On the primacy of reasonable dialogue in the atheist and skeptic communities

by Michael Nugent on March 19, 2013

Thank you to everyone who has, either publicly or privately, welcomed the dialogue taking place here and elsewhere on how to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities.

Dialogue is an important part of improving any situation where people disagree, particularly when dealing with groups composed of individuals with different motivations, and it becomes even more important the more intense the disagreements are. Without reasonable dialogue, these issues will continue to escalate.

These issues go beyond disagreements between individual people, and they go beyond the personal priorities of any one of us. There is now a complex interacting set of issues that continue to effect the wider atheist and skeptic communities in real life, including the day-to-day work of advocacy groups.

These overall issues include sexism and harassment, ideological disagreements about issues including feminism and free speech, personal abuse and bullying, and a tendency to hype up disagreements and attribute motivations and escalate hostility on these and other issues within the atheist and skeptic communities.

If we want to have a strong international support network and advocacy voice for atheists and skeptics, we have to address all of these issues reasonably. We have to move beyond repeatedly reminding people of what they said in the past during these disagreements, and start trying to lead by example by each changing our own behavior.

Some thoughts on the dialogue so far

In my opinion, there have been broadly four kinds of interaction to date. It is important to not lump people together as representing any one approach, simply on the basis that other people who you see as being on their ‘side’ are behaving in a particular way.

Some people have posted comments that seem designed to escalate hostilities. These have included a person bringing an unrelated personal grudge into the discussion, repeated links to pornographic photoshopped images of identifiable people, and a link to some disturbing violent fiction about a named person. I have removed all of these comments.

Some people have defended their positions against unfair attacks by others. That needs to happen. Many of us have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt, and we need to defend ourselves against that. However, as a corollary, many of us have also unfairly misrepresented and hurt other people. And, as each of us knows that we personally didn’t intend to misrepresent or hurt the people that we have hurt, we should not automatically attribute malign motivations to all of those who are misrepresenting and hurting us.

In particular, we shouldn’t accuse each other of lying. From now on, any comments that include the words lie, lying or liar will go into moderation rather than being automatically published. If you believe that somebody has said something that is inaccurate, please make that point and substantiate it, without attributing malign motivations to them. If you believe that any comments published on this website are defamatory about you, please contact me via the contact page and I will deal with it.

Some people have engaged in constructive dialogue, although it can be strained as people naturally mistrust each other. This type of dialogue has included the positive sign of two people apologizing to each other for allegations made. There are some good people, on various ‘sides’ of all of these disagreements, who are trying to engage in a constructive way, and that is the type of behavior that will gradually improve the situation.

Finally, some people have welcomed the fact that the dialogue is taking place and expressed hope that we can move beyond the rifts, and some people have expressed a desire for the dialogue to end and for the rifts to continue. Well, some rifts will certainly continue, because we will never reach a stage of everybody agreeing on everything. But we can make as much progress as we can using reasonable dialogue, and maintain a platform for whoever is committed to such dialogue to engage in it.

As usual, feedback welcome.

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{ 428 comments… read them below or add one }

251 oolon March 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Have you ever wondered why he says that sort of thing all the time? Why so much attention is actually paid to the slymepit in general over at FTB? I mean, Svan had to dig through 5 entire months of mostly worthless conversational, (or sad, small, depending on your view) bollocks to find a shopped-picture of the hindenburg and a few people calling her names.

Why bother doing all that? Except that the slymepit serves a useful role as an easily identifiable enemy.

Yup and as a “trolling” expert and not necessarily a fan of PZ have you lot ever considered how much you are playing into PZs hands by associating with the worst of the worst? He can corral all his idiot enemies in one easily dismissed forum of fools who let unpleasant MRAs like Astrokid be a part of their community. Seems you are all playing to his tune, the more you ratchet it up the more easily you are dismissed. That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.

252 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

AppleStairs@242:

Pretty good, couple comments:

We advocate “social justice” politics, including the premise that we in the US live in a deeply sexist, racist, and patriarchal society, in which women, racial and sexual minorities, and others are systematically oppressed and marginalized (in other words, a ‘kyriarchy’).

Men are also oppressed within the kyriarchy. Just usually by other men. For example a nerdy little long-hair like me is at the bottom of the male hierarchy from the perspective of “manly men” — probably only barely better than a woman. I think “deeply” is also debatable. The main problem with “deeply” is that there is no absolute frame of reference in sociology and so we end up taking a lot of our culture for granted as “human nature” or whatever — see “WEIRD” criticisms of academic psychology — and so it’s not necessarily easy to see how racist we really are — if only because there is no “non-racial” culture to compare ours to.

Men should “shut up and listen to the women,” particularly when those women are talking about their lived experience or the ways they are oppressed.

“Shut up and listen” has a context. There is a tendency — very hard to see for the reasons I just mentioned above — for men to explain to women “how it is” in our society. An example might be Shermer’s “it’s a guy thing.” No evidence required, just take Shermer’s word that males are more suited to atheism and skepticism than women. It’s like human nature or whatever, bro.

It’s not always easy to see things from other people’s points of view, especially when those people are very different from you. “Shut up and listen” is a motto intended to remind people that their view of the world isn’t gospel truth, just one perspective, and that they should be willing to try to be open-minded when others share their experiences instead of finding excuses to invalidate those experiences or to shut the person up.

Yes, there is some degree of irony in invoking this while refusing to listen to the ‘pitters’ points of view, although since the ‘pitters’ points of view usually seem more or less status quo when it comes to gender politics the amount of irony is debatable.

If a woman seems to doubt that she and other women are systematically “oppressed,” she is likely manifesting internalized sexism as a result of patriarchy and/or unconsciously seeking the approval of men (similarly for other marginalized groups).

We’ve all internalized sexism. We’re all sexist. Those are things I see feminists say pretty routinely in these discussions. That’s something you guys need to take into account when you get into a huff about being accused of being “sexist” or “misogynist”.

If a woman believes she’s not oppressed because she’s in her “rightful place as a woman” what do you think I should believe about that situation? Such a woman is clearly entitled to her preferred lifeways but I’m still free to object that because that place feels right to her that doesn’t mean it’s the rightful place for all women, aren’t I?

Communities should function as “safe spaces” for vulnerable people

I don’t think anyone would claim this for all communities.

The right to “free speech” does not equate to the right to dominate and derail conversations and cause real harm to marginalized people.

The right to free speech only protects you from government interference in speech. The way you guys invoke it makes no sense.

253 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Dan L #244:

“As well there seems to me to be a contingent of actual misogynists at the Slymepit.”

Which posters specifically are misogynists, and which of their posts makes you think that?

254 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Metalogic@252:

lee coye’s posts at Pharyngula. I don’t really spend any time at the Slymepit which is why I haven’t cited a single bit of content there this entire time.

255 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Oolon (245) when were you banned and what for? If anyone should be allowed there I would have thought it was you, so I’m intrigued. Thanks in advance.

256 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Dan L, lee coye sounds like one person. Racists have better excuses than this.

257 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Dan L #251:

” That’s something you guys need to take into account when you get into a huff about being accused of being “sexist” or “misogynist”. ”

And what about when I get accused of being a rapist? http://i.imgur.com/8mL8DAc.jpg (the whole thread can be found here: http://www.freezepage.com/1363735395KNSUKEUPRL )

258 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Jack@248:

Fair enough. My personal take is “let a million flowers bloom.” Some people find the environment at FtB stifling (I know I do sometimes) and some people don’t like the environment and Slymepit. The world’s big enough for both.

But since so many of you take so much umbrage at the fact that people at FtB don’t want to listen to you I thought I might try to explain why it seems to me that is the case.

Eu@255:

Again, I’m talking about the “public face” of the Slymepit, the people who frequent the Slymepit who also make it their mission to go on other people’s blogs and tell people what’s up.

Someone asked “who’s a misogynist at the pit”. I answered the question. I’m not watching the situation super closely but I know I’ve seen lee coye say some fairly misogynistic shit. There may be others, there may not, but since you guys keep bragging about the diversity of opinion over there I’m not sure why it would be any kind of surprise to see such opinions represented.

Aren’t you supposed to be allowed to be a misogynist in the pit? Free expression and all that?

259 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Dan L #253:

Which posts? Do you have a link?

260 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm

MickeyC (249) re AppleStairs (242)

Applestairs post was her take on the respective people’s positions not their own.

261 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm

MetaLogic@257:

I think this is the thread I had in mind although I don’t really feel like re-reading thousand comment Pharyngula threads to make sure.

262 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Dan L, um, lee coye isn’t “the face of the pit.” No one person is. I haven’t even heard of Lee Coye. I dont go there anymore but you can’t say that the entire pit is misogynistic because lee coye is. That’s like me saying that people at atheism+ are mainly mix-racist victim blamers just because ceepolk did it to me once.

263 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Not that I trust you in saying he’s misogynistic. But yeah, don’t call the pit misogynistic or make accusations based off some guy. Everyone’s welcome there whether its to debate or not and the general consensus isn’t “we love lee coye’s opinions.”

When someone tell me that a place is generally a misogynistic place, I expect to go there and see the purpose of the place is to say misogynistic things, otherwise its slandeerous.

264 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Dan L (256)

I think all moderation methods can be appropriate including very tight moderation. I’m sure we’ve all been on Christian boards were swearing will get you banned. I just feel the Slympit’s moderation policy is best for them although I agree that does make it a place not for the weak hearted or easily offended. It also means it is not appropriate to paint everyone with the same brush and it will by definition be trivial to pull out offensive posts, especially if they are out of context.

If the place had racists or misogynists, in face even one or two, I would leave if they were not dealt with robustly by the forum as a whole.

265 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Eu@260,261:

Feel free to refer back to my post explaining why I think FtB folks have a bad opinion of Slymepitters if you’ve lost the context. I don’t really need to hold your hand, do I?

At no point did I claim the Slymepit was a “misogynistic place”. I’m sure there’s plenty of misogynists hanging out on reddit but saying so doesn’t imply that I think reddit is a misogynistic place overall.

266 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

^^ what jack said… well I wouldnt leave, I would just sling mud at them and then bitch about the rest of the forum ignoring it.

267 Jack March 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

@Oolon (25)

Your comments about feeding FtB are a valid concern to me and something I am aware of. If it gets to the point the net benefit is negative I’m off. I do not feel we are there yet.

268 Jeff March 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Dan L.@218
Translation: I read it, couldn’t think of a sensible response.

269 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Jack@262:

I agree. That’s why I’ve assiduously avoided using anything posted at the pit as a point of contention throughout this discussion.

270 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Jeff@266:

You’re still alive? Try some formatting next time and maybe I’ll read it. I was too busy talking to four or five other people to parse the wall of text and I’m still not bored enough to go back.

Better yet be succinct.

271 Metalogic42 March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Dan L #260:

I searched the slymepit userlist for “lee” and “coye” and found nothing. I searched the thread you linked for “slyme”, “pit”, and “slymepit”, and found only this:

“Lee Coye desparately wants to be seen as the AUTHORITY on the subject. But, without means to show it has that authority, it doesn’t have it, and its arguments merely sound as whiny and self-serving sexism. He will never be seen as the authority in this subject due to blatent sexism. The same problem the Slymepit has. He may as well pack it in.” -Nerd of Redhead

This is just NoR once again accusing the pit of sexism, it’s not evidence of anything. What makes you think lee coye is connected to the slymepit in any way? Even if he is, what makes you think one person is a “contingent”?

272 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

It sort of defeats the purpose if you say we’re misogynistic for some things that were not even said there, Dan L. See where I’m coming from?

273 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm

What is the best idea that has come out of the slymepit that could not have been produced at FtB?

I want to see the incredible ideas this environment has generated.

274 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

MetaLogic@269:

Sorry, I must have been mistaken about that. I thought lee coye said he was a slime pitter.

Eu@270:

Please try to catch up. I’m explaining why I think others perceive you to be misogynistic. I have not once accused you of actually being misogynistic.

275 Eu March 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

It’s kinda hard to prove that an idea could not have come from someone at FtB. Although I do see that this environment has produced you being ironic by coming back here and criticizing us for pointlessly talking while pointlessly talking. Can’t you just exit? The irony really bothers me. It’s kinda hypocritical.

276 oolon March 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Oolon (245) when were you banned and what for? If anyone should be allowed there I would have thought it was you, so I’m intrigued. Thanks in advance.

Ironically defending the Slymepit…. Or more accurately saying that PZ shouldn’t condemn all pittizens as misogynist scum… I like to try and make difficult arguments and frankly how do you tell people who are talked about constantly at a forum and described as “Baboons” that those people at that forum deserve any respect? You cannot accuse me of not trying to make that argument, same one you and many here are making, its not one that can be won until those at the Slymepit earn respect. They/we don’t respect you, you don’t respect them/us… Only one side wants to heal the deep rifts, if you mean it then you need to change. If not then go your own way as I said in comment 101…

Your comments about feeding FtB are a valid concern to me and something I am aware of. If it gets to the point the net benefit is negative I’m off. I do not feel we are there yet.

To paraphrase PZ when he banned me, jesus fuck Jack you don’t think you’ve gone negative enough yet? Ignoring the arguments and engaging in totally unsceptical attacks on personhood such as Stephanies NSFW post, her recent post with one of Reaps demented rendered videos in it? How much lower and more negative could it go? An actual physical attack on someone? What exactly would convince you it had… Gone too far!?

277 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:50 pm

With a little more research I find that lee coye admitted to being an MRA, not to being affiliated with the Slymepit. Again I apologize for this mistake.

My best guess for the accusations of misogyny then is the virulence with which some people who definitely are Slymepitters attack, say, Creight or Benson, especially with the “professional victim” charge.

278 Dan L. March 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Or maybe just the anti-feminism in general. Reap’s a Slymepitter, right?

279 kntk March 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm

[quote]Yup and as a “trolling” expert and not necessarily a fan of PZ have you lot ever considered how much you are playing into PZs hands by associating with the worst of the worst? He can corral all his idiot enemies in one easily dismissed forum of fools who let unpleasant MRAs like Astrokid be a part of their community. Seems you are all playing to his tune, the more you ratchet it up the more easily you are dismissed. That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.[/quote]

Who said I really care about the slymepit being taken seriously? If I wanted it to be taken seriously, I probably wouldn’t have the username there that I have. I just wondered if you knew about PZs strategy. Keep telling yourself that its working out for them, though. :)

280 doubtthat March 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm

@273

Wow, an awesome observation that I made myself a hundred posts ago. Impressive stuff.

You guys are the ones explaining how great the pit is – individuality, no moderation, none of those humorless feminists – I’m curious what results you’ve gotten. Seems like folks committed to a scientific understanding of the world should be fans of empirical observation.

What’s growing in that beautiful little free-speech petri dish?

281 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

Dan L #276:

No problem, mistakes happen. However, calling certain women professional victims doesn’t make one a misogynist. As far as I can remember, no one on the pit has ever said anything bad about those certain women *because they were women*.

282 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

Yeah, it’s not our fault they’re women. If they had beards and penises people would still say that.

283 Lumen222 March 20, 2013 at 12:11 am

“Lumen222, I get the impression that you are having some difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the Pit is not one homogenous group with a set goal or ideology to which we all agree and to which we all aim.”

I am not having difficulty “coming to terms” with anything. The “pitters” present themselves as an online identity and a group with an agenda. According to you it’s the exposure of “toxic sludge” in the movement.

Since this is supposed to be a dialogue I chose to just out right ASK what this self identified group wants, since frankly as a person from the broader community that you claim to be speaking to I am completely confused as to what you are trying to accomplish.

Just to back up for a second I came to this by way of Science Based Medicine and the posts made by Dr. Hall. Before this I had visited FTBs maybe 3 times ever . I had never visited Skepchik and was only aware of it due to Rebecca Watson being a host on the SGU, the podcast that brought me into this movement. (Where she almost never talks about feminism interestingly enough and I always thought of her as one of the pleasant “average person” foils to Steve Novella’s expert opinions.) I do not frequent Reddit or A+ either. However I read the majority of Orac’s posts, SBM, Skepticblogs, look forward to every posting of Jesus and Mo, multiple science vlogs on YouTube, and I have a support structure of atheist friends.

So… Am I a part of this general skeptical public you are so desperate to reach? Because I’m here. And I had a very open mind looking to give either side in this thread a chance to convince me… and so far you (the “expose the toxic sludge” crowd) are failing very very badly.

I do not agree with everything that happened in the Dr. Hall situation, or with Michael Schermer or Dawson or Rebecca Watson’s situation. There were actions committed by Watson that I disagreed with. But also Schermer and Dawson and yes… even Dr. Hall I feel made small missteps. However in all of these cases I ALSO think the reaction to them was absolutely ridiculous. These are human mistakes. Made by real people who despite their high public profiles do not have all the answers.

Nothing that any of these people have done is something that I would label toxic. Nothing they have said or done is anything that I think should have a lasting effect on their careers or in any way merits being called “sludge” and have this much hatred and bile spat at them.

Not. Even. Rebecca. Watson.

And frankly since I’ve already been told to “visit the pit and read the evidence” I will head you off at the pass to prevent you from dismissing me for ignorance. I HAVE. I have gone to that website and I have waded through literally HOURS of minutia, paranoid documentation, crude humor, bickering, and basically a random assortment of various axes to grind. This is interspersed with posts that I would call “average yacking” and a rare and occasional good point. I have watched the source material (where still available) and have read the various commentaries attacking and defending.

So let me sum this up very very clearly so you can see how you and many others are presenting yourselves to at least one person who came to this with an open mind, who is actually a NOT a radical feminist, who disagrees with many things done by these groups you claim are so toxic:

I AM NOT CONVINCED.

Most (not all) of this group of people who are constantly attacking FTB, Watson, Et Al, are frankly coming across as obsessed, hurt, angry, irrational (yes I said it) individuals, who will never stop harassing and nitpicking every detail of these few websites and every action of these few individuals, and who are frankly out for blood and will not be satisfied with anything other than destroying careers and lives. I have pointed out many times in the previous thread that the obsession with the people you are attacking is not productive. Let me restated why: It’s not advancing any ideas or changes. It is simply rehashing old wounds and old hurts.

Let me give you some advice from a 20 year professional in the entertainment field, advice that I am sure that you will not take since you are not a “movement” and do not apparently have any goals. You need to figure out who your audience is and THEN try to convince them. Of something. Anything. But until you decide who you are talking to and what it is you want them to understand you are not actually doing any good in the world. You are just wasting people’s time and derailing conversations, constantly back tracking to old comments, old events, and frankly “stirring the pot”. If you want to convince “the public” of something…which public? Seriously. Who are you talking to? The public are not sheep who are going to believe anything you say because you choose to troll in the comments of a couple of blog posts constantly linking old scandals or link backs to years old posts.

I gave this a fair shake. I just don’t see enough here to merit more of my attention. I am going back to reading Orac. He has a post on the “Paleo” movement and as I have multiple friends who have bought into that movement I very much would like to read his PoV. Maybe next year I will attend Necss. I’ve always wanted to go. I sincerely hope that by that point this over heated group of upset individuals will have either figured out a what their point is (besides destruction) or gotten bored of stirring up trouble.

Jack and Thaumas Themelios, I do not agree with everything you guys say, but of the people I have interacted with directly you both have made points that made me stop and think and that I found interesting. I appreciate that. I hope to see you around the web sometime.

284 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

@doubtthat no we’re correcting what people say about the pit. We don’t randomly brag about how great about the pit is. Instead of getting smart with us on here why don’t you go over to the pit and talk to them? See what’s “growing.” Don’t just browse the PTOS thread though. Some people do that on purpose.

285 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

Lumen it’s pretty obvious the group in general gathered to criticize some parts of the movements. That’s it. You don’t get to look at a user and say “okay, all pitters are this” or “okay, all pitters that.” That’s lazy as hell. It’s what racists do when they want to sum up races. Generalizing groups is a no no. The only thing you can say they have in common is that they criticize the FTB ideology.

286 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:15 am

I mean, I don’t understand why it’s so hard to do JUST THAT and stop saying added false garbage.

287 Trophy March 20, 2013 at 12:16 am

@HJ Hornbeck March 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm
” You clearly think PZ Myers is an unreasonable person. Problem: no-one thinks of themselves as unreasonable. Myers’ actions are entirely reasonable from his point of view. What are Myers’ reasons for acting the way he does? When you can describe them well enough that Myers himself would agree to your assessment, then and only then can negotiations begin.”

First of all, it is difficult for us to read PZ’s mind so I doubt you expect us to get it right 100%. But apart from this caveat, I think I understand where PZ is coming from: he has engaged creationists and pseudoscientists with ridiculous theories (e.g., “All animals were vegetarians before the fall, incluing lions!”) for years. He used ridicule and aggressive debating styles against them for a long time. Later when he decided to seriously pursue promotion of women in the secular community, he (naturally) continued to use the same tools and style. The problem is that the former is about objective scientific facts while the latter has some subjective elements built into it.

And finally, I don’t believe PZ is a vile or evil person but I believe when it comes to certain things, he is ideological which makes it very difficult to have a reasonable discussion with him.

288 Jack March 20, 2013 at 12:16 am

Dan L. (275)

Women are treated as people therefore no exception is given for their gender when there is a disagreement. I’ve sometimes heard the charge that an attack on any woman is in itself misogynist.

I realise you are saying ‘exceptional/ fiercer attack’ from the Slympitters when directed at women but I have seen no evidence that is true. I fully appreciate that would be a subjective call to make however.

I do however see it as some evidence that there is an almost an hysterical knee jerk reaction from the White Knights that inhabited the castle of FtB when criticism is directed at a woman. Personally I find their attitude deeply patronising to women and sexist in that it removes a woman’s agency.

289 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:17 am

LOL if he really said attacks are worse when its a woman he’s just saying it for argument’s sake or imagining it. You know, searching for a reason to dislike an entire group other than ‘they’re criticizing my peeps’ sometimes does that – confirmation bias, placebo, whatever you want to call it.

290 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

It is most CERTAINLY not worse when they’re women. They hate male and female Myers the same.

291 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:18 am

Yup.. that’s a great point. Benevolent sexism is still sexism and offensive.

292 Eu March 20, 2013 at 12:20 am

The fact that they would say they somehow notice severity in attacks on women goes to show they think in sexes so damn much. I mean really, in reality it’s a random “observation,” especially when it’s so clear that the severity of attacks at the sexes on FTB are the same.. many opportunities to observe and compare… Sexist in the mind themselves. Kinda like people who call out false racism too much (taking more note of people’s races than the people they are accusing of being racist) just might be racist themselves.

293 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 12:24 am

@282

I’m familiar with the work product, not interested.

294 Jack March 20, 2013 at 12:26 am

Lumen222 (281)

Thanks for your post which I read with interest. Thanks for giving proper consideration to the respective positions and have fun.

295 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 1:48 am

MetaLogic@279, Jack@286,Eu@various:

Let me repeat for the third or fourth time that I am not arguing that any of you are misogynistic nor am I looking for evidence that you are misogynistic. I am looking for explanations as to why people at FtB may have gotten the impression that the Slymepit encourages misogyny — or whatever formulation ends up being the most fair and face-saving for all sides. The impression I get is that this is a question you are also asking so I’m not sure why you’re all giving me so much pushback in trying to help you find explanations. In the following please remember that I am not accusing any of you; I am honestly trying to explain to you why other people might have gotten the impression they have of the ‘pit.

However, calling certain women professional victims doesn’t make one a misogynist.

Of course not. No single, particular act or statement could. Misogyny is a pattern of behaviors and attitudes. And if you care to simply google the phrase “professional victim” I think you’ll be able to quickly see why some might consider use of the phrase part of the pattern of misogynistic attitudes.

One possible problem here is that however legitimate the criticism of “professional victim” may be in any particular situation the idea in general is subject to abuse — it is a literal ad hominem argument used to discredit any argument made by a particular person without judging it on its merits.

Women are treated as people therefore no exception is given for their gender when there is a disagreement. I’ve sometimes heard the charge that an attack on any woman is in itself misogynist.

I’m pretty sure the latter would be considered fringe even among the pharyngulites. Most likely it would be context-dependent and people would probably draw the lines in different places — what constitutes “attack” vs. “criticism” for example. That’s the danger in putting so much emotional investment into terms like “misogynist.” As to the former, MetaLogic expressed something similar…

As far as I can remember, no one on the pit has ever said anything bad about those certain women *because they were women*.

So let me try to explain to you why there’s a perceived disparity in the attacks on women. Again, not arguing that there is a disparity (though I’m a little curious what kind of evidence I could possibly produce to convince you). Just trying to help you see the chain of assumptions that could lead to such bad faith all around.

1. There are more men than women in the atheist community. This means that any attacks on women are many men on a few women. There is a (real and perceived) numerical discrepancy.
2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.” Without making any assertions or arguments that this is in itself misogynistic I think one can appreciate how it might be reasonably taken to be dismissive and patronizing. (Yes, I’m sure through some tortuous reasoning you can divine a way that women in skepticism could take it as a compliment! How marvelous! But again, we’re trying to understand what someone else is thinking, not tell them how they should think.) So I think there is a perceived discrepancy in respect.
3. For every non-caucasian ethnic group there is at least one pejorative term that is more piercing than any pejorative terms for caucasians. I can’t prove it but I can’t come up with a counterexample either. Similarly, insults using a woman’s anatomy are simply harder hitting than insults using a male’s anatomy. In fact, insults based on a male’s anatomy are often taken as compliments by the sorts of people who make insults based on female anatomy. I could go on at length about this but I think I’ll leave it there. Suffice to say there’s at least a perceived discrepancy in the “arsenal” of attacks. Again, I don’t really care to argue that the discrepancy is real, only to help you understand why some people would perceive this.

Incidentally, patriarchy theory is really bound up with at the very least numbers 2 and 3. For example I think a pretty standard Pharyngula explanation for why Shermer said what he did is that he is *gasp* a product of our culture in which there is persistent doubt about the capability of women to seriously engage in intellectual pursuits. (Again, doesn’t matter if it’s true. We’re trying to understand what other people think.)

I think as a result of (3) there also may be a perception that using anatomy- and sex-based (verbal) attacks against a woman is much more effectively humiliating and silencing than “similar” attacks against a man.

Hopefully this is at least a little bit helpful.

296 Ng March 20, 2013 at 2:09 am

You want people from one faction to explain the thought process and reasoning that led people on the other faction to have an adverse opinion on them?

Why don’t you just ask the other faction and cut out the middleman?

297 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:12 am

Ng@296:

Sadly, politics doesn’t play by engineering principles.

298 Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

Dan L. (295)

I do feel some people look out to be offended. In the same way you can find evidence for Demons if you believe in them and UFO’s if you believe in those. Our minds are wired for it.

I will give an example that you brought up:

’2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.”’

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

People who LOOK for offence can read it differently and of course, they did. Not only that but they put words in his mouth he never said.

I have no issue with people being criticised for what they say but misrepresentation and the worst possible interpretation of someone’s words is damaging to that person and it is simply wrong. They did it as they dislike Shermer and saw an easy way to promote their ideology. If PZ said it no one would have batted an eyelid.

It has a chilling effect which I dislike intensely. That is an example of trying to control the narrative and imposition. At least to me.

This post modernist emotional basis of discourse is irrational. Basing someone’s words on what you think of them, justified or not, is simply not being skeptical. That is why I take issue with it and means people that exercise that sort of commentary get no respect from me and I question their motives.

One clear motive is to to find ‘Demons’ to fight that simply do not exist in order to support a belief, such as patriarchy or misogyny in the skeptic community.

Now your interpretation differs but as I do not know Shermars mind, only he does, I see no reason to jump down his throat without at least asking him for an explanation rather than running off and blogging as soon as possible and screaming from the rooftops what a terrible man he is.

I am happy to see evidence of claims made but when I realise that such evidence is supported by pure emotion while being loose on factual content I can only see that damaging any claims of misogyny in the community rather than supporting it.

299 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:48 am

Jack@298:

Can you please can the “post modern discourse” garbage? You’re asking a question: “Why don’t they like me?” And I’m trying to help you answer it. If you don’t want to try to understand what other people think and why then you just won’t be able to understand it.

Frankly, I think the criticism of Shermer’s statement is right on. And I think if Shermer had acknowledged that criticism instead of insisting of making “professional victim” accusations no one would have “attacked” him (as opposed to his statement) at all.

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

I find this implausible. This is in response to a question about why there isn’t more gender parity in the atheist community. Your interpretation is that he literally answered this question with a tautology: there are more men because there are more men. Here are his actual words: “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.”

Your interpretation becomes a little ambiguous confronted with the actual statement. Are there fewer women in atheism because fewer women actually like to stand up and talk? Go to conferences? Be intellectually active about it? Or is he again simply making the tautological statement that fewer women do those things because fewer women do those things?

The statement seems to me on a rather casual inspection to be loaded with baggage from culturally-determined gender roles. This is not to say Michael Shermer is literally a misogynist, just that perhaps he has internalized some aspects of our culture that others feel hinder women in attempts at equality (not least among them — lower expectations).

Whether I’m right or wrong I feel like you should at least be able to concede that criticism of the statement is completely fair. And in the beginning that’s what there was. Shermer said something stupid and people pointed to it and said “that was stupid.”

After that the antipathy towards Shermer seems to be based much more on how he responded to these criticisms rather than the incident itself.

300 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:54 am

And once again whether Shermer’s statements was actually dismissive and patronizing is incidental to this discussion which — once again — is about why FtB folks perceive a discrepancy in disputes between men and women (the question you are asking). If you can’t concede that Shermer’s statement could reasonably be taken to be dismissive and patronizing I’m not sure I see you being able to understand why FtB folks don’t want to talk to you (but it becomes a little clearer why they wouldn’t want to talk to you about it).

301 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

Oh, and by the way:

They did it as they dislike Shermer and saw an easy way to promote their ideology.

Now your interpretation differs but as I do not know Shermars mind, only he does, I see no reason to jump down his throat without at least asking him for an explanation

The second sentiment seems fine to me but it seems to contradict the first.

Based on what I know about Benson I find it rather implausible that the initial criticism was motivated by a personal vendetta against Shermer. I think it was the same good-faith criticism I make above.

302 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 3:11 am

Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

Dan L. (295)

I do feel some people look out to be offended. In the same way you can find evidence for Demons if you believe in them and UFO’s if you believe in those. Our minds are wired for it.

I will give an example that you brought up:

’2. Shermer says shit like “it’s more of a guy thing.”’

Now I listened to that podcast and in the context he made it I took it to mean he was admitting more men than women are activists in the atheist community. He is simply stating a fact. The female interviewer took it that way too.

People who LOOK for offence can read it differently and of course, they did.

I don’t think anyone took offense to Shermer’s comment. Ophelia Benson pointed out, in the context of an article about subtle sexism, that Shermer’s remark was an example of such. It was a perfectly reasonable observation.

The offense was taken by Shermer who responded to that mildest of criticisms by writing two articles declaring it equivalent to a witch hunt, the inquisition and Nazism.

It has seemed to me for some time now that many of the people accusing Benson and others of looking for reasons to be offended and behaving like “professional victims” are themselves spending an awful lot of time and energy combing through everything certain bloggers say looking for flyshit in the pepper, if not actively doing their best to provoke a reaction they can then point to as evidence of the alleged hypersensitivity. There’s a kind of obsessiveness in this behaviour which I find a little disturbing. It certainly doesn’t contribute to an atmosphere of constructive dialogue.

303 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:41 am

Hey, so Ophelia Benson, what exactly have I said about you that wasn’t true?

And why should I go around on the INTERNET using my real name? It isn’t my fault you’re using your real name. What do you risk, anyway? You don’t seem to have a problem with putting yourself out there and your own platform is just as wide so even if people who knew you IRL caught the “false” statements you could correct them with your publicity. It seems to be your job to blog, isn’t it? If I was some sort of article writer, or whatever you do, I’d need to use my real name too, but it’s not my forte to “open up” to the whole world.

Not everyone wants to be “famous” or “public.” Some people value their privacy. I don’t need a bunch of random people breathing down my neck. My life just started.

A LOT of people on the internet value privacy and want to keep their offline lives separate.

And I have a HUGE reason to do so.

Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? THINK before you speak. I will never make mistakes on the internet again. I will never risk anyone else again.

That really pissed me off, so, you guessed it: FUCK. YOU!!!

304 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:41 am

For someone who thinks wimminz are in so much danger just breathing she sure doesn’t appreciate it a need for privacy, safety, or security.

305 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:43 am

Trying to fucking call privacy, safety, and SECURITY cowardice or “hiding in anonymity” is just plain unfair, even if someone doesn’t have ADDITIONAL REASONS (like me) on top of the normal “I just want to keep my offline life separate and want to be generally safe.”

You have your address on the internet too, do you want to advise teenage girls to put their addresses out there too? Really, fuck that, and fuck you, asshole.

306 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:43 am

I’m so pissed the fuck off, and she better read my comments. An “excuse me” would be too much to ask, but maybe she can at least think to herself that she could’ve thought that comment through.

307 TwiceSurvived March 20, 2013 at 3:51 am

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. When I was first assaulted, the school tried to get me to prove it, I couldn’t and I had to beg to have him moved to another dormitory. My own professor asked me why I didn’t do anything. I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life trying to prove to others that what happened to me was wrong, and not my fault. And every single article like this makes it easier. Thank you.

308 Jack March 20, 2013 at 3:53 am

Dan L. (300)

You seem to be under the impression I expect anyone to talk to me or others here. I fully expected they would not and it is a shame I am proved right. I do not care if they like me or not, that never stopped me discussing with those I disagree with in the past.

You are making a week argument. It has already been stated many times they have no obligation to speak here but the fact they do not with a few notable exceptions is very telling. They always avoid direct discussion and they always will.

If they owned the argument, they could support it, they would be here. They can’t. I repeat this is not about beliefs it is about how they are affecting the movement. You disagree but you need to understand it is how I feel.

I’m not here to try and argue with a few bloggers about feminism, that bores me and a waste of everyone’s time. I’m a humanist first and that is sufficient for me. I do not care if they believe in tooth fairies as long as they do not try and force that on others and stop making such a damn fuss about some words someone said in a damn interview or say in a tweet.

People hate walking on eggshells and we’re not a religious organisation where some topics are taboo. Skeptics thrive on open and free debate. I do not want to see that damaged.

309 Felonious Munk March 20, 2013 at 3:58 am

nice dialogue you got over here.

310 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:04 am

The elephant in the room is no one from FtB/Skepchic is commenting here and except for one drive by has not for some time. I never expected anyone from A+ as they are too busy bullying the last few members in their ‘safe space’ to do that.

It has been a useful exercise for onlookers to form their own views if they wish. But while those in charge are happy to snipe from the sidelines I see no substantive move towards any sort of understanding.

311 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 4:06 am

@ Dan
You conveniently left out the first part of Mr. Shermer’s answer, just like the original blogger (named person) did, because it did not suit the interpretation you wanted to run with.

The first part of his answer was ” “I think it probably really is fifty-fifty.”, a line left out of (named person’s) blog and of your post. Quote mining should be beneath skeptics.

312 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:09 am

I do not care if they believe in tooth fairies as long as they do not try and force that on others and stop making such a damn fuss about some words someone said in a damn interview or say in a tweet.

People hate walking on eggshells and we’re not a religious organisation where some topics are taboo. Skeptics thrive on open and free debate. I do not want to see that damaged.

There’s a subtle contradiction here. Do you see it? As A Hermit pointed out, Benson’s initial criticism of the statement was part of a larger criticism of subtle and casual sexism. If you care to read it I think you’ll have to agree that it’s not actually a vicious attack.

But you don’t want an “open and free debate” about it. You seem to think that topic should be “taboo”. You would like those of us who have reservations about Shermer’s statement to “walk on eggshells”.

You are making a week argument. It has already been stated many times they have no obligation to speak here but the fact they do not with a few notable exceptions is very telling. They always avoid direct discussion and they always will.

I am not making an argument at all. I am trying to help you understand why they are avoiding direct discussion with you. If you do not want to understand then I don’t understand how you can expect for there to be any kind of conciliation for the betterment of the “movement”. Furthermore I don’t see how you can complain that they have no desire to understand your point of view.

313 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:10 am

A Hermit (302)

You have to remember this has been going on some time and there are deep dislikes between some people. With some it has got very personal.

So I understand your comment about obsessiveness. Personally I have no ill will towards anyone and wish those who disagree with me all the best. I also think the purpose of trying to keep in check an ideology is more important that worrying about a few disputes, nasty as they can sometimes get. They won’t stop whatever happens or whatever is said. I’m looking at the bigger picture, or trying to.

As always I am only speaking for myself of course.

314 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:12 am

Submariner@311:

The first part of his answer was ” “I think it probably really is fifty-fifty.”, a line left out of (named person’s) blog and of your post. Quote mining should be beneath skeptics.

OK, then put the whole statement into context for me. How is it simultaneously “fifty-fifty” and “more of a guy thing”?

315 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:13 am

Dan L. (312)

You do know discussion is not allowed I assume? No recourse. If it was there would not be a problem would there? There is no discussion. Attacks are made with no address. That’s why we are here.

There is no ‘open and free debate’. That’s the whole point.

316 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:17 am

Dan L. (314)

If you were someone who appeared on live blog TV do you think it would be productive to you if you knew there were people out there willing to pounce on every word you said?

Do you really want to live in a world like that?

317 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:27 am

Jack@316:

No one is “pouncing.” Imagine if Shermer had responded to Benson’s article by saying:

“You’re right. I should have said that there’s a legacy of skepticism being a boy’s club but that there are a lot of great people working on that issue right now.”

Or just said that in the first place. I mean, I know he’s on the spot which is why it’s fair to respond to mild, reasonable criticism with an acknowledgement that perhaps he might have phrased the sentiment better.

Just remember: the severity of an “attack” like Benson’s is completely subjective and you can’t hold Benson responsible if Shermer took it the wrong way.

318 Jack March 20, 2013 at 4:39 am

Dan L. 317

I do want to be clear here as there may be a miscommunication. I have zero issue with someone attacking others. As long as there is redress and redress as it happens, not someone telling them later when the damage is done or they are forced to scramble for a reply in some tweet.

So yes FtB can enforce any policy they want but they must then expect people to be very unhappy if they are denied a right of reply when attacked. It gives rise to a sense of deep injustice.

319 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:14 am

Jack@318:

Don’t you think this “sense of deep injustice” is the sort of subjective feeling that you should try to own?

I just looked through most of the conversation and much of it is you asking why the FtB kids don’t want you sitting at their lunch table. So then I explain why and you respond to tell me I have a “week argument.” So sorry if I’m getting the impression that you’re not really all that curious about why they don’t want to hear from you down at FtB.

“Free and open debate” doesn’t start with telling people that utterances of leaders of the movement are not to be criticized and “free and open debate” certainly isn’t furthered by accusing the critics of being witchhunting Nazis.

They don’t want to debate you because you don’t want to understand what they have to say — you just don’t want them to say it at all. You’ve demonstrated as much to me very clearly in our discussion here. It’s really as simple as that.

320 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:25 am

Dan L (319)

Why do you keep saying I have any interest in WHAT they have to say when that is not the issue at all? They refuse to discuss what they have to say, it is that simple. They always have. I will not be told what to think by fiat.

321 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:47 am

Oolon (276)

I know you wish for the ‘why don’t we all just get on’ solution but that won’t happen as things are now. People have not been allowed to get on as they are not allowed a right of reply.

You can’t agree with someone you disagree with without discussion. You can’t accommodate others unless you are willing to do so by not trying to censor or shun.

There has never been a discussion. If they are allowed that then there is a chance of people at least agreeing to disagree while discussing the issues. Something productive may come from it.

That is the way to stop all the mud slinging. It is how the rationalist communities have always operated and it has served us well over many years. To expect otherwise is naive and just sticking a plaster on an open wound.

322 HJ Hornbeck March 20, 2013 at 6:51 am

AppleStairs @242:

Not bad, not bad. There are some parts that seem a little exaggerated to me, but I don’t think they’re too far enough out of whack to cause a problem. I’m happy to agree with it, despite it’s imperfections, if only to help move this forward.

Now that we’ve agreed on a basic standpoint for both sides, notice that both narratives have some core premises to them: free speech is to be strongly protected, social justice is a worthwhile goal, and so on. While all those premises and their conclusions are very reasonable, there’s clearly some problem when one side’s premises are combined with the other’s; there’d be no fireworks, otherwise!

Jumping back to The Troubles, Irish autonomy conflicted strongly with British protection. Both sides had to compromise their premises somewhat, with the IRA demilitarizing and the Brits giving away control, in order to defuse the situation. Small steps were a must, with both sides fully in control.

So the next step it to trade compromises, based on the shared narrative we’ve constructed, until both sides are satisfied. I’ll go first.

As you mention in your narrative of the FtB side, they believe that the “atheist movement can only achieve and maintain diversity by making sure to quiet and moderate the voices of those who, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuate oppression by failing to recognize that their opinions and statements reveal sexist, racist, and generally selfish and bigoted attitudes.” OK, let me concede some ground there. As FtB is a blogging network, their primary method of doing this through use of speech, what I’ve heard other people describe as a “call-out culture.” Clearly, this must change.

So how would you like the bloggers at FtB to limit their speech?

323 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

It would be nice if FTB bloggers and commenters didn’t pile on on someone who has been banned, for a start. If the banned person can’t defend themselves (more so when they use their real name), it’s quite akin to kicking someone who’s just passed out.

324 oolon March 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

I know you wish for the ‘why don’t we all just get on’ solution but that won’t happen as things are now. People have not been allowed to get on as they are not allowed a right of reply.

What right of reply do you want? You want to be able to post blog posts on Pharyngula :-D or what? You do realise you have a right of reply… Despite all this crap about freedom of speech you actually have freedom of speech, hence all the crappy videos and blog posts about FtBs. What more could you reasonably expect?

It would be nice if FTB bloggers and commenters didn’t pile on on someone who has been banned, for a start. If the banned person can’t defend themselves (more so when they use their real name), it’s quite akin to kicking someone who’s just passed out.

Someone mildly trolling the Slymepit got piled on… If you are really talking about after they are banned then yes sometimes the commenters make a few comments after they are gone in that thread. The Slymepit continually talks shit (As Ophelia puts it) about people…. I’m sure no one there ever mentions me?

QFT.. Lumen222 at http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/19/on-the-primacy-of-reasonable-dialogue-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/#comment-202979

325 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

Oh, don’t worry oolon, you are talked about. But 1) your name is not oolon IRL and 2) I’m not sure you’re banned from the Pit. Try and post there sometime, just to be sure.

Same goes for anyone being criticized there. Nothing prevents them from posting a rebuttal.

Which is not the case on quite a bit too many FTB blogs….

326 Karmakin March 20, 2013 at 11:13 am

Re: Shermer, the way he can see it as “fifty-fifty” and then say what he did, is that he was talking about two different things. He thinks that overall, skeptics are probably evenly divided among gender lines, it’s just that spending valuable, generally limited resources to go to a conference and listen to arguments and debates and sometimes droll speakers is “more of a guy thing”, as shown by more males attending.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think it was a sexist statement, but I don’t think it was one with negative intentions. I certainly don’t think it was more sexist than a lot of the stuff that comes from the FTB/A+ sphere, such as the idea that women should have special protections and dispensations within the skeptical community.

I’m all for the idea that to attract more women to the “active” skeptical movement, maybe things have to change. However, you can make those changes both A. based on behavior, not on in-group/out-group status, and B. gender/race/sexuality/etc. neutral, and still make those changes. Harassment is bad? Then harassment is bad regardless of gender. You don’t lose anything by following those steps.

Well. You lose the ability for the people complaining about it to harass others. That’s a thing, it seems.

327 usernamehere March 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

oolon said: “That NSFW thread of Stephanies is a hammer blow, not many reasonable outsiders could think very highly of a place that creates that shit. If you want to be taken seriously then its up to you.”

Quite right and cosigned from an “outsider” to this, ahem, dispute.

It doesn’t matter if that kind of thing is, supposedly, a small part of the Slymepit (I’m not sure about that, when I first browsed the forum I was greeted with a fair amount of content I’d consider vile but I guess YMMV on that front). If someone can use the content you produce to come up with a post like that, you’re doing it *extremely* wrong. Your grievances with other bloggers and commentators might not matter much to a random person after that.

328 Edward Gemmer March 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I like dialog, but I don’t see any real change to be had. I post on Slymepit because they value free speech and diversity. FtB doesn’t. These are values important to me. What Ftb and others value appears to be cultural norms, which typically comes down to telling people how to act and what to say. This can be valuable, I suppose, but clearly it isn’t for everyone and ticks a lot of people off.

329 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

HJ Hornbeck @322 said: ‘As you mention in your narrative of the FtB side, they believe that the “atheist movement can only achieve and maintain diversity by making sure to quiet and moderate the voices of those who, perhaps unwittingly, perpetuate oppression by failing to recognize that their opinions and statements reveal sexist, racist, and generally selfish and bigoted attitudes.” OK, let me concede some ground there. As FtB is a blogging network, their primary method of doing this through use of speech, what I’ve heard other people describe as a “call-out culture.” Clearly, this must change. So how would you like the bloggers at FtB to limit their speech?’

Well, I think the “call-out culture” reflects the fact that the political outlook is extremely homogeneous among most of the FTB bloggers and commenters and that doubthat’s position in #123 – “There is no compromise position. I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with.” – is widely shared by FTB/A-plussers.

I think the uneasy partial union of the “skeptical” and “atheist/secularist” movements [insert venn diagram here] is key. One tenet of “skepticism” is that nearly all beliefs/claims should be subject to examination and critical questioning, and it has mostly focused on factual claims and debunking woo and meritless conspiracy theories. It’s politically diverse and less focused on political activism (with some exceptions). Libertarians like Penn Gillette and Michael Shermer are prominent.

Atheism/secularism is inherently more political — it’s one of the main fronts in the culture wars. Many atheists are seeking refuge from real and oppressive religious patriarchies and have no interest in the “skeptical movement” per se.

PZ is as prominent as he is mostly because of his scorched-earth approach to atheist activism. He is widely perceived to be a “dirty fighter” who treats atheist-skeptics who disagree with him politically (or even those who substantially agree, but who for whatever reason piss off him or his commenters) with the same contempt and refusal to accommodate that he directs against creationists. He has essentially no interest in political “debates” or dealing with push-back against his particular brand of “godless liberalism.”

The natural result is that people who disagree with his opinions or tactics are driven away and criticize him from a safe distance (safe from banning or dog-piling by the horde).

I have no interest in “limiting the speech” of FTBers. Personally, I prefer an environment less homogeneous and politically dogmatic than FTB is. I think most people (on all sides) have relatively little interest in subjecting their political prejudices to critical examination. I think it happens quite a bit more at SP than FTB, but it’s still fairly rare.

Que sera, sera.

330 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Karmakin March 20, 2013 at 11:13 am

I certainly don’t think it was more sexist than a lot of the stuff that comes from the FTB/A+ sphere, such as the idea that women should have special protections and dispensations within the skeptical community.

It could be that this kind of misrepresentation of what people are asking for is what makes them not want to discuss it with you…no one I know of asking for “special protections and dispensations” for anyone. They are asking for recognition that there is sometimes a problem with sexism and even harassment and that we all be aware of it and try to limit it. For everyone.

Calling that “special protections” is like the Christian right’s complaint about gays getting “special rights’ if they’re allowed to get married like everyone else. There’s nothing”special” about asking for fairness and respect.

331 tina March 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

It’s been explicitly stated that the dispute is about the control of, and who is, or is not, welcome to participate in ‘the movement’. As Carrier put it “..to separate the light side of the force from the dark side within the atheist movement.” The notion is that this division is now necessary in order to marginalise the evil in the atheist community.

This ‘evil’ consists of those who dare to question or show any form of skeptical attitude towards social justice causes or feminist principles and the rhetoric is that such people must be sent back to ‘the dark side’ and excluded. In order to achieve this, these people must be exposed for what they are: evil, nasty persons who do not approve of puppy dogs and sunsets and women and ethnic minorities and whatever. They must become non-persons and cast into the outer darkness. Best way to achieve that is to smear the lot as haters, misogynistic, sexist, harassers, rape enabling rape apologist rapists, rape, rape, rape, gender traitory chill girls and whatever else.

I don’t buy it. It’s a beautiful pile of straw. Highly combustible. Also an enterprise doomed from the getgo as neither atheism nor skepticism can be constrained by any dogmatic set of beliefs derived from any source whatsoever.

332 thetalkingstove March 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

“They must become non-persons and cast into the outer darkness.”

Hyperbole, much? We’re talking about people being banned from individual persons’ blogs. Not locked up. Not tortured. Banned from blogs. Oh the humanity!

Meanwhile, you equate caring about women with caring about puppy dogs. I’d hope you were not being literal and just aiming for comic effect, but really? If you are against women’s rights it is about the same as being against sunsets?

Meanwhile, pitters ask for evidence of misogyny at the pit just a week or so after Michael Nugent himself started off this discussion and posted about 50 examples. Sigh.

333 Eu March 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm

thetalkingstove, I doubt anyone equated women to puppy dogs. I bet you’re taking advantage of the missing context here. Don’t twist things, mmkay?

334 Eu March 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

In the end if people keep trying to be funny, smart assed, dishonest, twisting shit, we should just let em keep calling us misogynist… they know what they’re doing anyway and it’s a waste of energy after a while. They can still be criticized even if they cry misogynist.

335 tina March 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm

More straw. We are talking about people being marginalised and excluded from ‘the movement’.

336 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

@TheTalkingStove – Over 8 months or so at the post-ERV SP, over 400 posters, including many women among the most active members, have contributed nearly 80,000 posts in an almost totally unmoderated environment. Aside from the fact that few of those “50 examples” could actually be construed as unambiguous evidence of “misogyny,” several of them were quotes or paraphrases of statements made elsewhere or ironic expressions taken out of context.

Of course, the list didn’t even purport to demonstrate “misogyny” in the first place — it was a list of examples of “nasty pushback against some feminists on the Internet.”

Even if some fraction of them actually expressed “misogyny” or you want to claim that the writers were actual “misogynists,” that would mean essentially nothing. Within hours of the original post, there was an even longer list of examples of homicidal fantasies from the lips of FTB commenters.

If you doubt FTB could be easily convicted of hosting bigotry and hatred by fishing for inflammatory comments from an ocean of conversation, then you’re naive. If you truly believe SP is a place where “misogyny,” as the word is usually defined, is actually encouraged or condoned, you’re simply mistaken.

If you want to argue that the use of “gendered” profanity is by itself sexist, then I suggest you search for the use of “dick” or “prick” at FTB over the last year. If you want to argue that only “female gendered” profanity is unacceptable, then we’ll simply have to agree to disagree.

337 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Karmakin@326:

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think it was a sexist statement, but I don’t think it was one with negative intentions.

I don’t think anyone accused Shermer of having negative intentions after the initial statement. Benson specifically criticized Shermer for thoughtlessly and carelessly discouraging participation of women in atheism/skepticism — not intentionally discouraging them.

Then harassment is bad regardless of gender.

I’ve tried to explain the perceived disparity between the genders in these sorts of disputes without explicitly trying to argue that the disparity is any more than perceived. If you don’t want to try to understand the other side’s point of view then I’m not sure what the point of asking for “dialogue” is.

338 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

@Edward Gemmer:

I like dialog, but I don’t see any real change to be had. I post on Slymepit because they value free speech and diversity. FtB doesn’t. These are values important to me. What Ftb and others value appears to be cultural norms, which typically comes down to telling people how to act and what to say. This can be valuable, I suppose, but clearly it isn’t for everyone and ticks a lot of people off.

Actually they pretty clearly DO value free speech and diversity. However just because they value these things does not mean they’re obligated to let anyone say whatever they want in the fora provided. Certainly no more than a blog about evolution is obligated to provide a forum to YECs who want to argue that evolution is false.

And every community has cultural norms. The idea that people should be able to say whatever they want in the ‘pit is itself a cultural norm. You have different cultural norms because the communities have different purposes.

@tina:

You’ve completely gone off the rails. No one is going to engage with the sort of ridiculous hyperbole you’re going into.

339 Coel March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Dan L: #317

Just remember: the severity of an “attack” like Benson’s is completely subjective and you can’t hold Benson responsible if Shermer took it the wrong way.

Benson herself said that her wording criticising Shermer was “deliberately hyperbolic”. Thus (IMO) she does bear some degree of responsibility for the fact that Shermer then over-reacted to it.

340 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Eu@333:

Don’t twist things, mmkay?

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s not as though you’ve assiduously avoided twisting anything I’ve said. Try not to be a hypocrite, mmkay?

341 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Coel@339:

Benson herself said that her wording criticising Shermer was “deliberately hyperbolic”. Thus (IMO) she does bear some degree of responsibility for the fact that Shermer then over-reacted to it.

You guys don’t recognize your own talking points when they get thrown back at you, huh?

Shermer needs to own his feelings. Only Shermer is responsible for how Shermer feels. Sound familiar yet?

342 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Coel@339:

Response in moderation.

343 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It’s not as though you’ve assiduously avoided twisting anything I’ve said. Try not to be a hypocrite, mmkay?”

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

344 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm

While I’m at it, have you actually read what Benson is describing as “deliberately hyperbolic”?

Some of the tamest hyperbole I’ve ever seen, especially contrasted with some of the whinging in recent comments.

345 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

It’s also really annoying and a waste of space when people make general claims and then don’t even bother to finish their sentence – when you say “You twisted something” instead of following with what I supposedly twisted, or something like “Something you said was incorrect” instead of simply saying what was… it gets on people’s nerves. Especially my nerves. I had to deal with someone like that earlier.

346 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Eu@343:

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

You’re freaking obsessed. Let it go. I’ve said probably about a dozen different times I have no interest in proving that you or anyone else in the ‘pit is a misogynist. The fact that you keep accusing me of trying to do so is enough “twisting what I said” to qualify nicely, I think.

347 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Eu@345:

Perhaps you should simply acknowledge that you’re getting on my nerves too and that if you really want any kind of a dialog you’re going to have to be a wee bit patient.

348 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

What? So, you jump into my conversation, accuse me of twisting what you said, and then when I take the bait, you call me obsessed? Troll much?

Please paste one incident where I said you tried to paint the pit as misogynist.

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that? No, you have no right to complain about that. The people who told you it’s unfair to do that were totally in the right, and I did not badger you dozens of comments for that. Exaggeration much?

You only interrupted because you’re still salty about being corrected a long time back? lol.

349 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Dan, you’re the one who brought it up, how am I the one getting on your nerves? You started talking to me. Fuck off if I’m so irritating.

350 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

@Eu:

262, 263, 272.

I’m being patient and engaging you in dialog despite the fact that you’re so irritating. I would think that would be praiseworthy but I keep forgetting that you guys are not really interested in dialog.

351 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that?

Speaking of twisting words, are you referring to when I said I think there may be some actual misogynists at the ‘pit? Because saying that is not the same as saying the ‘pit is “a misogynistic place.”

This is exactly why I’m telling you not to complain about people twisting your words. Because you’re very obviously not immune to the same behavior.

352 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Dan L, stop playing around with me. I’m asking you to tell me how I twisted something you said so you can get over this grudge and stop whining whenever I tell someone else not to twist things.

You’re the one not interested in dialogue – instead of telling me, you keep responding saying I’m irritating.

How about you wait until you’re ready to explain yourself before replying? I’m not interested in dialogue? I won’t be if this keeps up. Note to Self: Asking Dan to clarify and trying to fix anything I might have twisted is irritating and I should just ignore his complaint next time. Gotcha.

353 Eu March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Dan L, that’s not the comment I’m talking about. I never read such a comment that was simply contemplating it – I’m talking about the comment where not only I but someone else also clearly read your comment as saying there were misogynists at the pit in general all because some guy who went there said misogynistic things on some blog.

That comment.

If that wasn’t you, then you have me mixed up with someone else. The person who did that is the only one I’ve corrected recently besides this person whose twisting you seem to want to defend.

354 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm

And please, never do that again – don’t give “replies” that don’t even answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you. I was ready to give up if I got a couple more replies like that, though.

355 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Eu@352,353:

Cite the number and I can tell you exactly what I was saying.

A little ironic that you would give me a response like 352 and then say something like 353, right? Don’t give “replies” that don’t answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you.

You’re being a hypocrite. Drop the posturing and accept that you’re behaving at least as badly as I am.

356 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm

And I did answer you. I pointed out how 343 qualified as twisting my words and then gave you three more examples.

357 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Dan L. #341

You guys don’t recognize your own talking points when they get thrown back at you, huh?

On what basis are you attributing “your own talking points” to me? Which “guys”? Which “talking points”?

While I’m at it, have you actually read what Benson is describing as “deliberately hyperbolic”?

Yes, I’ve read it. The words were: “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 …”.

Since Shermer had not said “exactly that”, this was “deliberately hyperbolic” writing that accused him of far worse than he had actually said. This would have contributed to the fact that he then over-reacted in his replies.

358 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

How am I being a fucking hypocrite? You never asked me anything. The only claim that you’ve brought up here that I could possibly answer is the one that I twisted something you said – the one I asked you over and over to clear up.

Unless of course you’re saying I didn’t “answer” you by shutting up and being “patient.”

Really, are you doing this on purpose?

Or maybe you don’t get what I’m saying: I’m saying, I tried to clear up what was supposedly twisted, you kept replying with replies that didn’t get to the point of what I twisted and then said I was not interested in dialogue with you.

I’ve not displayed any behaviors that showed I wasn’t interested in dialogue with you. I keep answering any accusation you pin on me, including this one. If I’m still somehow not engaging in actual dialogue with you please tell me so I can just give it up since I clearly don’t know how.

359 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Coel@356:

On what basis are you attributing “your own talking points” to me? Which “guys”? Which “talking points”?

So you agree that if party A says something that party B finds offensive, party B is well within his rights to point this out? That it’s not the case that B should “own his feelings” and that it’s not true that “it’s entirely B’s responsibility how B feels about what A says”?

Shermer did in fact say exactly “that’s a guy thing” which is the only part there in quotes. One could easily take Benson to be saying “Shermer said exactly “that’s a guy thing” if one were so inclined. If you’re going to insist on charitable interpretations of Shermer’s statements then I don’t see why I shouldn’t insist on charitable interpretations of Benson’s statements.

360 Eu March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Dan, see this image http://imgur.com/MrxPMx0 my reply keeps being moderated.

As for the claim that you answered me, um no, you hadn’t. The first time you answered me was when you talked about some time you said there *may* be misogynists at the pit instead of saying there actually are. And then I acknowledged that answer by answering you.

If I somehow missed you answering before this, you can paste it again. It’s also news to me that I twisted what you said THREE TIMES unless you’re bringing up stuff that’s not relevant to the topic.

361 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Eu@358:

How are you a hypocrite? Let me count the ways.

1. You yelled at someone for twisting your words when you’ve done plenty of twisting of your own. (Hence my initial statement on this subject.)
2. You asked me for examples so I responded — with examples! Your question was just such an example in turn because it included this:

When did I twist what you said, and does it measure up to anything like trying so hard to paint the pit as misogynist? Hope you weren’t saying it’s alright to do the latter.

At no point in this thread did I “try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist” and so this qualifies as such an example. Then I gave you the numbers to three more comments of yours that similarly twisted my words.
3. You object that I REALLY DID SAY THAT. But whereas you asked me for specific examples and I provided them, you responded only to insist that “No, no, you really did say that” without offering any quotations or even a comment number. It’s hypocritical to demand examples from me and then supply none of your own when the situation is reversed. And now you’re telling me “post it again” even though you’re clearly too lazy to do anything similar to support your own assertions.

You could just drop the accusations of hypocrisy and acknowledge that we’re all going to misread each other and get each others intentions wrong. It’s what I’ve done in this thread so far when others have misinterpreted my comments. I didn’t start giving you a hard time about it until you hypocritically started giving me a hard time about it.

362 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Dan L. #357

So you agree that if party A says something that party B finds offensive, party B is well within his rights to point this out?

Yes. I agree with that fully.

… and that it’s not true that “it’s entirely B’s responsibility how B feels about what A says”?

Yes, agreed.

Shermer did in fact say exactly “that’s a guy thing” which is the only part there in quotes.

Oh come on, that’s sophistry. Any fluent English speaker would take the “said exactly that” to apply to “women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

Yes, the only bit in quotes is “that’s a guy thing” but it is quoted as “… because “that’s a guy thing.”, and thus the “that” is presented as referring to “Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

363 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Oh:

4. I answered you very clearly and you’re still insisting I never answered you.

364 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Oh come on, that’s sophistry. Any fluent English speaker would take the “said exactly that” to apply to “women are too stupid to do nontheism. Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

Yes, the only bit in quotes is “that’s a guy thing” but it is quoted as “… because “that’s a guy thing.”, and thus the “that” is presented as referring to “Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky”.

You don’t agree that this is a matter of interpretation?

I am a fluent speaker/reader of English and I would not take that passage to mean that Shermer literally said all those things.

365 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

To be a little more clear, it makes sense to me that the unquoted parts are paraphrases, not direct quotes, and that the quoted part is a direct quote, and that it’s the direct quote that Benson is referring to when she says “exactly that.”

Furthermore, from context it’s rather clear to me that Benson is not accusing Shermer of being intentionally sexist. She’s talking about casual, unthinking sexism in that article.

366 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Dan L: #363

To be a little more clear, it makes sense to me that the unquoted parts are paraphrases, not direct quotes

Yes, agreed. The phrases preceding “said exactly that” are paraphrases, but I don’t agree that Shermer’s words can be fairly paraphrased as “women are too stupid to do nontheism” etc — especially when you take into account that the question (most of which Benson omitted) was mostly about *activism*, and when you add in the “I think it probably is 50:50″ part of the reply (which Benson also omitted).

The thing I dislike about the FTB take on the Shermer/Benson issue is the idea that, because Shermer is “not one of us”, it is ok to be unfair in criticising him; because we’re criticising in a good cause exaggerating our criticism doesn’t matter and should be excused as irrelevant. Shermer’s feelings don’t matter; if he’s upset that’s his probem, he should just deal with it meekly and accept the valid criticism.

This is exactly the attitude that FTB so dislike — and entirely correctly so — when some attack FTB activists without caring about their feelings and without respecting them as persons.

I, for one, an willing to criticise this when either “side” does it. If either side wants the moral high ground they should recognise this as unacceptable and police themselves over it.

367 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

@Coel:

Let me give you a similar example. I was talking to someone about race and ethnicity and he said something like:
“Well, I think people who vote for Obama because he’s black are just as bad as white supremacists.” To which I responded: “Well, that’s one hell of a false equivalence.” “How so?” “Just listen to what you said again: people who vote for Obama because he’s black are just as bad as white supremacists (i.e. people who stockpile guns for the coming race war and look forward to the day when black people won’t be able to vote at all).”

I could understand what this person was trying to say but at the same time I wanted him to see that what he literally said was actually a pretty egregious false equivalence. I see Benson’s article as doing something similar — not ascribing to Shermer sexist intentions (just as the other person had no racist intentions) but pointing out that what he literally said — most likely without thinking it through because he was under pressure — was dismissive and patronizing to women.

Would you say this is a fair characterization of the tenor of Benson’s article? I don’t think of it as accusatory so much as gently chiding.

The thing I dislike about the FTB take on the Shermer/Benson issue is the idea that, because Shermer is “not one of us”, it is ok to be unfair in criticising him; because we’re criticising in a good cause exaggerating our criticism doesn’t matter and should be excused as irrelevant.

I think it is a good-faith criticism undertaken for good reasons. You’re reading a lot of bad faith into the intentions of people at FtB. Hardly surprising, but I think that’s the source of a lot of these problems.

368 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Regardless, I essentially disagree with your interpretations of Shermer’s statement — I thought it was a careless, thoughtless statement made under pressure. I don’t think anyone was judging him particularly harshly for doing so, but I think there was some expectation he would just own up to this fact — it’s not as though it’s a moral failing not to have a good answer to that question on the tip of his tongue.

I also disagree with you about Benson’s intentions, which I don’t think were nearly so antagonistic or nasty as you seem to think.

But all of this is rather besides the point. I’m trying to help you to understand FtB’s perspective to help foster this dialog I keep hearing so much about, not to justify that perspective. If you guys want to keep arguing and insisting that the FtB perspective is stupid that is your prerogative but I don’t see how you can do that and simultaneously claim to want a dialog.

369 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Dan L:

I certainly don’t think Shermer was blameless, and it was quite right to point to and criticise what he said. My criticism of the way Benson did it is partly because the “deliberate hyperbole” in this context, adding up to being somewhat unfair to him, then let’s him off the hook by giving him a way of turning the accusations around.

In my opinion (which could of course be wrong) Benson’s criticism would have been more effective had it been more measured and fairer. And as a result of that it might have got a conciliatory response rather than the affair becoming rift-widening.

370 Coel March 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Dan L: #366

… I think there was some expectation he would just own up to this fact

Which would have been far more likely had the accusation not been so exaggerated!

I also disagree with you about Benson’s intentions, which I don’t think were nearly so antagonistic or nasty as you seem to think.

Actually, I don’t think her *intentions* were at all antagonistic or nasty. However, we have arrived at a situation where “deliberate hyperbole” about an opponent is the norm, where the blogger will rattle it off without stopping to think. That is the point! If someone is not seen as in the “in group”, not “one of us”, then being fair, charitable and conciliatory towards them is not regarded as mattering.

Thus each “side” gets inflamed by the other side’s rhetoric while quite genuinely not seeing anything wrong with their own hyperbole, because they have got so habituated to it.

If you guys want to keep arguing and insisting that the FtB perspective is stupid …

And that sort of comment is *also* part of the problem, namely seeing everyone who is not in the “in group” as an opposed “you guys” who all think that your side “is stupid” and who are all tarred with the same brush.

371 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

In my opinion (which could of course be wrong) Benson’s criticism would have been more effective had it been more measured and fairer. And as a result of that it might have got a conciliatory response rather than the affair becoming rift-widening.

I agree to a certain extent. However, Shermer might have also responded more effectively by suggesting that Benson’s point is well taken though perhaps expressed a little hyperbolically. Rather than to accuse her of being a witchhunting Nazi, say.

Again, rather beside the point. Are you trying to understand someone else’s point of view or prove that point of view wrong? one of the two options fosters dialog, the other “widens rifts”.

372 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

And that sort of comment is *also* part of the problem, namely seeing everyone who is not in the “in group” as an opposed “you guys” who all think that your side “is stupid” and who are all tarred with the same brush.

Unfortunately, I can’t see any way to avoid it. There are essentially two factions. You can see this in the language used by the ‘pitters as well.

Sorry you don’t want to get lumped in with the ‘pitters. I don’t want to get lumped in with FtB. But I’m not sure how to avoid this in the context of this particular discussion.

373 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I’ve published a new post with a proposed agenda for a structured dialogue process to move this process on to the next stage.

I’m pleased with the early responses, and I am optimistic that we can move further with this.

As usual, feedback is welcome.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/a-proposed-agenda-for-structured-dialogue-to-move-beyond-the-rifts-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/

374 Coel March 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Dan L: #371

However, Shermer might have also responded more effectively by suggesting that Benson’s point is well taken though perhaps expressed a little hyperbolically.

I entirely agree. He would have done better to have done so.

Are you trying to understand someone else’s point of view or prove that point of view wrong?

At the moment I’m trying to analyse why the Shermer–Benson spat deepened rifts (contrasting with, say, the recent Amy–Hall reconciliation), and am suggesting that both sides bear some responsibility for the fit-widening of the former. In the Amy–Hall reconciliation *both* sides admitted some fault in miscommunication and in over-reacting to each other.

There are essentially two factions. You can see this in the language used by the ‘pitters as well.

I disagree that there are essentially two factions, I’d suggest that a vast number of people occupy a position on the wide-ranging middle ground between them The prominent members of the “factions” are likely fairly small in number (maybe 20 or 30 people on each “side”?) I don’t think that the rest of us should let the pitters or the FTB Horde determine the language used here — everyone else should try to de-escalate by trying to avoid language that entrenches differences.

375 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm

@ Dan L

I never said you tried so hard to paint the pit as misogynistic. I took the time to go back and read what you said. You corrected someone (and me) before and I didn’t see it. I also browsed over what you said, I did miss a word, took the general meaning I got from it and remembered what you said THAT WAY instead of how you said it verbatim. I’m sorry.
But that does not make me a hypocrite. And you did not give examples the first couple of times I asked for them, especially not examples plural. Only one example where I misunderstood what you said and in no way twisted something.
I’ll be mature, Dan L, and assume that you honestly thought I was saying YOU try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist rather than the person you seemed to be defending instead of accusing you of twisting what I said. Can I expect an apology from you?

376 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Personally Coel (was it you who said that) I think some people say “you guys” with generalizing malice and some people say “you guys” simply because they want to save time and don’t feel like saying “you and just the others at FtB/other places that agree with you or did the same thing you did” When I do it it’s the latter, I dont mean to imply that most are doing the same thing. It’s just easier and I’m a bit lazy :P

377 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Dan L I also AM NOT insisting you still NEVER answered me. I told you that when you described the post (and I responded back saying that you hadnt done that, remember?) was the first time you actually answered me. I was pretty damn clear in saying you at first did not answer me. And you didn’t. Remember when you talked about being irritated and telling me to be patient (patient for what? Did you need to jog your memory to answer me?) *before answering me*? That’s when I was complaining.

378 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

@Eu:

I’ll be mature, Dan L, and assume that you honestly thought I was saying YOU try so hard to paint the pit as misogynist rather than the person you seemed to be defending instead of accusing you of twisting what I said. Can I expect an apology from you?

I did honestly think that. I think in context there was good reason to think that. I still think you are a hypocrite for numerous reasons but I will stop belaboring the point.

Since you make apologizing a condition for considering me “mature” I’ll neither accept your apology (which I never wanted) nor offer one of my own. I don’t really like the idea of blackmail apologies.

You have frustrated me greatly, especially with comments 352, 353, and 354 and I am not feeling very conciliatory with you right now. I feel you have gone out of your way to find fault with me on the basis of minutiae. My immediate impression was that you were doing so to derail my line of argument. That is perhaps not the case but that is why I’ve found this exchange so tedious and pointless and why I’m not feeling optimistic about your apparent “change of heart” here.

I choose to disengage because I do not have the sense that you have at any point in our discussion engaged in good faith. You have been trying to find fault at every turn. If I’m sorry for anything it’s for sinking to your level.

379 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:48 pm

How was I blackmailing you? The maturity was referring to not assuming that you were twisted what was said on purpose. It had nothing to do with the apology. Instead of admitting you made a mistake (what MY apology was for) you hint that I’m a hypocrite again and then refuse to tell me the reasons? You have no reason not to apologize… YOU’RE the one who was finding fault in me the entire time. YOU started the conversation with me finding fault in me, and you’re the one that made a list of all the things I’ve done wrong. How am I the one not arguing in good faith?

I admitted my mistakes, I figured out my mistake myself, and I’m still not arguing in good faith? You’re just being a complete jerk.

The thing you were complaining about was a mistake I made yesterday or two days ago that you corrected. I would not have mentioned that again if you hadn’t brought it up. It was not me attempting to find fault in you. I had forgotten about that by today.

380 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

YOU’RE the one who was finding fault in me the entire time. YOU started the conversation with me finding fault in me, and you’re the one that made a list of all the things I’ve done wrong. How am I the one not arguing in good faith?

This is why you’re a hypocrite. You can acknowledge these behaviors in me but not in yourself. I am done with you.

381 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

It really looks like you just started this conversation to flame me. First you bring up some mistake I made yesterday or whenever that you were still irritated about, and then when I figure out myself just how that happened and apologize, you give some lousy excuse for not apologizing such as I “blackmailed you” by attributing the maturity comment to me apologizing (WRONG) and then basically going on to say “I also think you are still a hypocrite because of these secret reasons you won’t say and btw I’m still mad at you for this entire conversation and I refuse to talk to you again because you aren’t arguing in good faith.”

Ehh? Well guess what I think: That you’re treating me pretty damn unfairly. Your response was like a slap in the face.

Actually, you know what? Whatever. Your choice. Do not worry about replying to this. Do not think that I will continue badgering you about it, because I won’t. Last post on it if you choose not to reply. Don’t want to hear any complaints.

382 Eu March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Dan L.

Okay, so when I point out your finding faults in me, which you had done more, after YOU said that about me (and I already apologized for faulting you. I did not go to FIND any fault in you.), IM the fucking hypocrite? Fuck you. Your entire last two posts were a huge slap in the face.

First you say you’re not apologizing because I supposedly said apologizing would be mature and that’s blackmail (which I did not even say – go back and read my post. I simply wanted you to apologize too and admit that we both made mistakes.)

Then you continue going on about how you’re still irritated with me for the past conversation and hint about how I’m still a hypocrite, but won’t tell me how because you don’t feel like going into it.

And this entire conversation was started by you… because you were still irritated with a mistake I made yesterday that it turns out you already corrected me for.

Total slap in the face. If you’re done that’s fine. Anything I say is only used as further judgment against me. Fine. I’m the big bad wolf. That’s the last time I’ll take any bait from you. You’re being pretty god damn mean.

383 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

@Eu:

You’ve been routinely slapping me in the face from my perspective and I’ve simply forgiven it. After 352, 353, and 354 I lost my patience and could no longer forgive it and so I gave some of it back. Then you flipped out.

I’ve explained patiently why I think you’re a hypocrite and not worth engaging with. I’m suggesting we simply agree to disagree and go our own ways because our discussion since 352, 353, and 354 has given me the impression that it is simply not worth my time or energy to try to discuss this with you.

384 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:05 pm

“You kept finding faults in me! (where’s the fault finding… other than standing by what I said yesterday because you brought it up, and because I didnt see your correction…)” “What? You’re the one who started this entire conversation by finding faults in me and keep listing faults!”
“See, you’re a hypocrite, you refuse to acknowledge the behavior in yourself. Even though you apologized and were not trying to find a fault in me, and Im the one who first complained about you trying to and am definitely not acknowledging behavior in MYSELF, you are the hypocrite! Im done!”

Yup. I definitely feel baited. Throughout this entire conversation all you’ve done is dog me out, Dan L. I didn’t dialogue with you just to be dogged out no matter if I realize my mistakes or not. But fine. Whatever. You didn’t make any mistakes you should retract or apologize for and I’m this huge hypocrite somehow.

385 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

How have I been routinely slapping you in the face, Dan L? YOU BROUGHT IT BACK UP. I didnt see your correction, okay? If you’d forgiven it you wouldnt have brought it up. Also, 352… etc do not even reference posts made by me that are relevant.

386 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Yup. I definitely feel baited. Throughout this entire conversation all you’ve done is dog me out, Dan L.

Bullshit. This is exactly why I’m calling you a hypocrite.

Enough. I don’t see why you can’t just agree this is a pointless and tedious conversation that doesn’t warrant either of our time or attention.

387 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Please paste where I “slapped you in the face” (if it is not about where I was trying to figure out my mistake and while I still thought you were guilty of saying the pit has misogynists. I mean, really. I don’t know what else to do. I read bacak, realized you hadn’t said it, and this happened yesterday. You have NOT forgiven me if this is what you are referring to.) because your numbered posts are clearly different from mine.

And are you claiming you have a right to feel baited? YOU STARTED TALKING TO ME. COMPLAINING ABOUT SOME MISTAKE I MADE YESTERDAY. THEN WHEN I FIGURE OUT MY MISTAKE AND YOU GET YOUR APOLOGY, YOU CONTINUE TO DOG ME THE FUCK OUT. STOP FUCKING WITH ME. HOW AM I THE ONE WHO BAITED YOU?

388 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Yeah, Dan L, everything is exactly why I’m a hypocrite. Everything I say is somehow hypocritical. Maybe you’re the one that needs a mirror to look at yourself.

389 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

& as for just letting it go? No. I did not respond to your first complaint to be dogged out and for you to just hop away. I would prefer to solve this although I admit the chances *are* looking slim & my feelings just keep getting hurt, but of course you’re the one who was dogged by the memory of my mistake yesterday.

390 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

@Eu:

What I am trying to explain to you is that it is boring and pointless to try to parse this conversation to figure out who’s being worse to whom, especially when the final judgment on that will necessarily be subjective.

I really do think you have misinterpreted/twisted a lot of people’s words including my own and that I have overlooked this for the sake of continuing the conversation without getting bogged down in pointless minutiae as you’re currently trying to do. I was suggesting to you that you might do the same. It appears you are not capable of this.

Therefore I am uninterested in continuing this conversation.

391 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

And don’t you dare say by the above post I’m “ignoring my actions” and not acknowledging that I’ve done something to you too. Don’t even. If you do I won’t know what to do. I’ve acknowledged it countless times but you have not shown you minded any mistakes you’ve made during the conversation nor retracted any or really acknowledged you’ve done anything. It’s just all about you and how I thought you said something you didn’t yesterday.

392 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Dan, you didn’t overlook anything. You started the conversation by complaining about a past mistake, yet I don’t get a second to complain about things done to me in the conversation? That’s so fucking wrong.

This is you: “By the way, you’re (flaw, flaw, action, action) but Im looking it over for now because Im done. Okay, I see you’re not done. Well, because you’re not done, I’m done. Get over being dogged out.”

And it takes two to tango. I talk to you, you talk to me.

393 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

It’s just all about you and how I thought you said something you didn’t yesterday.

Sure, it’s all about me. That’s why you’re posting about three comments a minute demanding I explain myself to you.

394 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

As a consequence for you bothering to start this in the first place only for me to be shut up (or attempted, anyway, saying “youre a hypocrite for that” every time I talk isn’t really shutting me up), the one I was talking to in the first place may now miss what I said.

Lemme fix that. thetalkingstove, this was my response to you: “thetalkingstove, I doubt anyone equated women to puppy dogs. I bet you’re taking advantage of the missing context here. Don’t twist things, mmkay”

395 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

(Which is btw, very different from misreading what someone said)

396 tina March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm
@ tina “You’ve completely gone off the rails. No one is going to engage with the sort of ridiculous hyperbole you’re going into.”

I’ll treat that comment as just a bit of ridiculous hyperbole.

397 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Dan, I wasn’t going to look but I caught a glimpse of your last post. “demand I explain myself to you.”
Yeah, Dan, that’s what happens when you dog someone out. They want a chance to defend themselves. You have some fucking nerve complaining about that.

Pro-tip: In the future, do not that to someone if you’re not prepared for that person to react with hurt, irritation, or anger, & especially for them to dare “demand” that you explain.

Especially not me, someone who really doesn’t tolerate accusations without resolves (of course though if it turns out its true I admit that and then apologize.)

You simply brought something up with the wrong person.

398 Eu March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

(Or, the right person… usually people would prefer my reaction over people ignoring the complaint and not giving a crap.)

399 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

340: I respond to you complaining about someone twisting your words to suggest that maybe you’re also twisting people’s words and that it’s the sort of thing maybe we should just try to forgive and to explain ourselves.

343: You respond to say “where did I twist your words”. You also say something that sounds as though you’re accusing me of painting the pit as misogynist, though you’ve now clarified that was not your intention.

345: You complain that I didn’t get specific about how I twisted your words.

346: I answer your question by pointing out that you keep assuming I’m trying to paint the pit as misogynist which qualifies nicely as an example. I was partially referring to 343 but also comments from yesterday.

347: I once again point out that “twisting”/misrepresenting/misunderstanding the statements of others is to some extent inevitable in discussions like these and maybe we should try to be a little bit patient with each other instead of posting stuff like what you posted in 345.

348: You start getting defensive. You accuse me of being a troll and defensively ask me where you accuse me of painting the pit as misogynist — which I had already done a few comments earlier (though as it turned out I was mistaken; nonetheless, my answer, however mistaken, preceded your demand for that answer). You also said this stuff which I find to be similarly intemperate and unfair:

Oh, are you talking about that time where you SAID it was a misogynistic place and I simply set you right by saying you can’t use one dude to do that? No, you have no right to complain about that. The people who told you it’s unfair to do that were totally in the right, and I did not badger you dozens of comments for that. Exaggeration much?

You only interrupted because you’re still salty about being corrected a long time back? lol.

349: You seem to get offended by the idea that your tone and attitude in arguing with me might be a little irritating. Don’t know why since you made no secret of being irritated with me.

350: I give you more examples of you twisting my words.

351: I clarify once again why I initially said you should try to be a little more forgiving of “twisting of words” — because you are not immune to doing so yourself.

352:

Dan L, stop playing around with me. I’m asking you to tell me how I twisted something you said so you can get over this grudge and stop whining whenever I tell someone else not to twist things.

Note that by this time I had already told you how you twisted something I said. At no time was I “Playing around with you” — that is an assumption of bad faith.

353: It is not entirely clear to me which comment you are referring to here. But you do accuse me of “trying to defend” the person “twisting your words” which is absolutely an example of you twisting me words (since I never made any such defense, merely suggested that you also are not immune to twisting words).

354:

And please, never do that again – don’t give “replies” that don’t even answer me over and over and then tell me I’m the one not interested in dialogue with you. I was ready to give up if I got a couple more replies like that, though.

Again, accusing me of failing to answer you when I already had answered you. Also, obnoxious posturing.

Can you see yet why I’m a little irritated and think this has been a pointless diversion rather than a worthwhile discussion? If not I’ll keep going.

400 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm

@Eu:

It seems pretty clear to me that you’re completely neglecting the possibility that from my perspective, you’re being a hypocritical jerk. You have your view of the situation and you insist that your view is the view. You can’t acknowledge that from my view the conversation may have looked a little different. That is why I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to hash the whole thing out.

401 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Note that I didn’t call you out on most of that stuff at the time. I didn’t start calling you out for trivial things until you started calling me out for trivial things (352, 353, 354). When you decided to start getting personal over minutiae I followed suit. That is my perspective on it.

402 Eu March 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Dan L, yeah, you get to say that you didn’t call me out on other things and while that may be true all that’s caused is TROUBLE and an excuse for you to say it was bottled up in inside and exploded in my face today. When you do that you either keep it in or bring it to people’s attention right then and there. You dont dog them out in the future.

403 Eu March 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm

in the future, and then not be specific about it* All that causes is trouble. What good does going “I’m cross with you for some things you did before. It’s all wrapped in general.” do? That person goes… what? what is it? Then the person who is cross goes… I can’t possibly repeat it all now. But yeah.

404 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

@Eu:

Again, reciprocity is important here. Try to be aware of whether you might be causing the same problems you perceive me to be causing. My problem so far is not anything in particular that you’ve done but that you’ve been criticizing me rather harshly for doing things you are also doing.

405 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Dan L, where is the harsh criticism you see? Are you talking about the misogyny pit thing? If it was harsh criticism, 1) why don’t you still have an issue with the other guy who mistook you too. and 2) why would you bring it up again today in the first place?

I hope you’re not talking about me complaining about how you hurt me after dogging me out. now THAT was unrelenting harsh criticism. Did your eyes water, Dan L? Were you at risk of shedding any tears whatsoever? You can’t turn that around by saying you feel bad that Ive pointed out you dogging me out.

406 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Oh, yeah and whether I was being sensitive or not is irrelevant… my eyes would not have watered at all at anything Ive said to you if the roles were reversed, for instance.

407 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

And bro, where is your reciprocation??? I see none! You even outright refused to reciprocate in one way, but I’ve given some. I’ve acknowledged all that Ive done that I can possibly think of.

*passes ball*

408 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

This was an outrageous case of Playing Main Victim. Yeah, afterward you tried to make it about “oh we were both kinda bad here” but honestly you were the main one dogging me out. If we tallied up our “dogs” you’d have more on your side, and that’s not a petty observation.

if there’s any dog I still need to apologize for, *please* point it out.

409 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Eu@407:

This is more of what I’m talking about and all the more reason to just call this conversation closed. I have indeed reciprocated and you will not or cannot acknowledge that for some reason. Again, you seem to have trouble with self-awareness: you cannot see incidents where you are being unfair but you harp very much on incidents where you perceive me to be unfair.

I really see no point to continuing this. I’ve already clearly laid out the criticism I mentioned and explained to you why it irritated me. You’re still pulling the trick of demanding explanations that I’ve already given you. And then you insist I’m “dogging you around”? I feel pretty dogged around myself. That’s why I think it’s best to call this quits now before either of us gets even angrier with the other.

410 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm

@408:

Again, from my perspective I’ve been no worse to you than you have to me. There is no way I’ll be able to prove this to you because you will simply continue to excuse yourself for anything I was irritated by and continue to interpret my intentions uncharitably when it comes to things I did to irritate you. Ultimately it will come down to a subjective perception of who was worse which cannot be resolved through any amount of evidence.

From what I’ve seen so far you’re not going to stop until I admit I was worse to you than you were to me. But I simply do not believe this to be true. So would you prefer I lie to you or we just let the conversation drop?

411 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm

What incidents am I not seeing? Where was I unfair that I haven’t apologized for already? Your lack of a new comprehensive list leads to believe basically *nothing happened to you that wasn’t patched up*. When did you reciprocate? I remember you refusing to. That whole “okay we’re both bad here, Eu, reciprocate” does NOT count as reciprocating btw, it doesn’t.

Ah, I see you’re saying you’re “done here” again. I can see why but not for the same reasons you do. Don’t be surprised if I also decide to keep contact to a minimum in the future. I’m just going to be frank: You’re a fucking dick.

412 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

@410: Oh, that’s cute. Well, I simply don’t believe that I was as bad as you and am sort of offended by such an accusation. I don’t do all that shit: I don’t bring up something I supposedly got over, take all day in clearing it up while clearly not being interested in the other person’s sorry or retraction in the first place, tell someone they’re a hypocrite after everything they say instead of specifically addressing the content (those replies might as well have been word: “hypocrite!” Can I get some content please???), and then after they apologize, tell them that you refuse to accept their apology because they just suck so bad and are still hypocrites in many ways.

All that was, “Hey, little girl! Guess what! You’re a fucking hypocrite. Hypocrite. Hypocrite. No apologies allowed. Hypocrite. You suck. No. No. Hypocrite.”

My conduct was as bad as yours. And I’m the Queen of England.

413 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Ah, I see you’re saying you’re “done here” again. I can see why but not for the same reasons you do. Don’t be surprised if I also decide to keep contact to a minimum in the future. I’m just going to be frank: You’re a fucking dick.

You keep accusing me of having nefarious intentions. That is like 9/10ths of why I don’t want to get into this any deeper with you. From my perspective you seem like a fucking dick.

414 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Eu@412:

See? That is more of you trying to force your interpretation of events on me. You cannot accept my point of view and somehow that makes me a “fucking dick”. Right.

415 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Um, Dan, in case you haven’t noticed, one can only talk with their perspective. You weren’t forcing your perspective on me and I’m not forcing my view on you, but yeah I’m going to complain about your conduct.

I did not say you had “nefarious intentions” whatever the hell that means. Wrong quote maybe. You can be a fucking dick without being nefarious.

416 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm

You didn’t use the exact phrase. You keep dropping stuff like “I see what you’re doing here” and “stop playing with me” and “you’re dogging me around” — bad faith assumptions about my intentions. I find this incredibly irritating; when I’ve gotten the same impression of you I didn’t bother to say anything.

I have been totally willing to let bygones be bygones for about 100 comments now but you keep responding to call me a “dick” and so forth. So please excuse me if I have a rather different view of your conduct in this thread than you do.

417 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm

You weren’t forcing your perspective on me and I’m not forcing my view on you, but yeah I’m going to complain about your conduct.

I can accept that from your perspective I’m a terrible, awful, unfair person. You cannot accept that from my perspective you are a terrible, awful, unfair person. Hence while I accept your perspective you do not accept mine. That was the meaning of my comment. It is also why I feel just as justified in complaining about your conduct as you do about mine; the fact that you think you are justified in doing so and I am not is simply more evidence to me that you are not reciprocating in the “acknowledge the other’s point of view” game.

418 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Dan L learn some god damn slang and learn what dogging out means. At least don’t make guesses before you do. Dogging out is what it is, regardless of if the person thinks they’re in the right dogging someone else out or if they’re just doing it to troll them or something. “Stop fucking around with me” is what people sometimes say when they mean “wtf? you better quit fucking playing” or “are you fucking kidding me” regardless of if they truly think the person is fucking with them on purpose.

You get the point.

Or maybe you don’t. That explanation should suffice.

And is it my fault if you could somehow think that my behavior wasn’t honest and you didn’t say anything? If you really thought that, why would it be bad to say something?

And Im not just responding by calling you a dick. See, this is why I explain why, but then you complain about me explaining saying its “forcing” my view on you.

As I said, a dick is a dick regardless of if they set out just to act like that or if they think they’re being decent.

419 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm

And is it my fault if you could somehow think that my behavior wasn’t honest and you didn’t say anything? If you really thought that, why would it be bad to say something?

Because I didn’t want to make a bad faith assumption about your intentions. I decided to continue arguing with you as though you were arguing in good faith. That’s what being charitable means.

I wasn’t pissed off at you at all in any of those incidents. It didn’t seem worth saying anything. What pissed me off was when you assumed bad faith on my part. I wasn’t “fucking around with you” at any point. I was seriously trying to discuss with you and then we got into a snarl of misunderstandings. I tried to say, “OK, let’s drop it because this is a bunch of stupid bullshit” and then you tried to make me admit it was all my fault and that I was doing some kind of shady “tricking you into apologizing” nonsense.

No, I don’t want to play this stupid game. I just want to let the whole thing go because it’s really not very fucking important in the first place. Neither of us has to be right or wrong. We can just…let it go…

420 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Oh, now another thing…when did I accuse you of tricking me into apologizing? You keep saying invalid shit. I already told you how to take the “fucking around with you” stuff. You refuse to accept that you misinterpreted it. You wanted it to end yet you keep ending up adding things that need correcting. You’re batshit insane.

421 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm

and lol, all your fault? No, only the things you did are your fault. Things I was mistaken about? My fault. The instigator, though? You. It’s simply true – you did start this even if I learned I was mistaken.

422 Eu March 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

And now you weren’t mad because of the incidents, but because of my phrasing that came later, that you apparently are being pedantic about despite me explaining what was meant.

Mmmmmhhhmmm.

Well, maybe you missed my explanation. Go back and read and get unmad.

423 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:09 pm

You refuse to accept that you misinterpreted it. You wanted it to end yet you keep ending up adding things that need correcting. You’re batshit insane.

None of this is true.

424 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Again, you are completely unwilling to accept that I may have had my own perspective on this disagreement that doesn’t match up with yours. You need me to accept your perspective uncritically before you can move on but you’re not making any similar allowances for me.

I’m just not interested. I’m not interested in admitting I was the asshole — not least because I really don’t think I was — and I’m not interested in getting to the bottom of who was the asshole. I’m ready to let the whole thing go. Are you?

425 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

In other words, I’m not interested in going through the previous hundred comments highlighting all the points where you were an asshole just to prove to you that you really were. You should be able to accept that you’ve said some shitty things as part of this back-and-forth as I’m able to accept that of myself. I don’t hold it against you. I hold you holding it against me against you.

426 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm

@ quote.. how can you say it’s NOT TRUE when you said this: “What pissed me off was when you assumed bad faith on my part. I wasn’t “fucking around with you” at any point.” There’s the proof right there. Maybe pedantic is the wrong word? Fine. Literal. Literally. I should have added “forget I said fucking around because I cant trust you to get that you didnt interpret what I said right.”

Not to mention that you said I said you tricked me into an apology… Not true, eh? You may not be batshit but the rest stays.

As for not allowing similar allowances, no, Dan L, we cannot both be right. I cannot say “I’m right” while also allowing you to say you’re right. Otherwise I’d be agreeing with you.

Ahh… the end? As its not going anywhere, fine.

427 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

As for not allowing similar allowances, no, Dan L, we cannot both be right.

But we can both be wrong. Try not to forget that, huh?

428 HJ Hornbeck March 21, 2013 at 5:43 am

AppleStairs @329:

Shoot, looks like I moved out of phase one too quickly, you’re shifting back to your view. The point of swapping summaries of the “opposing” side was to get you thinking from PZ’s shoes. He’s acting in the best possible manner, according to him, as am I or you or anyone else on this thread. Which of us is acting “correctly” is another matter, one we might get to later.

In light of that, look at what you wrote here:

“Well, I think the “call-out culture” reflects the fact that the political outlook is extremely homogeneous among most of the FTB bloggers and commenters and that doubthat’s position in #123 – “There is no compromise position. I will never be part of an atheist community that is tolerant of political ideals I disagree with.” – is widely shared by FTB/A-plussers.”

PZ is not compromising because he thinks he’s right not to compromise. Why is that? What could make a liberal atheist reject a middle ground? Can’t be religion. Liberals are usually in favour of free speech, though they think it should be limited in some circumstances (as you put it, “Men should “shut up and listen to the women””). Perhaps he thinks compromise will deny some people a voice?

We have the general notion of “rights,” or things you get simply for being human. Free speech, privacy, and so on. Only in the most extreme cases would we even *think* of compromising those rights; any other potential compromise should be vigorously opposed by any rational person.

I hope you can see what I’m getting at. In the above scenario, any person would loudly refuse to compromise. PZ might think he’s in that scenario, and thus play along. Whether he actually *is* in that situation is another matter, right now we’re just trying to put ourselves in his place.

It’s your turn now. Try rephrasing these things in such a way that any reasonable person would act the way PZ does:

“PZ is as prominent as he is mostly because of his scorched-earth approach to atheist activism. He is widely perceived to be a “dirty fighter” who treats atheist-skeptics who disagree with him politically (or even those who substantially agree, but who for whatever reason piss off him or his commenters) with the same contempt and refusal to accommodate that he directs against creationists.”

Why would PZ burn bridges, if he thinks he’s a reasonable person? Why would he treat people who agree with him with contempt, if he thinks he’s a reasonable person?

And feel free to turn the tables on me. Point me to somebody’s actions and ask me to come up with a justification that any reasonable person would agree with.

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