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.

Be Sociable, Share!

{ 720 comments… read them below or add one }

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.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: