A proposed agenda for structured dialogue to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities

by Michael Nugent on March 20, 2013

Having read the comments so far here and on other websites, and the opinions shared privately by others, I want to suggest a five-item agenda as the basis for a structured dialogue to move beyond the rifts in the atheist and skeptic communities.

Please read this proposal in a charitable frame of mind.

It is a proposal for structured dialogue between individuals, not between imagined monolithic groups, and the power of any outcomes will lie in their content and how they were formulated, and not in any assumed authority.

It is aimed at those of us who want to move beyond the rifts and to build strong, inclusive, caring and supportive atheist and skeptic communities and groups, that promote robust and rational debate of issues while avoiding needlessly hurting people.

It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people.

Before I propose the agenda, I want to describe its context.

What is the prize of a successful outcome?

The World Atheist Convention in Dublin two years ago was an optimistic time for many atheist activists. We debated science and religion, secular education, communicating atheism, combatting blasphemy laws, confronting or accommodating religion, women atheist activists, and building secular coalitions.

We adopted the Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the Place of Religion in Public Life. And we launched the newly restructured Atheist Alliance International as a truly international support network and advocacy group for promoting change.

At that Convention we had, enthusiastically working together, some of the people who are now prominently associated with the current rifts, as well as many people who are not. There was a sense of camaraderie, a sense of awareness that we were involved in a project bigger than our own personal priorities.

We had people who were battle-hardened by enough campaigns to not be naive about what was possible, but who felt that we were on the cusp of contributing to something important.

We had, and I believe we still have, the potential to harness that intellectual and political energy into an effective international movement that is inclusive and caring and supportive while promoting robust debate and free speech.

We had, and I believe we still have, the potential to combine the best contributions of many good people on all perceived ‘sides’ of the rifts, who are currently unable or unwilling to work together, because they have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt by people who in turn have been unfairly misrepresented and hurt  by others.

I am giving this context not merely to focus on the prize of moving beyond the rifts, but also to highlight that the effect of the rifts goes well beyond personal disagreements between people on different blogging networks and internet forums.

The rifts are both hurting people on all perceived ‘sides’ and also harming the day-to-day work of atheist and skeptical and secular advocacy groups around the world. We need to resolve both of these consequences of the rifts, because both are important.

A charitable opinion of other people’s motivations

I have a charitable opinion of how the rifts developed. My personal biases may make this easier for me than for others, because I know and like (for example) Richard Dawkins, Paula Kirby, PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson, and I believe that all four are good people who are devoting a lot of voluntary time to trying to improve the world in ways that they sincerely believe to be good.

If your personal experience causes you to believe that (for example) Richard and Paula are good people, and that they are being unfairly misrepresented, then please try to consider that (for example) PZ and Rebecca may also be good people who are being unfairly misrepresented.

If your personal experience causes you to believe that (for example) PZ and Rebecca are good people, and that they are being unfairly misrepresented, then please try to consider that (for example) Richard and Paula may also be good people who are being unfairly misrepresented.

If you know that you are a good person, and that you are being unfairly misrepresented and hurt by others, then please try to consider that you may also be unfairly misrepresenting and hurting other good people who disagree with you.

How did we get from there to here?

I see most of the escalating series of events as well-meaning people, on all perceived ‘sides’, making well-meaning comments, that were unintentionally hurtful to others, partly because they were made in environments where robust debate is encouraged and comments are made hastily.

Entangled with these well-intentioned interactions, a small number of other people were deliberately trying to increase conflict, either for fun or to hurt people they disliked. And some people on either perceived ‘side’ started to respond – in an equally hostile way – to both the well-intentioned people who disagreed with them and the people who were deliberately trying to increase conflict and hurt them.

At least four separate substantive issues have now become entangled in this escalating conflict. They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

The general atmosphere of escalating hostility has spread to other issues, and other individuals not associated with the original problems have been treated in an equally hostile way. Off-the-cuff comments have been screen-grabbed for future reference, unscripted remarks have been recorded and transcribed, and it is now harder for anyone to withdraw from previously held beliefs even if they wanted to.

In this atmosphere, the small number of people who are deliberately trying to cause harm have been able to sit back and watch well-intentioned people tear each other apart or refuse to work with each other, while the majority of atheists and skeptics are bemused and disappointed by the inability or unwillingness of people who are supposed to be reasonable to lead by example and act reasonably.

Proposed agenda for structured dialogue

Based on the contributions to these and other discussions in recent weeks, I think a reasonable dialogue could have these five agenda items:

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

2. How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.

3. How and to what extent our various communities and groups should have ethical and equality and social justice issues on our internal and external agendas.

4. How we can each, as individuals, lead unilaterally by example by behaving reasonably and charitably and constructively, while others are not doing so.

5. Any other issues that people believe are important to address.

I think it would be helpful to discuss these issues separately, with the awareness that they all tie together, but focusing on one at a time.

They are sequenced in an order than can gradually build trust by starting with items on which there is agreement, then moving through principles of how we can choose to behave, and ending with practical actions.

While this is a dialogue between individuals, it will obviously be strengthened by the involvement of individuals who are perceived to be associated with different perceived ‘sides’ on these issues.

If you are interested in taking part in a structured dialogue between individuals based on this agenda, please let me know.

Any suggestions for how best to practically develop this process are welcome.

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{ 720 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skepsheik March 20, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Thanks for this Michael, it is good to have the opportunity to have this discussion continued.
Your point 2:
“How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.”
Isn’t this the core argument between accomodationists versus non-accomodationists?
On that occasion there was no easy meeting in the middle. The two groups had different objectives and saw their own methods (accomodationism versus ‘new atheism’) as the correct and appropriate way to meet those objectives.
As for point 1 (what the hell, I’m a non conformist!) aren’t you taking it for granted that we do all agree with that list?
Atheism, despite a large overlap, is not the same as scientific skepticism. There are significant numbers of atheists who are not in the least bit skeptical (although they, like global climate change deniers, may choose to call themselves ‘skeptics’).

2 Edward Gemmer March 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

What do we value as atheists? It’s a pretty important question, and the only clear answer is that we don’t value religion. Do we really value the following things?

– Critical Thinking: It’s easy to apply critical thinking to things that are built on fantasy, like religion. If you really value critical thinking, you value it when your own cherished beliefs are questioned, even if it questions global warming, vaccines, feminism, or video games.

– Diversity: If yes, then not just various races, genders, and sexualities, but religions, Republicans, criminals, the Slymepit, and FreeThoughtBlogs. It’s easy to say we value diversity, but in practice, it can be really difficult.

– Free Speech: Not as law, but as a value. The very idea of free speech is that people should be free to engage and discuss and not be limited in their ideas. Over time, the listeners can decide who makes better points. It is also a valuable way people learn – by talking and considering and arguing. It isn’t always pretty, but it is time tested. How important is it to have free speech v. “safe spaces” where people aren’t really allowed to disagree?

3 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Thanks again, Michael, for the effort to stop the distracting schism in the community.

Regarding #3: The horns of this dilemma are (for me) the fact that these social justice issues already have various advocacy groups to which an individual my participate in. Here is a sample of some of the many social justice organizations extant:

_http://www.startguide.org/orgs/orgs06.html

Membership in these groups is not mutually exclusive to membership in others. It is my belief that the narrower the focus of an advocacy group, the better they are able to achieve their goals, due to limited resources being applied exclusively to a small number of issues rather than all the ills of society.

It’s my personal belief that atheist groups should focus on the few core principles you listed in point #1. This does not mean that discussions of other issues cannot be had, just that the main thrust of the public outreach and advocacy be narrow.

4 Russell Blackford March 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Skepsheik, I’m not sure I properly understand what you’re saying about accommodationism, etc.

But to clarify my own perception of it, the core argument between accommodationists and non-accommodationists, at least as I always understood it, is about how far science and religion are compatible. Those of us on the non-(or anti-)accommodationist side are not especially interested in being personally hurtful or uncivil. For example, much of the kerfuffle was over a civil, thoughtful, but decidedly non-accommodationist piece by Jerry Coyne, “Seeing and Believing”, published in The New Republic in early 2009. Some people objected to it because of its ideas, not any uncivil or hurtful tone.

Likewise, the book that Udo Schuklenk and I are currently working on will develop a non-accommodationist position – i.e. there are genuine, serious problems with the supposed compatibility of religion and science – but that doesn’t mean that we’ll be aiming at hurtfulness or incivility.

Sometimes you can’t avoid offending people, and sometimes you need to be forthright or even angry. But I never took the accommodationism debate to be mainly about incivility. Leading non-accommodationists like Jerry (and I suppose I fitted in there somewhere) did engage in some satire, but it was often fairly gentle. We were mainly arguing that science really does undermine religion… and that it’s okay to say so. That, of course, is a key aspect of much “New Atheist” writing.

I do regret some of my own incivility during that debate, especially toward Chris Mooney (though I will go on criticising his accommodationist position) and, to a lesser extent, Sheril Kirshenbaum. But that’s tangential to the substantive argument.

So, I don’t think this is just a re-run of the accommodationism argument. Some tempers got hot, but the substantive issue was always about religion and science.

Sorry if this seems derailing, and again I’m not sure I understand your comparison with the accommodationism wars. But I did want to head off, if I could, any idea anyone might have that this is a sort of re-run of the debates about accommodationism. I think the main issues are quite different.

Shorter version: I’m one of the non-accommodationists. But that doesn’t mean I favour incivility or misrepresentation or being unnecessarily hurtful. These are different issues: one mainly about the relationship between science and religion, the other about how people treat each other.

5 Jack March 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Thanks again for your efforts in this Michael.

6 Verbose Stoic March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Russell,

There’s a couple of different forms of “accomodationism” that aren’t always properly distinguished, especially since in general most of the same people tended to be on the same sides on both. There’s the accomodationism you refer to, and then there’s the accomodationism exemplified around things like Phil Plait’s “Don’t be a Dick” speech and that guy Tom something or other who talked about rude treatment and also some things around Chris Mooney. That’s the one that’s being referred to in Skepshiek’s post; this debate can easily be seen as arguments that one side should “stop being dicks”, something that many of the people involved decried not long ago.

In fact, as an outsider who just happens to read the blogs, one of my main comments on it has been that the people involved aren’t really treating each other differently than they treated the others before when they were allies on religious issues. They’re just now doing those things to each other, and it doesn’t seem as funny/useful when you’re on the receiving end of it.

7 D4M10N March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Michael,

Regarding agenda point 3, I’d love to be able to discuss ethical and equality and social justice issues without having to constantly rebuff accusations of being profoundly unethical, blinded by privilege, and an apologist for social injustice. If you know of any place where that sort of debate is allowed to flourish, where social justice advocates don’t go to the circumstantial ad hom as a tactic of first resort, I’d be glad to hear of it.

8 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Michael, I’m not certain how I could contribute but am interested. Thank you for your attempts in getting this rift repaired.

9 Jack March 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I’m all for being non-accomodationist in the free exchange of ideas but accomodationist in the inclusion of diverse political and social beliefs.

Of course this needs to be in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding welded together by a set of common beliefs. This should allow a free exchange of ideas without all the rancour and bitterness. As rationalists we should always welcome robust debate and discussion with nothing left off the table.

This approach has served us well for many years and is crucial for the advancement and success of the movement in my opinion. It is also crucial for our own well being and feeling of inclusion. Michel’s own work on this is ample evidence for this.

The focus on our differences rather than what we have in common is where the damage is occurring and irrespective of who is right does nothing to further the causes we all believe in.

10 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

From my perspective as someone fully willing to blow it all up and fracture the “community,” setting practical, specific policy goals would enable a great deal of cooperation.

Part of my issue with all of this is the poorly developed sense of what it means to be a part of the atheist/skeptical “community.” Does it mean we just hang out at conferences together? If that’s the extent of what we’re dealing with, then fuck it, I’m not going to spend my leisure time wading through the nonsense.

There has to be some reason for me (and I can say that I’m not alone – I can’t tell how many or what percentage falls in my camp, but it isn’t me + nobody) to set aside my disagreements. I don’t agree with the Obama administration on the drone program (and many other things), but I worked for the campaign because of how bad a Romney presidency would have been.

There needs to be some similar objective in this case. Is it dealing with text book content in Texas? I could get behind that. Lobbying or taking some action to strengthen the church-state wall when it comes to health care initiatives. I think we could join forces for a specific outcome in that setting.

The significant political differences among atheists, especially with the growth of libertarian atheists, are too great to think non-belief is enough of a unifying theme.

11 Coel March 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Dear Michael,
As someone who doesn’t identify with either “side” in this dispute, but who cares about the atheist community, I applaud your efforts and wish you well in them.

12 debaser71 March 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

“1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.”

Well, for a lot of people, that’s the gripe. Reason, critical thinking, science, and skepticism are all great things! Now apply these things to gender feminism, feminist “theory”, internet feminism, radical feminism, academic gender studies feminism, whatever one wants to call it.

13 oolon March 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

@Damion,

I’d love to be able to discuss ethical and equality and social justice issues without having to constantly rebuff accusations of being profoundly unethical, blinded by privilege, and an apologist for social injustice

I think you’ll find that the other pittizens are having you on when they call you out on your privilege. Ask them nicely for a serious conversation and I’m sure you’ll get it from some of them…

14 Coel March 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

doubthat:

“Part of my issue with all of this is the poorly developed sense of what it means to be a part of the atheist/skeptical “community.” Does it mean we just hang out at conferences together?”

I would suggest all that is needed is acceptance of others and interacting civilly with them. A vast amount would be achieved by:

(1) Accept that people can honestly disagree. While two opponents cannot both be fully right, both can be fully honest.

(2) When you criticise someone (and criticism itself is fine) be fair; don’t exaggerate an opponent’s faults; don’t accuse them of far worse than they have actually said; don’t tar them with faults of others.

(3) Be respectful to opponents; don’t attack them as a person, trying to be hurtful rather than trying to criticise ideas.

(4) Try to be self-critical and try to see some merit in an opponents’ point of view. Be charitable in interpreting what they say.

(Note that I’m not attributing any of these things more to one “side” or the other.)

If people could interact like with that others in the atheist/skeptic community then that would be that, problem largely solved. That is all that is needed to be part of the same broad “community”.

15 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I second D4m1on #7. As I mentioned in a comment on your previous post, Michael, I was drug through the mud for miles (metaphorically, of course) on Skepchick, all because I was trying to say something about the nature of obligation; nothing more than an interesting philosophical thought.

I also agree with Renee #8. Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

The difference as far as I can tell is that they take a deontological approach (“tell men not to rape, don’t blame the victim”) vs. my consequentialist approach (“what’s the most effective way to actually lower the incidence of rape?”).

Finally, you said this: “Off-the-cuff comments have been screen-grabbed for future reference, unscripted remarks have been recorded and transcribed, and it is now harder for anyone to withdraw from previously held beliefs even if they wanted to.”

I don’t agree. Once again in your previous post, Dan L. made the claim that pharyngula poster “lee coye” was a slymepitter. After some discussion and some digging, he retracted this claim. It’s easy to screenshot his claim and post it everywhere, but it’s equally easy to screenshot his retraction and post that. That’s how we do things on the slymepit – hard evidence rules. The pit records things so diligently not because we’re trying to make it harder for people to change their minds, but because certain people have a habit of disappearing what they and others have said without the mind-changing.

16 Remick March 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

“If you know that you are a good person, and that you are being unfairly misrepresented and hurt by others, then please try to consider that you may also be unfairly misrepresenting and hurting other good people who disagree with you.”

This is a great point Michael, however part of the big problem is that many, many people have been labeled something incorrectly, or prematurely(assume some of the labels of racist or misogynist are true, however, most are not).

Once labeled, this person can no longer have a conversation with others. After all, why would you discuss race with a racist, or argue about rape culture with a “rape culture apologist”(whatever that is)?

Many people watch from the sidelines, myself included, knowing that if I vocalize my criticisms of FtB’s solutions to certain problems, I will be labeled. NOTE: I specifically stated solutions, why are we fighting so hard against other people who agree about 80-90% of the problems we are facing? Just because I might not agree with your proposed solution doesn’t make me an enemy, and it certainly doesn’t make me a champion of the problem!

This attitude must end, this labeling of critics must end. If a criticism is baseless and full of terrible ideas, they will be self evident and fall flat.

Also, if I say, I disagree with X approach, I think Y would be more effective. That does not make me a troll, just because I disagree with you.

17 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success.

So, in the twenty-first century people weren’t receptive to your nuanced views on rape?

Color me shocked.

18 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

NOTE: I specifically stated solutions, why are we fighting so hard against other people who agree about 80-90% of the problems we are facing?

I’m not convinced that this is true. There are folks who have posted on this thread that I have less in common with than many religious folks I’ve worked with.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but part of the problem I see is that very notion: that we actually do agree on most things, but cannot get along. It seems to me that we can’t get along because we don’t really agree on most things, or at least very important things.

Again, this is not unusual in modern democracies, but you’d find a similar problem trying to force progressives and libertarians into an alliance because they share a general disdain for unchecked executive authority. That’s one bit of agreement, the disagreements are numerically greater and of significance.

19 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

(1) Accept that people can honestly disagree. While two opponents cannot both be fully right, both can be fully honest.

I accept that very point, which is why I don’t think reconciliation and dialog efforts will do much good if a unified skeptical/atheist “community” is your goal. These discussions have just crystalized the differences. They’re legitimate and they’re important.

This doesn’t mean we can’t work together on discreet policy goals, but a grand unified theory of non-belief isn’t going to happen. I don’t think it should happen, too much agreement is a boring thing, and usually indicates that people have stopped thinking.

20 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 3:51 pm

doubtthat #17:

I don’t have nuanced views on rape. Rape is wrong. I do, however, have nuanced views on rape *prevention*.

21 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm

And I’m sure they’re all fresh new ideas that no one has considered.

22 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

A response I had for commenter “Dan” in the previous thread on this overall topic which I had to table and thus didn’t get to post and which has some bearing on this thread.

I would ask Mr. Nugent to examine which “side” is actually receptive to these “discussion” ideas and which is not. ( As your twitter feed reveals).

@ Dan

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.

Speaking only for myself, as that is all I can be certain of, what I am trying to accomplish is to have an activism, a movement if you will the main goal of which are the promotion of atheism (or at the very least non-dogmatic beliefs such as deism), the promotion of science and science education,and the removal of religious influences from governments. This is first and foremost what the atheist community is striving for.
I want for atheist conferences to talk about atheism and closely related subjects (see above). I want a focused movement to combat the entrenched religiosity in the US and other counties. I want people who also have those goals, to be sisters and brothers in arms against these powerful institutions.
What I don’t want is to have people (such as doubtthat) who have implied that the atheism portion of their motivations is the lesser valued reason for their activism.
People such as ceepolk who stated ” … I don’t care about the freethought movement. Just like I don’t care about the Atheist movement.” to either start caring and take up the cause with those who do, or to get the hell out of the way.

When I go to a hockey game, I don’t expect the players to start playing croquet. Similarly if I go to an atheist conference, I don’t want to hear talks about feminist theory. If I were to advertise a feminist conference and populated it with half the speakers talking about atheism; well, I wouldn’t get a second conference.

Do not take this to mean that I want women to shut up about or to stop advocating for their rights. I am 100% for equal rights and responsibilities of all people. If you feel that a certain group is underprivileged, by all means take up that cause and run with it. I say this to feminists and MRA’s alike. Just don’t do it under the flag of atheism/skepticism.
These other causes have their own venues for advocacy. There is no rule that people cannot champion multiple causes. Where the goals of particular MRA’s or feminists intersect with the goals of atheism/skepticism, I welcome those people to stand beside those who only advocate for A/S. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

TL;DR : I want Atheism/Skepticism to be about atheism and skepticism again.

23 Remick March 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

@ Doubtthat,

Please re-read my post. I think most of us do agree about what most of the problems are. However there are many different opinions and views on what the solutions are. This is a strength of the skeptical community and is what is trying to be stifled.

Libertarians and Progressives can agree all the time on what the problems are, they might disagree on what the answers are. Yet many times they do agree. Progressives tend to be more Liberal, and are generally Libertarian in regards to personal liberty, (same sex marriage, personal drug use, allowable sexual acts between consenting adults.) to name a few. But tend to disagree on matters of economic liberty.

24 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I want Atheism/Skepticism to be about atheism and skepticism again.

No, you just want to be in control of defining which subjects are relevant to atheism and skepticism.

The skeptical community is hardly unified on whether atheism is a proper topic. There are always significant protests when atheists dominate speaking slots and panels. The True SkepticsTM want to get back to talking about Bigfoot and UFO’s and not be bothered by the application of the rational method of inquiry to religious superstition.

So you’re the insurgent with respect to the “traditional” skeptical topics. By unifying the two communities, you’re the one demanding that the hockey game look different.

It always amuses me when people try to make specific argument obey a general rule. This is just begging for a charge of hypocrisy.

You have no objections to change within a community, you just have a specific objection to a certain instance of a change, yet you try to rely on traditionalism as a defense.

25 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm

@23 Remick

I read your post, I understand exactly what you’re saying. I disagree with your analysis.

Try putting together a conference of political speakers that appeals to both libertarians and progressives. What will that look like? Marijuana legalization, checked authority with regard to the security state…what else?

Chances are that very quickly those areas of agreement will devolve into intense disagreement when the discussion grows.

Again, this is perfectly fine, but no one is trying to create a progressive/libertarian “community,” or lamenting the fact that there’s disagreement. Sure, the groups can work together in specific, discreet situations, but it isn’t a unified “movement” or however the hell we’re describing the atheist/skeptical category.

26 SueinNM March 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

“That’s how we do things on the slymepit – hard evidence rules.”

Thanks for the laugh of the day!

27 Eshto March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Doubtthat: You are not being charitable, and you’re reacting with snark. This is exactly how these rifts occur. Re-read Nugent’s suggestions again.

28 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

SueinNM #26:

Is that comment supposed to get under my skin or something? Cause if so, it doesn’t.

If you don’t think this is an accurate statement on how the pit operates, why don’t you explain why?

29 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Well, for one, responding instead of reacting, we could respond to someone’s ENTIRE statement, not just the bits we can use to bag on them for. For example, at #15, Metalogic said:

I also agree with Renee #8. Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

The difference as far as I can tell is that they take a deontological approach (“tell men not to rape, don’t blame the victim”) vs. my consequentialist approach (“what’s the most effective way to actually lower the incidence of rape?”).

Now, at no point is Metalogic saying “yay, RAPE!” Nor is he excusing it. He’s showing an example of the difference in the way he sees Skepchick et al approaching the problem vs. his approach.

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

however, what do we see happening?

Comment #17 from doubtthat:

I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success.

So, in the twenty-first century people weren’t receptive to your nuanced views on rape?

Color me shocked.

What the hell? In addition to a shitty quotemine, (something that I thought was bad), doubtthat deliberately misrepresents what Metalogic said, requiring metalogic to say, in comment #20:

doubtthat #17:

I don’t have nuanced views on rape. Rape is wrong. I do, however, have nuanced views on rape *prevention*.

What was the point of doubtthat’s reaction? Well, a fairly obvious reading was to, once again, follow the FTB/Skepchick schtick of casting anyone “from the ‘pit” as a pro-rape misogynist. Well Poisoned.

What’s the point of even trying to talk to doubtthat and their allies when they repeatedly show, again, and again, that they have no interest whatsoever in such a thing. That’s not the action of someone who is willing to discuss different approaches to a problem. That’s someone who is convinced of their own righteousness and the only interest they have in other approaches is shutting them down.

When the FTB lot and their allies have said the only way we’ll talk to you is for you to agree with us in all things, ala Adam Lee, Benson, Zvan, Canuck, et al, all the while completely misrepresenting your position on any- and everything how can you even begin to talk to people doing that?

No one is in sole possession of the “right” answer for complex issues. But to be cast as something I’m not because I won’t follow someone else’s lead? To be “ordered” to explain my opinion on a site where I’m not only pre-emptively banned, but have been since the site’s inception, not because of anything I’ve done to the person running the blog, but because I hang out somewhere they don’t LIKE?

For any kind of dialogue to happen BOTH sides have to be willing to set aside their desire to rub their opponents nose in it. Doubtthat showed, in less than 20 comments, how they at least are completely unwilling to do that. There’s no way to have a dialogue when one group requires complete capitulation and mindless agreement on every subject first.

30 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

@29

You’re right. My fault. Let’s see these fresh new theories on rape prevention that in no way have been discussed for the last half century. I spoke too soon.

31 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

This remains to be seen.

32 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:25 pm

@27

If you think these divides have occurred because of “snark,” you’re the one holding the incredibly uncharitable view of this “community.”

I would argue that snark angers people who disagree, it does not generate disagreement. If you base a view on your distaste for a person’s style, one must question the commitment to reasoned inquiry.

33 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm

@ 24

You have no objections to change within a community, you just have a specific objection to a certain instance of a change, yet you try to rely on traditionalism as a defense.

Please read my post at #3 above for the actual defense which is not traditionalism.

It would be a dilution of the limited resources available to spend some on atheistic concerns, some on the Israel-Palestinian issues, some on gender politics, some on global warming, and some on the offsides rule.

34 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Thanks for all of the positive feedback.

Some quick thoughts…

Item 1 does not require that everyone agrees on all of the items. It suggests that they are among core issues on which we broadly agree. It may be that people who self-identify as atheists agree more on some, and people who self-identify as skeptics agree more on others, but we can tease that out during the dialogue.

I agree with Russell’s interpretation of accommodationism. We can take a robust position on issues such as that religion and science are incompatible, without being uncivil in how we present that robust position.

Yes, we do have to tease out what we mean by the idea of an atheist and skeptic community, or communities, and how many of them there are, and how much they overlap and interact.

Yes, we have to move beyond labels for the purpose of this dialogue. We will have to build trust a little bit at a time, and that is why I am proposing starting with items on which there is agreement, then moving through principles of how we can choose to behave, and ending with practical actions.

No, a grand unified theory of non-belief isn’t going to happen. This will end in an agreement among those individuals who choose to take part, on whatever it is that we end up agreeing on. And some of it will be agreeing to differ on substance, but maybe agreeing on a process by which we address those disagreements.

Doubtthat, your ‘color me shocked’ comment is a good example of how, in almost no time at all, just one sarcastic comment can start a mini-escalation of hostilities of the kind that this dialogue is intended to counter. I know that you probably wrote it out of habit, because that has been the tone of so many interactions of the last two years, and that if you hadn’t written it somebody else would have probably written something similar, but that is part of what we are trying to move beyond.

Can I ask that we not discuss the details of rape prevention theory (or any other specific issue) on this particular post? I can open up another post for that discussion if you want. But I would like this particular discussion to focus on the proposed agenda and how we can further the process generally.

35 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

@33

Yes, you were relying on traditionalism. The topics you don’t want included aren’t core to atheism, in your opinion, and you want to “go back” to the way it was before. There are topics traditional to atheism, feminism isn’t one of them, according to you (however that works out specifically), and you want it to go off on its own somewhere else because its harming the True Atheist causes.

You do not, however, share the view of the many, many skeptics who believe the same about atheism – it wastes time, harms recruitment, and isn’t a traditional topic for such ventures.

You said this:

What I don’t want is to have people (such as doubtthat) who have implied that the atheism portion of their motivations is the lesser valued reason for their activism.

Yes, the philosophical exercise of discussing whether there is or is not a god is relatively meaningless separate from the social and political implications of arguing such. You, yourself, have advanced a set of political policy goals as relevant to atheism. You are in agreement with me, you just don’t agree on the specifics.

What would you say about someone who argued that science education isn’t really central to being an atheist? There’s no necessary connection, as the many, many alt-med atheist weirdos have shown.

36 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

@34

Your blog, will do.

37 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

sigh…at 29:

regardless of the subject being discussed, when the response to any opinions not in full agreement with your own is that, what’s the point of taking you even vaguely seriously? You’ve established that you think anyone not agreeing with you on [issue] is wrong. So what’s the point in talking to you at all?

This “if you disagree with me you’re wrong” is given even more evidence in the very next reply:

Neither approach is inherently good nor bad, they are simply different ways of getting to the same goal: Less Rape.

This remains to be seen.

Why should anyone who does not “toe the line” to your opinion with regard to any subject whatsoever even bother to talk to you, or have any desire to include you in any activity?

You’ve shown that if someone disagrees with you, they’re wrong, and the only way you’ll talk to them in that case is via constant snark and well-poisoning so that everyone else knows what happens if they dare to disagree with you.

It is clear, *crystal* clear that the only people you have any interest in other than as a target are people who already agree with you in all things. You only support diversity in the most superficial manner, that of external appearance. When it comes to diversity of opinion or thought or approach, you not only have no interest in THAT, you actively attack it.

How does anyone work with someone like you on any goal when you only accept your way?

Finally, at 32:

I would argue that snark angers people who disagree, it does not generate disagreement. If you base a view on your distaste for a person’s style, one must question the commitment to reasoned inquiry.

that’s ridiculous. Snarking at someone is by definition dismissive. You’re saying you don’t consider anything they’re saying worthy of serious consideration. What kind of commitment to “reasoned inquiry” have you shown here? None. One either completely and totally agrees with you in all things, or you attack them.

Exactly where is the ‘reasoned inquiry’ in that? Or with anyone on your side, because you are hardly an edge case or an outlier.

38 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thanks, doubtthat.

I just think we’ve reached a stage where we need to focus on the process if we are to make this work. Let’s give it a chance and see how it evolves.

39 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

John, I’ve addressed some of the points you made in comment 36, in the last two paragraphs of my comment 34.

40 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Michael Nugent #34:

Opening another post for that discussion might be a good idea, but I’d recommend holding off until a few people other than myself express interest.

For something more on topic, I think I’ve done pretty much all I can do to further the process on my side. I’d like it if some of the “big names” from the “other side” chimed in with their thoughts. And my offer for insult-free discussions about feminism issues on neutral ground perpetually stands, if they want it.

Furthermore, here’s some thoughts regarding your point (2). While I reserve the right to say anything I want within the bounds of the law, that’s not even really my major disagreement with FTB et al. It’s that I don’t understand why the crass and sometimes rude behavior on places like the slymepit bothers them so much.

So maybe a little bit of personal information about me might be in order. First off, I’ve been called names and been treated rudely a lot. I’ve also had a lot worse happen to me. I’ve had friends and relatives die. I’ve seen people go to prison for hard drug use. I’ve been cheated on. I’ve known people who were raped. I’ve had fists swung at me. I’ve even had guns pointed at me a few times. In the neighborhood where I live, police sirens are background noise. I’ve seen real homophobia and racism in action, in the form of hate crimes.

I’m not trying to play oppression olympics here (I don’t want victim points, I prefer to move past the bad and enjoy the good in life); this is just to point out that comparatively, being called a “cunt” by a bunch of people on Twitter isn’t that bad, and how anyone could actually be hurt by something like that baffles me.

41 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

@38

Fair enough. I’m skeptical of how it will work out, but I do understand the difference between withholding enthusiasm and actively subversion.

My apologies, to you and the folks who were upset by my snark. I will bury that impulse here (if you meet me on the streets though, whoa boy, I’ll snark the shit out anyone in rape-based discussion).

42 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Michael, again thanks. I’m a very, very minor player in all of this but do want to see some sort of resolution. Please let me know how I can help.

43 Myriad March 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

A possibly useful tool for agenda item #1: Visitor’s Guide to the Common Ground.

44 Jack March 20, 2013 at 5:27 pm

If there is anything I can do to further in this I am happy to oblige. However I am an extremely small cog in the wheel and it is better if more prominent members of the community stepped up.

45 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

@33

From Atheist Alliance International-Dublin Declaration:

Personal Freedoms

Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others.
All people should be free to participate equally in the democratic process.
Freedom of expression should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. There should be no right ‘not to be offended’ in law. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and should not be enacted.

Secular Democracy

The sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any god or gods.
The only reference in the constitution to religion should be an assertion that the State is secular.
The State should be based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason, and not religious faith, to evidence.
Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.
Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.
Membership of a religion should not be a basis for appointing a person to any State position.
The law should neither grant nor refuse any right, privilege, power or immunity, on the basis of faith or religion or the absence of either.

Secular Education

State education should be secular. Religious education, if it happens, should be limited to education about religion and its absence.
Children should be taught about the diversity of religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours.
Children should be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.

One Law For All

There should be one secular law for all, democratically decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes.
The law should not criminalise private conduct because the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral, if that private conduct respects the rights and freedoms of others.
Employers or social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.

That’s what an atheism “movement” should be about. A clearly defined and rather short list of things to focus on. If you feel that you personal efforts need to be directed in any other advocacy, by all means, please do so. If advocacy of the above principles is not important to you, I suggest that other groups would welcome you with open arms.

In so much as you wish to assist in espousing the above principles, I too welcome you.

46 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

@MetaLogic:

Once again, in your previous post, I tried to get the “other side” to discuss the issues we disagree on – things like patriarchy, rape culture, etc. No success. Despite what the “other side” might think about me, and the slymepit in general, I do care a lot about social justice issues.

Weird. I said a bunch of stuff about patriarchy, rape culture, etc. on the last thread and you didn’t respond to any of it.

47 kntk March 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm

A possibly useful tool for agenda item #1: Visitor’s Guide to the Common Ground.

A thread about atheism+ and freethoughtblogs. I won’t tell them they’re actually being harassed if you don’t.

48 Cian March 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Well done Michael for sticking with this and hopefully beginning some sort of resolution.
My own personal bias was that I thought Richard Dawkins and Paula Kirby were good people who were misrepresented. I have never really seen much evidence of decency from Myers and Watson through there online personalities, but I am prepared to take your word for it ( I suppose many people can turn into barbarians in front of the keyboard ). As I don’t personally know any of them, I could be totally wrong.
Best of luck with this …. if we could get rid of the hypocrisy I feel we would be well on the way!

49 Brony March 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

@ John C. Welch 29

I could also counter by asking what is the point of having a discussion with someone who will tar the entire opposition as having the same characteristics?

What was the point of doubtthat’s reaction? Well, a fairly obvious reading was to, once again, follow the FTB/Skepchick schtick of casting anyone “from the ‘pit” as a pro-rape misogynist. Well Poisoned.

Sorry but I see arguments against persons from the pit, and content on the pit. This is a cartoon.

When the FTB lot and their allies have said the only way we’ll talk to you is for you to agree with us in all things, ala Adam Lee, Benson, Zvan, Canuck, et al, all the while completely misrepresenting your position on any- and everything how can you even begin to talk to people doing that?

So I guess the folks at FTB all agree with each other on everything? That’s the logic of your paragraph there. With respect to mischaracterization, I see quite a few of your own in your statements as well.

No one is in sole possession of the “right” answer for complex issues. But to be cast as something I’m not because I won’t follow someone else’s lead? To be “ordered” to explain my opinion on a site where I’m not only pre-emptively banned, but have been since the site’s inception, not because of anything I’ve done to the person running the blog, but because I hang out somewhere they don’t LIKE?

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.

For any kind of dialogue to happen BOTH sides have to be willing to set aside their desire to rub their opponents nose in it. Doubtthat showed, in less than 20 comments, how they at least are completely unwilling to do that. There’s no way to have a dialogue when one group requires complete capitulation and mindless agreement on every subject first.

You also have some tribalism to set aside. Hyperbole is mischaracterization in your case.

Though I should not have to say it, I am not defending Doubtthat.

50 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Thanks, Michael Nugent. I would like to make a few notes, for I am interested in any positive dialogue. I will add the demonisation by some of others is a major handicap; there are some who are simply not interested in dialogue, but only in what they perceive as victory, and that will remain so.

Concretely:
yes, this conflict grew out of the so-called Gnu/accomodationist fight. The tactics often used by many on the Gnu side were what was responsible for pushback against the Gnu position; in other words, the rhetoric and tactics used by certain Gnus led to there being far more pushback against the Gnus than would have otherwise existed. This is an important point, since exactly that process led to there being far more pushback against the atheism+ thang than would have otherwise existed. In fact, the word “accommodating” has now become a dirty word with some, and Michael Nugent himself has very recently been slurred as “accommodating”.

Bluntly, certain FTB/A+ people thought they could simply steamroller criticism. They failed, and it was a failure that was certain, and will always happen when people think they can simply pressure opposition or criticism out of existence. Now they decry the tactics used by some on the anti-A+/FTB side, without acknowledging that those tactics – some of which are abhorrent – were in fact born of their own FTB/etc culture. The attempts to slur oppositional figures as people only because of their opposition? Guess where that was born. The FTB can own it, additionally since as already noted, homophobic, anti-transsexual, misogynistic language was completely OK with them when it suited them. Much of their abuse was only muted because of pressure from the outside, and the publicization of their cognitive dissonance between their claimed goals and their abusive tactics. And as discovered with Atheist Ireland, that kind of culture of allowed over-the-line abuse was quite widespread, no?

Possible resolutions:
A) It would be helpful for anti-“accommodationists” to acknowledge a couple of points; one, that they do not need to damn every atheist who criticises them as the Evil Enemy, and two, that they don’t need to convert all the so-called accommodationists in order to be successful in the wider world. That misconception, the public stance that they need to convert critics before going on to win in the outside world, is both ridiculous and also a narcissistic construction of Them vs. Us.

B) It would no doubt be helpful of so-called accommodationists not to paint anti-“accommodationists” as the last word in Stalinism. To this end, Russell Blackford has stated his intentions not to be overly nasty to the so-called “accommodationists”, and I for one can try to be more understanding and more civil in response. I apologise to Russell Blackford if I’ve said anything over-the-top in his direction.

C) Stop allowing without rebuttal Abbie Smith’s blog (ERV) to be slurred as the “slimepit”. In principle, nothing on ERV was worse than what went as SOP on Pharyngula; the hypocrisy is enormous on that score. Pharyngula is Pharyngula, ERV is ERV and not the “slimepit”. Yes, I know the continuation of the threads on the new board the Slymepit is deliberately called that in order to mock the FTB slurs, However, if any progress is to be made, then FTB’ers will need to stop slurring everyone who even mildly disagrees with them as “slimepitters”. As noted on another thread of yours, Rorschach for one described jean Kazez, Kylie Sturgess, Jeremy Stangroom and Russell Blackford all as “slimepitters”. Exactly how ridiculous can it get any further after that?

D) The attempts to ostracise certain people have to stop. Michael Nugent, I note you have invited several as speakers who are directly responsible for such ostracism campaigns. Whether it’s PZ Myers calling for an organised campaign to “give Justin Vacula the cold shoulder” (whatever that means exactly), whether it’s Szvan and Thibeault’s attempts to spam a science-communication conference hashtag with their slurs, whether it’s the hideous and misogynistic personal abuse directed at Abbie Smith, Miranda Celeste Hale, Harriet Hall, Sara Mayhew and others, or the disingenuous attempts to pressure organistions into not having those people as speakers while still trying to claim there’s no blacklist, this shit has to stop.

There’s nothing magical about any of this. No, neither atheism nor skepticism can somehow be magically redefined to include what one claims to be one’s political goals. No, the opposition to such attempts is not dominated by misogynist and/or Libertarian atheists; in fact, from my observations, there are a large number of women and lefties posting on the Slymepit, and slurring them all as misogynist or as libertarian is only that, empty slurring. The Slymepit is not some magical entity comprising all that is evil and wrong; it’s a very loose and disparate collection of people with nothing much in common except opposition to authoritarian tactics.

But as long as the offenders keep on attempting their ostracism tactics, their pattern of slurring and personal abuse, then you can expect such opposition to gather.

E) Again, again, it always comes down to the difference between claimed goals and real goals. As a former trade-union activist and organiser who has organised and led a strike on the factory floor, I get very unimpressed by screamers who claim to be on the side of social justice, when it is obvious that being abusive in a pack towards whomever they can be is in fact their real goal, not social justice in any form. Some people need to get real.

F) Economic and social justice are worthwhile goals. There is a place for promoting them within skepiticism and/or atheism, however atheism and skepticism as such as reconginsable concepts that will defy all attempts to redefine them as concepts on the basis of personal bias.

Michael Nugent, all of this is a wake-up call for atheists in general. Too much was permitted on the grounds of “he’s on our side”, too much went on in the name of attacking the religious, the culture of abuse was obvious.

I realise you wish certain attacks on people like Ophelia Benson et al to stop; the easiest method of achieving that would be to achieve a general culture of non-abusiveness among atheists. And that will only happen is abuse and ostracism are condemned where they happen, and a blind eye is not turned upon such things.

51 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Well, as Nugent is aware, since it was a tweet directed to him and Ophelia Benson in response to his announcement of this thread, to which he replied, Amanda Marcotte has a solution:

“If we eliminate people who don’t want an inclusive community, there are no rifts.”

52 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Brony@48:

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster?

PZ has a policy of instantly banning any ‘pitters commenting on Pharyngula. Not FtB in general, but Pharyngula certainly.

53 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

From the OP:

They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

Emphasis mine. I’m still seeing a LOT of this in the comments here.

54 oolon March 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm

The FTB can own it, additionally since as already noted, homophobic, anti-transsexual, misogynistic language was completely OK with them when it suited them.

I thought you were not allowing comments that were defamatory and blatantly untrue? I know its tucking in amongst a lot of bloviating but its there….

55 maximus March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

It is wonderful that you have continued this effort Michael, thank you.

56 Remick March 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

@ Doubtthat 25

“Again, this is perfectly fine, but no one is trying to create a progressive/libertarian “community,” or lamenting the fact that there’s disagreement. Sure, the groups can work together in specific, discreet situations, but it isn’t a unified “movement” or however the hell we’re describing the atheist/skeptical category.”

From what I can tell only a few people are trying to join feminism to Atheism/skepticism. Why is that any different. Do they belong together? Not really. But breaking down Religion’s influence on people, policy, education, and culture helps many of the goals of feminism, so of course they should be joined. Right? I mean, if something benefits feminism they should merge with feminism.

Look, some Atheists/Skeptics are Feminists, some are not. Breaking down people’s bigotry and racism and sexism that is rooted in religion is a great thing. Why not just let that happen on its own? If people can’t excuse their views with their religion, or if pointing to the bible(or whatever) as an answer becomes completely unacceptable in mainstream culture won’t that result in furthering the goals of Feminism, as well as many other isms?

@ 24 you said.

“No, you just want to be in control of defining which subjects are relevant to atheism and skepticism.”

I would suggest that the subjects that are relevant to atheism should be religion V. Secularism. It may happen that ATHEISM is relevant to FEMINISM, but that does not make the reverse true.

As to Skepticism, I have found that Feminists are no different than anyone else in the world. “I want everyone to be skeptical about positions with which I disagree”. Well, what about the positions you do agree with? Do you get that being part of a Skepticism movement means all of your beliefs, solutions, ideals, narratives, and goals are going to be put through the ringer in terms of being challenged in every which way. That is part of Skepticism. The people who put them through the ringer are NOT your enemy. They are helping you. We all need people who don’t immediately agree with us to help us past our confirmation bias. What many of us hate, is when anyone comes in and says “YOU SHOULD BE MORE SKEPTICAL OF X” then in the same breath says “DONT YOU DARE DOUBT Z OR YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM”.

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of feminism. I welcome feminism into skepticism circles as long as challenging it doesn’t automatically make one a misogynist, or any other -ist. Feminism, like all -isms, gets some stuff right, and some stuff wrong. Skeptics are just trying to find the stuff that is wrong. Don’t hate them for it.

57 Remick March 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm

er, typo,

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of feminism.

should read

It sounds to me like the feminists are the ones trying to tell everyone what can and can’t be part of skepticism.

58 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Dan L #45:

See comments #163, 169, 176, 187, and 202 over on the previous thread.

But, if you want to discuss after all, let’s have Michael Nugent make that other thread he mentioned earlier and discuss it. You can have the first move, and point to your previous comments which I haven’t addressed.

59 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

More defamatory rubbish… Can you get away with it if you don’t name names, just paint the whole of FtBs with having “done” this?

misogynistic personal abuse directed at Abbie Smith, Miranda Celeste Hale, Harriet Hall, Sara Mayhew

Sara Mayhew claimed saying she was “ragging on” Skepchicks was a gendered slur and misogynistic… So now Gurdur thinks that is misogyny! Given he comes from a forum where calling women on FtBs cunts is *not* misogyny then… Well… Where is the moderation?

60 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Applestairs #51 – I saw that and I have an issue with it. I keep re-reading it and it just smacks of something that isn’t quite right. Removing all who don’t completely agree is the base of that tweet. Something isn’t quite right about that format.

61 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

MetaLogic@58:

I don’t want to have some tedious meta-discussion about how I said I didn’t want to discuss those things when in reality I said I wasn’t currently discussing those things (two separate concepts).

The simple fact of the matter is that if you look at my comments in that thread I did have quite a lot to say about those particular topics. You didn’t engage with any of it.

62 Metalogic42 March 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Brony #49:

You said, “I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.”

Here are two examples:
http://24.media.tumblr.com/78eb352f6c3ea52ef8018c291e96dcf2/tumblr_mfpto1OcuL1s04ltdo1_1280.png

http://25.media.tumblr.com/4decb12b2c421e815fb44e13767d00a6/tumblr_mfjdzr1E2Z1s04ltdo1_1280.png

63 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm

@Remick

1) No, there are more than a few people. Just like with politics, the fundamental reality of the nation is changing (don’t want to comment on the other countries involved in this). More women than men go to college. Women are eager to participate and lead these skeptical/atheist groups precisely because of the damage religion consistently inflicts on women. Their concerns will soon be the majority concerns of this “community.”

You’re fighting a losing battle if you think you’re going to exclude feminism from atheism/skepticism. If the group splinters I promise you that people talking about Bigfoot and the Kalaam Cosmological will carry significantly less sway than those focusing on social and political issues (that’s not to say I don’t find other topics interesting).

2)

Breaking down people’s bigotry and racism and sexism that is rooted in religion is a great thing. Why not just let that happen on its own?

Because nothing happens “on its own.” There is no law that says reducing the influence of religion will necessarily result in policies favorable to women.

It amuses me that people think just getting rid of religion will be sufficient. This isn’t true on any level, and no one involved with this community actually believes such. It’s a two step process: argue against religion, replace it with something better.

We have examples of countries that eliminated the existing traditional religions and filled that void with something just as bad. We can all rattle them off pretty easily.

When the ignorance caused by religion is eliminated, it has to be replaced with science education, otherwise you just end up with godless gibberish psuedoscience. The position of the feminist/atheist community is that the ancient religious structures that have harmed women need to be marginalized and then replaced with something that is better for women.

Certainly in a historical sense the role of women in our modern society derives directly from the Abrahamic religions. That is not to say, however, that religious belief is necessary for the marginalization of women. Those problems tend to become self-sustaining after a certain amount of time. If, for example, all churches suddenly disappeared, the result would not be the elimination of the gendered wage gap.

3) I am happy to discuss any issue of feminism skeptically–with statistics, empirical studies, and the best evidence that can be provided. It’s because I’m familiar with that material that I happily identify as a feminist. Mr. Nugent, however, has requested that we not do that here, so I’m not engaging.

64 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm

#51 Applestairs

Well, as Nugent is aware, since it was a tweet directed to him and Ophelia Benson in response to his announcement of this thread, to which he replied, Amanda Marcotte has a solution:
“If we eliminate people who don’t want an inclusive community, there are no rifts.”

In the spirit of this dialogue, I am choosing to interpret ambiguous comments charitably.

Amanda was responding directly to a tweet linking to the dialogue post, which includes the lines:

It is aimed at those of us who want to move beyond the rifts and to build strong, inclusive, caring and supportive atheist and skeptic communities and groups, that promote robust and rational debate of issues while avoiding needlessly hurting people.
It is not aimed at people who want to escalate the hostilities, or who want to continue to cause unnecessary hurt to other people.

I am assuming that Amanda meant that if the dialogue process is limited to people who want an inclusive community, then there would be no rifts among that subset of people.

She doesn’t seem to me to be advocating eliminating people in any sinister sense.

65 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Michael,

I think your agenda is out of order. #2 has to come before #1 imho. You can’t even begin to “work together on core issues on which we broadly agree” until we “balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.”

#3 is a non-starter. You can’t tell any particular segment of the A / S movement that they can’t or shouldn’t mix their A / S with their SJ, which is what submariner is suggesting above. Submariner has no right to tell other athiests or skeptics or conference organizers what they can or can not advocate for under the A / S banner. Plain and simple.

If FTB or Skepchick want to fight for social justice and simultaneously wave the A / S banner, that is their right and no one should feel entitled enough to tell them to stop.

Conversely, if the JREF wants to limit it’s own scope to classic skepticism, big foot, ufo’s, etc… then that is their right and no one else should feel entitled enough to force them to talk about SJ issues. If the JREF doesn’t want speakers at TAM to talk about feminism, that’s fine, then feminists are free not to attend.

This has been the A+ / SJ stance from the very beginning, if YOU (proverbial) don’t want to talk about SJ, then fine, but we’ll be damned if we’ll let you bully, troll or intimidate us in to not talking about it ourselves.

I think you’ll find #3 is not on the table for discussion and #2 is not going to happen as long as you have misogynists and MRA’s actively trying to oppose any effort by feminists to speak their minds and vice versa.

The problem happens when feminists speak out, the anti-feminists attack them in multiple forums and social networking spaces.

Feeling attacked, the feminists defend themselves, which often involves pointing out the misongynistic and patriarchical attitudes of their attackers, which they in turn take as slanderous or libelous.

This is a no win situation.

66 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

#60 Renee

I’ve removed one of your double posts. And I’ve responded to what you were saying in comment #63.

67 Myriad March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

@47:

A thread about atheism+ and freethoughtblogs.

Indeed. It seemed a particularly appropriate place to post a short essay about the nature and value of common ground, that was inspired by the ongoing “rift.”

I won’t tell them they’re actually being harassed if you don’t.

Well poisoning.

(Also, nice job patronizing “them,” whomever you’re referring to as being harassed. I’m sure they will be grateful to you for being so protective.)

68 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I would like to make one note here:
oolon, in the middle of making some very vague accusations not worth worrying about in the slightest, made (no doubt in mistake), one very concrete claim. I have links, exact quotes and/or screenshots for all claims I have madem myself.

Oolon claimed, “Given he [Gurdur] comes from a forum where calling women on FtBs cunts is *not* misogyny then… Where is the moderation?”

I am not a member of the Slymepit forum board. I run two forum boards of my own, the Heathen Hangout and the Heathen Hub. On neither forum that I own is it OK to go in for abuse of that nature. In fact, there was a dedicated follower of Pharyngula who constantly posted approving links to Pharyngula on the Hangout, without any stopping of that by me as admin.

It is most certainly not OK on my forums to allow mass denigration of women anywhere, including women on FTB. In fact I mod and admin to cut down as much personal abuse as I can, and on my blog I also appeal to commentatorys to keep it reasonably civil about others, includimg others on FTB. Just let it be noted Oolon has made both a completely false claim about me (not for the first time, either), and also tried yet again at an attempt at guilt by alleged association.

The Slymepit comprises very different people. Renee Hendricks is not the same person as Gina, who is not the same woman as Scented Nectar. The Slymepit is a forum that has very very limited moderation, and that is a principle in and of itself; to slur someone who actually is a member of the Slymepit as being all tolerant of misogynistic abuse is only to open up the can of worms yet again that on FTB and Pharyngula in particular homophobic, misogynist and anti-transsexual hate-speech was allowed till very recently, and only stopped because of criticism from outside. Should we then condemn oolon, who does post on FTB blogs, as someone who then approves of misogynistic, homophobic, anti-trans hate.speech? Obviously not, not on that account alone. By the same principle, slurs by oolon on Slymepit members en masse are equally illegitimate.

I repeat, I am not a member of the Slymepit. Oolon has made a concrete claim which is completely false.

Cheers.

69 Brony March 20, 2013 at 6:23 pm

@ DanL 52

PZ has a policy of instantly banning any ‘pitters commenting on Pharyngula. Not FtB in general, but Pharyngula certainly.

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

70 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Is the next phase to join up AVfM with the new FtB-pit? There are rather a lot of atheists on that site as well… According to a commenter talking with Metalogic42 on AVfM the Slymepit “feminist” poll that determined over 90% of the Slymepit are “feminists” would be agreed by over 90% of the posters at AVfM as well… So there are lots of atheist-feminists there as well, we can all hold hands and fight the patriarchy, oh wait!

71 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm

@Gurdur, was a member of the Slymepit as it was, so he does literally come from a forum that condones calling women cunts.

Try being more succinct Gurdur, didn’t take too many words to rebut you.

72 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Oolon, I direct you to comment 67, in which your concrete claim was shown to be completely false. I do realise from your conduct that you do not appear to be in favour of dialogue in general, but maybe then you could simply leave it be, and duck out of it, letting those who are get on with it, rather than trying it on with bizarre AVfM fantasies.

73 Stephanie Zvan March 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I “spammed” nothing. Neither did Jason. We had a discussion with a community (not just a conference) of which we are both part, and we were thanked by members of that community for our input.

74 kntk March 20, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Well poisoning.

(Also, nice job patronizing “them,” whomever you’re referring to as being harassed. I’m sure they will be grateful to you for being so protective.)

Oh i’m sure they are. The point, which to be fair I did obfuscate in sarcasm a bit is that talking about some people on a forum, is not enough to actually constitute harassment.

75 oolon March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

@Gurdur, you showed nothing to be false, were you or were you not a member of the Slymepit on ERVs threads?

Maybe I was too imprecise for you in my language… Gurdur was an enthusiastic member of the Slymepit threads where nice people like Franc Hoggle stated “If I was a girl I’d kick her in the cunt, cunt” … With not a word of dissention from the respectible Gurdur who comes here all distraught by the horrible language used by FtB bloggers and commenters.

Is that better Gurdur?

76 Gurdur March 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

1) ERV’s blog is not a forum. It is a blog. There is a big difference between a blog and a forum, one which oolon would be aware of. When Oolon claims I was a member of a forum, or come from it, he is making a specific claim. His words, his claim, his garbage. The disingenous attempt to weasel out of it is not impressive.

2) On the guilt by association bit; that’s been done to death. The point has been made several times, and oolon is in no position to try that kind of emotive slurring.

3) Commenting on someone’s blog does not mean I “come from” even that blog. If I come from anywhere, it is from my own blog, the Hangout and the Hub.

4) Nonsubstantive disruptive trolling is only that.

77 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Metalogic42, Doubtthat, John C Welch and Dan L,

I have published a new post if you want to continue the discussion on rape prevention. I’ve included the comments made here in that post.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/discussion-on-rape-prevention-split-from-discussion-on-dialogue-agenda/

78 Brony March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@ Metalogic42

Just for the record the first image is not good evidence. But I can accept the second. I disagree with his position and think that one should ban based on behavior.

79 kntk March 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

@Gurdur, was a member of the Slymepit as it was, so he does literally come from a forum that condones calling women cunts.

Was he born there, raised by the slymepit elders? No I think he might have commented on a forum a year or so ago.

80 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm

@77

Thanks.

81 lurker March 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

If the JREF doesn’t want speakers at TAM to talk about feminism, that’s fine, then feminists are free not to attend.

Temporarily de-lurking: I’m a woman and a feminist. I’m excited about the lineup of speakers for the next TAM and very interested in what they have to say. Why would I not attend just because they won’t be talking about feminism?

82 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Michael #65 – I can capitulate to that. The problem with places like Twitter is your intent with regard to words is limited to 140 characters. I’ll relent that perhaps that’s what Marcotte had meant.

83 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

@Brony:

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

Step 1: Go to Pharyngula.
Step 2: Check the Dungeon page.
Step 3: Observe that PZ has explicitly stated that all Slymepitters will be banned. He says this himself. Horse’s mouth.

I’ve been essentially taking FtB’s side. I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m trying to help you not to put your foot in your mouth.

84 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Brony #77 – I was banned not because of my comment but because I was found to be a member of the Slymepit. It does not matter to PZ if you have a valid point. By your association *only* you are banned.

85 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

On the topic of banning, notice that just above Stephanie Zvan linked to a discussion about this Gurdur fellow. I know nothing about the situation, so I read the link. Here’s what a commenter said to Stephanie:

…and to have the Head Shitbitch of this Thread lie through her cum infested gums to do so…

I don’t know if the commenter was “from the pit” or posted there on a regular basis, but he/she was engaged in a dramatic defense of Gurdur who was being criticized for posting there.

Now, how many similar comments originating from the same location and in defense of the same topic would you have to read before preemptively banning people?

Obviously not everyone at the pit behaves that way, but (1) we’re talking about controlling internet blog comments, not depriving people of life, liberty, and due process, and (2) why should someone wait until they’re insulted like that after a certain number of experiences?

Whether or not you agree with Myers’ policy, surely you can understand how it came to be.

86 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Why would I not attend just because they won’t be talking about feminism?

Many feminists would probably still attend based on their interest in skepticism alone, but many others may find it a waste of time, preferring to spend their hard earned money on conferences that DO address the issues they are most passionate about. My point is that it’s all about personal choice. Unfortunately, some people tend to think any cross over is unforgivable and “moving the tent”.

87 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

@ 74

@Gurdur, you showed nothing to be false, were you or were you not a member of the Slymepit on ERVs threads?

Yes Gurdur, are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?

88 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:02 pm

@ doubtthat 80

Why?

@Dan L 83, Renee Hendricks 84

See #78

89 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

@Submariner, so you see no issue with someone criticising FtBs for “misogynistic language” when they hung out at a thread full of misogynistic language but said nothing….? He still says nothing…

I have no problem with you or any one else hanging out at the pit, its up to you. I may criticise what goes on there, but I wouldn’t deny you the freedom to do it. I do have a problem with people from a place where it is almost universally accepted that calling women cunts is not misogyny popping up holier than thou and criticising FtBs for a few comments they have screencapped! Funny that Gurdur claims FtBs and even I am obsessed and envious of him when he is the one saving comments from years previously.

At least have the guts to say you don’t think these things are misogyny, not weasel about trying to use the standards you think FtBs are not adhering to in order to attack them. Cowardly and intellectually dishonest.

90 Cian March 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Has PZ Myers had anything at all to say on this discussion? Does he even think he has any responsibility in making amends? ( probably not – I have never seen him admit an error before ).

I think it would be worth finding out if he has any interest in dialogue. As he is the pope of FTB I would imagine that his clergy will not change their tune until he releases an encyclical asking to ease off on the heresy hunts and purity tests.

I can’t believe he has not had the odd peek at these comment pages.
As Gurdur pointed out – his treatment of accommodationists ( Stedman, Mooney, de Boitton ), non-liberal atheists ( Rogers, Hirsi Ali ), the religious or just anyone he disagrees with has been so dismissive and vitriolic over the last few years that like any good church his clergy were bound to see this pas down to the congregation as the proper modus operandi … Attack, Dismiss and then self congratulation!

Its just that some decided not to accept it and give some back.

91 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

@Brony

The numbers are getting screwed up because some posts get stuck in moderation. I was thanking Mr. Nugent fro opening a new thread.

92 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Brony #88 – See #62. That 1st link shows you *exactly* how I was banned simply because I’m a member of the Slymepit. Nothing more.

93 Remick March 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm

@ doubtthat 63.

I am not sure what your stats about more women going to college has anything to do with anything. It greatly matters what they go to college for, as I would suggest that there are several majors that may not lead to a rise in skepticism or atheism.

Regardless, I wouldn’t have any problem with there being more women then men in the skeptical movement.

Moving on. I also don’t have any issue with political and social issues being discussed regularly at skeptical events, or on skeptical forums or what have you. However, what is the correct amount? Who decides what political angle gets more time(or do MRAs get the same amount of time as feminists, do Liberals and Conservatives get equal time, what about libertarians)? Does this result in a drastic reduction of all non-social, non-political subjects? Can you see how this can be problematic? As you said, no one is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. But why should progressives and feminists be the only view allowed in the atheist movement? The attitude of the FtB crowd has been “We’re taking over! Kick the CHUDs out!”. Personally, I am a progressive, but I would never want the skeptical movement to be only a progressive movement. Is that what you want? If so, why? Do you think you have the right to demand it? Does anyone?

I don’t disagree that things don’t happen on their own. But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?

Also, removing the ability for bigots to justify their bigotry with religion leads to a much different conversation. It strips away a large wall that is in the way. Feminists also want that same wall striped down, but why does that mean Atheists need to be feminists?

As to #3, I am glad that you do want that. I wasn’t specifically asking you to do it here. That is all many of us want. Would you also dismiss a study or results that were then shown to not to have been collected in a scientific way, even if the conclusion was one you supported? Would you even check?

94 Remick March 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Sorry, just want to clarify. When I said “But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?” I wasn’t trying to suggest that Feminists can’t or shouldn’t be involved. Just that if it is in the name of Atheism, shouldn’t it be people doing it as Atheists, rather than as Feminists?

95 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

They are 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 malign motivations and escalate hostility.

Still seeing a lot of this in comments here.

96 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Remick@94:

I wasn’t trying to suggest that Feminists can’t or shouldn’t be involved. Just that if it is in the name of Atheism, shouldn’t it be people doing it as Atheists, rather than as Feminists?

Are you proposing feminist atheists perform some sort of asexual reproduction before engaging in the atheist community? Identity is rather more complicated than your comment suggests, I think.

97 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

@ 89

While I am not obliged to perform any act of purity or contrition you deem necessary, I will say (speaking only for myself) this:

I do not consider calling a specific woman a ‘cunt’ to be misogynistic.

Your turn:

What exactly IS ” misogynistic language” ? The dictionary only defines those words separately.

98 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

@ Renee Hendricks 92

Actually read comment 78. The last two sentences should answer your question.

99 Michael Nugent March 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

# 50 Gurdur

Thanks for those points, and in particular for your apology to Russell Blackford. I agree with you that we should not be demonizing or ostracizing people.

You have also made some assertions, which I accept that you sincerely believe to be true, about the motivations of other people.

Can I ask you to, for the purposes of this dialogue, to interpret their behavior and motivations charitably, just as you would like oolon to interpret charitably your clarification that you do not come from the forum he mentions?

For example, Stephanie Zvan has clarified at comment #73 that she did not spam a spam a science-communication conference hashtag.

And Aratina Cage has disavowed the comment you refer to as anti-transsexual and has clarified that here.

#59 oolon

Gurdur has clarified that he does not come from the forum you mention. Can you please accept his clarification on that?

100 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

@Renee

Brony #88 – See #62. That 1st link shows you *exactly* how I was banned simply because I’m a member of the Slymepit. Nothing more.

Not entirely true is it Renee? Do you think PZ has never heard of you before, or seen your comments about him? If there was a forum dedicated to trying to find the least charitable interpretation of everything I say and do, photoshops and insults on a daily basis… Would I let members of that forum comment freely at *my* blog? Definitely not! (Well in my case I’m so unpopular that I need the pitters comments to make it look like anyone reads it. But when I’m feted as the great blogger I am and have a regular readership they are totally banned!)

Me commenting at the Slymepit didn’t get me banned, other FtB’ers have commented there and recently I think erikthebassist did? They don’t join in the echo chamber of insult, demean and degrade though.

101 loyalb March 20, 2013 at 7:33 pm

“I see most of the escalating series of events as well-meaning people, on all perceived ‘sides’, making well-meaning comments, that were unintentionally hurtful to others, partly because they were made in environments where robust debate is encouraged and comments are made hastily.”

I may be misreading you, Michael, but I think you’re misdiagnosing the root cause of the rift. There isn’t a disagreement over the tone of the debate, or how the debate should be conducted. If both sides seem to agree on anything (and let’s face it, there are roughly two sides to this), it’s that strong ridicule will rule the day. The disagreement is over whether there should be a debate in the first place.

When Greta Christina writes that she “wants deep rifts,” an attitude seemingly shared by many in her coterie of atheists, I don’t think it’s being uncharitable to take her at her word. I think it’s also fair to ask whether she and others might be acting in ways that fulfill her wish.

How are we supposed to reconcile the various factions when one faction is openly, philosophically opposed to the idea of reconciliation?

I agree with much of what you’re saying. I appreciate your efforts and your discipline at being fair-minded. When you called out the Slymepit for some of its hurtful content, I think it was just and it made a real difference in the way their forum conducts itself. I’m not asking that you necessarily make a similarly detailed, blunt criticism of… let’s just call them FTB for convenience’s sake… but I think you’re overlooking a lot of dogmatic behavior on their part that’s standing in the way of progress.

Regards,
Loyal

102 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

I am not sure what your stats about more women going to college has anything to do with anything. It greatly matters what they go to college for, as I would suggest that there are several majors that may not lead to a rise in skepticism or atheism.

It shows that women are increasingly participating in all levels of society. They now vote more frequently than men, for example, so the idea that there can be some wall created between “traditional” issues and “feminist” issues is just impossible in a demographic sense. The change is coming and its coming to all level of society, atheism and skepticism included.

However, what is the correct amount? Who decides what political angle gets more time…Can you see how this can be problematic? As you said, no one is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. But why should progressives and feminists be the only view allowed in the atheist movement?

I just don’t see this as a problem. It will be chosen by participants. There are fewer conservatives, for example, because in most countries we’re drawing participants from, conservatives tend to be religious. I’d imagine not many alt-med progressives want to run out to skeptical conferences and be told they’re wasting money on acupuncture.

I don’t disagree that things don’t happen on their own. But we can all work to reduce the influence of Religion without any Feminist involvement, yet Feminism still gains from it. Don’t you agree?

Again, I would say, “not necessarily.”

There are some situations where the default is strong enough that a reduction of religious superstition, alone, would likely lead to an improvement of conditions for women – abortion, for example.

Yet there are many more instances where just eliminating religious ideals wouldn’t result in improvement. The pay gap is probably the clearest example, but consider something like Title IX. Though once again the prohibition and societal scorn aimed at women participating in sports has a clear root in religious social roles and concepts of modesty, it became a trend that extended beyond church goers. Just eliminating religion wouldn’t have produced the incredible sport opportunities available for women, it took the positive establishment of a law demanding equal rights.

…why does that mean Atheists need to be feminists?

I personally don’t care if they are or aren’t, I will just choose to spend my time with the feminist atheists. Others can choose differently, what I’m objecting to is the notion that concerns about feminist issues should be set aside so that we can all be in a movement together. Sorry, I think it’s too important.

Would you also dismiss a study or results that were then shown to not to have been collected in a scientific way, even if the conclusion was one you supported? Would you even check?

Of course.

103 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Renee Hendricks 92

I think I see what you mean now. That link is not good evidence because is shows you being banned, but without any other evidence I can’t tell why you were banned or if it was even for that comment.

The second link shows PZ explicitly saying that he bans based on association, so I can provisionally accept that.

104 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@Michael, I’ll say that I’ve never seen Gurdur comment at the new Slymepit… Given that’s what he thought I meant. I already commented that he did hang out at the old slimepit and that is what I was getting at. So sorry for the confusion!

105 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Dan

Suppose you attended an LGBT rally for ‘gay rights’ but half of the speakers were discussing the problems of racism still prevalent in society.

You might wonder why the organizers called it an LGBT rally.

106 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Brony #97 – You can even ask PZ (assuming he’ll be honest). The *only* reason that very reasonable comment resulted in me being banned is because I’m a member of the Slymepit. I call upon PZ Myers to be honest about this. I simply hope he’ll be open and honest about this.

107 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Oolon #100 – yes, it is very honest. That’s what PZ put out to *all* on his blog with regard to my comment. It wasn’t in anyway related to anyone that it was because he found my comment to be incorrect. He simply blocked me due to be a member of the Slymepit. That is easily found out.

108 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm

To add to the other conversation, like it or not there will be people who want combined atheism/XXX activism. I am one of those with respect to feminism specifically because I see the damage done to women because of religion as relevant to atheist activism. For racism I see the inherent tribalism of religion as a contributing factor in historical and current racism. So I associate with FTB atheists.

My opinion is if you want atheism only activism, go participate in atheist only activist groups. I will participate in atheism+XXXX groups.

109 Brony March 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Renee Hendricks 106

Brony #97 – You can even ask PZ (assuming he’ll be honest). The *only* reason that very reasonable comment resulted in me being banned is because I’m a member of the Slymepit. I call upon PZ Myers to be honest about this. I simply hope he’ll be open and honest about this.

No I will not ask PZ. This is not about me not accepting that PZ bans based on association. If you actually read comment 78 you will see that I said,

But I can accept the second. I disagree with his position and think that one should ban based on behavior.

So I do provisionally accept that PZ does this. The first picture does not show why the ban occurred. It is not good evidence.

110 oolon March 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Oolon #100 – yes, it is very honest.

Not really you said that is the *only* reason he banned you…. Not the years of history between the Slymepit and FtBs that has consistently shown Pittizens don’t want to argue in good faith on FtBs? You might not agree with that statement but you’d be delusional if you didn’t agree that is a good summary of PZ’s opinion of you and the Pittizens!

111 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Suppose you attended an LGBT rally for ‘gay rights’ but half of the speakers were discussing the problems of racism still prevalent in society.

You might wonder why the organizers called it an LGBT rally.

I might go to a comicon wherehalf the speakers are discussing movies. I would still not wonder why it’s called comicon.

112 Renee Hendricks March 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Brony and Oolon – you can go through *years* of PZ Myer’s blog and see I’ve very rarely ever commented. The one time I do and when it’s discovered I participate in the Slymepit, I’m banned. It’s not rocket science, people.

In any case, I’m done with the he/she/they/whatever said. I’m more interested in what Michael is hoping to offer in actual structured dialogue. It’s my hope that many from both sides will wish to participate.

113 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Renee Hendricks @112

Renee, please read this very carefully. I am not saying that you were not banned for being a pitter, I am not saying you are lying.

I am assessing a single piece of evidence that I was shown. The fact that you say I need to do all those other things only proves my point that the picture is not good evidence.

Any kind of repair to any community has to include the ability to dispassionately assess evidence.

114 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 8:05 pm

@105 Submariner

I know you were searching for an example, and Dan handled the broader point, but you must realize how much of an issue race is in that community.

I would be more surprised to go to an LGBT rally or conference or whatever where race wasn’t mentioned.

115 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Brony:

PZ has repeatedly said that he bans any known slymepitter “on sight”. Examples are:

“… you’re a slymepitter and apologist for misogynist vermin, with a history of disingenuous sliming. Banned, as all of your kind are, on sight.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/07/i-do-love-a-good-snark/comment-page-1/#comment-530808

“That rocko2466 was banned for none of those things. He was banned for being one of those sleazy lying ‘pitters.”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/25/most-excellent-news/comment-page-1/#comment-570147

116 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Step 1: Go to Pharyngula.
Step 2: Check the Dungeon page.
Step 3: Observe that PZ has explicitly stated that all Slymepitters will be banned. He says this himself. Horse’s mouth.

Where does he say that? The only mention of the Slymepit I found on that page is the following:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/dungeon/

Lately, some people with a notorious history of repulsive behavior and an association with a place of ill-repute called the Slymepit have taken to blatantly trolling here to get recognition of their vile behavior. They are thrown into the dungeon all right, but I’m not going to grant them any notoriety by mentioning them — they just get namelessly blocked without acknowledgment.

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

I think you are misrepresenting things a bit, aren’t you?

117 Remick March 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm

@ doubtthat 102

Sorry, the quote layering is getting rather complicated, but I’ll some up here.

I agree about the changing demographics etc… Though I think(or hope I suppose) that these issues would still be just as important even if women were not entering the movement in larger numbers. I agree that women entering more levels of society in larger numbers will only lead to better things, yet I fail to see how this affects only “feminist” issues. Rather I think this will help provide different and hopefully better solutions to all issues.

I think you are correct in regards to conservatives, though Libertarians tend to be atheists in larger percentages than progressives. So maybe someone is trying to make a “libertarian/progressive” movement. I agree, it should be chosen by participants.

I agree about Title IX, though I would add one caveat. Laws can help equalize things in the short term, but eliminating religion can help make such laws no longer needed in the long term. But it is a great example. Even with plenty of women’s sports and athletes out there, they draw less viewership than men’s sports. Is it just cultural? Or do the physical differences between men and women play some role in this? If they do, is this ok? Should Olympic sports be separated by male/female? If so, which? Which shouldn’t be?

As to your last point, I certainly don’t begrudge people if they want to have their own movements that best reflects which issues are most important to them. What I do have a problem with is people taking a movement and changing it and disinviting a lot of people from it. Which is what is happening(or being attempted). Don’t pretend that isn’t what some people have been trying to make happen, just because you aren’t one of them personally.

I have had very minor disagreements with FtB/A+ over the yearish amount of time I have been aware of it. Though it is almost always over approach and tactics. Not anything major, though I am not very welcome there and viewed as a troll.

Also, apologies if I ask too many questions. I haven’t posted on this board before today. I don’t know you at all, and am genuinely interested in what you have to say.

118 Skepsheik March 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Russell, (comment 4) I think we have a (civil!) disagreement over accomodationism. I would place myself fully in the non-accomodationist camp and yet I don’t think I have any major disagreements with the likes of Chris Mooney or Michael Ruse over core issues of science and religion. Both accomodationists and non-accomodationists are atheists who agree that science and traditional religion are incompatible in terms of how they provide validated knowledge about the world. The difference is that accomodationists seek to temper the public language of atheism so that moderate religious people can find a gap or two to squeeze in their God.
It is a political approach to forming alliances that creates two standards; one, for fellow atheists, is more strict, requiring firm evidence and justification; the other, for the moderate religious allies, is far more nebulous, and open to personal interpretation, feeling etc.
I see a similar structure being constructed in the current atheist movement regarding the acceptance of highly speculative and unsupported aspects of academic feminist theory.
The other, and probably more pertinent, similarity to accomodationism is the requirement that we must not, on pain of atheist excommunication, offend our erstwhile allies.
As Esteleth said on PZ’s Pharyngula google hangout:
“I could say all manner of words, you know; I have the right to do that, I have the freedom of speech. But my right to do that ends the second that someone who is affected by those words hears me.”
This statement was not contested by any of the other Pharyngulites, not even by PZ himself. The ongoing war on misogynist atheists is pretty much defined by the idea that certain words are verboten in polite company, due to the fact that certain individuals consider them ‘gendered epithets’ of such potency that one does not even need speak their name to put oneself beyond the pale. Merely posting in the same forum as someone who has used those words is enough to induce the required countermeasure – ‘slymepitter! banned!’
Now I, presumably like you, hate the idea of saying something simply to try to offend. I do, however, think that occasionally, as in the case of religious debate, a little reductio ad absurdum, or even pointed satire, can be useful – at the very least for influencing those reading from the sidelines.
The idea that we must give up our right to free speech whenever it offends others, must be resisted, whether the call comes from a religious authority or an atheist ‘freethinker’.
The influence of dogmatic religious thinking presses down all aspects of society like a slowly melting ice-age glacier. We in the atheist community are doing our bit, kindling fires of reason wherever we can. Whether it is writing a letter to a newspaper questioning religious privilege or adding a comment about Santa to an online religious apologetic article on the Huffington post, it all has an effect turning the religious climate around. Forgive me if I fail to heed the call of the social justice warriors in our midst, to drop the successful approach of the recent past and instead simply stand at the head of the glacier and push.

119 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Here’s another example:

PZ: “… just take it as given that slymepit denizens get banned and deleted on sight …”

_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/04/its-a-good-idea-its-depressing-that-its-necessary/comment-page-1/#comment-504040

120 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm

@ Coel

Please read my other posts. As I have tried to point out I do accept that PZ is doing that based on a piece of the evidence that I presented. It is a specific piece of evidence that I had issue with. It was a technical issue. An important technical issue.

Any kind of community healing also has to include people willing to check conversation context more carefully.

121 Brony March 20, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I meant to say “…that I was presented.”

122 Coel March 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Dear Brony,
Sure, I wasn’t criticising you, just presenting more evidence. Cheers, Coel.

123 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm

@117 Remick

I’ve enjoyed talking with you, regardless of whether we agree or not.

Even with plenty of women’s sports and athletes out there, they draw less viewership than men’s sports. Is it just cultural? Or do the physical differences between men and women play some role in this? If they do, is this ok? Should Olympic sports be separated by male/female? If so, which? Which shouldn’t be?

It’s probably an entertainment issue. Maybe this changes over time as the quality of the sports improve and the viewership increases, both as more generations of participants roll by.

I was a baseball player in a pretty large school. There were women on our basketball team that went on to play in the WNBA. I played with them on several occasions….yes, the olympics should be separated (anyone is welcome to fill in the hanging implication). That will get more interesting over time, however, as the scientific understanding and manipulation of hormones and genes increases.

What I do have a problem with is people taking a movement and changing it and disinviting a lot of people from it. Which is what is happening(or being attempted). Don’t pretend that isn’t what some people have been trying to make happen, just because you aren’t one of them personally.

I think one point of disagreement between us involves whether that can or should be stopped.

I would argue that it has always been thus. There was no point where “atheism” or “skepticism” had a static set of acceptable subjects. Consider how scientific developments specifically affect these groups. It would be impossible to halt change on that level, and I view the increased emphasis on women’s issues (soon to be “issues”) just another source of that change.

I would anticipate that much of this will solve itself as the market for these conferences continues to balance out along gender lines — they’re going to have to represent those interests to stay viable.

124 oolon March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Oh yeah… Deeeep Rifffttts!!! http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/so-heres-what-happened.html

Its disorienting how quickly Melissa McEwan assessed the “atheist community” and decided she wants to do her own thing… (Thanks to John Brown partly there)

“I’ll be over here carving out my own space, in the shape of a fat cunt.*”

Now why does she also not need to engage in “dialogue” with the Pittizens? Actually she doesn’t seem that impressed with PZ’s feminist credentials so why does PZ not *have* to open a dialogue with her to stop the “movement” fracturing?

* Note to pittizens this is not a feminist giving you licence to call her this without it being “misogyny” (I’m not joking for anyone outside this argument – they really think when a feminist uses these words that means they are ok for them to use them)

125 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm

#68 Brony

What are you talking about? Not good evidence?

It clearly says, both times, that the posters were banned for being “Slymepitters.” He clearly states “Slymepitters” are not welcome. He even says it on a post where he INVITES so-called “anti-feminists” to have their say and when these so-called “anti-feminists” DO have their say, like skeptixx, they got banned for it. (By the way, just to put this in perspective, skeptixx isn’t a man or an MRA, she’s a woman, and she considers herself a feminist.)

You need more? What about in his “Dungeon” where he explicitly says that people from the “Lymepit” (such cutting wit) get “namelessly blocked without acknowledgement”?

It’s funny how someone like oolon even omits this fact, even though he’s all about the “facts.”

126 oolon March 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

@Guest, no I’m happy to say he bans *active* slymepitters on sight… I would too… I reckon most people would given what they do all day.

Its his blog, he could ban every 10th person and institute a decimation comment policy for all I care.

127 maximus March 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

@Dan L. #111

But what kind of movies are they discussing at Comicon? Comic Book movies, Your response does not nullify Submariners analogy.

128 Brony March 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

@ Pitchguest
Please check 109 and 113. My issue was with a specific piece of evidence assessed on it’s own. This is an important technical issue because mere banning is not good enough. If the claim is that a specific ban was specifically due to the association, the evidence must show this.

I did not deny that PZ is not doing such. I was referring to a single object.

@ Coel
Sorry if that was a bit sensitive. The preceding criticism keeps ignoring that I’m fine with the claim, but ignores my issue with the single image.

129 windy March 20, 2013 at 9:19 pm

doubtthat:

Yes, you were relying on traditionalism. The topics you don’t want included aren’t core to atheism, in your opinion, and you want to “go back” to the way it was before. There are topics traditional to atheism, feminism isn’t one of them, according to you (however that works out specifically), and you want it to go off on its own somewhere else because its harming the True Atheist causes.

Feminism and women’s issues are “traditional topics” that have been discussed within atheism as far back as I can remember. What isn’t traditional is trying to get the movement to endorse a particular, narrow, Americentric approach to these issues.

130 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Brony @ 49:

I see people who post in the pit post on FTB all the time. Yes there are arguments that get sparked because a person posts primarily on one site or another, but banning just for being a pit poster? I certainly can’t accept that without more than what you are saying. You are characterizing a site as being a place that bans based on association. I don’t think that is accurate at all.

Proof? QED. Go to the bottom of PeeZus’s Dungeon page. See the note on the “chymepit”. (SO EVIL YOU CANNOT SAY IT’S NAME. What, we’re voldemort? )

Michael at 77: you missed where I said, more than once “regardless of subject”. doubtthat’s behavior shows, regardless of the subject at hand, why I don’t see how a dialogue can happen. Pick a different subject and use that instead. “How to change a flat tire”. There, that works. If you have someone completely unwilling to accept that a different approach to changing a flat is as valid as their favored method, and reacts to people trying to show a different way to do it the way doubtthat does to differing opinions, you can’t have a dialogue. If you have to completely agree with someone before they consider anything you have to say as valid, not only can you not have a dialogue, there’s no point. If you completely agree with someone, you don’t need a dialogue. You completely agree. If they refuse to talk to you in a serious manner unless you completely agree, you can’t have a dialogue, they won’t participate until you completely agree with them, and the need for a dialogue goes away.

That’s my point here.

Hermit:

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

That’s your interpretation. To many, it’s different: SOME people, who all happen to be part of the pit, are banned solely because of that.

He doesn’t give you anything to go on. So, to me, and many others, it’s simple: if you are a member of the ‘pit, (for however PZ chooses to define that, which you note, he doesn’t give any data on), you are banned from pharyngula.

That is again, his right. But then don’t tell me I can comment there. I don’t know that to be true, REGARDLESS of what I might say. Given PZ’s willingness to be less than honest when it comes to the ‘pit, I don’t see any legitimate reason to work overtime to take anything he says charitably.

131 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

@111 Dan :
That’s because those movies were live action versions of comics. Please don’t pretend you didn’t understand my point, and I’ll do the same for yours.

@114 Doubtthat: Well, that shows what I know about the LGBT community’s priorities. Point taken, I shan’t use that metaphor again.

Pretend I said muscle car convention and half of the speakers were talking about sports memorabilia.

132 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Hermit, he’s made it quite clear that slymepitters are to be banned on sight. If you find an example of him letting a slymepitter stay there, don’t hold it against me, there may be an exception.

This is petty anyway. Point is he bans people just for coming from the slymepit without responding to their points. It doesn’t matter if he lets some stay. No matter how minor a disagreement is you may be banned just because you’re from the slymepit. That much is true.

133 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm

exceptions*

134 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

@Dan

Do you have a handle on Pharyngula and/or A+? If you do do you mind sharing who you are there?

135 Jack March 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

If pe0ple are genuine about moving to the next stage lets get on with it or we will be going round in yet more circles.

Please also read what Michael wrote very carefully and I respectfully suggest considering if a post you make aligns with what he said.

People have been at this for two weeks and a substantial amount of evidenced claims and counter claims have been made along with well thought out posts and observations. In my opinion we need to move to the next stage rather than picking on minutiae, most of which has already been well covered.

Of course what people do is up to them. I’m simply requesting we try and get things moving further.

136 Remick March 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@doubtthat 123.

I’ve enjoyed it as well.

As to the disagreement, I certainly agree, with skepticism. I imagine skeptical movements will continue to shift focus again and again, from one subject to the next, and back again.

Why does Atheism? It has one subject. Several issues affect it. But it is by and large a single point.

Atheists can be feminist and vice versa. But why would an atheist movement be concerned with feminist issues that are largely outside of its single subject? It isn’t really an atheist movement then is it. It is a feminist one. So lets call it what it is.

If you are an atheist and a feminist, why would you try to make an atheist movement do things that have nothing to do with atheism? Even if they all agree with you. Why not join a Feminist movement if that is your focus? There are plenty of spaces for overlap between the two movements, but to try to say that to be part of the atheist movement, you have to be totally onboard with a feminist movement, is out of place and frankly wrong to do.

There are atheists who aren’t feminists, and there are feminists who aren’t atheists. Why try to force them all together, rather than just allow them to come together on issues that are common?

137 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm

^Remick^

138 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

@Remick

What does atheism have to do with anything? It’s just non-belief. It in no way, for example, necessitates a strong adherence to the scientific method.

It’s a historical fact in the West, modern atheism has largely been the result of scientific progress. I’m an atheist for two reasons: 1) the religious folks who I grew up with were fucking nuts and 2) science provides much better explanations.

There are, however, other cultures that have come to atheism by other means, Soviet Russia and Communist China being decent examples. We share a non-belief in the supernatural powers of Jesus with those two entities, but that’s really about it (I hope). What replaced Christianity in Soviet Russia was not Enlightenment philosophy and scientific knowledge, which is what fills the void here. It was a non-supernatural ideology that was very similar to religion in a number of ways.

So, just like we argue against religious ideas about the origins of the cosmos and replace it with science, we should argue against religious notions of the role of women in society and replace it with feminism.

I see no difference in process with regard to those two subjects. Advocation of teaching science is in no way dependent on atheism and is perfectly compatible with a sort of mealy-mouthed version of Christianity with God as a “first cause” and the Bible representing stories not to be taken literally.

Or, in your words, there are atheists who are scientists or supportive of science and there are science supporters who aren’t atheists. The inclusion of science in the atheist agenda is a contingent fact resulting from the nature of the parties identifying as atheist, not due to some necessary definitional characteristic of non-belief.

139 Wowbagger March 20, 2013 at 9:42 pm

It’s interesting how, as you read through the comments, it boils down to two main complaints – 1) people complaining that bloggers/speakers are talking about things they don’t want to hear about (feminism, social justice); and 2) Bloggers at FTB – mostly PZ – bans people from his personal blog as he sees fit.

Fascinating that a bunch of self described rationalists and skeptics have chosen to go on a years-long campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation of the FTB and related people instead of, I don’t know, choosing to go elsewhere to read about the things they want to read about and where their comments there and elsewhere don’t get them banned.

Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

140 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Wowbagger um no I can’t see how this is mostly about being banned about from the blog – people also talk about the views that got them banned in the first place – or rather, the views that oppose their views – the views of FtB and what they do.

Just because someone is a tyrant who bans people for the simplest doesn’t make what they say “bullying” “harassment” etc. It’s not always the one who was banned doing something wrong.

Take me, verbally abused and then banned from the A+. That’s another place where the mods can do worse than you and *you* get banned. Give me a fucking break.

141 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

˙ʞɐǝɹq buıʞɔnɟ ɐ ǝɯ ǝʌıb ˙pǝuuɐq ʇǝb *noʎ* puɐ noʎ uɐɥʇ ǝsɹoʍ op uɐɔ spoɯ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɔɐןd ɹǝɥʇouɐ s’ʇɐɥʇ ˙+ɐ ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ pǝuuɐq uǝɥʇ puɐ pǝsnqɐ ʎןןɐqɹǝʌ ‘ǝɯ ǝʞɐʇ

˙buoɹʍ buıɥʇǝɯos buıop pǝuuɐq sɐʍ oɥʍ ǝuo ǝɥʇ sʎɐʍןɐ ʇou s’ʇı ˙ɔʇǝ ”ʇuǝɯssɐɹɐɥ“ ”buıʎןןnq“ ʎɐs ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ǝʞɐɯ ʇ’usǝop ʇsǝןdɯıs ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝןdoǝd suɐq oɥʍ ʇuɐɹʎʇ ɐ sı ǝuoǝɯos ǝsnɐɔǝq ʇsnظ

˙op ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ puɐ qʇɟ ɟo sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ – sʍǝıʌ ɹıǝɥʇ ǝsoddo ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ‘ɹǝɥʇɐɹ ɹo – ǝɔɐןd ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ uı pǝuuɐq ɯǝɥʇ ʇob ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ʇnoqɐ ʞןɐʇ osןɐ ǝןdoǝd – boןq ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʇnoqɐ pǝuuɐq buıǝq ʇnoqɐ ʎןʇsoɯ sı sıɥʇ ʍoɥ ǝǝs ʇ’uɐɔ ı ou ɯn ɹǝbbɐqʍoʍ

˙uoıʇɐɹǝpoɯ buıʇıɐʍɐ sı ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ɹnoʎ

˙ʞɐǝɹq buıʞɔnɟ ɐ ǝɯ ǝʌıb ˙pǝuuɐq ʇǝb *noʎ* puɐ noʎ uɐɥʇ ǝsɹoʍ op uɐɔ spoɯ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɔɐןd ɹǝɥʇouɐ s’ʇɐɥʇ ˙+ɐ ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ pǝuuɐq uǝɥʇ puɐ pǝsnqɐ ʎןןɐqɹǝʌ ‘ǝɯ ǝʞɐʇ

˙buoɹʍ buıɥʇǝɯos buıop pǝuuɐq sɐʍ oɥʍ ǝuo ǝɥʇ sʎɐʍןɐ ʇou s’ʇı ˙ɔʇǝ ”ʇuǝɯssɐɹɐɥ“ ”buıʎןןnq“ ʎɐs ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ǝʞɐɯ ʇ’usǝop ʇsǝןdɯıs ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ǝןdoǝd suɐq oɥʍ ʇuɐɹʎʇ ɐ sı ǝuoǝɯos ǝsnɐɔǝq ʇsnظ

˙op ʎǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ puɐ qʇɟ ɟo sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ – sʍǝıʌ ɹıǝɥʇ ǝsoddo ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ‘ɹǝɥʇɐɹ ɹo – ǝɔɐןd ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ uı pǝuuɐq ɯǝɥʇ ʇob ʇɐɥʇ sʍǝıʌ ǝɥʇ ʇnoqɐ ʞןɐʇ osןɐ ǝןdoǝd – boןq ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʇnoqɐ pǝuuɐq buıǝq ʇnoqɐ ʎןʇsoɯ sı sıɥʇ ʍoɥ ǝǝs ʇ’uɐɔ ı ou ɯn ɹǝbbɐqʍoʍ

˙uoıʇɐɹǝpoɯ buıʇıɐʍɐ sı ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ɹnoʎ

142 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Oops. Double post. Anyway I guess people have to put it in an Upsidedown Text machine. I didn’t mean to make it upsidedown AND backwards.

143 Ng March 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Oolon @124 said:

> Oh yeah… Deeeep Rifffttts!!! http://www.shakesville.com/2013/03/so-heres-what-happened.html
>
> Its disorienting how quickly Melissa McEwan assessed the “atheist community” and decided she wants to do her own thing… (Thanks to John Brown partly there)
>
> “I’ll be over here carving out my own space, in the shape of a fat cunt.*”
>
> Now why does she also not need to engage in “dialogue” with the Pittizens? Actually she doesn’t seem that impressed with PZ’s feminist credentials so why does PZ not *have* to open a dialogue with her to stop the “movement” fracturing?
>
> * Note to pittizens this is not a feminist giving you licence to call her this without it being “misogyny” (I’m not joking for anyone outside this argument – they really think when a feminist uses these words that means they are ok for them to use them)


So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

144 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Dear Jack,

shut the fuck up and stop bringing up old shit. Also, stop riding me. Thanks.

145 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

A Hermit@116:

That says SOME people associated with the `pit who are trolling his blog have been blocked, not that ALL slymepit members WILL be banned.

I think you are misrepresenting things a bit, aren’t you?

Not intentionally. My impression is that PZ is essentially zero tolerance with ‘pitters at this point. Maybe I’m wrong about this but it’s my honest impression.

And again, I’m pretty much taking FtB’s side in this so I’m not saying so to “score points”. I’m making an admission of fault on the side that I’m otherwise defending.

146 Jack March 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Eu (143)

You referring to this post I made at the Slympit?

‘I keep forgetting to mention EU was banned from here. My memory’s slipping.’

If you want to swear at me go ahead but be clear about what your reference point is please.

147 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

doubthat@137

What replaced Christianity in Soviet Russia was not Enlightenment philosophy and scientific knowledge, which is what fills the void here. It was a non-supernatural ideology that was very similar to religion in a number of ways.

A great many people here apparently believe the same thing is happening with FTB-style gnu atheism — that people are being asked to accept an essentially faith-based non-supernatural ideology of radical social justice politics.

So, just like we argue against religious ideas about the origins of the cosmos and replace it with science, we should argue against religious notions of the role of women in society and replace it with feminism.

So is FTB/A+ feminism just “the radical notion that women are people?” Because it obviously appears to a lot of folks, women and men, as though it’s the radical notion that criticizing feminist theory or certain feminists makes you a misogynist.

148 Eu March 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

OH SHIT JACK CAME OVER HE- Kidding.

Yeah that one and then the riding me is referring to when you continued the talking about my posts here.

149 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

#124 oolon

Let me get this straight. Melissa McEwan addresses PZ Myers and his Pharyngula specifically when he asks a question to her on “What can we do better?” and when chips fell where they fell, you blame the pushback on the Slymepit? Really?

Isn’t it true that even her most “faithful” have rebelled against her, for using transphobic language, or against the rights of sex workers and so on? Josh the Spokesgay even have “friends with good judgment” (his words, not mine) who say there might be a “cult of personality” over at Shakesville. And how expressing even the tiniest disagreement over there gets you the chop? And how apparently McEwan banned some rape/assault victims from her blog because they objected to her support for Bill Clinton?

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like Melissa McEwan is paying for her own deeds. With words.

Maybe if you weren’t such a shit-stirring, sycophantic troll, you might have noticed the ripples around McEwan and Shakesville. But of course, it’s all about you and your gripe with the Slymepit. By the way, oolon, stop harassing us and obsessing about the ‘Pit. It’s very triggering. Since you’re a commited social justice warrior and a member of the fainting couch brigade, I trust you will consider my feelings on this.

150 doubtthat March 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

@146

Nugent made a new thread for these issues, he doesn’t want engagement here.

Feel free to go over there, post your evidence of your claims and I will happily discuss that with you.

151 Jack March 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Eu (14&)

I happened to think your posting mirror fashion to get round moderation was funny. I also know you read the Slympit and would see my posts. I consider you a person to avoid as much as possible and thanks for reminding me I was right.

152 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

maximus@127:

But what kind of movies are they discussing at Comicon? Comic Book movies, Your response does not nullify Submariners analogy.

1. Not exclusively comic book movies. I’m sure people will be talking about sci fi and fantasy movies more generally, as well as fan-favorites like Joss Whedon movies. Probably movies based on novels as well such as LotR and Harry Potter. There’s a whole intersection of interests among comicon participants.
2. Similarly, as doubtthat pointed out there are really good reasons to discuss race in an LGBT conference because the intersection of race and sexuality is a fraught and complicated topic. There is a wide-spread belief that there is a great deal of homophobia within the African American community as one example.
3. Similar to that there are good reasons to discuss gender issues in conferences on atheism and skepticism. Some atheist bloggers actually do focus on how religion intersects (usually negatively) with women’s rights.
4. It also makes sense in the context of skepticism itself inasmuch as it makes sense to be skeptical of deeply enculturated ideas such as the notion that women are frivolous and incapable of serious thinking — the very stereotype that Shermer (innocently, inadvertently) reinforced with his statement so much discussed in the previous thread.

It doesn’t nullify Submariner’s point which absolutely has some validity. But it offers a counterpoint suggesting that the opposite view may also have some validity.

153 AndrewV69 March 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

@Brony,#69

I’m not going to accept that without evidence. I’m sure that he has banned people who also post in the pit. But a policy of specifically banning people for also posting on the pit? I need more.

Here is my ban notice:
_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/25/congratulations-to-the-civilized-scots/comment-page-1/#comment-412584

Ick. AndrewV69, proud slimepitter and MRA, with in.malafide in his email address? No. Just no. Fuck off.

154 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Submariner@131:

That’s because those movies were live action versions of comics. Please don’t pretend you didn’t understand my point, and I’ll do the same for yours.

I didn’t pretend I didn’t understand your point. I offered a counterpoint. And I disagree “those movies were live action versions of comics” as explained in my previous comment…so apparently you didn’t understand my point.

155 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Wowbagger@139
<blockquote.Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

This is pretty rich, coming from someone who, less than 24 hours ago, was at Ophelia Benson’s blog cheerfully tossing around the idea of a lawsuit to shut down SP. If you think SP is more vulnerable to legal attack than FTB, you’re fooling yourself.

156 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Eu – It’s nice you want to contribute, but calm down, will you? Even if you’re pissed off, making many posts at once isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Especially if you’re dealing with people like oolon. He’ll likely just use the guilt by association fallacy and call it quits.

How should I put it? You’re like an energizer bunny. Like you’ve drunk too much energy drink. Like you’re on speed. Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, some of what you write is spot on, but maybe keep it down a little, yeah? Concise? Oh, and if you find yourself getting pissed off, take a deep breath, count to ten, calm down, and *then* post.

Hope that doesn’t come off as too condescending.

157 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:13 pm

AppleStairs@154:

This is pretty rich, coming from someone who, less than 24 hours ago, was at Ophelia Benson’s blog cheerfully tossing around the idea of a lawsuit to shut down SP. If you think SP is more vulnerable to legal attack than FTB, you’re fooling yourself.

On the one hand that conversation was extremely distasteful and I’m glad Dave W put a quick stop to it with the (wonderful) fact that the law prevents such legal chicanery. On the other hand, I also find the paranoid surveillance of everything people do on FtB a little distasteful.

And no, I don’t think there’s an equal amount of paranoid surveillance on both sides.

158 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Oh, back to comicon. Anime. Some of it is based on manga and some is not but either way it will get discussed at comicon.

159 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Jack, are you complaining about me getting around moderation? Are you /serious/? aren’t you being hypocritical?

There are multiple slymepitters posting here about things they say they cannot say at Freethought Blogs because they’re banned. I’m not “getting around moderation.” You can address someone about something they said, somewhere else. I’m free to read the slymepit and then say what I want elsewhere, just like you guys are free to read Freethought Blogs and say what you want elsewhere.

If I’m someone to avoid because I’m “getting around moderation” then so are you. Seriously, the hypocrisy stinks. There’s no way you can explain how you guys are justified to do it and I’m not. It’s obvious the only reason you think I’m not justified to do so is because you have a problem with me in the first place and are very biased. I don’t even remember you being there when I went there.

Fuck off if you’re going to call me out for that.

160 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Fair is fair. If any other Slymepitters want to call someone out for addressing something someone said at a place they are banned from, call them out on their hypocrisy and bullshit judgments. I was really shocked that a Slymepitter would call it “getting around moderation.”

Sounds very FTB-ish. Not all Slymepitters are so different from FTB after all.

161 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Another example, Wowbagger @139:

It’s interesting how, as you read through the comments, it boils down to two main complaints – 1) people complaining that bloggers/speakers are talking about things they don’t want to hear about (feminism, social justice); and 2) Bloggers at FTB – mostly PZ – bans people from his personal blog as he sees fit.

Again, a rather obvious misrepresentation of what we’ve been talking about. But at this point, why bother going into detail. No, that’s not a correct statement of what bothers us. But clearly, he and others have no interest in listening to anything but what they’ve decided all must say to be “goodthink”.

Fascinating that a bunch of self described rationalists and skeptics have chosen to go on a years-long campaign of bullying, harassment and intimidation of the FTB and related people instead of, I don’t know, choosing to go elsewhere to read about the things they want to read about and where their comments there and elsewhere don’t get them banned.

It’s funny. We’ve said that to FTB folks about the ‘pit for a while now. Don’t like what people say there? Don’t go there and read it. The site has almost zero google juice, so it’s not like it’s going to show up there, at least not in the first 5-10 pages. (yes, I did in fact check) Yet somehow, THAT isn’t an acceptable action. For them. FOr us, yes.

But I’m glad Wowbagger brought it up, as it illustrates another point: the hypocrisy of their side. Why should we be mad about FTB? We don’t have to read it. Yet say the same thing to them about the ‘pit, and OMG, stand back.

How can you have a dialogue with a group whose main ethical construct is “Whatever we do is okay, whatever they do is wrong”?

Kind of seems like they think it’s their right to control the things other people talk about and do on their own blogs.

You mean like how FTB has regularly tried to silence other people’s sites?

Again, if it’s wrong for one, it’s wrong for all. This is not difficult, and yet, it is.

How can you dialogue with that?

162 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 10:27 pm

DanL@156

And no, I don’t think there’s an equal amount of paranoid surveillance on both sides.

I have to give you credit for being one of the more fair-minded and astute people who have participated in these threads (and for being incredibly patient with Eu in the prior thread – she is, I believe, a minor who may be the only person ever banned from SP).

That said, “paranoid surveillance” is a bit uncharitable. Many SP folks were FTBers or longtime readers before the ERV threads existed. The flipside, I would suggest, is that most people at SP are much more familiar with what actually goes on at FTB than FTBers are familiar with what actually goes on at SP.

163 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Pitchguest@148:

Oolon got banned from Pharyngula for going on at great length to defend the ‘pit and pitizens so your narrative might be a teensy bit too simple to match reality.

164 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Ng@142:

So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

Go to south Detroit and throw around the “n” word. Why is it OK for everyone else in south Detroit to use it and not you?

It’s almost as though the word has some kind of history involving marginalized groups and oppressive language.

165 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

#158

To be fair, Jack, she got you there.

166 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Dan L, this is about the present… observe how much smack he likes to talk about the pit today. Looks like he’s changed his mind about the pit. The fact that he was banned for once defending the pit doesn’t really “balance it out,” just makes him puzzling (to me).

167 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Eu@163:

If I’m remembering right it was within the last few weeks that he was banned from Pharyngula. So quite recently. Enough so that I would consider it “the present” in most contexts.

Yes, puzzling. Definitely puzzling. I certainly don’t understand oolon’s motivations but he’s certainly not “sycophantic” nor a “member of the fainting couch brigade” so Pitchguest’s take really is too simplistic. “Shit-stirrer”, “troll”, and some other accusations seem more fair.

168 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Dan L,

Are you saying it’s alright to call people words with a history behind them as long as you have the same thing in common with the people oppressed? Is South Detroit a dominantly black area?

Not that the word cunt is the same at all.

I already don’t agree with the whole “that word has a history behind it, keep it drenched in negativity forever and never use it.” and adding “well, that person is allowed to use it, because they are the same race as the people who were oppressed with it” is a pretty lame excuse if the former argument were right.

I hope that’s not what you’re doing here.

169 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Ahh, I see Dan L.

170 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I hope that’s not what you’re doing here.

And I’m hoping you’re not saying that we live in a post-racial and post-gender society where these words have no meaning beyond the individual context in which they’re spoken.

If you allow that anyone can use naughty words in a forum then there will be some asshats who use that privilege to hurt others. McEwan (just to use an example) is free to police the use of the word in her comments to prevent people from taking advantage of such a privilege. On the other hand, McEwan’s use of the word is obviously not intended to be hurtful. It is her forum and she knows her own intentions and so she is justified in using the term.

But suppose someone wanted to use the word to be hurtful and get away with it. That person could simply lie about his or her intentions and continue to use the word hurtfully if the moderator of the platform in question decided to be charitable.

Thus the justification for being uncharitable.

It’s pretty simple. Try not to use language that annoys, upsets, irritates, or offends other people. Apologize when you accidentally do so. If you’re not in the habit of making vicious ad hominem attacks you should only very rarely have any occasion to use the terms in question. It doesn’t offend me when black folks use the n word and I’m guessing it would offend a certain number of black folks if I used it. So they can use it and I won’t. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

171 Eu March 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Eh for me intent is what matters – I’ve been called a white bitch and racist white names. I’m not white. But they were trying to get at me that way – (and they happened to have been picking at my skin color.)

Now if someone called me an Asian racist name I admit I would be too distracted by the strangeness of it to be offended but they should be still judged for attempting that despite using it incorrectly.

As for the reason you put, not allowing people to say it because they could use it to hurt others and lie about why they used it, that sounds like a new reason you’ve just added. If I interpreted you correctly, you are the sort that is against using the words period, whether its toward a friend who trusts your intentions and knows them or talking in general conversation *about* someone who isn’t even there to hear ya (but you dont mean it that way.). Even the small section of people who use the N word to refer to any ‘gangsta type’ and nothing but.

The reason you added afterwards only addresses times when a white person uses the N word against a black person and tries to claim they were just joking or something, (which I of course too would be against and would vote for caution there)which makes me want to add another thing – I do not care if its a black person calling me a nigger maliciously. I don’t want people being malicious towards me whether they’re white, black, asian, or polka dotted.

172 Jack March 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Dan L.

The problem we have is not the issue of discussing Feminism in the Atheist community. Many of us started our Anti-Theist activities because we could clearly see how badly women are treated. You can call that a Feminist issue, I might call it an equality issue derived from religious abuse but the results are the same, we fight against it. I do not give a stuff what people want to call it.

So of course I have no issue with, say, discussions on FGM in Africa or even in the UK now where it is becoming an issue amongst the religious.

What I resist is where only ONE type of feminism is considered acceptable with all the dogmatic attachment that has. And NOT accepting that one leads to exclusion as one of the ‘Suppressive Persons’

I find it hilarious only today someone calls anyone who does not subscribed to their form of feminism an anti feminist (I’ll provide the link if requested but it is a common mantra) That is complete and utter rubbish which is oft repeated to smear opponents and it is demonstrably non skeptical.

We have discussed the effects of this endlessly over the last few weeks and really I thought the position was very clear.

Feminist ideology can be part of some people’s social beliefs within the atheist community. Of course it can. They can pick from the 16 or so varieties. They have nearly as many as Heinz. But to try and force one on others is simply wrong.

This is not a political movement it is a group promoting the concept of atheism and the non interference of our freedoms, including those of men and women. That will necessarily involve getting involved with other political, religious and social organisations but that in itself does not require us to have a single political philosophy to be effective. We should be Apolitical.

I find it surprising that as rationalities this discussion is required at all to be honest. I feel like I have come from fighting Religious Dogma and woo for all these years only to find one right in the middle of a community I assumed was safe from all that.

We should be fighting other people Dogma’s that affect people’s daily lives not have to worry about one in our own backyard.

The obvious point to me is that even if we all agree here it will change nothing. We are not the issue. We DO talk despite out differences.

Others are the issue and they seem very reluctant to come forward, at least publicly for now. Which is why I hope Michael has been reaching out and receiving contacts from people not directly involved in these discussions.

173 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Dan L – He was acting friendly enough, except for when he ventured back over to Pharyngula to slag us off. I don’t remember what he said (and unfortunately for which he got banned for at Pharyngula has been edited by PZ to be scrambled) but if I recall, he was saying he was being neutral but acted anything but. For example, he said Renee Hendricks supported Sammy Boals (the troll who harassed Rebecca Watson) when she definitely did not.

Then there’s this post he posted on Ophelia’s before he was banned by PZ:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/metamorphoses-2/#comment-304020

Kind of telling of what he wanted to accomplish, no? Is it a wonder that he’s generally not respected by people on the ‘Pit? Louis and Erikthebassist went with the same tactic, of trying to get a reaction of misogyny and sexism out of the members there and the only thing they managed to do was make themselves look like fools. Oh well.

In any case, I don’t want to derail the topic any further than I have so the less about oolon, the better.

174 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 10:58 pm

@ Dan (151)

It doesn’t nullify Submariner’s point which absolutely has some validity. But it offers a counterpoint suggesting that the opposite view may also have some validity.

While I’m glad that you agree my point has some validity, I agree yours does too. One question though: Do we now also get a separate “Men in Secularism” or “Godless Dudes” conference?

@153

Please see the OP regarding charity. A charitable reading of my post would have been: ” Sub probably missed seeing my explanation of the types of movies, I’ll just direct him to it”

175 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

As for the reason you put, not allowing people to say it because they could use it to hurt others and lie about why they used it, that sounds like a new reason you’ve just added.

I don’t understand. “New” in what respect? What have I “just added” it to? Surely you’re aware that forum moderators can’t judge a commenter’s intention by issuing an http “READMIND” request?

If I interpreted you correctly, you are the sort that is against using the words period, whether its toward a friend who trusts your intentions and knows them or talking in general conversation *about* someone who isn’t even there to hear ya (but you dont mean it that way.). Even the small section of people who use the N word to refer to any ‘gangsta type’ and nothing but.

I personally wouldn’t use the term to refer to gangsta types, but overall you have my intention wrong — I wouldn’t yell at someone else for doing so and I might even laugh if it was funny in context. I am much more on the “cautious” side as you describe yourself. I just also believe it’s very, very easy to stop using words if you know they bother someone and that if you continue using the words or argue that you should be able to use those words after someone tells you it bothers them then it’s rather likely that you’re trying to bother that person. And in that case yes, it’s fair to ban you from a forum for insisting on using language that others have expressed objections to.

176 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Why do people not understand that those bannings come in the context of two years of tolerating and arguing with not just pitizens but MRA’s of all sorts of stripes who would troll and dominate threads, derailing them, demanding to be the center of attention and generally ruining the otherwise decent conversations that were going on, which yes, included plenty of dissent.

Why do people not get that it’s this history of trolling by MRA’s and PUA’s and some pitters that has led PZ to his current policies? It’s about maintining a space where atheists who are also passionate about social justice can gather and discuss the important news of the day. It’s also a place where people can just straight up talk about atheism which also still happens all the time.

The reason people get banned is because they troll, argue in bad faith, refuse to present or abide strong evidence, derail threads and in many cases just become outright abusive.

The pit blanket ban was born out of years of dealing with people who were only there to lie, derail and cause general mischief. There is a strong correlation between these types and many members of the pit.

Most recently Lee Coye was banned. I know he’s not a pitter, but he had made 337 comments inside of a few days, one on a thread about women in the military and the other on the thread about Noel Plum getting banned. The latter thread went to almost 2000 comments, the last half of which were almost exclusively dedicated to shooting down Lee Coye’s terrible arguments and dealing with his gish gallop, none of which had anything to do with Noel Plum or PZ’s moderation policies.

It was only after it became clear to every one that he had no intention of arguing in good faith, was only there to troll and derail, that the banhammer came down and it took several days and thousands of comments for PZ to finally give up on the guy being any kind of a productive, even if dissenting commenter.

If PZ didn’t weed that kind of crap out, the utility and experience for most of his regular commenters and readers would go straight to shit. He’s doing what he can to keep it a productive place for like minded people to gather and discuss.

When it was findies trolling the place and getting banned, no one seemed to care, but now that it’s misogynists, MRA’s or general anti-feminist types every one is up in arms.

He never billed the place as an open forum for people to freely debate. He’s always had a bias and he’s never been shy about it.

177 AppleStairs March 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm

DanL@168

It’s pretty simple. Try not to use language that annoys, upsets, irritates, or offends other people. Apologize when you accidentally do so. If you’re not in the habit of making vicious ad hominem attacks you should only very rarely have any occasion to use the terms in question.

As I said in a comment currently in moderation, props to you DanL for being an notably patient, good-faith participant in this dialogue. I would say your suggestion depends on context. Obviously, Pharyngula, for example, is set up to be a place where aggressive and profane personal attacks are de rigueur — using “upsetting and offensive” language is fine, and objecting to it is usually mocked as “tone-trolling.” The exception is “female-gendered” profanity.

I don’t think “cunt” is an analogue of “nigger” at all, in terms of its usage history (perhaps a debate for another thread).

178 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Dan L, new means what it means. That wasn’t your original – it was the general “don’t use those words, period” reason.

And no it’s not hard to not use words if they are bothering an individual. I already said I’m cautious in those cases and only in those cases. A herd of people who are against it in general (of course, besides to talk about the words) is a totally different thing though. I don’t heel for just anyone. Some people are against swearing… will I stop though? Nope. I won’t swear around someone who happens to have some severe adverse reaction to it. In general I won’t use racist names on people who could be suspicious that I’m using it to insult them.

179 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Please see the OP regarding charity. A charitable reading of my post would have been: ” Sub probably missed seeing my explanation of the types of movies, I’ll just direct him to it”

You didn’t understand my point because my clarification was posted after your response. This was not intended as a crack at you; more as banter around your “don’t pretend you don’t understand my point” stuff (which is similarly uncharitable btw).

One question though: Do we now also get a separate “Men in Secularism” or “Godless Dudes” conference?

Well, I certainly wouldn’t try to stop you if you tried to organize such a conference. Some might (vocally) wonder why there needs to be a men in secularism conference when secularism/atheism/skepticism already seem to be pretty male-dominated but if you think male secularists are being left behind and there needs to be a special effort made to support the efforts of male secularists over and above those of female secularists…

I just don’t think you’re going to find that many people agree with you that there would be a need for such a thing.

And yes, some women would take offense at it. I’m sure some men took offense at the “women in secularism” conference. Can’t hold each other to the worst examples on both sides now can we?

180 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

@Dan L I perked up at your women in secularism ref but then I remembered I cant assume you stand behind their offense. Do you mind that the women in secularism thing offended some men?

181 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Dan L, new means what it means. That wasn’t your original – it was the general “don’t use those words, period” reason.

The comment to which you were responding was not an exhaustive explanation of my reasoning on this topic. It was a quick two or three sentence hint at why there’s a difference between a woman making a joke about female anatomy that isn’t aimed at anyone and use of female anatomy-based epithets in general.

Just bear in mind that not necessarily all of my thoughts are making it onto your screen at once. You get little bits when I type in comments and hit “submit”. There’s probably lots of things that I believe that I haven’t made you aware of yet. Just because I say something you haven’t heard yet doesn’t mean I’m making it up on the spot.

182 erikthebassist March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

findies = fundies in my 173

183 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Ahhh..

An example of what I don’t care about would be someone from FtB complaining that people on the pit called each other bitches. (Example of being against the word’s existence in general.)

An example of what I would care about is, hmm *trying to think of a situation that fits in with times* someone calling their partner a bitch in context that they are lower for being a woman.

184 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Pitchguest@170:

Right, I was just saying I don’t think oolon is a “sycophant” in particular. Neither side seems to have very much respect for him if I’m reading things correctly. But you’re also right that we should probably let this particular topic drop.

185 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Jack@169:

I think that comment is another great example of being uncharitable about the “other side’s” motivations.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to help you understand why FtB might have gotten the impression you’re anti-feminist and you’ve fought me every step of the way. It gives me the sense that you don’t want to actually understand and just pout about how they’ve made you a “suppressive person”.

I can’t change their minds for you. I can only help you understand why they think the way they do about you so that you can adjust your approach accordingly.

186 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:17 pm

@Eu:

@Dan L I perked up at your women in secularism ref but then I remembered I cant assume you stand behind their offense. Do you mind that the women in secularism thing offended some men?

I would prefer if there were no men offended by the idea of a women in secularism conference and no women offended by the idea of a men in secularism conference, but I am resigned to the reality that neither one of those wonderful ideas is the least bit realistic. Does that answer your question?

187 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Actually, PZ banned oolon for being…i’m not REALLY sure. A poser? Two-faced? Anyway, you don’t have to guess, here, the dungeon entry on Oolon:

Poseur who pretends to be neutral, while defending the indefensible. Warned not to put on his act in a thread, he promptly ignored me. Now I’ll ignore him.

it was also not within the last few weeks by any stretch, and his banning was before Reap Paden’s.

I don’t think any of this really matters, but you don’t have to guess at why someone was put in PZ’s dungeon, the info is usually right there. Except for renee’s. He appears to have memoryholed her entry. Which is kind of amusing, because were she still up there, she’d be the only obvious woman in the dungeon.

188 Submariner March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

@ 176 Dan:

Ah, but since there ARE WIS conferences, wouldn’t that be the place to discuss the ancillary topics to secularism (such as feminism) while at a gender neutral secularism (or atheism or skeptic) conference, the main points of the (insert ism here) are discussed, resources allocated, and goals are set forth?

I’m not saying those ancillary topics are forbidden, just that the primary focus of the neutral conferences (indeed any arena where policies are discussed, not just conferences) should be the topics which fall in the declaration statements of the advocacy group or interest group in question.

Who knows, perhaps the MRA’s might want to have their own “Dudes Without Faith” meetings. I think there are a number of MRA’s that are atheists. Personally I would work with them as well as feminist atheists in advocating for the primary goals under the atheism banner.
Would you?

189 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:20 pm

So what gives her the right to use cunt? What makes it so much more egregious when others say it? Why is it OK sometimes?

*facepalm*

I would say PG is full of the usual Slymepit shit when he says I was “acting friendly enough” …. Surprised even he would be that stupid given how trivial it is to disprove. I wrote a blog post called “The Slymepit is Full of Misogynists” from my first foray over there. You may guess it was not that “friendly”, although I like to think I was fair. I did also write one called “Trolling the Slymepit”, I’m such a great friend to PG and his pals 😀 Hint; I wasn’t “trolling”, but they delight in telling me what I already know… I took the piss a bit and wound them up, that’s not trolling. Kicking the hornets nest maybe! Their violent and over the top reaction was funny when they say ignore the trolls….

When I was banned by PZ I will admit to being a little annoyed and I wrote a rant about what I was on the fence in regard to the Slmepit –> Two things only, short version : ->
… PZ sees the Pittizens as horribly misogynist to the core and takes every opportunity to describe them *all* as such, applying derogatory labels to them all as he goes. This labelling I object to for a couple of reasons –
1. It dehumanises and polarises the situation …
2. It gives them power …

–> Anyone got any objections to that fence sitting?

@Dan L, now I’m happy for the Slymepit to call me a troll, whatever, I’ll just agree and move on. But if you are going to swallow PGs bull about me being “friendly” with them and therefore a “shit stirrer” implying I was giving one story to them and one to FtBs then I don’t think you have quite the level of nous I’d expect from the Pharyngulites. What nym do you post as over there perchance? Never seen you…

190 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:22 pm

@Dan L

Hmm I guess.

191 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm

AppleStairs@174:

Thank you for the nice words. I’ve also found you to be very civil and patient throughout.

I understand what you’re saying about Pharyngula. There was a long time that I stopped following the blog at all because of all the “porcupine” stuff. On the other hand, they have improved tremendously along these lines, especially in calling each other out on violent or degrading language. They stopped the porcupine stuff. They have finally acknowledged the ableist overtones of terms like “idiot”, “moron”, etc. and they seem honestly to be trying to stop using such terms.

At this point most of the vicious attacks seem to be on arguments — “your argument is stupid/ridiculous/terrible/etc.”

This is not to say you won’t find counterexamples if you go through recent threads. I just thought today about how remarkable the improvement really has been and thought I should point that much out at least. It seems to me they are getting more consistent about holding each other to the same standards they hold others (at least in this respect).

I don’t think the use of those terms is exactly the same but I do think they’re similar enough to serve as analogues. Analogy requires only similarity, not identity.

192 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Eu@186:

Well you seem disappointed. How could I answer it in a more satisfying way?

193 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

@Dan L

No no *waves hands*

194 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

John C. Welch@184:

Except for renee’s. He appears to have memoryholed her entry. Which is kind of amusing, because were she still up there, she’d be the only obvious woman in the dungeon.

My understanding from my reading of the dungeon page is that she falls under the “pitters” category and PZ is not going to make distinct entries for each person in that category. As you said, you can read this for yourself right on the dungeon page.

195 Jack March 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Dan L. (182)

I do not accept your explanation of why I might be called anti-feminist. Or a Misogynist or all the other names people may care to add to the list. Sorry. You spending time is neither here or there, welcome to the club.

Ultimately if there is only one from FtB willing to do anything is there no one else from there who has any interest in addressing the substantive points raised in order to proceed?

The silence is deafening.

196 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Stuck in moderation til tomorrow probably! Oh well, no idea what detective PG thinks is such a gotcha about this comment I made.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/10/metamorphoses-2/#comment-304020

Like many I was amazed at Al Stefanellis meltdown — I was even stupid enough to blame PZ for criticising him! I’m happy to admit that was a massive mistake as it seems everyone I think is “reasonable” and could decide that misogyny is wrong turns into the biggest asshole ever! I sort of defended Thunderf00t, wrong! Al, wrong! I’m very often wrong, but I try and learn from it. I didn’t defend Reap at any point 😀

197 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Submariner@185:

I’m not an activist and I’ve never been to a con. I wouldn’t want to dictate to people who do what they should do or discuss at cons. But perhaps if a large proportion of folks attending a con want to discuss a particular topic they should be allowed to do so?

I’m not saying those ancillary topics are forbidden, just that the primary focus of the neutral conferences (indeed any arena where policies are discussed, not just conferences) should be the topics which fall in the declaration statements of the advocacy group or interest group in question.

I’m not sure you’ll be able to find a con where all participants have signed on to the same mission statement. People are just a little more complex and unruly than that (especially secularists). If you’re not proposing to forbid discussing topics that large proportions of convention-goers want to discuss then what are you proposing?

198 A Hermit March 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Not intentionally. My impression is that PZ is essentially zero tolerance with ‘pitters at this point. Maybe I’m wrong about this but it’s my honest impression.

Given some of the comments that others have quoted since I posted that you may be right…but it is his blog and if he doesn’t want people associated with a place that was created largely as a forum for bashing him and his friends in his front door that;s his prerogative. This idea that people are owed access to other people’s space is kind of absurd IMHO.

199 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Dan L – So what you’re saying is the word “cunt” is a word of privilege to be used only by those who’ve been “oppressed” by it? (In much the same way the word “nigger” was used to oppress African-Americans?)

If so, that’s contingent on the two words being used in the same manner. Which they weren’t. There is no evidence the word “cunt” was used to oppress women. I can see no such reference (on Google) that it was used in the same way the word “nigger” was used to disparage African-Americans. I know the word has historically been used to describe the whole of the genitals, while vagina is only for describing the “slit” – that is, the opening. I know it has been used to insult women. But oppress them? There is no equivalent here.

There is also no such reference to imply the word was used to oppress women in Great Britain either. (Where the word evolved to a gender neutral word.)

200 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm

I agree with Pitchguest here… comparing “bitch” and “cunt” to how the word nigger was used belittles what people who were actually oppressed by the word nigger went through. Seriously? No. Just no. Stop trying to lump yourself in with that. You don’t get the claim. (This goes to anyone trying to do that – not sure if Dan L did that)

201 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Jack@191:

I do not accept your explanation of why I might be called anti-feminist. Or a Misogynist or all the other names people may care to add to the list. Sorry. You spending time is neither here or there, welcome to the club.

I’m sorry, perhaps you have once again misinterpreted my motivation? I am trying to help you understand someone else’s point of view. I’m not saying those people are right. I’m not saying you are a misogynist or anti-feminist. I am trying to explain why some people have gotten that impression and thus don’t want to listen to you on the subject.

So I’m a little curious on what grounds do you “not accept [my] explanation”? Because you think I’m wrong about the motivations of people at FtB? Or because you really don’t want to understand why they think the way they do?

Considering how frequently you complain about being a “suppressed person” because of these disagreements I would think you would want to have some kind of understanding of why you are a “suppressed person”. Again, these explanations would not qualify as justifications — they would not imply you really are a terrible person whose opinion must be suppressed.

Ultimately if there is only one from FtB willing to do anything is there no one else from there who has any interest in addressing the substantive points raised in order to proceed?

As I just said I have been explaining to you why no one from FtB is interested in addressing your “substantive” points. You will not accept my explanation. Why not? It seems ridiculous to demand an explanation and when someone provides it to reject it without any justification whatsoever.

My exchange with you last night was quite frustrating and this one is coming back to a similar place. If you don’t want to grapple with the reasons why people think you’re an anti-feminist then stop asking why people think you’re an anti-feminist.

202 oolon March 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Louis and Erikthebassist went with the same tactic, of trying to get a reaction of misogyny and sexism out of the members there and the only thing they managed to do was make themselves look like fools.

Urgh I missed that, news to “Guest” there are very few feminists who would read my post on misogyny in the slymepit and not think I showed it there. So sorry mate, the only fools are you lot thinking many people would not find these attitudes misogynistic or generally reprehensible. You also have a whole other forum of feminists totally unconnected to this argument who think you are a woman-hating misogynist, after years in your company so they know you well. As do I now unfortunately. My post -> http://www.oolon.co.uk/?p=31

All quotes from pittizens… I got no one arguing anything other than its fine to call the female feminists on FtBs cunts to “disagree” with them. Only some said its “not for them”, but they wouldn’t criticise others… :-/

203 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Pitchguest@195:

So what you’re saying is the word “cunt” is a word of privilege to be used only by those who’ve been “oppressed” by it? (In much the same way the word “nigger” was used to oppress African-Americans?)

No, I never said that. Thanks for being charitable, though.

204 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Eu@196:

I’m not interested in comparing whether one group was “more oppressed” than the other and I’m a little disappointed that both you and Pitchguest would play that game.

205 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:40 pm

No Dan L, that’s not the game we’re playing. Or at least that’s not the game I’m playing.

I’m saying “bitch” and “cunt” never had a period of oppression at all.

206 Dan L. March 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Eu@201:

Hmm, I disagree. For a large number of reasons. Perhaps it is not the best time and place to get into that discussion but can you at least admit I may have a valid point of view on the subject? That you’re not necessarily the expert on whether those particular words can be used as a pattern of oppression?

207 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Can be used? Any word targeting a group can be used to oppress people, however “bitch” and “cunt” haven’t. Have they EVER been used just to get under a woman’s skin? Maybe, but I’ve seen people use the word lesbian just as it is to bully and bring gay women to tears. Men have been abused in relationships with the word ‘dick.’ (But of course what you said doesn’t apply to the D-word, does it?) That doesn’t mean it should be put on a list of words one should never say to the “oppressed” group because they’d justifiably suspicious that it is being used in a discriminatory way to hurt them.

208 John C. Welch March 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Hermit @ 195 provides two more examples, one direct, one indirect:

Given some of the comments that others have quoted since I posted that you may be right…but it is his blog and if he doesn’t want people associated with a place that was created largely as a forum for bashing him and his friends in his front door that;s his prerogative. This idea that people are owed access to other people’s space is kind of absurd IMHO.

once again, he keeps misstating things as though the ‘pit people feel they have a ‘right’ to comment. That i’m aware of, no, no one feels that.

But when one is uninterested in what one’s opponents actually think, then it is easy to decide what they think for oneself, and accuracy is a non-issue in those cases.

He also shows how PZ et al create unreal claims that are simply unsupported by fact. PZ claims the “thunderdome” is unmoderated. That’s simply not true. It is indeed moderated. No one from the ‘pit can post there. When you limit access to a forum, that’s moderation. You can’t call it unmoderated when you take such actions.

So there’s a disconnect from the things FTB folk say, and what they do. It creates a problem because it means you (literally) cannot trust them to be honest about some really basic things, like word meanings. Humpty Dumpyt’s bon mot about words meaning what he wants them to mean and nothing more is an amusing bit of absurdity, but when people actually do that kind of thing in the really real world, how can you possibly talk to them and have any assurance that they meant what they said on any level?

209 Eu March 20, 2013 at 11:49 pm

As it stands, don’t approve of misogynists or people set out to abuse using the words bitch or cunt to indicate shame in being female. As it stands, I don’t approve of misandrists using dick that way either. As it stands, I don’t approve of homophobes using the words ‘homosexual’ or ‘lesbian’ to indicate dirtiness or shame in being gay. (actually, I heard that A+ put the word homosexual on their mental slurs list. Oh lord. EVERY word that means gay has been abused by homophobes! Put them all on the list!)

But these are not slurs someone has to be cautious using around women, men, or gay people.

210 Pitchguest March 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

#198 oolon

Ah, you seem keen to paint the narrative in your favour before we even begin. “Very few feminists…” Very good. An odd way to phrase it, but important for your kind of propaganda, I suppose. Now, I’m guessing the VERY MANY (See what I did there?) feminists who agree with you would be the FtB/Skepchick clique, while the “very few” would be the Slymepit clique, or am I wrong? I’m simplifying here, so if I refer to things as “clique”, you’ll see it charitably, I hope. (You won’t.) As for your post, I see you reference Aratina Cage and we all know he’s the very MODEL of honesty around these here parts. (That was sarcasm, by the way.)

But again, it’s funny you want to use your blog as a way to prove we’re “misogynists” and “sexists” and what have you, when they’re about as useful as Nugent’s or Zvan’s posts, quote-mining, taking posts out of context, and so on. We all know that FtB is not clean and pure as you envision, we all know they have their skeletons in their closet and yet for some reason this is exempt from your criticism of them. If at all. You haven’t really criticised FtB in that sense.

A “whole other forum unconnected to this argument”, oh dear. Thinking you know context when you don’t. Cute.

#199 Dan L.

Sorry, then I misunderstood. It was just that it sounded like you were making a comparison with how the words are being used.

211 Jack March 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

Dan L (197)

I have my reasons for why I may be called names which have been developed over many hours of study and observation. I understand their motivations (they are as many as there are people there, it is not simple) So I am sorry if I do not grab your explanation with open arms after a few posts. I have heard and considered it all and I am willing as always to give the benefit of the doubt and change my mind.

I have said that consistently for two weeks have you not read the previous posts on this at all? I assume you know there has been several blogs by Michael about this.

We all need to hear from THEM without any silly preconditions. We are all adults and capable of dialogue. If they do not wish that then let them say it.

Now Michael has made it clear that is the next step.

So right now what I care about is making that step, not about who said what to who or who got banned or where FtB are coming from or the colour of Oolon’s underwear. That has been done to death already. We’ve been at it for weeks not a day or two.

It is very good people are still talking and it is none of my business what they wish to do with their time. But as I have posted 3 times now I see no progress here to the next step at all.

212 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 12:23 am

#198 oolon

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, you know how in your post you include ‘Rebecunt Twatson’?

_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=1854#p1854

And here’s another one:

_http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=17471#p17471

Recognise the name in the latter link? You should.

Just for clarification, ‘Twatson’ has been used by some ‘pitters. ‘Rebecunt’ on the other hand has not, and seeing as how the word was not used until oolon repeated it, then perhaps he even fabricated it himself?

213 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:31 am

Sorry to interject, but no touch Louis. The guy might be a twat (see SJW heads explode), but he’s a very good person, and I wish I didn’t meet him when he was on his “no alcohol” diet. Leave the guy alone, please? He’s got enough on his mind.

214 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 12:35 am

@ Dan 193:

If you’re not proposing to forbid discussing topics that large proportions of convention-goers want to discuss then what are you proposing?

Thank you for asking.
Convention goers may discuss anything they like, it is a free country after all(US here). What I’m talking about are the invited speakers.

Which groups from the the website linked in my post at #3 in this thread shall we as atheists/skeptics allow under the banner of our few groups?

Many of these organizations are, I’m sure, fine advocacy groups and do wonderful things in the community. The point is, they already exist.

How dilute must we who all agree (presuming we do) on the declaration statements from Atheist International, make our resources for advocacy of those core values?

I’m proposing truth in advertising. Talk primarily about those core principles under which you fly your organizational flag.

215 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

@Phil
[quote]
Sorry to interject, but no touch Louis. The guy might be a twat (see SJW heads explode), but he’s a very good person, and I wish I didn’t meet him when he was on his “no alcohol” diet. Leave the guy alone, please? He’s got enough on his mind.[/quote]

Am I doing quotes right?

Who is Louis and why should they leave him alone? Is it Louis Theroux? Tehehe.

216 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:42 am

Pitchguest: I think I created the “Rebitchka” shorthand, and have apologized for it.

It was a return-fire from “dear dick”, IIRC. Something about names/surnames. It was a joke.

217 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:44 am

Eu: nope, not doing quotes right, and not Theroux.

218 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:45 am

Eu@203:

So you’re saying I’m not allowed to disagree with you on this particular issue?

Pitchguest@208:

Sorry, then I misunderstood. It was just that it sounded like you were making a comparison with how the words are being used.

I was comparing them. But I could see that you and Eu were champing at the bit to stomp me into the ground for disagreeing with you on this minor, completely off-topic point and I wanted to head off a long, pointless,exhausting, frustrating discussion about it.

219 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 12:46 am

#209 Phil

Fair enough. Just a twat, then. 😉

#211 Eu – A regular on Pharyngula. If you don’t know, don’t worry about it.

220 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

PZ claims the “thunderdome” is unmoderated. That’s simply not true. It is indeed moderated. No one from the ‘pit can post there. When you limit access to a forum, that’s moderation. You can’t call it unmoderated when you take such actions.

So there’s a disconnect from the things FTB folk say, and what they do. It creates a problem because it means you (literally) cannot trust them to be honest about some really basic things, like word meanings.

I mean, seriously, when you’re getting this worked up about something so petty…

I deleted all the snark as Nugent requested, but holy crap, it gets more and more difficult when this is the conversation.

221 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

Dan L, how is writing an argument against your argument saying you’re not allowed to disagree? Not that I think this is an “opinion” subject. It’s a fact subject. You can deny it all you want but I will still write what I write.

If you continue to respond that way when I rebut you (I could do the same to you, you know) I just won’t respond. Wouldn’t want to imply that you’re not allowed to disagree with me.

222 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

Jack@207:

I suspect that you have the reasons wrong. I am trying to help you because your interpretations of the motivations at FtB seem very uncharitable and I don’t think anyone is going to want to discuss anything with you if you assume their motivations are as rotten as you seem to do.

All in all, this gives me the impression that you do not want any reconciliation unless it comes as a result of everyone at FtB renouncing their awful ways and coming to see the justness and righteousness of the Jack way.

Simply not a plausible outcome. If you want to keep spitting out rants about how oppressed you are on Michael Nugent’s blog that’s your prerogative. If you want to make some progress on this issue I’m happy to help if I can.

223 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:51 am

Submariner@211:

How dilute must we who all agree (presuming we do) on the declaration statements from Atheist International, make our resources for advocacy of those core values?

I would guess that presumption is exactly the problem. Perhaps not as many people agree with you as you think they do, or perhaps the priorities of others are more diffuse than yours. There are many possible explanations why cons would end up hosting talks you do not like. Many of those explanations involve factors such as the fact that the con attendees want to hear certain speakers and certain topics and that many attendees may have preferences that are different from yours.

224 Eu March 21, 2013 at 12:52 am

@ Dan L

“All in all, this gives me the impression that you do not want any reconciliation unless it comes as a result of everyone at FtB renouncing their awful ways and coming to see the justness and righteousness of the Jack way.”

I thought people /entered/ discussions because they wanted to convince the other side of arguments and /stayed/ because they were learning something? What you said above is that, just really demonized.

225 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:55 am

Eu@217:

Dan L, how is writing an argument against your argument saying you’re not allowed to disagree?

Because I never wrote an argument. A simple logical consequence is that your argument was not in response to “my argument” which did not exist in the first place. I asked if it was OK for me to disagree with you on this subject. By immediately ignoring my question and mounting a somewhat strident ardent against my position you gave me the impression that it is not acceptable for me to disagree with you on this point.

Not that I think this is an “opinion” subject. It’s a fact subject. You can deny it all you want but I will still write what I write.

Exactly. You think it’s a fact; ergo, my opinion cannot possibly be right. I am not allowed to disagree with you.

If you continue to respond that way when I rebut you (I could do the same to you, you know) I just won’t respond. Wouldn’t want to imply that you’re not allowed to disagree with me.

You weren’t rebutting me because I wasn’t making an argument; I was asking if we could agree to disagree. Since you apparently cannot it would be completely fine with me if you stopped responding to me.

226 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 12:56 am

@ Dan 219
There are many possible explanations why cons would end up hosting talks you do not like.

Dan, please do not ascribe motivations to my comments which I have not stated and in fact stated just the opposite in the post you are responding to here. I believe Mr. Nugent said something about this very thing somewhere recently, if I could only find it….

227 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Eu@217:

I thought people /entered/ discussions because they wanted to convince the other side of arguments and /stayed/ because they were learning something? What you said above is that, just really demonized.

Actually, people engage in discussions for all sorts of reasons, not just to convince the other side. Furthermore, if one’s only intention is to convince the other side then I don’t think honest discussion is possible at all. It’s easy to refuse to understand or acknowledge any points the other side makes and to insist that they have not addressed your points even if they have.

In other words, it’s very possible to “enter a discussion” with the intention of simply bullying the other side over to your point of view rather than engaging in real discussion — which does entail a sort of compromise.

Both you and Jack are giving me this impression, FYI.

228 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Louis is a brilliant chemist, working on drugs we may use every day. He is also a loving father, husband, and a hell of a gig when in a row.

The thing is, and this might finally get relevant to Michael’s points: he is the only member of the A/S online community I ever met in real life. I could have a seat with the guy tomorrow, have a beer, and not think any less of him for posting on the so-called “other side”. Dialogue would ensue, but I’m sure it would be fun and fructuous.

I’m ready to bet this would work for most players here. And there.

229 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

Eu@217:

Response in moderation.

230 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:00 am

Submariner@222:

Dan, please do not ascribe motivations to my comments which I have not stated and in fact stated just the opposite in the post you are responding to here. I believe Mr. Nugent said something about this very thing somewhere recently, if I could only find it….

I’m sorry, I do not understand why you are taking offense at that comment. I don’t think I ascribed any motivations to you. If I misunderstood your arguments it was an honest misunderstanding.

I would also appreciate if you would ease off on accusing me of violating the charity thing since I feel you are also being somewhat uncharitable but I am not calling you on it, nor have I called anyone else specifically on it except Jack (who I think makes an egregious enough example to do so fairly).

231 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:05 am

Well, that’s not quite true but it was a sort of joke when I said it to Pitchguest.

232 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 1:06 am

@ Dan 225:

While you explicit use of the word like implied a value judgement I did not state, I will accept that you made it without malicious intent.

I too am sorry for causing you such offense with what I thought were gentle reminders of the OP’s points.

233 Submariner March 21, 2013 at 1:10 am

@ Dan (and any others interested)

I must leave now as real life intrudes. Thank you for your civility and for the open discussion. Thanks also to Mr. Nugent.

234 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 1:11 am

#212 Phil

No, you certainly did not.

235 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 1:15 am

Pitchguest #229: Well, here go my copyrights then. Again…

Do they still allow people to sell kids on ebay? Just asking, just asking!!!

236 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 1:18 am

While you explicit use of the word like implied a value judgement I did not state, I will accept that you made it without malicious intent.

I too am sorry for causing you such offense with what I thought were gentle reminders of the OP’s points.

Thanks. I’m actually sorry I gave you the impression that I took “such offense”…I only said I’d”appreciate it”. Regardless, gentle reminder accepted.

But you are making some kind of value judgment, no? “Like” was too vague a word, but you are making a judgment whether a particular topic or speaker is…”consonant”, maybe? with some particular philosophy. You chose the mission statement of Atheist International or something like that…is there a particular reason people should organize cons according to that and not some other formulation?

As I said, I’m neither an activist nor a convention-goer. I’m playing devil’s advocate. If you honestly think that the wrong kinds of talks are happening at cons you should absolutely make that argument to the sorts of people who organize cons. If you want me to play devil’s advocate about those arguments I’m game but I’m a little exhausted by the last two days of this so I don’t really want to do a lot of bickering at this point.

237 Eu March 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

I guess I missed the post where you asked to end the discussion, Dan L.

238 Pitchguest March 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

#226 Dan L – Yeah, again, sorry for the misunderstanding.

#223 Phil – I absolutely understand what you’re saying. There are some things I totally disagree with, like some things my mother say, or some things my uncle says, but these things don’t define them as a person. Therefore I don’t need to be in complete agreement with them on these issues to be able to have a pleasant conversation with them or otherwise get along.

I think an acquintance described it best, I’m paraphrasing since I can’t remember exactly what he said, but he said something about how he had a friend who he could get along with perfectly in drawing, as long as they didn’t talk about politics. Because his friends’ view on politics was just so out of whack with his, it would become unbearable. He was also a conspiracy nut and into pseudo science. I think he summarised him as stupid as a brick, but hell of an artist. Which is pretty much my view with my mother and uncle: as long as we don’t divert onto those subjects, we’re fine.

So when you say Louis is a loving husband and father, I trust you. Except, just how it is with my mother and uncle, it would be nice if they didn’t do what they do. Personally I didn’t see Louis acting in good faith (so to speak) on the ‘pit and he wasn’t being very fair, and then to top it off he went reported back to Pharyngula on his progress by strawmanning us. Which I thought was pretty bad form, especially as a friend to you, Phil, who had been slandered by a regular there.

Your impression of him notwithstanding (I don’t know him as well as you do), my impression of him is that he’s a bit of a twat. A prick, if you will. But for the sake of repairing rifts, to compromise, we can say he’s a loving husband, a loving father, and he’s a bit of a twat. Fair? 😉

239 Ng March 21, 2013 at 1:55 am

Dan L. @161

Two things, your cultural bias is showing.

The word nigger isn’t in general use where I am from, I get that there may be cultural baggage with it where you’re from. If it makes you feel better I’ve been called variations on that theme a lot, my reactions in general have ranged from mild anger to pity.

240 Ng March 21, 2013 at 1:56 am

Dan L. @161

Forgot to number them.

241 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:07 am

Dan L. (218)

Are you serious?

Evidence please.

242 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:16 am

Ng@235,236:

You are cementing my initial impression of Michael Nugent’s endeavor.

Jack@237:

Evidence of what? Last night. And today. Pretty much everything you’ve said. I’ve been patient and heard you out and I don’t think there’s any way folks at FtB will want to discuss anything with you. And since they’re not obligated to and you’re not willing to consider other approaches to the issue that’s the end of that as far as I can see.

That is to say, you are also cementing my initial impression of Michael Nugent’s endeavor.

243 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

Honestly, you’re a lot more hopeful about this than I am. Even religions, whose adherents are supposed to share core values, can’t seem to hold it together. We atheists, who are defined by what we are not rather than what we are, don’t even have an inclination towards shared core values.

When I was younger, I believed (and was led to believe) that the atheist community was skeptical, scientifically oriented, and interested in issues of social justice. I believed this both because I was told so directly and because the lack of these qualities (lack of skepticism, lack of interest in science, lack of desire to achieve social justice) was used to attack the religious. “Look at what those horrible Catholics are doing!” they would cry, “They don’t even allow abortion to save the life of the mother. Religion is the root of this evil; only by taking down religion will women be free of such oppression.

But now I’m being told (repeatedly) and shown (repeatedly) that I was being naive when I believed the above. “Atheism is only a lack of belief! You can’t expect atheists to care about misogyny.” A good chunk of the atheist community cares about none of these things, except to the extent that they can be used to attack the religious.

And so I’m reevaluating where I stand in this community.

244 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:23 am

You stand somewhere else now? Did the views change?

245 Jeff March 21, 2013 at 2:26 am

Eristae, some may say, “You can’t expect atheists to care about misogyny.” Many of us think you can, we have insisted we are on board with you about this. The problem is we disagreed on one or two minor points of detail and for that we have been told that we are misogynists.

246 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:28 am

Jeff@241:

If I may ask, are there particular people who called you a misogynist so that we don’t have to smear a whole “side” with such a dastardly crime?

247 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:29 am

^^^ This, Eristae.
Actually I haven’t gotten a dose of that personally. That, or I didn’t read it when someone called me one but I’m sure I’ve been called that by proxy.

Jeff, are you Jeff Love?

Yeah, trying to tell people they’re misogynists is like the Westboro Baptist Church trying to tell people they hate their neighbor. You can’t tell people who they hate.

248 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

Oh… I was pointing to Dan L, not Jeff.

& Yeah, Eristae shouldn’t read that and assume that every major (major meaning the ones who catch the most attention by blogging about feminism and agreeing with the ones that do do that) FtB-er tries to call people misogynists for not agreeing with all of their points related to ‘feminism.’ Most you can say is if you show up on a post regarding it and disagree you risk being called one by some readers or bloggers there.

249 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:32 am

@Eu
My views about the atheist community? Yes.

@Jeff
See, but the feelings that you’re expressing are part of the reason that I don’t think this is going to get better. It’s been over two years since the event that set a spark into a pile of dry tinder (Elevatorgate) and the flames shows no sign of calming down.

250 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:33 am

Dan L. n(237)

Sorry that is not good enough. You have provided an opinion, not evidence. If you wish to state it is opinion then fine. Otherwise:

Have you or have you not read anything I have posted in the last two weeks?

251 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:35 am

Dan L. (237)

‘ And since they’re not obligated to and you’re not willing to consider other approaches to the issue that’s the end of that as far as I can see.’

Please explain, what other approaches have I ignored that you think are required in order to continue?

252 Ng March 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

DanL @237

That’s cool man, it’s good to be sure. It’s good to be righteous and have your predetermined opinion validated. Since I played nice with your race baiting card, do you think you could actually answer the following for me, I mean since you brought it up and all.

How would you go about showing the similarities in histories of oppression between the word nigger and the word cunt?

253 Ng March 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

Note, I’m not actually asking you to do it, just a quick overview on key points and framework will do it.

254 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:42 am

Jack@246:

You have provided an opinion, not evidence.

Evidence of what?

Have you or have you not read anything I have posted in the last two weeks?

Only what you’ve addressed to me in the last two days. You just didn’t make it to the top of my list, sorry.

255 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:45 am

Eristae (238)

It is not an all or nothing issue. You decide what is best fit for your beliefs and then choose the group that best represents that. Or like me, choose two or more.

Atheism has traditionally been about anti-theism and educating theists about atheism along with issues such as reducing the influence of religions and the separation of church and state. It makes no claims on any particular brand of feminism but in common with, say, the Humanists there would be an expectation of equality.

If you prefer a move radical approach to feminism that does not mean you have to abandon the atheist movement but it is not reasonable for anyone within that movement to necessarily agree with your particular position on feminism.

Further, as atheism is often tied with Skepticism it is reasonable for your belief to be challenged should it be brought up. That applies to all our beliefs.

256 John C. Welch March 21, 2013 at 2:47 am

doubtthat @217

I mean, seriously, when you’re getting this worked up about something so petty…

I deleted all the snark as Nugent requested, but holy crap, it gets more and more difficult when this is the conversation.

I’m “worked up” over it, because there are certain basic requirements for dialogue. One of the most basic is that we all agree on what words mean, and that if we say something in the room, that we aren’t going to change that the second we are out of the room.

If you say to me “this forum is unmoderated”, and then I find out that by “unmoderated” you mean “unmoderated except that I carefully control access to the forum” then it is clear you didn’t actually mean “unmoderated”. This isn’t about intent, it’s about basic meaning.

This moves out into larger issues. If you call someone a misogynist, and by that you mean “they said “cunt” once” and I mean “they have a deep, abiding hatred for every woman on the planet just because they are women”, you know, the more traditional meaning, then you using that word in your more casual meaning is going to create real problems in my ability to communicate with you, because I can’t tell what you mean by a word. If I have to ask you, over and over and over, “what exactly do you mean by [word], because I can’t rely on the basic dictionary meanings to have any validity whatsoever for you, how can I even BEGIN to communicate with you sans some form of translator.

The issue here is not that PZ moderates the friggin’ Thunderdome, or that he is so pretentious in naming it. It is that he says one thing, “it is unmoderated”, but means another, “it is actually moderated”.

That sort of thing makes communication really, really hard.

257 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 2:49 am

Ng@248:

That’s cool man, it’s good to be sure. It’s good to be righteous and have your predetermined opinion validated. Since I played nice with your race baiting card, do you think you could actually answer the following for me, I mean since you brought it up and all.

By even interpreting my comment as a “race baiting card” you’re not “playing nice”.

Of course, I didn’t say I was “sure” either. Only that your response was cementing my opinion. Transitive. If you need further explanation here it is: you assumed bad intentions on my part and used that assumption to try to pull me into an off-topic argument about how racist I am. You could have tried to understand my point or perhaps to have agreed to disagree on this minor, off-topic point but instead you tried to bait me.

So no, I’m not going to defend any opinions I may have which are unrelated to the current conversation. We don’t agree on the subject of naughty words. We’ll have to leave it at that.

258 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:51 am

@ Jack
“Atheism has traditionally been about anti-theism and educating theists about atheism along with issues such as reducing the influence of religions and the separation of church and state. ”
I have been informed in no uncertain terms that it is not reasonable to associate atheism with the above, as there is nothing about atheism that would cause a person do be in favor of the above. People have been providing me with plenty of examples of pro-theism atheists and insisting that we had no right to criticize this because of “freedom of speech.”

Furthermore, one would assume that there was a point behind trying to get religion out of government. What is that point, if it isn’t to stop oppression that religion is a key supporter of? Why do I care about getting an anti-woman Christian out of power if an anti-woman atheist will simply take the Christian’s place, and I will then be informed that I have no right to object because atheism has nothing to do with women’s rights?

” It makes no claims on any particular brand of feminism but in common with, say, the Humanists there would be an expectation of equality. ”

I don’t understand this sentence.

259 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 2:53 am

@Jack

Oh, and I missed this one:

“Further, as atheism is often tied with Skepticism it is reasonable for your belief to be challenged should it be brought up. That applies to all our beliefs.”
I am deeply and profoundly tired of having people challenge my status as a full human being with equal rights and intrinsic value. I am not interested in engaging in those conversations any more.

260 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:54 am

Eristae, you think the opposing sides are going to be opponents…forever? D:

261 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:58 am

(251)

Also words have a specific usage no matter how someone likes to define them, such as the word ‘misogynist’. Being called that may mean to the person saying it that you simply displayed a temporary lack of judegement and said something sexist.

Try telling that to a potential employer who finds that on a Google search. Accusations of something like racism can get you sacked in a flash, lose valuable clients or even attract physical harm. This is why I find accusations of this nature not only offensive but deeply disturbing. Far more than than the usage of a female anatomy part when giving an opinion on someone.

All this redefinition of words and making up new ones does not make something correct. It just confuses and obfuscates. It establishes an ‘in ‘ and ‘out’ crowd.

I sometimes feel we live in an Alice in Wonderland world where the following is perfectly reasonable:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

262 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:00 am

@Eu

To be honest, that’s what I’m beginning to think, that somehow this will turn into the atheist version of the Protestant Reformation.

If you’d asked me two years ago if we’d still be fighting about this, I’d have laughed at you. If you had told me one year ago that we’d still be fighting about it, I wouldn’t have laughed, but I wouldn’t have believed. Now I’m losing hope.

263 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:01 am

‘Eristae (254)

@Jack

Oh, and I missed this one:

“Further, as atheism is often tied with Skepticism it is reasonable for your belief to be challenged should it be brought up. That applies to all our beliefs.”
I am deeply and profoundly tired of having people challenge my status as a full human being with equal rights and intrinsic value. I am not interested in engaging in those conversations any more.’

Where did that come from, who is denying you those rights? Basic equality which we all share would not accept that. I wouldn’t for sure.

264 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:01 am

Again, these blanket accusations of people calling people “misogynists” are not helpful. I did not call anyone in this discussion a misogynist and it’s silly to make me answer for other people’s actions when you’re also insisting on being treated as an individual rather than part of a group.

Who specifically called you a misogynist?

265 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:02 am

Yeah Jack, totes agree. A boss/person who isn’t an asshole would at most embarrass the person by confronting them in public and the rumors would spread… one who is would simply fire.

266 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:05 am

Dan L,

These blanket accusations of MISOGYNY in the first place aren’t helpful. Are you fucking serious? A person who can’t read might assume every single FtBer did it… boohoo. They need to be realistic in their assumptions.

The reason people don’t bother listing the names of all FtB-related people who have committed this is and given a run down of details is because it’s happened too many fucking times.

Why don’t you go do a search at A+ and FtB (use your brain, I dont feel like giving helpful directions on exactly how to catch keywords, there are multiple ways), see mentions of the word by certain people and then see that being called misogynists is a pretty valid truth.

267 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:06 am

You’re acting like you don’t even go to these places or something. If that’s true it sure is a hassle to catch a random walk in up.. having to re establish already established facts… gee, lemme check Phawrongula wiki to see if there are any simple links that would help.

268 Wowbagger March 21, 2013 at 3:07 am

AppleStairs, #154, wrote:This is pretty rich, coming from someone who, less than 24 hours ago, was at Ophelia Benson’s blog cheerfully tossing around the idea of a lawsuit to shut down SP. If you think SP is more vulnerable to legal attack than FTB, you’re fooling yourself.

If you interpreted what I wrote to mean ‘shut down SP’ then you seriously need to work on your reading comprehension.

The last thing I want is the ‘pit to shut down. On the contrary; it serves a very important purpose: somewhere that the people I want nothing to do with can go and bother decent folk a whole lot less than they would if it wasn’t there.

Kind of like the kid’s table at a party. And all you need to do is stop the ongoing harassment of people like Ophelia and the nonsensical pseudo-righteous justifications for doing so (which we all know are smokescreens to cover the real issue, which is your sense of entitlement over what people write/speak about – like social justice – and your absurd belief you have some kind of right to comment on people’s personal blogs) and I’d be happy to ignore you completely.

269 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:07 am

I’m not denying it’s happened. I’m trying to abide my Michael’s suggestion that we try to address issues between individuals rather than between groups.

I’m not the one making blanket accusations of misogyny.

270 Ng March 21, 2013 at 3:08 am

Dan L @252
Fair enough, I may well have been less than charitable in my reading of your text. We’ll agree to disagree on differences in acceptability of naughty words. That’s fine, I’m cool with that. Chill even.

What I’m still not cool with is the comparison of the word cunt to the word nigger that you made. I’d still like to see this backed up. This is the goalpost you set, surely you can kick the goal.

271 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:08 am

@Jack “Where did that come from, who is denying you those rights? Basic equality which we all share would not accept that. I wouldn’t for sure.”

Lots and lots of atheist men who run about doing things like making rape threats. Atheist men who make comments about how I should be glad they don’t know where I live because otherwise the aforementioned would be done to me. Men who say they wouldn’t rape me themselves, but if I were to be raped, they wouldn’t be sad or try to stop it. Atheist men who think that it’s very important to debate my civil rights for the hell of it while insisting that oh, no, they don’t believe that, but by God I’d better debate it with them anyway.

It’s just made me so tired.

And on an unrelated note, Jesus Christ but the medication I’m taking tastes bad.

272 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:09 am

Eristae (253)

Atheism, as you say, is simply a rejection of god claims. Many Conspiracy Theorists and Buddhists are atheists. I am talking about Atheist Movements and what they do although of course I can’t list it all.

The rest of your post only makes sense if you see your sole purpose as only promoting feminism. For many atheists, who may also be feminist, it is much wider than that. As I said you have to chose the group that fits your particular concerns.

Maybe join a feminist organisation which allies with an atheist one when dealing with religious issues about women. However there is a lot of overlap and people move in and out as they feel is appropriate to them.

273 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:10 am

Are you sure they were all men who did that? Why’re people even talking about rape with you let alone threatening to rape you? I don’t recognize your handle.

274 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:12 am

@Jack

As a woman, it’s kind of hard for me to ignore women’s issues. If how I am treated doesn’t matter to the atheist community, then I don’t see the point of being in it. Which is the whole point of the “reevaluating” thing.

And you’re really saying that threats to rape me are solely feminist issues?

275 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:12 am

@Dan L

I have an idea. You can ask a few FtBers (the prominent ones that get the most attention from pitters) if they think a large number of people opposing and talking about them are misogynists, or if they would consider them misogynists.

Phrase it that way. Do not say things such as “do you think a large of people who disagree with you” because some of them don’t like it when it’s “boiled down to” simply disagreeing with them.

276 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:14 am

@Eu

“Are you sure they were all men who did that?”
They were presenting as men, although it’s certainly hard to tell on the internet. And the situation isn’t made better if women are also threatening to rape me.

“Why’re people even talking about rape with you let alone threatening to rape you?”
They aren’t talking about rape with me, they’re simply threatening to do so. And I don’t know why they would do it. I don’t know why anyone would do something like that.

“I don’t recognize your handle.”
Er, okay?

277 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:14 am

Ng@266:

What I’m still not cool with is the comparison of the word cunt to the word nigger that you made. I’d still like to see this backed up. This is the goalpost you set, surely you can kick the goal.

It’s still off-topic but I’ll try to briefly give you some sense of why I think you’re misinterpreting me and blowing this out of proportion.

Romeo compared Juliet to a summer’s day. What does that fact imply regarding the similarity between Juliet and a summer’s day? Is a summer’s day also an anthropomorphic entity, merely uglier and less charming than Juliet? Or is Juliet perhaps a particularly pleasant climactic event? Or can we perhaps make comparisons between very different kinds entities that share only abstract qualities so that we can highlight those very qualities?

278 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:16 am

@Dan L omg this is kinda irrelevant but for a second I thought you were going ultra-A+ on us and saying that comparing Juliet to a summer’s day is objectification because Juliet is more than just a day. PHEW.

279 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:18 am

I’m simply suggesting that instead of pissing and moaning about how “they” call you misogynists it may be more constructive to talk about who “they” are and the context in which they called you a misogynist.

280 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:18 am

Eristae (266)

Unfortunately the removal of religion won’t cure all ills. That is why I am a Humanist to deal with that side. However where I do my activism there is considerable overlap with atheism and skepticism.

And yes being an atheist certainly does not mean someone is decent. If someone is not treating you as an equal that is wrong, plain and simple. You have basic rights and I would fight strongly against anyone who tried to remove them atheist or not.

By the way scepticism does not mean removing or questioning basic human rights. I was talking about questioning social philosophy (feminism) Sorry if I confused you there.

281 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:23 am

‘Eristae (269)

And you’re really saying that threats to rape me are solely feminist issues?’

Of course not, why would you think that?

282 John C. Welch March 21, 2013 at 3:24 am

Dan @275:

I’m simply suggesting that instead of pissing and moaning about how “they” call you misogynists it may be more constructive to talk about who “they” are and the context in which they called you a misogynist.

“They” are Skepchicks and a significant chunk of FTB bloggers and commentors.

The context appears to be:

1) I don’t agree that all uses of “bad werds” are proof of misogyny, but that rather context matters, a concept that Ophelia Benson has both dismissed and used, depending on her needs.

2) I am a ‘regular’ on the ‘pit.

283 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:29 am

John C Welch@278:

Well, that’s your side and a little bit vague. How do we move forward from there?

284 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:29 am

I have to go to bed now. You all have a nice night!

285 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:29 am

Dan L, if you told PZ to name every slymepitter he’s referencing who he thinks does this and that he would kick you off for being a troll or something (Actually Im not sure but if he did I wouldn’t be at all shocked).

It’s totally unreasonable to tell people to put a bunch of names in brackets when they want to talk back and forth about something. No thanks. I’m pretty sure everyone understands that “they” does not refer to all of any group, just multiple members of it, & when its not really challenged by the other members there.

286 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 3:30 am

The Rape Prevention thread in Michael Nugent’s next post is a good example of how allowing debate is healthy. Commenters are able to raise natural objections to feminist thinking and get substantive answers.

It hasn’t set back women’s rights. It hasn’t veered into a rancor-fueled hate fest (despite some inevitable snippiness). If ftb-style feminism is going to be adopted as a foundational value in the atheist community, it has to be discussed openly and honestly. Feminism can’t overcome its skeptics by giving them the silent treatment.

There’s no rift in that thread. Take away the censorship, take away the rift. Many other controversial topics could benefit from being discussed without ideological moderation.

287 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:31 am

Eristae

You sound a lot more confident on your twitter feeds, assuming it is you.

https://twitter.com/Eristae

288 Eristae March 21, 2013 at 3:31 am

Oh, but before I go to bed:

“‘And you’re really saying that threats to rape me are solely feminist issues?’

Of course not, why would you think that?”

Because I listed rape multiple times and you said, “The rest of your post only makes sense if you see your sole purpose as only promoting feminism.” I thought and hoped that you didn’t mean it that way, but if there is one thing the internet has taught me, it’s that you need to ask about these things, or you may find that you are horribly wrong.

And goodnight for real!

289 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:32 am

I’d be really interested in posting a list of all guilty at least once for emphasis but I cannot be arsed to remember them all and then figure out who else was called one and who did it to complete the list. Hope that’s forgivable.

I also see no interest in the people who are guilty of it to deny it, so I’m not really worried about collecting an evidence list for them either. They seem to take pride in calling people misogynists when they do and they would do it over and over again without apology.

Instead can’t we just go for “Some of they” or something? Is that good? I don’t think anyone wants to paste a list to replace “they.”

290 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:40 am

Ogod am I seeing a new and even more ridiculous elevatorgate?

A “guys, don’t do that” that resulted in job loss. Apparently women loathe sex and making sexual jokes and having them overhear you is grounds for a huge blog post shaming you and lumping you in with people that are making it hard for women (just women. Because it’s a woman thing to be a prude. There aren’t plenty of snobby men that care what two friends joke about together while at work.) in the particular field.

And this woman is still bragging it seems… does she have any empathy? It wasn’t just them who paid dearly for their jokes, their families like, rely on their income. I would be pretty fucking upset and hurt.

291 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:41 am

OK, but what do you expect me to do about it?

I came in to make the point that I didn’t think this would work. Some people tried to engage me so I stuck around. It’s honestly been a very frustrating process — I’m sure on all sides. I feel I have a much better appreciation of your point of view at the very least.

But on this basis I don’t see any reconciliation happening. WowBagger says above that he likes the pit because it’s a place where people he doesn’t like can hang out. There just doesn’t seem to be any desire for reconciliation on the “FtB side”. And even though I have a better appreciation of “the ‘pit point of view” if I may I can still understand why they simply don’t want to talk to you. And by “you” I mean almost everyone I’ve interacted with here. Some people just don’t get along very well and such people should probably not interact.

And then what?

292 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:45 am

And then I guess we don’t get our points across. Oh well. I mean I can’t keep caring for days. At least they read sometimes. We can always pretend they’re thinking about it.

below is my sig, btw. Nothing that’s a reply.

————————————————————————————-
“ I still think youre all getting caught in the ‘trap’ (TRAP!!!!) that this has ANYTHING TO DO WITH FEMINISM.
It has nothing to do with any form of feminism.
It has everything to do with egos and using every weapon at ones disposal to attack those who have ‘hurt’ people with big ones. “ – cool person

293 Jack March 21, 2013 at 3:48 am

Eristae (283)

I found your repetition of rape comments disturbing, you mentioned taking medication and you were very vague so you got a generalised reply in (275)

Anyway good night.

294 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:51 am

It has everything to do with egos and using every weapon at ones disposal to attack those who have ‘hurt’ people with big ones.

Yeah, it does.

And then what?

295 Aneris March 21, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hey Michael, another thanks for your ongoing efforts! I like to get away from abstractions and go through actual *example* cases. I’ll put the links below so everything is out in the open. Call me out when I got something wrong.

“How to Make a Misogynist” An example case. In a video(1), Thunderf00t comments on the Young Turks co-host Ana Kasparian and discusses how her looks might affect her work: We have a person of the skeptical/atheist community that looks into sexism and gives his opinions. PZ Myers picks it up(2) and frames Thunderf00t as a sexist. His commentariat follows the usual script: Thunderf00t becomes one of those misogynists that allegedly want to preserve a status quo of white men in charge (overall narrative). Quite unexpectedly, Ana Kasparian herself recorded an affirmative response(3) to Thunderf00t, where she thanked him as someone who is exactly not what Pharyngulanhas claimed. Oops.

Irony Interlude I: Curiously, the only white privileged man I know who actively doesn’t want a female speaker at a conference is —well, well— PZ Myers: “I will not participate in any conference in which Abbie Smith is a speaker. If I’m invited, and later discover that she is also invited, I will politely turn down the offer”(4).

Different Views, only one extreme
We see, different interpretations on the same video/opinion, but on Pharyngula it’s combined with extreme allegations (libel/defamation territory), presented as if infallible and loaded with emotions to feed their narrative. Next to being portrayed as a sexist/misogynist, Thunderf00t in this case is ridiculed on a high traffic network.

Irony Interlude II The above is fairly common on FTB, plenty of non-persons are targeted, in blog posts and in the ongoing comment threads. But when the Slymepitters (a small forum, with much less traffic) pokes fun at FreeThouhtBloggers and run their ongoing commentary thread, they are being “obsessed”!

A Curious Side Effect
What if Ana Kasparian herself, who was affirmative of Thunderf00t had commented under a pseudonym in the Pharyngula comment section: she would come out as a misogynist and probably as a Slymepit agent. Besides, I was “recruited” that way, and I am pro-feminism (too)!

Irony Interlude III While people are placed on the high traffic FTB pillory as alleged misogynists and are bullied and defamed there all the time, Stephanie Zvan, herself blogger at FTB, complains about, wait for it, defamation and bullying and criticizes: the Others! Of course(5). Meanwhile Benson cries “libel”(6) as she is concerned about insulting words that were (at most) misattributed to her.

”Misogyny” is Just a Word?
Portraying someone as a sexist, misogynist, racist, rape enabler … based on *nothing* is a serious issue and might have a dramatic effect on someone’s life: imagine a possible employer, new girl-boyfriend, contract partner, friends, family etc. happen upon such allegations? Smearing other people is not only common on FreeThoughtBlogs, it is tolerated and apparently even encouraged by Myers/Clarke at least. But users overlap and have been seen as regulars at Bensons/Zvan’s blogs.

Irony Interlude IV When people had issues with Rebecca Watson —PZ Myers protégé— we’ve been told that this was somehow proof of the patriarchy (Abbie Smith, that’s different, of course!) But what about the way she responded to McGraw; her poor troll management; how she asked for a Dawkins-boycott; you can’t disagree on these things? What about feminism and women’s issues. Watson even claimed: “most women” don’t see sexism and misogyny: “I’m not implying they are lying”, it would just “go by unnoticed by most women”(7). Are we speaking here of “ways of knowing” that is inaccessible to others? Perhaps that explains that this side can dish out severe allegations others don’t see justified?

The Evolution of a Social Dynamic
Once upon a time, there were many Creationists that presented themselves as natural foils. The Pharyngulanhas could quote them and then show off their expert biology knowledge and thereby win social points among their peers. When this largely dried up, and the focus of Pharyngula and FTB shifted towards social issues, there was a problem: how do you get woman-haters, racists, sexist and so on? Create them! We have seen a high profile example above, now let’s see how to do it in the comment sections. For one, there are insults that are frowned upon. But insults are generally encouraged. They then just wait until an unsuspecting person (newbie) issues a wrong insult, and they’ve got a candidate. In the words of the RationalWiki, the tactic is known as a “deliberate offence”(8) combined with a group “Gish Gallop”, also known as “dogpiling” in FTB jargon. Once the foil is created, regular commenters can show off their Feminism 101 and win social points and a round of applause just like before. People who aren’t submissive are bullied and forced to explain or apologize, which is received appreciatively by the commentariat. I regard this as creepy and abusive. But I’m not writing the narrative. When someone denies the allegation that they are a misogynist, the commentariat would claim that they deny that the issue exists, and thus: Guilty! Learned from Christians: “You reject Jesus, you approve of murder” kind of logic. Approaching on your knees, with a “sexist confession story” is advised if someone wants to win sympathy there.

“It’s okay when we do it!” –FreeThoughtBlogs Motto (unofficial)

(Try just copy paste into browser, in case of broken link add http://)

(1) TF/Kasparian video: youtu.be/dzDTmAsIjYI
(2) PZM/Comment: tinyurl.com/PZM-TF00t
(3) Ana Kasparian Response: youtu.be/YcSglVRYe6M
(4) PZM on excluding Smith: tinyurl.com/PZMAbbieSmith
(5) Zvan and Defamation: tinyurl.com/zvan-defamation
(6) Benson and Libel: tinyurl.com/Benson-Libel
(7) Watson on Women: youtu.be/2ZYhbj1RGKs?t=34m50s
(8) rationalwiki.org/wiki/Deliberate_offence
(9) cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/250×250/36190162.jpg
(*) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshirt_%28character%29

296 John C. Welch March 21, 2013 at 3:52 am

Dan L. @ 279:

John C Welch@278:

Well, that’s your side and a little bit vague. How do we move forward from there?

Well, first, be consistent? If you (nonspecific) say to me “I really have a problem with the use of the word “bitch”, don’t turn around and say it’s okay for *you* to use it “ironically” and slag me for using it regardless of how I use it. If someone really doesn’t like a word, I’ve zero problems with that. I may not *agree*, but I don’t have a problem with it. However, if the person claiming to really dislike a word starts using it even semi-regularly because “it’s okay when I do it”, then fuck that, it’s okay when *I* do it too, and I stop caring about their “objections”. If it’s okay for you to moderate your site, it is not wrong for you to BE moderated on someone else’s.

Be consistent. Apply the standards you demand of others to yourself, and when you don’t meet them, don’t justify it.

That’s a great start.

Don’t dissemble, omit, or otherwise dance away from the truth. If you say “That is a ball”, be pointing at a ball, not a Mack Truck or an airplane. Don’t call things “a” when they are actually “b”.

Don’t arbitrarily change the meaning of a word so that you can use it in a way other people don’t, and then claim it’s someone else’s fault for not realizing what you were doing.

Don’t use guilt by association to poison the well, then cry when someone else uses it on you.

Don’t assume that just because I disagree with you, I hate you, want you dead, or harmed. Maybe what I disagree with is minor, even to me. Disagreement is not attack, nor does it require for someone to be wrong.

Don’t go out of your way to twist people’s words so you can dismiss what they have to say.

stuff like that. None of this is hard, but it is necessary.

297 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:53 am

And then they continue doing it, Dan L, or are you opposed to calling out and venting? Aren’t you at least opposed to that under the guise of actual feminism? Geesh.

298 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:54 am

lol.

You’re fired!

“Guiz, DON’T DO THAT!”

299 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:56 am

John C. Welch@291:

Is it possible that much of that advice would apply to some but not all of “both sides”?

300 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 4:01 am

Eu@292:

And then they continue doing it, Dan L, or are you opposed to calling out and venting? Aren’t you at least opposed to that under the guise of actual feminism? Geesh.

I’m not opposed to calling out and venting. But perhaps part of why FtB participation here has been so minimal is exactly because you’ve made it an environment for calling out and venting. Perhaps they do not want to be called out and vented at when they think they have their own reasons for feeling aggrieved.

You’re probably right that it’s all about egos. So does this have to be a zero-sum game? You win, they lose because they’re the ones in the wrong?

Maybe they are but I just don’t think they’re going to accept that.

301 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:01 am

Dan L (286)

This is not just about the slympitters and the ones posting here are a small amount of the total anyway. Some held back as they do not want to dogpile, others just made one post in support. Again I recommend looking at previous blogs posts as what we have now is the rump end of a long process. If we went away the problems would continue, just somewhere else.

If they do not want to talk to anyone and they fail to understand our position then that is for them. So far you seem to want us to be the prefect beacons of light, despite many of us putting a couple of weeks into this and them next to nothing.

Michael has put the call out and it will go beyond Ftb and the Slympit. So hopefully others who have less history can take over. I’m happy to talk at any time but if people do not want to talk to me or anyone else then that is their prerogative.

302 Eu March 21, 2013 at 4:06 am

Dan L, it’s only calling out and venting because they’re not here. When I talk to someone, it’s called conversing. When the people aren’t there, its calling out to that, and venting to ourselves.

303 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:06 am

Dan L. (294)

Many of us were faced with this: http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/

We did not give up. Does that not tell you something?

304 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 4:15 am

Dan L @286

Some people just don’t get along very well and such people should probably not interact.

And then what?

Probably fewer people than you might be led to believe if you’re only basing it on online discussions.

I get the feeling that you’re leaning towards a solution of “keep ’em separated.” I lean that way myself, sometimes. These are a few things that make me think that reconciling the “deep rift” is worthwhile, even it will be hard, contentious, exasperating work:

-Whatever our internal divisions, to the rest of the world we’re just atheists. Especially in more religious countries like the U.S., our ascribed religious identity marginalizes us. We can’t afford to divide our numbers.

-Historically, sectarianism is religion’s most dangerous feature. We shouldn’t assume we’re immune to religion’s mistakes, especially not as we’re making the same ones.

-Things like blog moderation policy might seem like petty complaints, but for many atheists living in religious communities, the online world is all the interaction they get with other atheists. As a primarily humanist movement, we should care about those people and their well-being, even (maybe especially) the ones that make it hard to care about them.

-We’re social animals. We’re empowered by forming communities. We need communities. The a/s community is worth maintaining.

305 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 4:27 am

Eu@297:

I made a response to you a while ago that went into moderation and you probably never saw it. To keep it short I haven’t enjoyed my conversations with you here. I can understand why no one at FtB wants to converse with you. Maybe that’s my problem and theirs. But if you really want them to talk to you it’s actually a little bit your problem too.

If it has to be a zero-sum game some people just won’t want to play.

loyalb@299:

I get the feeling that you’re leaning towards a solution of “keep ‘em separated.”

No, I’m not leaning towards that as a solution. I’m leaning towards that as an inevitable failure.

306 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 4:35 am

No, I’m not leaning towards that as a solution. I’m leaning towards that as an inevitable failure.

Gotcha. And damn. That’s a little depressing. I don’t understand why you feel that way.

I’ve been reading your comments through most of the various threads here and, I’ll be honest, I don’t agree with a lot of what you say, but you come off as fair-minded and well-spoken. In short, reading your comments has been giving me some small hope that atheism doesn’t need to be fenced off into hostile territories. I hope you feel more optimistic in the near future.

307 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:37 am

Dan L. (299)

The feeling is mutual, I suggest you try not to be so dismissive next time and please do some basic research before making unsupported assertions.

308 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 4:41 am

@John C. Welsh 251

If you say to me “this forum is unmoderated”, and then I find out that by “unmoderated” you mean “unmoderated except that I carefully control access to the forum” then it is clear you didn’t actually mean “unmoderated”. This isn’t about intent, it’s about basic meaning.

Feel free to do a google search and read what Myers said when he arranged those various thread classifications. He was upfront about all of it.

Now, is it “lying” to not include folks that have been banned in your unmoderated threads, especially compared to the oversight that exists in the others? No, it really, really isn’t

(#*)&)(*()#*&$(#*&(*@&#)94820394872093847. It’s very sad.

That’s where the snark was.

This moves out into larger issues.

No, it doesn’t. There’s not even anything to move, just your ridiculous position and histrionics.

309 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 4:44 am

Jack@302:

I’m already putting what I would consider a silly amount of time into this conversation. I really don’t feel like reading at least dozens, possibly hundreds of comments on blog posts from the last two weeks consisting mostly of two factions of people going out of their way to find fault with one another. I’m really sorry about that.

If you’re just venting at this point I’ll leave you to it.

310 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 4:50 am

loyalb@301:

Gotcha. And damn. That’s a little depressing. I don’t understand why you feel that way.

Aw, you don’t even know. That’s just my opinion on this little tiff. I can’t even imagine how you’d react to my opinion on the inevitable future political trajectory (also completely contrary to my desires).

If it’s any consolation it’s always possible that people will just get tired of holding grudges and move on with their lives.

311 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 4:56 am

btw, somebody upthread asked how to do quotes. I had to look it up because apparently me and that guy are the only ones on the internet who don’t know how. Just use the html “blockquote” tag. Google e.g. “worpress html tags” and there should be some resources on which tags you can use and how on wordpress comment sections.

312 erikthebassist March 21, 2013 at 5:05 am

-We’re social animals. We’re empowered by forming communities. We need communities. The a/s community is worth maintaining.

If the only thing I have in common with you is a lack of belief in God(s), then I’m not likely to be able to identify with or communicate with you. There has to be more common ground to form a basis for communication.

Most of us are also skeptics, there’s some additional common ground. We pretty much universally reject alt-med and CAM, Deepak Chopra and Kenn Hamm. We abhor Jenny McCarthy and the AVN, Dr Oz and Julia Brown right?

So there you have a movement, people who put scientific skepticism above all else, but it’s not the kind of movement that is going to change government, it can only dream of legitimate lobbying power.

To me the question is, how do you create a movement? How do you get large numbers of people to join hands and simultaneously say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Well, you certainly don’t do it by excluding or marginalizing large groups of people who also happen to identify with social or political causes that you disagree with. Do you want an ideologically pure movement? Or do you want a movement that’s capable of creating real change in the world?

News flash, liberals cleaned house in the last election. Progressive politics are on the upswing and any atheist or skeptic worth their salt should be able recognize that as a good thing when the alternative is the theocracy proposed by the right wing.

Feminism is part and parcel of the liberal left’s platform. The A / S movements have a chance to bolster the chances of a radical change in the way governments operate, but alienating feminists and liberals is not going to help in that fight, it’s only going to help the theocrats.

I admit that was fully geocentric of me, and many see this fight as part of a bigger picture, globally speaking. I can only advocate for change in my own political sphere.

313 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 5:29 am

Well, you certainly don’t do it by excluding or marginalizing large groups of people who also happen to identify with social or political causes that you disagree with. Do you want an ideologically pure movement? Or do you want a movement that’s capable of creating real change in the world?

No! and Yes!, respectively. That’s why I want more open, free-thinking discussions like the ones that Michael Nugent facilitates.

News flash, liberals cleaned house in the last election. Progressive politics are on the upswing and any atheist or skeptic worth their salt should be able recognize that as a good thing when the alternative is the theocracy proposed by the right wing.

If by “cleaned house,” you mean, “an incumbent beat one of the weakest Republican candidates in generations by 2 points.” But I won’t belabor the point. I’m thrilled to see liberalism, or at least liberalism’s watered-down American cousin, ascendant in my home country. More or less ascendant, anyway. I think FTB can learn from that. How often did liberal icons like Obama mention patriarchy, rape culture, and white privilege? Exactly never. He won the same way Clinton won: triangulation. Compromise. Open communication.

Feminism is part and parcel of the liberal left’s platform.

Women’s rights are part and parcel of liberalism, as they damn well should be. As a femi-skeptic, I still agree with roughly 100% of the Democratic platform on women’s rights. No to transvaginal probes, yes to abortion rights, yes to equal pay, no to discrimination, yes to title-9, etc… But because I think academic feminism presents a glib, anachronistic view of gender issues I get called a misogynist? Please. There is room for reasonable disagreement, and it does nothing for the cause of women’s right to ignore that.

Atheists did almost nothing to help Obama win. And, lest we forget, the other 2/3 of American government are virtually deadlocked and Republican-controlled, respectively. So let’s not count too many chickens here.

Atheists are largely irrelevant in popular culture, and we only make ourselves more irrelevant when we choose not to engage mainstream ideas.

314 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:35 am

erikthebassist (305)

Only one side is talking about exclusion. I’ve always argued that we need to be as inclusive as possible as that gives obvious benefits. That’s why the Slympit is such an open forums (with all the bad side effects that can bring)

Being inclusive requires being tolerant of others including those who you disagree with on social issues.

It is the intolerance that has been the root of most of the issues along with a rejection of the basic principles of skepticism.

Also I and many atheists are not in the US. We do not associate religion with political parties. In the Western world it is a peculiarity of the US to do this. So to me religion and politics have no correlation and therefore no need for me to care what someone’s political beliefs are as it does not form part of their atheist beliefs.

Conflating the two, even in the US, I feel is a big mistake as I would hope an atheists activities in the movement would be towards that movements aims rather than any political aims. The same goes for libertarians and authoritarians.

315 bluharmony March 21, 2013 at 5:47 am

Frankly, I’ve been so hurt personally, I have no desire to reconcile with any of the parties who engaged in such extremely abusive behavior, and I never will. Besides, why does it matter? There’s a world full of better, brighter, and more interesting people to spend my time with.

Furthermore, there are literally hundreds of schools of feminist thought and skepticism/atheism doesn’t mandate any particular one. Because of its multiple meanings, “feminism” is, in essence, a meaningless term. If simply stating this fact is a reason for the heaps of personal abuse I’ve received, then I have nothing in common with those consistently engaging in said abusive behavior. Not to mention all the censorship, revisionism, hypocrisy, and downright trolling that has become the hallmark of several “freethought” blogs.

Let’s just go our separate directions. The ideologues and FTB and real freethinkers don’t have the same goals, even if some of those goals happen to overlap.

316 erikthebassist March 21, 2013 at 6:04 am

Jack, if the atheist movement doesn’t have any shared political goals then what the hell is it worth? A movement without goals? Nonsensical.

317 Skep tickle March 21, 2013 at 7:32 am

Thank you, Michael, for trying to move this situation out of the deep rut it’s been in.

I would feel more encouraged about the chances of seeing change if the leaders from FTB/Skepchick/A+ were part of this conversation, but also anticipate that Michael & his colleagues in AI are likely to fold some of his questions and suggestions into the conversations that go on during the conference in Dublin in June, in large groups and small ones too.

Relevant to the last couple of posts (particularly by erikthebassist & loyalb), PZ Myers will be speaking in Seattle next week and has posted at Pharyngula that he’s planning this:

I’m going to talk about scientific and atheistic ethics there, and the message isn’t hopeful: I’m going to discuss our woeful failures, and suggest that morality ain’t gonna be found in a test tube. But there’ll also be some optimism for how broadening our foundations to encompass humanist values can compensate.

I hope there will be an opportunity for frank, reasoned, and respectful questions and discussion. It’s a big topic – or could be – but in particular I’m interested in hearing on what basis, if any, he & others might feel justified in excluding some people & their values from the discussion about “humanist values” and a humanist foundation for society. (Not the discussion at that talk; I’m referring to The Discussion, big picture.)

318 Rayshul March 21, 2013 at 7:44 am

loyalb said: “Women’s rights are part and parcel of liberalism, as they damn well should be. As a femi-skeptic, I still agree with roughly 100% of the Democratic platform on women’s rights. No to transvaginal probes, yes to abortion rights, yes to equal pay, no to discrimination, yes to title-9, etc… But because I think academic feminism presents a glib, anachronistic view of gender issues I get called a misogynist? Please. There is room for reasonable disagreement, and it does nothing for the cause of women’s right to ignore that.”

May I add that I live in a country with a conservative government that has a very similar position on women’s rights (admittedly abortion laws are questionable). Our gay marriage bill seems likely to pass by a vast majority soon, and is supported by the conservative leader. These are not necessarily “liberal” values – they are common sense values that contribute positively to the prosperity and wellbeing of the country and its people.

I will note also that I have seen many conservatives have come out in support of what you might consider liberal American views. I don’t believe many of these later “became liberal”.

This isn’t a real “point” – I thought I might just add a little note about the nuances of political positions.

Bluharmony said: “Frankly, I’ve been so hurt personally, I have no desire to reconcile with any of the parties who engaged in such extremely abusive behavior, and I never will. Besides, why does it matter? There’s a world full of better, brighter, and more interesting people to spend my time with.”

Having seen what happened to you – and the fact I find the FtB/SC view of “feminism” horribly regressive, infantilising and Victorian – I am not very keen to reconcile either. Eristae said, “I am deeply and profoundly tired of having people challenge my status as a full human being with equal rights and intrinsic value,” and funnily enough I feel much the same, which is why I’m firmly on the other “side” of this debate.

I’m not sure it is possible to “get the gang back together” so to speak, because of these deeply opposing political and personal beliefs – never mind the pain some people engaged in the debate have gone through. However, I would be interested in finding out if there was some way to bring the communities back together.

319 Skep tickle March 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Michael, you asked to hear from people who might be “interested in taking part in a structured dialogue between individuals based on this agenda” – keep me in mind if you don’t have an onslaught of other volunteers. My ID tags include liberal, woman, skeptic, atheist, UU, health care worker, and Slymepitter. The crux of my position is that no claim should be sheltered from rational/skeptical inquiry and reasoned discussion, in part to guard against dogma & hypocrisy and in part simply because none of us is immune from the human tendency to feel that our own beliefs must be correct.

320 rocko2466 March 21, 2013 at 8:09 am

I am worried that the below is a bit repetitive of my prior statements on the issues, but I thought some of it at least may be useful.

Firstly, I’d like to thank Michael for his efforts. I do perceive him as having had more in common with the “other side” from me prior to this, but he seems to be coming around. Although he does post material which I consider to be flawed and / or incorrect, I do not see the same sort of intellectual dishonesty that I’ve been seeing on “that side”. Michael is making genuine efforts and I appreciate it.

Secondly, I would like to point out (as a general comment) that a lot of people refer to post-ban, -shun or -block conduct as indicative of the conduct that led to a certain person’s banning, shunning or blocking. Ordinarily (from what I have seen), the conduct prior to that is usually remarkably civil and it is just the stated views that lead to the banning. That happened to myself on a FtB blog and then I proceeded to be introduced to the Slymepit. I recall I heard about the Slymepit after being accused of being one (although I may have been one by the time PZ banned me for being one).

The Pitters I interact with regularly started off with civil discourse and got shut out and (humorously enough) slimed for their efforts. They then realised that it wasn’t so much about reaching a consensus or finding out the truth of the matter, it was about (at best) parroting an ideology that they can simply not see to have scrutinised or (at worst) an effort to get blog hits and publicity for conference gigs. I appreciate your remarks about not unduly assuming others’ motives, but when I see such intelligent people engage in such intellectual malpractice, I have to assume either bad faith or … that they are not quite so intelligent.

What I am saying re-treads old material, so I will leave it at that.

As for your questions:

1. How we can work together on core issues on which we broadly agree, including promoting reason, critical thinking, science, skepticism, atheism and secularism in the real world.

It means dropping the litmus test. I can assume I and Stephanie Zvan or Ophelia Benson or PZ Myers all agree on 90% of things. It’s just they focus on the 10% and make it a litmus test.

It’s also difficult as the ideology they have adopted does mean that disagreement = misogyny (or equivalent term), so having a discourse inevitably means that they need to call us misogynists (and so on).

2. How we can balance the right to freedom of expression and robust debate about ideas and issues, with the desire to not unnecessarily hurt people who disagree with us about those ideas.

I don’t particularly see the value in that. There is no right (either legal or moral) not to be offended and it shouldn’t be a norm to avoid offence. What should be avoided is the absolute extremes which, as you can see about the reaction within the Pit to the [named person] photoshopped image (who seems to have delighted in it and condemned the Pit for it despite the majority of the Pit also condemnig it), can simply be managed by community response and VERY LIMITED moderation of those forums (as you have been doing in this one, Michael).

3. How and to what extent our various communities and groups should have ethical and equality and social justice issues on our internal and external agendas.

I do think we all have ethical, equality and social justice issues on our internal and external agendas. Most of us are content to do that, but when you go crazy about it – or won’t accept that other people’s methods or responses to perceived inequalities are not the same as yours, this does not mean we do not consider it important.

4. How we can each, as individuals, lead unilaterally by example by behaving reasonably and charitably and constructively, while others are not doing so.

At this stage, I think “our side” is doing fairly well at this. The Slymepit – although coarse – is really quite restrained. If someone throws an accusation out there, it is fact-checked (even if it is not consistent with “FTB is evil” to do so). For example, I mistakenly said that Melody Hensley and her partner edited PZ’s book. I was called out on that, provided my source and shown to be incorrect.

However, there does come a point when the ideology is so insane and so untenable and the accusations (of harassment for one) thrown up are so unsubstantiated, that we cannot simply sit by and not react. When we do not have as high traffic a medium as an establishing blogging network, there is nothing wrong with responding through mockery (my dramatic readings and videos for example, said the spammer to the blog-man).

5. Any other issues that people believe are important to address.

This issue is broadly about an extreme brand of so-called “feminism” that is based more on a victim complex than the destruction of inequalities. When we focus our attention on words (like the b-word and the c-word … so Michael doesn’t get pressured to censor) which are clearly not meant in the way one [named person] or [another] has decided to interpret them, we aren’t doing any service to ourselves.

When all the [named person]s stand up there and denounce the community for being sexist and misogynist and harassers and rape-threateners, it does harm to our cause. Secularism and humanism actually achieve the ends we need to ensure equality; they just don’t go to the strange puritanical preferential-treatment world where everyone ignores statistics that the [named person]s are aiming for.

For example, I recently critiqued a [named person] for her use of rape statistics in relation to rape-prevention techniques. Also wanting to prevent rape myself, I questioned the approach. I got called a ‘rape apologist’ and ‘rape enabler’, when really, if those people wanted to prevent rape they would be listening to my queries and concerns, because, hey, what if I’m right. When ideology is more important than reducing the risk of rapes – and your ideology places rape as one of the most important things to talk about – then your ideology has a problem.

tl;dr Rocko2466 is now Steersman.

321 rocko2466 March 21, 2013 at 8:10 am

And yes, I’d be interested in taking part in a structured dialogue – but I guess that was my first salvo.

322 Tessa March 21, 2013 at 8:16 am

Rayshul, Jack, bluharmony, and others.
I’ve seen a lot of comments about FTB’s brand of feminism.
What exactly is the brand, style, flavor, etc. of feminism you attribute to FTB? What are its views, and what don’t you agree with?

323 oolon March 21, 2013 at 8:58 am

I’d thank Michael for his attempts at dialogue creation… I don’t think its going to create any “joining” up of the two factions, nor should it. Plenty on both sides don’t want it….

One thing is clear – Pittizens want somewhere to air their grievances. Some on the FtB “side” are happy to engage with them. If anything positive came from this an arena where that can happen long term might be a good idea. If nothing else it will mitigate the echo chamber at the pit where any negative idea about FtBs/Skepchick goes mostly unchallenged. (There are not enough Steersmen being contrary)

So why not find a thread/forum for argumentation? I doubt Michael wants to host it for ever… Maybe he does?

324 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 9:10 am

Tessa: it is almost impossible to pinpoint what the “brand of feminism” over there really is. It keeps changing. One day it’s evil to use gendered slurs, the next it’s fine because of “context”. One day it’s cool to call one’s significant other “trophy wife”, the next it’s horrible sexist language. One day it’s fine to tell people to go fvck themselves with a rusty porcupine, the next it’s horribly rape-enabling (but not really, you see, because porcupines can’t rust, so it should never be taken as something other than a hyperbole.). Don’t quote me on all these, they are just from memory. But I’m sure I could find some links or screencaps if needed.

And on, and on, and on…

So, that’s quite a tricky question.

325 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

oolon: see, I was on board with your last comment at #323 until:

“If nothing else it will mitigate the echo chamber at the pit where any negative idea about FtBs/Skepchick goes mostly unchallenged.”

Remove this part, and you have a very good, insightful comment. Yeah, I know, everyone’s a critic…

326 Karmakin March 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

@Tessa: Here’s my take on it. Not everybody will agree with it, but I think it captures the general gist of it. There are other concerns, but those are more about tactics and tone, such as the “Call-Out Culture” (which is something that’s being beaten up BAD right now in the wider discussion, if you’re paying attention to these things, the whole Adria Richards affair).

But about the feminism myself, my objection is to the idea of the “Oppressor/Oppressed” model that seems to be so much in favor. The idea that individuals are either part of an Oppressor class or an Oppressed class, and that strongly flavors what we think/do. Quite frankly, I think the end result of this identity politic focused approach is actually the opposite of what people want it to do…it further entrenches and normalizes gender roles in our society.

The opposition to this model isn’t one where we have to see sexism as not a problem (or worse, a natural/good thing), it’s one where we look at sexism/racism/etc. through a lens where we’re talking about common stereotypes and patterns among ALL of society, and as such enforce and maintain these gender roles…not for the benefit of the men (the oppressors) but for the perceived benefit of themselves.

What goes along with that, and is a second objection, is the concept that power dynamics are unidirectional…that is, in every situation men are more privileged than women, as an example.

Truth be told, I’m a feminist who thinks that intersectional/kyriarchial analysis of these issues is for the best, as it gives us the best model for analyzing these issues, but more importantly, focus not on theoretical models, but focus on how we can best solve these issues.

And I find that my point of view is more accepted in egalitarian circles (such as the ‘Pit is) than in feminist circles these days. So-called “Fourth-wave Feminists” have been really pushed out, which is why we’re quickly rebranding ourselves as egalitarians and not feminists.

327 Steersman March 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Tessa said (#322):

What exactly is the brand, style, flavor, etc. of feminism you attribute to FTB? What are its views, and what don’t you agree with?

Very good question, at least I think it is, and one that is close to the crux of the matter. And the short answer seems to be that the FTB-approved brand of feminism is rather narrow-minded, dogmatic, and refuses to see what many others – including many feminists of all genders and sexes – consider some rather problematic warts and toxicities mixed in with the credible principles and values.

And the longer answer seems to elaborate on, and develop those points in some detail, but raises the additional question as to how much of those problematic aspects are due to some self-serving self-aggrandizement of one form or another. And as that is rather hard to discern, much less prove, even within our selves, one is forced to fall back on more factual evidence and let the chips fall where they may. And one primary piece of evidence which seems to be quite typical was manifested in a tweet by Ophelia Benson sometime last August when she said (1) (original here (2), although you’ll have to register in the Pit to see it):

Connecting the word “feminism” with the word “virulent” … is misogyny.

And arguing that there are some aspects of feminism that manifest that virulence tends to be an unpopular if not a hazardous undertaking, although one might argue some of that is a consequence of sloppy thinking or careless use of language by many of those involved. For instance, consider a December 2012 post (3) by PZ Myers in which he issued a challenge: “An experiment: why do you despise feminism?”, and in which he criticized Michael Shermer for asserting – somewhat hyperbolically, but somewhat accurately – that “the feminist witch hunt continues!” Yet Myers’ subsequent comment suggests a very different view on feminism – not to mention some similarities with the parable of the blind men and the elephant (4):

Regarding feminism with contempt is a bit like regarding science with contempt: it’s incomprehensible to me, and I’m wondering if they really understand what they are throwing away.

And a view that suggests a not particularly flattering perspective on those he’s apparently lumped into the grab-bag of “anti-feminists”, and an experiment that one might reasonably argue is little more than a poisoned chalice, not least for later exhibiting bigotry towards the Slymepit (comment #400):

This [experiment] could go a couple of ways: there could be dead silence as the anti-feminists wilt under pressure to honestly explain themselves, or there could be an eruption of the usual shrieking misogyny, or there might actually be a few who try to explain themselves. If it’s the latter, the rest of you behave yourselves — pretend you’ve got a cockroach under the microscope and try to probe it to figure out what makes it work, and don’t just try to crush it under the heel of your shoe, OK?

However, while one could have maybe sympathized with Myers and Benson and company if there was actually some evidence that the “anti-feminists” were all no more than “shrieking misogynists”, the preponderance of it seems to be that it is a broad movement encompassing at least 17 different ideologies (5), plus a great many issues, principles, arguments, and personalities – many of which are viewed with more than just a skeptical eye by a great many other quite credible “feminists”, particularly female ones. And one of the most damning of the latter is illustrated and evidenced, apparently, in some detail in the book Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies (6) which was well received by another group of feminists who cogently summarized salient elements of it as follows (7):

The book is a critique on Women Studies departments in the United States. The authors interviewed dozens of women, from staff to professors to students, all quite supportive of feminism, but all still sharing the same criticism of infighting, indoctrination, political correctness and a near total lack of objective discussion.
….
The authors, however, demonstrate that these problems have existed since their ideology’s inception, and were particularly common within Women Studies programs. The authors wrote of the isolationist attitude that dominates many of the programs, along with a virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment driving many of the professors, staff and students. [my emphasis]

Given the wide spectrum of beliefs, values, principles, and initiatives encompassed by the rubric of “feminism”, and the very different views on them all by various apparently credible sources, one might reasonably argue that the dogmatic, narrow-minded, decidedly nasty, and categorical ones apparently championed by several of the leading lights on the FTB network are a bigger part of the problem than of the solution.

—-
1) “_http://i47.tinypic.com/wk5pxf.jpg”;
2) “_http://slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=8370#p8370”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/21/an-experiment-why-do-you-despise-feminism/comment-page-1”;
4) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant”;
5) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminist_movements_and_ideologies”;
6) “_http://www.amazon.com/Professing-Feminism-Education-Indoctrination-Studies/dp/0739104551”;
7) “_http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2009/07/27/professing-feminism-noh/”;

328 Jack March 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Tessa (322)

This question has been asked and answered many times on Michaels various blog posts as it is a very important point.

The following is a VERY quick summary and may miss a few things.

Generally it is the total acceptance of the concept of Patriarchy (men are to blame for everything and women are the victims), rape culture (all men are potential rapists, and care little for the issue of rape and are incapable of judging what rape actually is) and victim culture (only Whites can be racist, one person’s opinion is valid purely because of who they are not what they say, there is group guilt by association for past wrongs of that group)

It is supported by woolly post modernist thinking which encourages Ad Hominem. In fact it requires it as the identity of someone is important. Emotions, feelings and personal experience are seen as a valid tool to get to the truth. Skepticism is frowned on and anti-intellectualism is encouraged (which is why when opinions are questioned or data examined it leads to attacks)

It uses something called a Kafka Trap which states that even questioning a problem means you are part of the problem and blind to it.

It states that their belief is the one true belief (from about 16 main branches of feminism including a multitude of varieties) and only by following it’s tenants can you be a ‘good person’. If you do not follow them you are no be treated as a non-person and shunned (similar to the strategies employed by Scientology)

You may be considered a rape-enabler, racist and hater of women (misogynist)

In summery it is a position commonly associated with Radical Feminism and Gender Feminism. However as often pointed out that is not always an accurate representation. Also, the Feminism I see displayed at FtB/Skeptchics and A+ seems to be a particularly unsophisticated version and what is acceptable one day may not be the next, there is almost no consistency. However that is my own opinion.

However in general it is not about what they believe it is about how they present their beliefs and try and enforce it on others that bothers me. How they do that is very well documented.

People are perfectly entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. They are perfectly entitled to have safe spaces and to moderate their spaces how they see fit. They are perfectly entitled to express their opinions.What they are not entitled to is to smear and vilify others without recourse and try and control the narrative of atheist and skeptical organisations.

Anyway that is a very basic commentary and like all things there is a lot more to it than that.

329 John C. Welch March 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Dan @ 299:

Is it possible that much of that advice would apply to some but not all of “both sides”?

I’d be happy if it applied to the human race in its entirety

Doubtthat@ 308

If you say to me “this forum is unmoderated”, and then I find out that by “unmoderated” you mean “unmoderated except that I carefully control access to the forum” then it is clear you didn’t actually mean “unmoderated”. This isn’t about intent, it’s about basic meaning.

Feel free to do a google search and read what Myers said when he arranged those various thread classifications. He was upfront about all of it.

Now, is it “lying” to not include folks that have been banned in your unmoderated threads, especially compared to the oversight that exists in the others? No, it really, really isn’t

The reasons why do. not. matter. Those are *reasons* not *excuses*. Again, different words, different meanings. I don’t care about the reasons. For PZ, they are legit, and that’s all that matters in terms of reasons.

The *point* is, the thunderdome is not “unmoderated”. It is in fact “moderated”. Your own statement backs that up. If PZ cannot be trusted to use a clear word like “unmoderated” in the way that its definition requires, then how the hell can anyone trust anything he says? What does he mean by anything? Humpty-Dumpty is not a guide to communication.

That’s where the snark was.

This moves out into larger issues.

No, it doesn’t. There’s not even anything to move, just your ridiculous position and histrionics.

Funny how all your statements are reasonable and all mine are histrionics.

Yet again, no point in talking to you if we disagree, because you dismiss all differing opinions as “histrionics” or similar, and if we agree at the level you require to talk in a serious fashion, there’s no need to talk, we agree in lockstep.

As long as this is the prevailing attitude from the FTB/Skepchick/A+ side, and I see no proof that it is not, then there’s no point in even trying. They will only accept 100% agreement with their opinion on all things.

330 Jack March 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Oolon (323)

As said many times comparing this to purely a ‘pit issue is like creationists saying evolution is just about Darwin (Darwinism)

It is much bigger than that. Therefore there ARE pe0ple willing to talk. We just need to encourage them to do so. The purpose of Michaels posts so far, in my opinion, has been to allow people to air grievances in a more public arena in a robust and open manner. That way people know the issues and can consider them for themselves if they wish. This is not a time for tone trolling although it is always a time for people to be considerate and charitable, as Michael has already clearly laid out.

If people do not wish to talk, and I agree there will be many, particularly those from both sides that have been hurt, that can’t be helped much at this stage. People need to get things off their chest.

Hopefully people will start to see we are all in this together and we need ways to work together for the benefit of the movement as a whole.

331 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:35 am

Only one side is talking about exclusion. I’ve always argued that we need to be as inclusive as possible as that gives obvious benefits. That’s why the Slympit is such an open forums (with all the bad side effects that can bring)

Bullshit. The Slymepit may not talk about exclusion, but some of them are working very hard to silence the voices of those they deem to be “radical” feminists. When they are arguing loudly, as many of them do, that social justice issues should not be part of the atheist movement how should we take that as anything but an argument for exclusion of those for whom such issues are an integral part of their rejection of religious belief, or of under-represented demographics in the atheist community who see the failure to deal with these issues is a barrier to their participation in the community?

On the other hand I have no problem excluding the kind of irrational, woo peddling, hate mongering attitudes we get from people like the Voice for Men crowd (for the same reason I have no problem excluding white supremacists or creationists or assorted conspiracy theory peddlers from the atheist movement.)

When I see the slymepit arguing on the one hand that feminism and other social issues are incompatible with the A/S cause while at the same time fighting so vigorously for the inclusion of the MRA crowd I’m not inclined to want to have much to do with them. It’s frankly hard to tell if its a lack of self awareness or some other agenda that leads to such hypocrisy. (I’m personally inclined to think its the former, but I can understand why some see the latter at work.)

I’m also curious to know what purpose the Slymepit is supposed to serve in the atheist movement, other than as a safe place to call people cunts. What advocacy programs has the slymepit participated in? What fundraising are they doing? Are they contributing to conference programs? Are they doing any kind of organizing? What do they do besides sit around and whine about the people they don’t like? It’s all getting rather tiresome…

332 Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm

A Hermit (330)

This is such a massive strawman post including many points dealt with extensively over the last three weeks it makes me wonder if you have absorbed anything being said here.

I never once said feminism is incompatible with A/S. I made the opposite points many times. I do not want anyone excluded because of their social or political beliefs.

Really there is a long list of assertions you make that are simply that. Assertions. Repeating something over and over does not make it correct.

We can’t move on with this if everyone assumes motives and beliefs on others which are simply not there.

333 erikthebassist March 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Jack @ 328:

Generally it is the total acceptance of the concept of Patriarchy (men are to blame for everything and women are the victims), rape culture (all men are potential rapists, and care little for the issue of rape and are incapable of judging what rape actually is) and victim culture (only Whites can be racist, one person’s opinion is valid purely because of who they are not what they say, there is group guilt by association for past wrongs of that group)

This a major part of the problem Jack. Your definitions are so far off the mark it makes me wonder if you pay any attention at all to the actual arguments being made? I have to assume you’ve seen these misconceptions about feminism corrected time and time again yet refuse to acknowledge it.

It’s almost like you made up a version of radfem and then projected it on to FTB so you can justify your disdain.

334 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm

@doubtthat if you are referring to the point made in which someone said saying false things and blocking the clean up was l-ing, then it is, not the blocking itself but part of why it was blocked.

335 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

erikthebassist,

No, Jack’s definition is pretty accurate. Sexist concept of Rape culture being only about men raping? To treat all men like potential rapists? Um, CHECK. That’s simply a paraphrase of what was said. It wasn’t implied, it’s outright stated.

A patriarchy in which men are to blame for everything? Of course they wouldn’t state it that way, but it’s pretty clear you are not mean to assume they would say that themselves. I’m sure you knew good and well what he meant – that they go to extents to blame Patriarchy for a large variety of things.

Victim culture?

People have been outright told that minorities cannot be racist because they do not have general granted power to oppress people, a totally irrelevant distinction that implies it’s not as bad when they do it. It’s in the god damn GLOSSARY there ffs.

And they do place a large importance on who you are. They dismiss people because they’re “white, cis, men and privileged” all the god damn time as if that statement automatically makes their opinion wrong. They need to stop using that as an excuse to wave someone off if they don’t want to be seen as doing that.

We all know that white/cis/male or not your opinions can be invalid and being white/cis/male isn’t some main indicator of invalid opinions on social justice so idk why they keep using that as the main thing they emphasize when they’re lecturing someone.

It’s like they’re going “You dont get it, and you cant, you white cis male!” Like being what you’re born can be used as an insult. I’ve seen them use it as a negative adjective and just titled my head in confusion. I mean, really? Now white cis male is an insult? Something inherently bad in general?

It’s hilarious when someone is assumed to be that though and it turns out they aren’t. Check the race, cisness, and sex of a person before trying to use their race, cisness, and sex against them. Tsk tsk tsk.

336 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I forgot something – people there (I’m not sure if most but some) do approve of “apology” for things others in a group as a race have done, as if all people are, all they can see are the race of a person and a race is one individual. If one person in a race does something, then someone else in that race can apologize on their behalf?

Fuck no.

That would not bring me any joy if I was a personal victim of oppression. I’d go, “Sorry, but that’s not a real apology from the people who ACTUALLY OPPRESSED ME.”

337 Eu March 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Racism and sexism is all there is there, made out to be something *good* or justified or necessary. It’s all just a bunch of racism and sexism and shaming for qualities someone can’t change. A bunch of promotion of self loathing. After all, you are what you are for the rest of your life and you can’t change that.

My original action was suffocating disgust at all this and its still there but I’m sort of used to seeing it now so I don’t make outraged faces when I read the shit.

I mean really, it’s so disgusting it’s one of those people who you wouldn’t have too much sympathy for if something bad happened.

You know how they say the only good racist is a dead one? I feel the same way for them as I do for people at Stormfront hating on minorities.

338 Eu March 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Ehhh so the loathing is always under the surface; when I’m reminded of some of their more anger-provoking offenses it all comes up at the same time. I’m going to go cool off. I feel like a dork.

But yeah, they can get ran the fuck over for all I care. I’m not fucking kidding.

339 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

erikthebassist@332:

It’s almost like you made up a version of radfem and then projected it on to FTB so you can justify your disdain.

This is very much my impression too.

People on the ‘pit side are very quick to claim they’re willing to agree to disagree but that doesn’t actually seem to be the case. Some small minority insist that “feminism isn’t the issue” but a great many of the “grievances” being aired here are specifically complaints that the FtB side doesn’t want to listen to their arguments about feminism/patriarchy theory etc.

Newsflash to ‘pitters: forcing someone to listen to your arguments and being unwilling to accept that the other side might have good reasons for believing they do isn’t “agreeing to disagree.” If you can’t concede that there is a variety of views on the FtB side just as there are on the ‘pit side and if you can’t concede that there may be some validity to those views then why would anyone on that side want to discuss this issue with you?

And if people on that side don’t want to listen to you and you keep trying to force them to listen to you how do you expect them to react?

340 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Imagine three kids in high school: Smith, Miller, and Taylor. Smith has been relentlessly bullying Miller all through high school. One day Miller gets completely fed up with this and violently lashes out…accidentally hitting Taylor in the process. Now, Taylor is understandably quite upset as he didn’t have anything to do with Smith’s bullying of Miller (besides failing to call Smith out on it).

Suddenly Miller has the whole school after him. Teachers, principals, vice-principals, and the entire student body — including Smith — are haranguing him to apologize to Taylor.

Is Miller in the wrong? Should Miller apologize to Taylor? Absolutely. But can you understand why Miller might feel reluctant to do so, especially knowing how much Smith is enjoying all of this?

It’s very hard to admit fault when you’re feeling hurt and aggrieved — especially when no one is willing to validate your feelings of being hurt and aggrieved. Especially when people go out of their way to argue that you’re wrong for feeling hurt and aggrieved. Especially when you go out of your way to insist to the person that they’re wrong for feeling hurt and aggrieved when they just don’t want to talk to you about it because they already know your opinion and (obviously) disagree.

My impression is that there are Smiths, Taylors, and Millers on both sides. There are also Smiths who think they are Taylors, Taylors who think they are Millers, etc. etc. There are many on both sides who believe that everyone on the other side is a Smith; such people are very sure they’re on the side of righteousness and justice.

There’s no way forward from here. If you can’t recognize someone’s feelings of being hurt and aggrieved and especially if you go out of your way to insist that those feelings are invalid that person simply won’t want to engage with you. Sorry if that offends your “intellectual principles” or whatever but it’s simple human nature.

Some people don’t want to play zero-sum games. If your conditions are that everyone at FtB has to unilaterally admit they’re wrong about everything or there can be no reconciliation then there will be no reconciliation. If your conditions are that everyone at FtB has to listen to and accept your ideas about feminism then there will be no reconciliation. If you can’t recognize any validity whatsoever to the FtB side then there will be no reconciliation.

None of this is to say that FtB is in the right. Only that, given the views I’ve seen expressed here, there is no way forward.

341 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

The moderation filter here is wacky.

342 Edward Gemmer March 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

What fundraising are they doing?

I know Renee Hendricks does fundraising for Operation Smile and the Slymepit has contributed quite a bit of money to that cause. That charity helps pay for the costs of cleft palate surgery in third world countries.

I’m also curious to know what purpose the Slymepit is supposed to serve in the atheist movement, other than as a safe place to call people cunts.

It’s a safe place to talk about anything. I am a feminist and I don’t use the c word and the Slymepit is the one place that I can talk to other people without being insulted or treated like garbage, unlike say Skepchick or Pharyngula.

343 Remick March 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Eric @332

I think Jack’s comments are far more applicable to A+, where many of the things he lists are on explicit display. Many A+ posters are also some of the more extreme commenters on FtB. Part of the problem, is that their comments or temperment are rarely if ever moderated by the authors on FtB, because they are seen as being on the right ‘side'(at least that is how it appears). Where as some dissenting commenters are banned for even the slightest transgression.

One of my favorites is when someone disagrees and makes a post. Then they are engaged by 10-15 people who disagree with them and tells them so. When the dissenter attempts to respond and engage with the people talking directly to them, they are told that they are derailing or “making it all about them”, when in truth it is not their fault at all, but rather the nature of blog comments and the typical flow of events when there is a dogpile. A natural reaction to people posting to you, is to respond to them. Yet this is somehow incorrect behavior for only the dissenter and not the 10-15 people talking to the dissenter? They are all equally responsible for the realestate being taken up. Yet the dissenter gets banned and the dogpilers often gloat about running them off. When all was was being attempted was a conversation.

344 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Remick@343:

Many A+ posters are also some of the more extreme commenters on FtB. Part of the problem, is that their comments or temperment are rarely if ever moderated by the authors on FtB, because they are seen as being on the right ‘side’(at least that is how it appears).

If you’re going to refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of others in the ‘pit community then it is simply not reasonable to hold everyone in the FtB community responsible for the actions of everyone else in that community.

Yes, they don’t “call it out” all the time. You guys don’t call out — or even defend — certain behaviors which may be similarly indefensible from the perspective of the other side. All this demonstrates is that neither side is willing to try to understand the perspective of the other.

. Then they are engaged by 10-15 people who disagree with them and tells them so. When the dissenter attempts to respond and engage with the people talking directly to them, they are told that they are derailing or “making it all about them”, when in truth it is not their fault at all, but rather the nature of blog comments and the typical flow of events when there is a dogpile. A natural reaction to people posting to you, is to respond to them.

Making it “all about them” I think means something subtler than how you take it. Some people have a very hard time admitting they’re wrong about something, or admitting that other people just don’t want to hear about their opinions, or that they’re dragging a discussion off-topic. Such people really do try to make discussions all about them and their own opinions rather than acknowledging the perspectives of others. I’ve interacted with several such people over the last few days at Michael Nugent’s blog — people on the ‘pit side.

345 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm

@John C. Welsch

The *point* is, the thunderdome is not “unmoderated”. It is in fact “moderated”. Your own statement backs that up. If PZ cannot be trusted to use a clear word like “unmoderated” in the way that its definition requires, then how the hell can anyone trust anything he says? What does he mean by anything? Humpty-Dumpty is not a guide to communication.

Holy crap. I feel like a lesser person for allowing myself to be drawn into this idiocy, but…well, I guess I’m a lesser person.

“Hey, at our swim club, you can do anything you want between 1-2pm. There aren’t any lifeguards. Go ahead and take of your trunks and get sick with the floaty devices.”

“But it isn’t actually a free swim because I’m not allowed in.”

“Yeah, but you aren’t a member. Remember, we kicked you out for shaving your back in the pool, it was gross.”

“Well, you’re a liar then. If it really is a free, unsupervised swim period, I should be able to go back in there and shave off all my body hair in the pool.”

“Uh, no. You seem to have trouble understanding that the rules only apply to members. You lost your membership privilege, so therefore you don’t get the benefit of the free period.”

“LIAR, LIAR. Because of this trivial argument over the meaning of a phrase that I’m clearly getting wrong, I am able to conclude that your lies extend far beyond the fact that you say it’s a free swim period but you aren’t letting me shave my back in the pool.”

“Look, whatever. Go away. This reminds me of why you’re banned.”

346 John C. Welch March 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Dan @ 339:

Newsflash to ‘pitters: forcing someone to listen to your arguments and being unwilling to accept that the other side might have good reasons for believing they do isn’t “agreeing to disagree.” If you can’t concede that there is a variety of views on the FtB side just as there are on the ‘pit side and if you can’t concede that there may be some validity to those views then why would anyone on that side want to discuss this issue with you?

Why should we be more generous than you?

You wish us to take an action (stop guilt by association and groupminding FTB) that not only is no one on your side willing to even CONSIDER, but the majority of comments on the “core” FTB blogs involved in this are against. They are quite fine with it when they do it. It is only when it is done to them that it becomes a problem.

For example, the entire meme that everyone on the ‘pit is some kind of by the numbers MRA. That’s inane, and provably so. SOME folks there are MRAs, others aren’t. Why should we extend a gesture to you that not only are you not willing to extend to us, but vigorously argue against? It’s like Lucy is really mad that Charlie Brown won’t try to kick the football anymore.

Dan @ 340:

Is Miller in the wrong? Should Miller apologize to Taylor? Absolutely. But can you understand why Miller might feel reluctant to do so, especially knowing how much Smith is enjoying all of this?

No, I can’t. He hit the wrong person. His reasons for doing so are immaterial. Had he hit smith, I’d understand the reluctance. But he didn’t. He hit someone who had done him no wrong.

It’s very hard to admit fault when you’re feeling hurt and aggrieved — especially when no one is willing to validate your feelings of being hurt and aggrieved. Especially when people go out of their way to argue that you’re wrong for feeling hurt and aggrieved. Especially when you go out of your way to insist to the person that they’re wrong for feeling hurt and aggrieved when they just don’t want to talk to you about it because they already know your opinion and (obviously) disagree.

You mean like how everyone who disagreed with what Rebecca pulled on Stef McGraw was slagged as a misogynist?

Some people don’t want to play zero-sum games. If your conditions are that everyone at FtB has to unilaterally admit they’re wrong about everything or there can be no reconciliation then there will be no reconciliation. If your conditions are that everyone at FtB has to listen to and accept your ideas about feminism then there will be no reconciliation. If you can’t recognize any validity whatsoever to the FtB side then there will be no reconciliation.

If FTB requires unthinking agreement with their worldview, there’s no chance of dialogue, much less reconciliation. Yet you don’t mention their demands.

Also, you’re half right. Of COURSE we expect FTB to listen to opinions and viewpoints that aren’t their own. That, last I heard, is part of skepticism. They don’t have to AGREE, but they have to LISTEN and telling use we’re wrong because we don’t agree with them tells me they aren’t listening. If they don’t hear what they want to hear, the other person is wrong. Probably a bad person too.

Given how FTB treats every attempt to communicate with them, they don’t know what we think of specific issues. How can they, they refuse to allow us to speak in their room, and won’t come into any room we’re allowed to speak in.

After a while, you give up waiting for the chairs to be filled and find something else to do.

Also, why should I find their feelings valid when they’ve said repeatedly my feelings don’t count?

347 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Dan L. (340)

If you really think my basic summary of FtB (parts of it as clearly said many times)/A+/’Skeptchic is incorrect then you better tell them as I am sure that will be news they would love to discuss with you. Go to A+ and ask them what Patriarchy is. There are numerous posts here providing evidence of what they believe (and the fact it is not a simple generic answer) and you have so far refused to take that evidence into consideration. That is your choice but please do not expect people to keep indulging you. Go look for yourself.

Finally I feel your approach is non-constructive and I will say why. You repeat time and again you think there is no way forward. You then try lay the blame on someone simply because you do not like them or think they have no right to discuss in a manner they see fit within the framework Michael has provided. You assume knowledge of someone you have no chance of knowing. You assume they have not already thought things through and are incapable of their own rational decision process behind motives and reasons.

Please try and lay off this approach as it is non- constructive, dismissive and rather patronising. Let people be themselves and express themselves how they wish no matter what ‘side’ they are from and try and assume people are acting in good faith or by definition they would not be here.

348 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Remick (343) Yes FtB is more A+ lite. But there was a post the other day on FtB which basically says all men are women haters by definition. In my opinion it was hate speech. I avoid linking but if anyone wants it I can. That person had no challenge by anyone.

Anyway my answer was in response to a specific question. As I said in that answer and now I do not care what they believe, I just care about their actions. If what they believe influences their actions and those actions may affect me it is still the actions that concern me. The fact that may require countering their belief to do that is coincidental.

349 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

But there was a post the other day on FtB which basically says all men are women haters by definition.

Yes, provide the link. It will be instructive for all reading on how the malice with which you view the “other side” has completely perverted your ability to comprehend arguments or statements.

Anyone want to bet that the person (is it a commenter or a blogger?) didn’t actually say that all men are women haters?

350 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Comment in moderation for you, John C. Welsch, 345.

I’m ashamed I fell for your rope-a-dope, though at least my dopiness comes off as tolerable given the curve that’s been set.

351 Remick March 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

@ doubtthat 138(I think).

Picking up from yesterday. You said…

“What does atheism have to do with anything? It’s just non-belief. It in no way, for example, necessitates a strong adherence to the scientific method.”

What science and the scientific method have to do with it is… well… everything. It’s the whole ball game. Without the scientific method, we may have thrown off belief in one god, but replace it with what? Another god? A different supernatural solution? How exactly would we explain anything that isn’t inherently obvious?

Atheism and the scientific method are entirely connected, one cannot exist without the other. Science makes Atheism possible. It is why we all fight so hard when the religious attempt to block science education.

Parading out examples of Political parties or groups that USE the ceremony and traditions of religion but replace GOD with PARTY is not a useful argument in explaining Atheism. Replacing one supernatural party with another(or a real party that is claimed to have near divine like ability or knowledge) isn’t atheism, it is a small group manipulating a larger group.

352 Jack March 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm
353 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm

What science and the scientific method have to do with it is… well… everything. It’s the whole ball game. Without the scientific method, we may have thrown off belief in one god, but replace it with what? Another god? A different supernatural solution? How exactly would we explain anything that isn’t inherently obvious?

I agree completely.

Atheism and the scientific method are entirely connected, one cannot exist without the other. Science makes Atheism possible. It is why we all fight so hard when the religious attempt to block science education.

I disagree. This is my point, it is not necessarily the case that when religion is marginalized, proper science will take its place. We can see this with the Soviet Union, where they circumscribed the role of science to military advances and little else. We can see this on a much less dramatic scale with atheists in America that believe in alt-med stuff – acupuncture, homeopathy…etc.

That’s why we engage in a two step process: (1) Religion bad, (2) science good. Thinking that (2) will just naturally come about is a mistake. Consider, for example, that Karl Rove is a self-avowed atheist, then consider the amazing scope of anti-science positions he has advocated for.

Parading out examples of Political parties or groups that USE the ceremony and traditions of religion but replace GOD with PARTY is not a useful argument in explaining Atheism. Replacing one supernatural party with another(or a real party that is claimed to have near divine like ability or knowledge) isn’t atheism, it is a small group manipulating a larger group.

I know this is a common refrain in response to religious folks who try and tar all atheists with the Soviets, but it is disingenuous to deny that the Soviet Union had a stated atheist policy. This is not a problem for us, however, because non-belief contains no positive requirements. You and Hitler presumably share a disbelief in the Tooth Fairy, but that literally tells us nothing about any other views either of you hold.

The Soviets replaced religion with something vile — something that very much manipulated and took advantage of religious psychology, as you say, but it was not a belief in a deity.

We want to replace religion with something good, which is the scientific method and Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy. That’s the way to elude the “Atheists are responsible for more deaths…blah blah” argument.

354 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Doubtthat (351)

Replace ‘Man’ with ‘Black’ or ‘Jew’. Now you know why comments such as those I find nasty and pernicious yet it gets not a whisper from anyone there. Is is simply accepted.

355 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm

John C. Welch@345:

Why should we be more generous than you?

Than me in particular?

You wish us to take an action (stop guilt by association and groupminding FTB) that not only is no one on your side willing to even CONSIDER, but the majority of comments on the “core” FTB blogs involved in this are against. They are quite fine with it when they do it. It is only when it is done to them that it becomes a problem.

I don’t want you to take any action you don’t want to take. I’m trying to explain to you that you have a choice. You can take your principled stand that everyone at FtB is WRONG WRONG WRONG about everything and need to recant and apologize. That’s fine. Sometimes people need to stand up for their principles. I’m not claiming you’re right, I’m not claiming you’re wrong. That can only ever be your decision.

Or you can work towards reconciliation. The two actions are mutually exclusive. It is up to you which action you actually take.

For example, the entire meme that everyone on the ‘pit is some kind of by the numbers MRA. That’s inane, and provably so. SOME folks there are MRAs, others aren’t. Why should we extend a gesture to you that not only are you not willing to extend to us, but vigorously argue against? It’s like Lucy is really mad that Charlie Brown won’t try to kick the football anymore.

Again, me? What did I do exactly?

Why do you think the FtB people think you’re all MRA’s? There’s really two questions there:
1. What gave you the impression they think as they do?
2. Why do you think that they think those things?
You don’t need to answer these questions, but as inane as the belief that all ‘pitters are MRAs is, it’s similarly inane to think that all people on FtB believe as they do for absolutely no reason at all. If you don’t want to understand their motivations and how they might be valid then there will be no reconciliation.

As I said, it’s really up to you. I’m not trying to tell you how to feel, just the reality of the situation.

No, I can’t. He hit the wrong person. His reasons for doing so are immaterial. Had he hit smith, I’d understand the reluctance. But he didn’t. He hit someone who had done him no wrong.

Then you would seem to me to lack the empathy requisite to put yourself in another’s position and feel how they feel. In which case you’re probably incapable of understanding the FtB point of view, and thus reconciliation is impossible.

You mean like how everyone who disagreed with what Rebecca pulled on Stef McGraw was slagged as a misogynist?

If you were fairly reading what I wrote you would see that it doesn’t favor either side. It doesn’t claim either side is right or wrong. It’s supposed to be illustrative of the current state of play and why I think reconciliation simply isn’t likely.

Tu quoques aren’t going to get anyone anywhere. “They started it!” isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. You can make your brave moral stand that FtB needs to admit they’re wrong before you’re willing to make any concessions. But they won’t, and reconciliation won’t happen.

If FTB requires unthinking agreement with their worldview, there’s no chance of dialogue, much less reconciliation. Yet you don’t mention their demands.

I don’t think they’re demanding unthinking agreement with their worldview. I think that’s your perception but I don’t think it’s what they think. I don’t know their “demands”. I very much doubt they have any “demands”. You’re trying to make me into “one of them” which is very much the opposite of constructive.

They don’t have to AGREE, but they have to LISTEN and telling use we’re wrong because we don’t agree with them tells me they aren’t listening.

No. They don’t have to listen. There are many reasons why people would not want to have particular conversations with particular people at particular times. You assume that it’s always because they’re engaged in groupthink and don’t want any dissenting voices. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. I think a large part of the problem is people on the ‘pit side trying to force the FtB side to listen to your arguments.

That’s simply not fair play and it’s no doubt a huge part of the reason they have so much against ‘pitters. You guys need to give them space to not listen to you. You need to give them space to have their own discussions without insisting on interjecting your opinions. It’s not always rude to insert yourself into a conversation but it is definitely quite rude to insist on being part of that conversation when the people already having it try to make clear that you’re not welcome.

Given how FTB treats every attempt to communicate with them, they don’t know what we think of specific issues. How can they, they refuse to allow us to speak in their room, and won’t come into any room we’re allowed to speak in.

Do you think there might be a reason for why they don’t want to listen to you?

Also, why should I find their feelings valid when they’ve said repeatedly my feelings don’t count?

I have a feeling they won’t recognize the validity of your feelings because you’ve tried to insist they’re wrong about having the feelings they have. Eye for an eye makes the world blind, wise man once said.

356 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm

@Jack 348

…I…so difficult to follow Nugent’s request.

Here’s what you said about that post:

But there was a post the other day on FtB which basically says all men are women haters by definition.

No, that’s not remotely what that says. Not even close. If you were in an intro to philosophy class or some high school rhetoric course, you would get a very bad grade. You, either intentionally or through incompetence, have comically misrepresented that post.

“Anti-woman” in the context of that post does not in any way mean, “woman-hater.” It’s a definitional argument about what duties and characteristics are described as “masculine” and how they come to be thought of as such.

I leave it to the folks reading to determine how goddamn obvious this is.

357 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm

@354 Jack

You could easily substitute those words and have a cogent, historical argument.

What is the societal definition of “blackness,” how does it come to be created, and how does it circumscribe action?

The same thing could be said of any group. There is no “hatred” involved in analyzing societally created roles.

Your analysis is embarrassing.

358 Remick March 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm

@ Dan L.

You said….

“If you’re going to refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of others in the ‘pit community then it is simply not reasonable to hold everyone in the FtB community responsible for the actions of everyone else in that community.”

Why do I have to claim anything? You can look through all of my posts on the pit and elsewhere. I personally don’t comment on much. I also don’t moderate the forum.

I don’t hold the FtB community responsible for anything. I hold comments that are not moderated(after some time) in a heavily moderated blog as having the implicit approval of the blog owner. As they constantly remove posts that they disapprove of. If you Dan, post at FtB, why would I hold you responsible for something Nerd of Redhead says? Unless you specifically comment on something they say and note your approval, why would I think you approve of it?

Now, if it is posted on say Ophelia Benson’s blog, where she routinely removes posts she finds unacceptable(which is her right), why shouldn’t I assume that things stated on her blog that remain there are not similar to her own positions or at least acceptable? If she felt it was out of line, offensive, or hatred, she would remove it, correct?

The problem, Dan, is that many people hold that anyone from the slymepit is responsible for everything on the slymepit. Despite there being one, and only one moderator, who has set the policy that everything goes, unless it would result in legal action, at which point it is removed. Everyone is responsible for what they say. I can’t moderate anyone there, no matter what. I went there because of the lack of moderation, I stayed because people actually read what you say and take you at that. Rather than trying to figure out what you mean(without asking you), and passing judgement based on that, rather than just fucking talking to me if there is any confusion or miscommunication.

I don’t need to specifically call people out for using the word “cunt”, I never use it. It should be pretty obvious that if I personally don’t use a word, despite its frequency on the forum, I don’t approve of it.

What I don’t do, is tell people what a word means in their culture. I understand that some words have a vastly different meaning and are used much differently in other countries and I don’t personally project my common understanding of the word onto others who use it when I KNOW it doesn’t mean the same to them. Do I wish some of the brits would lay off it a bit, especially when engaging with someone they know is american? Sure. But you know what, none of them have ever asked “Hey, I know that the word ‘cunt’ means something else over there, but it just really bothers me, could you not use it here?” No. Rather, it is “OMG you just said ‘cunt’, you are a misogynist.”

Immediate labeling as an enemy. Plus some demand of a recant or apology. Intent isn’t magic after all. I get that. But, don’t you think that it would go better if 1) The people saying it would use it less, particularly when dealing with people they know it bothers, and 2) People who are bothered with it would accept that the way they use and understand the word is not how the entire world does, and not assume that the person who used it hates women and needs to be banned/drummed out of the movement/labeled an enemy?

I think it would.

359 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Doubtthat (352) I agree with what you say there. Atheism in itself says nothing about any other beliefs except a belief in god. While Scientific Naturalism is used to promote the concepts of skepticism and hopefully lead to atheism people still get to atheism by many routes.

That is why I see atheism as Anti_theism and the seperation of church and state. Anti-Theism would include, amongst other things, support for people leaving religion and fighting religious bigotry, racism and sexism. I see no purpose for it to be attached to a particular political or social belief beyond the normal human right issues. I also have no issue in looking out for and dealing with such human rights issues within the ranks. I just do not want it politicised or subject to one set of beliefs forced on others.

That is where most of us differ.

360 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Jack@346:

If you really think my basic summary of FtB (parts of it as clearly said many times)/A+/’Skeptchic is incorrect then you better tell them as I am sure that will be news they would love to discuss with you. Go to A+ and ask them what Patriarchy is. There are numerous posts here providing evidence of what they believe (and the fact it is not a simple generic answer) and you have so far refused to take that evidence into consideration. That is your choice but please do not expect people to keep indulging you. Go look for yourself.

In other words, you’re making a brave moral stand. You’re not willing to make any concessions to anyone else’s point of view. I already know this about you. It’s become quite clear from my conversations with you.

That’s fine. It’s your prerogative. But it won’t result in any kind of reconciliation.

Finally I feel your approach is non-constructive and I will say why. You repeat time and again you think there is no way forward.

I say that because I honestly believe it — based entirely on the attitudes I see here and my pre-existing knowledge of the attitudes at FtB.

You then try lay the blame on someone simply because you do not like them or think they have no right to discuss in a manner they see fit within the framework Michael has provided.

Please produce the comments which demonstrate this. While it’s true that I don’t like you my dislike for you doesn’t make me think or say that you have no right to discuss the issue.

And please…”blame”? That’s purely you’re distorted, partisan, subjective view of my intentions. I’m telling you the facts: you can make your brave moral stand or you can work towards reconciliation. You can have your cake and eat it.

Throughout this conversation I’ve been happy to concede that FtB is in many respects in the wrong. My first question was whether you guys could admit that anyone on your side is in the wrong. The answer was “no”. My next question was whether anyone on your side was willing to make the extra effort to understand why FtB thinks the way they do and why they don’t want to reconcile. The answer was “no”.

You assume knowledge of someone you have no chance of knowing. You assume they have not already thought things through and are incapable of their own rational decision process behind motives and reasons.

I don’t think I have. I think I’ve tried to suggest that you may be wrong about what you believe to be their motivations. Or, if you’re not exactly wrong, then you’re stating them in such a way so that no one at FtB would recognize those as their motivations. If you insist on assuming bad motivations then the people you’re making assumptions about aren’t going to want to talk to you.

Maybe you’re right about those motivations on some level, maybe I’m wrong that there’s another way to look at things. But based on your attitude there really is no way forward. I’m not saying it’s your “fault”, I’m just saying it’s the facts of the matter.

As for evidence, they don’t want to talk to you. They said they don’t want to talk to you. It’s fairly obvious they don’t want to talk to you. Not sure why I would need to provide the least bit of evidence that given the current state of affairs they simply will not talk to you.

Please try and lay off this approach as it is non- constructive, dismissive and rather patronising.

I think the same way about your approach. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.

Let people be themselves and express themselves how they wish no matter what ‘side’ they are from and try and assume people are acting in good faith or by definition they would not be here.

How have I in any way or capacity prevented you from expressing yourself? How have I done this to anyone else?

I did assume for the last two days that you guys are acting in good faith. That you’ve managed to convince me otherwise is not my fault.

361 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Doubtthat (352) If you are trying to understand where I come from you need to appreciate why I find some posts at FtB et al deeply offensive. It is the sort of nonsense logic that lead to Programs in the past. You think it is simply social commentary, I consider this sort of things offensive and feeds to the gullible.

It also completely fails at logic by the way but that is not my point.

I find the word ‘white’ as a derogatory term offensive. It is used all the time.

It is this sort of casual racism and sexism I find disturbing.

362 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I see no purpose for it to be attached to a particular political or social belief beyond the normal human right issues.

The purpose is simply that social justice is important. You can disagree with me on which issues should be emphasized, that’s fine, we just become political opponents, but you cannot say this:

I just do not want it politicised or subject to one set of beliefs forced on others.

That’s exactly what you’re doing when you advance scientific naturalism. This doesn’t seem like a radical activity because (1) everyone here more or less agrees with that approach and (2) there isn’t a large contingent of atheist anti-science groups – at least those that market themselves explicitly as such. There are groups that are atheist and also alt-med weirdos, as I said before.

363 Remick March 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

@ doubthat 352.

Then why not replace religion with secular humanism? Why feminism? How is Feminism a better replacement than secular humanism?

The soviets (and others) went to atheist platforms for one thing. Control.
The church was one of the biggest obstacles to this control, so it had to be removed. It had nothing to do with truth. So why is that relevant here, unless you think there are some evil atheists set on world domination?

364 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm

@Jack 361

Look, you said that this post was a clear indication that someone at FtB thinks all men are women-haters. You linked to a post that in no way said that.

If you’re offended by something else, fine, let’s talk about that, but you have to see that you were just completely wrong about the content of that comment.

365 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Remick@357:

Why do I have to claim anything? You can look through all of my posts on the pit and elsewhere. I personally don’t comment on much. I also don’t moderate the forum.

What is it you think I’m requesting or asking or demanding you to “claim”?

But you know what, none of them have ever asked “Hey, I know that the word ‘cunt’ means something else over there, but it just really bothers me, could you not use it here?” No. Rather, it is “OMG you just said ‘cunt’, you are a misogynist.”

I think you’re wrong about this. I think there were many temperate requests to tone down the language and much insistence that no, there would be no such concessions because free speech. I’m not saying you’re the one responsible for such behavior, but if you can’t recognize that there may be reasons why the ‘pit has come to be associated with such behavior in the minds of some then I just don’t think you’ll be able to find common ground with FtB.

But, don’t you think that it would go better if 1) The people saying it would use it less, particularly when dealing with people they know it bothers, and 2) People who are bothered with it would accept that the way they use and understand the word is not how the entire world does, and not assume that the person who used it hates women and needs to be banned/drummed out of the movement/labeled an enemy?

I think it would.

I do, but in holding everyone at FtB responsible for (2), you are no better than they are for holding everyone at the ‘pit responsible for (1). By not recognizing that some people at the ‘pit do not obey (1), you are rationalizing your focus on FtB’s problem with sticking to (2).

366 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Yes, let’s look at this allegedly man-hating post.

One of the more pernicious effects of the patriarchy and rape culture is the definition of male and masculine = neither female nor feminine.

That is, what it is to be “male” and “masculine” (and “a man,” and all the other associated terms) are defined in the negative, by what they are not.

This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.

Inherently.

It also sets up the process whereby something is claimed by women (access to something, right to have a particular habit or practice, clothing styles, etc) and men are allowed only what is “left over.” Because once something has been claimed by women, it is tainted with womanliness, and therefore unfit for men. So men are left with the “correct” options of either (1) surrendering and retreating from whatever-it-is, or (2) defending it against female encroachment. Sharing – if it happens at all – is grudging, and subtypes of the “men and women both can X, but men Xa while women Xb, and na’er the twain shall meet” quickly form and are swiftly codified.

Obviously, this is not a comment on men qua men, but on a certain construction of masculinity and what it means to be a man. It’s not saying that all men are women-haters, but that trying to “be a man” in the way prescribed by what she, and I, would call patriarchal gender roles, actually requires at least some degree of contempt for women just for being women. She is making the assumption that her readers share certain understandings: namely, that not all men attempt to live up to these standards, that some men attempt because of social pressure and not out of a desire to hurt women, and that it’s completely possible, and desirable, to construct new standards of masculinity that don’t require misogyny to perform successfully.

Characterizing Esteleth’s post as one slagging of men in general just for being men is, well. It’s one of those times when you have to ask, “Lying? Or stupid?” Because there’s really no other reasonable explanation. (Disclaimer: if you have a more reasonable explanation for such an egregious misinterpretation, have at it. I’m open to being wrong.)

It’s precisely because of misunderstandings/deliberate lies like this one that people get banned; only when people making such elementary mistakes/deliberate falsehoods are excluded from the conversation can we move past Patriarchy 101 and start talking about more complex subjects, like how religious privilege intersects with male privilege, why women tend to be more religious, and how the A/S movement can leverage its critique of religion and religious values to make the world a more equal place.

367 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm

doubtthat (364)

You read the bit where it says ‘Anti-women’ yes? I read that as woman hater, sorry. You know the rules, I am allowed to do that. Your rules, not mine. It is the same as being called a Misogynist.

I really do not know how some people can’t see how deeply their words are offensive to others which they throw around with abandon.

So when I get bleeding heart stories about how horrible the Slympit is excuse me if I take that with a pinch of salt.

Oh and so you know I live in one of the most racially diverse areas in the world and have done for many many years. Yet the ONLY time I have ever been called a racist is by the SJW’s. If they pulled that trick where I live it wont be the whites annoyed with them it will be the non whites.

368 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Jack March 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I never once said feminism is incompatible with A/S. I made the opposite points many times.

You haven’t. Others have. If you’ve missed it maybe you’re the one not paying enough attention. (see the conversation between Submariner and Doubthat earlier in this very thread for example…or slymepitter Richard Reed’s blog for a more explicit example.)

I do not want anyone excluded because of their social or political beliefs.

I do. I want to keep out the kinds of people I mentioned above; the racists, the actual misogynists like the AVfM clowns, Holocaust deniers, creationists…I don’t think such woo peddlers have a place in the A/S community. We’re supposed to be about resisting that kind of irrational nonsense, aren’t we?

We can’t move on with this if everyone assumes motives and beliefs on others which are simply not there.

On the other hand we can’t move on if some people keep denying the existence of certain motives, beliefs and behaviours.

Please note, I’m not accusing you personally of holding such beliefs or motives. But let’s please not pretend they aren’t out there…

369 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

You read the bit where it says ‘Anti-women’ yes? I read that as woman hater, sorry.

Although I’m skeptical that you’re actually sorry, it’s good that you’re apologizing, because that is a completely wrong interpretation of what Esteleth wrote. “This particular construction of masculinity requires being anti-woman” is, in point of actual, observable, incontrovertible fact, a very different statement from “All men hate women.”

370 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm

doubtthat (362)

Where I live (London) Atheists, Secularists, Humanists, Skeptics etc have loose associations. So to say Atheism does not have a lot of important roles to play is not really valid in opinion. Far from it. We still have a considerable issue with Religion all over the world and the separation of Church and state. On top of that you get stuff such as libel laws being changed.

There’s plenty to do. Maybe things are arranged differently in your area or I misread the meaning behind your post.

371 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Sallystange (369)

Yes I’m anti-Woman. Thanks for telling me what I am from a deeply flawed logical construct (check out the base logical fallacy non-sequitur)

Also thanks for popping by I do hope you stay.

372 Michael Nugent March 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

As an update on the process, I hope that we can start a formal dialogue on the first agenda item next week, with a structure for guiding the dialogue to ensure that the main viewpoints are represented and that everyone who wants to contribute to making it work can do so.

373 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm

A Hermit (368)

Leaving out certain people goes without saying and I agree. I am talking about people in dispute here.

374 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Yes I’m anti-Woman. Thanks for telling me what I am from a deeply flawed logical construct (check out the base logical fallacy non-sequitur)

This is another example of you reinterpreting someone else’s statement in a way that is so wrong that the most plausible explanations for your error are rank stupidity or willful deception. Because I said nothing about whether you hate women or not. I merely pointed out that you’re objectively wrong in your interpretation of Esteleth’s post.

If you think there is a non-sequitur in Esteleth’s post, or other logical fallacies, then it is up to you to identify them and explain why they are logical fallacies.

Do you agree that the following is true? “This particular construction of masculinity requires being anti-woman” is, in point of fact, a very different statement from “All men hate women.”

375 Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

SallyStrange

Sorry I misspelt you name earlier (I am not being sarcastic I find it irritating too which is why I use a short one)

376 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

To be honest, your willful misrepresentation of what both I and Esteleth says bothers me far more than any misspellings of my name possible could.

377 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm

says–>said

378 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

@367 Jack

You read the bit where it says ‘Anti-women’ yes? I read that as woman hater, sorry.

Yes, I know that’s how you read, it’s comically, childishly incorrect.

The statement is merely that once a certain behavior has been defined as “feminine,” like sewing or knitting, then society constrains masculinity such that people look down on men wanting to knit or sew. Masculinity, then, is defined by actions that are anti-woman, not partaking of “feminine” activities.

This is obvious. This is a trivial issue, the meaning was clear in the writing. You have read it incorrectly and formed a malicious opinion based on your hilarious wrong understanding of the topic.

I am forced to wonder what percentage of your thinking is based on similarly misguided comprehensions.

379 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm

@370 Jack

And on cue, we have another weird idea based on a juvenile misreading of someone’s point:

So to say Atheism does not have a lot of important roles to play is not really valid in opinion.

Did I say it wasn’t important? Nope, nowhere. I did say that simply disbelieving in a supernatural god is not SUFFICIENT to attain positive goals like establishing scientific reasoning and Enlightenment philosophy as the guiding ethos.

There’s plenty to do. Maybe things are arranged differently in your area or I misread the meaning behind your post.

That’d be it.

380 Jack March 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm

SallyStrange (374)

Where does it say ‘that particular’ construct is not applicable to all men? Where is the qualifier. How do I know it is not supposed to be aimed at me?

As to the fallacy:

‘This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

It breaks down to ‘If ‘a man’ one must be ‘ANTI_WOMAN” is a complete non-sequitur based on assertion. There is no causal link except by using tenuous social constructs. I can play that trick proving people are adults or children therefore adults are anti-children.

Of course If you buy into and convinced yourself of the underlying social constructs you will see no issue with it. However I have not bought into it therefore I do see issues therefore it is offensive.

This is the danger of trying to mix social science with hard science.

381 oolon March 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm

@Sally, “Lying? Or stupid?” … I vote stupid given he gave me the most bizarre response to a comment I’ve had in a while totally misunderstanding nearly all of it. Seems to be a MRA desperate to interpret anything one of his imagined straw-feminists says as anti-male then claim he is “deeply offended” by his own delusion.

382 Remick March 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm

@ Dan

You seemed to be asking me to defend/condemn certain usage on the slymepit forum. Apologies if I misread.

I also don’t really know how things started. By the time I found either site, things were already pretty contentious. I am basing my opinion on how I see these things happen now.

I don’t hold EVERYONE at FtB responsible for anything. If I am generalizing a side, it is specifically to save time. I also use Pit in the same way to save time.

I do hope you understand and agree with my comments regarding heavily moderated blogs and implicit approval of sentiment and claims that are left on, versus a completely un-moderated space. Though I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt that they missed a comment or two(if they are the moderator on a heavily moderated blog.) until something is called out or brought up. Then if they don’t remove it they are directly stating it is ok.

383 Jack March 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Bah I’m in moderation, I think that is a hint I’m posting too much:) I blame doubtthat totally. Or maybe my cat, haven’t decided.

384 Michael Nugent March 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Jack, it’s just the software being temperamental.

385 Jack March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

It’s Ok Michael I was joking. Thanks:)

386 Michael Nugent March 21, 2013 at 6:18 pm

#381 oolon, that comment contributes nothing except personal abuse to the discussion. Can you please try to contribute in the spirit of what we are trying to achieve here?

387 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Remick@380:

I do hope you understand and agree with my comments regarding heavily moderated blogs and implicit approval of sentiment and claims that are left on, versus a completely un-moderated space. Though I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt that they missed a comment or two(if they are the moderator on a heavily moderated blog.) until something is called out or brought up. Then if they don’t remove it they are directly stating it is ok.

I’m conflicted. While I do see your point I think there is another side to it. In the next paragraph I’m going to use PZ and Pharyngula as an example and I’m going to attribute motivations that aren’t necessarily in place just to make an example of what I mean. Please don’t take this as an argument defending PZ or his moderation policy, just as an attempt to explain why PZ might have a different view of his moderation than you do.

Pharyngula was essentially completely unmoderated for a very long time. At some point PZ realized a lot of people were streaming in just to stir shit, especially regarding feminism and social justice issues. If you do a little bit of research on online communities you’ll probably find that this sort of thing can completely tear an online community apart. Trolls can make an environment so hostile that no one shows up to discuss anything any more.

PZ doesn’t want to moderate the people who’ve been coming to the blog for years now to engage in good faith with the opinions of others but at the same time he wants to stop this threat to the community there. And so he overlooks some bad behavior on the part of regulars (which is consistent with the previous unmoderated policy) and focuses especially on the external threat.

Any decision process, especially ones based on human vigilance, is susceptible to false positives and false negatives. And since many of these people are trolls and likely trying to disguise their identities for that purpose, PZ has to rely on pattern detection to make these decisions.

If he sees people adopting the same rhetoric and positions as the trolls, even if they’re making legitimate points at some level he is subject to making false positives.

I’m not saying PZ’s in the right here, just trying to find an explanation that would make sense from the opposing point of view. I don’t think you’re going to make any impression on PZ merely by insisting he’s being unfair. I think you’d have to try to understand his reasons and structure any further approaches accordingly.

388 tina March 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Can’t keep up. In no particular order….

1. Trust takes time. Don’t push this process too fast.

2. Look for empirical evidence that it’s working….eg….since the outset have personal attacks or abuse (either side) lessened….check the language or targetting of individuals.

3. Is there clarity over terms, if not, get some.

4. Cook dinner.

Eu: I admire your teenage passion and you’re going to be a formidable debater if this is wot you’re like already. Just slow down a little please.

(Eu can tell me to eff off now) cheers

389 Jack March 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm

oolon (381)

You may well be right, maybe I am stupid. You are also right I am not particularly offended, I’ve said that before. But you do not know if I would be thick skinned and immunised by now. I don’t have a job to lose and I have had to remain anonymous which I hate.

Anyway this is a problem when a social construct is presented as fact (within Scientific terms, not absolute)

Many people may not have had the time or inclination to spend endless hours looking at and analysing the data. We all have our own focuses on life and we all can’t be social scientists. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the subject I can’t use a valid appeal to authority because it is so subjective and open to interpretation.

So SallyStrange et al may well be spot on. I do not think so but I may well be too dumb to know.

However as I have said before many times I really do not care what people believe for their social views (subject to the usual social norms or sexism etc) I only care about how they express those beliefs and affect others. That is the issue for me.

Now both ‘sides’ have genuine grievances. So I see no harm in first airing those, which has been done and is being done, before seeing where we can find common ground.

390 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Many people may not have had the time or inclination to spend endless hours looking at and analysing the data.

This is really hilarious considering how many times Jack’s insisted that to participate in this conversation I need to read through hundreds of comments on the last two weeks’ worth of blog posts and demanded evidence for rather uncontroversial assertions.

391 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Where does it say ‘that particular’ construct is not applicable to all men? Where is the qualifier. How do I know it is not supposed to be aimed at me?

As to the fallacy:

‘This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

It breaks down to ‘If ‘a man’ one must be ‘ANTI_WOMAN” is a complete non-sequitur based on assertion. There is no causal link except by using tenuous social constructs. I can play that trick proving people are adults or children therefore adults are anti-children.

Of course If you buy into and convinced yourself of the underlying social constructs you will see no issue with it. However I have not bought into it therefore I do see issues therefore it is offensive.

This is the danger of trying to mix social science with hard science.

Regardless of whether you agree with the “social constructs”, it is still inaccurate to say that “This particular construction of masculinity requires hatred of women” means the same thing as “All men hate women.

Do you agree or disagree that those two statements, the ones I italicized in the previous paragraph, have very different meanings?

392 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Shoot, I really messed up the blockquotes there. The last two paragraphs are mine. The rest is quoting Jack.

393 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

@380 Jack

Good lord, man, what are you doing?

I can play that trick proving people are adults or children therefore adults are anti-children.

Yes, you could, and you’d have a point. Surely everyone can recall when activities they enjoyed as a child suddenly became verboten. That’s because a large part of adolescent and adult behavior is defined by moving away from activities considered to be “childish.”

Notice that a large cultural shift has occurred on this topic over time, and now comic books, collectables, fantasy/sci-fi things, the enjoyment of which by adults used to lead to marginalization and mocking are now very popular.

In that context, saying adulthood and adolescence are defined as anti-child, would be basically the same point. How ridiculous would it be to describe that as “child-hatred?”

Where does it say ‘that particular’ construct is not applicable to all men? Where is the qualifier. How do I know it is not supposed to be aimed at me?

The defensiveness is overwhelming.

Look, if you were to say that the culture in the South in the 1950’s was marked by a white power structure constraining and oppressing black citizens, would that mean that every white person in the South was a racist?

Obviously not.

394 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm

@363 Remick

Then why not replace religion with secular humanism? Why feminism? How is Feminism a better replacement than secular humanism?

Because just like you think that scientific naturalism is important (I agree), I think that feminism is important.

Secular humanism and feminism are perfectly compatible, by the way.

The soviets (and others) went to atheist platforms for one thing. Control. The church was one of the biggest obstacles to this control, so it had to be removed. It had nothing to do with truth. So why is that relevant here, unless you think there are some evil atheists set on world domination?

It’s relevant because we have a model for overthrowing religion and failing to replace it with something positive. This is meant to counteract the notion that “all we need to do” is argue against religion. We need to do more than that, namely have a set of positive positions to fill the void.

395 oolon March 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm

@Michael, I’d say my interpretation is the most charitable between lying and stupidity. We are all stupid at times, I think being a liar is considerably worse.

@Jack, Sally and doubtthat did a great take down of your ridiculous misinterpretation of Esteleths comment. You mis-represented her points after every reply. I think its being very generous in saying stupidity as you carry on mixing up the concept of toxic masculinity with “men” … Or specifically you as a man, in order to make some assertion that comment was anti-men in general.

If you stumble onto a comment about quantum mechanics in a Physics forum that seems to be proposing torture of cats you really shouldn’t double down when its explained you are mistaken. Just sayin’

396 Jack March 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm

doubtthat (392)

I was showing the logical construct, the content did not matter. I could have said ‘head or tails and heads is anti-tail’ Any binary group will work.

397 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Jack@394:

You seem to be ignoring doubtthat’s point.

398 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm

@394 Jack

…which is why the point was not one of “hatred,” but an observation of a social construct. In this context, anti-woman does not mean hatred of women any more than anti-child means hatred of children. It’s about defining one construct as a rejection of another.

This is not necessarily always the case.

You misread the initial point and are for some odd reason continuing to belabor this obvious mistake.

399 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm

doubtthat (393)

OK to get brevity I am taking a lot of short cuts:

Feminism depends on equality AT LEAST.

If we accept moral subjectivity we go to ethics to decide what is right and wrong (books can be written on that but whatever)

Ethics (and many moral subjectivist arguments) suggests equality is demonstrably beneficial to a group as was whole. This claim can be tested using scientific method and therefore sufficient to pass the test of empiricism and skepticism.

Therefore I totally agree equality is a base line we should all look for no matter what our interests.

Here is the rub:

There are many types of Feminism making competing claims. Which one do we pick? How do we decide which one is right? How do we test that?

Well I see no reason why we should pick any, we have our equality concepts (as Humanism does) and if people wish to go further then fine. I see no reason for that to affect us and make us or fall out over it.

I see no reason for anyone from any side to call the other morally bankrupt by the use of various words and comments when it is inappropriate to do so purely because a certain social philosphy was chosen.

We are all arguing with the wrong people. We should be grouping together in attacking the actual misogynists and racist out there. There’s a whole load of them.

400 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm

doubtthat (396)

I know it is a social construct. One that is intended to be considered seriously by the reader. Now how I take that is how I feel and I own that not you. I have not made an error in fact in what was said but I accept a difference in interpretation which I recognised in my earlier post to SallyStrange.

It is a good example where offence can easily be taken where none was intended. That is as charitable as I can get with it.

401 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm

SallyStrange (391)

I can’t see the post you are referring to, it may be in moderation. I am not avoiding it intentionally.

402 Michael Nugent March 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm

#392 Sally, I’ve fixed your blockquotes in comment #391.

403 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm

SallayStrange (391)

Lets look at the extract:

‘One of the more pernicious effects of the patriarchy and rape culture is the definition of male and masculine = neither female nor feminine.

‘That is, what it is to be “male” and “masculine” (and “a man,” and all the other associated terms) are defined in the negative, by what they are not.

This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

There is nowhere stated that this is a PARTICULAR construct. Even if it is why is it acceptable to you as a concept at all?

A reader will assume this applies to all men (it does) and that it is the writers opinion (I agree it may not be)

Now it is unreasonable to expect someone reading that to assume it is all just an idea someone thought up over a pint of beer. They will assume some of you will believe this and they will get a negative emotional reaction from that.

Now I do NOT usually link what people write, it is not something I care to do. I prefer looking at common issues and ways to accommodate a diversity of ideas. I brought this up as I was asked to support something I said. I stand by what I said.

I understand why you think I am wrong (I misrepresent the context of it. Maybe I did as this sort of thing triggers me) but in any event it is a very good example where people are being misunderstood here.

So we need a way to move past that, respect people’s social beliefs and get back to bashing the theists.

404 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 7:27 pm

I have not made an error

NEVER BACK DOWN, NEVER SURRENDER!!

/Galaxy Quest

405 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm

@403 Jack

Set aside your complete inability to distinguish between individuals and social trends (again, do you not understand that the South could have had racist policies without every single white person in the South being a racist?), that gibberish in no way justifies your description of that point as “all men hate women.”

I get that you think admitting you screwed up will lose you cool points on the internet, but you’ve been wrong from the beginning, and your every response has just made you look more ridiculous.

406 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm

doubtthat (404)

Hey two can do the quote thing. You can accuse me of ‘doubling down’ or as I prefer:

‘Because that was such a stupid thing to say I just had to say it twice’ Kryten, Red Dwarf.

407 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Jack March 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Leaving out certain people goes without saying and I agree. I am talking about people in dispute here.

I’m not sure it does “go without saying”… If we say we should exclude people like racists we have to be able to talk about why we should exclude them. And if we want to build a more inclusive community with better representation of women or other under-represented demographics we have to talk about that too. Which is what the feminists and social justice activists so reviled by the Slymepit faction want to do.

On the other hand if we’re happy with the old boy’s club we’ll fight tooth and nail against change…and slowly wither away.

408 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

doubtthat (405)

If you are saying a group is not all of that group then that should be made very clear when presenting a logical construct or it risks failure.

We are not talking about generalities here. If she wanted to mean part of a group it would have said ‘some men’. It did not. Therefore I am right in assuming she means all men.

409 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Oh, I forgot Jack, I wanted to repeat my question asked earlier; what contribution is the Slymepit making to the A/S cause apart from complaining about other people? What positive actions toward growing this community are they taking? What value are we getting from their supposed inclusiveness?

410 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

A Hermit (407)

That is the discussion that needs to be had, yes. The first job is to understand where the other side is coming from and not assume beliefs on those who simply do not have them. That is proving next to impossible mainly for historical reasons.

It will come down to definitions which will naturally vary. If people do no accept variety then were back to square one.

I personally hate no one. I don’t even dislike anyone for more than a few hours at most. It’s easy for me to talk as I have a thick skin.

Unfortunately for some it has become next to impossible. People have been deeply hurt by this and it needs to stop. It will only stop if we get together and try and find a way through. It wont go away by ignoring it.

411 Jack March 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm
412 Remick March 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

@doubtthat

I am not saying that Feminism isn’t important, only that it isn’t linked in the same way to Atheism as the scientific method is. As I stated before, Feminism has a lot to gain from Atheism, but Atheism is not affected by Feminism, so why should Feminist causes and issues be argued under the banner of Atheism?

The goal of an atheist movement isn’t to replace Religion, it is to strip it away. Religion doesn’t need to be replaced. And if it is to be replaced, the goal of an atheist movement would be to remove supernatural influence and woo from the discussion as to what would replace it. If you want to replace Religion with Feminism, I think that does some disservice as to what Feminism is. But further, why not let us focus on knocking it down, and you focus on building your thing up.

There is no reason that an Atheist movement needs to prop anything as a replacement, and in fact, it detracts from its actual purpose, as the focus can be shifted from why religion is bad to why its replacement is bad.

Why can’t you be part of the/a atheist movement and the/a feminist movement. Why does the Atheist movement have to become a feminist movement?

An Atheist movement should(at least in my opinion) be focused on protecting science education, supporting the seperation of church and state, and helping people understand why they don’t need religion any more and show them the harm it has caused. Feminism can help with that last part, but it is only part of one part. It shouldn’t dominate the discussion, or be a requirement for being a part of the atheist movement.

413 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Michael, I find it interesting that you critique oolon for his post, but let it slide when someone posts “they can get ran the fuck over for all I care. I’m not fucking kidding”.

414 Eu March 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm

magicthighs, what can Michael say to me?

“How dare you not care what happens to them!” Adding a specific scenario was to place emphasis about how much I truly do not, no, Cannot care. Do you have a problem with that or something? Would you be complaining if someone said that about standard (standard meaning most criticized) racists from Stormfront?

I hope you aren’t twisting that into a threat, if that’s what this is about.

Here’s a post to help you understand my position and my not-caring. http://slymepitintrom.blogspot.com/2013/03/long-statement-of-hate.html

415 Eu March 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Me attempting to would be as much of an impossible waste of time as trying to learn to like freezing cold temperatures or pain or something. It’s just automatic. I didn’t set out for that. I didn’t push myself into it. All I know is that I’d feel a lack of sympathy for their deaths and I can’t do anything about that.

416 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Go and ask them.

I was asking you since you were the one who said “I’ve always argued that we need to be as inclusive as possible as that gives obvious benefits. That’s why the Slympit is such an open forums…”

I was wondering what benefits exactly you see coming from that particular place since it was your own example of an inclusive environment…

417 Eu March 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

A Hermit, I don’t understand. Are you saying that it doesn’t make sense, or are you detecting irony in how someone called the slymepit an inclusive community and yet goes there?

because every observation you’ve made above makes complete sense.

418 Jack March 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm

A Hermit (416)

You have been posting here since the start so you must have seen the numerous replies answering that question. If they do not satisfy you ask them yourself.

419 A Hermit March 21, 2013 at 9:21 pm

You have been posting here since the start so you must have seen the numerous replies answering that question. If they do not satisfy you ask them yourself.

Actually I haven’t been here since the start, although I’ve skimmed through the comments and I don’t think that exact question has been asked, but in any case I’m asking you for your opinion, since you were the one using them as an example. You’re the one I’m having this conversation with at the moment.

420 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

@408 Jack

If you are saying a group is not all of that group then that should be made very clear when presenting a logical construct or it risks failure.

It’s not a group, it’s a social dynamic. “Segregation” is not a group of people. “Masculinity” is not a group of people. “Adulthood” is not a group of people.

Saying that “masculinity” is defined by “anti-femininity” is discussing social dynamics, not specific groups of people.

This is such a strange discussion. “How dare you not specify that I’m not segregation!!” It’s incoherent.

421 Jack March 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

A Hermit (419)

If you want the more substantive replies from several others you can look for them. In summary:

An open forum means very little moderation or risk of banning. This allows diverse views to be aired without censure. It is not a safe space where a belief is assumed before joining (such as A+ and parts of FtB are) and therefore all beliefs are on the table and can be subject to skeptical analyses.

Therefore it is more inclusive and open.

It’s kinda Forum 101 stuff. The more censorship you have the tighter the group will be round a common belief. The more focused that belief the less people from a group as a whole will identify with that group. PMZ posted today about the required knowledge of Feminism 101 ( his definition not everyone’s) and mentioned a sidebar he has for that, the same as A+.

That is less inclusive and open.

422 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Jack is consistently misinterpreting a statement made by a “gender feminist” despite a great deal of time and energy spent trying to explain it to him?

Color me surprised.

423 Jack March 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

doubtthat (420)

Give it up your clutching at straws. You’re comparing apples to oranges again.

Man is an inclusive group. It consists of all men. Stop conflating it with other irrelevant words like ‘segregation’ That’s as useful as you saying it is not a tree.

‘If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

I have already said if they wanted to make it a generalisation on which some ‘men’ are excluded from the word ‘men’ they should have said, they did not. It is not valid to assume a reader would know to make any exceptions either it is a logical construct and requires precision.

It is nothing to do with the south being racist but not all are racist in the south. The first is a generalised geographical term the second a state of mind.

So all your comparisons are invalid as I have said already.

I’m not repeating myself again so if you can’t accept that so be it.

424 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm

SO SURPRISING

425 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

‘If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

You see that first word at the beginning of that sentence? The word “IF”? Do you understand that it transforms the sentence into a conditional statement that, to most reasonable readers, means that being a man means being anti-woman IF AND ONLY IF one agrees that manhood is mutually exclusive with womanhood. Among the other qualifiers Esteleth uses in describing one particular way in which “manhood” is socially constructed.

That’s the qualification. It’s right there.

426 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm

And, let me repeat: this is exactly the sort of conversation I would like NOT to have; it’s pretty clear that Jack is not arguing in good faith and is using motivated reasoning in order to completely misinterpret a statement by a feminist, and in the process attaching a well-known anti-feminist trope, that feminists hate men, to Esteleth’s statement. It’s a really clear example of malicious fabrication in the service of anti-feminist propaganda, and that’s precisely why these conversations come to an end without any fruitful conclusion. If people who have what they consider to be reasonable objections to feminism want to discuss those objections with feminists and feminist allies, they have to first demonstrate that they can operate at a higher level of integrity and accuracy than Jack is currently demonstrating.

427 SallyStrange March 21, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Sorry, I’m reading backwards a little bit – this jumped out at me.

‘One of the more pernicious effects of the patriarchy and rape culture is the definition of male and masculine = neither female nor feminine.

‘That is, what it is to be “male” and “masculine” (and “a man,” and all the other associated terms) are defined in the negative, by what they are not.

This, inherently, sets up opposition between the very concepts of “masculine” and “feminine.” If to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN.’

There is nowhere stated that this is a PARTICULAR construct. Even if it is why is it acceptable to you as a concept at all?

Actually, it says, right at the beginning, that this is a construct particular to patriarchy and rape culture.

428 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Magicthights: where was that? Neither Michael’s blogsearch or a google search return anything for this quote.

429 Jack March 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

SallyStrange (426)

If you are here to smear me then go ahead. I have no wish to continue further on that basis.

430 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Jack said: “Only one side is talking about exclusion. I’ve always argued that we need to be as inclusive as possible as that gives obvious benefits. That’s why the Slympit is such an open forums (with all the bad side effects that can bring)”

There could be a hidden premise here. That allowing anything to be said on a forum creates a space that is maximally inviting.
Unless of course you want to define “inclusive” as “anyone can join in”, but how is that inclusive in practice when you’ve created an echo chamber? Or does that term only apply to freethoughtblogs and the atheism+ forum?

431 Jack March 21, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Magicthighs (430)

I think you misread me on that. (421) gives a more substantive answer.

432 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Jack@429:

She’s not smearing you. That is a completely accurate encapsulation of this entire conversation in which you’ve insisted on taking an argument that’s rather obviously about abstract cultural constructs and insisted as taking it as an affront to your personhood.

433 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Jack, you’re conflating “inclusive” and “open to anyone”.

434 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

@423 Jack

This has now been explained to you countless times. You are making a fool out of yourself.

It is nothing to do with the south being racist but not all are racist in the south. The first is a generalised geographical term the second a state of mind.

This deserves an award.

435 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm

@Phil_Giordana_FCD I assume you’re speaking of the “they can get ran the fuck over for all I care. I’m not fucking kidding” quote? It’s here:
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/a-proposed-agenda-for-structured-dialogue-to-move-beyond-the-rifts-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/comment-page-2/#comment-204328

436 doubtthat March 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm

@412 Remick

Why can’t you be part of the/a atheist movement and the/a feminist movement. Why does the Atheist movement have to become a feminist movement?

Because I think one of the important implications of disbelieving in the dominant religions of the West is the destruction of the strict gender roles they have created, mostly to the detriment of women. Criticizing religion is one step, advocating for women in the void left behind is the second.

I think we’ve just hit the point of disagreement. I understand your stance, I just don’t agree with you. You’re welcome to promote atheist causes separate from feminism, I just likely won’t join you – or, to be more accurate, I will only be on your side to the extent we agree.

As I’ve said from the outset, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and as long as you aren’t actively trying to thwart feminist goals (however loosely described) we can probably coexist in perfect harmony.

437 Jack March 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Dan L. (432)

This is simply a matter of interpretation. If she fails to see honest intent in mine despite every attempt I have made to explain then I have no further interest in that discussion as no matter what I say I will be subject to Ad Hominem. That is not how I like to discuss as I don’t play the identity game.

That is the sort of tribalism on display here and really I find it trivialises discussion. Especially a post like Dan L. (424) Really, come on.

People can think of me how they likes. Bullying does not work with me.

438 Jack March 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm

magicthighs (433)

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/inclusive

‘Taking a great deal or everything within its scope; comprehensive’

‘Open to everyone’

Open to everything within it’s scope, ie the people in the community.

439 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 21, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Magicthighs: thanks for the link, couldn’t find the quote.

440 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Jack@437:

No, Jack, “scope” here is a synonym for “context”. It could mean “open to everyone” if the scope was “everyone”. If the scope is not everyone then it can still be open to everything within it’s scope which might be some subset of everyone and still be considered inclusive.

Words, how do they work?

441 Russell Blackford March 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Thanks to Gurdur, much earlier in this thread. I’m not sure what you said about me on your blog, Gurdur, though I do seem to recall some antagonism from you. Anyway, on the assumption that you owed me an apology for something, you can consider it accepted. No hard feelings.

442 Jack March 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Dan L. (440)

Yes and the scope is the community.

443 Aratina Cage March 21, 2013 at 10:59 pm

The longer this goes without correction, the more it bugs me, so I figure I better jump in and make the correction myself. Pitchguest made this claim in #234 on this thread:

[“Rebitchka”] was fabricated by Ophelia…

He continues:

The very first appearance of ‘Rebitchka’ was here: [link to Slymepit removed. It showed a screenshot of a comment of Ophelia’s posted on November 20th, 2011 where she mentions that hateful slur being used along with others by slimepitters.]
Read: it’s a member of the ‘Pit quoting Ophelia Benson on Nov 2011.

Pitchguest and the people making the same claims at the Slymepit forum (mikelf, ape+lust, and Victor Ivanoff) are all wrong about that slur being made up by Ophelia Benson. In fact, the claim that she created that slur was debunked back on the original slimepit thread by a Pharyngula regular, and it was acknowledged by Abbie Smith herself as having been debunked.

In August of 2011, several months before Ophelia even mentioned it, an anonymous person used that slur as their pseudonym on a different blog, Furious Purpose. (link to the slur)

As you can see, Ophelia did not fabricate the slur. It was simply that a “k” got thrown in when she wrote it out from memory and so the searchable trail ends with her mentioning it–unless you remove the “k” and search again.

Furthermore, far-out accusations like this are the kind of thing that makes people like me not want to hold conversations with people who have the slimepit ethos or who stand by the slimepitters in silence. This is not the first time Pitchguest has made false accusations against Ophelia. But more importantly, why would Ophelia Benson coin such a slur? It would not be consistent with reality for those of us who know her. Why is it that Pitchguest shows no sign of being charitable toward Ophelia Benson on this matter?

You can see in her statement, which is captured on the Slymepit forum, that she believes she had read that slur before. Why is it so hard for mikelf and Pitchguest and Ivanoff and the rest to believe her when the co-founder of the slimepit created a defamatory version of the last name of the same person? When the co-founder of the slimepit was the first person to mention this particular defamatory slur, which Pitchguest blames on Ophelia? It is a defamatory slur for the first name of the same person they were all hating on in the original slimepit, so it isn’t any big stretch that the first name would be turned into a slur by one of them, is it? There is a serious problem going on here when it is more believable to some that Ophelia Benson made up that slur than that she actually read that slur as she wrote.

444 Aratina Cage March 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Michael Nugent, I also would like to lodge a complaint against Phil_Giordiana_FCD #213 and Pitchguest #219 for using a gendered slur against a Pharyngula regular named Louis. I tweeted you about this already. I’m not sure where you are on the word “twat”, but would it be possible to make it clear whether or not using that word toward another person without that person’s consent is something permissible here?

Also, Michael, thank you for linking to my blog post responding to Gurdur #59. I really don’t feel that Gurdur is being fair to Pharyngula in his description of the events, so I wanted to make sure everyone could see the original thread for themselves and I wanted to run them through it from my perspective to see where I was coming from. But I do apologize for using that transphobic slur in that thread.

445 Dan L. March 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Jack@441:

What makes you think you get to decide the “scope” of a blog which you don’t own?

446 oolon March 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Re: Aratina having to debunk another of the Pittizens “allegations” … There is a point where after showing that Pittizen assertion X is complete bullshit for the Nth time you start to assume they are not worth engaging with.

Don’t they have a whole wiki called Phawrongula? Why are their carefully documented instances of every little thing FtBs do wrong not being cited to from there? Maybe it is a pile of rubbish full of ad-homs and unevidenced claims, and they know it. Or maybe they know that putting out a Gish Gallop of defamation with no links anyone reading the thread will start to think some of it must be true….

447 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 11:14 pm

@Jack (437)

No, let me use a reductio ad absurdum here. You’ve been running a successful blog or forum without any moderation. Suddenly it’s slashdotted (hope that’s not an anachronism by now) and infested with trolls who dominate the conversation, and half of your regulars leave.

How are you being more inclusive by letting the trolls dominate the conversation?

Another scenario, a certain blog thread was going to be deleted. The regulars move to the new forum, bringing with them the culture they’ve created at the blog thread.
How is this an environment inclusive of people who disagree with the views propagated in the blog thread?

You might accuse FTB of being an echo chamber, but you’ve (generic you, I know you didn’t personally start the forum) created one yourself.

448 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm

@Phil_Giordana_FCD no problem, had a hard time finding it myself when I remembered it.

449 Jack March 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Aratina Cage (443)

I an fairly certain that was corrected and retracted. I just went through all the posts and could not find it however so maybe I am thinking of another claim. Hopefully Pitchguest can respond.

As far as I am concerned dragging up old gripes do nothing and I agree would be extremely annoying and upsetting. I do not usually do it myself and the one time I did (In was asked to to support something I said earlier) it was clear that no one trusted my replies as genuine. So in the end there was no point continuing. There is little I can do about that.

I see no value to anyone with the continual mudslinging and as time moves on less and less people give a damn anyway about who said what to whom.

However the issue is about accepting various points of view in such as way that the community is not affected by it and nor are individuals. It is all to easy to give an uncharitable opinion on people we do not like. It is all too easy to misinterpret someone words.

People feel like they are treading on eggshells and scared to say what they think without some intense analysis, picking out every word looking for something to be offended by. Having to provide dictionary definitions when my intent clear. We can’t have any discussions like that, no one can.

As a rationalist community of course mutual respect should play a part but so should robust and open discussion. Some seem to have lost that ability and I think that is a real shame.

450 Jack March 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

magicthighs (447)

I’m sorry I am not playing your games today, maybe another time. If you do not like the word remove it when you read it.

451 oolon March 21, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Exhibit A in the case for banning obtuse commenters… Jack.

Any community would die if the members had to explain this many times such a simple concept over and over and over… Frankly given FtBs reticence in banning people I’m amazed many of the commenters manage to not rage on the assorted idiots and be a lot ruder. Took a while observing how the same patterns repeat multiple times for me to appreciate that. I vote for moar banning at FtBs …

452 Steersman March 21, 2013 at 11:33 pm

SallyStrange said (#427):

And, let me repeat: this is exactly the sort of conversation I would like NOT to have; it’s pretty clear that Jack is not arguing in good faith and is using motivated reasoning in order to completely misinterpret a statement by a feminist, and in the process attaching a well-known anti-feminist trope, that feminists hate men, to Esteleth’s statement. It’s a really clear example of malicious fabrication in the service of anti-feminist propaganda, and that’s precisely why these conversations come to an end without any fruitful conclusion.

Just in passing and as a point of reference, I wonder whether you would consider Robin Morgan as a feminist. To help you in your deliberations, here’s a helpful statement from Wikipedia (1):

Robin Morgan (born January 29, 1941) is an American poet, author, political theorist and activist, journalist, lecturer, and former child actor. Since the early 1960s she has been a key radical feminist member of the American Women’s Movement, and a leader in the international feminist movement.

In which case, I wonder how you think that, and your “trope” comment, squares with this quote of her by, apparently, a female feminist (2):

”I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” – Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor

Or, how about this from the same source, quoting another paragon and leading-light in “feminism”:

“Rape is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear” — Susan Brownmiller

Seems to me that you, among a great many others, see “feminism” through some rather rose-coloured glasses – as I argued at some length earlier (3), culminating in such bizarre and highly problematic statements by Ophelia Benson that “connecting ‘virulent’ with ‘feminism’ is misogyny” (4). But while I’ll agree that not all “feminists hate men”, the cases I’ve shown – among a great many others – provides adequate evidence, I think, that some – more than a few – do so: that “trope” of yours looks like it is rather more than a fantasy or a delusion. In which case, one might also reasonably argue that that type of obtuseness and categorical thinking, along with a rather problematic tendency to refuse to face facts – rather analogous to young-earth creationists, is probably an even bigger reason “why these conversations come to an end without any fruitful conclusion”.

——
1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Morgan”;
2) “_http://am-.tumblr.com/post/6683942957/a-lesson-on-sources”;
3) “_http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/20/a-proposed-agenda-for-structured-dialogue-to-move-beyond-the-rifts-in-the-atheist-and-skeptic-communities/#comment-204263”;
4) “_http://i47.tinypic.com/wk5pxf.jpg”;

453 Jack March 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Oolon (451) Understanding a concept and agreeing with it or agreeing it applies in a given context are not the same thing. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make either party wrong. One day you’ll get that.

454 Aratina Cage March 21, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Jack:

I an fairly certain that was corrected and retracted. I just went through all the posts and could not find it however

Neither did I when I looked for it. I’ve been bothering Michale Nugent about it all night and day on Twitter because he said that he would make corrections to things we feel are wrong or unfair, and he did for me earlier w/r/t Gurdur, but for some reason he hadn’t yet done it for that particular claim by Pitchguest, so I grew tired of waiting. Pitchguest doesn’t have to like a person, but at least I think he ought to be charitable to them. At least here where it was asked of all guests.

so maybe I am thinking of another claim.

You might be. As Oolon alluded to, Pitchguest has done this kind of thing repeatedly where he makes a claim loudly against Ophelia or someone else by doing what I consider is reading what was written in a most uncharitable way. He was recently corrected about a similar allegation against Ophelia at Daniel Fincke’s, for instance.

Hopefully Pitchguest can respond.

I hope so. I would like to see him apologize to Ophelia for resurrecting a falsehood that was swiftly debunked years ago.

455 loyalb March 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm

@aratina cage 443:

Michael Nugent, I also would like to lodge a complaint against Phil_Giordiana_FCD #213 and Pitchguest #219 for using a gendered slur against a Pharyngula regular named Louis.

Could I suggest that a better approach might be to address pitchguest and PGFCD directly? They’ve both posted on this thread. Even if they didn’t accept your offense at their treatment of your friend, the majority of readers who don’t post could hear both POV’s and decide for themselves. Calling people out like you have can quickly devolve into a low-stakes game of “gotcha” that won’t do much to resolve any of our differences.

456 magicthighs March 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

@Jack Who’s playing a game here? If I remove “inclusive” I end up with “the Slymepit is a {content removed} forum which makes it better because free speech”.

457 Jack March 21, 2013 at 11:54 pm

magicthighs (447)

I took more care with reading your post. No one that I am aware of is asking for FtB to change one bit. No one has the right to except the owners. That has been said time and again.

I am not saying the Slympit’s policies are the right one either.

My ‘inclusion’ and ‘open’ comments are not related to that. They are related to ideas allowed within that forum.

The Slympit accepts anyone (within reason of course) Given that the whole community is the whole we are talking about they will accept
the whole and they are inclusive of that whole.

However FtB insists on accepting a certain brand of feminism. Therefore it is closed to certain atheists and non inclusive of those who do not share their views (but of course fully inclusive to the subset that does) Therefore they are not inclusive of the whole of the atheist community.

Now that doesn’t matter either because it’s the same as having an Atheist Forum for games players requiring people to play games.

The issue is this. If it is to be expected that the whole community is required to follow a particular brand of feminism then that forum is reaching beyond its remit. It is not inclusive of the whole community as not everyone shares its particular philosophy and there is no persuasive reason I see that they should outside common rules of basic human rights.

Their apparent attempts to do so, no matter how well guided, is one of the issues here.

458 Aratina Cage March 21, 2013 at 11:54 pm

loyalb:

Could I suggest that a better approach might be to address pitchguest and PGFCD directly?

I’d rather get Michael’s take on it. If he thinks them calling a person who is ostensibly on the opposite team a “twat” is OK for this blog, then I might take it up with those two directly or I might let it go.

Calling people out like you have can quickly devolve into a low-stakes game of “gotcha” that won’t do much to resolve any of our differences.

I’m sorry, but I do not believe they should be able to call a regular at Pharyngula a “twat” without me being able to ask for moderator intervention. They can talk about the word itself all they want and I’m happy to let them. What bothers me is them using it as a slur.

459 Jack March 21, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Magicthighs (456)

I wrote a reply as you were typing that which should cover the point you raised. Sorry I was dismissive of your earlier post.

460 Sally Strange March 21, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Dan L. (432)

This is simply a matter of interpretation. If she fails to see honest intent in mine despite every attempt I have made to explain then I have no further interest in that discussion as no matter what I say I will be subject to Ad Hominem. That is not how I like to discuss as I don’t play the identity game.

That is the sort of tribalism on display here and really I find it trivialises discussion. Especially a post like Dan L. (424) Really, come on.

People can think of me how they likes. Bullying does not work with me.

Jack, if you insist that your misinterpretation of Esteleth’s comment is completely honest, then I retract my accusation of you deliberately lying and am left with the depressing conclusion that you are remarkably stupid.

461 Jack March 22, 2013 at 12:09 am

Aratina (454)

I’ve put a call out to Pitchguest on the Slympit. It gets hectic there but hopefully he can deal with it.

462 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

I’m sorry, but I do not believe they should be able to call a regular at Pharyngula a “twat” without me being able to ask for moderator intervention.

Why is the qualifier “regular at Pharyngula” necessary?

Also, after reading the comment and context, Phil G. appears to be a friend of Louis in real life and, a bit ironically, is sticking up for his friend there. As for Pitchguest, fair enough, I guess. They almost certainly broke the letter of Nugent’s moderation policy (which I haven’t seen). I still think that’s better left to be Louis’ beef if he wants to take it up, especially considering no one really even noticed at the time.

463 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

Aratina Cage said (#458):

They can talk about the word itself all they want and I’m happy to let them. What bothers me is them using it as a slur.

And what bothers me, and many others, is that “slur” is a rather problematic term in having very different interpretations, several of which have very little if any justification. While I’ll readily agree that various “gendered insults”, among others, are decidedly “rude and crude”, I think many others are trying for a bridge too far by trying to insist that they are tantamount to expressions of misogyny or misandry. And that everyone else accede to their rather idiosyncratic interpretations.

Rather difficult to reach any “meetings of minds” if each is reading from entirely different pages of the “good books” – i.e., dictionaries.

464 Sally Strange March 22, 2013 at 12:13 am

Steersman – before we talk about Robin Morgan’s alleged hatred of men, let me say this:

Regardless of whether Robin Morgan hates men, the incidence of actual man-hating on the part of feminists is vastly overstated by those who, not coincidentally, disagree with feminists.

Even if man-hating on the part of feminists is as frequent as you claim, that does not change the fact that Jack is objectively wrong in interpreting Esteleth’s statements to mean that she hates men.

It does not alter the fact that criticizing social constructs of masculinity is not the same thing as hating men.

Why are you not chastising Jack for offering a really bad argument in support of a thesis that you obviously agree with–that man-hating on the part of feminists is a common thing? I mean, if it’s the case that feminism really does have a lot to do with hatred of men just for being men, shouldn’t Jack be able to find an ACTUAL example of a feminist hating men just for being men?

If you can agree that Jack’s interpretation of Esteleth’s statement is wrong, then I will be happy to discuss the ins and outs of the various waves and branches and whatever other metaphors of feminism with you. But if you think that Jack was correct in his interpretation, then I’m afraid that it will be useless to discuss the matter further with you, because our definitions of “man-hating” diverge so completely that we may as well be speaking different languages.

465 Sally Strange March 22, 2013 at 12:18 am

General remark on inclusivity:

100% inclusivity is functionally impossible.

Want to make your movement more welcoming to people of color? You’re going to alienate racists.

What to make sure LGBT folks feel safe and welcome? That’s going to result in some transphobes and homophobes feeling less welcome.

Want to make sure women are well-represented, not just in audiences but also on panels, as authors, and in leadership positions? Then probably some misogynists are going to leave unhappily.

You do have to choose.

466 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 12:28 am

loyalb:

Why is the qualifier “regular at Pharyngula” necessary?

To emphasize that Louis is someone who comments or has commented a lot at Pharyngula.

Also, after reading the comment and context, Phil G. appears to be a friend of Louis in real life and, a bit ironically, is sticking up for his friend there.

I don’t follow you. Phil seemed to be deliberately using it as a slur for effect: “(see SJW heads explode)”.

As for Pitchguest, fair enough, I guess. They almost certainly broke the letter of Nugent’s moderation policy (which I haven’t seen).

Maybe. I hope it gets clarified at some point.

I still think that’s better left to be Louis’ beef if he wants to take it up, especially considering no one really even noticed at the time.

Well, I noticed, but I was only reading and not commenting when it happened. I’m sure other people from Pharyngula noticed as well. Besides, Louis’s name was brought into this without his permission as an example, and he was then called names unfairly and seemingly little charity given to his intentions at the Slymepit forum. How would Louis even begin to respond when he doesn’t know he is being talked about?

467 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 12:31 am

Steersman:

And what bothers me, and many others, is that “slur” is a rather problematic term in having very different interpretations, several of which have very little if any justification.

Well, I’d like to see you justify how “twat” is not a slur in English-speaking societies.

468 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 12:31 am

@sally strange 464

Want to make sure women are well-represented, not just in audiences but also on panels, as authors, and in leadership positions? Then probably some misogynists are going to leave unhappily.

You do have to choose.

Who is suggesting that we should include more misogynists in the movement?

469 Jack March 22, 2013 at 12:41 am

Sally Strange (464)

That whole statement is self evident.

How do you define the word ‘misogynist?’

470 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 12:43 am

I don’t follow you. Phil seemed to be deliberately using it as a slur for effect: “(see SJW heads explode)”.

I’m referring to the rest of his comment:

“… he’s a very good person, and I wish I didn’t meet him when he was on his “no alcohol” diet. Leave the guy alone, please? He’s got enough on his mind.”

I think we might be talking past each other. Is your objection that certain pejoratives should be out of bounds regardless of context (e.g. if they’re used affectionately, as appears to be the case here)? I understand that Michael’s thread probably isn’t the appropriate venue for that kind of talk, but I’d like to get a better idea of where the boundaries are.

Going back to my first response to you, I think the conversation between you and Phil (or Pitchguest) would be more illuminating than a conversation between you and Michael or you and me, because you’re more directly involved.

471 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 12:57 am

loyalb:

Is your objection that certain pejoratives should be out of bounds regardless of context (e.g. if they’re used affectionately, as appears to be the case here)?

I’ll try to make my objection a little clearer. Phil seems to have known that calling a regular of Pharygula a “twat” would get a rise out of some people–people like me. By doing that, considering that he may indeed be friends with Louis, he opened the door to others who are not friends with Louis using that word as well.

Perhaps if Phil had not added the part about the heads of social justice warriors exploding, and perhaps if Pitchguest hadn’t then believed he was free to follow suit, perhaps then I would not have said a word about it.

I’d like to get a better idea of where the boundaries are.

I think the boundaries for me personally are: Does it contribute to denigration of women or woman-associated things in society? Does it carry splash damage? Does it unjustifiably offend someone not involved in the conversation? Is it being used by a friend or a foe or someone you don’t know? And concerning this blog, does it violate the ethics of the community in which it is being used right now?

I’m aware that Michael may decide it is a harmless word for the purposes of his blog since that is often used in justifying its usage, but I’ve also heard that the widespread acceptance of that term may be localized to particular areas or vice versa even in nations where that defense of the word is often used. Even if it is not a problem to Michael Nugent, he may consider his global audience and decide it is a problem in that context, or maybe not. I’m just not sure what to expect given all the variables.

472 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 1:05 am

SallyStrange said (#463):

Regardless of whether Robin Morgan hates men, the incidence of actual man-hating on the part of feminists is vastly overstated by those who, not coincidentally, disagree with feminists.

And let me say this at the outset: “vastly overstated”? Really? You have some statistics on that? “Vastly” is 99.8%? Or maybe 51% or even 10%? I would suggest that you might want to read the blog of a Pitter – Scented Nectar (1) – who was, for more than a few years, deep into “radical feminism”, and what little I’ve read of her suggests that the cases I’ve described are only the small tips of a very large and problematic iceberg. One might suggest your “vastly overstated” is a case of having your thumb on the scales.

Why are you not chastising Jack for offering a really bad argument in support of a thesis that you obviously agree with–that man-hating on the part of feminists is a common thing?

Partly a question of “other fish to fry”, and partly a case of not having read those comments in enough detail to understand where everyone is coming from. I intend to do that later, but for the nonce – with the exception of this comment , “Mammon must be appeased” – so to speak.

I mean, if it’s the case that feminism really does have a lot to do with hatred of men just for being men, shouldn’t Jack be able to find an ACTUAL example of a feminist hating men just for being men?

I’m a little bit uncomfortable with the fact that many Pitters are a little light in providing evidence, or have very loose definitions of veracity – although generally far better in that regard than most FT Bloggers and commenters – but I’m wondering why that is an issue with you since you’ve virtually conceded that there are, in fact, some feminists who hate men simply because they are men.

If you can agree that Jack’s interpretation of Esteleth’s statement is wrong, then I will be happy to discuss the ins and outs of the various waves and branches and whatever other metaphors of feminism with you.

I’ll have to give some thought to that, but, as mentioned, I’m going to have to put that on the back-burner for an hour or three. However, in passing, I’ve recently disagreed rather strongly with him on the Pit on a number of issues so will certainly be prepared to do so here if the evidence supports the argument. But speaking of which, I wonder whether Esteleth provided any evidence of her own to justify her highly questionable arguments. For one thing it seems rather a stretch for her to argue that if to be “a man” is to not be “a woman,” then to be “a man” one must be ANTI-WOMAN. A particular definition necessitates a particular set of responses? Something doesn’t compute ….

But if you think that Jack was correct in his interpretation, then I’m afraid that it will be useless to discuss the matter further with you, because our definitions of “man-hating” diverge so completely that we may as well be speaking different languages.

While I’m certainly not saying that “Jack was correct in his interpretation” – at least at the moment without having read the context of the discussion, I wonder whether you might now understand the difficulty many of the Pit have with the argument that various “gendered insults” are prima facie evidence – if not a justification in the eyes of some for a sentence of “to be hung, drawn, and quartered” – for a charge of “women-hating”.


1) “_http://scentednectar.blogspot.ca/”;

473 Eristae March 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

I posted this elsewhere, but it seems appropriate here as well, so I’ll post it:

I don’t even know why some people think the actions of these men would be less immoral if they hadn’t known. If by some bizarre chance they had managed to not understand that the appropriate response to a passed out girl who certainly needed medical attention and was possibly dead was not to sexually assault her, then they needs to spend a long, long time locked up while someone tries to fix them.

I mean, even if no one in their entire lives said that such behavior was wrong (I don’t believe it!), all they needed is the gods be damned golden rule to understand this shit. After all, would they have liked to have someone shove fingers up their asses while they were passed out? I think not.

If they really, truly didn’t understand, then something is wrong with their brains, something that is malfunctioning so badly that they need to be locked up until they are mentally competent again. I mean that seriously and with great gravity. There is absolutely no excuse for them not knowing, and if they didn’t know regardless, then they are inherently dangerous and a menace to society.

474 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 1:28 am

Aratina Cage said (#466):

Well, I’d like to see you justify how “twat” is not a slur in English-speaking societies.

Assuming that by “slur” you mean a word that applies to a group – a definition (4) that is not at all supported by any dictionary I’ve ever run across, rather easily (1), although how much water it holds is another kettle of fish:

cunt: 3 a. Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a woman. [American Heritage dictionary];

cunt: 3. Offensive slang a mean or obnoxious person. [Collins English dictionary]

Nothing in there that I can see that even remotely suggests that it is automatically applied to all women – the definite article – “a”, as in “a woman”; “denoting a single but unspecified person or thing” (2) – is the key.

You might also want to take a look at the Wikipedia article (3) on the term as well, which has this interesting bit on the connotations of various “profane” words:

During the UK Oz trial for obscenity in 1971, prosecuting counsel asked writer George Melly “Would you call your 10-year-old daughter a cunt?” Melly replied “No, because I don’t think she is.”

As with most gendered insults – all insults in general, I think – context has a very large influence on the meaning ascribed. As does self-aggrandizement or self-righteously wanting to feel offended ….

——
1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cunt”;
2) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/a”;
3) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cunt#Referring_to_women”;
4) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/slur”;

475 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 1:32 am

Jack March 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm

An open forum means very little moderation or risk of banning. This allows diverse views to be aired without censure. It is not a safe space where a belief is assumed before joining (such as A+ and parts of FtB are) and therefore all beliefs are on the table and can be subject to skeptical analyses.

Therefore it is more inclusive and open.

It’s kinda Forum 101 stuff. The more censorship you have the tighter the group will be round a common belief.

Well that doesn’t really answer my question; I was looking for something in the way of actual contributions.

And I don’t agree that an unmoderated forum is more conducive to open discussion. It could be it just allows the loudest, rudest, most aggressive voices to dominate.

476 Jack March 22, 2013 at 1:37 am

Sterrsman (471)

Be careful my position is being grossly misrepresented and does not reflect what I said. Tread with care.

477 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 1:42 am

Eristae said (#472):

A very quick comment or two in passing:

… then they [need] to spend a long, long time locked up while someone tries to fix them.

That might well be true – are you likely to be spending your resources to assist in that regard? Also, relative to the fact (1) that there are about ten times as many men in US prisons as there are women, I wonder whether you might support the argument that “[criminality, in all its many forms], it’s more of a guy thing”?

In addition, and somewhat apropos, and in the context of various definitions, and in that of our abortive conversations (2) on Crommunist’s blog, I wonder whether you ever got around to trying to justify your accusation of me that I’d made some “sexist” comments? Seems to me that far too many people throw that accusation out when they run into heavy-weather with their supposedly more “factual” arguments ….

—–
1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States#Race”;
2) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2013/03/13/philosophy-dudebros-grassroots-dont-mix/#comment-147332”;

478 Jack March 22, 2013 at 1:45 am

Eristae (472)

If you are talking about that recent rape case with the 16 year old I agree they should have inherently known. It makes you wonder what upbringing and influences they had if they genuinely thought it was OK. I can’t see how they could have thought it was not rape.

In my opinion it illustrates a case where campaigns targeted at potential rapists could work but that assumes they were so misguided such a campaign might be effective.

479 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 1:48 am

Jack said (#476):

Steersman (471)

Be careful my position is being grossly misrepresented and does not reflect what I said. Tread with care.

Certainly seems to be some nuances that more than a few aren’t entirely aware of, or are not taking into consideration – either through carelessness or by intent. But curious also that many on each side seem to be rather too quick to read the most uncharitable interpretations into their interlocutors’ statements ….

480 Jack March 22, 2013 at 1:57 am

A Hermit (474)

‘And I don’t agree that an unmoderated forum is more conducive to open discussion. It could be it just allows the loudest, rudest, most aggressive voices to dominate.’

Yes sure and in some cases in strong moderation is entirely appropriate, it depends on the groups needs.

I don’t know what you mean by ‘actual contributions’. If you mean to the atheist community that is a loaded question which is best answered by going there and asking. That way you will get more responses and decide for yourself. I do not speak for the Slympit.

481 Eu March 22, 2013 at 2:02 am

Unmoderated sites can go good or bad I guess… I saw one that went to total shit (mostly people trolling each other… each other. How does one get entertainment out of that?)… how it starts, etc, helps in how it flows.

482 Gurdur March 22, 2013 at 2:02 am

Aratina wrote:
“But I do apologize for using that transphobic slur in that thread.”

So you admit you used a transphobic slur. You weren’t banned for using transphobic slurs, you weren’t dogpiled for it, you weren’t even much criticised. My two points stand; one, you used transphobic slurs, and two, it was perfectly OK with many in that enviroment till criticism came — from outsiders.

Those were my two points with regard to you and the enviroment there, and despite your abuse of me elsewhere for having pointed it out (gee, so surprising, you getting abusive for having your abuse pointed out), you have admited what I said was quite true.

Did you ever apologise to the actual person? Did you ever make a full, unqualified apology directly to the victim for having used such a transphobic slur on a thread where the transsexual was objecting to other homophobic hate-speech from others? No? Why not? Why have you not made any unqualified, full apology to the actual victim in this case, who has a blog?

To repeat: homophobic utterances (should I quote them from that OP and thread of comments) and transphobic utterances were not only allowed, but often used in that enviroment.

And you have the chutzpah to declare yourself against such hate-speech. You admit the veracity of my points, yet you areabusive towards me elsewhere about having it pointed out. Hey, colour me seriously unconvinced of the genuineness of any FTB basis against actual sexism, homophobia and transphobia. It was all OK till it became un-OK, and only because outsiders — like the transsexual you attacked — kept up the criticism.

To all: This whole thang about “gendered slurs” is all quite new, no? Just a handy excuse for sayin, “My abuse is perfectly OK, your abuse means you are evil”?

A very serious problem. Until you deal with your culture of abuse, expect no sympathy from outsiders like me. The hypocrisy and opportunism is only all too evident.

483 Jack March 22, 2013 at 2:05 am

Eu (480)

Exactly, it depends on the community. But then that is what we were talking about, a forum in the atheist community not 4chan style sites because we were talking about a forum in the atheist community. Strange how that works.

However it seems I have to qualify and restate the obvious every time I post. Uncharitable indeed.

484 Eristae March 22, 2013 at 2:08 am

“That might well be true – are you likely to be spending your resources to assist in that regard?”
I think the criminal justice system is broken and simply makes people more likely to re-offend. I think we need to change it. And yes, I am interested in spending my resources decreasing crime.

“Also, relative to the fact (1) that there are about ten times as many men in US prisons as there are women, I wonder whether you might support the argument that “[criminality, in all its many forms], it’s more of a guy thing”?”
What, exactly, does any of this have to do with what I wrote?

And, while I may regret this (responding to points that have nothing to do with what you just said is rarely a good idea) I shall answer you: No, I would not support that argument.

“In addition, and somewhat apropos, and in the context of various definitions, and in that of our abortive conversations (2) on Crommunist’s blog, I wonder whether you ever got around to trying to justify your accusation of me that I’d made some “sexist” comments? Seems to me that far too many people throw that accusation out when they run into heavy-weather with their supposedly more “factual” arguments ….”
I told you on Crommunist’s blog that I wasn’t interested in continuing that conversation with you, and I meant it. I’ve spent more than enough time and energy discussing it with you, and I’m not interested in spending more. I debated even responding to you at all, but I decided to do so. I suppose I shall see if I regret it.

485 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 2:08 am

@478 Steersman

Certainly seems to be some nuances that more than a few aren’t entirely aware of, or are not taking into consideration – either through carelessness or by intent. But curious also that many on each side seem to be rather too quick to read the most uncharitable interpretations into their interlocutors’ statements

Haha, no, nope, not even close.

You really want to jump in on this? You’re essentially proving that there’s no argument stupid enough that you won’t defend if you’re politically sympathetic to the speaker.

This is a very, very bad thing for any community, especially one that prides itself on rational argument.

486 Eu March 22, 2013 at 2:09 am

Oh my god, 4chan sucks mainly because there’s way too many people posting shit and the look. If it looked better it would feel easier to navigate through all the shit. I was looking at a god damn picture on that one day and I went to something else for 30 seconds, went back and couldn’t find it anymore. Probably buried under 10 pages of pictures about nothing.

And… umm… Jack, the site? Please?

487 Eu March 22, 2013 at 2:09 am

The one above this comment I mean.

488 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 2:09 am

I don’t know what you mean by ‘actual contributions’. If you mean to the atheist community that is a loaded question which is best answered by going there and asking. That way you will get more responses and decide for yourself. I do not speak for the Slympit.

I mean any real world positive actions to promote atheism and skepticism to a wider audience or to build a stronger community; eg are they hosting any talks, promoting any conferences, fundraising, engaging in education or letter writing campaigns, drawing attention to issues affecting atheists and skeptics around the world…

I see all of those happening in places like FtB or Patheos or Skepchick or SBM but not at the slymepit. (and yes, I have gone and looked…)

I’m asking you because you offered them up as an example of an inclusive community with obvious benefits. This puzzled me because I don’t see much benefit for the A/S movement in general coming from that quarter. I suppose there are benefits for the egos of those who post there but I’m not sure why I should care about that…

489 Eu March 22, 2013 at 2:10 am

I know it could probably use some brushing up and I couldn’t find a proper news template and all but bleh. Tried to make best with the fonts etc and I couldn’t find a nice picture of a man snapping pictures of women behind him or telling women to cut it out.

490 Jack March 22, 2013 at 2:11 am

Gurdur (481)

The hypocrisy has been well noted over the last few weeks (from both sides depending on the points of view) That is something that needs to be addressed but it has been already well covered.

491 Eristae March 22, 2013 at 2:12 am

@Steersman

Oh, and you said you wondered if I “ever got around to” dealing with some of the things you said. In addition to being done having that conversation, I also consider it to be pointless and bordering on rude to send comments at people who can’t respond. Given that you couldn’t respond because you were banned, continuing on seemed like a rather petty attempt to get the last word. So I wasn’t interested in doing so.

492 Jack March 22, 2013 at 2:21 am

A Hermit (487)

It’s a forum why are you attempting to compare it to FtB which is a large blogging network?

I assume you know many at the Slympit are A/S activists and use the forum as a sort of meeting place? But people do whatever they wish to do in their A/S activities. I have another group for my activities.

I assume you know the Slympit is tiny compared to FtB?

There has been several thousand dollars raised for Operation Smile, a charity which provides operations to children with facial deformities in third world countries.

The Slympit is opposed to the community being politicised by radical feminism or whatever someone wishes to call their more extreme brand of feminism. We consider that will damage the community. That is it’s primary purpose.

Are you really going to play a ‘My blog site is better than your forum’ game?

493 Jack March 22, 2013 at 2:24 am

A Hermit (487)

Just an update to (491) as yet again I get an uncharitable interpretation. By ‘benefits’ I am talking about the benefits to the free exchange of ideas including skepticism. I said that already. Stop misrepresenting me.

494 Dan L. March 22, 2013 at 2:28 am

A Hermit@487:

Well, Justin Vacula did try to volunteer for SCA…

495 Jack March 22, 2013 at 2:29 am

doubtthat (484)

Try again Steersman said:

‘But curious also that many on each side seem to be rather too quick to read the most uncharitable interpretations into their interlocutors’ statements ‘

Read the ‘each side’.

You did a good job of proving his point.

496 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 2:34 am

@494 Jack

Read it. It was a weak attempt to create a false equivalency so the speaker could place him/herself above the debate. This is know as the “David Brooks Gambit.”

It’s transparent, obvious, and nearly as pathetic as the very sad argument you provided to start all of this.

497 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 2:34 am

The Slympit is opposed to the community being politicised by radical feminism or whatever someone wishes to call their more extreme brand of feminism. We consider that will damage the community. That is it’s primary purpose.

So the benefit to the A/S movement of your “inclusive” forum is to make sure that feminists you disagree with are excluded…

Pretty much what I thought actually.

498 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 2:41 am

Steersman March 22, 2013 at 1:28 am cunt: 3 a. Offensive Used as a disparaging term for a woman. [American Heritage dictionary];

cunt: 3. Offensive slang a mean or obnoxious person. [Collins English dictionary]

Nothing in there that I can see that even remotely suggests that it is automatically applied to all women – the definite article – “a”, as in “a woman”; “denoting a single but unspecified person or thing” (2) – is the key.

Instead of parsing through dictionary definitions of the word “cunt” looking for excuses to keep using it why not just recognize that a significant number of people, especially women, find it offensive and hurtful and decide not to use it anymore? What’s wrong with a little common courtesy?

If someone is really serious about mending rifts and having a constructive dialogue it shouldn’t be too much trouble for them to give up calling people “cunt.”

499 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 2:42 am

Blockquote fail in the last comment; first part is Steersman, second half is me…

500 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 3:00 am

@aratina

I think the boundaries for me personally are: Does it contribute to denigration of women or woman-associated things in society? Does it carry splash damage? Does it unjustifiably offend someone not involved in the conversation? Is it being used by a friend or a foe or someone you don’t know? And concerning this blog, does it violate the ethics of the community in which it is being used right now?

I agree with the last concern. Michael seems to be consistently opposed to needless provocation, so I’ll agree the profanity was misplaced. Other than that…

Does it denigrate women? I don’t think so. Does it denigrate men to be called dicks? Not really. If anything, it associates assertiveness with maleness. The loosening of language mores about gendered insults — go ahead and count how many times you heard the “t” or “c” words in 50’s media — represents the trend towards equality.

Does it unjustifiably offend a third party? Probably, but that’s a heckler’s veto. Every one of my favorite shows offends the Parent’s Television Council, but that’s not a good reason to stop watching.

And so on… I think the rest of your objections depend on the premise that sexualized insults necessarily degrade womanhood. It’s not that simple.

Don’t get me wrong, I cringe every time I see the “c-t-b” words*. But it’s not because of some great moral virtue on my part. It’s just how I was raised and what I’m used to.

I think what bothers me about the debate over language more than anything isn’t that people are suggesting that we moderate our language. I do that anyway. It’s that so many freethinkers seem so proud, so morally-assured, merely because they know which rules to follow. But ask them why to follow those rules (excluding yourself, Aratina, you answered my concerns very fairly) and you’re automatically a misogynist. What kind of secular morality hinges on following the rules without testing them first?

end 2¢.

*not to be a prude, everybody knows which words I mean, but I don’t know what the standards are here so I’ll stick to the abbreviations.

501 Eu March 22, 2013 at 3:00 am

Jack did you see what I said?

502 Jack March 22, 2013 at 3:08 am

A Hermit (496)

‘Jack: The Slympit is opposed to the community being politicised by radical feminism or whatever someone wishes to call their more extreme brand of feminism. We consider that will damage the community. That is it’s primary purpose.’

‘ So the benefit to the A/S movement of your “inclusive” forum is to make sure that feminists you disagree with are excluded…

Pretty much what I thought actually.’

Fail again, I didn’t say that. This is known as ‘Strawmanning’

503 Eu March 22, 2013 at 3:16 am

No, they do a pretty good job in being inclusive and trying to get people there (and they don’t have the boogeyman hiding behind the door either).
However… the other side has no problem with exclusion, some even with this:

“I hope the supporters of Justin realise that we can intimidate people like him out of his position. It sends out a strong signal to the rest of the community.

We will come after you as well, if you are a misogynist. We will launch petitions to harass you. We will get you in the end.

There is no room for people like Vacula in our community. Let this be a lesson.”

504 Eu March 22, 2013 at 3:19 am

The above comment went unchallenged, it would probably have gotten some likes if it were Facebook. I’m not surprised.

505 Dan L. March 22, 2013 at 3:23 am

lol

506 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 3:24 am

Gurdur:

So you admit you used a transphobic slur.

Yes.

You weren’t banned for using transphobic slurs, you weren’t dogpiled for it, you weren’t even much criticised.

Did you read the thread? Did you read how it all happened from my perspective? Maybe the people who bothered to read my send off of Becky Transsexual understood what I meant by “trans fatty” since they all knew David Marjanović fairly well. Maybe none of them even knew it was a slur. Maybe everyone was more focused on the outsider yelling out the Nazi accusations and being deliberately transphobic and emasculating to lots of people at Pharyngula? How would I know? I sure didn’t know it was a slur at the time. That kind of behavior doesn’t square with me or with them. So, I ask again that you be more charitable to everyone on that thread and be factual in your referencing of it.

My two points stand; one, you used transphobic slurs,

Re one: I did not. I used one transphobic slur and I didn’t even know I had. You and the other person from the slimepit who made the accusations of transphobia against me probably didn’t even know. Both of you had to put words I did not use in my mouth to hype up what I actually did say. Certainly no one pointed out to me that “transfatty” is a slur. I found that out myself by searching through Urban Dictionary. (By the way, I’ve also found out that it is used by some people to mean that they believe they are fat when, objectively, they are not–another weird twist to the meaning of that word.) I think the least you could do would be to acknowledge that. However, if you wish to believe that your presentation is the kind of person I am, go ahead and believe that in spite of it all.

and two, it was perfectly OK with many in that enviroment till criticism came — from outsiders.

If you are being charitable, you cannot say that for certain. You and I do not know why no one on that thread told me not to use a transphobic slur. And besides that, one of the reasons I think you are mischaracterizing everyone on that thread is because plenty of them did fight against the transphobic slurs coming from people who used “tranny”, which you should know if you had really bothered to read the thread in its entirety. So it wasn’t “perfectly OK” with people at Pharyngula except for one person–and he left soon afterwards.

Did you ever apologise to the actual person?

I take that to mean you have not actually read my blog post about it. But since you ask, this is as close as I will ever come in apologizing directly to Becky Transsexual: http://beckytranssexual.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/ive-seen-the-face-of-heterosexist-transphobia-and-it-sure-aint-pretty/#comment-116

Did you ever make a full, unqualified apology directly to the victim for having used such a transphobic slur on a thread where the transsexual was objecting to other homophobic hate-speech from others?

Please see the previous link and tell me what you think. I’m not sure you quite understand, though, that Becky Transsexual was the one lobbing the verbal bombs (at least, the ones I knew about).

No? Why not? Why have you not made any unqualified, full apology to the actual victim in this case, who has a blog?

I have made as much of a communication to Becky Transsexual about it that I ever will. I do not want her to communicate with me at all any further given what she has already said to me and others I care about.

To repeat: homophobic utterances (should I quote them from that OP and thread of comments)

Yes. I don’t know what you are talking about in this case.

and transphobic utterances were not only allowed, but often used in that enviroment.

Just because they were allowed doesn’t mean they were approved of or condoned. I think that thread stands as a testament to how much transphobic slurs are not tolerated at Pharyngula, barring the one that I wrote.

And you have the chutzpah to declare yourself against such hate-speech.

I am against hate speech. I shall never read a food label again without it reminding me of when I screwed up on Pharyngula in that thread.

You admit the veracity of my points,

Nope. I do not. Your points were wrong as far as I can tell. You were not being charitable, which is why I wanted that thread to be exposed to the sunshine of everyone.

yet you areabusive towards me elsewhere about having it pointed out.

I have been abusive toward you verbally on Twitter, but I didn’t use hate speech. Quite frankly, I don’t like you based on everything I’ve heard about you, read from you, and from the way you have been less than charitable to me personally and to my friends.

Hey, colour me seriously unconvinced of the genuineness of any FTB basis against actual sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

I still wonder if you read the thread or not? Please do and make sure you start at the top, read linearly, allow for lag between responses, and remember the environment in which it flared up was during Wally Smith’s sockpuppeting all throughout Pharyngula and other places.

It was all OK till it became un-OK,

That is how things go sometimes. Is that supposed to be an indictment of Pharyngula? Because I don’t think it works.

and only because outsiders — like the transsexual you attacked — kept up the criticism.

Becky? Nah. She did nothing but anger and scare and hurt people. Any valid criticism she may have had was lost in her frenzy to attack everyone in a sweeping roundhouse. From what I know, the real life-changing criticism at Pharyngula has come from within, not from outsiders. People there were willing to take some time for introspection and that’s where the impetus for change came from.

To all: This whole thang about “gendered slurs” is all quite new, no? Just a handy excuse for sayin, “My abuse is perfectly OK, your abuse means you are evil”?

The evidence does not back you up w/r/t Pharyngula. I have gone back much further than 2011 and still found people concerned and speaking up about gender slurs on Pharyngula.

A very serious problem.

At least we agree on that!

Until you deal with your culture of abuse, expect no sympathy from outsiders like me. The hypocrisy and opportunism is only all too evident.

OK then, Gurdur. Just please try to be more charitable to your opponents in the future. Representing people and communities accurately and fairly is important.

507 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 3:30 am

Dan L.-

This whole “rift” discussion isn’t going that badly, is it? Granted, it’s only a few people talking things out so far, but it’s only been going on a couple of weeks, and this is pretty much the only place where all sides can congregate in relative peace. If nothing else, the fact that you’ve stuck around this long must mean you’re enjoying it on some non-masochistic level. Not trying to call you out, just offering a different perspective on your memorable (and morbidly funny) “inevitable failure” line last night.

508 Russell Blackford March 22, 2013 at 4:08 am

Skepsheik:

Russell, (comment 4) I think we have a (civil!) disagreement over accomodationism. I would place myself fully in the non-accomodationist camp and yet I don’t think I have any major disagreements with the likes of Chris Mooney or Michael Ruse over core issues of science and religion. Both accomodationists and non-accomodationists are atheists who agree that science and traditional religion are incompatible in terms of how they provide validated knowledge about the world. The difference is that accomodationists seek to temper the public language of atheism so that moderate religious people can find a gap or two to squeeze in their God.

Thanks for the civility of the disagreement! Perhaps I should blog about this separately, rather than going into it deeply here, but this is of some general importance so let me bang on for a few paras. Maybe I’ll later do a version on my blog.

I won’t say you are “just wrong”, because perhaps the terminology was used as you describe by some people in some forums, and these things can get awfully confusing. One outcome is that people can be saddled with positions that they have never articulated and don’t actually hold.

But I can assure you from being right at the centre of this debate that what Jerry Coyne and I, and others, were on about when we criticised “accommodationism” was the idea that science and religion are compatible and/or that the idea that we should not be arguing for their incompatibility in the public square.

Thus, the people we branded as “compatibilists” included Christians such as John Haught and Kenneth Miller, who argue that religion and science are compatible; organisations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Center for Science Education, which have policy positions to the effect that there is no incompatibility between science and religion; the late Stephen Jay Gould with his NOMA theory; atheist philosophers such as Michael Ruse who dream up theories about how science and religion might be reconciled (something I don’t object to all that much, but it certainly bugs some anti-accommodationists) and/or claim that it is politically dangerous to put science-based arguments against religion (Ruse does this all the time); other atheists such as Matt Nisbet who have gone as far as to suggest that Richard Dawkins should go quiet in public as a science advocate, having (supposedly) lost credibility with many Americans for using science-based arguments against religion; and of course Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum who argue in their book Unscientific America that religion has the resources to avoid conflict with science, and are scathing (and downright nasty) about Richard Dawkins, and who have, at least in Mooney’s case, criticised Jerry for criticising the likes of Miller in public.

As anti-accommodationists, we were disagreeing with the above cluster of positions. Note that Mooney and Ruse have, indeed, argued against both the science/religion incompatibility thesis (with reservations in Ruse’s case) and against the political wisdom of arguing publicly for the thesis.

So an “accommodationist” in the discussion was someone who argues for science/religion compatibility and/or that it is politically expedient to go along publicly with the idea of science/religion compatibility. People who were criticised as accommodationists included Christians like Miller, as long as they argued for science/religion compatibility.

By contrast, those of us who identified as anti-accommodationists were basically saying 1. science and religion are (in some serious sense) not compatible; and 2. it’s fine to say this in public.

It was never our position that this needs to be argued in an uncivil way, or generally that religious people should be treated without proper civility.

Indeed, what pissed us off about the spurious Tom Johnson story was the claim that anti-accommodationism, such as displayed by Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins, leads to rudeness and nastiness in real life. The story was used by Chris Mooney as Exhibit A for such a claim.

While we may not have been totally consistent about this, and you might find counter-examples of how we used the terminology, I think you’ll find that we were fairly consistent (in fact, I think I was fairly rigorous about it). Anyone who thought that they were defending “anti-accommodationism” in arguing in favour of nastiness and personal attacks misunderstood what anti-accommodationism was in the minds of the leading anti-accommodationists, and what we were trying to convey and achieve. I should only speak for myself here, but I think that bigger players on the anti-accommodationism side, such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, would agree with much or most of what I’ve written above.

Of course, others may have been running a different agenda under the flag of “anti-accommodationism”. If their agenda involved nastiness, personal attacks, etc., then I hereby disown them. If people in the forums you were frequenting were using the label “anti-accommodationism” in that way, then there is obviously a grain of truth in what you’re saying, but it will have misled you into not understanding the most interesting aspects of the debate.

And again, none of this is to deny that actual anti-accommodationist thinkers, such as me, sometimes lost tempers or engaged in satire or personal attacks, or whatever. Doubtless that happened from time to time. Some of it may have been relatively gentle satire that was justified (I think that satire has its place). Some of it may have crossed lines (as when, in a moment of anger and poor judgment, I called Chris Mooney a “disgusting traitor” for taking Templeton money). Some of it may have fallen in a grey area. But the fact remains that anti-accommodationism is essentially a philosophical position that science and religion are (in some interesting and serious sense) incompatible.

Since this is all a bit peripheral to Michael’s purpose, maybe we could discuss it further on my blog at some point, or by email. Or read 50 GREAT MYTHS ABOUT ATHEISM when it appears in September to see exactly what Udo Schuklenk and I argue as anti-accommodationists. Or read Jerry Coyne’s most definitive statement so far: Coyne, Jerry A. 2012. “Science, Religion, and Society: The Problem of Evolution in America.” Evolution 66(8): 2654–2663.

509 Dan L. March 22, 2013 at 4:35 am

loyalb@506:

I’m exhausted and frustrated. I really don’t think there can be any reconciliation between people who can’t recognize that the other people also feel aggrieved and for both sides to be willing to make concessions to that fact.

But it feels like most of the people I’ve talked to here have a zero-sum outlook on this — they are not willing to accept that the other people might have some legitimate reasons for feeling the way they do and they are not willing to moderate their accusations of bad-faith. They will only be satisfied by the other people completely and unequivocally take responsibility for all the bad feeling and apologize for their bad behavior.

Some people seem to have serious problems with the fact that they’re expected to moderate either their tone or language according the the venue. They cannot seem to accept that when they make particular arguments in particular contexts that those arguments might be poorly received even if well-intentioned. Other people I think believe themselves to be well-intentioned and seeking open debate but in actuality just want to try to intellectually bully others into their point of view.

The Discussions on Rape Prevention thread has had its ups and downs but I think mostly downs. No one seems willing to engage with existing material on rape prevention. Everyone is ignoring the best arguments on the thread in favor of bickering over petty details.

I agree that the ” ‘pit side” has a few legitimate grievances but that doesn’t mean I think you guys have a very good approach, here. If you want there to be a reconciliation, that is. If you want to take an epic principled stand on Michael Nugent’s blog then you guys are actually doing fine.

TL;DR I am not optimistic.

510 Tessa March 22, 2013 at 5:14 am

Jack:

Generally it is the total acceptance of the concept of Patriarchy (men are to blame for everything and women are the victims),

That’s not what Patriarchy is. Patriarchy is (in the simplest way I can explain) the result of society’s enforcement of gender roles, expectations, and stereotypes. These end up putting men in power and women as support for and dependent on men.

And about Esteleth’s comment about “anti-woman”. Jack, don’t look at “anti-woman” as being against woman, or hating women, look at it like matter and anti-matter. Anti-matter doesn’t hate matter. It just can’t BE matter, or occupy the same space as matter. Because it’s anti-matter. That is what Esteleth was saying. By being “male” and “masculine” one cannot be “female” and “feminine” and those who value “maleness” or “masculinity” avoid things labeled as “female” or “feminine”. The use of quotes in her post should have helped show that the quoted words were ideas, and not physical identity. This idea is supported by the reset of Esteleth’s statement because they say:

It also sets up the process whereby something is claimed by women (access to something, right to have a particular habit or practice, clothing styles, etc) and men are allowed only what is “left over.”

and
Sharing – if it happens at all – is grudging, and subtypes of the “men and women both can X, but men Xa while women Xb, and na’er the twain shall meet” quickly form and are swiftly codified.

*crosses fingers that block quotes worked*

511 Eu March 22, 2013 at 5:57 am

Tessa,

I hope you understand that Jack was describing their definition of Patriarchy. With the numerous things they blame on patriarchy and how they talk about it, they definitely have a different definition from yours. Methinks that even if the conservative ways of “woman depend on man” were gone, they would still be talking about it, because frankly most of what they said is a result of patriarchy has shit to do with what you described in your definition.

Now that’s a reasonable thing to complain about in terms of patriarchy. (Your definition.) It used to be so much of that in the old days but now thankfully more and more women are getting to do what they want.

512 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 6:01 am

loyalb:

Does it denigrate women? I don’t think so.

But let’s not skip the fact that it does denigrate a body part that most women do have and most men do not.

Does it denigrate men to be called dicks? Not really. If anything, it associates assertiveness with maleness.

I agree. I leave open the possibility that it does hurt some men, so I am happy to go along with people, blogs, or other communities who wish to eliminate that kind of denigration from their vocabulary as well, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

“Dick” has several big differences to “twat” that I know of. For one, “dick” is a rich and varied word; it can be a man’s name, a family name, a way of saying “any man”, a shortened way of saying “detective”, a way of describing someone (usually a man) who is “rude” (which can be good as well as bad), and a kind of food. English speakers are fairly good at distinguishing which meaning is meant depending on context, and they also are able to use it in ways that reference more than one of those meanings.

“Twat” is not like that, especially not in the USA, but it apparently does have a second meaning in some English-speaking societies that is similar to “fool” from what I’ve heard. It is not, however, a name, first or last. It is not a dish. It is not shorthand for anything. I tried to get this point across to John Greg long ago by reminding him that “john” is much like “dick” and, similarly, not very much like “twat”. Running into a man named “John” or “Dick” is common. Running into a woman named “Twat” would be very strange indeed.

The loosening of language mores about gendered insults — go ahead and count how many times you heard the “t” or “c” words in 50′s media — represents the trend towards equality.

When there are women named “Twat” (in English, of course), I’ll agree with you. When “twat” means more than a body part or an insult, I’ll agree with you. I don’t believe we are there yet. I also don’t think a scorched-earth policy of changing the culture is the best way to go about it. How about instead of using it as an insult, you find a non-insulting way to use it and try to change the culture that way first?

Does it unjustifiably offend a third party? Probably, but that’s a heckler’s veto. Every one of my favorite shows offends the Parent’s Television Council, but that’s not a good reason to stop watching.

In my opinion, it is only a heckler’s veto when you, the person saying “twat” as an insult, do not care about offending others by saying it.

And so on… I think the rest of your objections depend on the premise that sexualized insults necessarily degrade womanhood. It’s not that simple.

It is a metaphor when used as an insult in the case of “twat”, so I think it does necessarily degrade something that is for most women a part of being a woman. “You are like this thing we call a twat.” The implication being we don’t like twats (the body part) so we don’t like you. There just isn’t enough separation between the primary meaning and the secondary meaning yet. And besides, even if there is or if there were, using “twat” as an insult still would have the problem of piggybacking on the prevalent attitude in English-speaking cultures that womanly things are less valuable than manly things.

many freethinkers seem so proud, so morally-assured, merely because they know which rules to follow. But ask them why to follow those rules (excluding yourself, Aratina, you answered my concerns very fairly) and you’re automatically a misogynist.

I was just talking to someone about Dr. Laura. She was so certain she wasn’t racist at all that when challenged as to why she doesn’t say the n-word on air, she called the person’s bluff and said it over and over. She got into big trouble for that. Similarly, I think the problem you are seeing is really that these people being told to moderate their language not only refuse, they insist on not doing it and pull the equivalent of a Dr. Laura. I’ve sat and watched them do it in real time at Pharyngula and Butterflies & Wheels, even going so far as to sockpuppet just to be able to type out “twat” or what have you one more time. The question is, does that make Dr. Laura racist (or racist-ish), and then does that make someone doing the equivalent with “twat” a misogynist (or misogynistic)?

*not to be a prude, everybody knows which words I mean, but I don’t know what the standards are here so I’ll stick to the abbreviations.

Please tell me if that is right, Michael, and I’ll not type out those kinds of words again. My complaint, however, is on the word itself but on its usage as an insult by Phil and Pitchguest.

513 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 6:26 am

Steersman:

Assuming that by “slur” you mean a word that applies to a group – a definition (4) that is not at all supported by any dictionary I’ve ever run across, rather easily (1), although how much water it holds is another kettle of fish:

I mean that it is a word that denigrates a whole group or the quality of being a person of a particular group. I’m afraid I don’t really understand what you mean.

Nothing in there that I can see that even remotely suggests that it is automatically applied to all women – the definite article – “a”, as in “a woman”; “denoting a single but unspecified person or thing” (2) – is the key.

“Indefinite”, I think you mean. But still, I don’t understand what you mean by it not being automatically applied to all women. I don’t think it applies to all women when it is used to insult a single woman–that would be highly ridiculous.

You might also want to take a look at the Wikipedia article (3) on the term as well, which has this interesting bit on the connotations of various “profane” words:

She doesn’t think her daughter is what? Don’t use the word itself to answer, but one of its meanings. They both work. The literal one is kind of funny in a goofy way.

As with most gendered insults – all insults in general, I think – context has a very large influence on the meaning ascribed. As does self-aggrandizement or self-righteously wanting to feel offended ….

Yes. Context is key. Self-aggrandizement? Not so much, in my opinion. Who are we to judge how much an insult hurts someone, especially if we are trying to be charitable? Self-righteously feeling offended? Depends on what insult is being said and the context.

514 Tessa March 22, 2013 at 6:48 am

EU,

Tessa,

I hope you understand that Jack was describing their definition of Patriarchy. With the numerous things they blame on patriarchy and how they talk about it, they definitely have a different definition from yours. Methinks that even if the conservative ways of “woman depend on man” were gone, they would still be talking about it, because frankly most of what they said is a result of patriarchy has shit to do with what you described in your definition.

I really don’t think my definition is all that different. Gender roles and expectations are deeply entrenched into all facets of society.

Before I go on, I’d like some examples of what “they said is a result of patriarchy.”

515 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 7:00 am

Cage: it wasn’t used as an insult but as a friendly dig at Louis. He and I are indeed IRL friends. Although I lived in the US for an extended period of time in my teens, I mostly got my english vocabulary from a British environement and culture. “Twat” really does have a different meaning in the UK, particularily when used to address a friend.

If Michael objects to its use here, I will refrain. If Louis asks me to apologize, I will do so. But one thing has to be clear: I will not do so as a result of your demands, Aratina. Michael and Louis are the only persons who have any authority to ask me to retract. Nothing personal, but I don’t like being silenced by third parties.

516 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

Tessa said (#510):

*crosses fingers that block quotes worked*

All of the FTB sites have a preview function in their commenting section that I’ve found quite useful to check comments before posting them here (same set of commands, largely in any case) ….

517 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

Eu said (#511):

It used to be so much of that in the old days but now thankfully more and more women are getting to do what they want.

Which I’ve seen argued is the result, in part, of the reproductive freedom provided by “The Patriarchy”! Funny way of oppressing people …. 😉

But I think that the Patriarchy – as a concept – probably has less substance than Big Foot, and no more utility than a homeopathic remedy. Curious that the latter two are generally looked at with a skeptical eye while the first with one quite a bit less so ….

518 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 7:14 am

Aratina Cage said (#513)

I mean that it is a word that denigrates a whole group or the quality of being a person of a particular group. I’m afraid I don’t really understand what you mean.

And I don’t understand how people think a gendered insult applies to the entire sex – unless people identify more as their genitals than as their personalities – talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket – figuratively speaking at least.

What I was getting at was that nothing in the dictionary definition gives any indication that it necessarily applies to the whole group or sex. If someone says “all men are pricks” or “all women are cunts” then that seems quite clearly to qualify as insulting all members of those groups – and probably qualifies as misandry or misogyny. But calling some man or some woman, respectively, a prick or a cunt because they were particularly obnoxious? If someone was to, analogously, call me a rapist, would that necessarily lead you to being offended on my behalf, particularly if there was some evidence that I was guilty as charged?

Really seems to be some rather unfathomable if not actually weird mental machinery happening with many people for them to be offended when someone else is insulted, particularly by gendered epithets.

Not that I think such insults help move the conversational ball downfield very effectively – like the nuclear option, I tend to rely on a “no-first-use” policy ….

“Indefinite”, I think you mean.

Right you are; my mistake. Thanks.

Who are we to judge how much an insult hurts someone, especially if we are trying to be charitable?

Curious how little that perspective informed actions and words on Pharyngula during the heyday of the porcupine “joke” – and even now. But the point is that insults are used because they hurt someone so that being charitable tends to go by the boards at that juncture.

519 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

Jack said (#502):

A Hermit (496)

‘Jack: The Slympit is opposed to the community being politicised by radical feminism or whatever someone wishes to call their more extreme brand of feminism. We consider that will damage the community. That is it’s primary purpose.’

‘ So the benefit to the A/S movement of your “inclusive” forum is to make sure that feminists you disagree with are excluded…

Pretty much what I thought actually.’

Fail again, I didn’t say that. This is known as ‘Strawmanning’

Someone – maybe even some other people – seems to be judging one site by the “standards” that seem to prevail at another …. But maybe that applies in all or virtually all cases – rather difficult to come up with a standard that is or should be applied in all of them.

However, more particularly, A Hermit seems not to realize that those feminists “we” disagree with are not excluded – virtually all are entitled to present their cases if they so desire. I certainly think that banning is decidedly counterproductive ….

520 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:27 am

Phil_Giordania_FCD:

Cage: it wasn’t used as an insult but as a friendly dig at Louis. He and I are indeed IRL friends.

Then why the crack about it upsetting “social justice warriors”? You could have simply called him that in jest (to show you could get away with it perhaps?) without taking a crack at people who are not your friends.

Although I lived in the US for an extended period of time in my teens, I mostly got my english vocabulary from a British environement and culture. “Twat” really does have a different meaning in the UK, particularily when used to address a friend.

Everything has a different meaning when used to address a friend, especially insults. That was never the issue.

If Michael objects to its use here, I will refrain. If Louis asks me to apologize, I will do so. But one thing has to be clear: I will not do so as a result of your demands, Aratina. Michael and Louis are the only persons who have any authority to ask me to retract. Nothing personal, but I don’t like being silenced by third parties.

I hope that clears up exactly why I am taking my complaint to Michael Nugent directly. Phil would rather he be able to sour the atmosphere here instead of moderating his own language in the aim of having both sides talk to each other civilly, and he ignores how he both chided people who are not privy to the details of his friendship with Louis and opened the door for people who are not friends of Louis to follow suit.

521 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

I give up, this is becoming way too silly.

522 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:50 am

Steersman:

And I don’t understand how people think a gendered insult applies to the entire sex – unless people identify more as their genitals than as their personalities – talk about putting all of your eggs in one basket – figuratively speaking at least.

Think “Vagina Monologues”. The problem is that it is yet another thing associated with women, mostly, that is seen as a bad thing. All the negativity adds up, you know.

What I was getting at was that nothing in the dictionary definition gives any indication that it necessarily applies to the whole group or sex. If someone says “all men are pricks” or “all women are cunts” then that seems quite clearly to qualify as insulting all members of those groups – and probably qualifies as misandry or misogyny. But calling some man or some woman, respectively, a prick or a cunt because they were particularly obnoxious? If someone was to, analogously, call me a rapist, would that necessarily lead you to being offended on my behalf, particularly if there was some evidence that I was guilty as charged?

I think you are missing how, even though in your mind it may have nothing at all to do with body parts, it actually does for a great many people, and not just any body part either, but one that is closely associated with women. Being a rapist is a having demonstrated a behavior, it’s not a typical quality of being a person of one sex.

Curious how little that perspective informed actions and words on Pharyngula during the heyday of the porcupine “joke” – and even now. But the point is that insults are used because they hurt someone so that being charitable tends to go by the boards at that juncture.

I wasn’t actually part of that discussion, but I value Pharyngula and since the culture there has changed, I have changed with it. But let’s look at why I don’t think the porcupine joke is problematic at all–it’s ridiculous and absurd. It isn’t something you can do to yourself or would do to yourself (to sit on a porcupine or worse, that is). It’s a form of an over-the-top humorous insult.

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read the threads where it was hashed out to quit doing it. I suppose the worst part about it is that it is vulgar and sadistic, but I don’t think it was used unjustifiably for the most part. And yes, insults hurt. You don’t use them unless you are being ironic or intending to cause pain, and some kinds of insults hurt far more than the target they are intended to hit, and other kinds do much more damage than is intended or ethical.

523 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 8:34 am

@aratina 512

A few final thoughts on this before I go to bed-

“Slash” is an uncommonly used derogatory term for women. The few times I’ve seen it used, it has always had an ugly, explicitly misogynistic undertone. The word “slash” also has some innocuous meanings which the slur is derived from. Nobody would bat an eyelash at hearing the word “slash” in public. There’s even someone named Slash (pseudonymed, anyway). Point is, there’s a related meaning predating its usage as, basically, a euphemism for vagina and a derogatory metonymy for women. Similarly, with “dick,” per eymonline.com:

“fellow, lad, man,” 1550s, rhyming nickname for Rick, short for Richard, one of the commonest English names, it has long been a synonym for “fellow,” and so most of the slang senses are probably very old, but naturally hard to find in the surviving records. The meaning “penis” is attested from 1891 in Farmer’s slang dictionary (possibly British army slang). Meaning “detective” is recorded from 1908, perhaps as a shortened variant of detective.

Maybe I’m being pedantic, though.

I think the question is, “where does the vulgarity of these words originate?” That’s as much a psychological question as an etymological question. I think “cunt” and “twat” (may as well) carry some extra weight of vulgarity, compared to “cock” and “dick”, because of the residue of Victorian attitudes towards women’s sexuality in English-speaking countries. It’s not so much a matter of hatred of women as it is the weird mixture of shame, danger, and sacredness specifically associated with women’s sexuality.

Shouldn’t there be a point where we’re equally comfortable talking about male bits and female bits, and won’t it represent a step towards equality?

Having said all that, I recognize that there are people who use “cunt” and “twat” specifically because it provokes a certain reaction. I hate seeing that every time, and I think I get now why Phil G’s “heads explode” comment bothered you so much. I think it was meant more as a commentary on political correctness than something like… I don’t know… lording his privilege over the women who find “twat” offensive. That’s just my take on his use, though. When it comes to communication, intent is magic. Intent is everything.

In other cases, where some people in our community have used the words “cunt” and “twat” specifically to get a rise out of certain women, let me ask: please, please, please cut it out. It might have been worth the shock value the first few times, or worth letting off the steam, or whatever, but it’s gone well beyond the point of subversive playfulness.

@Dan L.

When you say the dialogue has its ups and downs, that’s still an improvement over the usually situation, which is only downs, and imo is therefore cause for optimism.

And now it’s way later than I thought it was. Thanks for listening/responding.

524 loyalb March 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

“etymonline,” even. dangit.

525 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 8:59 am

loyalb: actually, my “heads explode” comment was referring to the fact that despite saying Louis might be a twat, he is a good person. I could have phrased it better but It was not a commentary about the word “twat”, it was a commentary that I still consider Louis to be a good person, and it’s not something that appears to be common in SJW politics, which seem to paint everything in either black or white.

I hope that clears things up.

526 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

Seems I need to clarify something, so I will. Never let it be known that Pitchguest is not without charity. (Ha!)

To Aratina @ #443:

I said Ophelia had fabricated the slur because she had. You see, the qualifier is in the extra ‘k’ at the end. So I was not wrong. I was not uncharitable. I was looking for uses of the word ‘Rebitchka’ with a ‘k’ and not ‘Rebitcha’ without the ‘k’. So I’m sorry, but that particular slur (with the ‘k’ added) was all Ophelia, I’m afraid.

I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

As for calling Louis a ‘twat’, well that was in response to Phil and obviously a joke. However I don’t really care about words like that, because I know what they mean. On the other hand, you seem to want to look at it very uncharitably and consider it a ‘gendered slur’ which clearly wasn’t the intent. It’s time you stop this faux fainting around these words because you know we don’t mean them in that way and besides, wasn’t there a dispute regarding Dan Fincke’s pledge about how he was trying to censor your language for a more polite alternative? Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing now?

You know, how you wouldn’t be able to call people assholes and idiots anymore, or fucking fucks, or wishing to shove a rotting porcupine up someone’s rectum? Fatty? Trans fatty? On a scale, what is that compared to twat or cunt, or prick or dick? I don’t know. I don’t think I would like to forcefully shove a porcupine up someone’s rectum. I’d much rather call them a wanker. You know, why be clever when you can just be accurate.

527 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 9:03 am

Sally Strange said (#464):

If you can agree that Jack’s interpretation of Esteleth’s statement is wrong, then I will be happy to discuss the ins and outs of the various waves and branches and whatever other metaphors of feminism with you. But if you think that Jack was correct in his interpretation ….

To pick up the thread again, I think there’s some evidence to justify concluding that both your interpretation and Jack’s are somewhat flawed, and bedeviled by various misapprehensions. With the result being somewhat of a “Who’s on First”, or a “The Importance of Being Earnest” comedy of errors. And the point where Esteleth’s comment and subsequent discussion seem to go off the rails is on the question of “The Patriarchy” itself – which both you and Esteleth seem to think has as much substance as block of granite, and as much influence as the law and phenomenon of gravity.

For instance, as an example of what I would call a rather dogmatic – and problematic – perspective on your part, you said earlier (#367):

Characterizing Esteleth’s post as one slagging of men in general just for being men is, well. It’s one of those times when you have to ask, “Lying? Or stupid?” Because there’s really no other reasonable explanation.

Well, one “reasonable explanation” – one possibility – that springs to mind is simply that that abstraction that Esteleth’s argument is predicated on – i.e., the Patriarchy – has far less causal influence than you both seem to want to grant to it. That is, that you are wrong – which you commendably conceded was something that you were open to. But what evidence do you both have that there is anything more to it than an amorphous collection of attitudes and values, that it isn’t an instance of the fallacy of reification (1), of “treating an abstraction as if it were a real thing”? And in which case one might reasonably argue that the superstructure built on top of it – notably Esteleth’s “definition of male and masculine [as] neither female nor feminine” – is equally flawed – castles in the clouds.

But if you insist that there is some substance to that conception, and that the influence of the Patriarchy is as pervasive and as pernicious as she and many other feminists claim it is, then it must logically follow that most men – at least those “damaged” by that Patriarchy – are in fact “ANTI-WOMAN”. Now I don’t know what dictionary she was using, but mine provides the definition (2) for “anti” of “A person who is opposed to something, such as a group, policy, proposal, or practice”. And since the Patriarchy is conceived as something that is supposedly inimical to the best interests of men and women, it would then seem to follow that that “opposition” is equally inimical to women – which might reasonably be construed as all men – at least those who have failed to evade the clutches of the evil Patriarchy – hating all women. Seems like Jack has made a perfectly reasonable inference from the “premises” – most will consider them fantasies at best – to the most logical conclusion.

Yet you and Esteleth seem to be basing your interpretation on a very different connotation to the word “anti” – not at all supported by any dictionary I’ve referred to, and which seems reasonably summarized by doubtthat (#378):

The statement is merely that once a certain behavior has been defined as “feminine,” like sewing or knitting, then society constrains masculinity such that people look down on men wanting to knit or sew. Masculinity, then, is defined by actions that are anti-woman, not partaking of “feminine” activities.

Looks to me like Jack’s interpretation is the more credible one, while yours, Esteleth’s, and doubtthat’s seems predicated on a reification and an unsupported dictionary definition.

1) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)”;
2) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anti”;

528 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 9:07 am

Just to add, I will of course apologize to Michael Nugent about calling someone a ‘twat’ if he wants me to.

529 oolon March 22, 2013 at 9:16 am

@Gurdur

A very serious problem. Until you deal with your culture of abuse, expect no sympathy from outsiders like me. The hypocrisy and opportunism is only all too evident.

I doubt anyone wants sympathy from “outsiders” like you… You are not an outsider but a hypocritical ass who hung out with Franc “Cunt kick” Hoggle and said nothing about his use of misogynistic language.

However you do spend a lot of time trying to prove FtBs is rife with transphobic hate speech based on one instance from Aratina that was accidental and he apologised for. Even if it was not accidental, it was apologised for! But according to you this instance from years ago is “proof” of a “culture of abuse” and hypocrisy. While at the same time avoiding my question about you opinion on transphobic hate speech in general –> do you even think it exists? Or are you using FtB standards to try and beat them in a rhetorical point, because it sure seems like it from here. You have not said what you think of the Slymepit *approved* gender neutral “noun” of “s/h/it” to describe trans people…. This is not an “accident” or apologised for by anyone on the Slymepit – hangers on or the core people. What is you opinion of that Gurder the “impartial outsider” ? Especially as an ex-Slymepitter, I would think you’d be more worried about their “culture of abuse”?

I would also add to Aratinas personal view of you, I “abuse” you on Twitter as well, although in my case its mostly laughing at your opinion that we all “obsess over you and envy” you. When Stephanie wrote her “I object” post in regard to you I thought it was over the top as you seemed a little dim at worst. I didn’t know the history at the time and now its clear you are intellectually dishonest, arguing a point you presumably don’t even believe in to “win” points against ppl you are grinding an axe for. Unless you can give me your view on the pits transphobic slur? I still could be wrong.

BTW… My browser wants to spell check “Slymepit” … The auto-correct is “Self-pity”! Even Chrome understands the pit better than Gurdur and his pals :-)

530 Steersman March 22, 2013 at 9:16 am

Aratina Cage said (#522):

But let’s look at why I don’t think the porcupine joke is problematic at all–it’s ridiculous and absurd. It isn’t something you can do to yourself or would do to yourself (to sit on a porcupine or worse, that is). It’s a form of an over-the-top humorous insult.

Ah, so you’re saying then that your interpretations of what qualifies as an insult and how much hurt is felt are to carry the day? If you had some objective evidence then you might have a case. Otherwise? Looks rather self-serving and hypocritical to me.

Seems to me that if people insist on using insults then they should expect to have them come back at them – and in spades. And to hide behind some claim that some are verboten because of “splash damage” is simply just so much egregious horseshit.

531 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

I’ve published a new post with some reflections on the dialogue so far

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/22/some-more-reflections-on-the-dialogue-so-far/

532 Tessa March 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

Yet you and Esteleth seem to be basing your interpretation on a very different connotation to the word “anti” – not at all supported by any dictionary I’ve referred to, and which seems reasonably summarized by doubtthat (#378):

You were using the wrong definition, that is anti. Without the dash. It is its own word and irrellevant.

Anti- (with a dash as is in the quote by Esteleth):
a prefix meaning “against,” “opposite of,” “antiparticle of,” used in the formation of compound words ( anticline ); used freely in combination with elements of any origin ( antibody; antifreeze; antiknock; antilepton ).
(emphasis mine)

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anti

533 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

Some people have asked for my opinion of people using gendered slurs, or indeed any personally abusive comments about other commenters, in this dialogue.

Can you please voluntarily choose to avoid using such language here?

It will make the whole process much easier for everybody, and more likely to end up with a positive outcome.

534 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

Michael: message received.

535 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 10:15 am

#526 Pitchguest,

I said Ophelia had fabricated the slur because she had. You see, the qualifier is in the extra ‘k’ at the end. So I was not wrong. I was not uncharitable. I was looking for uses of the word ‘Rebitchka’ with a ‘k’ and not ‘Rebitcha’ without the ‘k’. So I’m sorry, but that particular slur (with the ‘k’ added) was all Ophelia, I’m afraid.

I think you could be more charitable there.

Most people would read the spirit of your original claim to be that she fabricated the general phrase, not just a variation on how it was spelled.

And even without the change in spelling, it seems unreasonable to disbelieve Ophelia when she says she read it in threads at ERV.

In any case, Ophelia has asked me to correct it, and I have done so (without mentioning you by name) within this new post about reflections generally on the process so far

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/22/some-more-reflections-on-the-dialogue-so-far/

536 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 10:32 am

Oh, and I will offer my apologies to Louis, even if he didn’t ask for it. This was not the right venue to use that word. Had I known from the start that it was going to be an issue, I would have used another word entirely.

Well, I guess I at a strict minimum owe him a pint and lunch.

537 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

#535 Michael

Yes. I have no reason to ‘disbelieve’ Ophelia when she says she’s seen it on ERV’s threads, but the fact remains that I was looking for instances of the term ‘Rebitchka’ with a ‘k’. Which, whether you like it or not, WAS fabricated by Ophelia.

Had I known to omit the ‘k’ then I would have found what Aratina’s talking about in the first result on Google. So again, I wasn’t being uncharitable. She didn’t see the term ‘Rebitchka‘ on ERV, she saw ‘Rebitcha’. Simple as that.

Yes, I’ll dial back the ‘gendered slurs’ (even though I don’t mean them in that way). Got it.

538 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 11:04 am

Pitchguest,

In that context, would you think it is fairer to suggest that Ophelia might have misread it, or misremembered it, rather than that she fabricated it?

539 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

#538 Michael,

Well it doesn’t matter if she misremembered it or not, does it?

I was specifically looking for instances of ‘Rebitchka’. I found them and I went great lengths to not misrepresent its use. I wasn’t looking for ‘Rebitcha’. So is it really on me when I said she fabricated the phrase? I mean, ironically she did, embellishing the phrase with a letter. But nevermind. Technically I’m right, but I don’t want to drag it on longer than it has to. Consider it buried.

540 magicthighs March 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

@Jack (457)

Even though Sally Strange mentions the deal with inclusivity in post 465, I’ll reply to your post.

“No one that I am aware of is asking for FtB to change one bit”

I never suggested that that was the case in my post.

“My ‘inclusion’ and ‘open’ comments are not related to that. They are related to ideas allowed within that forum.”

I find that odd, since inclusion normally relates to people.

“However FtB insists on accepting a certain brand of feminism.”

What do you mean they insist on accepting it? Some FTBers promote their views on feminism, sure, but I haven’t seen any of them say you have to agree.

“Therefore it is closed to certain atheists and non inclusive of those who do not share their views”
&
“It is not inclusive of the whole community as not everyone shares its particular philosophy”

So, because there’s a general consensus or particular philosophy on FTB it is uninviting to people who disagree with them?
Don’t you think the same thing goes for the Slymepit? It is closed to certain people who object to childish name-calling, photoshopping pictures of people you don’t like, and calling women “cunt”, and for people who just don’t agree that an unmoderated forum creates a welcoming environment suitable for them to participate.
Again, Sally Strange explains that quite well in her post.

“If it is to be expected that the whole community is required to follow a particular brand of feminism then that forum is reaching beyond its remit”

I haven’t seen anyone on FTB claim that the whole community is required to follow their particular brand of feminism. In fact, Atheism+ was started precisely because some people in the community don’t agree with focusing on social justice issues, and some people thought it would be a great idea to create a space where people could safely do so. That sounds to me to be the exact opposite of requiring others to follow you.

541 magicthighs March 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

@Gurdur (482)

Did you even read Michael Nugent’s reply at post 99?

542 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Magicthighs #540:

There might be a problem in communication here. I see a “welcoming environment” as a place where you are welcome to state your opinions without the threat of getting edited, moderated, or banned on a whim. Michael’s blog is a good exemple of this, and whether you agree with it or not, so is the Slymepit.

Maybe you were thinking of a “safe space”, which is something completely different. The Slymepit is a welcoming environment, in that you are free to post there (within the limits of the law), but it certainly is not a safe space. Just like Pharyngula, for exemple, is certainly not a safe space for creationists. Nor a very welcoming one, when you think about it.

You said:

“I haven’t seen anyone on FTB claim that the whole community is required to follow their particular brand of feminism. In fact, Atheism+ was started precisely because some people in the community don’t agree with focusing on social justice issues, and some people thought it would be a great idea to create a space where people could safely do so. That sounds to me to be the exact opposite of requiring others to follow you.”

The problem is, being labelled a “bad person” by a group only because said person disagrees with some political points made by the group is a form of requirement to follow the group.

It wouldn’t be a problem for me at all. But I do identify as an Atheist, and this “Atheism +” label will lump me with these people. And now I’m going to be very honest and maybe break Michael’s rules of engagement a bit, but what I’ve read at A+ is borderfringe ramblings.

I don’t want to be associated with these people just because I’m an Atheist. Just as I suppose you don’t want to be associated with the people at the Slymepit just because you’re an Atheist. But at least, the Pit didn’t highjack the term “Atheism”, so you should be safe.

Anyway, if you don’t mind, I will take this to Michael’s new post (the load time on this one is starting to be veeeeerry long).

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/22/some-more-reflections-on-the-dialogue-so-far/

543 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I’ve written a new post: how do we evaluate good and bad and hurtful statements?

It is a response to some questions that Justicar asked me earlier in this discussion, about what I meant by saying that certain comments were hurtful.

http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/22/how-do-we-evaluate-good-and-bad-and-hurtful-statements-a-response-to-justicar/

544 oolon March 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm

@pitchguest, I said you’d not apologise, do I win the Randi psychic challenge? Probably not because every time I’ve seen you online and someone points out you are spreading a lie you at best drop it with a grudging comment. You assert and run seemingly in the hope of getting a few hits on your target.

Why do you dislike Ophelia so much? Its weird as I cannot even remember you commenting at her blog… Even if all your little instances of when she “used” a slur or misspoke were true what does that even prove?

545 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 1:48 pm

oolon, you spoke too soon.

The thing is, we both made a mistake and we (Ophelia and I) should both acknowledge it.

It’s funny you should wonder why I “dislike her so much”, though, because I don’t, and it’s funny because I don’t remember seeing you there either. Funny how that works. Except where I try to make her own up to her mistakes, you try to excuse them. So I guess my equally underhanded question would be to you, why do you like her so much?

And what does proving that she used a slur or misspoke “prove”? Really, oolon? Well, for one, it would “prove” she was being disingenuous. It would “prove” she wasn’t telling the truth. It would “prove” she wasn’t being very charitable. Honestly, what kind of question is that? “What would it prove?” Jesus Christ. Get a grip, mate.

546 oolon March 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Cognitive dissonance that hurts… This is an apology in PitchGuests world

So maybe we should just bury the whole thing by saying that both of us made a mistake and leave it at that? Yeah. Sounds good to me.

…. Wow.

I don’t know Ophelia, I like her writing as its everything mine is not, succinct and to the point :-)

I excuse a lot of mistakes, I make them all the while. I also think that anyone that is followed obsessively would make miss-steps. I’ve not seen a single one from the pit that sticks -> apart from the Nazi-TAM one that she apologised for. So I *respect* her all the more… Apologising when you make a mistake is a good trait, all the more so when there is a slavering horde of pittizens crowing about it. Of course you and the other pittizens never assert she likened TAM to Nazi Germany when you know she acknowledged it to be a mistake? Newp…

I dislike the ultra lack of charity exhibited by you and the other Pittizens in finding “mistakes” … I’d dislike it from FtBs, but they usually have obvious lies and insults to complain about so its hard to criticise.

Again what does it prove? She has principles and argues for them, you claim to have issues with these, *not* her. You don’t dislike *her*, just her ideas. But all the mistakes and miss-steps prove is that she is somehow flawed not her arguments and principles. Right?

So what are you tying to prove PitchGuest?

547 Michael Nugent March 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

#544 oolon,

Can you please withdraw the allegation that Pitchguest was spreading a lie? That is attributing malign motivation based on your personal speculations.

And can you please not post comments that contribute nothing other than a personal attack on another participant in our dialogue?

Edit: #546 oolon,

Pitchguest’s apology was explicit:

I’m sorry, Ophelia, for being uncharitable.

548 Remick March 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

@ Doubtthat 436.

You said …..

“As I’ve said from the outset, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and as long as you aren’t actively trying to thwart feminist goals (however loosely described) we can probably coexist in perfect harmony.”

What you have refused to address is that combining Feminism with Atheism can actually harm Atheist goals. This whole notion of “replacing” religion. What needs to be replaced? Get rid of a bad institution and remove ignorant superstition from the thought process of billions of people. It’s absence would be the “replacement”. It’s absence is already a large feminist goal.

Though, I think we likely agree on far more than we disagree. Again, we are discussing tactics more than goals.

549 Pitchguest March 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

#547

Cheers.

550 A Hermit March 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Steersman March 22, 2013 at 7:26 am

However, more particularly, A Hermit seems not to realize that those feminists “we” disagree with are not excluded – virtually all are entitled to present their cases if they so desire. I certainly think that banning is decidedly counterproductive ….

Except that Jack has clearly stated that the goal of the Slymepit is to get what he considers to be “radical” feminism out of the A/S movement.

That exclusion isn’t accomplished by blocking people from the forum, but it is pursued through a campaign of mockery, insults and even harassment. Much of it gender based.

You say everyone is entitled to post in the `pit, but why, for example, would a woman who is frequently referred to in that forum as “[vulgar term deleted]” want to even try to have a conversation there? Is it not reasonable for her to expect that she won’t exactly get a fair hearing for her ideas in that environment?

551 magicthighs March 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

@A Hermit #550

That exclusion isn’t accomplished by blocking people from the forum, but it is pursued through a campaign of mockery, insults and even harassment. Much of it gender based.

Exactly. This is why I don’t understand how they can call the Slymepit inclusive despite the fact that they call someone a “[vulgar term deleted]”, while saying Atheism+ is exclusive because they call you “a bad person” when you don’t agree with them.

552 magicthighs March 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

For the record, I don’t agree that people are called “bad persons” for not wanting to be a part of Atheism+. Richard Carrier was the only one to voice that opinion on FTB if I recall correctly, and he was called out for it, and later retracted his statement. Others pretty much said it was fine if you didn’t want to be a part of the movement.

553 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

@Remick 548

What you have refused to address is that combining Feminism with Atheism can actually harm Atheist goals.

I’ll grant you that this is hypothetically the case. I don’t see how, you’ll have to provide an example, but I’m granting that position for the purpose of argument.

If that’s the case, I will be going to the feminist side. Social justice issues are more important to me (again, they don’t have to be that for everyone, though I advocate that it be) than some inchoate “movement” based on non-belief.

I suppose there could be some scenario where feminist goals would conflict with not atheism, but the scientific/Enlightenment philosophy ideology that we both want to be the positive position. I have yet to encounter that conflict on a fundamental level, and general when people claim feminists are dogmatic and irrational, they can’t support it, as the thread on rape has proven.

This whole notion of “replacing” religion. What needs to be replaced? Get rid of a bad institution and remove ignorant superstition from the thought process of billions of people. It’s absence would be the “replacement”. It’s absence is already a large feminist goal.

I don’t know how to say this any other way. The Soviet Union eliminated the Church and advocated a positive position that was horrible to women and everyone else.

Karl Rove is an atheist and should his ideology become ascendent in the wake of religion disappearing, that would be very bad for science and women’s issues.

The Albanian government launched a violent form of state atheism after WWII, murdering believers, destroying churches and temples, and humiliating clergy. I’m certain that no one here subscribes to that form of atheism.

Again, atheism is a non-belief that implies absolutely nothing in the way of positive positions. Now, within the context of a society, the mere act of advocating atheism can be intensely political, but that’s a particular instantiation of non-belief.

You and I want to subvert the influence of religion and replace it with a scientific rationalism.

I think part of that scientific rationalism involves advocating for women’s issues, you don’t. That’s our disagreement, not anything about the “nature of atheism” or some grand, conceptual matter.

There are libertarian atheists who think the insane gibberish known as Austrian Economics is a scientific, rational position. I disagree with them. All of this is perfectly fine, unless you’re demanding that people set aside important positions to congeal in some community based on non-belief.

554 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

@527 Steersman

Pathetic. I will let the previous work stand.

I am honestly astonished that people are working that hard to try and justify something so honestly silly. I am content to leave it to any reader to determine for themselves whose position is the more cogent.

555 Remick March 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm

@ doubtthat.

The idea, which I think would be obvious, is that once religion is stripped away, we can have open conversations regarding any number of subjects without the taint of superstition. Isn’t that what you want? Wouldn’t that be a boon for Feminism and Equality in general?

You keep mentioning the soviet union, and now bring up Albania. Removal of religion was done for control, this isn’t a “form” or atheism, and the actual beliefs of those in charge are irrelevant. They made a tactical political decision, with the design of controlling a populace. These decisions were not made because of atheism.

As to Karl Rove. He is a greedy person. What does him being an atheist have to do with anything?

Being an Atheist doesn’t automatically make you a better person. Why should being an Atheist change who Karl Rove is as a person? In some ways he is a perfect example. He is an atheist, yet he manipulates the religious in order to win elections (for others)and get huge paydays for himself.

As Hitchens has said, Bad people will do bad things, good people will do good things, but to get good people to do bad things, you need religion.

That is all I am trying to say, if you take a way a tool of manipulation and control. You make it harder for bad people to convince/trick good people into doing bad things or supporting bigotry. You remove one of the brick walls. Imagine that there was no Leviticus, or whatever passage they try to cite for justification for hating homosexual people. Imagine they never had that indoctrination at all, would they even hate homosexual people then?

Perhaps you are just far too cynical, but repeatedly showing that bad people can be bad, even if they are atheists is proof of nothing.

556 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Couldn’t leave it.

With regard to Steersman, and this same thing happened on the other thread, the most annoying, argumentatively useless tactic of the lengthy, glib babbler is to resort to the definition. This isn’t necessarily a bad impulse, and certainly it has greatly improved many eighth grade essays, but what makes it malicious in this case is that people skim though the options and find the most self-serving definition.

So, to prove that “anti-woman,” meaning “defined in opposition to traditionally feminine activities, characteristics,” (obvious to all but those twisted by political objection), actually means “hatred of women,” Steersman offers the following amidst a sea of aimless babble:

Now I don’t know what dictionary she was using, but mine provides the definition (2) for “anti” of “A person who is opposed to something, such as a group, policy, proposal, or practice”.

First, of course, it must be pointed out that this definition is perfectly consistent with the reading I described and only supports the Jack-Steersman pernicious manipulation is you assume that “opposed to” means “hatred of.” I’m anti-Miami Heat in that I would prefer someone else win, this in no way implies “hatred” of the team or any player.

So already we’ve descended into a bizarre morass of ridiculous obfuscation just to rationalize an obviously silly point, but let’s analyze the word “anti” using this magical dictionary. We could use the following:

“opposite, or contrary in essential respects”
“situated opposite”

Of course, that would make too much sense as that is clearly what was meant. All men aren’t “women haters,” the scope of their identity in the modern world is constrained by an societal condemnation of partaking in “female” activities. It is opposite to, contrary to in essential respects, not HATING of women.

To be clear, here was Jack’s statement at 348:

But there was a post the other day on FtB which basically says all men are women haters by definition.

“Anti” can be used to indicate hate, but the mere use of the word, even as Steersman’s poor faith effort at cherry-picking a dictionary shows, does not automatically indicate such. You have to read the rest of the passage, and it’s freakin’ obvious.

Why do you persist in defending this nonsense? This is a problem right here. People can’t admit even the most obvious of mistakes if their politics demand group unity. This is charge often thrown at feminists, but holy shit, that must be projection as what’s going on here is incredible.

557 oolon March 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm

@Michael, Oops PitchGuest linked to his comment after the apology so I missed this -> “I’m sorry, Ophelia, for being uncharitable. Now if you can offer an apology for embellishing with a letter and making me look like an idiot, I would appreciate that.”

So I lost my bet about PitchGuest, sorry PG! Maybe Michael is doing some good as that is an unexpected first.

So PG, why do you feel the need to find these examples and interpret them charitably or otherwise? What do they prove? You didn’t address that yet, probably cos I missed your apology in #546 as well… In fact no one has explained what these instances prove exactly?

558 doubtthat March 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

@Remick

The idea, which I think would be obvious, is that once religion is stripped away, we can have open conversations regarding any number of subjects without the taint of superstition. Isn’t that what you want? Wouldn’t that be a boon for Feminism and Equality in general?

Yes, that is more or less generally true, but it’s specifically true in the United States and most Western nations.

What is not true, and I don’t know any other way of saying this, is that simply eliminating religion will be sufficient to achieve all of your policy goals.

The mistake you are making lies in assuming the default anti-religion position is scientific rationalism. It isn’t. That’s why you and I and everyone who cares about these issues spends roughly equal time condemning religious ignorance and arguing for scientific rationalism.

You have somehow bundled that process into one grand event known as “atheism.” That’s not the case as atheists with a wide range of views throughout history prove. For example, libertarianism is a much more dangerous ideology that the sort of weak religiosity we see among Democratic politicians. If you gave me a choice between all atheist politicians who are libertarians and all god-botherers who are Democrats, I wouldn’t have to pause for a millisecond to determine my side.

You keep mentioning the soviet union, and now bring up Albania. Removal of religion was done for control, this isn’t a “form” or atheism, and the actual beliefs of those in charge are irrelevant. They made a tactical political decision, with the design of controlling a populace. These decisions were not made because of atheism.

I never said they made those decisions because of atheism, I am pointing out that simply being anti-religious will not necessarily result in the policy goals you prefer. Albania and the Soviet Union are examples of that. Extreme examples. Consider alt-med atheists in this country as a less severe example. They disbelieve in god, but have adopted a bizarre, psuedoscientific ideology. We don’t want that any more than we want god-bothering.

As to Karl Rove. He is a greedy person. What does him being an atheist have to do with anything?

It points out, once again, that merely being an atheist is not sufficient to attain policy goals. If the country was only atheist Karl Roves, we would be worse off than the current situation that involves a lot of religious gibberish.

As Hitchens has said, Bad people will do bad things, good people will do good things, but to get good people to do bad things, you need religion.

That’s clever, and I’ve used it before, but it isn’t true. Just consider the actions of our soldiers in Iraq. It is a feature of human psychology, religion being a subset of the things in our head, that we can convince decent people to do terrible things by advancing a perverse group morality. If you think every torturer is a sadist, you would be deeply incorrect. People thinking they were doing a great service to mankind did absolutely terrible things over the last decade.

559 SallyStrange March 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

So, basically, no, Steersman can’t agree that Jack was objectively wrong in claiming that Esteleth’s post was an example of a feminist claiming that all men hate women.

So. No possible discussion there. Steersman is wrong; Jack is wrong; neither can admit it. I leave it to the readers to speculate on why that is.

560 Eu March 22, 2013 at 5:03 pm

magicthighs, when people say that people are called bad for not wanting to be a part of Atheism+, what they mean is the reason – that you do not like the movement… there are other people that go “eh, I simply don’t want to be, I like to do my own thing/have my own group thing going on.” That’s not what’s meant by that. It’s clear people are bad for not liking the movement, though.

561 Eristae March 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm

This conversation has gotten so weird. It’s all over the place.

562 Eristae March 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

@SallyStrange I actually think that the part of Esteleth’s post that you quoted in 366 (haven’t seen the whole thing) is brilliant, insightful, and explanatory. It helps me to understand why feminists face so much push back some of the time. Because femininity is viewed as bad, men may seek to defend themselves from being labeled as “bad” by not allowing women into their spaces. Maybe this should have occurred to me, but it did not; I always wondered why they were being so nasty to women when they (by virtue of their own words) wanted to get laid. Why run women off if you want to have sex? Answer: because it’s more important to not be associated with femininity than it is to get laid. Self-defense vs pleasure. Fascinating.

563 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Steersman:

Ah, so you’re saying then that your interpretations of what qualifies as an insult and how much hurt is felt are to carry the day?

If you (the general you) care about the person or people being hurt by the insult, especially if they are not the intended recipients, yes.

If you had some objective evidence then you might have a case. Otherwise? Looks rather self-serving and hypocritical to me.

Only if you ignore the complaints of the people you aren’t intending to hurt. I mean, you could always brush them all off, and sometimes you have to (think Ricky Gervais–he has to brush off thousands if not millions when he makes jokes about Christianity). And if you are roasting the person, then even jokes that would normally deeply hurtful would be acceptable. So you also have to consider the context in deciding how much empathy you ought to have.

Seems to me that if people insist on using insults then they should expect to have them come back at them – and in spades.

Even with insults that are what I call slurs that have a dehumanizing impact on their targets and others not even involved? I think we ought to consider the amount of damage and ask if it is ethical. Take Michael Richards’ (Kramer’s) n-word rant as an example of doing so much damage in response to hecklers that you end up ruining your own life.

And to hide behind some claim that some are verboten because of “splash damage” is simply just so much egregious horseshit.

All I’m asking is that there be levels of incivility. That there be considerations even with insults that take the potential damage a particular insult might do into account. Even if you were confronted with the worst character ever in the history of humanity, you might not want to use a slur to insult her. You might, instead, use an insult that is weighty but will not have much or any splash damage in such a case, but you may not mind dehumanizing that person. There are a lot of variables at play here, from my perspective.

564 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm

loyalb:

“Slash” is an uncommonly used derogatory term for women. The few times I’ve seen it used, it has always had an ugly, explicitly misogynistic undertone. The word “slash” also has some innocuous meanings which the slur is derived from. Nobody would bat an eyelash at hearing the word “slash” in public. There’s even someone named Slash (pseudonymed, anyway). Point is, there’s a related meaning predating its usage as, basically, a euphemism for vagina and a derogatory metonymy for women. Similarly, with “dick,” per eymonline.com:

I’m afraid you are stretching this too far. If, for example, there was a woman you didn’t like named “Sasha” and you modified her name to “Slasha” as an insult, I think hardly anyone would get it. “Slash” is much more readily understood to mean cutting something quickly with a sweeping motion. As for “slash” being used as a synonym for a body part or women, I had no idea about that until you told me just now, and I feel another perfectly fine word has been trashed again.

I think “cunt” and “twat” (may as well) carry some extra weight of vulgarity, compared to “cock” and “dick”, because of the residue of Victorian attitudes towards women’s sexuality in English-speaking countries. It’s not so much a matter of hatred of women as it is the weird mixture of shame, danger, and sacredness specifically associated with women’s sexuality.

OK, but please note that by using those words as insults, you are simply perpetuating the Victorian attitude that finds women’s sexuality shameful, abhorrent, dangerous, etc. As I said, using them isn’t the problem. The problem is using them as words that are meant to evoke damage in the recipient and the fact that using them that way also causes damage to people who are not the recipient.

Shouldn’t there be a point where we’re equally comfortable talking about male bits and female bits, and won’t it represent a step towards equality?

Of course! I don’t think that has ever been a question in this whole rift. That discussion is unrelated to the usage of slurs, isn’t it?

When it comes to communication, intent is magic. Intent is everything.

Not really. Agreement is everything. If both sides don’t agree on what a word or a phrase or an even greater linguistic construct means, then communication is hampered. If the speaker says something intended to mean “x” and the recipient and bystanders hear “y”, then who is at fault? There are so many reasons why the speaker could have been misunderstood. And suppose “y” is an offensive slur to the recipients and some bystanders, what then?

(Side track: The slur that sparked much of this was not intended to be meant nicely to the person it was aimed at in any possible way I can think of, so the whole intent discussion is separate from that as an issue.)

565 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm

“(Side track: The slur that sparked much of this was not intended to be meant nicely to the person it was aimed at in any possible way I can think of, so the whole intent discussion is separate from that as an issue.)”

Citation seriously needed! I am the one who used the “slur”, so I am the one who knows what I intended by using it. And if the context of my comment and subsequents didn’t get you to understand I think very kindly of Louis and would not insult to hurt, then we have a problem.

566 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Pitchguest:

I said Ophelia had fabricated the slur because she had. You see, the qualifier is in the extra ‘k’ at the end. So I was not wrong. I was not uncharitable. I was looking for uses of the word ‘Rebitchka’ with a ‘k’ and not ‘Rebitcha’ without the ‘k’. So I’m sorry, but that particular slur (with the ‘k’ added) was all Ophelia, I’m afraid.

But you didn’t know about the “k” being extraneous until I started pointing that out to everyone. I am glad that you now understand your mistake was to assume that Ophelia never makes typos and/or never misremembers how a word is spelled. I really wish you would be more charitable to her. You have a history of saying things about her that were your misunderstandings, your mistakes. You have done the same to me before, too (I did not say “fuck” on that thread at Edwin Kagin’s, for instance). If you would only start being more charitable to others, they might actually be more open to hearing your thoughts.

As for calling Louis a ‘twat’, well that was in response to Phil and obviously a joke. However I don’t really care about words like that, because I know what they mean. On the other hand, you seem to want to look at it very uncharitably and consider it a ‘gendered slur’ which clearly wasn’t the intent.

So, instead of testing the waters by seeing if you could get away with calling someone at Pharyngula a “twat” on what is supposed to be neutral ground, you were actually joking privately with Phil and didn’t realize that everyone can read your words? I’m still at a loss for how that word when used the way you used it toward someone you are not friends with could be taken as anything but a slur, however commonly it is said. I can understand Phil’s friendly banter with Louis if they are indeed friends, but unless you are also Louis’s friend, then it seems to me like you should have opted not to say it.

It’s time you stop this faux fainting around these words because you know we don’t mean them in that way

I’m not fainting and I’m not being fake. I consider that word when used that way to be a slur. I’d rather it wasn’t used that way. It would be great if I could get you to understand that if you are going to use that word that way, it will first of all reflect badly on you in some circles, it could possibly hurt people even though you don’t intend to hurt them, some places might moderate you language or silence you if you use that word that way, and if you are going to call my friends that as an insult then I am not going to want to associate with you.

wasn’t there a dispute regarding Dan Fincke’s pledge about how he was trying to censor your language for a more polite alternative? Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing now?

Yes and no. There was a dispute about Dan’s civility pledge, but we are all in agreement that slurs are words that we ought to self-censor.

You know, how you wouldn’t be able to call people assholes and idiots anymore, or fucking fucks, or wishing to shove a rotting porcupine up someone’s rectum? Fatty? Trans fatty?

I don’t think you are being charitable again. Please find a way to address these issues charitably or I don’t think I will be discussing them with you further.

On a scale, what is that compared to twat or cunt, or prick or dick? I don’t know. I don’t think I would like to forcefully shove a porcupine up someone’s rectum. I’d much rather call them a wanker. You know, why be clever when you can just be accurate.

I don’t know who you are even talking to anymore. You have shredded charity to pieces by writing that. I don’t think I should have to respond to a Gish Gallop like this just to correct you. It’s not worth my time or effort. In fact, you are the one who pulled out the list I compiled that debunked Philip Jr.’s identical claims about Pharyngula, claims that were all found to be wanting when I gathered them up into a convenient list. If you are Philip Jr. and have a grudge against Pharyngula to this day over being shown to be wrong and believing Wally Smith, then I wish you would be forthright about it. Otherwise, those things are in the past and I wish you would refrain from bringing them up again or at least be accurate in your claims and charitable to all involved.

567 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Pitchguest:

it doesn’t matter if she misremembered it or not, does it?

Yes, it does matter a great deal. She wrote that she had read it being used by slimepitters. The charitable thing to do would be to believe her given that people at the slimepit were taking cheap shots at that person by merging slurs into her name. And why assume she was making it up? What reason would she have had to do that?

I was specifically looking for instances of ‘Rebitchka’. I found them and I went great lengths to not misrepresent its use. I wasn’t looking for ‘Rebitcha’. So is it really on me when I said she fabricated the phrase? I mean, ironically she did, embellishing the phrase with a letter. But nevermind. Technically I’m right, but I don’t want to drag it on longer than it has to. Consider it buried.

Well, you’re not technically right unless you are being uncharitable. Let me make this easier for you to understand. The person whose name was being mocked with slurs has a “ka” sound her name. The anonymous person who turned her first name into a slur dropped the “ka”. When it was remembered, the “ka” was put back in. See? Simple. It isn’t a big deal at all or mysterious at all.

568 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Phil_Giordana_FCD:

Citation seriously needed! I am the one who used the “slur”, so I am the one who knows what I intended by using it. And if the context of my comment and subsequents didn’t get you to understand I think very kindly of Louis and would not insult to hurt, then we have a problem.

Phil, I was talking about the slur that sparked the slimepit, though you used it up there, too. It’s the same slur. The person who merged that slur into the name of the other person was not friends in any way with her. That person’s intent was crystal clear. Your intent was not since Louis isn’t here to respond to you so you are relying on people knowing you two are friends, which I did not know.

569 Eu March 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I only ever saw Rebitchka. Rebitcha sounds dumb.

570 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 22, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Aratina: #568: So if I said “Louis might be an earlobe (see SJWs heads explode), but he’s a good person”, you’d still think I’m trying to insult Louis?

No. I’m not. I am, however, pointing fingers at Social Justice Warriors, as a byway of my initial comment (which was, if you remember, to stand for a friend, Louis), for their limited view of “with us or against us”.

Louis and I might not be the Romeo and Juliet (or Maria and Tony, depending on your pop-culture) of the A/S community, but we understand each other’s positions. Nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. And a pint!

Less Black or White, more Shades of Gray, and I think we’d all be fine. More humour will probably help, as well. No slurs needed, just wit. And I’m almost sure i can manage that. Let’s play fair and be a bit more generous to each others, yes?

571 Aratina Cage March 22, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Phil_Giordana_FCD:

So if I said “Louis might be an earlobe (see SJWs heads explode), but he’s a good person”, you’d still think I’m trying to insult Louis?

Yes. “Earlobe” would also add an extra dose of snark to the part about the SJW’s (that they have really thin skin, for example). Sometimes it is difficult to tell if insults ostensibly made in jest are wanted or not wanted by their intended target. Since Louis was not here to respond accordingly, I really couldn’t tell, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell no matter if you called him an earlobe or anything else. However, I’m not really bothered by an insult (other than this being a neutral forum). I am bothered by an insult that is delivered through a slur.

Louis and I might not be the Romeo and Juliet (or Maria and Tony, depending on your pop-culture) of the A/S community, but we understand each other’s positions. Nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree. And a pint!

Thanks for letting me know. I have a question for you then since you apparently know Louis in person, I wonder if you have noticed that his humor is absurd and ridiculous but that he does not use slurs (at least not on Pharyngula, and if he had, he would have probably been called on it). How would his brand of humor be improved in any way by resorting to slurs?

Less Black or White, more Shades of Gray, and I think we’d all be fine. More humour will probably help, as well. No slurs needed, just wit. And I’m almost sure i can manage that. Let’s play fair and be a bit more generous to each others, yes?

Great! I don’t see anything wrong with that. :)

572 windy March 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

@508 Russell Blackford:

Indeed, what pissed us off about the spurious Tom Johnson story was the claim that anti-accommodationism, such as displayed by Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins, leads to rudeness and nastiness in real life. The story was used by Chris Mooney as Exhibit A for such a claim.

That’s exactly the point, reasoned critiques like Coyne’s got lumped together with rude and insulting ones. I’m pretty sure Skepsheik isn’t arguing that anti-accommodationism was just about rudeness and personal attacks. However, people like Dawkins and Coyne are frequently perceived as unnecessarily strident and nasty, yet we seem to be in agreement that they don’t need to temper their language in order to protect the public image of atheism. That doesn’t mean we must accept an “anything goes” approach, but I don’t think the line is as clear as you’re implying here.

Anyone who thought that they were defending “anti-accommodationism” in arguing in favour of nastiness and personal attacks misunderstood what anti-accommodationism was in the minds of the leading anti-accommodationists, and what we were trying to convey and achieve. I should only speak for myself here, but I think that bigger players on the anti-accommodationism side, such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne, would agree with much or most of what I’ve written above.

Would you include PZ Myers among the “leading anti-accommodationists”?

And again, none of this is to deny that actual anti-accommodationist thinkers, such as me, sometimes lost tempers or engaged in satire or personal attacks, or whatever. Doubtless that happened from time to time. Some of it may have been relatively gentle satire that was justified (I think that satire has its place).

Is satire only justified if it’s “relatively gentle”?

573 loyalb March 23, 2013 at 6:40 am

@aratina

OK, but please note that by using those words as insults, you are simply perpetuating the Victorian attitude that finds women’s sexuality shameful, abhorrent, dangerous, etc. As I said, using them isn’t the problem. The problem is using them as words that are meant to evoke damage in the recipient and the fact that using them that way also causes damage to people who are not the recipient.

This is really the heart of my disagreement with you. How do we get over the last vestiges of Victorian attitudes by following Victorian mores? That makes no sense to me. I’ll admit that there are people who use the word “cunt” as a weapon for shaming women, but it’s the words they use around it and their attitude that make the difference. The word itself is just a different way of calling someone an asshole.

Is there ever a situation that warrants calling a man a dick? I think yes, although the situations should be rare. Sometimes you need emotionally charged words to let people know how you really feel. If so, what happens in the same situation, but it’s a woman? Do we call her a dick, too, since cunt is out of bounds? That hardly seems fair, or particularly helpful to women. It just perpetuates several unflattering stereotypes of women (and, to a lesser extent, of men).

***
Slurs of all kinds have been abused on both sides simply for the sake of being hurtful.

If you want to propose a moratorium on arguably hateful language of all kinds in A/S discussions until things calm down, I would go along with that.

574 Russell Blackford March 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

Windy, I’m not sure that you’re really disagreeing with anything I actually think as opposed to what I may have been able to articulate. I don’t think the line is clear – as so often, there are grey areas. What you wrote sounds about right to me.

On your question of whether satire is only justified if it’s relatively gentle… Hmmm, good question. It obviously depends on the target. But if you’re making fun of the views or attitudes of people whom you otherwise regard as good people, trying to bring out what you regard as the absurdity of those views or attitudes, I do think you should be relatively gentle and good-humoured about it.

IMO, Richard and Jerry tend to get it about right. As you say, they are (often) made out to be much harsher than they actually are. Both of them care about nuance and civility, and I think some people who read Richard’s work are (metaphorically) deaf to its style of humour and its subtleties of tone.

I’m not sure what’s behind your question about PZ Myers, but no, it had never even occurred to me that anyone would regard him as a leading anti-accommodationist. But perhaps some did – I don’t know.

575 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Aratina, I was going to agree with your Victoria comment… til I found out it was about the word cunt. I thought it was about what makes sense – the words “Slut” and “Whore” THOSE are sexuality shaming words. Where on earth do they replace those with cunt?

576 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Woo the Destroyer:

Aratina, I was going to agree with your Victoria comment… til I found out it was about the word cunt.

I think that was loyalb who linked those two things together?

I thought it was about what makes sense – the words “Slut” and “Whore” THOSE are sexuality shaming words. Where on earth do they replace those with cunt?

I thought it was more about “things that women do or have regarding sexuality”.

577 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Okay, Aratina, you can whine about words that also represent genitalia, just remember that dick also falls into that category.

As for “It” stuff:

“PZ Myers wrote:The Bovarchist slyme has been scraped off my shoe and deposited in the lymepit, where it belongs.”

I wish this guy would make up his mind.

578 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Called it for making a post that makes sense eh? What should I call him for the craazy shit he posts… I’ll stick with it. It it is. There we go PZ 😛 No more male pronouns for you.

579 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

loyalb:

This is really the heart of my disagreement with you. How do we get over the last vestiges of Victorian attitudes by following Victorian mores?

I think the key there is to realize that using those words in that way reinforces a negative connotation onto the things they are metaphors for. By using them as insults, you are likening the things they refer to as “things I don’t like”. So using them as insults does not easily lead to the end of the sort of Victorian morality you speak of. (I talk about it more below, but I think using them as insults can remove them from the status of slur–through mass desensitization and immense damage.)

That makes no sense to me. I’ll admit that there are people who use the word “cunt” as a weapon for shaming women, but it’s the words they use around it and their attitude that make the difference. The word itself is just a different way of calling someone an asshole.

I’m not saying that the slimepit method couldn’t work. In one of the Pharyngula threads where this was fought out very harshly, one of the commenters described the silmepit method as the one that would do the greatest damage to reach the goal of those words being just as harmless as “asshole”. Any Batman fans might remember Alfred describing the way they caught the elusory Ruby Bandit hiding in the forest was to burn the whole forest down. That is what I see as the slimepit ethos.

But why is it like that? Because large numbers of unintended recipients do experience negative thoughts and feelings when those words are used as insults and because those insults target physical aspects of a person that they have no control over. Having certain body parts or skin color or eye color or sexual feelings isn’t the same as being ignorant or meddlesome or spiteful or god-delusional, etc.

So, if the slimepit were to prevail and all of those slurs came into common usage, the end goal might be the same but the casualties along the way will be much greater.

Is there ever a situation that warrants calling a man a dick? I think yes, although the situations should be rare. Sometimes you need emotionally charged words to let people know how you really feel. If so, what happens in the same situation, but it’s a woman? Do we call her a dick, too, since cunt is out of bounds? That hardly seems fair, or particularly helpful to women. It just perpetuates several unflattering stereotypes of women (and, to a lesser extent, of men).

One of the problems there is that being a dick can be something to be proud of. It isn’t really a slur in common usage among all English-speaking societies AFAIK, unlike “cunt”. Look, the whole reason this is even an issue isn’t because you can’t sit down with a person and get them to see that your usage of “cunt” as an insult isn’t meant to be degrading to women–you can. The reason it is an issue is that using slurs as insults is most likely going to create an unwelcoming atmosphere for women who are interested in becoming involved in some atheist community. It’s more about the big picture of how to function than whether or not we can build no-holds-barred free speech zones (like the Slymepit forum).

If you want to propose a moratorium on arguably hateful language of all kinds in A/S discussions until things calm down, I would go along with that.

How about “morally unjustifiable hateful language”? I think I could agree to that.

580 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Woo the Destroyer:
Please stop hauling in outside people into this discussion. It isn’t fair to them. Now, about that sentence, the “it” refers to “slyme” (slime) that had to be scraped off of the shoes, a perfectly acceptable way of using the word “it”.

581 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 6:26 pm

@Aratina Cage umm… are you going to lecture everyone else who made references to someone else in this conversation?

Not that I think its not fair. It’s completely fair. It’s what they said and I’ll comment on being annoyed by it if I wish. Half this thread wouldnt exist if we only ever mentioned each other.

582 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm

And it’s not like I’m exactly allowed to march up “to his face” and point out his hypocrisy and wishy washiness, considering he won’t let me.

583 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm

And Aratina, it’s not “perfectly acceptable.” If PZ wants to say that saying it in terms of people is bad, then he shouldnt call people it.

584 Woo the Destroyer March 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm

You guys can think of pitters in terms of “it” if you want. Whatever. Point is, choose a side – its cool or its not.

585 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Woo the Destroyer:

are you going to lecture everyone else who made references to someone else in this conversation?

Some people don’t want to have any part of this conversation, and we should respect their wishes. I wasn’t even going to get involved at first but the number of things being said about me and other individuals on this blog was too much. It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I guess, but then again, I haven’t been slammed by anyone except Gurdur.

And it’s not like I’m exactly allowed to march up “to his face” and point out his hypocrisy and wishy washiness, considering he won’t let me.

So what? Is it possible for you to consider letting that drop and going your separate way from him?

You guys can think of pitters in terms of “it” if you want. Whatever. Point is, choose a side – its cool or its not.

Look, the problem is when you are talking about a person and then refer to that person as an “it”. That is not what happens in that sentence you pointed to. That sentence is like how you would refer to a “bear” as an “it”. It isn’t acceptable to me when people talk about me by my name (not as if I were a piece of slime or worse) and then use “it” when they should use “he” (although I don’t mind “she” for various reasons). If someone tells you to use the pronoun “it” in reference to them, then I don’t see anything wrong with it.

586 John Greg March 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Aratina said:

“Some people don’t want to have any part of this conversation, and we should respect their wishes.”

Nonsense. Absolute, complete nonsense. If any individual does not want to be discussed/mentioned in this thread of comments, or anywhere else in the big wide world, it is up to them, and only them, to state their wishes. And even then, no one is behooved to act on that request. Aratina, you are far, far too comfortable with creating ridiculous constraints of public discourse.

“Look, the problem is when you are talking about a person and then refer to that person as an “it”. That is not what happens in that sentence you pointed to.”

Sophistry and bullshit.

587 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I’m sure people have read what John Greg is saying about constraints on discourse, but the fact of the matter is that there are some people who have been deeply hurt by the ongoing fight and I believe we ought to respect their wishes to not be used as a prop in any talks about the fight.

588 John Greg March 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

“… there are some people who have been deeply hurt by the ongoing fight and I believe we ought to respect their wishes to not be used as a prop in any talks about the fight.”

Look, it’s too bad that they feel hurt, but if people are going to go online and preach their opinions to the world, they are going to get responses.

The other thing is this claim that people feel hurt, “deeply hurt”. Some people feel deeply hurt because someone did not like their choice of shoe colour. Does that mean that the hurt is legitimate? Absolutely not. Does it mean they have the right to feel hurt and to say so? Yes, certainly. Just because someone says they feel hurt by something someone else says about them in response to something the hurt person said online, does that mean we all must stop talking about them? Absolutely not. If someone is going to go out of their way to pontificate online, they are going to get responses. That’s reality. If they cannot handle the responses, get the fuck offline.

And, if they really do not want people to talk about them it is up to them, not you, to say so. Especially when you are clearly not even willing to name who these mysterious hurt people are.

Ooh! Look, a hurt kitty on the road: everybody stop driving cars!

589 Aratina Cage March 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

it’s too bad that they feel hurt

That is right in line with the “slimepit ethos” I identified earlier. In some cases, when it is morally justified, keeping distance from caring about others might be called for. When it comes to slurs, people feeling pressured and harassed, being respectful of a person’s identity and make up, those are things that I think we should care about.

Just because someone says they feel hurt by something someone else says about them in response to something the hurt person said online, does that mean we all must stop talking about them?

On neutral ground where they are not participating? Yes, definitely.

If they cannot handle the responses, get the fuck offline.

There was a really funny rant made after the last US presidential election that said the same thing (it’s on YouTube). The truth is that, no, people do not need to get off the Internet if they can’t handle verbal abuse, dehumanization, harassment, etc.

Ooh! Look, a hurt kitty on the road: everybody stop driving cars!

That says a lot about you. Is it any wonder that this deep rift happened with that kind of sentiment being expressed?

590 John Greg March 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

“verbal abuse, dehumanization, harassment, ”

What’s with this endless and ludicrous practice of equating verbal abuse, with dehumanization and harrassment? Such hyperbole. It’s part and parcel of that other bit of nonsense where someone says they don’t like and/or trust such-and-such a woman, and the FfTB universe erupts in screeches of Misogynist! Sexist! Rape enabler!

Piffle and quack.

“Is it any wonder that this deep rift happened with that kind of sentiment being expressed?”

One of the most glaring shortcomings of most of the FfTB commentariat and blog hosts (and Skepchick and A+) is their utter inability to do humour, sarcasm, and/or satire.

You just don’t get it do you. HAHAHAHA.

591 windy March 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Aratina Cage:

Some people don’t want to have any part of this conversation, and we should respect their wishes. I wasn’t even going to get involved at first but the number of things being said about me and other individuals on this blog was too much.

Really? It’s annoying when people talk smack about you in a place where you can’t or don’t wish to respond? Who’d’ve thunk? And that’s even when they quote you accurately – imagine if they’d make something up instead!

I don’t think you are being charitable again. Please find a way to address these issues charitably or I don’t think I will be discussing them with you further.

Indeed. Charity is an important principle, isn’t it.

592 loyalb March 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm

@aratina

I think we both understand each others’ positions well enough, I’ll bow out before it turns into a merry-go-round. I do have one last point I’d like to make.

I’m curious about what you think of how you feel about the use of the words we’ve been discussing in popular media? For example, I just finished binge-watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. It can make the Slymepit look like NOW as much as the characters throw around the “c”-word. I’m not saying because they do it on TV in a fictional setting it’s ok to do it in real life, but I do think it redeems the word in some way to see it put to good, artistic use. And, yes, its use takes place in one of those generically British fantasy settings, but it’s based on an American novel and played for American audiences. Isn’t this a sign that the abusive power of the word is waning, if it isn’t already completely depleted?

Just to reiterate, I don’t use the word myself except to discuss it. I don’t want to come off like I’m preaching its use. I just think you guys are neglecting the way the English language is changing on its own.

I’ll read whatever you have to say, if anything, and leave it at that. Thanks again for having a respectful discussion about this. I know you’re sincerely upset by gendered slurs, so it couldn’t have been easy not to get aggro over some points.

593 loyalb March 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

“what you think of how you feel.” whoops. Couldn’t decided how I wanted to phrase that and apparently forgot to pick one.

594 Tessa March 24, 2013 at 3:35 am

I’m curious about what you think of how you feel about the use of the words we’ve been discussing in popular media? For example, I just finished binge-watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. It can make the Slymepit look like NOW as much as the characters throw around the “c”-word. I’m not saying because they do it on TV in a fictional setting it’s ok to do it in real life, but I do think it redeems the word in some way to see it put to good, artistic use. And, yes, its use takes place in one of those generically British fantasy settings, but it’s based on an American novel and played for American audiences. Isn’t this a sign that the abusive power of the word is waning, if it isn’t already completely depleted?

How on earth does it redeem it? It’s a fictional fantasy dark ages that treated women like crap. Characters use the word in a vulgar abusive manner in the show. If anything, it shows why using it is bad. I mean really, do you want that setting to be some kind of model that redeems any kind of action? Maybe it also redeems selling your daughter for political gains, or killing off the families of your enemies.

You need to look at the setting that its being used. It’s not being put to good, artistic use anymore than murder, or all the other horrible things that are done to people in that show are being put to good, artistic use, it’s being used as abuse in an artistic setting.*

*This is debatable but unimportant in the context of my response.

595 Tessa March 24, 2013 at 3:37 am

in the * above, i meant specifically whether or not it can be called artistic.

596 Aratina Cage March 24, 2013 at 6:52 am

loyalb:
Thanks for the discussion. I’m probably about to bow out as well since things are dwindling here. A quick response to you follows.

I’m curious about what you think of how you feel about the use of the words we’ve been discussing in popular media? For example, I just finished binge-watching the HBO series Game of Thrones. It can make the Slymepit look like NOW as much as the characters throw around the “c”-word. I’m not saying because they do it on TV in a fictional setting it’s ok to do it in real life, but I do think it redeems the word in some way to see it put to good, artistic use. And, yes, its use takes place in one of those generically British fantasy settings, but it’s based on an American novel and played for American audiences. Isn’t this a sign that the abusive power of the word is waning, if it isn’t already completely depleted?

I didn’t know about that. Perhaps it is waning then. I’d say that it surely isn’t depleted of its abusive power, though. What you say brings up two things in my mind. One is, like you said, that the use of these slurs in art and entertainment can’t really be treated the same way as an encounter of them being used as an insult in real life. For instance, for a time on Pharyngula, “slut” could be used as an insult if you got the chance to say Dan Aykroyd’s line, “Jane, you ignorant slut!” That eventually changed if I recall correctly because too many people didn’t know where the line came from and due to consideration of the splash damage that it causes.

The other thing I was thinking is how things are going the opposite way for anti-gay slurs. Instead of growing more common, they are becoming even more moderated and shocking as insults. That doesn’t mean the words referring to gay people aren’t said, it’s that they are being said less and less as insults. I’m pretty happy about that, but I wonder what you think of it? Shouldn’t that be considered evidence that the Slymepit way isn’t the best way forward?

Actually, it probably is not fair to ask you to answer now, so I’ll just leave it as something for people to think about.

597 Aratina Cage March 24, 2013 at 7:07 am

windy:

Really? It’s annoying when people talk smack about you in a place where you can’t or don’t wish to respond? Who’d’ve thunk? And that’s even when they quote you accurately – imagine if they’d make something up instead!

My point is that I don’t think it is fair on neutral ground like this to bring them up without them first indicating a willingness to be part of the talks.

Indeed. Charity is an important principle, isn’t it.

It is, in my opinion, when people are playing fair. I thought from the beginning of this that I was being charitable to people on the slimepit side and in return I was treated uncharitably and so were the many of the others including the big players on my side.

598 Aratina Cage March 24, 2013 at 7:11 am

John Greg:

One of the most glaring shortcomings of most of the FfTB commentariat and blog hosts (and Skepchick and A+) is their utter inability to do humour, sarcasm, and/or satire.

I don’t believe that is a justifiable statement. I could just as easily point to a number of instances where someone on the FTB et al. side said something humorous that got one or more people on the slimepit side upset. Could it be different senses of humor? Or perhaps one side felt demeaned by the humor of the other side. It can be difficult to laugh at a joke at your expense, especially when it is made by your opponent.

599 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 24, 2013 at 8:21 am

And even more especially when it’s not funny. I could forgive almost anyone’s short-comings if they were at least funny.

Humour is a vital part of my life, be it on internet fora and blogs, or music, or movies, or TV shows. One thing I’ve valued since I joined the atheist/sceptic blogosphere was the participants’ sense of humour. Well, that and all the science being thrown around (that’s what attracted me in the first place). There are quite a few things at the Pit I don’t find funny at all, but then they are redeemed by a brilliant piece of satire/parody, so I don’t complain much.

Humour is a vital part of my life because it is a tool that has saved my ass countless times when I was a bullied child. It also saved my sanity after being a rape victim at the tender age of 11. Without humour, I would probably not be here today.

All this rant to say: be funny, be jockular, have fun! It helps, and it can defuse many a bad situation. If both “sides” had had a better sense of humour from the start, none of us might be here (on Michael’s thread) today.

Cheers!

600 loyalb March 24, 2013 at 8:23 am

@Tessa

Hopefully this won’t be seen as what they call “not sticking the flounce.” I think I really need to clarify, because you raise a good point that troubles me.

In the moral universe of Game of Thrones, the abuse of women is still presented as abuse of women. The audience is invited to sympathize with the victims and it’s really satisfying when the perpetrators get their comeuppance*. The c-word, otoh, is presented as just another insult (and it’s liberally applied to both genders) . The audience is invited to laugh at it.

I’m emphatically not suggesting that we take literal morals from, as you say, a dark, fantasy setting. I’m simply using it as a barometer for where the word stands in the English language. It’s also only one example. I could be wrong, but it seems that it’s vastly more acceptable in “R”-rated comedies than it was, say, 15 years ago.

Offensive words occupy a strange space in our lexicon. There are rare situations where nothing can be more beautiful than a well-constructed string of profanity. I think the fact that “cunt” is making its way into the same circle of ill-repute as “dick” is a sign of progress. It’s finally in the same category of “general sex shame” as all the other words for body parts.

If the source of the word’s hatefulness is the fear or even hatred of women’s… womanhood… then wouldn’t it become less hateful the less fear there is?

Now I’ll really shut up. If I’ve stepped in it again, I’ve stepped in it.

601 loyalb March 24, 2013 at 8:27 am

Oh, forgot…

the * was that I think the relationship that develops between Daenerys and Drogo is pretty f’ed up, even in the show’s universe. But maybe that’s the point.

602 Phil_Giordana_FCD March 24, 2013 at 8:52 am

HBO’s Rome qualifies for a record in “cunt” use. Still my favorite HBO show (second would be “From the Earth to the Moon), but not for the use of “cunt”. Great characters and great storyline. And well, it’s about Ancient Rome! If anyone reading here didn’t watch it, please do, I got both seasons’ DVD boxes for around 25£. I watch them regularily.

the relationship between Daenerys and Drogo came to a very interesting point when she learned from her slave (can’t remember the name right now) about being the “master” in sexual relationship. And learn she did, which made her a more powerful and assertive person, nay, woman!

603 windy March 24, 2013 at 8:54 am
Really? It’s annoying when people talk smack about you in a place where you can’t or don’t wish to respond? Who’d’ve thunk? And that’s even when they quote you accurately – imagine if they’d make something up instead!

My point is that I don’t think it is fair on neutral ground like this to bring them up without them first indicating a willingness to be part of the talks.

Neutral ground like, say, Twitter??

604 Eu March 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Dunno why it would be unfair if they refuse to participate. I’m sure the person who first said it would be unfair has probably brought people up that she hasn’t talked to here ;).(Even celebrities count. They’re people too.)

The one I brought up cannot say anything anyway. I wouldn’t even be interested in a debate if he came here. What could he say? “No I didnt.” *takes screenie* “Wow, yes you did.” “Well, there’s an excuse… (bullshit excuse or no excuse at all)”

Yeah, that would be uber annoying. Not interested in talking to people on whether or not they need to make up their mind (stop being hypocritical) when its *established* that’s what they did – NOT up for debate.

605 Aratina Cage March 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Windy:

Neutral ground like, say, Twitter??

That is not a place I would consider neutral ground. That is more like being out in public with a group of friends, some of whom you know well.

About Twitter as it pertains to this rift, it is decidedly not a place where people from the Slymepit play fair. I went for a long time not saying much of anything while the Slyimepit encouraged some really nasty characters to emerge on Twitter who were dedicated to harassing a few people and impersonating the people they were harassing by using lowercase “L” for uppercase “i”, or using uppercase “i” for lowercase “L”, so that the impersonator’s name on Twitter matched their target’s name for all intents and purposes. A campaign driven by the slimepit was also started to label the bloggers at FTB “bullies”.

I decided to begin countering those things on Twitter with commentary, snark, criticism, and even playing the part of the mythical “bully”. I think my actions there are justified, though I may have made a few tweets when I was too angry that I regret, one of them about you. What would you have me do? We’ve given the Slymepit forum members plenty of time to rally to tell the instigators of this Twitter harassment campaign to