http://www.pasadena.edu/files/syllabi/txcave_18360.pdf”;
5) “_http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Unaffiliated/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf”;
6) “_http://www.bartleby.com/236/58.html”;

715 idahogie March 10, 2013 at 5:38 am

Shermer was wrong, and he looks like an ass. He said someting stupid, and Benson pointed it out in a few sentences out of a much longer piece. Shermer should have apologized and corrected himself. Instead, he cried “witch hunt” and made a mountain out of a mole hill months after Benson’s comments. He kicked off his own Streisand Effect.

That’s all that happened. Benson was right. Shermer was wrong. It doesn’t take any more discussion.

716 Kevin Solway March 10, 2013 at 5:59 am

@idahogie

Examine the following statement:

“I am a mass murderer, a misogynist, a rapist, and racist, because ‘I am idahogie’.

Don’t laugh: idahogie said exactly that.”

Are you honestly telling me you can’t see the problem with Benson’s logic?

She also compares Shermer to the pope issuing an encyclical saying that women are stupid.

I’ve never seen any greater insanity in all my life.

717 Steersman March 10, 2013 at 6:07 am

idahogie said (#715):

That’s all that happened. Benson was right. Shermer was wrong. It doesn’t take any more discussion.

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: with that concluding ipse dixit idahogie in a brilliant tour de force of logic and reason, buttressed by mountains of evidence, has completely demolished my 1100-word essay! Bravo! Bravo!

NOT!

All you’ve done is asserted your opinion which, in the absence of evidence, is no more than something you’ve pulled out of your ass. Skeptic? Ha! What a bloody joke. No wonder so many feminists have rightly earned the moniker “feminazi”; kind of a shame though, what you’ve done to the “brand name”.

But maybe you should be thanked for so clearly showing the paucity of the arguments from your side of the fence, and the dogmaticism that underlies them.

718 idahogie March 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

@Steersman:

Sherman said that participating in debate was a guy thing. That was opinion, asserted without fact.

I didn’t assert any opinion — only the simple facts of the situation. If you’re going to deny the facts, then we have no basis for discussion at all.

@Kevin Solway:

Your comment is too confusing to consider responding to.

719 Kevin Solway March 10, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@idahogie

“Sherman said that participating in debate was a guy thing.”

Steersman has pointed out that there’s good reason to think that Shermer had something other in mind than merely “participating in debate”.

But for argument’s sake *only*, let’s say that Shermer meant “participating in debate”.

What reason do you have to think that men are not currently, and on average, more interested in participating in such debates?

And are you saying that if a person isn’t particularly interested in debate that they are necessarily stupid? It sounds like you are.

720 Steersman March 11, 2013 at 12:52 am

idahogie said (#718):

@Steersman:

Sherman said that participating in debate was a guy thing. That was opinion, asserted without fact.

Actually, what Shermer said, as quoted by Benson, was (1):

The host, Cara Santa Maria, presented a question: Why isn’t the gender split in atheism closer to 50-50? Shermer explained, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

While I’ll concede that he was maybe a little vague about what he was referring to by his “it’s”, I expect it is a little more than just “participating in debate” – as you suggested – and that it encompassed “intellectual activism” in general – essentialy being involved in atheism in virtually any capacity. And while I’ll agree it was presented as an opinion – he didn’t actually provide any supporting documents at that time which is probably not surprising given the circumstances, I have also argued that the facts strongly support the interpretation I provided earlier (#714). Maybe you would care to take a run at providing some similar documents that support your opinion?

I didn’t assert any opinion — only the simple facts of the situation. If you’re going to deny the facts, then we have no basis for discussion at all.

What disingenuous crap; what unmitigated horseshit. You said in #715 above, and I quote, verbatim:

Shermer was wrong, and he looks like an ass. He said someting stupid …. Benson was right. Shermer was wrong. It doesn’t take any more discussion.

You maybe have some published, defined, objective criteria and documentation by which you reached that conclusion of “wrong”? You – and the rest of your deluded fellow-travellers – have provided absolutely diddly-squat in the way of any factual evidence to support those statements. Hence “opinion” (2), and that is being charitable to a fault:

2a : belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge

If anyone here is denying facts, I would say you’re leading the pack since you give no indication of having read the factual documents I presented above, much less of having made any attempt to refute either the statements I made or the documents on which I based them. If there is “no basis for discussion”, then I would say the responsibility for that falls squarely on you – plus Sally Strange, Ophelia Benson, and Stephanie Zvan because of their egregious claims of “lies” without a shred of evidence or effort to define or refute them – as well as the rest of the rather benighted FfTB, Skepchick, and AtheismPlus mobs.

1) “_http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=benson_33_1”;
2) “_http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion”;

721 spectator March 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Wowbagger never apologized to me. I’m supposed to go digging through the comments of another post? What kind of apology is that? Apologizing to the people who called you out on your nastiness and never to the person you abused?
For the record, Wowbagger has NOT apologized to me. If Justin had not blogged about this dialogue with a blogger I don’t follow, I would have never been aware that you’re now claiming to have apologized.
YOU HAVEN’T APOLOGIZED TO YOUR VICTIM YOU JERK!

722 Daniel June 10, 2013 at 10:50 am

to me saying this “I am aware that some people published some of the above comments intending them to be jokes.
I am aware that some of the comments are made by women, and that some are directed at men.” after giving 50 examples, which you apparently didn’t even check were examples, you say they may not be examples and some are not! Why would you give an example that is not an example?

723 Chris Max (@chearn73) February 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm

The moral of the story? There are a lot of idiots out there who say horrible things on the internet. Anyone can pick any topic about anything, anytime, scour the internet and fine no end of horrible things being said about everything and anything all the time. Period. The reality is that the world can be a horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible place and it appears to be amplified by 1000 percent in some corners of the internet. But, the internet is not the entire world and the entire world is not the internet.

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