“Do your belly dance.” “Get off my stage. I’ve got work to do.” What if PZ Myers judged others’ sexism as he judges himself?

by Michael Nugent on November 17, 2014

I don’t believe that PZ Myers is sexist. I believe that PZ supports equality for women, and that in his own mind he is trying to advance that aim, using methods that I believe are unjust and hurtful and counterproductive to feminism, equality and social justice.

But what would happen if PZ and his colleagues applied the same level of judgment about sexism to PZ’s own behaviour over the years, as they do to behaviour by other people, the most recent example being the shirt worn by Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor?

PZ has told a conference host to do her belly dance, and to get off his stage as he has work to do. He has told an audience volunteer that if she won a poker game, he would have sex with her. He has linked to pornography involving women and octopuses. He has written about a dream in which he turned his students into mermaids. He has publicly joked about rape. He has endorsed a pornographic book that includes rape fantasies. He has prevented an objective investigation into a threatened false allegation of rape against himself.

I know that PZ and his colleagues can justify the above behaviour by reference to context, humour, intent, or charitable interpretation. And in many cases I agree with their justifications. I am not condemning PZ for any of this behaviour. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

  • If you judge PZ charitably for his behaviour, then please judge other people equally charitably for theirs.
  • If you judge other people harshly for their behaviour, then please judge PZ equally harshly for his.

My preference would be for everybody to judge everybody else equally charitably for their behaviour.

Six examples of behaviour by PZ

Some people would consider all of the following behaviours to be sexist. While reading them, please try to imagine the reaction of PZ and his colleagues, if any of the people they frequently decry as being sexist were to engage in even one of these behaviours, let alone all of them over a period of years.

1. PZ, while being introduced at a conference, told the host to do her belly dance, then told her to get off ‘his’ stage as he has work to do. He then said he was a warm-up for Rebecca Watson, who was going to come on and look spectacular. He later told an audience volunteer that if she won a poker game, he would have to submit and have sex with her. After she won, he told her not to worry, they would do the sex thing later.

2. PZ has several times written about and linked to pornography involving women and octopuses described as ‘hentai tentacle rape’. In one post, PZ wrote: “I know some people will be aghast at the exposed mammalian flesh and weird exploitation of women… but it’s got tentacles everywhere, and molluscs…” In another post, he wrote: “Although nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel, I’m afraid. Mmmm, Aplysia, if you weren’t so cold, I’d… ahem.”

3. PZ has written about a dream in which he flooded his classroom with saltwater and turned all of his students into mermaids “and we… well, you don’t need to know.”

4. PZ, in one of his Google Hangouts, publicly joked about rape. The participants were discussing a campaign to get advertisers like Dove to protest to Facebook about sexist content beside their ads. A participant joked: “It’s like ‘Dove – we’re pro-rape’!” and PZ added: “You know, after a rape, you want to wash yourself up, and clean up…”

5. PZ has endorsed a pornographic book that includes rape fantasies. Bending, by Greta Christina, “is written to get you hard and wet — and to change the ways you think about sex. Be forewarned — stuff happens here that’s borderline consensual. Or not at all consensual.” PZ gave the book a five star review on Amazon, describing it as quality arousal. His only reservation was that that the word “tentacle” only appears once in the book.

6. PZ has written three times about how he prevented an investigation into a threatened false allegation of rape against himself. He says that when a student threatened to make the allegation, he asked someone else to sit with her while he (zoom) went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation before it could get dragged out into an investigation that he said could destroy his career, no matter that she was lying.

Again, I am not condemning PZ for any of this behaviour (and I am not condemning Greta, whose book I see as a legitimate work of art). I am asking PZ and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

  • If you judge PZ charitably for his behaviour, then please judge other people equally charitably for theirs.
  • If you judge other people harshly for their behaviour, then please judge PZ equally harshly for his.

My preference would be for everybody to judge everybody else equally charitably for their behaviour.

Here is more detail of those examples, and links to the original sources:

1. “Do your belly dance.” “Get off my stage.”

There are six examples in this video of PZ’s talk about genetics and evolution at Skepticon 3 in 2010. You should watch the full video for context, as it is presented as humorous if uncomfortable banter. Also, it is legitimate, indeed necessary, to talk about sex when talking about genetics and evolution. And the poker analogy is quite good.

At 0:28, PZ is setting up his computer on stage. He says: “See, all this tinkering is supposed to go on behind the scenes, and here I am.’ The host says to the audience: “Smoke and mirrors.” PZ says to her: “Yeah, do your belly dance,” to which she replies: “This is why I don’t like you.”

At 1:20, the host jokes about PZ, during an earlier photo shoot, telling her that he was taking off his pants. PZ, who has by now finished setting up his computer, tells her: ‘“We lied. We always lie to you. Get off my stage. I’ve got work to do.”

At 1:25, PZ begins his talk by saying: “It’s a real honour to be here to be the opening act for Rebecca Watson. I’m supposed to warm the crowd up for her, and then she comes on and she’s going to look spectacular.”

At 12:00, PZ brings a volunteer onto the stage to play a poker game as an analogy for evolution. He tells her: “We could say, if I win this hand, I get to kill and eat you. That’s one possibility. Another thing is is that if you win this hand, I would have to submit and have sex with you.”

At 14:00, PZ tells the volunteer: “You win. I will give you my hotel room number right after this… Don’t worry, we’ll do the sex thing later.” At 17:00, PZ tells her: “Okay, go back to your seat. Wait, take the cards with you. I have to call you back for the sex part later.”

At 44:20, PZ asks the same volunteer back on stage to play more poker, saying: “I’d like my partner here to come up, and we’ll have sex on stage… Simulated sex on stage, sorry to disappoint you.” When she is leaving, he says: “You were an excellent sex partner.”

I am not condemning PZ for the jokes he made in this talk. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

2. “Nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel”

In October 2006, PZ published a post titled ‘Definitely not safe for work.’ It read:

A reader sent me a link to a site I hesitate to reference, just because I know some people will be aghast at the exposed mammalian flesh and weird exploitation of women…but it’s got tentacles everywhere, and molluscs, and even a few arthropods and a giant salamander.

The title, Tentacles of Desire, and the list of organisms tells you what it’s all about. If you’re easily offended or squeamish about slime or freaked out by perverse fetishes, don’t go there!

Otherwise, though, just consider it a celebration of biodiversity.

The link goes to this web page, which today contains the message: “This blog is in violation of Blogger’s Terms of Service and is open to authors only”

The page is archived here. To see the images PZ linked to, scroll down to 15 October, about a third of the way down the page. Warning: some of the images are very extreme, and some are photographs rather than illustrations. The text describes the style as ‘hentai tentacle rape’ that highlights ‘the relationship between the plastic body of the female and the “non-body” of the monstrous.’

In November 2007, PZ published a post titled ‘No! Don’t use an octopus for bikini bottoms!’ in which he wrote:

This link is NSFW or for anyone who knows anything about octopus anatomy—it’s a couple of nudes with dangerously draped octopuses. I don’t mind the nudity but I cringe inside at the thought of where those beaks are.

In January 2012, PZ published a post titled ‘Cephaloporn, a critique’, in which he wrote:

People are always sending me porn, sometimes to harass and annoy (it doesn’t work), and sometimes because they think I’ll appreciate it. I suppose I’m unusual because much of the porn I get in my mailbox features cephalopods, and over the years I’ve become something of a connoisseur of cephalopod porn…

Try to respect the erotic properties of the mollusc that make it an interesting subject for porn: texture. It’s the wet slickness, the velvety softness, the muscular rubberiness* that fascinate. I suspect it’s hard to capture in crudely representational figures, and should be more a subject of abstract art…

Tentacles don’t thrust, they insinuate. They grasp, they fondle. Tentacles are not a penis analogue, but an exotic combination of fingers and tongues. Hokusai got it right, but everything since has been downhill. I see tentacle dildos, I see someone who has missed the point.

You know that some cephalopods, in addition to beaks, have sharp, saw-edged, pointy hooks in their tentacles, right? Another feature poorly explored in cephaloporn is the contrast: smooth silky softness combined with deadly predatory razors, like a vulva lined with fishhooks. Use it, people! Good erotic art has tension as well as suppliance.

*Although nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel, I’m afraid. Mmmm, Aplysia, if you weren’t so cold, I’d…ahem.

It’s probably worth noting here that, based on Google results, PZ Myers is the only person on record in the world to have used the phrase: “nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel.”

I am not condemning PZ for his views on cephaloporn. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

3. “Then I turned them all into mermaids”

In March 2013, in a blog post titled ‘Nightmare Fuel’, PZ wrote:

It’s morning here, so it’s probably safe to post this now. I read this article just before bed last night, and then I had a nightmare.

I dreamt that I walked into my classroom, and 50 pairs of eyes all turned to me, and they were all wearing Google Glass, and there were all these little red cyborg lights blinking at me. And there I was torn between the horror of my every word and expression being uploaded to Google’s servers, and…wanting one myself.

Don’t worry, though, I knew it was a dream, so I just flooded the whole room with salt water and shorted out their gadgets, and then I turned them all into mermaids and we…well, you don’t need to know.

PZ publicly posted this fantasy about his students on a blog where at least some of the students he was fantasising about might be expected to read it.

I am not condemning PZ for this dream fantasy. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

4. PZ has publicly joked about rape

In June 2013, in one of his Google Hangouts, PZ publicly joked about rape. The context was a discussion about a campaign to get advertisers to protest to Facebook about sexist and harassing and violent content.

At 1:08:30, PZ – At least Facebook seems to be waking up and realising, not necessarily let’s be good people, but hey, this is starting to hit our bottom line.

Ibis3 – It took about a week for that campaign to work. People started contacting Dove and Unilever and some of the other big advertisers, and some of the advertisers actually dropped from Facebook.

Jade Hawk – It was an amazingly effective campaign to show advertisers their advertisement right next to ‘ha ha, rape women’ pictures, just screenshots of that combination. I don’t think they liked that very much.

Ginger Pierce – It’s like ‘Dove – we’re pro-rape!’ (laughter from others)

Ibis3 – Exactly.

PZ – You know, after a rape, you want to wash yourself up, and clean up…

Jade Hawk – Eeeeuuuww… (Jade and others laugh) … We should have stopped while it was still on a positive note.

PZ – Okay, positive things….

I am not condemning PZ for this joke. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

5. PZ has endorsed a pornographic book including rape fantasies

PZ has endorsed Greta Christina’s book ‘Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.’ The book’s description includes:

“Greta Christina’s erotic stories are written to get you hard and wet — and to change the ways you think about sex. Be forewarned — stuff happens here that’s borderline consensual. Or not at all consensual. These are dirty, kinky stories about shame, about pain, helplessness and danger, reckless behavior and bad, bad ideas….”

Here are two extracts from the book (these are from different stories).

“He finished with the words: ‘None of this is up for discussion. You will comply with all of it. You may show reluctance – I like reluctance – but you may not show resistance. Except when I rape you. When I rape you, I expect you to resist. I will see you on Saturday.’ He scared the crap out of her. She knew this was bad idea. Even with all of her other Craig’s List adventures, she hadn’t done a third of the things he was talking about… She put the date in her calendar for Saturday. And she cleared the rest of her calendar.”

“They played rapist and victim, in an alley in the middle of nowhere where Betsy worked. They arranged a time, and Betsy got there late, late enough to get Dallas anxious and pacing, jumpy, jumping out of her skin at the sudden hand over her mouth and the knife at her throat. “Shut up, cunt,” Betsy murmured, as she grabbed Dallas by the hair and wrestled her to the wall… They agreed afterwards that it has been a good game, but not one you could play very often. Betsy even meant it, almost.

PZ gave the book a five star review on Amazon, writing:

“Literate erotica for the discerningly horny reader – Bending is excellently written, and it’s not the usual one-dimensional porn I’ve encountered on the internet (you know what I mean: the “Tab A goes into Slot B” kind of porn that reads like an Ikea manual, with lube). It’s the kind of porn that explores what people are actually thinking and feeling, and it’s stronger for it.

My only reservation, and it’s not a criticism, is that it’s got a focused theme. This is a book of stories about dom/sub relations and spanking, and it doesn’t match up well with my personal kinks (which I will not discuss, except to note that the word “tentacle” only appears ONCE in the entire book, and then as a metaphor). But if it does align with your interests, expect quality arousal.”

For clarity, I consider Greta’s book a legitimate work of art. I believe that authors are entitled to write fiction about any topic. As Greta writes in the introduction to Bending:

“It’s funny. When it comes to things that aren’t sex, people seem to understand this distinction. People get that enjoying spy novels doesn’t mean you want to join the CIA; that enjoying murder mysteries doesn’t mean that you want to kill people… People understand that it’s fun and exciting to imagine things that we wouldn’t actually want to do–even things we think are immoral.

But for some reason, porn often gets held to a different standard. Depicting a fantasy of a sex act is often assumed to be an endorsement of that act. So let me spell it out: I do not endorse sexual force, abuse of power, rape or any form of violation of sexual consent. I am vehemently opposed to them. I am, however, unapologetic about the fact that I like to fantasise about them.”

I agree with that distinction. However, it is indisputable that some people see potential problems in writing about fictional non-consensual sex in order to get the reader hard and wet. They might, for example, fear that some men might not understand the nuance of Greta’s writing, and might mistakenly get the impression that some women secretly want to be raped and abused. So, whatever charitable judgment you pass on this book, please apply the same charity to other behaviours that some people might see as sexist.

I am not condemning PZ for endorsing this book. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

6. No investigation into false rape allegation

In May 2010, in a comment on his own post ‘Bat sex is not protected by academic freedom’, PZ wrote:

That’s not just a gay thing, MAJeff. I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.

I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time. A female student came into my lab when I was alone, unhappy about an exam grade, and openly threatened me — by going public with a story about a completely nonexistent sexual encounter right there.

Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit, and went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation. I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

I was in a total panic, knowing full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be. Fortunately, I’d done the right thing by blowing it all wide open at the first hint of a threat, and getting witnesses on the spot.

In March 2013, on Jason Thibeault’s blog post ‘Defamation is not disagreement’. PZ commented:

Wait…she listened, & all she took from it was 1 or 2 sentences which she then misinterprets to mean I’m forever denying the possibility that a woman might make a false accusation? Nonsense. I’ve been threatened with a false rape accusation, one that could have totally destroyed my career. I took it very seriously and moved quickly to provide evidence that it was false.

But of course we have to accept the personal testimony of women’s experiences. In that case, it would have been totally injust to simply say, “oh, she’s a woman, therefore she’s lying”. Most rape accusations are not false, so a priori dismissals are inappropriate, and if that woman had gone to the authorities (she didn’t, because I immediately brought in witnesses to make her effort futile) I would sure as hell hope they’d treat both of our positions with equal seriousness.

In March 2014, in a blog post titled ‘Oh, lord, the stupid’, then in a comment on his blog post, PZ wrote:

There is nothing inconsistent about this. False accusations do happen, and they can have extremely damaging consequences (which I said previously: “Yes, they happen…rarely. They’re important to detect.”) Obviously, I had just explained that I certainly do know of at least one case in which a desperate student tried to cheat her way to a better grade with an accusation. It happens….

But when one has no interest in harassing people, it turns out to be relatively easy to maintain one’s integrity — I don’t have years of stalkerish behavior and complaints and administrative disciplinary actions to make excuses for, unlike some people…

It is the only time that has happened in 25 years of teaching. And it didn’t go far at all: ten minutes of worry, and then the student recanted and apologised. She wasn’t punished, except for the fact that she did fail the course…but that was going to happen anyway.

PZ was of course correct to be worried about the impact on his career of a threatened false rape accusation. However, should he have facilitated an objective investigation, in which the allegation could be heard and examined fairly? Or should he have subverted the possibility of such an investigation happening, by isolating the student while he went directly to the chair of the department in her absence?

I am not condemning PZ for this behaviour. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

Summary

I don’t believe that PZ Myers is sexist. I believe that PZ supports equality for women, and that in his own mind he is trying to advance that aim, using methods that I believe are unjust and hurtful and counterproductive to feminism, equality and social justice.

I know that PZ and his colleagues can justify the above behaviour by reference to context, humour, intent, or charitable interpretation. And in many cases I agree with their justifications. I am not condemning PZ for any of this behaviour. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

  • If you judge PZ charitably for his behaviour, then please judge other people equally charitably for theirs.
  • If you judge other people harshly for their behaviour, then please judge PZ equally harshly for his.

My preference would be for everybody to judge everybody else equally charitably for their behaviour.

Online debates can magnify misunderstandings and intensify hostility, when compared to real-life conversations. We should remember that we are dealing with real people who have feelings. We should not humiliate, marginalize or ostracize people who are seeking to discuss things.

We should try to approach each issue on its merits, rather than on the basis of which side you think the person is on. We should accept that we might be mistaken about what other people are trying to communicate to us, and what their motivations might be.

If we all try to act in this way more frequently, we can help to make the atheist community more inclusive, caring and supportive.

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{ 355 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shermertron November 17, 2014 at 12:19 am

What a wonderful and detailed summary. I agree with you; I don’t believe that PZ is some kind of monster and I’m even willing to bet that he did nothing improper along the lines of the student’s accusation.

You’ve spotlighted the primary problem: PZ holds people to different standards. He and the Horde receive mercy and time to explain. Members of the out group receive no such opportunity. When one of the Horde discusses what turns them on, it’s all good and you aren’t allowed to “kink shame” them. When an outsider confesses what turns them on, the accusations begin.

He and his friends throw an awful lot of stones, considering that they live in a glass house.

2 Esper November 17, 2014 at 12:24 am

“IT’S OK WHEN WE DO IT”

….shall be the whole of the Law.

3 Peter Ferguson November 17, 2014 at 12:26 am

Although this isn’t PZ it is another example of “it’s ok when we do it” mentality.

Melody Hensley is the Executive Director for the DC branch of CFI. She labeled Matt Taylor’s t-shirt offence in this tweet https://twitter.com/MelodyHensley/status/533399397431009280

Funny thing about that is she displays a scantily clad woman on her Twitter background. If women are made feel unwelcome in STEM because of scantily clad women on a t-shirt then does the same not apply here? Melody uses twitter for her job and has said so many times. If a woman visits her twitter feed would she not feel unwelcome to CFI by the scantily clad woman sitting in the background?

I have no issue with the background, but have no issue with Matt Taylor’s t-shirt either. But this simply another example of “do as I say, not as I do”.

4 Steven Carr November 17, 2014 at 12:30 am

So a Professor of science has so little trust for his female students that he won’t leave his wallet alone in a room with them,in case they steal his money? Sorry, won’t be alone in a room with them in case they falsely accuse him of rape.

Hey, ladies, why not try a career in science? Men like Myers won’t trust you not to accuse them of rape, but he welcomes you into science with open arms, and hopes more of you choose science as a career.

But if you do go into science, don’t expect Myers to have any faith that you will not attempt to destroy his reputation by falsely accusing him of bad conduct.

5 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 12:36 am

Myers has claimed that he’ll never allow himself to be alone in a room with a female student. That’s not the behaviour of a man who thinks false accusations are rare; that’s the actions of someone who thinks false accusations are so routine that it’s necessary to ensure you have an alibi at all times.

Even his 10 point plan to avoid accidentally raping someone (or whatever the hell that was supposed to be) looks like legal advice on how to protect yourself against false accusations.

I can understand that, having once been threatened with a rape allegation, he might feel wary of female contact, but he shouldn’t be offering advice to students on sexual matters when he clearly regards all women as potentially vengeful and unhinged.

#SchrödingersBunnyBoiler

6 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 12:44 am

Also, belly dancing is ‘cultural appropriation’.

He should be sent on a diversity course to sort his shit out.

7 Jan Steen November 17, 2014 at 1:16 am

Here is how Myers described the incident.

I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.

I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time. A female student came into my lab when I was alone, unhappy about an exam grade, and openly threatened me — by going public with a story about a completely nonexistent sexual encounter right there.

Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit, and went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation. I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

I was in a total panic, knowing full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be. Fortunately, I’d done the right thing by blowing it all wide open at the first hint of a threat, and getting witnesses on the spot.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/05/15/bat-sex-is-not-protected-by-ac/#comment-824608

Apparently, this champion of feminism trusts women so much that he avoids being alone in a room with a female student, out of fear of being falsely accused of harassment. Because he knows “full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be.”

If irony could be turned into energy, Myers and his Flock would make fossil fuels redundant.

8 Steve Vanden-Eykel November 17, 2014 at 1:21 am

Wait, I’m confused…you’re condemning Myers for sexism? How dare you! 😉

9 FishCakes November 17, 2014 at 1:23 am

“The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.”
– Jane Addams

“Those whose conduct gives room for talk are always the first to attack their neighbors.”
– Jean Baptiste Molière

10 Karmakin November 17, 2014 at 1:25 am

I’m going to go into a bit of theory/detail on this subject. I apologize/please scroll past if that annoys you. In a lot of the subjects that come up, one thing that ALWAYS comes up is the notion of hypocrisy, that is, people doing things that they’re condemning other people for doing. Or even on a softer scale, condemning one group/person for a given action but giving another group/person a pass. This undoubtedly irritates people very strongly, to the point where sometimes they lash out.

Why does this bother people so much? (Note that I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be bothered)

Here’s the thing. I think for a lot of people, we think that our status within society is based around what we do. Do good things, get better status, do bad things, get worse status. How we determine what is good and what is bad, is based around watching other people, how they act, and how others react to them. The problem with hypocrisy, is that it “breaks” those observations. And not just those specific observations, but it really rocks the foundations of these social rules. Those things we thought were acceptable? Maybe they weren’t? And we can’t go back and change what we did post facto.

It means that the rules are arbitrary, and we have no bloody clue when we’re breaking it and when we’re not breaking it. There’s no way to GET that clue. And the only alternative is to do this ultra walking on eggshells dance which has a whole lot of high costs of its own, and as such isn’t really an option.

That’s why this sort of hypocrisy is so damaging and dangerous, and why people react so negatively to it.

11 A Bear November 17, 2014 at 1:25 am

A detailed and factually correct of the matter as I’ve followed it.
These points won’t be addressed , they don’t have good arguments to address the facts.
Keep up the excellent work Mick!

12 Justme November 17, 2014 at 1:29 am

Can you imagine the outrage from the entirety of FTB and Skepchick if Richard Dawkins (or any other prominent male atheist outside their clique) did just a single one of those things?

But Myers does it and it’s okay. They even trot out the tired old ‘Lighten up, he was just kidding’ as an excuse. As if no woman’s ever heard that one before. As if intent is… you know. Magic or something.

13 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 1:47 am

I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.

Every student should have the right to talk to their tutors in confidence.

If you can’t talk to a tutor without others present you can’t discus personal problems; you can’t even hang back after the lecture to ask a question you were afraid to ask in front of the class because you were afraid of looking stupid or ignorant.

And the whole idea a man and a woman can’t be alone with each other is so fucking religious.

We’re shocked when this shit goes down in Saudi Arabia; that it is happening in some hick university in America is astounding.

14 MosesZD November 17, 2014 at 1:48 am

Well, you’ve certainly crossed the Rubicon with this post. But that’s ok, there was no going back once Myers, et. al., targeted you for ‘Witch of the Week.’

So, you may as well be hung for lion as hung for a lamb and never apologize or give in. Because, the record clearly shows that the majority of people who’ve been in similar situations with that group, no matter what they did (including some rather self-abasing apologies) or how polite and civil and intellectual they were in the conflict, they were hung (at least in effigy) by Myers, et. al.

Also, while I applaud your continuing documentation of this issue and recent illustration of how to ‘properly’ (lack of a better word) view others, as well as your calls for Myers, et. al. to “ethically consistently when judging others, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Myers, et. al., are fully-invested (emotionally and intellectually) in the Social Identity Theory (in-group/out-group) mind-set.

Something that you, as an Irishman, should be familiar with as the Protestant/Catholic troubles in Ireland are a classic example of that kind of dynamic, including many of the worst of its evils. Other examples include Jews who have, generally/historically, been the ‘out-group’ in much of Western Society. And it’s extremely common in our political process — Republican & Democrat in the US, Labour & Conservative in the UK, etc. as well as in many pernicious social ills, such as racism and sexism, which also tend to be fully vested in the in-group/out-group mentality.

So, while I’m glad. Don’t expect any kind of positive results from Myers, et. al. in this matter. In fact, you may get no response beyond some “Horde” trolling or personal attacks.

15 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 1:51 am

Does anyone know if Myers refuses to meet male students one-to-one too, or is it just women he has a problem with?

If he is treating them unequally the students should be raising the matter with his superiors; it looks like grounds for dismissal.

16 Jan Steen November 17, 2014 at 2:20 am

Maybe it was unwise of Myers to jump on the SJW bandwagon with all his awkward ‘bagage’. Now he is forced to act in this holier than thou fashion, denouncing scientists for wearing the wrong shirt, decrying cis-het white men in terms that would be called racist by any reasonable definition of racism, disparaging tweets by Richard Dawkins, and pretending to see rapists and misogynists under every bed.

He must be living in constant fear that his fellow SJWs turn against him, a cis-het white male with a permanent job. Maybe this explains his shrill rhetoric. It’s his way of signalling “I’m really one of you. Don’t eat me.”

17 Blueshift Rhino November 17, 2014 at 2:36 am

Start with this quote from PZ: “I won’t meet privately with students either — I always keep my office door wide open, and when I’m working with students in the lab, I find excuses to move out and let them work on their own if it turns into a one-on-one event. I just can’t afford the risk.”

Now pretend to be a woman who is considering a STEM career. Under PZ’s approach (which is not uncommon), if you have a male advisor in grad school (which is also more than likely), then, in contrast to the male grads, you will never be able to work privately, one-on-one, with your advisor, placing you at a great disadvantage. You will be much more likely than your male peers to be one of three or more authors on papers, instead of one of two, which will both cause your name to disappear into the “et alia” list and cause more folks to wonder how much of the work is actually yours. Even more, the fact that you can’t work privately with your advisor, while the male grads can, will constantly remind you of the sexual aspect of what is supposed to be a platonic relationship; in an attempt to desexualize the situation, the actions of PZ and others actually make it much worse. (Note that I’m here assuming that everyone is heterosexual, as it appears PZ was, too, but not much changes if we take a more general view.)

Now think about #ShirtGate, since that’s also current. What’s the message this time for young women in STEM? Yes, you could see it as only involving a mildly inappropriate piece of clothing, but what else does it tell you when you take the social-media and then mainstream media reactions into account? Might it say to you: “It doesn’t matter how smart you are and how hard you work and what amazing things you might do … if you make one social error, they can take it all away from you, just like that.” As a young woman planning a future in STEM, how likely is it that you could be accused of committing a social error, especially one involving clothes (where you never can win)? And are there people already in STEM who might be looking to do this to you … take away all that you done and worked for?

I would argue that, between the approach of PZ (in which I know that he isn’t alone) and the recent reaction to #ShirtGate, more damage is done to the future of women in STEM than the sum of all of the First World Problems that are the current obsession/focus of the American internet Social Justice community.

And, so, I give a heartfelt “thank you!” to MN for this series of posts.

18 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 2:52 am

Myers also had a history of using ableist slurs long before he kerb-stomped depressives American History X-style in his Robin Williams thread.

For example:

This is literally insane stuff…

This is just sad. Lambertsen actually does have some scientific qualifications, and has published respectable papers on baleen whales, and you can see buried in this one a foundation of serious work on whale anatomy and physiology. <He clearly needs psychiatric help now, though…

And please, I hope somebody gets Lambertsen the help he needs. He isn’t an evil man or a stupid man — he’s got something organically wrong with his brain, I fear, and needs psychiatric intervention.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/24/word-salad-with-math/

Now, I’ve no qualms about attacking someone’s sanity – but I’m not holding myself up as a moral exemplar; and I’m quite open about my own problems.

And I found the example above when he objected to me using the phrase ‘word salad’ – which, you’ll note, is an expression he used in the title of that rant.

19 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 3:15 am

Imagine, instead, that Myers had been accused of racism.

Imagine that he’d rushed to his supervisor before the student had a chance to make their case, and there was never an investigation.

Imagine that Myers then resolved never to be alone with a black student because it wasn’t worth the risk.

Now in the first case Myers may or may not have been guilty of racism; in the second case he has clearly abused his power by subverting the procedures set up to investigate racist incidents; and in the third case this is simply racist because he’s attributing irrational behaviour to an entire group based purely on one incident.

Would anyone actually defend him for such behaviour?

Myers only gets away with this behaviour towards female students because the idea that women are irrational and deceitful is quite widespread.

20 Stephen Duggan November 17, 2014 at 4:13 am

Thanks Michael. If I ever find myself returning to Atheist Activism I will not want to do business with Myers, Bemson et al.
I do confess I have tweeted these individuals with a great degree of hyperbole demanding I be added to their poxy lists. Others who have blocked me on Twitter include Depak Chopra and Jim Coor. That’s who I see and respect these people.

21 Matt Cavanaugh November 17, 2014 at 4:29 am

I, for one, do condemn PZ Myers for sharing to the world an erotic dream involving his female students. It was unprofessional, unethical, and potentially embarrassing & discomfiting to any of his female students who might’ve come across it.

Myers has the right to privately enjoy hentai and rape porn, or even to discuss & promote it in public. The latter is, however, incompatible with his role as a representative for A/S, as is his bizarre, “humanist ethics” (sic) which lead him to condone bestiality.

http://skeptischism.com/atheismneat/2014/11/14/pz-myers-animal-lover/

22 Justme November 17, 2014 at 4:34 am

One more thing: Myers said this at some speech or another, “We’re trying to decide whether women are fuck toys and eye candy for the privileged white men, or whether we are colleagues together in this movement. And I would have said some time ago: all that’s easy, that’s settled, we know the answer is that they are equal partners in this effort. But surprisingly, that debate is going on on the Internet right now.”

Which got a lot of people asking who in the atheist community looks at women as fuck toys and eye candy for privileged white men? If this is an ongoing debate? I don’t know anyone. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who looks at women this way. So who??

Fast forward to July of this year. Myers makes a post about an encounter he had with Bill Maher in 2009. According to Myers, “[Maher] also showed up with an extremely attractive young woman who could have been his daughter, or even granddaughter, but was actually his date. She was pleasant to talk to, quite unlike her sugar daddy, and actually bothered to engage the table briefly in light conversation. But you could tell that Maher’s ideal woman was candy to decorate his arm in public.”

Her sugar daddy. So she’s a prostitute. Brainless, too – just candy to decorate Maher’s arm in public.

Actually, Maher’s girlfriend was Cara Santa Maria. B.S. in psychology, M.S. in neurobiology. From Wikipedia: “Until 2009, Santa Maria worked as an adjunct college professor and laboratory researcher. She co-produced and hosted a pilot entitled Talk Nerdy to Me for HBO, but it never went to air. Santa Maria has appeared on Larry King Live (CNN), Geraldo at Large (Fox News), Parker Spitzer (CNN), Studio 11 (Fox LA), The Young Turks (YouTube), Attack of the Show! (G4), The War Room with Jennifer Granholm (CurrentTV), LatiNation (CBS), The Nerdist (BBC America), and SoCal Connected (KCET).

Santa Maria co-hosts Hacking the Planet and The Truth About Twisters on The Weather Channel, as well as TechKnow on Al Jazeera America. She is a former host of Take Part Live on the Pivot (TV channel).

She makes regular appearances on popular YouTube programs, such as Stan Lee’s FanWars, Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop, and The Point. She has also guested on multiple podcasts, such as The Nerdist Podcast, Point of Inquiry, and the Joe Rogan Experience.

Santa Maria has been interviewed by Scientific American, The Times of London, and the Columbia Journalism Review.”

Pretty impressive! But Myers looks at her and doesn’t see a colleague in the atheist community (she is an atheist). All he sees is “fuck toy and eye candy”. Nothing else even occurs to him.

So that answers the question of who. One, anyway.

23 Jacques Cuze November 17, 2014 at 5:00 am

> I don’t believe that PZ Myers is sexist.

Even with the best interpretations, in your examples, PZ Myers demonstrates

+ condescending
+ patronizing
+ objectifying
+ patriarchal
+ prejudicial

behaviors based on sex

> I don’t believe that PZ Myers is sexist.

Non-sequitur. Your facts are uncoordinated.

24 Matt Cavanaugh November 17, 2014 at 5:31 am

“Does anyone know if Myers refuses to meet male students one-to-one too, or is it just women he has a problem with? “

Considering that Myers has stated that bisexuality is an evolved trait present in every human, he would be remiss to treat his male students any different.

25 Steven Carr November 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

So Myers talked to Cara Santa Maria and came to the conclusion that she was ‘eye candy’?

Didn’t he even bother to find out her name, or what she did?

To him, she was just ‘eye candy’ to decorate the arm of a male, and there was no need at all to look beyond the fact that she is attractive.

Hey PZ, women are people too.

Even attractive women are people too.

26 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

Fast forward to July of this year. Myers makes a post about an encounter he had with Bill Maher in 2009. According to Myers, “[Maher] also showed up with an extremely attractive young woman who could have been his daughter, or even granddaughter, but was actually his date. She was pleasant to talk to, quite unlike her sugar daddy, and actually bothered to engage the table briefly in light conversation. But you could tell that Maher’s ideal woman was candy to decorate his arm in public.”

I was one of those who criticised Myers for his implicit misogyny at the time.

A ‘sugar daddy’ is someone who procures sex in return for money or favours so logically this entails the woman in question accepts money or favours in return for sex, i.e. she’s a prostitute.

We’ve heard a lot in the past week about women being discouraged from entering STEM fields, allegedly because of a shirt, but here we see a prominent (okay, wannabe) atheist dismissing a well-respected neurobiologist as a hooker in a widely read blog.

The belly dancing crack and the weird fantasies are what we’d expect given the casual sexism of his generation and we’d be tempted to just laugh him off as ‘dirty old man’ – a reminder that the egalitarianism of the hippie generation was built on some shaky foundations.

But the refusal to engage with female students one to one, with its implicit assumption that ‘bitchez is crazy’, and the whore-shaming of practicing scientists is utterly unacceptable.

27 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

Is the Maher incident qualitatively different than mistaking a black companion for a servant?

28 Larry November 17, 2014 at 11:09 am

Well, Myers may or may not be a sexist, the only way to know is to look at the evidence, and the evidence collected in this post certainly doesn’t look good for him. Now, Michael might say that he also has his (Michael’s) own judgement, having met the man. Fair enough, but we know that Myers often behaves differently in person.

Anyway, without getting into definitions about the meaning of “sexism” it’s fairly clear to me that the behaviour documented here is hypocritical at best and pretty reprehensible at worst, and way worse than, oh I dunno, Matt Taylor’s shirt wearing for example.

Keep up this good work Michael, you are performing an invaluable service to (most of) the A/S community, such as it is.

29 piero November 17, 2014 at 11:13 am

I fully agree with Michael that the best possible world is one where we take the most charitable interpretation of each other’s actions. What’s really at stake here is malevolent hipocrisy, i.e. not so much it’s OK when we do it as it’s wrong when you do it.”

I am not condemning PZ for any of this behaviour. I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

Very true: tentacle rape porn, plain rape porn, jokes, fantasies, everything is OK as long as you grant everybody the same rights.

Suppose Matt Taylor had had a copy of Bending under his arm as he was being interviewed. Suppose a member of the public had recognised the book and made a complaint. What would Greta’s reaction have been?

30 Steven Carr November 17, 2014 at 11:17 am

GRETA CHRISTINA
When it comes to things that aren’t sex, people seem to understand this distinction. People get that enjoying spy novels doesn’t mean you want to join the CIA; that enjoying murder mysteries doesn’t mean that you want to kill people

CARR
Is she saying that no people read spy novels because they fantasise and daydream about being a spy?

Incidentally, it is perfectly legal to be a spy, unlike being a rapist.

And people really don’t read murder mystery novels because they want to be a murderer. They fantasise about being amateur detectives and want to solve the puzzle of whodunnit and want to see the murderer put behind bars.

But people read pornographic novels like Christina’s because they find the sexual acts depicted in them exciting, and not because they want to see the people she depicts doing them put behind bars.

31 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 11:21 am

I am asking him and his colleagues to act ethically consistently when judging others.

I’m afraid I don’t think this will happen any time soon. Ethical consistency would undermine the core principles of FTB. The “schism” within the atheist/skeptic movement is based on the assumption that you’re either “with them” or “against them”.

The Social Justice Warriors believe that some complicated issues, like sexuality, gender roles, and social changes, can be explained by simple paradigms of “oppressed classes” and “oppressors”. They are moral absolutists who can’t allow any room for shades of grey, or moral ambiguity. They have to characterize their ideological enemies in the worst possible way in order to justify their extremist views.

In this context the “flaws” of people on their own side must be explained away, retconned, or dismissed as irrelevant. A serious analysis of their own behaviors would reveal that their binary, Manichean thinking is unrealistic and problematic. This would completely shatter their assumption that some social issues have clearly defined heroes and villains, and that all kinds of “oppression” are equally real and worthy of attention.

The more self aware SJWs know perfectly well that their standards are extreme and not grounded in reality. Many of them actually support extreme views only in order to make less extreme ones more accepted by society. It’s the “Overton Window” principle: promote fringe ideas in order to make less insane ones more acceptable.

These politically savvy SJWs need the more naive extremists in order to look good. Ethical consistency would require them to support the extreme ideas in full, and not as ploy to get their less extreme ideas a pass. So it’s never going to happen.

I don’t think that PZ Myers, for example, actually believes that rape jokes cause more rape, or that a tacky T-shirt prevents makes most women in science feel “unwelcome”. He’s simply pandering to his audience in order to make his less extreme ideas about an atheist movement that excludes conservatives and libertarians the norm.

32 piero November 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

@Karmakin:

It means that the rules are arbitrary, and we have no bloody clue when we’re breaking it and when we’re not breaking it. There’s no way to GET that clue. And the only alternative is to do this ultra walking on eggshells dance which has a whole lot of high costs of its own, and as such isn’t really an option.

Exactly. I would even say that the phlock relishes that Kafkian environment where you can be condemned by anything and the opposite of anything. Did you pay the bill at the restaurant? You were flaunting your male privilege. Did she pay the bill? You were condescendingly allowing her to share some of your privilege in a trivial matter. Did you split the bill? You couldn’t accept that she paid the bill in full because it meant submission to a woman. And so on.

33 Hunt November 17, 2014 at 11:36 am

You also missed the instance when PZ was giving a talk panning transhumanism and suddenly blurted out something about the males in the audience masturbating into a sock. I don’t remember the details. The talk can probably be found on Youtube. I do remember when my jaw hit the floor because this was at the height of the conference policy fever, and conference policy prohibited sexual talk outside the subject matter. The reference was entirely gratuitous, and I just couldn’t believe my ears. It was like he did it just to show he could get away with it.

Actually, here it is: Check out 19 minutes onward.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9BqyZljmEs

As with all these offenses, it is trivial. Students are laughing, etc. But again, it illustrates It’s OK when I/We Do It. And it, like the others, are actions that would potentially be targetable against “enemies”.

34 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

But people read pornographic novels like Christina’s because they find the sexual acts depicted in them exciting, and not because they want to see the people she depicts doing them put behind bars.

I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a rape fantasy, as long as it remains a fantasy. BDSM could be described as acting on rape fantasy in safe way: as long as all partners are consenting adult, it’s perfectly legal.

And people really don’t read murder mystery novels because they want to be a murderer. They fantasise about being amateur detectives and want to solve the puzzle of whodunnit and want to see the murderer put behind bars.

This is true, but the line between murder mysteries and murder tales is fuzzy. Amateur detectives can be brutal and do socially unacceptable things, while the murders can have some sympathetic traits.

Take the TV show Dexter for example. The main character is a sociopath and a serial killer who still retains the viewer’s sympathy thanks to his choice of targets (murderers, rapists and pedophiles). It’s easy to argue that many viewers of the show fantasies about punishing heinous criminals the same way, without a trial and with a swift and karmic execution.

And yet those actions would be illegal and carry severe penalties in real life.

While some acts are too heinous to sympathize with even in fiction, a decent amount of sympathetic point of view for the protagonist and demonizing of the antagonist helps the audience to accept even grievous, cold-blood murder.

It’s important to remember that every human being has, in theory, the potential for committing even the most deranged unethical acts. The reason why most people do not go on to commit these crimes is that most people develop empathy towards others and abide to social rules.

But thoughts about immoral or illegal actions are quite commonplace. Stigmatizing those thoughts doesn’t help people to feel comfortable, and it is a tad hypocritical (I’d love to meet a “morally pure” person who has never even thought about an immoral act, but I’m afraid that such a person doesn’t exist).

So I actually with Greta Christina in that people who read rape fantasy porn don’t necessarily want to rape others. However I maintain that it’s very hypocritical of her to want acceptance for her own fantasies and shame others for their rape jokes, or for wearing a shirt with scantily clad women on it.

35 piero November 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

@Kibmarc:

However I maintain that it’s very hypocritical of her to want acceptance for her own fantasies and shame others for their rape jokes, or for wearing a shirt with scantily clad women on it.

Especially when the women depicted on the shirt were clearly “fantasies.” What’s the difference between graphic and literary fantasies? Besides, I doubt the shirt was worn as a display of the wearer’s fantasies.

36 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Even if the shirt was worn as a display of the wearer’s fantasies, his fantasies of being surrounded by attractive, scantily clad women isn’t illegal or immoral.

The least charitable interpretation of Matt Taylor’s shirt is that he wished he were Dan Bilzerian.

37 Aheydis Vaakenjab November 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

The frenzy shown by these zealots to condemn Matt Taylor for his choice of shirt was really over the top – akin to the Muslim fanatics who go crazy over cartoons of Muhammed, PZ and his ilk went crazy over cartoons of women…. on a shirt…. forcing a brilliant scientist WHO ACTUALLY DOES STUFF FOR HUMANITY to apologize tearfully… for a shirt…. with cartoons…. Meanwhile in PZ land, his fish are fed and he’s done nothing to promote and invite people from all walks of life in to atheism.

As Michael has pointed out, this is just another event in the string of events that plagues PZ. At some point the snake will eat its tail as it is inevitable that PZ can keep up this schtick for any amount of time before someone wises up and calls him out of his own ridiculous behaviour.

If I had to choose to have people like PZ to represent me as a human or someone from a local church who actually DOES secular humanist charity drives and feeds and clothes the homeless, it’s not a stretch to see how far off the scale PZ would be. And that’s a sad statement coming from an ardent atheist like myself.

38 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule regarding identification in crime or spy novels. There’s a tradition of anti-heroes in both: Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley books, Kames M Caine’s seedy lowlifes, Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Dexter Morgan, etc. one of the most acclaimed series of recent times has been about a murderous methe manufacturer.

With rape porn the intention is purely to arouse though; it’s not social commentary or making a larger, satirical point.

And while the subject positions available to women are essentially masochistic the male reader is interpolated as a sadist. I’m less worried by women reading this stuff than men gushing about how hard it got them.

39 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Take the TV show Dexter for example. The main character is a sociopath and a serial killer who still retains the viewer’s sympathy thanks to his choice of targets (murderers, rapists and pedophiles). It’s easy to argue that many viewers of the show fantasies about punishing heinous criminals the same way, without a trial and with a swift and karmic execution.

There’s a great deal of social commentary in Dexter too, and philosophical discussions on the ‘performativity’ of emotions.

In one episode, for instance, he attends a funeral and feels obliged to express emotion to blend in. I’ve done the same; I don’t necessarily feel the need to express my emotions even when they are strong, and I’m often unsure of what emotions I am feeling (alexithemia is a common aspie trait) but I’ve learnt that it’s something expected of me in certain circumstances.

40 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Screwed up the formatting. Bugger.

41 Blueshift Rhino November 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

I really appreciate justme and hunt adding data to the content of this thread. I don’t know if MN knew of those two examples and chose not to include them; I didn’t know of them. All I had to contribute was an inference.

42 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm

You also missed the instance when PZ was giving a talk panning transhumanism and suddenly blurted out something about the males in the audience masturbating into a sock.

Is this anything to do with Russell Blackford’s refusal to appear with him?

In any case, don’t the objects of his desire fertilise externally?

43 Minnow November 17, 2014 at 2:56 pm

“PZ has written three times about how he prevented an investigation into a threatened false allegation of rape against himself.”

My only disagreement would be that ‘false’ does not belong in that sentence. It may have been a false allegation, we don’t know because Myers managed to pressure the student into silence (and failed her afterwards, incidentally), all we know is that there was an allegation.

44 Jan Steen November 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

We have, or should have, all learned at an early age that it is bad form to disparage people based on traits they were born with. Depending on the trait in question, such behaviour can be called racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, etc., or more general, prejudice. Prejudice based on people’s gender, skin colour, sexuality, etc., is bad. A group of people who systematically display such prejudice would certainly be one that every decent person ought to shun. Am I right?

Enter the Social Justice Warriors. The way they talk about, write about, tweet about, comment about white men (often more in particular cis-gendered, heterosexual white men) would be blatantly racist if we were to replace ‘white men’ with ‘jew’, or horribly sexist if we inserted ‘women’ for ‘white men’.

What if PZ Myers had written this:

“Thank God that we have a tragedy involving a wealthy jew to drag us away from the depressing news about brown people.”

“Two jews spend an hour talking about how racist it is to criticize other jews.”

“People keep telling me that I have to read up more on real theology, you know, the stuff where smart old jews sit around in seminaries and invent rationalizations for whatever the hell they want to believe.”

Suppose he had titled a blog post “The problem of the oblivious female atheist,”

containing this statement:

“One thing that would really help, I think, is if the grassroots spoke out a little bit more to remind us. Tell us who you want to hear who isn’t deficient in testosterone”

These are just some random PZ Myers quotes caught in a quick Google trawl and slightly edited. Guess which words I changed.

His Flock is even worse. Replace ‘white men’ (or ‘white dudebros’) with ‘black men’ or ‘jews’ in many of their comments and you would get a pretty shocking collection of hate speech. And then there is, on the FTB network, a blogger and Person of Color called Sikivu Hutchinson, who has carved her niche by writing about white people in terms that would easily qualify as KKK-level racism had the colours been inverted.

The SJWs are well aware that they are opening themselves up to the accusation of racism, and they have invented a few sleighs of hand that convince nobody outside their cult. The first is, that white folks are privileged, and therefore it is okay to be prejudiced against them. It’s just ‘punching up,’ as they call it. Why exactly punching up would be an acceptable thing to do against people who have done nothing wrong remains a mystery. Do you punch people in the face just because you don’t like the colour of their skin? “But Your Honour, I was just punching up,” won’t help you in court.

And then, as a second trick, there is their tampering with definitions. The SJWs claim that there is a ‘scientific’, ‘sociological’ definition of racism, which says that racism = prejudice + power. If you research the matter you will find that there is no unanimity among sociologists about the usefulness of this definition and that it is nonsense to refer to ‘the’ scientific definition. The ordinary definition of racism as prejudice based on skin colour is just as valid.

But let’s grant them their definition. Then the prejudice still remains. They still display prejudice based on skin colour and gender. This is simply indefensible if you are a decent human being.

This concludes the proof of:

Theorem I: SJWs are not decent human beings.

From which the following Corollary follows by elementary logic:

Corollary: PZ Myers is a SJW. Therefore PZ Myers is not a decent human being.

But we knew that already.

45 Skep tickle November 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Michael brought up Myers’ “fuck toys and eye candy” comment in the context of its inclusion by Thunderf00t in a video Michael felt was uncharitable:
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/01/03/thunderf00ts-inflammatory-video-of-misleading-personal-attacks-on-atheist-feminists-is-not-helpful/

(Posting from phone; pls excuse errors)

46 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Enter the Social Justice Warriors. The way they talk about, write about, tweet about, comment about white men (often more in particular cis-gendered, heterosexual white men) would be blatantly racist if we were to replace ‘white men’ with ‘jew’, or horribly sexist if we inserted ‘women’ for ‘white men’.

They don’t ‘get’ intersectionality; they don’t ‘get’ sociological concepts like privilege and oppression. They have a cargo cult understanding of sociological concepts. They really think there’s a cabal of cis white hetero men who run the world and everyone else is oppressed equally by this group and no other. It’s a conspiracy theory view of the world.

There are perfectly serviceable ideas behind intersectionality, privilege and oppression. Intersectionality describes a matrix of power relationships, not a fucking hierarchy. There’s no one group of shitlords at the top oppressing everyone, every individual is at a nexus of intersecting power struggles. You can’t fucking assume a power relationship based on a handful of characteristics and you can’t apply sociological concepts to individuals cases.

Fuckwits.

47 JetLagg November 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Aheydis@37
“If I had to choose to have people like PZ to represent me as a human or someone from a local church who actually DOES secular humanist charity drives and feeds and clothes the homeless, it’s not a stretch to see how far off the scale PZ would be. And that’s a sad statement coming from an ardent atheist like myself.”

My father’s pastor preaches that hell is real for nonbelievers, and that it’s impossible to be a Democrat and a believer at the same time. He also organizes secular charity events for the community and regularly hosts discussions where non-believers and those of other religions are given an opportunity to speak. I detest the guy personally, but he’s a far better candidate for humanity’s representative then Myers will ever be.

48 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm

If anyone needs another reason why FTB atheism is infinitely worse than the more benign forms of religion, check out their coverage of the story of a nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient from Liberia:

Despatches reports the story like this:

One of the two Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient with the disease says she got better because people were praying for her, not because she got proper medical care. I get so tired of this irrational nonsense.

What the nurse actually said was::

“I feel fortunate and blessed to be standing here today,” Pham said in a press conference Oct. 24. “I would first and foremost like to thank God, my family and friends. Throughout this ordeal, I have put my trust in God and my medical team.

You’d think the nurse was actively campaigning against medicine not administering it.

Let’s put this in context : a nurse contracts a frequently deadly disease while administering medical care to the sick and dying – and this arsehole thinks he/she/it has the moral and intellectual high ground.

All they’ve done is make atheists look like shit.

49 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm
50 Gerhard November 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

“Nugent regurgitates Slymepit talking points” in 3..2..1. Benson to conclude that Nugent is now a write-off and Myers to write something about kooks and loons. Sorry Michael , but I know them too well to hold out any hope of a considered reaction, uncharitable scoundrel that I am.

51 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I hope Myers enjoyed reading this blog post over his breakfast.

I have visions of him coughing up milk like the robot in Alien

52 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

@Jan Steen #44

The social discourse regarding race and sex and ethnicity has changed over the years: it is no longer acceptable in most public discourse to claim black people/women etc. are inferior, for example. This does not mean racism/sexism and general bigotry has disappeared (although it has lessened). Instead bigotry takes different forms. One such form is the claim that white people or men have become the marginalised group. A lesser version is that disparaging people because of their race/gender etc. is equivalent regardless of whether we’re talking about, say, a white native man or a black immigrant woman.

Well I don’t think it is. And one doesn’t have to be a “Social justice Warrior” to realise that a disparaging remark towards the nature of the former has a very different qualitative character than a similar remark towards the latter.

The problem with PZ Myers & FtB is not that they are SJW’s – a term which seems to have been thought up by people who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice – its that the methods they use are detrimental to that fight. FtB are dead right when they argue that many women experience casual sexism on a daily basis. They’re totally NOT right when they then see this as a license for verbally abusing, doxxing and harassing anyone they see as not being ideologically pure enough.

@shatterface #46
Do you really think “fuckwits” is an appropriate way to describe political opponents on a series of blogposts promoting civil discourse in the atheist community?

53 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Do you really think “fuckwits” is an appropriate way to describe political opponents on a series of blogposts promoting civil discourse in the atheist community?

Yes, if they have the wit of a fuck.

I never claimed to be civil: I have argued that using accusations of rape and rape apology against political opponents is something more than ‘incivility.’

54 Gerhard November 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat:

The problem with PZ Myers & FtB is not that they are SJW’s – a term which seems to have been thought up by people who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice – its that the methods they use are detrimental to that fight.

Really? Why does it seem that way to you? It has always seemed pretty clear to me that the term was thought up by people sneering at the detrimental methods. IOW the problem IS that PZ Myers etc are SJWs. I think you misunderstand the meaning of the term.

55 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

The problem with PZ Myers & FtB is not that they are SJW’s – a term which seems to have been thought up by people who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice – its that the methods they use are detrimental to that fight

Nobody is sneering at ‘social justice’, they’re smearing at those who think they are ‘warriors’ for justice simply because they’ve laid into some unfortunate on Twitter because he accidentally misused the possessive case of their latest pronoun.

56 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

‘Smearing at’ should be ‘sneering at’.

I make this correction for the benefit of the hard of thinking.

57 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 5:48 pm

@shatterface #53

Sure, why not just thrown some verbal abuse at your opponent? After all its not as bad as the stuff the other side throws. I’m just being a tone troll for even suggesting you should be civil. Sound familiar?

Way to miss the point of Michael Nugents initial criticisms of FtB.

58 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Really? Why does it seem that way to you? It has always seemed pretty clear to me that the term was thought up by people sneering at the detrimental methods. IOW the problem IS that PZ Myers etc are SJWs. I think you misunderstand the meaning of the term.

It’s like ‘armchair general’. It’s mocking their posturing, not their cause.

59 Jan Steen November 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat,

One such form is the claim that white people or men have become the marginalised group. A lesser version is that disparaging people because of their race/gender etc. is equivalent regardless of whether we’re talking about, say, a white native man or a black immigrant woman.

Nice strawman. Are you perchance a SJW? I didn’t say anything about marginalised groups or equivalence. I just said that prejudice based on gender and skin colour is wrong. Period. Do you have a problem with that?

And, as others have pointed out, disparaging Social Justice Warriors is *not* disparaging Social Justice, it’s disparaging the devious cultists who claim to fight for SJ, but are in reality totalitarian entryists trying to gain control. These people are dangerous. They use SJ as their shield.

60 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

@Gerhard #53

Re: SJW neing thought up by people who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice

“Really? Why does it seem that way to you?”

Probably because the term “SJW” is mostly used by mainly american right wingers who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice. The term is not generally used by people who DO fight for social justice.

61 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 6:17 pm

‘Social justice ‘ is just their current pretext for their hate.

There’s nothing but hate coming out of freethought blogs. Dig beneath that hate and there more hate.

It’s hate all the way down.

62 jimthepleb November 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm

‘Fighting for Social Justice’ would seem a very subjective term. My social justice can too quickly become your infringed rights.
Like many of the terms used in these discussions SJ is becoming obsolete IMO as it is too broad a brush and inadequately definable.

63 Larry November 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm

@Jan Steen #44

Sikivu Hutchinson, if I remember correctly, is the one who was on a panel somewhere and accused the four horsemen of being “white supremacists”, while Watson bobbed her head in agreement. And then the microphone was passed to Benson who defended Dawkins, not from the charge of being a white supremacist, but of the charge of scientism that Hutchinson had also made.

A bit off topic I know, but this is the mentality of these people

64 Mel November 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

There’s always been social justice activism within the atheist community. Nobody sneers at that. The SJWs are the slactivist keyboard warriors who do nothing but post their grievances and demand somebody else do something, or bash the real activists for disobeying them. The armchair generals, the self-appointed Atheist Royalty, from the safety of their comfy desk chairs.*

If anyone criticizes them, they turn into Rush Limbaugh. “You don’t like the Patriot Act? Why do you hate patriotism? Have you always hated America?” only in this case, of course, it’s Social Justice and women.

* Except when they’re lucky enough to get flown to a conference where they preach to the choir from a comfy podium for a few minutes and then it’s parrrrrtay time, all expenses paid. That’s their boots-on-the-ground activism.

65 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Sikivu Hutchinson, if I remember correctly, is the one who was on a panel somewhere and accused the four horsemen of being “white supremacists”, while Watson bobbed her head in agreement

I think it just naturally wobbles as her brain rolls around.

It’s like a jumping bean.

66 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 6:55 pm

@Jan Steen #59

I said that a disparaging remark towards a marginalised group has a different qualitative character than one towards the dominant group – i.e. that they are not equivalent. I also said the claim of equivalence is a lesser form of modern racist discourse.

I didn’t claim you said this, or that your post was racist. However I do think my remarks help contextualise your post as I see it. And as perhaps other people who have fought for social justice might see it.

As for me being a SJW, if the term is all about their authoritarian behaviour and nothing at all to do with fighting for social justice as you and others here have claimed; then what is it about MY behaviour which makes you ask the question?

Have I abused anyone?
Have I used SJ as a shield for hateful activities?
Are my arguments totalitarian?

Clearly not. In which case you must be asking the question because of my comments on the changing nature of racist discourse i.e. my concerns about social justice, whatever you might think of them.

67 Beatman November 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm

PZ myers does not believe in gender equality. feminists like him don’t

68 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Way to miss the point of Michael Nugents initial criticisms of FtB.

The debate has moved on way beyond ‘civility’, it has moved on to accusing people of rape, rape apologetics and providing a haven for rapists.

If someone called me a fuckwit in a pub I’d laugh it off; if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.

That’s because some of us regard rape as a serious criminal offence, not a rhetorical tactic.

69 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

@Mel #64

Actually plenty of people sneer at social justice activism, both within and without the atheist community. Its part of the price of having a movement with such diverse political and social viewpoints.

You’re bang on the money about the ‘activism’ of FtBloggers and their commenters though – there hardly seems to be any activism beyond blogging and going to conferences. Although I’d be glad to be proven wrong, if any FtB lurkers would care to correct me.

70 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I didn’t claim you said this, or that your post was racist. However I do think my remarks help contextualise your post as I see it. And as perhaps other people who have fought for social justice might see it.

In other words you think Jan’s a racist but you are too ‘civil’ to say so

71 Mel November 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

The only sneering at real social justice activism I’ve ever seen has come from the SJWs. Perhaps it happens and I just haven’t seen it.

72 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm

@shatterface #68

So now you think its ok to assault and maim people for insulting you.

Delightful.

73 MosesZD November 17, 2014 at 7:27 pm

?The problem with PZ Myers & FtB is not that they are SJW’s – a term which seems to have been thought up by people who sneer at the idea of actually fighting for social justice – its that the methods they use are detrimental to that fight.

They’re not fighting for social justice. They’re just bullies looking for an excuse to hurt other people.

I fight for social justice. I’ve marched. I’ve given to charities. I’ve done work for habitat for humanity. I’ve worked with inner-city minorities in building financial planning and money managment. I’ve done a tremendous amount of pro-bono work for inner-city minorities in tax and bankruptcy fields. I’ve supported marginal communities with advertising, sweat equity, etc.

The SJWs don’t do that. They spend on the Internet screaming, often incoherently, at others while living their own unexamined lives of privlege. And they do have lives of privlege.

What I don’t do is to go around screaming and yelling at people over trivial crap and attack all people of one ethnic/gender group for the sins of a tiny minority. The SJWs do.

Social Justice Worker — people like me.
Social Just Warrior — People like Myers and The Horde.

The warrior does nothing but noise and bully. The worker just gets the job done.

74 MosesZD November 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Mel @ Post 64

That was a great post.

75 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 7:36 pm

So now you think its ok to assault and maim people for insulting you.

And you think rape is too trivial an accusation to respond to.

Why don’t you explain to is how ‘social justice’ is served by flinging rape accusations around?

How is ‘social justice’ by attacking other atheists as rape apologists for refusing to libel someone on your behalf?

How is ‘social justice’ served by instructing women to belly dance?

How is ‘social justice’ served by dismissing female scientists as ‘eye candy’ and prostitutes?

How is ‘social justice’ served by promoting rape porn?

How is ‘social justice’ served by refusing to follow the correct procedure when you, yourself, are accused of rape?

How is ‘social justice’ served when you refuse to be alone with female students because you think they routinely make false accusations?

How is ‘social justice’ served if you attack people with depression for daring to think the suicide of someone with depression is a good moment for raising awareness about depression?

76 Zorg November 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm

@Piero, #29:

What’s really at stake here is malevolent hipocrisy, i.e. not so much it’s OK when we do it as it’s wrong when you do it.”

I think the operative methodology of the SJW movement (which is not a niche cult but is, rather, the mainstream of modern feminism) is worse than that. The way they operate is “whatever we do is okay, whatever you do is wrong.” Once an SJW decides to bully someone, everything they do, no matter how innocuous, is sexist, racist, or is otherwise “problematic” and worthy of hatred. The same behaviors by an SJW, however, either pass without comment or are excused as “punching up.” SJWs are far more interested in demonizing people than condemning behaviors.

The only difference between FTB and other SJWs is that FTB is even more malevolent in its target selection. Given that most SJWs will treat a NSFW shirt as a crime against humanity, that says a great deal about FTB.

77 Tezcatlipoca November 17, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I met Cara Santa Maria at a conference. Had a little chitchat in the lobby totally unrelated to atheism or skepticism. Listened to her talk about science communication. She seemed like a likeable, interesting, person. Attractive, yes. Eye candy and ” fuck toy”, only if that us some default category you casual label people with.

78 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I don’t think Myers even thought of asking her name; he just saw an imaginary price tag and that was enough for him.

79 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Price of everything; value of nothing.

80 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 7:52 pm

@shatterface #75

I don’t know why you think I think rape accusations are trivial or why you think any of the questions you ask are applicable to me in the slightest.

For the record I think Michael Nugents been doing fine work here and this latest blog post on PZ’s hypocrisy should be required reading for anyone involved in the movement.

Also for the record I would not be surprised at all if someone assaulted someone else in a pub for being accused of rape – a serious legal and moral crime.

However I don’t think such an assault would be justified and I certainly wouldn’t want to associate politically with someone advocating such thuggish behaviour.

81 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Who you chose to associate with is your choice; I wouldn’t respect someone who shrugged off a rape accusation like it was nothing .

82 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm

@Gunboat Dimplomat #80:

What Shatterface was saying is that calling someone a fuckwit is a much less serious matter than calling them a rapist.

I know plenty of people who would assault others for being falsely accused of rape. While I don’t think that those assaults should be advocated, false rape accusations are a potential danger to one’s life and income, and it’s understandable that some people would react to them in a violent fashion.

A simple insult such as “fuckwit” is pretty harmless in comparison.

83 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm

@Zorg #76

“I think the operative methodology of the SJW movement (which is not a niche cult but is, rather, the mainstream of modern feminism) ”

Plenty of feminists oppose the methodology and tactics of FtB & Co. Feminism is a very broad church and in claiming this is mainstream feminism you are both doing injustice to these other feminists AND giving this brand of feminism far too much credit.

84 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Plenty of feminists oppose the methodology and tactics of FtB & Co. Feminism is a very broad church and in claiming this is mainstream feminism you are both doing injustice to these other feminists AND giving this brand of feminism far too much credit.

I don’t think Myers and co. represent feminism. I’ve said all along it’s just the pretext.

If these people were living in other times or places they’d be burning, lynching or manning the guillotine in the name of whatever gave them an excuse to hurt people.

We’re fortunate we are in a more civilised age where it’s only ‘character’ they can assassinate.

85 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

@Kirbmarc #82

I think its clear I agree with your first two paragraphs.

However I don’t think calling opponents fuckwits is appropriate outside of pubs and banter with friends. I certainly wouldn’t call any of my colleagues fuckwits and I haven’t yet seen a debate where that sort of language is bandied about. Using that sort of language effectively shuts down discussion.

Some commenters seem to have forgotten Michael’s broader goal is not to attack PZ Myers but to fight against the toxic nature of the discussion within the atheist community. Shatterface’s language is an aspect of the toxicity of that discussion. Sure, they’re mild in comparison to FtB and mild in comparison to much of the rest of the internet but that’s a pretty low hurdle.

86 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat #83

Feminism is a very broad church and in claiming this is mainstream feminism you are both doing injustice to these other feminists AND giving this brand of feminism far too much credit.

This could be true, but it all depends on which definition of “feminism” you are talking about. First and second wave feminism are focused on giving equal rights to women (the right to vote, divorce and abortion, equal pay for equal job, sexual freedom).

Third wave feminism is a broader movement, that includes sex worker activists, people who want more overall fairness, ideologues who don’t care about freedom of speech and innocent until proven guilty, prudish followers of Andrea Dworkin who fight against anything they deem to be “offensive” (porn, prostitution, tacky T-shirts) and people who openly advocate gendercide.

It’s understandable that FTB has much more in common with the last three categories than the first two. But what exactly is “mainstream feminism” is hard to tell at time.

Is Anita Sarkeesian a “mainstream feminist”? She’s against sex work, she’s pretty prudish and prone to fallacies, so I’d say she has more in common with the followers of Dworkin than with people like Cathy Young.

87 Jan Steen November 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat,

As for me being a SJW, if the term is all about their authoritarian behaviour and nothing at all to do with fighting for social justice as you and others here have claimed; then what is it about MY behaviour which makes you ask the question?

Let’s see: strawmanning me, ignoring my actual arguments, vaguely but at the same time clearly suggesting that I have questionable motives, kafkatrapping (saying that PoC can be racist too proves you are a racist). These are all things a SJW would do, but which one wouldn’t expect from an honest interlocutor.

88 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm

In many ways Gunboat Diplomacy is worse than the baboons. Myers and co. believe nobody should be allowed to defend themselves against tape while GB thinks the accusations are too trivial to bother.

The ‘calm down dear, put the kettle on and I’ll sort this out ‘civilly’ for you’ approach has got us precisely nowhere.

And I’m calling you out for your dogwhistle accusations of racism against Jan; racism is not exclusive to white people, nor is black racism always punching up. Intersectionality is a matrix, not a hierarchy.

Educate yourself.

89 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Correction:

In many ways Gunboat Diplomacy is worse than the baboons. Myers and co. believe nobody should be allowed to defend themselves against accusations of rape while GB thinks the accusations are too trivial to bother with.

90 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Let’s make an analogy.

Americans are statistically half an inch taller than British people. That doesn’t mean that every American is half an inch taller than every Brit. It doesn’t mean that if there is an American and a Brit in the same room you can deduce which is taller based on their accent. It doesn’t mean you can deduce which has adequate healthcare based on their height.

That’s how privilege works: something which works statistically over large numbers of people.

91 Gerhard November 17, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Gunboat Diplomat:

I said that a disparaging remark towards a marginalised group has a different qualitative character than one towards the dominant group – i.e. that they are not equivalent. I also said the claim of equivalence is a lesser form of modern racist discourse.

I disagree. The possible consequences MAY differ, but the racist mindset is not necessarily different. In any society with racial minorities you are going to have situations where individuals from the majority race are going to be at a disadvantage to the minority. Racism directed toward those individuals is no less potentially harmful than that directed at the racial minority. Racism is racism and racially motivated violence is no less serious for the victim if the victim is from the majority race. Privilege is a situational thing, not some magical unchanging property bestowed at birth.

92 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

That’s how privilege works: something which works statistically over large numbers of people

And in different ways in different contexts. A social category which is unprivileged in America can be pretty high on the privilege scale in other countries, and vice versa.

Moreover, income and wealth in general have a huge influence on how privileged a subset of a social class is.

Statistically, whites are more privileged than blacks also because there are far less middle and upper class black people than whites. Working class or homeless white people, however, are much less privileged than middle-class black people. The same thing is even more true when you compare working class men and middle-class women

The SJWs would have you believe that Johnnie the white bum is more privileged than Oprah. This is pretty idiotic when you think about what “privileged” means.

93 piero November 17, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Though I tend to agree with Gunboat Diplomat on manners, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have a civil exchange with SJWs. I do use that term disparagingly and knowingly; I know their type, because a long time ago I almost became one. They are always ready to employ incendiary rhetoric in order to send “the masses” to their deaths. From the safety of their keyboards and screens they propitiate revolutionary action and martyrdom. They are always ready to set up a web site, publish a pamphlet and organise a sit-in. Not so much when they have to confront beatings and bullets.

Social justice is, of course, a noble objective. The state of the world at this moment is appalling. People are still dying of starvation and preventable diseases. Some people have more money than they can spend in several hundred lifetimes, others have absolutely nothing. Of course such a state of affairs is unacceptable, and of course something must be done to change it. But it is equally obvious that those who benefit from injustice are immensely powerful. It is equally obvius that corporations wield much more powr than governments. It is equally obvious that blog rants are useless.

Letter from a plutocrat

Who cares what you write in your blog, as long as you buy my computers and my phones and my internet connection?

Women rights? Sure, why not: we can exploit them just as we exploit men, nay more so, because at this stage they have to work harder for recognition and promotion, so we get an extra output from them. Besides, they are actually happy to have been subsumed, and will take pride in their ability to be just as obnoxious as their male peers.

Race equality? Yeah, that too, why not: Chinese, Japanese, Arab, Black, who cares: if they have the money that’s all we care about. For the losers, however, race relations are best kept tense; you see, as long as they are busy beating each other up they are less likely to realise who is pulling the strings.

And the Left? Well, they are too busy supporting the glorious fight of the Palestinians and fighting sex stereotypes in videogames. Nobody cares about the Left. The common folk are too worried with Islamic terrorism and Ebola.

But what about the Earth? We are practically destroying it, and everyone will suffer the consequences! Yeah, there’s that, of course. But let’s be realistic: global warming will become a serious problem long after I’m dead, so why should I care?

Enjoy life while you can and relax: you’ll soon be dead too.

94 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm

And in different ways in different contexts. A social category which is unprivileged in America can be pretty high on the privilege scale in other countries, and vice versa.

Plus, there are specific contexts – such as child custody battles – when privilege is reversed – and does anyone seriously believe black women are more likely to be beaten by police than black men?

When it comes to sexism, that is largely within ethnic groups not between them. Working class black people aren’t depriving women of high ranking banking positions and middle-class white men aren’t making their wives walk ten paces behind them. How many white men are calling for segregation of the sexes at universities? How many support FMG?

And that’s before we get to conflicts between ethnic groups (Africans vs Asians, Muslims vs Hindus, etc) in the UK.

Intersectionality is a complex, dynamic system, not a pyramid scheme.

People who learn ‘intersectionality’ from Tumblr are simply recycling anti-Semitic tropes with Jews replaced by a cabal of cis white hetero shitlords.

That’s not sociology and it’s not institutional analysis; it’s a conspiracy theory.

95 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Tumblr is one of the cesspools of the Internet. The “otherkin” bullshit comes from there, and it’s one of the most incredibly stupid memes ever conceived.

I’d call it a satire of the most extreme trans activism (the “sex is a social construct” flavor) if no people took it seriously.

96 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm

@Gerhard #91

Perhaps I should have put “usually” into that sentence. My statements are only intended as generalities, sorry if that wasn’t clear. However “Racism is racism” is also a reflection of the kind of equivalency I was talking about.

@kirbmarc #92

You make fair points but you also make a strawman the “SJW” position at least as it refers to FtBloggers and their horde who do (largely) recognise the complexity of oppression and the intersection of other factors. There would be few enough who would argue that a homeless white man is more privileged than a rich black woman. At the same time , as I’m sure you recognise a rich black woman is likely to encounter a type of discrimination a poor white man won’t and vice versa. But we’d all rather be Oprah, obviously.

97 Gunboat Diplomat November 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm

This is Gunboat Diplomat’s girlfriend. I am confiscating his laptop for the night. He has barely spoken to me all evening! And it’s Walking Dead time. He may be back tomorrow.xx

98 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

You make fair points but you also make a strawman the “SJW” position at least as it refers to FtBloggers and their horde who do (largely) recognise the complexity of oppression and the intersection of other factors.

That’s simply untrue. Benson, for example, is always playing the ‘mansplaining’ card, even if she has to borrow cartoons from transphobic hate sites in order to do it. All that ‘shut up and listen!’ nonsense is based on the idea of shared victimhood that transcends race, class, education, etc.

And they have absolutely no conception of how mental illness and developmental disorders intersect with other axes of power and oppression otherwise they wouldn’t have torn into Robin Williams simply for being a rich white dude with the bad grace to distract the media from whatever Myers wanted to talk about this week.

And see my earlier comments about Myers and mental illness. No way would he throw around racist and misogynist terms of abuse the way he uses ableist slurs.

99 Kirbmarc November 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm

There would be few enough who would argue that a homeless white man is more privileged than a rich black woman.

Evidently you haven’t read enough FTB posts or the A+ forum.

At the same time , as I’m sure you recognise a rich black woman is likely to encounter a type of discrimination a poor white man won’t and vice versa.

At the cost of echoing the Great Satan Richard Dawkins, some issues just aren’t as important as others. Obviously a rich black woman is much more likely to be subject to racist remarks or sexual harassment from heterosexual men than a poor white men, but overall, as you’d say, most people would rather be Oprah than a white homeless guy.

Some things also aren’t “discrimination” but are nonetheless labeled as “microaggression”, such as “band-aids of the a color that doesn’t go with my skin tone”. The homeless guy of the example probably wouldn’t kick much of a fuss over blue-colored band-aids, and I’d argue, neither should most people.

100 Blueshift Rhino November 17, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Shatterface wrote “If someone called me a fuckwit in a pub I’d laugh it off; if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.”

That would be wrong for you to do. It was wrong for you to even imply (here) that doing so would be in any way defensible. In a just world, you would go to jail for answering mere words with violence.

The attitude that you expressed is a problem. It’s a different problem from what this series of posts is about, but still a problem.

101 Blueshift Rhino November 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

I also agree with GB that slurs (e.g., “fuckwit”) should be reserved for more private places, such as pubs or The ‘Pit. They should definitely be avoided here, as this is MN’s sandbox and they are clearly inconsistent with his approach.

102 Phil Giordana FCD November 17, 2014 at 10:52 pm

“Fuckwit” was approved by Benson herself.

103 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm

That would be wrong for you to do. It was wrong for you to even imply (here) that doing so would be in any way defensible. In a just world, you would go to jail for answering mere words with violence.

I suspect we her up in very different areas, since where I’m from someone who is accused of rape would be kneecapped by the kind of people Michael has written about elsewhere.

We don’t all come from some cosy environment where good guys win by being nice.

Rape accusations aren’t something you just shrug off.

104 Shatterface November 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Some of you genuinely seem to think this is just some argument about ‘tone'; that it’s just about taking ‘offence’.

It’s not about ‘feelings’. It’s about real world harm.

105 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 12:55 am

Meanwhile, the Friendly Atheist lets this lie stand and deletes any attempt to counter it

wmdkitty
3 hours ago
I know there is. It’s called the Slymepit — nasty people, those. Doxxing, harassing, rape threats, death threats… and then whining about free speech when they’re called on their behavior.

Not one accusation of which is true .

Myers new ally in feminism is a blog which opposes abortion.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/11/17/if-you-had-premarital-sex-this-baptist-pastor-and-college-president-believes-youre-a-filthy-dishrag/#comment-1698106345

106 John Greg November 18, 2014 at 12:56 am

Not deleted Shatter — I made the same mistake — just moved on down the hierarchy.

107 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

It’s not a hierarchy, it’s a matrix.

TFA still let the lie stand.

108 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 1:14 am

You’ll notice that the FA commentators leap straight from an unfounded claim about doxxing, rape threats and death threats to ‘Why aren’t they in jail?’

No ‘Have you got any evidence for this?’ or even ‘Is this true?’ – it’s just straight to ‘Why aren’t they in jail?’

And this is why it isn’t a matter of ‘civility’. It’s about wild accusations, a contempt for evidence and abuse of the law.

109 Henry Fitzgerald November 18, 2014 at 4:31 am

Regarding Matt Cavanaugh at #21…

Myers’ stock is at an all-time low with me after his gleeful and cruel participation in the lynching of Matt Taylor – but in the interests of fairness, I’ll defend his comments about bestiality.

This is actually Myers being tolerant, for a change, of other peoples’ behaviour; of all the things he should be punished for saying, this isn’t one of them. Given his mean-spirited intolerance on so many other fronts, his unwillingness to immediately condemn here is if anything a step in the right direction. And note that he explicitly says he only condones bestiality in situations in which it causes no harm. This seems reasonable enough, surely? (Maybe there are no such situations; that’s a separate matter.) At any rate, I don’t think he should be regarded as despicable, or in any way bad for his comments on bestiality, even it turns out on reflection that he has made a mistake here.

I’ve read your blog post, by the way (and I disagree – we can talk there if you like, although I’m heading out of internet contact for a few days). Have you read Peter Singer’s Heavy Petting? Its position is a more coherent and nuanced than Myers’, and more thoughtfully expressed. (Unfortunately, I can’t find this article online.)

110 Sharon Madison November 18, 2014 at 8:02 am

@Shatterface

You said:

The ‘calm down dear, put the kettle on and I’ll sort this out ‘civilly’ for you’ approach has got us precisely nowhere.

The civil approach has never been tried over an extended period of time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case because people who wish to engage with evidence and reason put forth in a civil way don’t want their websites filled with incivility in the comment sections. Furthermore, I could say that the uncivil approach hasn’t worked because it’s been happening for three years yet Myers, Benson, Zvan, and others are still doing what they have been doing. Incivility doesn’t seem to have put a stop to the nonsense, does it?

And in response to this:

That would be wrong for you to do. It was wrong for you to even imply (here) that doing so would be in any way defensible. In a just world, you would go to jail for answering mere words with violence.

You said this:

I suspect we her up in very different areas, since where I’m from someone who is accused of rape would be kneecapped by the kind of people Michael has written about elsewhere. We don’t all come from some cosy environment where good guys win by being nice. Rape accusations aren’t something you just shrug off.

There’s a difference between saying that violence is not an appropriate response to ugly allegations and just shrugging these allegations off. No one is suggesting that ugly allegations should go unanswered. What people are suggesting is responding with violence is inappropriate. And, I don’t give a damn what type of environment you grew up in. Unless someone is acting in self-defense because they are under physical attack, violence is not a reasonable response.

It’s fascinating to watch various people from both sides of the “deep rift” in action. Self-justification at it’s finest! It’s OK if I call people fuckwits and baboons because “If someone called me a fuckwit in a pub I’d laugh it off; if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.” Shatterface, who always knows the right thing to do and the right way to do it. The same Shatterface who is calling people baboons and fuckwits, yet got upset when I implied that he thinks I’m a witch. Using gendered slurs is very, very bad but insuring someone would be shitting their broken teeth out if they make an ugly accusation is how they do things where Shatterface comes from so that makes it perfectly acceptable.

It is obvious that you refuse to reconsider your own thinking and, if not apologize, at least acknowledge that advocating the use of violence as an response to a non-violent action is inappropriate. How does this make you any different than all those “baboons” you’ve been railing against?

111 Steven Carr November 18, 2014 at 8:49 am

Is civility useful with Myers?

Cara Santa Maria was very civil to Myers.

So he wrote a blog post claiming she had ‘a sugar daddy’.

It would appear that Myers is so sexist, that if he sees an attractive woman in science, his first thought is that she is a prostitute hired by a male to appear.

112 Kirbmarc November 18, 2014 at 9:39 am

No ‘Have you got any evidence for this?’ or even ‘Is this true?’ – it’s just straight to ‘Why aren’t they in jail?’

That’s one of the worst parts of the SJW mindest. Every accusation against “the enemy” is believed with no need for any kind of evidence. At the same time every criticism of “the allies” is labeled “harassment”, again, with no need for evidence.

113 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 18, 2014 at 10:26 am

[PZ sez:] “Get off my stage. I’ve got work to do.”

Says the man who apparently regards AI as his personal stage. How many other people have had the opportunity of running the show lately, Chairperson Nugent?

114 jimthepleb November 18, 2014 at 10:33 am

PZ sees AI as his personal stage? Oh Theo you are a card!

115 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

Is civility useful with Myers?

Is anything?

At least it doesn’t hand him ammunition.

At least it doesn’t garner him sympathy from those on the fence.

116 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 11:31 am

Using gendered slurs is very, very bad but insuring someone would be shitting their broken teeth out if they make an ugly accusation is how they do things where Shatterface comes from so that makes it perfectly acceptable.

Look, Sharon, I’m from a rough estate in Carrickfergus and I know hoodlums who’d break your legs for five pounds and a hot pink pastie.

Therefore you’re wrong.

And a witch.

117 Kirbmarc November 18, 2014 at 11:46 am

At least it doesn’t garner him sympathy from those on the fence.

This could be true, but what exactly is “civil” and what is not is open to debate. For example, is it “civil” to say that Myers is a hypocrite? I think so, and Michael seems to agree, since he published this article which is all about Myers’ hypocritical actions.

But others may disagree, and say that calling Myers a hypocrite is unproductive, that you shouldn’t judge him as a person but only his ideas, that he used to be more “sexist” but now he has repented and changed his evil ways, etc.

Is it “civil” to call him a “fuckwit”? Many here seem to think that no, it isn’t. However Myers himself and other FTB bloggers attribute little to no “uncivil” connotations to the word “fuckwit”, so it’s easy for me to see why some people would have little qualms using it against them. If you say that a word is harmless you shouldn’t complain when it’s used against you.

I believe in civility. I’m not a fan of using insults liberally against polite criticism, and I also believe we should restrain ourselves even when arguing against uncivil persons.

However in this case arguing with PZ Myers isn’t simply a matter of civility. While there are some standards that should be respected by anyone (no threats, no false accusations) and I try not to insult Myers on a personal basis, I can’t blame people who react in a “uncivilized” manner when they are deeply offended by some of the SJW smears (for example that the Slymepit contains doxxing, rape and murder threats, which is completely false). Especially because the SJW smears are far, far more damaging to other people’s life and careers than a mere “fuckwit”.

I also find it hard to believe that people who are “on the fence” would sympathize with Myers because others call him “fuckwit” when Myers himself is the first to liberally spew insults (including “fuckwit”) against all his critics.

118 Travis Roy November 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

“I don’t believe that PZ Myers is sexist. I believe that PZ supports equality for women, and that in his own mind he is trying to advance that aim, using methods that I believe are unjust and hurtful and counterproductive to feminism, equality and social justice.”

I think this is very important to point out. I also agree with this statement.

Criticizing PZ for his blatant hypocrisy doesn’t mean that we think he’s purposefully being sexist, and he should look at his own history before going on such vicious attacks on others that have done similar to himself.

119 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Is it “civil” to call him a “fuckwit”? Many here seem to think that no, it isn’t. However Myers himself and other FTB bloggers attribute little to no “uncivil” connotations to the word “fuckwit”, so it’s easy for me to see why some people would have little qualms using it against them. If you say that a word is harmless you shouldn’t complain when it’s used against you.

What you seem to have missed is that the people who raised objections to the use of that particular word in this particular venue were not Ophelia Benson.

They were Gunboat Diplomat, Blueshift Rhino, and so on.

It illustrates one of the most frustrating aspects of this discussion for me – you can’t raise objection against the behavior of another participant without being assigned a “side” and subjected to this sort of whataboutery.

Now I think it’s nice of Michael to allow his blog to host robust discussions of PZ’s shortcomings for two reasons. Firstly I do think PZ et al have put something of a dampener on my enthusiasm for online atheism, and secondly because a year or so ago I though Michael was being a bit too censorious about such matters.

So it’s good that he’s letting such things stand.

However the risk is that it becomes (as some people have already jokingly referred to it as) Slyme Pit Ireland.

And if that sticks, then the whole effort will be increasingly dismissed by anyone who isn’t already a convert – “a pox on both their houses”.

So how about trying to keep the tone out of the gutter without weak excuses like “but Ophelia Benson sez…” and so on.

If you don’t like their standards – don’t use their standards as an excuse.

I also find it hard to believe that people who are “on the fence” would sympathize with Myers because others call him “fuckwit” when Myers himself is the first to liberally spew insults (including “fuckwit”) against all his critics.

Then you just aren’t looking or listening.

There are a lot of people who aren’t particularly supportive of either “side” who might be more so if it weren’t for the excesses of either side. They might be more into the SJ thing if it weren’t for the hypocrisy and PC McCarthyism, or they might be more into the anti-FtB thing were it not for all the internet hard-lad posturing and OTT parody.

A lot of those people *might* be more happy to oppose Myers et al were it not for the fact that “what about the attitude of his critics?” would likely be a question they would soon have to navigate.

People like Ron Lindsay and David Silverman have shown some interest in pushing back certain aspects of SJW excesses, but because doing so allowed PZ et al to so much as threaten to align them with the ruder idiots on the other side they soon shut up about it.

Likewise I believe Gamergate has run out of steam, and I think this is because they didn’t do enough to differentiate their argument from the people resorting to harsh language and threats in lieu of argument.

Seeing as the Pit already exists as a workshop for those who want to articulate their venom against PZ et al in the most fulsome manner, why not aim for Michael’s blog to be the venue for serious examination of the problem, without shitting the place up to the degree that undecided observers don’t go “a pox on both their houses”?

120 Kirbmarc November 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

If you don’t like their standards – don’t use their standards as an excuse.

The FTB standards are much, much lower than the simple use of insults.

However I’m not defending the insults as a policy. I think they’re not particularly productive and personally I try not to use as much as I can (and I haven’t used a single insult towards Myers or others, unless “SJW” counts as an insult).

But I can’t blame people who have a shorter fuse than me and go on to insult people who accuse them of being rapists. Not everyone can keep a cool head when they’re accused of a heinous crime.

121 Kirbmarc November 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

If the worst that the SJWs did were calling people “fuckwits”, I wouldn’t pay them much attention. Insults are commonplace on the Internet. They’re a dime a dozen.

Rape accusations and smears are a far more pressing issue.

122 Shermertron November 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

@Dave Allen 119

You said: “However the risk is that it becomes (as some people have already jokingly referred to it as) Slyme Pit Ireland.

And if that sticks, then the whole effort will be increasingly dismissed by anyone who isn’t already a convert – “a pox on both their houses”.

So how about trying to keep the tone out of the gutter without weak excuses like “but Ophelia Benson sez…” and so on. ”

I have trouble equivocating “dirty words” from those who oppose PZ to the rape accusations, doxxing and threats that come out of FTB and their friends. “Tone” isn’t the biggest problem.

And I don’t think that any sensible person should care what new epithet the Horde have dreamed up for Mr. Nugent’s site.

You said: “There are a lot of people who aren’t particularly supportive of either “side” who might be more so if it weren’t for the excesses of either side. They might be more into the SJ thing if it weren’t for the hypocrisy and PC McCarthyism, or they might be more into the anti-FtB thing were it not for all the internet hard-lad posturing and OTT parody.”

I think is is a pretty big insult to the intelligence of these people. Further, I would wager that far more people are aware of PZ and his extremely offensive shenanigans than the Slymepit.

You said: “Seeing as the Pit already exists as a workshop for those who want to articulate their venom against PZ et al in the most fulsome manner, why not aim for Michael’s blog to be the venue for serious examination of the problem, without shitting the place up to the degree that undecided observers don’t go “a pox on both their houses”?”

Can you find a better term than “shitting the place up?” How about trying to keep the tone out of the gutter?

123 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

The FTB standards are much, much lower than the simple use of insults.

Their standards are varied – as are those of the people they see themselves as set against.

But I can’t blame people who have a shorter fuse than me and go on to insult people who accuse them of being rapists. Not everyone can keep a cool head when they’re accused of a heinous crime.

Yeah – some people will go apeshit and throw bricks because they thought you said something nasty about their ma.

So what?

I’m not saying some people won’t act like pathetic internet hard-men. I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with suggesting that we generally try to do better.

Particularly if we are looking for the most sensible form of redress on the matter at hand – which has nothing to do with making a case to PZ and pals (it should be fairly obvious that they are beyond reason by now) but by continuing to chip away at their influence without ruining our own reputations in the meantime.

Michael is somewhat risking his own reputation by taking on PZ as he is. I’d suggest that it’s only because he has strong precedent for supporting SJ causes that allows him to make the impact he has. I say anyone in support of his effort ought to make it easy on him by concentrating on productive input, rather than yet more reactionary posture.

124 JetLagg November 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

@Dave

We’re already doing worlds better than “pathetic internet hard men”. That should be obvious even taking into account our scandalous usage of the word “fuckwit”.

I do think you have some valid concerns about Michael’s blog becoming too much like the pit, however. And I also will agree with you that this could turn off a number of fence sitters. People coming into this cold don’t know the years of background that drove us the point of being so angry with Myers and the like, and so that anger might, at first glimpse, appear irrational. I don’t think most people have the time or inclination to dig very far beyond that first glimpse, as there are billion problems in this world, all vying for our attention.

125 JetLagg November 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm

And does Theo genuinely not realize they just attributed Myers’ quote to Nugent?

126 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

We’re already doing worlds better than “pathetic internet hard men”. That should be obvious even taking into account our scandalous usage of the word “fuckwit”.

“We”? “Our”?

Given that you, as far as I can tell, haven’t written such things to who do you refer?

I don’t think you can mean people who have been annoyed with PZ for a long time, because some of those who have been annoyed with PZ for a long time are among those who aren’t keen on such language being used here.

Nor do I even think you can mean ‘Pitters, for the same reason (Blueshift Rhino posts at the Pit, I have about 270 posts there and so on).

So who is “we”?

127 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

The same Shatterface who is calling people baboons and fuckwits, yet got upset when I implied that he thinks I’m a witch. Using gendered slurs is very, very bad but insuring someone would be shitting their broken teeth out if they make an ugly accusation is how they do things where Shatterface comes from so that makes it perfectly acceptable.

You never apologised for implying I called you a witch so why don’t you take this opportunity?

You are doing precisely what Myers does which is to smear critics as mysogynists.

It’s pathetic.

128 JetLagg November 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I’m almost certain I’ve referred to at least one blogger or commenter at FTB as a fuckwit.

But anyway, yes, I was referring to the commenters here. I’d thought that was obvious. I didn’t mean to the commenters at the pit, but you could assume I did, and I’d still stand by my statements. Note that including yourself, and Rhino, and even me (since I mostly agree with you both) would not change my point in the slightest.

129 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I’m almost certain I’ve referred to at least one blogger or commenter at FTB as a fuckwit.

As far as my argument is concerned you’re going off piste. I don’t care about people responding personally with venom to PZ and his ilk.

What I care about mainly is the tone here being conducive to the efforts being made in the OPs because I think it’s productive. I don’t want it to become a shit-were-we-eat sort of place, even if I think PZ et al deserve such epithets.

But anyway, yes, I was referring to the commenters here. I’d thought that was obvious.

See, I’d have thought it was more obvious that the commenters here were of mixed opinion on the issue, given all the mixed opinion.

130 JetLagg November 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Yes, I understand your argument. Note that the majority of my initial post was me largely agreeing you.

We’re going off on a piste because you insist on focusing on the isolated, somewhat snarky sentences I opened two of my posts with and finding some sort of disagreement there (even though we don’t actually disagree on the substantive points).

Lighten up, dude.

131 Gunboat Diplomat November 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm

@ Jett Lagg

Despite your ostensible agreement on the issue of inappropriate language you don’t seem bothered about having used the term ‘fuckwit’ yourself and then your response is being challenged is to tell Dave Allen to “lighten up, dude.”

Way to have yourself taken seriously.

132 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

It’s best not to take people at their word, I suppose.

133 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Nice to see Gunboat’s girlfriend has let him use his computer again so he can tell us all about how intersectionality has liberated him too.

134 Gunboat Diplomat November 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm

@shatterface

Well you could interpret it in a way which conforms to a sexist stereotype of a male-female relationship in which the man has ‘lost his freedom’ or you could interpret it as my gf making fun of those assumptions. The choice is yours.
Although it WAS Walking dead time…

135 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Although it WAS Walking dead time…

I’m prepared to accept that as a valid excuse.

136 Gerhard November 18, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Sharon Madison:

The civil approach has never been tried over an extended period of time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case because people who wish to engage with evidence and reason put forth in a civil way don’t want their websites filled with incivility in the comment sections. Furthermore, I could say that the uncivil approach hasn’t worked because it’s been happening for three years yet Myers, Benson, Zvan, and others are still doing what they have been doing. Incivility doesn’t seem to have put a stop to the nonsense, does it?

The uncivil approach was initiated after repeated attempts at the civil approach were treated with responses like “bitches aint shit, amirite”, “MRA douchebag” , “why do you hate women” and questioning of motives, accusations of “JAQing off” etc. Those were the more polite responses. In short, anything to avoid having to justify the rigid Patriarchy and privilege bullshit they spout to justify their “punching up”.

It is obvious that you refuse to reconsider your own thinking and, if not apologize, at least acknowledge that advocating the use of violence as an response to a non-violent action is inappropriate. How does this make you any different than all those “baboons” you’ve been railing against?

The problem with the FTBers is not that they hold on to their opinions, it’s that they will not tolerate other opinions and attach a lot of unwarranted negative associations to opposing opinion holders. Trying to explain what you actually believe in the face of their attacks merely invites ridicule for “making it all about yourself”.

137 Matt Cavanaugh November 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

piero wrote: “But what about the Earth? We are practically destroying it, and everyone will suffer the consequences! Yeah, there’s that, of course. But let’s be realistic: global warming will become a serious problem long after I’m dead, so why should I care?”

The effects of climate change are already a problem. Here in Northern California, the Digger pines on my ranch are all dying from bark beetles. And what is the response of the SJWs? Why, to admonish me for calling pinus sabiniana “Digger” pines, instead of of the recently made-up “Ghost” pine (1). Because “Digger” once supposedly was a pejorative for the local American Indians (2) who carried digging sticks . (Except that etymology is disputed.)

Way to set priorities, SJWs!

(1) Coined by a UC Berkeley prof, no surprise.
(2) That’s the label my Indian friends use to describe themselves, so there.

138 A Bear November 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Dave Allen wrote:

People like Ron Lindsay and David Silverman have shown some interest in pushing back certain aspects of SJW excesses, but because doing so allowed PZ et al to so much as threaten to align them with the ruder idiots on the other side they soon shut up about it.

Not how I saw it at all. Ron Lindsay called for some civility in the discourse during the Women in Secularism that his organization was hosting and he got thoroughly chopped to pieces for it. The FTB crowd will make stuff up to attack people, they don’t need “rude idiots” to play off against.
Having said that, I’m completely with Michael’s approach here. There is no need for name calling or exaggerating the offense. Lay out the facts and answer the nonsense with facts. Reacting to their sleazy attacks with unmeasured, angry attacks doesn’t win points in the larger area of discourse.

139 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

The uncivil approach was initiated after repeated attempts at the civil approach were treated with responses like “bitches aint shit, amirite”, “MRA douchebag” , “why do you hate women” and questioning of motives, accusations of “JAQing off” etc. Those were the more polite responses. In short, anything to avoid having to justify the rigid Patriarchy and privilege bullshit they spout to justify their “punching up”.

So give up on such people (assuming they are correctly identified as such), and try and win the hearts and minds of those who are open to argument, or those who are watching from the sidelines trying to make their minds up.

Or sink to their level, and have anyone who isn’t already a convert decide that they’d sooner sing hymns and listen to sermons than have anything to do with the online atheist scene.

Also, not in every case, but in a lot of cases they WANT you to be rude to them. People like Anita S, for example, might undergo a lot of stress as a result of the backlash they experience/instigate – but in terms of influence, fame and fortune she thrives on other people being rude to her.

140 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Not how I saw it at all. Ron Lindsay called for some civility in the discourse during the Women in Secularism that his organization was hosting and he got thoroughly chopped to pieces for it. The FTB crowd will make stuff up to attack people, they don’t need “rude idiots” to play off against.

As far as I see it (and I appreciate we may never agree) people in the position Ron found himself in would be able to make a much stronger case were it not for the factor of being perceived to be aligned with those who are perceived as attacking women.

Particularly when trying to make a progressive case of his own (as I see CFI as generally pro secular, disestablishment, and so on).

He clearly wanted to have a bit of a go at PZ, Rebecca and the more McCarthyite side of the SJ phenomenon.

He made a couple of odd mistakes of his own (why the Hell wouldn’t you welcome people to a conference you are hosting? Just weird).

But when it came to the meetings in which he came to the conclusion that he better retract, apologise and fly straight I would wager that selected examples of the sort of material produced by some of those who argue for incivility-as-tactic made an appearance.

The recent “Melody really has got PTSD” thing makes me even more sure of myself here.

Now obviously I’m not certain of this, but I strongly suspect it.

With Silverman I’m less sure, because he is Mr Conciliatory Big Tent (for some understandable reasons), but I think he did make certain noises last year to the end of “come away from PZ” and then rescinded – again because he’d rather associate with PZ than the likes of the Pit.

Also, it isn’t strictly fair or logical, but it’s stupid not to see that most people are going to have a stronger emotional reaction to people being venomous towards “those who (purport to) stand up for the women” than vice versa.

141 Matt Cavanaugh November 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Henry Fitzgerald wrote: [Myers] ” says he only condones bestiality in situations in which it causes no harm. This seems reasonable enough, surely? … At any rate, I don’t think he should be regarded as despicable, or in any way bad for his comments on bestiality, even it turns out on reflection that he has made a mistake here. I’ve read your blog post, by the way (and I disagree – we can talk there if you like….)”

I’d welcome a discussion on the morality of bestiality, and would be happy to elaborate on my grounds for opposing it. Please feel free to share your thoughts at my blog. All viewpoints are welcome & unmoderated, (though spam filters currently force me to manually approve each comment.)

Beyond my personal revulsion to bestiality, I was stunned by Myers’ bizarre formula for determining morality, especially his emphasis on avoiding stigma. A casual observer, reading such illogic coming from a “Humanist of the Year”, could not be blamed for doubting humanism’s claim to be ‘good without god.’

My primary concern was, as I stated: for the vast majority of people who do not condone bestiality, Myers’ advocacy of it will be repellent, and will reflect poorly on all atheists and humanists. Especially as one of the common smears is that ‘secular humanists’ are a depraved lot who think it’s OK to have sex with your dog.

142 Sharon Madison November 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

@Dave Allen

Only breaking one leg for five pounds and a hot pink pastie is how we do it where I come from. It’s considered overkill to break two legs unless the hot pink pastie owner with five pounds in her pocket uses the word witch. To prevent any bodily harm those under attack must call people fuckwits because, as you well know, people who call each other fuckwits are magnificent people who deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. :-)

143 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Only breaking one leg for five pounds and a hot pink pastie is how we do it where I come from.

How on Earth do you think that that sort of pansified coddling will instill in today’s youth a positive attitude and healthy work ethic?

144 A Bear November 18, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Dave wrote:

But when it came to the meetings in which he came to the conclusion that he better retract, apologise and fly straight I would wager that selected examples of the sort of material produced by some of those who argue for incivility-as-tactic made an appearance.

By the “incivility-as-tactic crowd” do you mean the FTB clique?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the board approved of Lindsay’s speech but were scared of the bad publicity shitstorm that PZ and friends would continue to rain down on CFI.
Likely they didn’t have the courage to stand up to the bullies and saw the inevitable propaganda drive as hurting their fund raising at the least.

145 Shatterface November 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I’m glad Dave Allen and Sharon Madison are amused by the idea of kneecapping.

Really puts my rudeness into perspective.

146 Matt Cavanaugh November 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Sharon Madison wrote: “What people are suggesting is responding with violence is inappropriate. And, I don’t give a damn what type of environment you grew up in. Unless someone is acting in self-defense because they are under physical attack, violence is not a reasonable response.”
It’s easy to find examples of violence-tinged rhetoric from the bloggers & commentariat at FTB. But from where is such violence emanating on the other side of the ‘schism’? None will be found at The Slymepit. Indeed, following Myers’ recent revelation that he may be at risk for prostate cancer, several Pitizens stated they wished no physical harm or ill to come to Myers. In contrast, on numerous occasions, the (self-named) “Horde” have openly wished for our painful, slow deaths.

‘It’s fascinating to watch various people from both sides of the “deep rift” in action. Self-justification at it’s finest! It’s OK if I call people fuckwits and baboons because “If someone called me a fuckwit in a pub I’d laugh it off; if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.”’
I concur with Shatterface’s observation that, while the FTB crowd take great offense to ridicule, satire & even disagreement, they have no qualms dishing out serious criminal accusations. I do not personally consider physical violence an appropriate response to verbal attacks.

Setting that aside for a moment, I think you’ve missed our point, Sharon. It’s the hypocrisy of Myers, et al. They believe it’s OK for them to hurl the worst sort of epithets & slurs at others, but no one is allowed to respond in kind. We, however, think it’s fine for us to call them “baboons” (which alludes to their perceived behavior, btw) and fine for them to call us “slime”, etc. (I, for one, don’t find it polite to use terms like “baboon” or “slime” in ‘mixed company’, such as here.)

What we don’t appreciate are outright untruths:

wmdkitty
I know there is. It’s called the Slymepit — nasty people, those. Doxxing, harassing, rape threats, death threats… and then whining about free speech when they’re called on their behavior.

It’s impossible for wmdkitty to “know” this, as doxxing or physical threats will get you instantly banned from The Slymepit.

147 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

By the “incivility-as-tactic crowd” do you mean the FTB clique?

I wouldn’t want to tar all FtB with the same brush. I quite like Mallorie, Aron and Ally, for example. But PZ and pals? OK.

That said, I feel “incivility-as-tactic crowd” applies to frothers on either side. But at the risk of repeating myself – PZ and pals have certain social advantages in their favour in regard to that tactic.

This isn’t a logical or moral point – but in terms of making an impact on people in general I think there are benefits playing into “minority gets bolshy” that just look bad employed the other way.

Now Gunboat Diplomat did make similar points in post 52 – and was treated as if he advocating them on an individual level. Let me say that whether or not he meant that I don’t think they do work on an individual level – but they do stand as what people tend to perceive about arguments between representatives of minority interests and those who disagree with them.

They are “allowed” to get angry, because aggressive majorities have better precedent set for atrocity (in the West).

Even so, I don’t think it works for them either in the long term. See failure of A+, or the latest Julie Bindel article, as evidence for when it all goes a bit too far, even for them.

I think we agree about Ron and CFI, by the way, just using different words to express it. Yeah – you do need to think hard about your own PR when bemoaning something like (an aspect of) feminism.

148 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I’m glad Dave Allen and Sharon Madison are amused by the idea of kneecapping.

You can spare me this insinuation.

I was joking about hobbling.

149 Gerhard November 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm

But when it came to the meetings in which he came to the conclusion that he better retract, apologise and fly straight I would wager that selected examples of the sort of material produced by some of those who argue for incivility-as-tactic made an appearance.

Are you saying that Ron Lindsay is gutless? We know that he identified some of the tactics the SJWs apply to civil interlocutors. What bearing does the presence of incivility elsewhere have on the issue? If we agree that FTB commenters are far from civil , then that leaves people to make judgements based on issues as the incivility should cancel out. I think that what we are left with is the conclusion that the reluctance to come out against FTB has more to do with the nature of gender politics and that all this talk about tone is a distraction. I find the notion that prominent skeptics are unable to discern the presence or otherwise of real misogyny and threats because of extraneous factors more than a little disturbing. What is the point of a skeptic movement that does not vehemently condemn rampant anti-skepticism in it’s ranks for fear of dirtying up their dainty hands with a bit of rudeness?

150 ChasCPeterson November 18, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Some people would consider all of the following behaviours to be sexist.

Seems to me that in most, if not all of the listed cases, “some people” would simply be wrong. Do “some people” know what ‘sexism’ is?
Do you?
Can you explain how each item on your list could be considered ‘sexist’?

Or is this little exercise in hypcrisy gotcha really the mess of spin-doctored context-stripped false equivalence it appears (to me) to be?

JAQ

151 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Are you saying that Ron Lindsay is gutless?

I don’t know.

I think having rushed in a bit he found himself out of his depth.

I would have preferred him to keep on with some of the points he had been making at the time – like objecting to PZ calling Micheal DeDora a witless wanker and so on.

But he made some undeniable blunders too. “I’m not going to welcome you … of course you are welcome” – it’s just weird and silly.

I find the notion that prominent skeptics are unable to discern the presence or otherwise of real misogyny and threats because of extraneous factors more than a little disturbing.

Well, they’re only human. At some point they are going to have to do politics, or admit that there’s no easy answer to political problems.

Some seem to think it ought to be the default of skepticism to deny political positions until proven.

Seems more like cynicism to me.

I’d have thought the skeptical thing to do would be to try and see. Discuss strengths and weaknesses impassionately, and so on.

What is the point of a skeptic movement that does not vehemently condemn rampant anti-skepticism in it’s ranks for fear of dirtying up their dainty hands with a bit of rudeness?

A skeptical institution is going to have to consider certain limitations when considering things like the utility of rudeness, or the right or wrong of any given political position.

152 Jan Steen November 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm

@ChasCPeterson,

Or is this little exercise in hypcrisy gotcha really the mess of spin-doctored context-stripped false equivalence it appears (to me) to be?

Care to demonstrate where there is context missing and what the context would have mattered in those cases? Be specific and please address all six examples that Michael provided.

153 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Seems to me that in most, if not all of the listed cases, “some people” would simply be wrong. Do “some people” know what ‘sexism’ is?

Given that the thrust of Michael’s post seems to me to be less about PZ actually being a sexist (he states this quite clearly at the start) and more about how PZs own lack of generosity in condemning others’ “sexism” could be turned on him with little effort. And it does seem to me that Michael’s list includes things that are archetypal of the sort of stuff a lot of women claim to find creepy, alienating or objectifying – even if its hard to know how to qualify such things as sexist.

The only context I can think of that’d render such objections entirely void would be that of “well people ought to know PZ is a committed ally and thus regard his jokes as safe and ironic”.

I don’t find that convincing myself because the audience at some of these events is likely to consist of more than just people who are happy and confirmed in accepting PZ as unproblematic – especially as many of them were recorded for broadcast on YouTube and so on.

Note that in the comments we do have one undeniable example of apparent sexism – the refusal to work one to one with female students. Perhaps, given context, it’s forgivable. Just as perhaps, in context, remarks by Dawkins et al are forgivable.

154 Steven Carr November 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm

‘Can you explain how each item on your list could be considered ‘sexist’?’

Myers prevented any possible investigation of an allegation of misconduct against him that could be conducted in line with official university policy.

I agree that ‘sexist’ is not the right word for that.

155 Sharon Madison November 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm

@ Gerhard

The incivility didn’t take long to emerge. The comments on the blogposts at ERV got quite rude very quickly as a response to Zvan’s “Dear Dick” letter writing campaign.

And I can’t fully agree with this:

The problem with the FTBers is not that they hold on to their opinions, it’s that they will not tolerate other opinions and attach a lot of unwarranted negative associations to opposing opinion holders. Trying to explain what you actually believe in the face of their attacks merely invites ridicule for “making it all about yourself”.

Shatterface doesn’t tolerate opposing points of view and ridicules those who express them. He’s right and when he justifies his righteousness he often engages, not by using well-reasoned debate, but by hurling invective at others. And, therein lies the problem with championing incivility. To many who champion incivility are the first to scream foul when they feel they’ve been maligned in some way.

I engaged with John Greg by using a phrase he used which I found amusing, and got this as a response from Shatterface:

I’m sure Sharon feels entitled to feel superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels but without the class clowns drawing out the class bullies their thuggish tactics would have gone unnoticed.

By responding in this manner, Shatterface has attached a lot of unwarranted negative associations to an opposing opinion holder. Me, in this case.

So, I paraphrase Shatterface and employ the word “witch” which results in this response from Shatterface:

I thought your snark about ‘sophisticated adults’ was as infantilising and I’d ask you to withdraw the ‘witch’ comment: I made no gendered insult.

Then Gurdur and Dave Allen call Shatterface on all of this, and Shatterface responds with this:

Another one who can’t fucking read: Sharon accused me of calling her a ‘witch’.

Shatterface ignores all criticism of his overall responses and, instead, focuses on the one part of his response where he criticizes me for having used the word “witch” when paraphrasing his position.

“Another one who can’t fucking read” is ridicule and, IMO, no less egregious than ridiculing people for “making it all about yourself”. Furthermore, Shatterface claimed that my use of “sophisticated adult” was infantilizing. Shatterface doesn’t approve of the use of gendered slurs or phrases that he feels are infantilizing. But, he gets to employ ridicule, the use of dehumanizing terms like “baboon”, and unwarranted negative associations, and somehow this makes him different than those he claims to be fighting against? I don’t think so.

Shatterface the tone policeman fighting the good fight against gendered and infantilizing slurs by calling people fuckwits and baboons, and advocating violence as a reasonable response. It’s laughable. Thanks for the chuckles, Shatterface!

156 Gerhard November 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Chas C Petersen:

Or is this little exercise in hypcrisy gotcha really the mess of spin-doctored context-stripped false equivalence it appears (to me) to be?

Did you even read the whole post? PZ Myers whole schtick is willful misinterpretation, ridicule when corrected and generally context free spin doctoring. The man is loathe to provide links when his spin is blatant. The point is that he gives himself far more leeway than he gives anyone else.

157 Gerhard November 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm

@Sharon:

I don’t disagree with much of your sentiment and you might note that Shatterface was taken to task at the Pit over his response and he hasn’t flounced (not as yet, anyway). I do think that you are making a false equivalence in missing out on the Kafkaesque quality of interaction with the Horde where you will be subjected to the most egregious mind reading and gross misinterpretation and then maligned for trying to defend yourself. Note, for the act of trying to defend yourself, not how you try. There’s been a flow from FTB to the Pit and other forums of people whose reacti0n to an encounter with the Horde has been “WTF, did that just happen!”. We are talking about far more than an unwillingness to examine one’s own position and resorting to insult.

Of course the ERV thread developed quickly. The craziness of the Horde emerged very quickly, not to mention the puerile BanHammer. There are only so many times you can accept being called an MRA fuckwit when you don’t even know what that is before giving up. The slimey moderation tactics also appeared quite quickly. People did not take to ridicule of the SJWs out of impatience or unwillingness to engage civilly.

158 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm

There’s been a flow from FTB to the Pit and other forums of people whose reacti0n to an encounter with the Horde has been “WTF, did that just happen!”.

Sometimes that’s a bit contrived though. For example I know of one Pitizen who went to Pharyngula first, immediately quarreled with PZ about PZs own childhood memories of his father abandoning the family, got banned, then signed in to the Pit apparently expecting (and even receiving) a bit of a fanfare for being the latest banhammer victim.

But what did he expect?

I mean there’s a big difference between being someone like NoelPlum who always tries hard to argue with sincerity, who gets banned, and someone clearly just pissing off PZ for a bit of ‘edgy’ notoriety.

And I think that’s what Sharon might be getting at – there’s a tendency to talk about one’s own “side” in terms of diverse opinion, justified grievance and so on – and handwaving examples to the contrary as unimportant or aberrant – and then talking about the other in terms of gestalt.

Chas isn’t Nerd, Ariel isn’t Theo and so on….

159 John Greg November 18, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Dave Allen said:

Chas isn’t Nerd, Ariel isn’t Theo and so on….

Well, yes, this is true. Although, Ariel has certainly come close to being Theo-like, or at least Latsottian in s/h/it’s misrepresentation, and sometimes outright invention of s/h/it’s interaction here on Michael’s blog.

And there might be some contrivance, as you say, about how some people got BanHammered and fled to the Pit. But I think that for the most part, with only a few exceptions, the 25 or 35, or whatever number of people who fled FTB and nestled in at the Pit, were for the most part, reasonable folk who got all goggleyed-and-amazed when they experienced the extreme hostilty of the Horde over the usual next to nothing bit of dissent or disagreement.

160 Aneris ✻ November 18, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Take a look at how Greta Christina sees the shirt incident in context with her own pornographic activities:

_web.archive.org/web/20141114231850/http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2014/11/14/notes-from-a-pornographer-on-sexism/

“Notes from a Pornographer on Sexism” promises some fine mental bending. It’s a rather typical social justice warrior article.

1) Greta Christina’s main concern is Greta Christina. The whole article is all about her identity and explains nothing.

2) Like all social justice warrior articles, it’s about preaching to the choir. She wants to show that she’s part of the tribe and that her other beliefs belong there too.

It’s a 7/10 score for SJW writing. She could have earned another point by introducing a sad private story of abuse which is somehow connected to to the target. Another SJW point is awarded for the familiar “brave social justice warrior fighting the good fight against the oppressive patriarchy” storyline. The final point can be earned when all is perfectly assembled, and where the brave warrior is about to succumb to the forces of darkness (harassment, death threats), but thanks to group hugs (only if she wants them!) the good people, unicorns and rainbows will prevail! Sadly, that’s missing a bit, but the other 7 points are well earned.

3) The banks are controlled by the Jews. And they are in turn controlled by the Illuminati. Few know that an even greater, even more hidden and sinister conspiracy is secretly pulling the strings: It’s Teh Patriarchy™. In the year 415, Teh Patriarchy™ killed Hypathia. Through the centuries it stacked the deck against women. It secretly guided the hands of the Japanese men in the 18th century when they forced women to become Geishas. And today, this nefarious conspiracy is secretly writing Richard Dawkin tweets and makes it so that Matt Taylor wears a shirt a female friend made for him. Few know that Teh Patriarchy™ social-engineered this situation to keep women out of STEM fields. I am exaggerating slightly. Teh Patriarchy™ should not be confused with a patriarchy, which is a social system that assigns leadership roles to men and which was dominant in many societies around the globe.
Some feminists don’t like the idea of the patriarchy, since it makes it seem as if women were completely powerless, but it’s an awesome idea for people fond of narratives and confirmation bias. You can also simply throw whatever you like into it.

Greta Christina wrote: So doing an interview about your team’s big science achievement while wearing a shirt with scantily-clad pinup girls does not say, “Sex is awesome!” It says, “Women are for sex.” […] Hitting on women at conferences who’ve made it clear that they don’t want to be hit on does not say, “Sex is awesome!” Making videogames where all or most of the female characters are helpless victims or scantily-clad sexual prizes does not say, “Sex is awesome!” Getting women drunk or high so you can have sex with them does not say, “Sex is awesome!” Treating the idea of enthusiastic affirmative sexual consent as ridiculous does not say, “Sex is awesome!” The exact opposite is true. All of this says, “Sex is a minefield. Sex is a battleground.”

That’s all Teh Patriarchy’s Work! But let’s keep notes: Matt Taylor’s shirt, Hitting on Women on Conferences, Video Games, Getting Women Drunk, and Questioning Crystal Clear Consent (i.e. rape/apologist). Here you how Teh Patriarchy “enemy team” is created, and the illusion given that these things have something in common. You can add Slymepit, MRA, or any other thing at will. Often times this becomes a kind of name Tourette, where in random places names of the Rogue Gallery (from Dawkins to Coyne, from Harris to Nugent) are included into issues about domestic violence, rape, police state or whatever. Because, Patriarchy!
The Patriarchy of course excludes PZ Myers and his rape fantasies shared in totally appropriate places, like say, a science blog. Why this is remains a mystery only revealed to the upper echelons.
Greta here continues the narrative by exploiting a category which she normalizes to its negative aspects. Every time some video game features something sexist, it adds another point to it and “confirms” the views of the social justice warriors. No matter how many nice, feminist or whatever things are created, it will simply not register. That’s how you hide silent evidence. Since PZ Myers is not part of Teh Patriarchy, nothing he ever does can leave an entry into the central register of Teh Patriarchy Operations.

Whether Greta Christina does this “collection” of items that have nothing to do with each other intentionally, or just because she is too stupid after all to get some basic critical thinking right is unknown at this point. In any case, she’s unfit for any major role.

4) The grouping and structure of the article is dualistic. There is the good things, Greta Christina wants to identify with and there is the evil other that form the other half of the identity we’ve just seen. Look how these contrasts come together.

Greta Christina wrote: But one of the central things it means is a celebration of CONSENSUAL sexuality, an acceptance of a variety of CONSENSUAL sexual orientations and activities, a philosophy that sees CONSENSUAL sex as, overall, a positive and valuable experience.

Consent, consent, consent.

Why is this so hard to understand?

The particular incident that sparked this piece was the “sexy pinup girl” shirt that Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor wore while talking to reporters about the Philae comet landing.

That snipped is straight from her article. She really gets off with consent and then contrasts this with Matt Taylor, bringing him into the camp of the rapist. Again, the method of a demagogue.

5) As we’ve seen, Greta Christina includes the topic of sexual consent, yet opens her article with her book “Bending” where the blurb reads: “Be forewarned — stuff happens here that’s borderline consensual. Or not at all consensual”. Of course no attempt is made to resolve this apparent conflict. To prevent that this can be a discussed, she declares it off limits.

Greta Christina wrote: Comment policy for this post: I really, really do not want the comments on this post to turn into a debate about pornography. I will consider that a derail, and will deal with it accordingly. Thanks

It does look like a pattern. No honest person would do this. There is the framing that holds Greta Christina’s bizarre and utterly incoherent worldview, and she makes sure it’s held in place by such methods. Here we learn that the “safe space” concept is just used as an excuse to control the debate with authoritarian methods.

6) She continues with making her only halfway decent point, that Taylor’s fashion choice was perhaps inappropriate for the situation. I could understand where someone is coming from. Though, I think the opposite is true, it was very good that science appears cool even if he may have overshot a little. It’s apparently more difficult to land on the spot with tastes, than a spacecraft onto a comet. Yet, in Greta Christina’s strong words:

Greta Christina wrote: As a feminist — and as a pornographer — I think this was sexist, demeaning, and wildly inappropriate.

She then goes on how women are discouraged to join STEM and you get the impression Matt Taylor is singlehandedly responsible for it. If this is really a strong conviction, then fine, but how about a biologist who shares utterly NSFW tentacle rape porn on his science blog? Is this “appropriate”? How welcoming is it to women when that biologist makes sex jokes on a stage to unsuspecting female participants? Isn’t he also representing some label, movement, position, or field of work?

See how warped bent it actually is. After you remove several layers of rubbish, you have a biologists and “atheist representative” who shares hardcore NSFW involving rape and bestially porn on his science blog, explicitly describes sex fantasies of women around him (the mermaid thing) – no problem whatsoever – but a shirt with comic characters that isn’t even NSFW and where no private views on sexuality are known, that’s a problem so much that Matt Taylor is brought into context with rapists and other sleazy behaviour and bullied by Greta Christina’s likeminded social justice warrior Flock™ to tears.

Her arguments also shade into science wars, since it is implied that natural science is sexist, but humanities are not. This assumption flies in stealth under the radar and is even less visible thanks to the more apparent B.S. we have to deal with. That gives a glimpse of the larger post-modern influenced underbelly, and looking elsewhere in this conflict, you also see accommodation wars (in particular faux liberal Islam accommodationism) shining through.

7) Now you also see normalisation into the other direction. The stuff Greta Christina likes and wants to be identified with, again catering to a nerdy American faux-liberal blue tribe audience is described as such:

Greta Christina wrote: I love sexual imagery. I love it in fiction, video, photography, comics, pretty much any media you can come up with. I’d probably like erotic macaroni art, if it exists. (Cue 10,000 people sending me links to erotic macaroni art.) I love sexual imagery of women, of men, of people who don’t identify on a gender binary. Yes, a lot of it sucks and is mediocre at best, and a lot of it is very sexist — a lot of every form of pop culture is mediocre and sexist, and porn is no different — but when it’s good, it can be magnificent and awesome and just hugely fun

In point 3 we have taken notes with the negative “othering” category where she threw everything together and generalized towards negative aspects. In this paragraph, she hedges that her favourite items can also be “very sexist” which she does so that readers don’t scratch their heads too quickly. The reader thinks briefly “right, I agree” and the whole paragraph goes through.

However, in context, she is actually claiming that pornography (from her intro) and movies and the like are on the “good list” and less sexist than video games, sure a lot of sexist content exist, but not as much that these things make it into Teh Patriarchy™ bucket list. Greta Christina happens to love these things and finds them “hugely fun”. Social justice warriors are currently at war with video games. That’s why the “free thinking” Greta Christina therefore can’t apply the same nuance to video games. Worse than rape porn. Remember, video games were listed in the “all bad” category sandwiched between sleazy or rapey behaviour. Same with Matt Taylor’s shirt.

Bonus: PZ Myers, the bloke who recommended Greta Christina’s rape fantasies (media with explicit, sexual, rape content), is on board with the social justice warriors and promotes Anita Sarkeesian, who criticizes video games for sexual or violent content. You probably need to re-read that again and let it sink in.

_freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/06/there-aint-no-misogyny-on-the-internets/

_ freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/11/18/new-feminist-frequency-video/

_freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/06/17/new-feministfrequency-video/

_freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/25/i-guess-i-havent-missed-much-by-not-playing-these-games/

_freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/08/anita-sarkeesian-on-forms-of-harassment/

I just imagine a PZ Myers blurb on the back of a video game box, touting how great the rape fantasies in that game are.

In sum, “bending” should really be a title about the state of Greta Christina’s mind. This “movement” is supposed to be adept at critical thinking, yet it’s influenced by demagogues who can spread their nonsense unchallenged. This is scary stuff.

The “movement” must begin to show that it values critical thinking and an evidence-based approach and must begin to teach methods that prevent that these characters can have any influence. It further should begin to emphasise scientific or empirical skepticism and challenge the metaconcept-ridden, realtiy-detached, plantonic narratives of the likes of Greta Christina and PZ Myers. We could also use another Alan Sokal.

161 Dave Allen November 18, 2014 at 11:41 pm

John – Yeah, I agree and I’m not trying to make a major issue of it.

Before I make out that I’m completely blind to the problems of Pharyngula I will point out again that I have posted a fair bit at the Pit, and I don’t even read PZ’s poxy blog.

As for Ariel and Theo. I dunno, I just have a feeling that a quiet chat over a pint or whatever might be interesting with Ariel.

Whereas Theo? I’d sooner slash my wrists.

162 Sharon Madison November 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

@Shatterface

I most certainly did apologize to you for my paraphrasing with the use of the term witch. Here it is as posted on Michael’s “Once upon a time, there was an apology, a non-apology and a retracted apology”:

You have my most sincere apology for my paraphrasing which employed a gendered slur. I should have been more careful, but then I’m not a woman who spends her time looking for ways to be offend by words like bitch, witch, bossy, catty, or whatever so I don’t police my own language as carefully as I probably should, particularly in the current climate where bad players are finding sexism everywhere. Thanks for the reminder!

And, now you have just engaged in the same type of behavior for which you condemned me by saying:

You are doing precisely what Myers does which is to smear critics as mysogynists.

I never called you a misogynist nor do I think that the use of the word “witch” makes one a misogynist. YOU are doing precisely what Myers does by smearing critics without justification.

Can I expect an apology from you for having failed to fully inform yourself before accusing me of neglecting to apologize while doing the same thing for which you feel you are owed an apology by paraphrasing my use of the word “witch” as “smear critics as misogynists”?

@Gerhard

I fail to see how Shatterface’s behavior is any different than what he claims to be fighting against. And, at this point, I’m not particularly keen on listening to reasons why I shouldn’t object to Shatterface’s behavior as strongly as I object to the behavior from P.Z. Myers, Adam Lee, Ophelia Benson, etc. Sorry!

163 FishCakes November 19, 2014 at 1:12 am

Chas C Petersen,
You seem to be making light of the possibility that Nugent is focusing on hypocrisy. Would that be because you feel that hypocrisy is, relative to other problems, not all that important? Or have I misunderstood what point you are trying to make?

164 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 1:48 am

I fail to see how Shatterface’s behavior is any different than what he claims to be fighting against. And, at this point, I’m not particularly keen on listening to reasons why I shouldn’t object to Shatterface’s behavior as strongly as I object to the behavior from P.Z. Myers, Adam Lee, Ophelia Benson, etc. Sorry!

I haven’t one accused someone of a criminal offence. In fact, I’ve raised the possibility that Myers’s self-confessed rapist might be lying or deluded.

So no, I don’t concede there’s some moral equivalence between rude words and libel.

And I’m not complaining about Myers language either. Its the other abuses of language I have objected too: the equivocation and reinvention of commonly used words or phrases; the kafkatrapping; the Tumblr-level abuses of sociological concepts. And I’ve argued just as vigorously with Pytters like Steersman who is equally guilty of reinventing words for his benefit; you won’t find any difference in the way I ridiculed his comments.

That’s abuse of language, not the Please think of the children! crudités you object to.

165 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 2:12 am

Gerhard:

There’s been a flow from FTB to the Pit and other forums of people whose reacti0n to an encounter with the Horde has been “WTF, did that just happen!”

I’m not sure if it’s possible to tell how many Pytters are ex-FTB.

Those who have already revealed personal information on FTB would put themselves at risk of doxxing so may well have registered at the Pyt under another nym.

That shouldn’t be necessary and you can bet nobody defecting the other way would be doxxed.

166 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 2:47 am

I just imagine a PZ Myers blurb on the back of a video game box, touting how great the rape fantasies in that game are.

I raised a point earlier: And while the subject positions available to women are essentially masochistic the male reader is interpolated as a sadist. I’m less worried by women reading this stuff than men gushing about how hard it got them.

Which is a lit crit argument Greta should be entirely familiar with but seems willing to overlook when Myers promotes her book: When he’s reading the stories he’s not reading it from within the woman’s ‘lived experiences’.

Unfortunately people don’t seem interested in pursuing this line of argument any more than they addressed my argument that intersectionality is a matrix of power, not a hierarchy.

Those are arguments that show Myers and Christian don’t understand the theories they borrow from – but people would rather talk about their feelings than attack FTBs ‘intellectual’ foundations.

167 Michael Nugent November 19, 2014 at 2:51 am

Chas
#150

Seems to me that in most, if not all of the listed cases, “some people” would simply be wrong. Do “some people” know what ‘sexism’ is? Do you? Can you explain how each item on your list could be considered ‘sexist’?

Even if you don’t think the behaviours are sexist, I’m surprised that you can’t see how some people would consider them to be. But I’ll have a go at explaining.

Item 1 could be considered sexist because it fosters stereotypes of social roles based on sex. PZ would not ask a man to do a belly dance; PZ should be more sensitive to telling woman to get off ‘his’ stage because he ‘has work to do’, implying that the stage is not also hers and that she is not doing work; and for both of those reasons with regard to choosing a female volunteer (“Purple shirt, you’ll do”) and publicly telling her that he will have sex with her.

Item 2 could be considered sexist because PZ himself acknowledges that it includes “weird exploitation of women” yet endorses it as a celebration of biodiversity. Also, he compares women’s genitals with sea slugs. Also, he publishes this material on a science blog, yet he believes that a considerably tamer image on a shirt would put some women off undertaking a science career.

Item 3 could be considered sexist because it fosters stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Also, PZ publicly posted this fantasy about his students on a blog where at least some of the students he was fantasising about might be expected to read it.

Item 4 could be considered sexist because the conversation itself was about sexism, and PZ could be seen to be publicly trivialising rape by making a joke about its traumatic after-affects.

Item 5 could be considered sexist because some people might fear that some men might not understand the nuance of Greta’s writing, and might mistakenly get the impression that some women secretly want to be raped and abused.

Item 6 could be considered in a different realm than sexism. Based on his own words, PZ seems to have actively subverted the possibility of a fair and objective investigation into a threatened allegation of rape. [Update: PZ has written more about this since, which I will address later.] http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/10/06/thunderdome-55/comment-page-2/#comment-879826

Chas, you also asked:

Or is this little exercise in hypocrisy gotcha really the mess of spin-doctored context-stripped false equivalence it appears (to me) to be?

To answer the only objective assertion I can find in your question, it is not context-stripped. I explicitly say: “Here is more detail of those examples, and links to the original sources.”

Now can I ask you three question, Chas?

You believe that people would be wrong to see most of these behaviours as sexist.

1. Do you believe that people who see Matt Taylor’s shirt as sexist are also wrong?

2. Specifically, which of the six behaviours do you consider to be sexist or not sexist?

3. Where do you see context missing from my post?

168 Michael Nugent November 19, 2014 at 2:56 am

Everyone,

I am letting the conversation flow, but I would appreciate if we could discuss things civilly here.

Thanks.

169 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 3:03 am

I think the behaviours listed in the OP would fall under the category of ‘casual sexism’. It’s about a lack of awareness about how this behaviour could be percieved. It’s certainly not ‘misogyny’ in the sense a rational person would understand it – as hatred of women.

The stuff about refusing to be alone with female students is far worse. That’s a conscious decision he has taken and it is unacceptable. It’s built on the assumption false rape claims are commonplace and that it is the mans duty to provide himself with an alibi.

That’s gynophobia: an irrational fear of women.

170 Sharon Madison November 19, 2014 at 5:55 am

Shatterface says:

And I’m not complaining about Myers language either.

But you’re complaining about mine. My use of the word “witch” which you feel is a gendered slur. My use of the phrase “sophisticated adult” which was infantilizing.

Will you be giving me an apology for your claim that I didn’t apologize to you? And, will you be giving me an apology for claiming that I do precisely what Myers does by smearing critics as misogynists, (particularly as you aren’t keen on being likened to P.Z. Myers)?

171 Steven Carr November 19, 2014 at 7:14 am

Myers
‘I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.’

Here Myers clearly stated that it did NOT become an investigation.

And he has now claimed in his latest comments that it became an investigation that was fully in line with official university policy.

He has changed his story 100% simply because he has realised the damage his own words have done him.

Does Myers read his own words?

He certainly didn’t quote his own words in his latest attempt to spin away his claim that he acted fast to prevent an investigation?

172 Kirbmarc November 19, 2014 at 8:20 am

So doing an interview about your team’s big science achievement while wearing a shirt with scantily-clad pinup girls does not say, “Sex is awesome!” It says, “Women are for sex.”

This is what I don’t get. Why? Why does Matt Taylor’s shirt say “Women are for sex” while Greta Christinaìs porn says (at least according to her) “Sex is awesome”?

Just because Taylor is a man and Christina is a woman?

Christina’s argument is basically “sexual freedom for me, but none for thee”.

173 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 8:25 am

So now Myers has openly called Michael a ‘demented fuckwit’ on his blog.

http://www.freezepage.com/1416372759EBVDSENXBA

Maybe time the pearl-clutchers paid Myers a bit it.

174 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

But you’re complaining about mine. My use of the word “witch” which you feel is a gendered slur. My use of the phrase “sophisticated adult” which was infantilizing.

My complaint about your use of the word ‘witch ‘ was that you falsely implied that was what I was thinking. If you want to use gendered slurs I’m not going to stop you.

Will you be giving me an apology for your claim that I didn’t apologize to you?

I’ll accept your apology if you regard the implication of misogyny behind the word is as false as the idea I used or thought the word.

And, will you be giving me an apology for claiming that I do precisely what Myers does by smearing critics as misogynists, (particularly as you aren’t keen on being likened to P.Z. Myers)?

The implication of the word was that I was a misogynist. Is it that you are apologising for?

175 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

Anyone at all want to debate with me on the nontransitivity of power and privilege in a dynamic intersectional matrix or the interpolation of male subjects in pornographic discourse?

176 tina November 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

“A female student came into my lab when I was alone….”

OK, alone.

“I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.”

No shit Sherlock?

“I was in a total panic, knowing full well how damaging that kind of accusation can be. Fortunately, I’d done the right thing by blowing it all wide open at the first hint of a threat, and getting witnesses on the spot.”

What witnesses? You were alone, right?

“I went straight to the chair to invite an open investigation”

Which would’ve destroyed your career, no matter she was lying and you were innocent. So you must’ve been happy there wasn’t one?

“Suddenly, in the minds of these
fuckheads,reporting an incident becomes preventing an investigation.”

Perish the thought.

“As it was, the chair, a woman faculty person, and a woman grad student met with her, she recanted and apologized, and I declined to pursue further official action.”

Ah, THAT’S how you have an open investigation? I always wondered.

177 tina November 19, 2014 at 10:36 am

Anyone at all want to debate with me on the nontransitivity of power and privilege in a dynamic intersectional matrix or the interpolation of male subjects in pornographic discourse?

Fancy a beer instead?

178 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:01 am

Fancy a beer instead?

Beers made from cereal crops so technically suitable for breakfast.

179 Sharon Madison November 19, 2014 at 11:09 am

@Shatterface

My apology from Michael’s previous post:

You have my most sincere apology for my paraphrasing which employed a gendered slur. I should have been more careful, but then I’m not a woman who spends her time looking for ways to be offend by words like bitch, witch, bossy, catty, or whatever so I don’t police my own language as carefully as I probably should, particularly in the current climate where bad players are finding sexism everywhere. Thanks for the reminder!

Moreover I said in this comment thread:

I never called you a misogynist nor do I think that the use of the word “witch” makes one a misogynist.

To which you have now responded:

I’ll accept your apology if you regard the implication of misogyny behind the word is as false as the idea I used or thought the word.

and this:

The implication of the word was that I was a misogynist. Is it that you are apologising for?

You originally asked for me to withdraw my “witch” paraphrasing not apologize for it. I think, based on your request, my apology which included a “thanks for the reminder” was more than sufficient.

It should be obvious that when I said that I am not “offend by words like bitch, witch, bossy, catty or whatever” that I don’t consider the use of the word “witch” misogynistic so it was never my intention to imply that anyone who uses such words is a misogynist. Moreover, I stated specifically on this comment thread that I don’t think the use of the word “witch” makes one a misogynist. And, I have acknowledged that you did not use the word “witch” whether people think it implies misogyny or not.

I apologized and you claimed I didn’t. Now your claim is that my apology is insufficient and you need a further apology because I falsely implied that you’re a misogynist.

I will apologize when you admit that saying, “if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.” comes off as a tad misogynistic since it is women who are more likely to make false allegations of rape, as they are more likely to get raped and, therefore, it would more likely be women who’s smiles you feel justified rearranging (because that’s what people do where you come from).

If you don’t wish to apologize for this, I would strongly suggest that you stop giving the most uncharitable interpretation to what others have said, and then demand apologies for your negative interpretations.

180 piero November 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Girls and boys, can you please stop bickering?
Tell you what: Shatterface apologises to Sharon and Sharon apologises to Shatterface. Then we can get back on topic. Agreed?

If that’s not acceptable, I offer myself as scapegoat: call me anything you like and then (metaphorically) sacrifice me.

181 tina November 19, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I’d like to apologize to Piero and Shatterface for my shirt and putting them off STEM cells.

182 tina November 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I am in moderation. All things in moderation. That’s me.

183 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

@Aneris #160

Thats quite a screed. I take issue with two points:

First, your equation of “Teh Patriarchy” with anti-semitic conspiracy theories is unjustified and lazy. The existence of patriarchal society is widely recognised within the humanities and social sciences. Its an objective fact that most humans in modern times live in patriarchal societies where men predominate in major aspects of public life such as political leadership and control of property. This seems to be the norm historically at least until pre-history when things get murkier. (There are some exceptions of course such as the Musuo people of china.) The structure of these societies has also been oppressive – to people generally and especially to women. Control of women’s sexuality has been a recurring theme – see for example Ryan & Cathildas book “Sex at dawn”

There’s a lot to criticise in feminist interpretations of these widely accepted premises. For example to what extent is this state of affairs an arbitrary social construction (I don’t think it is) or what methods might be effective in creating a more equal equal society (attacking spaceship engineers shirts is not helpful imo) .

However, you don’t really discuss those, you just ridicule them and the concept of “Teh Patriarchy” and while you say theres a difference between this and “The Patriarchy” you don’t specify what, thus effectively treating them synonymously and you talk about patriarchal societies in the past tense as if its an historical curiosity. Well its not the 19th century or saudi arabia, but gender equality has not been achieved yet, despite enormous steps forward. Feminism still exists for a reason other than to annoy you.

My second point is your tangential attack on post-modernism, which I’ve noticed has been a recurring theme amongst commenter’s on this blog. I think this is very one sided and would like to redress the balance. But I don’t have time right now (hopefully this evening)…

184 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Also, shatterface, it seems pretty clear you owe sharon an apology. It shouldn’t be that big a deal if you actually consider yourself a skeptic, and youre hardly in a position to demand that of others (including PZ Myers) if you cant do it yourself.

185 MosesZD November 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Well Michael, PZ Myers has now labeled you a fuckwit and has continued his white-washing of his own words & deeds as well as slandering (yet again) others in the atheist community.

Rather than write an entirely new response, I’ll re-post a post I made regarding the whole ‘false rape accusation’ issue and how most, if not all, of the people who bring this issue up ACTUALLY think about it:

He ran to tattle first and put himself into the ‘story-telling’ advantage by starting the narrative in a favorable light. It was a pre-emptive strike and one, IMO, any rational person would make if given the opportunity.

But that’s not really the point. We talk about it in context of he preaches ‘always believe the accuser’ because the claims of rape are ‘rarely lies.’ Yet in many areas of inquiry into the accuracy and truthfulness of rape claims (case reviews, questionnaires, DNA studies) we have quality research that indicates that there is a huge problem with false accusations. Despite his denials.

The only thing the ‘Pit is doing is to point out his double-standard. When he, or an in-group ally, is falsely accused, it shouldn’t be believed because it is ‘self-evident’ that nobody who is a member of the ‘in-group’ could do such a thing. After all, they’re the ones with the morals.

But if someone else (out-group) is accused, no matter how ludicrous the story, it must be believed because we know those ‘out-group’ people are ‘just bad people, because…’ So they would do that… Totally.

It’s not the story. It’s the hypocrisy of the blatant double-standard.

So, the truth is, the ‘Pit (by-and-large) believes that the woman was lying and that Myers story is true. HOWEVER, we also have seen the rampant double-standard he’s applied, including labeling huge swaths (directly or indirectly) of people in the A/S community when he labels them as ‘misogynists, rape-appologists and/or rapists.’ Often without one actual shred of proof that they’re any of those things.

And yet, by his own standard of ‘always believe the accuser’ to (whom he automatically assigns victim hood) he’s guilty as homemade sin. In my book, it takes some serious special-thinking on his part to not see the blatant hypocrisy of his actions.

In short, he’s demonstrated, to me at least, that he’s just an ideological bully who freely insults people who disagree with him and his rigid, inflexible and demonstrably false world view. And that there is no bar to low that he can’t find a way to slither underneath it.

186 Ariel November 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Michael Nugent #167

Item 5 could be considered sexist because some people *might* fear that some men *might* not understand the nuance of Greta’s writing, and *might* mistakenly get the impression that some women secretly want to be raped and abused.

It’s a very bad argument. Compare:

“Writing kid stories about cute little chicken in need of care and protection could be seen as giving support to terrorism, because some people *might* fear that some people *might* not understand the nuance and *might* mistakenly get the impression that chicken need to be protected by planting bombs in p0ultry factories.”

In order to make any point at all, you really need more that your “might … might … might”. Mere theoretical possibility is not enough; writers are not responsible for everything that their readers *might* think or do (otherwise you will end up claiming that no one should ever write anything at all, simply because practically everything might be misunderstood). To make a point, you would need to argue that this sort of pornographic literature actually *has* such a negative impact (to a sufficient degree to cause social problems). As far as I know, so far no one has been able to produce convincing arguments in support of such claims. Am I mistaken?

To Gunbot Diplomat’s girlfriend, #47

This is Gunboat Diplomat’s girlfriend. I am confiscating his laptop for the night.

Dear Gunboat Diplomat’s girlfriend,

I know how hard life can be and believe me that I fully sympathize. I’m writing only to ask whether you would be kind enough to consider confiscating other laptops as well. Maybe … just maybe … you could confiscate all of them? And not just for the night, but … [shy whisper] … maybe forever? You can count on my lifetime gratitude in return.

Your humble servant,
Ariel

[For the end, let me stress that any criticism of this comment of mine should start with a rant against *this censorious horrible Ariel*. I will be deeply wounded otherwise and switch immediately to my full SJW berserk mode. You have been warned!]

187 tina November 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Further to my 176

So, who first interviewed the girl?
What procedures were in place to deal with an allegation of sexual assault?
Were they followed?
Were statement/s taken?
Who were the witnesses, and what did they witness, hear?
Were they interviewed?
Who by?
Who asked them to appear?
What contact did PZ have with the witnesses prior to any input they made?

She recanted….so no formal ‘investigation’ ever took place, right?

Believe the women, eh? Right.

188 Jan Steen November 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Myers wrote:

Dear gob, Nugent has become a slymepit clone. I notice this fable:

6. PZ has written three times about how he prevented an investigation into a threatened false allegation of rape against himself. He says that when a student threatened to make the allegation, he asked someone else to sit with her while he (zoom) went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation before it could get dragged out into an investigation that he said could destroy his career, no matter that she was lying.

That’s straight from the slymepit. It has no relationship to reality.

http://www.freezepage.com/1416372759EBVDSENXBA

No relationship to reality?

Here’s what Myers himself wrote about the allegation:

I was also subject to accusations of harassment, once upon a time. A female student came into my lab when I was alone, unhappy about an exam grade, and openly threatened me — by going public with a story about a completely nonexistent sexual encounter right there.

Zoom, I was right out the door at that instant; asked a female grad student in the lab next door to sit with the student for a bit, and went straight to the chair of the department to explain the situation. I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

Apparently one becomes a Slymepit clone by accurately paraphrasing something PZ Myers himself has written.

Makes you wonder what you have to do to become a PZ Myers clone. Accusing random people of being rapists, complaining about inappropriate shirts, sneering at the suicide of a celebrity who suffered from depression, unfairly demanding apologies while stubbornly refusing to apologize when it would be called for, using the f* word more frequently than Tony Montana, being a a greater hypocrite than Jerry Falwell, always treating your opponents in the most uncharitable way possible, etc.? A bit of each, I guess.

Myers has also written about the same incident:

Most rape accusations are not false, so a priori dismissals are inappropriate, and if that woman had gone to the authorities (she didn’t, because I immediately brought in witnesses to make her effort futile) I would sure as hell hope they’d treat both of our positions with equal seriousness.

Witnesses? What witnesses? In the first version of his story he is alone in his lab. There were no witnesses.

I am mainly pointing this out to show what an uncharitable reading of Myers’s own words could imply.

Wasn’t this the main point of Michael’s OP? That Myers would do well to treat his opponents as he would want to be treated himself?

Can there be any doubt that if this anecdote had been published by, say, Richard Dawkins, that Myers would have been the first to accuse him of heinous activities? Or perhaps more true to form, he would have made some suggestive comments and left it to his Flock to stick the pins into the Dawkins voodoo doll.

But when Myers gets a taste of his own medicine he doesn’t like it all. Maybe he should learn something from that.

189 tina November 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I see PZ has blown the whistle on Dawkins again. The hounds are drooling.

190 Jan Steen November 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Haha, Peezus is outraged.

Richard Dawkins has done another frank and open interview. And it’s killing me. He’s just doubling down on everything.

How dare he. How dare he reject the wisdom of PZ Myers. How dare he double down.

Dawkins said:

“I concentrate my attention on that menace [islamism] and I confess I occasionally get a little impatient with American women who complain of being inappropriately touched by the water cooler or invited for coffee or something which I think is, by comparison, relatively trivial,” he said.

This is going to upset the usual suspects.

http://web.archive.org/web/20141119142600/http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/11/19/dismayingly-dawkins/

191 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 19, 2014 at 2:58 pm

@ jimthepleb #114

PZ sees AI as his personal stage?

&

@ JetLagg #125

And does Theo genuinely not realize they just attributed Myers’ quote to Nugent?

My apologies for the confusion incurred by my comment. Let me replace my #113 with the following:

“Get off my stage. I’ve got work to do.”

Here Michael Nugent quotes PZ Myers in scorn. I find this not a little hypocritical, as Michael appears to regard Atheist Ireland as his own personal stage. I would be intrigued to hear from Michael as to how many people, other than himself, have run for, or been nominated for, the post of chairperson of Atheist Ireland.

192 Darby November 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm

More than anything, the “doubling down” BS exposes the real goal of the Social Justice Wankers. It’s not “justice”, it’s utter capitulation.

193 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

@Darby

Quite a few commenters on this blog have doubled down too e.g. in relation to threatening violence, so its hardly unique to FtB…

194 Lancelot Gobbo November 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Theophontes opined:
Here Michael Nugent quotes PZ Myers in scorn. I find this not a little hypocritical, as Michael appears to regard ATHEIST IRELAND as his own personal stage. I would be intrigued to hear from Michael as to how many people, other than himself, have run for, or been nominated for, the post of chairperson of Atheist Ireland.

Did you actually just try to equate what Michael Nugent and Atheist Ireland have achieved under the most difficult circumstances with the “work” PZ does when he gives yet another talk? Don’t be ridiculous.

195 Darby November 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat 192

Quite a few commenters on this blog have doubled down too e.g. in relation to threatening violence, so its hardly unique to FtB…

Pithy, and yet utterly irrelevant.

Last time I checked no one “doubling down” on what you term “threatening violence” is demanding that other people threaten violence as well. The point I was making was that the goal of the Social Justice Wankers is not, as they would claim, the furtherance of social justice; it is the capitulation of the target to their will.

But hey, you got to play that good old “both sides do it” card so I guess you can feel smugly superior for that.

196 Darby November 19, 2014 at 3:34 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat 192

Also, you completely missed the point of what Jan Steen and I were talking about. The issue isn’t PZ and crew “doubling down”. The issue is whenever someone (like Dawkins) refuses to capitulate to the wisdom of the Horde they are accused of “doubling down”.

So, to state this really clearly for the slower members of the audience: the problem isn’t the “doubling down” itself, it’s the use of the phrase “doubling down” to dismiss people refusing to immediately capitulate to the Social Justice Wankers’ demands.

197 Paul Holland November 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

@ theophontes #190

Mr Nugent never has and I believe would never tell a woman at a public Atheist Ireland event to “get off my stage – I’ve got work to do”.

But as to using Atheist Ireland as his personal stage, given this is all on his personal blog I have no idea what you could mean, unlike the time a couple of years ago he did use Atheist Ireland’s umbrella to invite exclusively the FTB side of the schism to Dublin.

198 Jan Steen November 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

@Darby,

Also, you completely missed the point of what Jan Steen and I were talking about. The issue isn’t PZ and crew “doubling down”. The issue is whenever someone (like Dawkins) refuses to capitulate to the wisdom of the Horde they are accused of “doubling down”.

Exactly. Dawkins is to be commended for “doubling down”. And if it’s killing PZ Myers – metaphorically, I hasten to add – so much the better.

199 Jan Steen November 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Apologies for the blockquote fail in my post 188. It should be clear that only the two paragraphs following “Here’s what Myers himself wrote about the allegation:” are by Myers.

200 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm

@darby/Jan steen

Oops, yes I did miss the point of the doubling down comment. Sorry about that, read and wrote it during a lecture break, so please ignore my comment.

@ censorious horrible Ariel

You’re dead right, the argument Greta pornography “might” be interpreted as misogynist is a very weak argument indeed about its misogynist character. However michael nugent is not making this argument. The main people who make this (as you said – bad) argument is Greta and pz myers and many others at ftb. But they do so about OTHER people’s writing. That is Michaels point.

One thing my gf said to me just before she confiscated my last laptop is “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”

Hence I still have my phone…

201 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Gunboat Diplomacy: First, your equation of “Teh Patriarchy” with anti-semitic conspiracy theories is unjustified and lazy. The existence of patriarchal society is widely recognised within the humanities and social sciences.

The existence of all kinds of shit is widely recognised the humanities and social sciences because there’s no way to test it. Marx himself was an anti-Semite There’s still an unhealthy obsession with Jews in the social sciences, not least that they have undue influence on US foreign policy and in the media.

And the way ‘patriarchy’ is used is specifically targeted at shadowy groups of swivel eyed masterminds manipulating history from their bathchairs.

202 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Sharon Madison: I will apologize when you admit that saying, “if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.” comes off as a tad misogynistic since it is women who are more likely to make false allegations of rape, as they are more likely to get raped and, therefore, it would more likely be women who’s smiles you feel justified rearranging (because that’s what people do where you come from).

For Christ’s sake, I was referring to people like Myers who throw accusations of rape around, which is entirely clear from the context and you twist into yet another accusation of misogyny.

This really is kafkatrapping at its most despicable.

203 Darby November 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Gunboat Diplomat #200

Oops, yes I did miss the point of the doubling down comment. Sorry about that, read and wrote it during a lecture break, so please ignore my comment.

And given that I withdraw my implication that you were playing the “both sides do it” game.

It’s too bad certain other people aren’t willing to re-evaluate their positions when it turns out their initial understanding was flawed.

204 Aneris ✻ November 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Get your scroll fingers ready

Gunboat Diplomat: The existence of patriarchal society is widely recognised within the humanities and social sciences.

As written, what a patriarchy is appears to be uncontroversial. Teh Patriarchy™ as used by social justice warriors and freethoughtblog folk – spurious. We will see the claims below and you can check at your leisure whether “Teh Patriarchy™” is really the same as the “patriarchy”.

FreeThoughtBlogs folk and allies claim¹ their views are as solid as the theory of evolution: mountains of evidence, easy to find and back-up, uncontroversial, well substantiated et cetera. They claim that the “perpetual need” to educate others is itself a sign of sexism, misogyny or microaggression².

(1) Jason Thibeault tweeted: Calling Christina Hoff Sommers your favorite feminist is identical to calling Ken Ham your favorite evolutionary biologist.

https://twitter.com/lousycanuck/status/528954473763205121

(2) secularwoman.org/your_pov_is_not_default

Feminism, sexism, privilege, patriarchy, and identity politics are all concepts that are readily available to research via the internet. The seemingly perpetual need within the secular community to have more and new dialogue, instruction, and education on these topics is a microaggression

First, you will find that solid articles on the subject (as believed by FTB folks!) are actually rare or hard to find, in starkest contrast to the claims that it’s all easy to find and readily available. Second, the concept is not very rigid since you hardly see anyone “correct” and educate others what their idea of “patriarchy” is and what isn’t. You cannot just waffle about what you believe evolution is and “everything goes”.

Since there are no known “authoritative articles” that lays out what is actually meant by them, and nobody is referring to anything solid (again which also covers the frequent claims of social justice warriors) we are already on shaky ground in terms of “what FTB & allies really believe”: there is no such coherent concept that is shared by all.

If you accept that everyone can add to “the patriarchy” and almost anything goes (hardly any corrections), you can at least get an approximation based on individual descriptions.

Let me stress that this description of Teh Patriarchy™ is a statistical phantom assembled from individual views of people who generally share similar beliefs. However, as far as I see it, it’s the best shot we get.

And that’s what I did almost exactly a year ago to find out what the subject is about…

Method

My method was plain and simple google search for “patriarchy is”. Poke some places to see if there is controversy, and collect the instances as they come. Here we go…

Patriarchy is a big barrier for the development of the human society. ✻ Patriarchy is the single dominant force in society. ✻ Patriarchy is EXTREMELY invested in the idea of female-as-victim. ✻ The other major consequence of patriarchy is that the interests of men were codified into law and into societal norms ✻ Patriarchy is strengthened by racism and so has a vested interest in preserving it ✻ patriarchy is the overarching theory of everything. ✻ patriarchy is misogynist at its core, by definition? ✻ patriarchy is a result of agricultural men wanting to keep a hold on their children in order to raise more farmhands ✻ Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is the system, it’s the government, its the dominant cultural narrative, its gender roles ✻ The celebration of patriarchy is the celebration of men’s superiority and women’s inferiority. ✻ patriarchy is an empirically testable theory of social attitudes and organization, and the evidence more than bears it out. ✻ The term patriarchy is actually a term of art in sociology. It describes societies that are run primarily with a man as the head of the social unit. ✻ The relationship between religion and patriarchy is deep-rooted. ✻ “patriarchy” is not a synonym for “conspiracy.” ✻ The legacy of patriarchy is deeply embedded in our systems, including our economic systems. ✻ patriarchy is harmful to men – with concepts such as toxic masculinity ✻ Since patriarchy is the ideal moral system the religious person therefore has an advantage in his ability to believe in patriarchy. ✻ Support of patriarchy is a standard part of Traditionalist Conservative ✻ Patriarchy is not specific to Islam — although there are inarguably extreme and truly saddening examples of misogyny in the Muslim community ✻ Patriarchy is a system in which both men and women participate. It privileges the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy and dignity of girls and women. ✻ patriarchy is inherently harmful to both women and men ✻ Patriarchy is that root of women’s oppression. ✻ patriarchy is misogynist ✻ patriarchy is the root of all oppression…or more accurately stated, the sum of all oppression. ✻ Patriarchy is the threat ✻ The goal of patriarchy is to get females to internalize the arbitrary rules of sexism to the extrant that they will find it extremely difficult to ignore or transgress them and will even punish themselves for doing so. ✻ patriarchy is greatly perpetuated by this kind of people irrespective male and female ✻ Patriarchy is the worst thing that humans have ever done. ✻ patriarchy is the reason why so many want to regress back to the “old time religion”. ✻ patriarchy is a system set up to control women (as a class) for the benefit of men (as a class) ✻ For feminists in India, “Patriarchy” is considered to be a virtue worth jettisoning, without giving up the women’s privileges that come with it. ✻ And religion without patriarchy is a largely harmless superstition, whilepatriarchy without religion is as toxic as ever ✻ The patriarchy is maintained, in no small part, by giving some women a stake in its maintenance. ✻ The whole point of patriarchy is to maximize the amount of investment into the well being of children. ✻ Patriarchy is one of those social pressures ✻ patriarchy is at the root of the hatred of gay people: gay men are demonized because they are thought to be feminine ✻ Patriarchy is not a good deal for the average guy today. ✻ One of the most cunning tools of the patriarchy is the assignment of woo as a feminine virtue. ✻ Patriarchy is an idea that is hotly contested by sexism deniers. It really isn’t that controversial. We live in a male dominated society led by males ✻ Patriarchy is a system in which men dominate, oppress, suppress and exploit women” ✻ Patriarchy is a conspiracy, basically, so them addressing it shouldn’t be shocking. Some conspiracies actually do exist, you know ✻ patriarchy is rooted in the vulnerability to rape and pregnancy ✻ “The Patriarchy” is a label for various social phenomena, not a conspiracy. It is unfalsifiable per se, but rests on falsifiable claims ✻ The Patriarchy is infused in our society religious and secular. For both men and women, it takes a lot of work to recognize it and fight it. ✻ Patriarchy is pretty much worldwide. I know Patriarchy cannot be sustained any more. It’s a dying society. ✻ The most misandristic part of the patriarchy is the idea that men are not responsible for their actions when obtaining sex. ✻ patriarchy is stronger in North America than what it is in the UK ✻ The entire stupidity of “the patriarchy” is it portrays men as having to do all the dangerous work. ✻ Patriarchy is a term applied to societies. Patriarchy can be the cause of privilege (is, in many/most cases), but trying to redefine patriarchy to cover half of the semantic field of privilege is fallacious: people do not have patriarchy, they have privilege. ✻ The patriarchy is not dying a natural death ✻ patriarchy is bad for both men and women and institutionalizes harmful attitudes and role scripts for both ✻ Patriarchy is generally used as a short-hand for traditional sex roles which do exist and in most cases do favor men over women ✻ Patriarchy is the thing that makes male victims of sexual assault and battery by women and girls MORE ignored, MORE shamed, MORE … ✻

It’s not a perfect method. The list was assembled on a “took it as it came” basis. Please do repeat it and see what comes out. I am not interested whether we disagree on what to make of the situation. I am interested in getting a clearer picture of what can be observed.

Now, what does Wikipedia has to add (with sources):

Historically, the term patriarchy was used to refer to autocratic rule by the male head of a family. However, in modern times, it more generally refers to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men […] Feminist theory defines patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. In feminist theory the concept of patriarchy is fluid and loosely defined.

There you have it, too. There are two versions at the very least, pretty much matching what I termed “the patriarchy” vs “Teh Patriarchy™”. The combination of omnipresence yet hard to pin down pretty much looks like a conspiracy theory to me.

The thing is, even feminists who agree that some kind of Teh Patriarchy™ is pulling the strings, they still don’t agree on the general nature. Sylvia Walby (UNESCO Chair in Gender Research Group), came up with a theory that addresses the controversial concerns in her “Structuring patriarchal Societies”, but her approach was criticized by other feminists as it assumed a too passive role of women.

Ultimately, when you claim that your theory is rock solid and everyone ought to have a good idea about it, and you even go as far and attack people harshly for their ignorance and even ostracize them (once branded “sexists” and “misogynists” you are pretty much “done”) instead of making honest attempts to educate, you better triple check that what you claim is true and really rock solid. And it isn’t.

If it is found that your “rock solid” theory is unclear and in no way universally established in the particular definition, you have lost all credibility and should really apologize, or pack up and go somewhere else where Bullshittery is appreciated. Not only do you sell your particular B.S. in a dogmatic fashion, set as true and beyond discussion, you also drag down credible science such evolution with it. This is irresponsible and diamtretically opposed to what both the atheist and skeptics “movement” hopes to achieve.

People put hard work into increasing the acceptance of evolution in the USA, and then you have these people crap all over it just to pretend that their pet theory is more substantiated and less controversial than it really is.

205 Jan Steen November 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

@Gunboat Diplomat,

Oops, yes I did miss the point of the doubling down comment. Sorry about that, read and wrote it during a lecture break, so please ignore my comment.

In that spirit I withdraw my earlier accusation that you are a SJW. :)

206 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 8:14 pm

@Aneris #204

That’s an interesting collection of quotes alright – I think you do a nice job on showing the diversity of definitions/understandings of “The Patriarchy”, although it does miss some major ones such as the patriarchy being rooted in systems of private property (unless I missed it). However many of these diverse definitions/understandings you quote clearly do NOT deserved to be placed in the same category as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

In my post (#183) I noted you said (#160) there was a difference between patriarchal society and “the patriarchy” My point was that because you did not detail the differences you were effectively conflating the two and the way you rubbished one also rubbished the other. In addition you used patriarchal society in the past tense, implying it’s no longer relevant today.

I commented because I thought a naive naïve third party could have read your post and easily thought “oh, he just thinks a patriarchal society is nonsense on a par with the ‘international Zionist conspiracy.’ That’s clearly not the case therefore FtB were right, he’s just an MRA.”

I’m glad you have now clarified the difference and I think it would help if you also say what you think about patriarchal society.

Regarding your points about how many FtB feminists and allies treat their particular flavour of “the Patriarchy” as being as above reproach as evolution, I think you’re largely right. They do the same for a whole bunch of related concepts such as their flavour of “sexual objectification.” It’s not that there’s no evidence for the validity of these concepts, it’s just that the interpretation of the evidence is highly contentious and there are competing explanations they ignore or dismiss.

The whole area is of course highly politically charged and this makes objectivity in research extremely difficult to achieve.

@shatterface #201

I‘m not sure what Marx’s supposed anti-semitism has to do with anything, nor the relevance of a supposed “unhealthy obsession with Jews in the social sciences.” However, if you think there’s no way to test theories in the social sciences you haven’t been paying attention.

207 Gerhard November 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I fail to see how Shatterface’s behavior is any different than what he claims to be fighting against. And, at this point, I’m not particularly keen on listening to reasons why I shouldn’t object to Shatterface’s behavior as strongly as I object to the behavior from P.Z. Myers, Adam Lee, Ophelia Benson, etc. Sorry!

Speaking for myself, feel as strongly as you want. Of course you are going to find plenty of sins amongst the opponents of FTB. I don’t doubt that I am not blameless. That is not really the issue, which is the cult like behaviour of the FTB core and their extreme in group/out group demarcation along with SOPs for dealing with the outgroup. I think there may be some confusion as to what precisely is being argued about here. The point I am making is not really about whether or not Shatterface is using an FTB-style form of argumentation, which I haven’t followed your spat closely enough to tell, it is that no conclusions about the characteristic cultures of the Slymepit and FTB can be gleaned from finding faults common to individuals on both sides. TBH, I find it irritating and frustrating when the huge differences in group identity and collective culture are seemingly swept aside, although I am not sure that’s what you have been doing.

208 piero November 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm

@Tina:

I’d like to apologize to Piero and Shatterface for my shirt and putting them off STEM cells.

Not good enough. Send me a sample of tears and I might reconsider.

209 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Myers is now letting the horde post death threats against Dawkins :

69; Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:11 am
Hey, how’s about a kickstarter where money is raised to tie Dawkins up in duct tape and ship him off to confront ISIS for real, instead of tweeting shit about Rebecca Watson and pretending every tweet is a salvo at the Imams.
Fucking useless prick taking on Islam from the safety of $10,000 speaking engagements. Burn him.

https://archive.today/N0srI

But by all means keep bleating about me using rude words

210 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 10:22 pm

70: Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:14 am
(That last one was for the Mick Nugent fan club to quotemine.)

211 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 10:25 pm

And of course he doubles down when challenged on it:

78: Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:52 am
| I’d also rather that no-one was tied up in duct tape.
A Broda Restraint Chair, then.

212 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 10:31 pm

No challenge from Myers, of course.

213 Ariel November 19, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Gunboat Diplomat #200

You’re dead right, the argument Greta pornography “might” be interpreted as misogynist is a very weak argument indeed about its misogynist character. However michael nugent is not making this argument.

Michael Nugent is so damned cautious that it’s hard to tell whether he is making any argument at all.

The main people who make this (as you said – bad) argument is Greta and pz myers and many others at ftb. But they do so about OTHER people’s writing. That is Michaels point.

That is Michael’s point? Really? All he says is:

But what would happen if PZ and his colleagues applied the same level of judgment about sexism to PZ’s own behaviour over the years, as they do to behaviour by other people, the most recent example being the shirt worn by Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor?

Well, what would happen? Of course he gives examples of PZ’s behavior, sure he does! Hmm, let’s see … are all of these examples pertinent to Matt Taylor’s case (the only case he mentions explicitly in the OP) or the cases of other people? Some of them? Maybe just one of them? I don’t know Michael’s opinion, he never tells. If I may say so, you don’t know his opinion either. I dare to say that even your girlfriend doesn’t know, and that means something!

All of this reminds me the following passage from Asimov’s “Foundation”. Remember? Lord Dorwin, a diplomat from the Empire, visits the Foundation. Everyone interprets his words to his (or her) liking – that is, as giving safety guarantees – but:

When Holk, after two days of steady work, succeeded in eliminating meaningless statements, vague gibberish, useless qualifications – in short, all the goo and dribble – he found he had nothing left. Everything canceled out. Lord Dorwin, gentlemen, in five days of discussion didn’t say one damned thing, and said it so you never noticed.

Lord Dorwin was an excellent diplomat. And Michael Nugent is a good politician. There are very, very few commitments in his text. He leaves the details to you – the commenters. You believe that you express his opinion … while in fact he could disavow most of what you say and stay consistent. He said in fact very little and said so you never noticed. Well done, Michael.

214 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Want to apply your pretzel linguistics to the death threats, Ariel?

215 Ariel November 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Shatterface, I’m happy to admit that the pretzel linguistics applied to your comments gives also zero as a result. Especially everything you wrote to Sharon was … immensely enjoyable. Please, write more.

As for the death threats, try me and produce one. Make my day.

216 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:11 pm

As for the death threats, try me and produce one. Make my day.

Sure, the Horde want to deliver Dawkins to ISIS because they’re going to throw him a party.

And ‘burn him’ just means put a candle on his cake.

Myers has screwed the pooch this time. People like Andrew K have been sent to Gitmo for less.

217 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:20 pm

And here’s Ariel’s mate having ago at Dawkins’ parents for not ‘taking a sterner hand’

66: Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:08 am
Fuck this human-shaped hole where a thinking human should be. Bring back Willow Smith. Basically, any interview where the first question asked of Dawkins is “Why haven’t you sought therapy to find out why you are the broken husk you are?” is a failure of journalism.
Of course, I blame Dick’s parents and friends for not taking a sterner hand to him.

So that’s ‘fuck this human shaped hole’, some ableist slurs and a demonstration for Dawkins’ parents for not beating some humility into him.

Great company you keep, Ariel.

218 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Sorry, remonstration

219 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Just to give a flavour of that Pharyngula post, theophontes is the only one to call Andrew K out.

That’s right, our Theo is the voice of reason.

For the rest, it’s like a condom full of hate burst inside them while they were smuggling it through customs.

220 Matt Cavanaugh November 19, 2014 at 11:32 pm

No one denies that patriarchal societies exist, or that many cultures & institutions contain patriarchal elements.

When used by radfem/SJWs, however, “The Patriarchy” implies an all-pervasive force or entity. In phrasings like “the patriarchy wants” (see Aneris’ examples above), it is ascribed a will or sentience. The Patriarchy becomes like Moloch, an enemy god to be combatted.

As with Rape Culture, The Patriarchy is defined as everything. Even doubts as to their existence are taken as proof of their existence. As such they are unfalsifiable.

When asked by Jonathan Miller for evidence that God had created everything, Denys Turner responded, “why, everything!” The SJW proof for its The Patriarchy is just as persuasive.

221 Gunboat Diplomat November 19, 2014 at 11:33 pm

@Ariel

Wow, you really have no intention of honestly engaging do you? Perhaps I should go and pick out some quotes for you which you can then evade and turn into another word salad? But its late, so no thanks.

@shatterface

When criticising others death threats it might help your credibility if you hadn’t made general threats of violence yourself.

222 tina November 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

They’re all vibrating with cold anget like Clit Eastwood with 44 Magnums in his pockets. The ice-cream ones. I swear Ariel nearly wrote “well do you feel lucky punk.”

Calm down

223 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Rape threats too:

40: Usernames!
19 November 2014 at 8:45 am
OMG, I am SOOOO going to grab that asshole in the crotch, look him in the eyes and say, “hey, sweetie! Let’s go get some coffee and you can unzip this toy.”
If he pulls away, I will say, “Oh, dear Muslima, don’t play hard to get! You know that only turns me on more!”
And then I’ll excuse myself, walk around the corner and puke my guts out for having sunk to his level.

Yes, because when you sexually assault someone you have ‘sunk to their level’

https://archive.today/N0srI

224 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Gunboat Dipshit: When criticising others death threats it might help your credibility if you hadn’t made general threats of violence yourself.

Who, specifically, have I threatened? Some hypothetical guy who invents a rape allegation in the pub thereby putting me at risk of a punishment beating?

And any comments on the hate fest at Pharyngula? At all?

225 Shatterface November 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm

When used by radfem/SJWs, however, “The Patriarchy” implies an all-pervasive force or entity. In phrasings like “the patriarchy wants” (see Aneris’ examples above), it is ascribed a will or sentience. The Patriarchy becomes like Moloch, an enemy god to be combatted.

I’m not a huge fan of Marx but his theory of history at least had the virtue of having explanatory power while avoiding the demonisation of the capitalist class themselves. There’s no moustache twirling villains in Marx, and it’s the dull necessity of making a living that keeps the working classes from revolt not the ‘false consciousness ‘ of later theorists.

226 Ariel November 19, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Gunboat Diplomat #220

It’s late indeed and I’m also going to sleep. So, only this:

Wow, you really have no intention of honestly engaging do you?

I wrote what I’ve wanted to write for quite a while. As for “honestly engaging”: if anyone, either here or at FtB, made the “it might mean this-and-this” argument, then well, bad arguments remain bad arguments, end of the story. I haven’t seen this type of argumentation in Matt Taylor’s case; but if it was used, then of course it remains a bad argument. Feel free to provide citations, it’s fine with me (I don’t have the urge to defend everything ever said on FtB). Be that as it may, I don’t think it was the line taken by the bloggers in Matt Taylor’s case.

Oh, Tina, so you recognized the quote? How charming!

Good night.

227 piero November 20, 2014 at 12:12 am

@Tina:

They’re all vibrating with cold anget like Clit Eastwood with 44 Magnums in his pockets.

Hahaha! Mind your “n’s” Tina. You never know how your typos will be shoehorned into teh Patriarchy! :rofl:

228 tina November 20, 2014 at 12:14 am

Anthony K on Dawkins:

“Fuck this human-shaped hole where a thinking human should be.”

How charming!

Good night.

229 tina November 20, 2014 at 12:18 am

Uh oh…it gets worse……

Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:11 am
Hey, how’s about a kickstarter where money is raised to tie Dawkins up in duct tape and ship him off to confront ISIS for real, instead of tweeting shit about Rebecca Watson and pretending every tweet is a salvo at the Imams.
Fucking useless prick taking on Islam from the safety of $10,000 speaking engagements. Burn him.

230 tina November 20, 2014 at 12:20 am

Piero:

You lookin at me punk?

Best wishes

Tia

231 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 12:25 am

Dawkins is an over educated shitlord:

76: Sunday Afternoon
19 November 2014 at 10:30 am
@phlo (#62):
Instead he seems to side more and more with those who defend the status quo at all costs.
As has been observed elsewhere, Dawkins is an Oxford don – the very definition of privilege and the status quo in Britain!

Dawkins is an undereducated shitlord:

80: Anthony K
19 November 2014 at 10:53 am
People pay Richard Dawkins $10-20,000 to come lecture at them for an hour.
That’s so surreal.
It’s vomit-worthy. Why aren’t they interested in listening to actual scientists?

https://archive.today/N0srI

232 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 12:30 am

Hey, how’s about a kickstarter where money is raised to tie Dawkins up in duct tape and ship him off to confront ISIS for real, instead of tweeting shit about Rebecca Watson and pretending every tweet is a salvo at the Imams.
Fucking useless prick taking on Islam from the safety of $10,000 speaking engagements. Burn him.

Yep, these are guys who would side with ISIS. These are the guys who would laugh as ISIS executed Dawkins on YouTube.

And then they’d burn him.

233 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 12:33 am

And Myers has posted on that thread after some of these comments so he can’t pretend he hasn’t seen them.

234 tina November 20, 2014 at 12:41 am

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite
19 November 2014 at 3:58 pm
That he is being misunderstood is an assertion of fact with no evidence provided. That he refuses to discuss the situations where he believes he has been misunderstood means we can tell him to fuck off.
He was not misunderstood. He flatly refused and refuses to acknowledge his critics and explain why they are wrong. All he provides are hyperbolic characterizations which are just opinions. More assertions of fact so that’s two points where he can fuck off.

Ah…Brony, irony so sweet, so very sweet, sweetie.

235 piero November 20, 2014 at 12:51 am

@Ariel:

Michael Nugent is so damned cautious that it’s hard to tell whether he is making any argument at all.

Only if you read his posts while blindfol… wait, you are blindfolded! Sorry, I keep forgetting you are not arguing in good faith. My bad. Won’t happen again. For the benefit of others who might be reading this thread in good faith, I’ll just say it takes a colossal, unbounded brazenness to pretend not to have understood Michael’s argument. You obviously did understand it, and you are obviously less than fully honest. Seriously, do you expect Michael to find an exact equivalent of shirtgate involving Myers before drawing a comparison? I’ll make it easier for you, on the off-chance that your cognitive failure is in fact due to intrinsic limitations:

Matt Davis

Wore shirt with drawings of scantily clad women

PZ Myers

Links to images of tentacle-rape porn
Approves of Greta Christina’s rape-fantasy writings
Tells a woman to “do her belly dance”
Tells a woman to get off his stage because he has work to do
Compares the vulva to a sea slug
Makes rape jokes in public

Yes, he was probably just joking in all of these cases. But let me remind you of Myers’s reaction to a far more innocuous joke by Skepticle.

And he was certainly not joking when

Myers
Effectively prevented a proper investigation after being threatened with an accusation of sexual misconduct.

Of course, you will say that he did not prevent it. But words published on a website cannot be wished into nonexistence:

I had to work fast, because I knew that if it turned into a he-said-she-said story, it wouldn’t matter that she was lying, it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career, no matter that I was innocent.

It could get dragged out into an investigation. But it didn’t. Because Myers worked fast.

236 piero November 20, 2014 at 12:53 am

@Ariel:

So, is Michael’s argument clear now? If not, how does it feel to be the only person in the room who does not understand the argument?

237 tina November 20, 2014 at 1:16 am

Benson just builds another pile of straw Dawkins a child could pull apart and thinks it will do. Three Little Piggies Benson. Read it.

238 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 1:57 am

Has Benson distanced herself from the rape and death threats spewing out on Myers’s site?

Even she must see they’ve crossed another line here.

239 Aneris ✻ November 20, 2014 at 4:20 am

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: “I’m glad you have now clarified the difference and I think it would help if you also say what you think about patriarchal society.”

Patriarchal societies emerged about 12,000 years ago when humans began to settle. Perhaps specialisation was one reason that caused women to be busy with birth and raising of the children, and freed the men to do the other chores where they could begin to build knowledge in various crafts. The fathers would then hand down their skills and knowledge to the sons, since the daughters would become mothers one day, too. I can see “from father to son” lineages appear here that are built around professions.

We also know that cultural and religious beliefs began to change from chthonic and female deities towards male sky deities who got the upper hand then (already in the various proto-Indo-European religions, Abrahamic monotheisms are entirely patriarchal – and misogynistic). I guess that originally the “birth giving” Mother Earth goddesses were valued higher, but that people might have observed that the weather is both more spectacular and important for the harvest than the ground (which was probably far more opaque for the early settlers). It’s not too far fetched to think that it might be one reason the sky deities eventually ended up as rulers. Magical beliefs make the supernatural a mirror image of the earthly matters (and vice versa) and could have played those relationships back to society, with the man at the helm.

An example is how the once near almighty Hecate entered the Greek pantheon, slowly became a Goddess of the house and thresholds, doors, crossroads, thresholds in a figurative sense from life and to death and then later ghosts and spook as she became ever more occult (occultus, hidden, clandestine). Her imagery later merged with Christian misogyny (which is at least in part due to Aristotle), and thereby you arrive at the image of the witch – seen as a foremost agent of a Satanic conspiracy. There is a lot more going on, for example how various dualisms were mapped onto each other and women – no surprise there – got the bodily, evil, satanic, material half. Once you have men in charge and design their religion with wishful thinking, and with Aristotle’s misogynistic influence to build upon, you have a system in place where women are oppressed.

By the way, for a long time it wasn’t men in general, but the father who was the ruler. Childless men were pretty much worthless cannon fodder. That changed in the early modern period, e.g. John Locke who wrote on the emancipation of the brothers.

Humans are halfway between tournament and pair-bonding species, which has some game theoretical implications. What you wind up with is that from a selfish gene perspective, sons can be a genetic dead-end, but one of them might crack the jackpot and have a harem (or impregnate many women). Having daughters is genetically a safer bet. If they have offspring, it’s guaranteed to be your lineage.

Change the perspective and you have the situation that women know who is the mother of their offspring (themselves), fathers can’t be sure. That might have provided the initial spark to control sexuality. Men can spread their genes around and it’s cheap for them. However, pregnancy is costly and potentially deadly for the mother – it must pay off. I recall that it was argued in “How the Mind Works” that women have an interest in security of them and their offspring (a pregnant women is hampered in various ways and needs to provide for two). Men in turn want to be sure that when they invest in offspring that it’s really from them. In the finer detail there is more going on than one is calling the shots and the other is just passively enduring.

Steven Pinker cites a study that showed that men and women tend to answer differently when asked what they find worse: that their partner was emotionally unfaithful (fell in love with someone else) or sexually unfaithful. Most women have more trouble with emotional than sexual “affairs”, and it’s reversed for men, which matches with the “biological interests”.

I don’t have particular strong opinions on these things and haven’t kept tabs what science says currently, but that sounded plausible to me at the time. Steven Pinker also gave plenty of examples how tribes fight wars over women. That’s in part since arranged marriage (via kinship bonds) were a way to make peace with some other tribe, yet many a feud sprang up when the promised arrangement didn’t pan out, because the right kind of offspring wasn’t born, died prematurely, or some other reason prevented the arrangement.

He also argues there that since it’s cheap for men to have sex, but expensive for women, that ultimately women control sexuality and have used that for bartering. In turn, sexuality thereby is also a relatively rare “commodity” for men and like other “goods” can be obtained with force. Originally, a “rape” was to abduct women see the “Rape of Helen” which is about Paris abducting Helen away to marry her (that’s the event that kicked off the Trojan War).

The collection gives an idea how you could arrive at patriarchies (daughters eventually became mothers, sons eventually became the profession of the father with all the other bells and whistles). Chieftains became kings and so forth. However, that was never that clear-cut as it’s often made out to be and you see here that the roles and dynamics aren’t as simple as victimhood social justice warrior views suggest (beside the SJW label protects feminism by giving the authoritarian lunacy a different name).

History knows many female rulers, Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Candace, Boudicca, Catherine the Great, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, the Queen of Sheba, and so forth. It is also known that women weren’t passive damsels. On paper, the man was the head of the family and the house, in part due to magical thinking also in Christianity (i.e. God is the father and ruler, the church is the mother and that has to be mirrored). In practice the women could be effectively in charge too. But running the business in the middle ages, when the guy represents it and it’s handed over to the sons will rarely yield an entry into the history books. It’s known from Martin Luther for example, that his wife ran everything and Luther spent his time with his theology. That setup is known from all times where men were more like grown up boys who maybe played their role on the world stage, but not necessarily call the shots at home.

Another example of “sounds different on paper” is perhaps the English practice of “Wife Selling”. On paper, the wife was sold to another man. In practice it was slightly less bad than it sounds like. It’s known that wives demanded themselves to be “sold” to someone else and they chose who that would be, as a way out of an unhappy marriage.

Today’s marriage is still symbolically a kind of business transaction between father and future husband where the daughter is literally handed over to the new owner before the altar. Historically she had as much a say in these matters as he had.

I have no doubt that many societies were patriarchal. But as “Teh Patriarchy” where men somehow conspire to uphold “the system” and women are the poor powerless victims who always have (had) it worse doesn’t seem plausible and rather sexist. The idea of “a system” is false.

With confirmation bias you see the poor prostitute who had to sell her body to make a living (or was forced or coerced to do it). But switch it off and you see all the robbers, pirates, footpads, highwaymen who ended up at the gallows or were hung, drawn and quartered.

Reproduction and other biological reasons suggest the relationship of the sexes was (and is) much more diverse and complicated than presented by social justice warriors – where it’s typically a one-dimensional affair reduced to “oppressor vs oppressed” which sounds like utter rubbish.

I have no strong opinion on these matters. Show me something better, and I’m happy to adjust my views. I have no “stake” there. I don’t care about identity politics. I’m interested in whatever is best supported by evidence and then there is also the naturalistic fallacy that in whatever “is” doesn’t dictate how we want it to have. I have no doubt that a lot is missing or that someone sees my assessment off by some degree. Unless concrete, it’s useless for me.

240 Sharon Madison November 20, 2014 at 9:21 am

@Shatterface

You said:

For Christ’s sake, I was referring to people like Myers who throw accusations of rape around, which is entirely clear from the context and you twist into yet another accusation of misogyny.

So you’re not happy when people interpret your words in what you feel is such a negative way, yet despite my sincere apology to you on a previous post you are demanding that I apologize yet again because you feel my apology didn’t fully cover the horror of my paraphrasing of your nasty crack to me by using the word “witch”. You get to ignore the context in which I was responding, which was to continue a joke started by John Greg, but I don’t? And then blast me with this:

I’m sure Sharon feels entitled to feel superior about the jack-shit the sophisticated adults have been achieving through their back-channels but without the class clowns drawing out the class bullies their thuggish tactics would have gone unnoticed.

but, I’m required to interpret your words in the most charitable way.

Here’s a tip: The context in which you made your statement includes a false allegation of rape against P.Z. Myers made by a woman which Michael mentioned in his blogpost and which has been discussed in the comments. Therefore, my interpretation of what you said is perfectly reasonable. Here’s your comment:

Way to miss the point of Michael Nugents initial criticisms of FtB.

The debate has moved on way beyond ‘civility’, it has moved on to accusing people of rape, rape apologetics and providing a haven for rapists.

If someone called me a fuckwit in a pub I’d laugh it off; if they called me a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.

.

That’s because some of us regard rape as a serious criminal offence, not a rhetorical tactic.

So, what you’re responding to is the suggestion by others that you not use the kind of language here that you would use elsewhere. And, you’re engaging in self-justification for your language by telling us why it’s ok, because if people use this language with you, you’d laugh it off, but if they called you a rapist they’d be shitting their broken teeth out.

When you get called on this, you, once again, engage in self-justification with this rubbish:

I suspect we her up in very different areas, since where I’m from someone who is accused of rape would be kneecapped by the kind of people Michael has written about elsewhere. We don’t all come from some cosy environment where good guys win by being nice. Rape accusations aren’t something you just shrug off.

It, obviously, isn’t P.Z. Myers who’s gotten pulverized for making false allegations where you come from, so it must be others who have gotten pulverized for making false allegations where you come from. Therefore, anyone who makes false allegations of rape should be beaten, including the woman who made the false allegation Michael mentioned in his post.

Your self justification is so outrageous that Dave Allen and I decide to engage in some sarcastic exchanges about it. I even included a smiley face at the end of mine since people don’t always get sarcasm. To which you respond:

I’m glad Dave Allen and Sharon Madison are amused by the idea of kneecapping. Really puts my rudeness into perspective.

Once again, you behave uncharitably towards Dave Allen and I. Better to accuse us of finding knee-capping amusing rather than admit to yourself that we’re making fun of the silly self-justification being put forth by a “class clown”. (“Class clown” is in quotes because it’s a phrase you used to describe yourself and others in a comment on the same post where I apologized to you.)

@Everyone, or those who are still reading 😉

I’m sorry to waste your time and attention on what must seem to most like a silly squabble, but I think it’s important to keep in mind the overall thrust of Michael’s posts. Which to me include:

1) A desire to engage with civility.
2) To emphasize people’s unwillingness to engage in self-reflection and apologize for mistakes.
3) To give people from all sides a chance to debate with reason and evidence.

Piero has kindly offered to service as a scapegoat for the disagreement between Shatterface and me. I appreciate the offer, but no thanks.

Gerhard is making some interesting points, but without knowing my history I don’t think he can fully understanding my perspective:

So this is part of that history:

I grew up in a devoutly religious, abusive home. I heard lots of justification for the physical abuse I endured along the lines of “the Bible tells me to do it”. I mentioned in a comment on a previous post that I was raped at the age of 13 and my mother didn’t believe me. Here’s what I didn’t say. During the struggle with my attacker I hit my head very hard on my metal bed frame and lost consciousness for a short period of time. When I regained consciousness the pounding in my head was so bad it was causing me to vomit. I was supposed to be mowing the lawn but I felt so sick I was in bed when my mother got home. When I told my mother that my sister’s boyfriend had hurt me, she slapped me hard across the face which made my head feel like it was going to explode. Then she berated me as a disgusting, ugly, unlovable piece of garbage. After her tirade, she made me go mow the lawn. I felt so sick I was vomiting while trying to push the mower. When my Dad arrived home, my mother sent him out to give me a few wallops with a board. Because I wasn’t believed the sexual abuse continue for the next four years until I left home.

I haven’t related this story to gain anyone’s sympathy. My childhood experiences helped make me a strong, fiercely independent woman who dislikes the “women as victims” narrative supported by what, in my opinion, is some really silly stuff. My experience has also made me aware of just how truly nasty people can be who lack introspection. Self-justification for bad behavior never sits well with me. Which brings us to Shatterface.

On one of Michael’s previous posts, I responded to a comment by John Greg which used the phrase “sophisticated adult” by using the phrase “sophisticated adult”, which I find highly amusing when applied to me. Denny and Shatterface decided to rush to judgment about me and post snarky, berating comments implying I think I’m a know-all with a ‘greater than thou’ attitude. I replied to the both of them with paraphrasing using the word “witch”. Shatterface was highly offended by this use of a gendered slur in my paraphrasing and demanded I withdraw my comment. An exchange ensues between Shatterface, Gurdur, and Dave Allen about this. Gurdur and Dave Allen don’t think Shatterface is owed any apology from me because they have noticed the nasty nature of his replies to me. But, although I don’t like Shatterface’s method of engagement, I do possess the ability to engage in self-reflection, and I decided that Shatterface has a point, no matter how unreasonably he was making it, so I post a sincere apology. I also asked if he will be apologizing to me for his misrepresentations of me. I got no response.

Which brings us to this comment thread. Shatterface, once again, engaging in self-justification but this time for violence – the beating of people who make false allegations of rape. From my perspective this is far worse than telling people to go fuck themselves with sharp implements. Why? Because when you start advocating violence as a solution to false allegations of rape, you are shutting up people who actually have been raped. Just beat the living daylights out of your accuser and that proves your innocence. I know this because after the abuse I took from my parents for an allegation which wasn’t false, I kept my mouth shut about the sexual abuse I was subjected to for the next four years. And, rapists aren’t nice people. They will threaten violence or use violence to keep their victims from talking.

Others tried to call Shatterface on this. I tried to call him on it without going into my personal history. I tried to show how utterly ridiculous this was by engaging in some sarcasm with Dave Allen. We both get accusing by Shatterface of having put his rudeness into perspective by making jokes about kneecapping. I get told I haven’t apologized for my use of the word “witch”.
I show that I have but Shatterface isn’t willing to accept that apology. Along the way, I take a few more shots at Shatterface in responses to Gerhard. I’m less civil than I usually am because I’m fed up with Shatterface ignoring most of my points, taking exception to what he feels can, and/or misrepresenting my position, then demanding more apologies from me. I decide to play Shatterface’s game, which is to cast people in the worst possible light by making, and interpreting what they are saying in a negative way. And, I demand a retraction and apology from Shatterface for my negative interpretation. Which brings us to Shatterface’s response which I included at the top of this post.

I will not be apologizing to Shatterface for my negative interpretation of his advocacy of violence as a response to false allegations of rape. From my perspective, saying “it comes off as a tad misogynistic” was an understatement. Dave Allen responded to Shatterface’s demand for an apology from me on the previous thread by saying, “But when she responds to your emotionally charged paraphrasing with her own it’s something she has to apparently abase herself for.” And, to that I say, “You’re right, Dave! It’s the only thing that will satisfy him.” I will not be apologizing for the false implication that Shatterface is a misogynist because I can no longer be 100% sure it’s false. His treatment of me, his crack about Gunboat’s girlfriend, and his advocacy of violence as a response to false accusations of rape make me question his sincerity when he claims to be pro women.

IMO, he is worse than P.Z. Myers because he gets to be a nasty bastard under a cloak of anonymity. He doesn’t have to worry that he will suffer for what he’s doing in the real world. And, I get to wonder if he’s someone I might meet at an atheist or skeptic event. I have no desire to be near anyone who is quick to find fault in others while lacking the introspection to see their own flaws and, far worse, advocates violence as appropriate redress.

@ Michael

I’m sorry that I have been less civil than I would normally be in some of my comments on this thread. Fortunately for you, and everyone else, this will be the last comment I will be making to or about Shatterface.

241 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 10:37 am

Sharon, I wouldn’t accept your apology if you offered one because each time you say you have apologised you simply come back with an even worse one. Your implication I would beat a woman is simply unforgivable.

There is a huge difference between what I said and the actual rape and death threats currently appearing on Myers site but which simply don’t interest you. Instead you’d rather whine about my language.

And there’s no chance we’d run into each other at a skeptic event as I don’t attend them as they are an absolute minefield of imagined harm.

242 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 10:46 am

I have no strong opinion on these matters. Show me something better, and I’m happy to adjust my views. I have no “stake” there. I don’t care about identity politics. I’m interested in whatever is best supported by evidence and then there is also the naturalistic fallacy that in whatever “is” doesn’t dictate how we want it to have. I have no doubt that a lot is missing or that someone sees my assessment off by some degree. Unless concrete, it’s useless for me.

I’ll accept the patriarchy hypothesis when it’s adherents suggest ways that it can be tested, such as making predictions. Marxism was ‘scientific’ in the sense Marc made predictions about how capitalism would develop: some of these predictions were correct, others were false. That suggests Marxism has some limited utility.

The patriarchy hypothesis allows for no such testing. If women’s sexuality is oppressed and they are dressed head to foot in sacks that’s ‘proof’ of patriarchy; if women are sexualised and wear revealing clothes, that’s patriarchy too.

It’s like strong theory; it sounds scientific but since every possible outcome simply confirms the theory it is essentially useless.

There’s a term for cultural hypotheses that can’t be refuted because all evidence can be interpreted as confirmation and that’s ‘conspiracy theory’.

243 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

Shit, like string theory, not strong theory.

244 Ariel November 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

Sharon:

Therefore, anyone who makes false allegations of rape should be beaten, including the woman who made the false allegation Michael mentioned in his post.

No, Sharon, your implication is simply unforgivable. You are safe, because you are a woman. Shatterface beats only guys.

And stop whining, there is of course a huge difference between this and … well, and whatever, really.

Piero #236

how does it feel to be the only person in the room who does not understand the argument?

One can get used to it. After all, I’m anonymous and it’s only the net – whenever it feels bad, I can distance myself with a single click. Frustrating sometimes, but that’s all. It’s definitely *not* like hitting my head with metal bed frame.

245 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Ariel, your friends are posting actual rape and death threats to named individuals – care to comment on that instead of entirely imaginary non-sexual harm to non-existent people?

https://archive.today/N0srI

246 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Ariel, do I take your silence for endorsement?

247 MosesZD November 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I didn’t write this first part, but I think it really helps illustrate the issue we have with the SJW crowd in the atheist/skeptic community:

“Social justice” is an awkward term for an immensely important project, perhaps the most important project, which is to make the world a more equitable, fair, and compassionate place. But the project for social justice has been captured by an elite strata of post-collegiate, digitally-enabled children of privilege, who do not pursue that project as an end, but rather use it as a means with which to compete, socially and professionally, with each other.

In that use, they value not speech or actions that actually result in a better world, but rather those that result in greater social reward, which in the digital world is obvious and explicit. That means that they prefer engagement that creates a) outrage and b) jokes, rather than engagement that leads to positive change.

In this disregard for actual political success, they reveal their own privilege, as it’s only the privileged who could ever have so little regard for actual, material progress. As long as they are allowed to co-opt the movement for social justice for their own personal aggrandizement, the world will not improve, not for women, people of color, gay and transgender people, or the poor.

— Fredrick deBoer

I think we’ve all seen this behavior. The SJW form of ‘activism’ is to promote twitter hash tags and Internet raging/bullying/dogpiling to gain social status within their in-groups while tearing down and demonizing the people in the out-group. This is often accomplished through exaggerating their own victim-hood and oppression, either in general or from the from the natural and inevitable blow-back for their rude and childish behavior.

And, once they gain status, the SJWs try to find other things, like an addiction, to rage about and get the attention focused on them. Suey Park is classic example. She gained short-term Internet fame with #CancelCobert hashtag over a joke she did not get. As that faded, she found other things to be outraged about. It didn’t work for her, and she faded off the scene but she tried. But there are others (Anita Sarkeesian, PZ Myers, Adam Lee, Leigh Alexander, Amanda Marcotte) who are good at milking the outrage machine and keeping themselves in the forefront.

In the end, I think the differences between those who care about social justice and the SJW couldn’t be clearer:

The SJWs you recently ran up against (Myers and most of his defenders) do nothing to make the world a better place while blowing hard on the Internet. In fact, they frequently sabotage and attack activists such as yourself, because they don’t consider you ‘pure’ enough because you might actually have some belief, or work in some partnership (with others), that doesn’t fit their ideological purity test.

Here you are working toward accountability, social justice, equality, fairness. You make, or at least try to make, the world a better place by pushing back against the frequently-toxic influences of religion. And you seem (from what I can tell by your other posts) to do so with people that, if you were an SJW, you might attacking because they might not be ideologically pure enough.

For example, you worked with St. Vincent de Paul on your recent report. They’re not exactly progressively gay friendly. In the world of SJWs the fact they’re helping you trying to make Ireland a better place is irrelevant. You’re working with a gay-suppressive organization and, therefore, you’re just a bad person.

To me, a person interested in actual results, that you’re working with St. Vincent de Paul to make Ireland a better place, instead of attacking them and throwing them to the wolves of SJW outrage is a great thing. It’s mature and accomplishes things.

And, like I said, the difference couldn’t be clearer.

248 MosesZD November 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm

@ Shatterface Posts 242, 245

Why do you bother? You know it’s the playbook. Twist. Distort. Discover something innocuous to rage over like a ‘bad word’ or your refusal to uncritically accept their toxic SJW-catechism.

And never, ever, ever, ever look at/admonish the incredibly toxic and violent behaviors of their in-group.

249 Ariel November 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

You mean the comment about the duct tape and burning? By my standards, unacceptable. The commenter recognized it later and wrote (to Theophontes): “You were right to call out that comment and I was wrong to have doubled-down.”

That’s far more that I’ve learned to expect from you, Shatterface. Goodbye and have a nice day.

250 Patrick November 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Ariel,

I would like to continue, and hopefully conclude, the discussion we’ve been having across several of these related thread (most recently here). For your convenience, here is that last comment:

Ariel @105

Thank you for your reply. Hopefully we can drive this to ground in another iteration or two.

Can you state concisely how “defending & providing a haven” could be interpreted in any other way in this context, particularly taking into account the rest of Myers’ tweets on this subject?

I have nothing else than Stephanie’s “a ‘haven for rapists’ is not somewhere that rapists currently exist but a place that protects them by policy”. Unlike most of the people here, I take into consideration that PZ might have meant something like that.

And yet, given multiple opportunities to clarify his meaning, Myers never modified his claim to include such an interpretation.

If you can, do you think that anyone not committed to twisting words into almost unrecognizable shapes in order to support Myers would interpret them in the same way?

Patrick, I want to be clear about this: it’s not an interpretation that came to my mind when I was reading PZ’s words.

Excellent, we’re making progress. Let’s go back to my original question. First, for context, here is Myer’s original assertion:

It’s not about what he thinks but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.

What I asked you in the other thread was:

Since we agree on the meaning of the term rapist and, hopefully, can agree on the prima facie meaning of the rest of Myers claim, on what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers claims are unsupported and dishonest?

So in addition to agreeing on the meaning of the term “rapist”, we also agree on the prima facie meaning of what Myers actually wrote, including the subsequent context. I state this based on your own recognition with respect to other possibilities that “it’s not an interpretation that came to my mind when I was reading PZ’s words.” There is no need to appeal to the ever popular “reasonable man on the street” because even an FtB supporter can see the obvious meaning of Myers’ words.

Given all that agreement, I repeat my core question: On what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers’ claims are unsupported and dishonest?

If you still disagree with that characterization, please explain how they could possibly be considered well supported and honest.

Once we agree on the nature of Myers’ behavior, we can discuss what his response should be.

Are you willing to call out bad behavior of people with whom you generally agree or do you reserve your condemnation solely for those not of your tribe?

251 Dave Allen November 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Given that Ariel’s last post starts with:

You mean the comment about the duct tape and burning? By my standards, unacceptable.

… is the question about Ariel’s willingness to call out bad behavior of people with whom Ariel generally agrees really necessary?

Because an answer is there in black and white as far as I can see.

252 Jan Steen November 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

PZ Myers wrote:

And poor little Richard Dawkins is muzzled? After whining that American women ought to hush up about getting fondled in the workplace or harassed in an elevator, because they’re so well off compared to women in the patriarchal cultures of the Middle East, he’s claiming victimhood as a wealthy outspoken opinionated man, because people criticize him?

Jesus fuck. That’s pathetic.

You know what’s really pathetic? To characterise being asked for a coffee in an elevator as harassment. Myers is discrediting Rebecca Watson and makes her look ridiculous by using the term harassment. This rhetoric marks him as a hater and part of the sexist wing of atheism.

Don’t take my word for this. Here is the bona fide SJW Dr. Richard Carrier PhD:

Rebecca Watson never once called the elevator incident harassment. It was the haters who made that up to discredit her, to paint her as calling it harassment, “gosh isn’t that ridiculous!” So don’t buy into the rhetoric of the sexist wing of atheism. In actual fact all she did was tell guys not to do that and why. And there is no sexual harassment policy I know of that prohibits what happened–since the man in question was not vulgar and accepted her refusal and no harassment ensued.

http://web.archive.org/web/20120906180824/http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2207

Checkmate, Peezus. Destroyed by the intellectual artillery of Dr. Richard Carrier PhD.

253 Matt Cavanaugh November 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Ariel,
@ 186, you dispute that Michael’s point #5: “PZ has endorsed a pornographic book including rape fantasies”, is sexist.

Since you only focus on #5, is it safe to assume you accept that points 1-4 & 6 are indeed examples of sexism?

1. Saying “do your her belly dance, get off my stage, I have has work to do.’
[ ] Yes [ ] No

2. Writing about and linking to ‘hentai tentacle rape’ porn.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

3. Publishing an erotic dream involving his female students turning into mermaids.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

4. Making a rape joke in public.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

6. Preventing a formal investigation into an allegation of rape against himself.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

Ariel, I know how specific questions with yes-or-no answers make you very sleepy. So have a cup of coffee first. And I know you’ve previously refused to answer any of my questions, on the grounds that I joked about what PZ Myers does for real — smear people. If that’s still an issue, I’m sure Piero would be happy to ask the questions.

254 Patrick November 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Dave Allen @251:

Given that Ariel’s last post starts with:

You mean the comment about the duct tape and burning? By my standards, unacceptable.

… is the question about Ariel’s willingness to call out bad behavior of people with whom Ariel generally agrees really necessary?

Because an answer is there in black and white as far as I can see.

That’s relatively mild disapproval on a separate blog. Not the call out culture championed at FtB.

Ariel recognizes that Myers’ claims about Michael Nugent are unsubstantiated and can only reasonably be interpreted as a defamatory smear, particularly in the context of Myers’ other comments. I would like to know if Ariel will support Michael’s eminently reasonable request for an apology or if he or she will continue to give Myers free pass for his reprehensible behavior.

255 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

If it’s only the haters who think Watson claimed she was harassed but Myers is saying its harassment…

No, I can’t work it out.

256 Carrie November 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Over on the 55th Thunderdome Xanthë says:

What a surprise that if you’re not prepared to assess the truthfulness of what people tell you, and weed out those demonstrating bad faith by determining they have li ed outright or deliberately misled, that you find yourself repeating the li es, and meanwhile your commentariat is a cesspit. People have been pointing out the most egregious li es that regularly get brought up (they have been told so often they are now ‘tells’ that the utterer surely cannot be demonstrating good faith) and have been rebutted over and over again, yet the li ars still retain the ability to go on ly ing

This sounds just like the way creationists behave, doesn’t it? It also sounds like the “radical Feminist” modus operandi. If I hadn’t seen that on FtB, I would have thought that it was someone talking about the way FtB and the SJ “warriors” operate, since that is precisely what they have done ever since Elevatorgate. It is what they regularly do with RD’s tweets; you can be sure that they will misread / misinterpret anything that he says and, despite being rebutted over and over again will continue to spread the same nonsense until it is regarded as “gospel”.

This is why it is important that Michael keeps the record straight as to the smears that he has seen.

257 Carrie November 20, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Also over on Thunderdome 55 Theo says in response to someone there saying that people rarely comment on science posts:

I noticed a similar phenomenon at Nugent’s site. When it comes to piling onto PZ (inter alia) the comments sections are riddled. But when it comes to issues of atheism, or social justice, they fall quiet. I had it explained to me, that it is because the ‘pitters are in agreement with the (non-PZ-bashing) posts and therefore don’t comment. (I don’t quite follow the logic either, but there you go.)

It is, as usual, misrepresenting what was said. As far as I can recall, I was one of the few to address this point. I said “Theo I think you will find that we read all of Michael’s postings here. The fact that we do not say much on some of them simply indicates that there is nothing to argue about, and that all one can really say is “wow” or similar. You will notice a similar trend on the various FtB blogs.” This is not the same as being “in agreement”, simply that we do not see anything to discuss, no useful input to give, i.e. not anything to add to about an already masterly report of an event. Also, other people (such as myself) do post here apart from the ‘pitters, so why does Theo assume that we all care only about what the apparently homogeneous group “‘pitter” cares about? I am sure that it would object to having its own individuality dismissed, so why do that to all the people who post here or all of those who post at the ‘pit?

Also, it seems to be incapable of seeing that there is actual argument amongst the people posting here, not simply between “‘pitters” and “brave warriors”. Currently I see quite a discussion about violent language. I find it interesting, but have not added to it because I am not sure exactly where I stand on the issue. Sometimes I do not post because I am not well enough informed on an issue — which includes much of Michael’s fascinating posts on the achievements of AI. The fact that I do not always post does not indicate a lack of interest; on the contrary, it causes me to do more research.

What is it about the SJ “warrior” brigade that makes them so incapable of reading what is actually written, and instead interpreting a posting through warped lenses? It’s like the creationists’ favourite “Biblical Glasses”.

Another reply to Theo on this site was Crackity Jones: “A bit like any blog of FreeThoughtBlogs, any “drama post” gets comments. Benson and Zvan especially know this. Am I right? [wink wink] Further, this site is one of the view places where the Horde and PZ can be challenged. You can’t do that at Pharyngula. You would be demolished in a heartbeat.”

And this shows why we need Michael’s site, with its honesty and welcome to all sides of a debate.

258 Jan Steen November 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

@Shatterface,

If it’s only the haters who think Watson claimed she was harassed but Myers is saying its harassment…

No, I can’t work it out.

Myers is just following the example of Adam Lee: trying to demonize Dawkins by turning something trivial that Dawkins made light of into harassment. He can then make it seem as if Dawkins made light of harassment.

It’s straight out of Demonizing for Dummies, page 2, example 3. His Flock falls for it, of course. That’s why they are his Flock. His followers are either stupid or malicious.

259 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I keep forgetting about Adam Lee.

I think memory is designed that way.

He’s like the pain of childbirth; if memories of him didn’t fade we’d probably just give up hope of perpetuating our species.

260 Carrie November 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm

We are Plethora wrote another bit of nonsense on that thunderdome:

We are saddened to see a once great science blog, like Coyne’s, go all to shit on account of rabid unchecked faux-outrage and manufactured drama. As the blog owner, Coyne owes a duty of care to the rest of society, and would be doing himself a good turn, to keep his commenters in line and get his blog back to producing relevant high quality science content.

This is mind-blowing in its lack of awareness. Pharyngula used to be pretty good on science as well as atheism. Now it has gone all to shit on account of rabid unchecked faux-outrage and manufactured drama… meanwhile, the owner of the blog eradicates all commenters who try to bring any discussion or sanity into the mix.

Coyne is running a very interesting blog, and it is obvious that a large number of people agree. Again, this is why we need people like Michael who highlights the problems in the “great rift”.

261 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

What is it about the SJ “warrior” brigade that makes them so incapable of reading what is actually written, and instead interpreting a posting through warped lenses? It’s like the creationists’ favourite “Biblical Glasses”.

It’s like when Michael said the ‘schism’ was largely American and they came back with ‘Nugent says sexism only happens in America’.

You really have to wonder how many languages you have to Google translate that through before Michael’s words morph into their meaning.

It’s way beyond ‘ungenerous’ interpretation

262 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm

We are saddened to see a once great science blog, like Coyne’s, go all to shit on account of rabid unchecked faux-outrage and manufactured drama. As the blog owner, Coyne owes a duty of care to the rest of society, and would be doing himself a good turn, to keep his commenters in line and get his blog back to producing relevant high quality science content.

I read Coyne’s blog – have I missed rape and death threats? The kind they now publish on Pharyngula?

Are they in code?

263 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Remind me, is We are Plethora the ‘otherkin’ who claims to be a gestalt entity composed of nits?

That’s a whole new level of crazy.

264 Mel November 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

“His Flock falls for it, of course. That’s why they are his Flock.”

When Rush Limbaugh says things like (and these are direct quotes) “You don’t have to think, I’ll do your thinking for you” and “If you don’t hear it from me, you don’t need to know it” he loses listeners, but those are the listeners he doesn’t want. The listeners who stick around are the ones he wants.

When Myers announces his divorce from skepticism, he loses readers (skeptics, critical thinkers). The ones who stick around are the ones he wants.

265 Matt Cavanaugh November 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

“We Are Plethora” strikes me as a poe; the critique of WEIT a veiled critique of Pharyngula. PZ & gang have fallen for poes before.

266 Carrie November 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I find it interesting that the FtB SJ “warriors” have jumped with glee onto a very biased and inaccurate interview with RD on the religionnews site. Yes, they are agreeing happily with religious people now. Presumably this is because the interview in question states the latest “gospel” of the SJws, that he is wicked because:

Bottom line: He stands by everything he has said — including comments that one form of rape or pedophilia is “worse” than another, and that a drunken woman who is raped might be responsible for her fate.

Which, as all of us who actually read his tweets can see, is not what he said in them nor is it what he said in his articles.

It is extraordinary to me that the SJ “warrior” side of the Schism has gone full circle round to joining in with religious people. With people who believe that LGBT people are wicked and against their holy books, and that women should be controlled by men. It would seem that such people are preferable to those in the atheist movement who are actually working to free women from religious bigotry…

267 Dave Allen November 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

PZ & gang have fallen for poes before.

I think my favorite time was when PZ fell for someone satirizing the Amazing Atheist by falsely attributing the belief that (to paraphrase) “nature had an age of consent, the onset of puberty, and this should be a matter of priority to the MRM”.

And even the commenters were going “no PZ, this is satire”.

And finally PZ added a note to the effect of “the quote is hard to attribute, but I’ll leave up the post because it still debunks bad science”.

Which is as close as I have seen him get to a mea culpa.

268 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Sometimes I think there’s going to be some The Man Who Was Thursday twist and we’ll discover everyone at FTB has been Poeing each other.

269 piero November 20, 2014 at 7:58 pm

@Matt:

My pleasure.

@Ariel:
Please classify the following actions by Myers as sexist (Yes) or non sexist (No):

1. Saying “do your belly dance, get off my stage, I have work to do.’
[ ] Yes [ ] No

2. Writing about and linking to ‘hentai tentacle rape’ porn.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

3. Publishing an erotic dream involving his female students turning into mermaids.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

4. Making a rape joke in public.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

6. Preventing a formal investigation into an allegation of rape against himself.
[ ] Yes [ ] No

270 Dave Allen November 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Are these strictly binary matters?

[ ] Yes [x] No

Why would anyone take them seriously then?

[ ] Yes [ ] No [x] Dunno

271 Ariel November 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Patrick #250

So in addition to agreeing on the meaning of the term “rapist”, we also agree on the prima facie meaning of what Myers actually wrote, including the subsequent context. I state this based on your own recognition with respect to other possibilities that “it’s not an interpretation that came to my mind when I was reading PZ’s words.”

Ah, no, actually my first interpretation was that “defending” refers to … hmm … to “the one who shouldn’t be named”. (I even wrote it somewhere here.) This is different from Stephanie’s proposal. However, it doesn’t change much: I find it plausible indeed that what you call the ‘prima facie’ interpretation would be quite popular. That’s exactly the reason why I thought of the words as ill chosen.

Given all that agreement, I repeat my core question: On what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers’ claims are unsupported and dishonest?

Well, it seems to me that I have already answered this in our previous round and I’m afraid we are moving in circles. In view of this, it’s my turn to ask for a clear answer to the following question: pray, tell me, how the phrase “Myers’ claims” is to be understood? Possible ways of handling this:

(a) Myers’ claims are determined by what was meant by Myers (his intended meaning),
(b) Myers’ claims are determined by how Myers’ words would be interpreted by a “man on the street”.

Observe that the two might be very different. (In fact I have already expressed my opinion that the two are different.) Observe also that establishing the intended meaning (see (a) above) is absolutely crucial for qualifying something as “dishonest”. Yes, in some contexts intentions *do* matter.

Until you choose one of these options, I deem your question hopelessly ambiguous and, for this reason, impossible to answer.

And long live the pedantry!

Piero #269

Do you really believe that Matt Cavanaugh’s piece was a joke? Sincere answer, please, I’m really interested in what you think. If yes, which elements of the piece convinced you to receive it as humorous – where are the fragments indicating humor? Do you think it’s irrational to receive the piece as something extremely vile and ugly? If so, why is it irrational? Moreover: if by any chance you also (like me) receive it as vile and beyond the pale, would you be ready to condemn it in spite of coming from a fellow pitter?

Dear Piero, apart from what Dave Allen said a moment ago: I see absolutely no reason why I should be the only one to answer questions.

272 BlueShift Rhino November 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Given that this digression is now the main topic….

I, for one, took Matt’s piece as a mix of serious and humorous. This works great when preaching to the choir; it almost always fails when trying to convince non-believers.

I’m curious, Ariel, about your answer to the same question with regard to SkepTickle’s “diagnosis” of PZ. Did you take that as serious or did you see it as a joke?

273 Patrick November 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Ariel @271,

Given all that agreement, I repeat my core question: On what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers’ claims are unsupported and dishonest?

Well, it seems to me that I have already answered this in our previous round and I’m afraid we are moving in circles. In view of this, it’s my turn to ask for a clear answer to the following question: pray, tell me, how the phrase “Myers’ claims” is to be understood? Possible ways of handling this:

(a) Myers’ claims are determined by what was meant by Myers (his intended meaning),
(b) Myers’ claims are determined by how Myers’ words would be interpreted by a “man on the street”.

We’ve been over this and you yourself recognized that even one of Myers’ supporters (yourself) would not consider Myers’ intention (however magical it might be) different from how his words would be interpreted by a “man on the street.”

As our gracious host has documented, Myers was given multiple opportunities by multiple interlocutors to clarify his meaning. He provided no reason to think that he meant anything other than exactly what he wrote.

So I repeat my question again. On what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers’ claims are unsupported and dishonest?

274 Ariel November 20, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Sorry, Patrick, but it leads nowhere. As soon as you choose clearly one of the options (a) or (b), while taking into account that (a) may be different from (b), we may talk. Until then there is no platform for communication and it makes no sense.

Bye

275 piero November 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

@Ariel:

Concerning Matt’s piece, I took it to be mainly in jest. I usually do not take over-the-top accusations or insults seriously. I mean, if someone calls me a l i a r, I take it seriously; if someone calls me a fascist cishetero privileged white shitlord I laugh, because nobody can really mean that and expect to be taken seriously.

In contrast with some fellow pitters here, I don’t consider Myers a despicable person. For example, I took the links to tentacle-rape porn to be mostly tongue-in-cheek, given that his love for cephalopods is something of a running joke at Pharyngula. Ditto for “that vulval feeling” of sea slugs. His approval of Greta Christina’s writings made me slightly uncomfortable; it appeared to have been motivated by in-group loyalty rather than by genuine enthusiasm. Myers’s remarks on belly dance and clearing the stage are obvious jokes too; not the kind of joke I like, but jokes nonetheless. Rape jokes are dodgy: I don’t think he pulled that one off particularly well, and would do well to avoid them altogether, but I don’t regard his lack of comedy sense a sin.

The problem with Myers is that, for all his apparent joviality and commitment to justice, he has no sense of humour and shows neither generosity nor humility. He never laughs when the joke is on him. He does not apologise. Never. That’s remarkable, because we are all prone to making silly blunders and should be ready to laugh at ourselves and, if we’ve hurt someone else, apologise.

It’s that messianic, pretentious earnestness that makes Myers and his commentariat less than fully agreeable. I would ask you to answer just one question: do you think Michael Nugent deserved the accusations levelled against him by Myers? It doesn’t really matter whether we interpret them literally or metaphorically: in either case, Myers accused Michael of being an enemy in the fight against sexual violence. Do you really think that’s fair?

I don’t think it’s fair. In fact, I think it’s contemptible, and is perhaps the most egregious instance of moral turpitude I’ve seen from Myers (second only to his feeding of Skeptickle to the phlock dogs). In particular, Myers’s refusal to apologise disgusts me, and his replies to Michael’s mails are shameful. What do you think?

276 piero November 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm

@Ariel:

Dear Piero, apart from what Dave Allen said a moment ago: I see absolutely no reason why I should be the only one to answer questions.

Neither do I. Ask away!

277 Patrick November 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Ariel @274,

Sorry, Patrick, but it leads nowhere. As soon as you choose clearly one of the options (a) or (b), while taking into account that (a) may be different from (b), we may talk. Until then there is no platform for communication and it makes no sense.

You’re squirming, but I’ll play along. It would help if you would preserve some context. Here are your alternatives:

(a) Myers’ claims are determined by what was meant by Myers (his intended meaning),
(b) Myers’ claims are determined by how Myers’ words would be interpreted by a “man on the street”.

The only way we have of determining (a) is by reading (b). You yourself have explicitly recognized that even a Myers’ supporter would have no reason not to conclude that (b) in fact represents (a), given the clear meaning of the words he used and his failure to modify that clear meaning despite multiple opportunities and even requests to do so.

So, to play your game, by “Myers’ claims” I mean (b) since (a) can only be gleaned from (b) and, as his Flock is fond of pointing out, “intent is not magic.”

Now that I’ve answered your question, please answer mine: On what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers’ claims are unsupported and dishonest?

278 Shatterface November 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I disagree with piero about Myers not being a despicable person but that’s not because of the casual sexism Michael drew attention to in the OP.

That’s the kind of stuff that simply deserves to be snickered about by students who recognise Myers is an aging perv trying to be funny but just making a tit out of himself.

The refusal to work alone with women is a far more serious matter. That’s unprofessional and his employers should be looking into that.

The rape allegations and the ‘rape apologetics’ allegations are also unacceptable.

The doxxing of Skep Tickle in retaliation for an article written by someone else show that he’s a vindictive, humourless thug.

But above all it’s what he represents for which he should be damned: the corruption of reasoning and the rules of evidence; the wilful misinterpretation of every utterance; the equivocation and redefinition of words which renders communication impossible.

Myers is part of a greater problem. It’s not exclusive to America, nor does it infect the whole of the US A/S community. But it’s virulent. Parts of US academia and the Tumblr cargo cults that worship scraps of half-understood jargon need to be quarantined until the fever runs it’s course.

279 tina November 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Piero: Humour becomes awkward, or disappears altogether when ideology trumps the aesthetic. Attempts at it are still made but the authoritarian shines through whether it be the pope or Peezus Christ. A cringeworthy example was Watson’s hook-up with the shoe shop guy. There’s a video somewhere but it’s painful viewing.

280 Shatterface November 21, 2014 at 12:04 am

Humour becomes awkward, or disappears altogether when ideology trumps the aesthetic

He’s like the monks in The Name of the Rose, utterly humourless and afraid of laughter.

281 piero November 21, 2014 at 12:46 am

@Shatterface:

You disagree with me? Don’t you see that by disagreeing you are validating rumours about the slymepit not being a group-think venue? Tsk tsk.

@Tina:

What shoe-shop guy? I don’t know that story.

282 Shatterface November 21, 2014 at 1:58 am

I’m only disagreeing to maintain the illusion dissent is tolerated – didn’t you get the memo ?

283 tina November 21, 2014 at 5:31 am

@pierro…well don’t say I didn’t warn you! Guitar shop, not shoe shop…Super Sperm – Godless Perverts Story Hour – Rebec…: http://youtu.be/rXFKTekTUxo

284 Aneris ✻ November 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

Currently, it’s a thing to complain about when debates won’t terminate when the Social Justice Warrior authoritarians believe their side has said everything. What you get is that PZ Myers adds another article on Taylor’s shirt – always room for one more – yet at the same time commenters wished that others Shut Up (and Listen). They’re being obsessive!

What’s interesting to observe is how these “meta arguments”, which are about the discussion and not about the arguments take shape and are then repeated and travel around, as they are used and found effective (cue memes). Their nature as “meta” make them apparently easy to copy and apply. The same familiar ones show up in this shirt situation as in previous instances, but have mutated a little. Next to the You Are Obsessive, there is the familiar Association Fallacy (i.e. you get applause, support from the “wrong people”, aka Hitler Liked Sugar) going around, too.

The You Are Obsessive “argument” is most of the time a statistical phantom, not one person who can decide when enough is enough. You need a large number of people interested in a subject, have each comment once and you already get the impression of “obsessiveness” yet no single individual is obsessive even if they tweeted a number of times. Yet by promoting such arguments, the Social Justice Warriors (who can themselves generate endless commentary, also individually) can push their targets into the defense. It doubles as an ad hominem – attacking the ethos of the person as overly invested. It then triples as a kafkatrap since someone surely only cares in an obsessive manner about that subject because they want to cling onto their awesome oppressor powers which Teh Patriarchy™ has granted them.

The other one, the Association Fallacy, is a problem too. Maybe you don’t want some Secret Bureau watching over your shoulder, read your communication and listens to your every conversation. Who else may not want it? Of course: organized crime and terrorists probably aren’t too keen on it either. For instance, once your Flock™ is convinced that association fallacy arguments work you have some more people lining up with “I have nothing to hide” arguments as they invite Big Brother to watch them.

285 Minnow November 21, 2014 at 10:02 am

“The refusal to work alone with women is a far more serious matter. That’s unprofessional and his employers should be looking into that.”

Yes, given that his justification for this is that women are untrustworthy and therefore dangerous to men, it really ought to be dealt with.

286 Shatterface November 21, 2014 at 10:36 am

Yes, given that his justification for this is that women are untrustworthy and therefore dangerous to men, it really ought to be dealt with.

Apart from the implication ‘women are crazy’ it puts them at an educational disadvantage. There should be opportunities for all students to discuss matters confidentially.

287 piero November 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

@Tina:

well don’t say I didn’t warn you! Guitar shop, not shoe shop…Super Sperm – Godless Perverts Story Hour

I… just… aaaaaaaargh!

288 Lancelot Gobbo November 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

piero wrote:
The problem with Myers is that, for all his apparent joviality and commitment to justice, he has no sense of humour and shows neither generosity nor humility. He never laughs when the joke is on him. He does not apologise. Never. That’s remarkable, because we are all prone to making silly blunders and should be ready to laugh at ourselves and, if we’ve hurt someone else, apologise.

It’s that messianic, pretentious earnestness that makes Myers and his commentariat less than fully agreeable. I would ask you to answer just one question: do you think Michael Nugent deserved the accusations levelled against him by Myers? It doesn’t really matter whether we interpret them literally or metaphorically: in either case, Myers accused Michael of being an enemy in the fight against sexual violence. Do you really think that’s fair?

and then

Shatterface wrote:
I disagree with piero about Myers not being a despicable person but that’s not because of the casual sexism Michael drew attention to in the OP.
That’s the kind of stuff that simply deserves to be snickered about by students who recognise Myers is an aging perv trying to be funny but just making a tit out of himself.
The refusal to work alone with women is a far more serious matter. That’s unprofessional and his employers should be looking into that.
The rape allegations and the ‘rape apologetics’ allegations are also unacceptable.
The doxxing of Skep Tickle in retaliation for an article written by someone else show that he’s a vindictive, humourless thug.
But above all it’s what he represents for which he should be damned: the corruption of reasoning and the rules of evidence; the wilful misinterpretation of every utterance; the equivocation and redefinition of words which renders communication impossible.

I don’t think you two are in disagreement at all. The only difference between you is the amount of charity you each extend to your subject, which is rather the point of this whole thread, no?

289 Ariel November 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Patrick #277

You’re squirming

Sure, some people like tentacles, and I enjoy squirming. Or is it too personal in a discussion like ours, Patrick?

The only way we have of determining (a) is by reading (b).

And what makes you think that “the only way” will yield correct results, I wonder?

You yourself have explicitly recognized that even a Myers’ supporter would have no reason not to conclude that (b) in fact represents (a) …

We must have participated in two different discussions. Here is what I actually wrote:

I recognize that someone without the background knowledge could take those words at face value (that’s why I consider them ill chosen).

I wrote also:

I was pretty sure from the start that he didn’t mean “commenters = rapists”. The source of this conviction was not my desire to support Myers. (I’m not even a Pharyngula commenter and my ties to PZ are very weak.) The source was rather the whole experience of reading about the pit on FtB. There were many accusations but (to my knowledge) never something like this. In other words: I received the interpretation “commenters = rapists” as extraordinary given the background knowledge of what has been actually said through these years (by Myers and others) about the pit. I still do consider it extraordinary

How on earth could you interpret these remarks of mine as “even a Myers’ supporter would have no reason not to conclude that (b) in fact represents (a)”? Kill me, I don’t know. All that’s said here is that “someone with no background knowledge of Myers and FtB could conclude that (b) in fact represents (a)”. Please, stop twisting my words.

… given the clear meaning of the words he used and his failure to modify that clear meaning despite multiple opportunities and even requests to do so.

The causes of PZ’s silence is a totally different topic, which we haven’t really discussed. You are too eager to reach quickly your cherished conclusion. Patience, please! PZ’s silence doesn’t have to mean that (b) = (a). It can mean various sorts of things. You want to discuss what it means? Fine; then *say so* instead of jumping impatiently to conclusions.

So, to play your game, by “Myers’ claims” I mean (b)

Then I can answer: on this interpretation, the claims are unsupported. I can’t answer the question concerning dishonesty, because dishonesty involves intent. Sorry, there is no escape. We would have to establish (a) first.

as his Flock is fond of pointing out, “intent is not magic.”

I think as well that intent is often irrelevant. However, it is *not* irrelevant in one particular type of context: namely, when we are judging someone as a person. When using a word like “dishonest”, you go beyond the issue of objective truth and falsity. The word is laden with ascription of beliefs and intent. Sorry again, but no playing with words will change it.

Piero # 275

What you wrote made me wonder: when I’m answering your questions, do my answers also sound that … dissatisfying? That’s possible indeed; perhaps even unavoidable, with so few premises shared.

Example:

Concerning Matt’s piece, I took it to be mainly in jest. I usually do not take over-the-top accusations or insults seriously.

My immediate reading: it’s a blatant “license to kill” issued to anyone on your side. No matter how outrageous, vile, and over the top it will be, your people will be always ready to accommodate it as a “jest”.

To make it clear: my aim in writing this is *not* to provoke another fruitless polemic. It is only to make you realize how we sometimes sound to each other.

It doesn’t really matter whether we interpret them literally or metaphorically: in either case, Myers accused Michael of being an enemy in the fight against sexual violence. Do you really think that’s fair? […] In particular, Myers’s refusal to apologise disgusts me, and his replies to Michael’s mails are shameful. What do you think?

Oh my, a long blog post wouldn’t be enough to cover this, and I’m expected to answer in a comment!?! With some people already complaining that my comments are too long? Is this also a jest?

I sort of understand where you are coming from. Please, try to make an attempt to understand me as well, taking the following factors into account:

– In the eyes of some people, the fight against extreme cases of sexual violence should be accompanied by the fight against everyday sexism. However, there is a group ready to dismiss such concerns as trivial (“a mere shirt”, “a mere invitation for coffee”). Are they friends or enemies?
– In the eyes of some people, going public is sometimes a permissible method, especially in cases where the lawsuit is not an option. However, there is a group which considers it unacceptable – possibly, in all cases, without exceptions. Are they friends or enemies?
– In the eyes of some people, a given group crossed the line separating criticism from harassment. The conflict with this group is not a mere theoretical disagreement; it became more personalized and vendetta-like. Now, a given person hosts this group. Is he a friend or an enemy?
– A situation arises where further explanations/apologies are likely to be received as a success and validation of the group mentioned in the previous point. It’s also very likely that whatever move you make, it will be used against you. What’s the proper thing to do? Is it absolutely disgusting to disengage? And even if some missteps were indeed made, to what degree is the disengagement at least understandable?

Sorry, it’s already too long … so, yes, I did it again! Piero, I’m not expecting you to buy into these points, *no way*. All I’m hoping to do is to give you a feeling of where some people are coming from.

As for me personally, I’m an incorrigible strong disbeliever in a black and white world.

290 Gunboat Diplomat November 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

@Aneris #239

Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail to my suggestion. Unless I’m mistaken, it seems you consider patriarchal society to be an historical rather than a current issue (at least in the west). You are also very dismissive of “Teh patriarchy” generally. So there is some conflation of these two concepts, at least in the sense you think both of them are not useful ways of describing western society today.

I think you’re badly mistaken in this view – patriarchal society is alive and well. Although much diminished in the late 20th, early 21st century, partly thanks to the feminist and other social justice movements, it’s still a reality for many women and deeply affects their lives in all sorts of ways. One of the big aspects of this is access to reproductive health services, especially abortion. There’s a constant battle on this issue in every western country. Even in Sweden – the poster boy (or girl) for women’s rights – battle have to be fought anew every time some local council or reactionary academic tries to restrict women’s right to choose and access services.

In contrast there is rarely any public discussion over the ethical aspects of men’s reproductive health. Reactionary politicians and religious leaders don’t generally focus on the social dangers of vasectomies. Philosophers don’t tend to wring their hands over the ethical implications of that conundrum. Treatment for prostate conditions is rarely discussed moralistic terms yet the female reproductive system is always up for grabs. Even vaccinations for HPV are decried as a way of encouraging female sexual behaviour in a way that’s rarely done for men. Here’s a headline you’ll never see: Should we really be encouraging men to look out for warning signs of prostate cancer? It might encourage them to have sex!

Although you ridicule the idea of “Teh Patriarchy” there are groups of people in powerful places who DO seek to find ways to oppress women. The activities of the Society for the Protection of the unborn Child (SPUC) for example, well known and hated by Irish campaigners are also very active in the UK. Opus Dei is an organisation with a long history that is also still alive and well and influencing politicians. Groups like these certainly had a influence on the recent abortion legislation in Ireland which, under the guise of legalising abortion, made it even MORE illegal, codifying long jail sentences for any clinician who might think of providing choice.

Religion plays a big part in this of course, and as atheists we seek to counter religions influence in this as well as other area. Men also face oppression by religion, but control of women’s sexuality is a central goal, because of biology, and thus women face a particular oppression that men do not.

In this context, when I read your dismissal of “Teh Patriarchy,” your comparison of it with conspiracy theories, your reference to patriarchal society in the past tense, it just sounds to me like you don’t give a damn about women’s rights. In this sense it sounds like PZ Myers & Co. representations of “the other side” in the rifts is partially true. Of course they also ignore people like Skep Tickle or Moses ZD (#73) who do work for women’s rights.

But if they weren’t even partially right, surely that would be better? They would find it harder to sucker people in people who are atheists and do care about womens rights who mistakenly think FtB et. al. are fighting for them against sexist atheists.

291 Aneris ✻ November 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Gunboard Diplomat wrote: Unless I’m mistaken

Spectacularly so. I wrote down how patriarchal systems emerge in history, put in a couple of examples that illustrate it rather starkly, gave a few examples where misogynistic beliefs were codifed and could have added more, like “Purity Balls” in the USA. But since you feel I haven’t covered abortion to your full satisfaction you think that…

Gunboard Diplomat wrote: it just sounds to me like you don’t give a damn about women’s rights. In this sense it sounds like PZ Myers & Co. representations of “the other side” in the rifts is partially true. Of course they also ignore people like Skep Tickle or Moses ZD (#73) who do work for women’s rights.

You’ve shown us here that you aren’t interested in subjects and that your aim is about finding thoughtcrimes and you do so with dubious methods. Good for me that I commented at Greta Christina’s a long time ago where I made some suggestions.

Gunboard Diplomat wrote: One of the big aspects of this is access to reproductive health services, especially abortion.

As if patriarchal society wasn’t a topic big enough, here you shift the goalpost to abortion. Then you simply make stuff up what you think I believe in that regard. I don’t appreciate it. In my country, conservatives aren’t exactly cool with abortion, but the societal debate about it is over for like 20 years. And I’m left-leaning (though left-right aren’t useful categories anymore in this day and age and in other countries we have more than just one dimension that goes from red to blue).

The reason why “[t]reatment for prostate conditions is rarely discussed [in] moralistic terms” could have to do that prostates rarely become a human being at some point with own rights attached. Though I know it’s a widely held belief that the crotch is the center of some people’s mind, religions that believe the soul moves into the prostate are unknown to me.

Gunboard Diplomat wrote: In this sense it sounds like PZ Myers & Co. representations of “the other side” in the rifts is partially true

What’s partially true is that many non-americans aren’t interested in American social justice that is in many cases behind what’s established in other countries. We simply have different situations in our countries. Not necessarily better in every regard, but the “static” is different and you can’t address it with the same methods or talking points. Of course, I can think ahead and already see how its then stated that sexism exist everywhere, which is true. However attitudes towards sexuality and what is considered sexist are very different and we’re moving goal posts around.

All in all, you provide a fine demonstration of what’s wrong.

292 piero November 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm

@Ariel:

Sorry, it’s already too long … so, yes, I did it again! Piero, I’m not expecting you to buy into these points, *no way*. All I’m hoping to do is to give you a feeling of where some people are coming from.

That’s your prejudice speaking. In fact, I agree with those points. What I don’t agree with is the implications you try to smuggle through them. For example:

In the eyes of some people, the fight against extreme cases of sexual violence should be accompanied by the fight against everyday sexism. However, there is a group ready to dismiss such concerns as trivial (“a mere shirt”, “a mere invitation for coffee”). Are they friends or enemies?

Your unstated assumption is that cartoon images of semi-naked women and invitations for coffee in an elevator are symptoms of casual sexism. Proof? None. As far as I know, equating them to casual sexism is a mere assertion, unsupported by any research. You may dislike Matt Davis’s shirt, but that’s no evidence that he is sexist. Remember that you have no right to be offended. As far as elevatorgate is concerned, I presume you missed the quotation of Dr. Richard Carrier PhD that Jan Steen provided:

Rebecca Watson never once called the elevator incident harassment. It was the haters who made that up to discredit her, to paint her as calling it harassment, “gosh isn’t that ridiculous!” So don’t buy into the rhetoric of the sexist wing of atheism. In actual fact all she did was tell guys not to do that and why. And there is no sexual harassment policy I know of that prohibits what happened–since the man in question was not vulgar and accepted her refusal and no harassment ensued.

(italics mine)

In fact, elevatorgate was a consequence not of the elevator incident, but of Watson’s subsequent abuse of her speaker status to shame a member of the audience who dared criticise her reaction to said incident.

Hence, I reject your assumptions and declare your argument null and void. Must try harder.

In the eyes of some people, going public is sometimes a permissible method, especially in cases where the lawsuit is not an option. However, there is a group which considers it unacceptable – possibly, in all cases, without exceptions. Are they friends or enemies?

What does sometimes mean? In what cases is it permissible? Are there other circumstances besides a lawsuit not being an option? What does going public mean? Telling your family? Your friends? Publishing a full-page ad in the New York Times? You can put anything into vague terms, at the price of failing to make any sense. The case we are interested in is a very specific one, and the circumstances of that case made it unwise to make a public accusation with no evidence other than statements. Myers can do what he wants with his blog, but he cannot expect other bloggers to follow suit. It is a matter of personal judgement, and Michael has the right to choose how to manage his blog; does that justify the accusation of providing a haven for rapists? No need to answer that, by the way: we already know answers are not your forte.

In the eyes of some people, a given group crossed the line separating criticism from harassment. The conflict with this group is not a mere theoretical disagreement; it became more personalized and vendetta-like. Now, a given person hosts this group. Is he a friend or an enemy?

Evidence, please? Can you show us some examples of harassment of FtBers by slymepitters? Unless you proceed to redefine harassment to coincide with criticism, you won’t find any. Also, has Michael allowed or condoned harassment from his comment threads? Where? Links? Or maybe you are holding Michael responsible for any comment anyone has ever made in any blog?

A situation arises where further explanations/apologies are likely to be received as a success and validation of the group mentioned in the previous point. It’s also very likely that whatever move you make, it will be used against you. What’s the proper thing to do? Is it absolutely disgusting to disengage? And even if some missteps were indeed made, to what degree is the disengagement at least understandable?

That shouldn’t be an issue. You’ve consistently failed to provide further explanations or apologies.

Oh my, a long blog post wouldn’t be enough to cover this, and I’m expected to answer in a comment!?!
Yes, yes, we understand. This margin is too narrow and so on. Whatever.

293 Matt Cavanaugh November 21, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Ariel @ 289 wrote:
In the eyes of some people, the fight against extreme cases of sexual violence should be accompanied by the fight against everyday sexism. However, there is a group ready to dismiss such concerns as trivial (“a mere shirt”, “a mere invitation for coffee”). Are they friends or enemies?

They’re people who disagree with you, who don’t see that shirt or that elevator encounter as examples of sexism. And there’s a profound difference between condoning a sexist act, and not viewing that act as sexist in the first place. But, instead of trying to persuade us, you all either: a) lecture us (“shut up and listen!”, “Read Feminism 101!”); b) demonize us and vow to vanquish us as enemies.

This is part & parcel with the SJW tendency to declare all its dogma as revealed truth beyond question. (cf. Secular Woman’s declaration, ‘abortion rights is not up for debate.’)

Further, Atheism Plussers insist that all A/S activism also promote their American progressive & radfem ideology. Plussers have stressed their refusal to collaborate on ‘narrow’ A/S goals, or work with anyone who rejects their ideology. You’ve left us with no choice but to oppose you, so you really shouldn’t complain when we do so with vigor.

In the eyes of some people, a given group crossed the line separating criticism from harassment. The conflict with this group is not a mere theoretical disagreement; it became more personalized and vendetta-like. Now, a given person hosts this group. Is he a friend or an enemy?

I read this as an accusation that Slymepit members practice “harassment” and that Michael should be considered an enemy for condoning “harassment” (i.e., allowing Pitizens to comment at his blog.)

Please clarify, and provide examples of the alleged “harassment”. Else, please withdraw these accusations.

294 Shatterface November 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I read this as an accusation that Slymepit members practice “harassment” and that Michael should be considered an enemy for condoning “harassment” (i.e., allowing Pitizens to comment at his blog.)

I think ‘harassment’ would involve some sort of pursuit.

I doubt if I’d be able to post criticisms of FTB on FTB itself and I don’t bother with Twitter since it is a blight on mankind so if Myers, Benson and the rest are looking for ‘harassment’ they’d have to actively seek it out and then pretend it had been hurled at them.

I certainly wouldn’t attend an A/S conference with them; Myers is absolutely wrong to place a ban on women students but there are individual instances where people are looking for an opportunity to cry harassment and it’s best to stay clear.

If that means there will be fewer genuine skeptics at such conferences that’s sad for some but I’m not innately sociable and I don’t need my skepticism validated by a group.

295 Gunboat Diplomat November 21, 2014 at 7:11 pm

@Aneris #291

I’m sorry if you think I mischaracterised your position that patriarchal society and women’s oppression are historical rather than current issues but that is the impression I got from reading your comments on this blog post. Given what you wrote, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable conclusion as you talked about historical issues only and referred to patriarchal society exclusively in the past tense. For example you say (#239):

I have no doubt that many societies were patriarchal. But as “Teh Patriarchy” where men somehow conspire to uphold “the system” and women are the poor powerless victims who always have (had) it worse doesn’t seem plausible and rather sexist. The idea of “a system” is false.

[my emphasis]

You seem here to deny a system of patriarchy, while at the same time acknowledging the existence of patriarchal societies. You also recognise (#291) that “sexism is everywhere” but seem to deny it’s part of a patriarchal system. You constantly ridicule the concept of “the Patriarchy” while at the same time recognising (#239) that actually it has many different definitions, some of which are very similar, if not identical, to patriarchal society.

You now (#291) link to a quote where you proposed action against “purity balls.” I think that’s commendable but it’s not ideologically pure enough. Sorry, just kidding with the last sentence – I couldn’t resist. Back to seriousness: I think that’s commendable but I think the rest of your posts give a different – and apparently incorrect – impression. Sorry if I offended you.

Ultimately your positions sound contradictory and I think you can come off sounding like an angry internet guy complaining about feminism. And if you sound like that to me, how are you going to sound to a female feminist-minded (as most are these days to some extent) atheist who’s reading this blog to find out what this ‘deep rifts’ stuff is all about?

Couple of other things:

The sexual selection evolutionary psychology (EP) arguments don’t help the impression. These are constantly trotted out by many (especially right wing) commentators as a justification for sexism and social status quo. That doesn’t mean EP sexual selection theories don’t have some validity. But so many of the fundamental EP assumptions are under attack now from so many different angles (it’s gene-centrism, functionalism, modularism, computationalism, representationalism) it would be wise to consider the causes of sexual behaviour – along with all the rest of human behaviour – to be very much an open question and to consider other (scientific) viewpoints. I’ll plug “sex at dawn” here again but there’s some terrible science in there too.

My reference to the abortion issue is not meant to be moving the goalposts but as an illustration of patriarchal society. My use of prostate was meant to be analogical to female reproductive anatomy (and the HPV vaccination) rather than a foetus. As with all analogies, it’s imperfect.

I don’t know what your motivations are in these discussions and I’m not calling you sexist because I don’t think anything you’ve said is sexist. I have said I think some of what you’ve written can sound uncaring about women’s rights, particularly for a “naïve observer”. I think this is an important distinction and I hope you’ll take it as honest criticism.

296 Patrick November 21, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Ariel @289

You’re squirming

Sure, some people like tentacles, and I enjoy squirming. Or is it too personal in a discussion like ours, Patrick?

I would suggest that such whimsy demonstrates a failure to take the issue of defaming a good man’s character with unsupported smears as seriously as it deserves. No doubt some would claim that to be “tone trolling”.

Please allow me to bring this discussion back to its root. PZ Myers wrote on Twitter about Michael Nugent: “It’s not about what he thinks, but what he’s doing: defending & providing a haven for harassers, misogynists, and rapists.”

The person with whom he was conversing replied: “that’s an incredibly serious accusation and one completely unsupported by evidence. But you know both those things already.”

Myers responded with: “Nope. The evidence is right there: his blog commentariat is populated almost entirely by slymepitters.”

Several people asked for clarification, including his original conversation partner who asked: “Let me get this straight: Your evidence that he defends rapists is that people who don’t like you comment on his blog? Seriously?!”

Myers has refused to clarify further.

You have repeatedly claimed that Myers didn’t mean what he wrote, even though you admit that:

I recognize that someone without the background knowledge could take those words at face value (that’s why I consider them ill chosen).

Hence my repeated question to you: Since we agree on the meaning of the term rapist and, hopefully, can agree on the prima facie meaning of the rest of Myers claim, on what basis do you reject the conclusion that Myers claims are unsupported and dishonest?

It does appear that we made a little progress in your most recent comment:

Then I can answer: on this interpretation, the claims are unsupported. I can’t answer the question concerning dishonesty, because dishonesty involves intent. Sorry, there is no escape. We would have to establish (a) first.

(Where (a) refers to Myers’ intent.)

I argue that making a defamatory claim, as Myers did, without the ability or willingness to support it is dishonest behavior in and of itself. Let’s leave that aside for the moment, because we may be close enough to agreement that I can rephrase my question and, perhaps, begin to understand your point of view.

Given that Myers made a claim about Michael Nugent that uses the clearly defined and well-understood word “rapist” and

Given that Myers failed to modify that claim despite repeated opportunities to do so and

Given that anyone reading Myers’ claim without access to Myers’ innermost thoughts could reasonably be expected to take his words at face value and

Given that Myers either cannot or will not support his claim with objective evidence

Then is it not reasonable to conclude that PZ Myers owes Michael Nugent a retraction and an apology?

If not, why not?

Before you answer, please re-read what you wrote in your last comment:

I think as well that intent is often irrelevant. However, it is *not* irrelevant in one particular type of context: namely, when we are judging someone as a person. When using a word like “dishonest”, you go beyond the issue of objective truth and falsity. The word is laden with ascription of beliefs and intent. Sorry again, but no playing with words will change it.

Is ascribing dishonesty to Myers based on his documented behavior less justified than asserting that Michael Nugent harbors rapists based on no evidence whatsoever? Does Myers deserve more benefit of the doubt when being “judged as a person”?

297 Aneris ✻ November 21, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: I’m sorry if you think I mischaracterised your position that patriarchal society and women’s oppression are historical rather than current issues but that is the impression I got from reading your comments on this blog post. […] Given what you wrote, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable conclusion as you talked about historical issues only and referred to patriarchal society exclusively in the past tense. For example you say (#239).

Misrepresentation. I mentioned Abrahamic religion and Christianity for instance. They are patriarchal. Otherwise it is uncontroversial that societies where more orthodox, conservative or religious views are dominant, patriarchal structures are also more pronounced. The euphemistic name for that is “traditional”, as in “traditional family”.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: You seem here to deny a system of patriarchy, while at the same time acknowledging the existence of patriarchal societies.

Many animals exist that have claws, however an overarching “clawhood” that makes animals develop claws is having it backwards and a product of your imagination. Claws exist, but “clawhood” doesn’t. That’s where you come in: explain to us how Social Justice Aware Americans with their consciousness raised see it. Provided your/SJW idea of an overarching Patriarchy is simply synonymous with some other word (I’m just cutting out potential BS replies), then that is obscurantism and I don’t value that either.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: You also recognise (#291) that “sexism is everywhere” but seem to deny it’s part of a patriarchal system

Gross misrepresentation, switching of definitions (motte-and-bailey rhetorics*). I see that you switched to “a patriarchal system” now. Generally, it is you who purport an overarching The Patriarchy Eternal International and you have to stick to it, or let it go and agree with me.

I see various system with patriarchal features which are by the rules of language therefore “patriarchies”, in the same way as many people exist with red hairs who therefore constitute the “red-heads”. Patriarchies did and do assign roles to genders that can be viewed as sexist. Which and to what degree depends on the system you are looking at and what kind of definitions and assumptions you use regarding sexism. You made a gross misrepresentation because I specifically gave examples of sexism in patriarchies, for example the view in Christianity that women are inferior, satanic and the like, or indirectly with the “Purity Ball” example where it is the girl’s duty to remain “pure” and a virgin. You constantly misrepresenting my positions.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: Ultimately your positions sound contradictory and I think you can come off sounding like an angry internet guy complaining about feminism. .

It sounds contradictory to you because you confuse patriarchal societies with the overarching patriarchy idea you believe in. Here we also have a gross Ad Hominem. I fail to see how a long explanation of various patriarchal systems that acknowledge all sorts of things from misogynist influence of Aristotle to the practice of Wife Selling are seen as angry anti-feminism.

Apparently, some qualifications (such as that some cases aren’t just black and white) aren’t ideological pure enough. This reinforces the impression I get from your side that anything less than 100% ideological purity is inacceptable. Thereby I am quite positive I am aware of far more injustices against women than many others.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: […] The sexual selection evolutionary psychology (EP) arguments don’t help the impression. These are constantly trotted out by many (especially right wing) commentators as a justification for sexism and social status quo.

And there is the Naturalistic Fallacy. There is a difference between is and ought. I even addressed that point. There is no use for me to write longer texts when I either suck at explaining myself or people like you are unable to comprehend it.

The whole reference to “right wing” is a form of Poisoning the Well. I mentioned where I stand and pushing this further is again forcing me to perform purity tests.

I also specifically pointed to the source I used there to the best of my understanding (How the Mind Works) and stated modestly that I haven’t kept tabs with what the current status of the science is, hence I count this as another gross misrepresentation.

Let’s turn the table: the idea that it’s all cultural is consistent with many Evangelical beliefs that think that e.g. homosexuality is a matter of culture and therefore can be “cured” by re-education. Do you think that, too, Gunboat Diplomat? With the same argument they can also promote the idea that homosexuality can be spread through media and there was an agenda for it. Did you see what I did there?

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: I have said I think some of what you’ve written can sound uncaring about women’s rights, particularly for a “naïve observer”.

Yet another Ad hominem, in combination with an Ad Populum (appeal to the masses) for good measure.

✻ you failed to provide any explanation or argument for your views. You only offered obscurantism, confusion and dubious rhetoric.

✻ you used many fallacies, including ad hominem, naturalistic fallacy, ad populum and underhanded insinuations such as that I was right-wing, angry or anti-feminist. All false and very unfair.

✻ you are invested into metaconcepts and language games that have nothing to do with trying to find out what’s true. A past tense is more important to you than the substance of the writing.

✻ I believe I provided a collection of material with various religious, societal, biological factors that might play a role why patriarchies emerge. Your overall suggestion I deny is absurd given the volume I wrote about it.

I want to check my assumptions. Gunboat Diplomat, from which country are you from? My bets are you are a Social Justice League minion and you hail from a Blue State in the USA. How far off am I? 😀

298 tina November 21, 2014 at 10:55 pm

This time Benson blows the dog whistle on Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and now it’s all some kind of grand conspiracy between her and Dawkins and Sommers and #gamergate and Voldemort and Blackford and Limbaugh and Tinky Winky, Dipsey, La La and Po.

Then she proceeds to teach Ayaan what deprivation might look like in terms of access to school and university and STEM fields because, obviously, Ayaan won’t know much about that sort of thing herself!?!

Then the victim card comes out, because girls and women are only granted ‘belonging’ in such arenas insofar as they are sexually interesting to men.

Every ridiculous, nonsensical statement Benson makes is presented as gospel.

Then Benson presumes to tell Ayaan that she has no business in engaging in ‘right wing bullshit.’

The purpose of the post is the denunciation of Ayaan’s view that American feminism is focussed on ‘trivial bullshit,’ and in marking Ayaan’s card as a ‘bad feminist.’ Again, the all too familiar tactics of the SJW key-bored warrior.

In this instance, the insults, the calling out, the smearing etc, may be somewhat muted as Ayaan is a very well known, colourful person, who one might well hesitate to call a rape-apologising, misogynistic, shit-lady, but we’ll see

Denounced she will be. Wrong tribe.

299 Ariel November 21, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Piero, my answer to you is probably in moderation – it didn’t go through (it contained a lot of links). The answer was written in anger and I already regret (to some degree) that I’ve posted it. Ah, whatever. Anyway, if it goes through, I want to add just one thing: I’ve never been a great fan of the concept of guilt by association. Take this into consideration while reading it.

300 John Greg November 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Ariel said:

… I want to add just one thing: I’ve never been a great fan of the concept of guilt by association.

Good for you. Seriously, I mean that. That sets you aside; almost makes you unique on FTB.

301 piero November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm

@Ariel:

Fair enough.
On the moderation thing, it could be because of the links or because it contained the word l i e o r l i a r.

302 Aneris ✻ November 22, 2014 at 12:12 am

The interview from a few days ago with Richard Dawkins also fit the regular pattern nicely. It was again from Kimberly Winston and purely on the name alone you can make the prediction that the same Flock names as always will be quoted and that Richard Dawkins will not come away positively. Who is named: Adam Lee & Amanda Marcotte. I guess Greta Christina, Rebecca Watson, Opehlia Benson and Amy Roth weren’t available this time.

_religionnews.com/2014/11/18/richard-dawkins-stands-remarks-sexism-pedophilia-syndrome/

@Ariel
I remember you complained that Ms Benson’s nitpickery when it concerns her weren’t substantiated last time. Here it fits. Check her comments in this article, which was a response to the previous Ms Winston piece.

_richarddawkins.net/2014/08/should-richard-give-up-twitter-and-retreat-to-his-ivory-tower/

When people point out that Kimberly Winston is indeed very one sided, Ophelia Benson feels such commentary counts as “very ugly” and “grossly misleading, not to say flat-out false”. Just hold this against “haven for rapist” commentary which she tacitly condones.

303 Dave Allen November 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

I want to check my assumptions. Gunboat Diplomat, from which country are you from? My bets are you are a Social Justice League minion and you hail from a Blue State in the USA. How far off am I? 😀

I’d say from UK or Eire, and trying to give a fairly balanced assessment of social science orthodoxy on the issues.

304 piero November 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

@tina:

This time Benson blows the dog whistle…

I barely survived watching the video you linked to. Now you recount Ophelia’s antics. Why are you trying to kill me?

305 Gunboat Diplomat November 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

@ Aneris #297

I’ve said my piece on how I think your posts can appear to me and those of a similar mindset, so there’s no point in me banging on further about it, You’ll either use my criticism as an opportunity to engage in some self reflection or you won’t. Seeing as you think I’m constantly misrepresenting your positions (something I was not trying to do) this unfortunately seems unlikely. You did however ask two questions which I will try to answer:

I want to check my assumptions. Gunboat Diplomat, from which country are you from? My bets are you are a Social Justice League minion and you hail from a Blue State in the USA. How far off am I? 😀

Dave Allen is right, I am Irish and I also studied politics and history for my first degree in the uk. Recently I’ve changed career and completed a degree in psychology and I’m currently studying a masters in cognitive science. I’m a socialist and have done some social justice work over the years, most recently for the Irish Abortion Rights Campaign. I’m a big fan of Steven Pinker but I disagree with most of his primary assumptions and, like a lot of cognitive psychologists, am highly critical of evolutionary psychology.

Let’s turn the table: the idea that it’s all cultural is consistent with many Evangelical beliefs that think that e.g. homosexuality is a matter of culture and therefore can be “cured” by re-education. Do you think that, too, Gunboat Diplomat? With the same argument they can also promote the idea that homosexuality can be spread through media and there was an agenda for it. Did you see what I did there?

Well I wouldn’t call trying to influence someone’s sexuality in this way “curing,” rather I think that’s more accurately called repression. I also think its best to think of sexuality on a kinsey scale rather than binary or absolute categories. Nonetheless it seems likely that many aspects of sexuality can be influenced by education, along with many other aspects of the environment. At the same time there do seem to be mechanisms which lock in sexual orientation quite early, possibly in-utero. As with any discussion of phenotypes its really complicated and I don’t know all that much about it.

What I can say as a scientist studying human behaviour is that similar behaviours can often have multiple causes. So any given behaviour or set of behaviours (e.g. autism) may be largely due to the expression of a particular genetic variant in one person for example, or epigenetic or developmental plastic factors may be more important in another. With any individual it’s impossible to tell of course. With autism there are hundred of genes involved and many other risk factors and early intervention is crucial. I suspect its the same with other sets of behaviours such as homosexuality. Of course I’m not suggesting that homosexuality is a disorder (!), I’m only using an analogy with a condition and set of behaviours I know more about.

I’m not sure what you hoped to gain by asking that question. And I’m afraid I don’t really see what you did there. Did you hope to show me that my views can be misinterpreted as reactionary? And you think that’s what I did to your words? Perhaps you’re right, but in that case I would like to think I would learn from that and present may arguments more clearly the next time.

306 Aneris ✻ November 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Fallacies and misrepresentations aren’t criticism. However, your background is a point against my assumptions. :)

Here are some questions on the matter, since you didn’t really explain what you think. I’ll not just ask but add at a note what I think the situation is.

1) Do you believe the concept of patriarchy exists — as “ding an sich” in the feminist version of something that permeates history?

I don’t believe this is accurate. In a simplified way, patriarchies exist that have elder father as the head of the family, clan, state, religion where and how, and whether privileges also mean duties depends on the system in question.

2) Regardless of what you personally believe is true, do you regard the concept of patriarchy as in 1 as uncontroversial in science? Can you try to assess how controversial or uncontroversial it is?

I gathered it’s rejected in ethnology and anthropolgy. There are things like patrilinearity and matrinlinearity for example, where belongings are passed along the father’s or mother’s lineage, yet where a man or a woman can formally act as the “manager” of the belongings, i.e. the ruler. Patriarchy as a concept does not allow such complications and therefore inadequate to describe how soceities work. Patriarchy appears controversial in history, too, where it is deemed as an ahistorical idea.

The Gold Standard in the american/internet atheist movement is this: Teh Patriarchy, as an overarching idea that permeates everything is as uncontroversial as the Theory of Evolution and everyone who doesn’t accept it, sees room for discussion or is otherwise not on totally and fully committed to the idea is a misogynist, sexist to be shunned and shamed and to be made a pariah.

307 PJ November 22, 2014 at 4:56 pm

“like a lot of cognitive psychologists, am highly critical of evolutionary psychology.”

What a strong stance, agreeing with the bosses who will terminate your extra-degree quest if you have an original thought. I bet they hate David Buss, because he’s better than they are.

308 Shermertron November 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Everyone should be aware that PZ just published the e-mail header information of someone who contacted him. If you e-mail PZ or contact him in any way, your information may be published.

https://archive.today/uyyEr

309 Gunboat Diplomat November 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm

@Aneris #306

Fallacies and misrepresentations aren’t criticism

Heres some additional criticism: this statement appears absurdly obstinate. There’s a clear implication that nothing I wrote at all has even enough validity to be considered a criticism. Which is a bit mad.

Nonetheless I’ll do my best to answer your very difficult questions. Also, we haven’t hammered out a definition we agree on, which makes it even more difficult:

1) Do you believe the concept of patriarchy exists — as “ding an sich” in the feminist version of something that permeates history?
I don’t believe this is accurate. In a simplified way, patriarchies exist that have elder father as the head of the family, clan, state, religion where and how, and whether privileges also mean duties depends on the system in question.

I think patriarchy is a useful way to analyse society but would certainly disagree with feminists who think its the main or only prism. As for how “real” the patriarchy is, it depends on how you define it. If you define it as a description of various related phenomena, such male dominance of politics, public life, or property ownership, patriarchy looks much like a fact. If you look at it as an explanatory and prescriptive theory of these phenomena, it’s on much shakier ground.

Epistemology is difficult. My inclination is that Kant has some good points when talking about epistemology but his dualist ontology turns me off. However, I’m far from an expert. There are echo’s with the social constructionist view that knowledge is something humans create or construct rather than uncover. The problem with this view of course is the danger of descending into relativism, but its still a powerful reminder that our current theoretical systems probably won’t survive in their current form.

2) Regardless of what you personally believe is true, do you regard the concept of patriarchy as in 1 as uncontroversial in science? Can you try to assess how controversial or uncontroversial it is?
I gathered it’s rejected in ethnology and anthropolgy. There are things like patrilinearity and matrinlinearity for example, where belongings are passed along the father’s or mother’s lineage, yet where a man or a woman can formally act as the “manager” of the belongings, i.e. the ruler. Patriarchy as a concept does not allow such complications and therefore inadequate to describe how soceities work. Patriarchy appears controversial in history, too, where it is deemed as an ahistorical idea.

I think the former definition of patriarchy above (as a description of phenomena) is fairly uncontroversial in most disciplines, but I could be wrong. The second definition – as an explanatory/prescriptive theory – is hugely controversial. I think a big part of the reason for this is because its such a contentious political issue. A lot of the people arguing (on both sides) do so with political agendas. However I don’t really know as its not really in my areas of expertise. In psychology and cognitive science its not really discussed all that much outside of social psychology. I guess it might be in evolutionary psychology too, but I haven’t come across it much in my studies on sexual selection theories for example.

@ PJ #307

Well David Buss seems to argue that Evolutionary Psychology is a radical new scientific theoretical viewpoint but I don’t really see it as all that different from sociobiology. I’d certainly be a lot more interested in it if it produced anything like the evolutionary explanations developmental psychologists like Michael Tomasello produce. Or if it engaged with the actual radical new theoretical perspectives such as those presented by embodied cognition, the extended mind hypothesis of Andy Clark or those of ecological psychology, dynamical systems theory – the list goes on.

Then again perhaps I’m just a stick-in-the-mud unable to engage with original thoughts…

310 Ariel November 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

So my yesterday’s post didn’t go through. On reflection, it’s for the better, as it contained fragments which I wouldn’t want to see the light when calm. Anyway, it’s not how I normally write. I insert below a censored version and I’ll try to post it. Feel free to imagine the uncensored one.

***
Piero #292

Can you show us some examples of harassment of FtBers by slymepitters? Unless you proceed to redefine harassment to coincide with criticism, you won’t find any.

One of my first encounters with the slyme pit (quite a while ago) was this:
_slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=266

I mention it because … well, because it made an unforgettable impression on me.
It all starts with a photograph of 7 women. Some comments below:

Wow that photo could be used for chemical free pest control.

Marcotte certainly looks as though someone’s tampering with her rusty tradesman’s entrance…

Marcotte is trying to make something of those girls. Unfortunately…… [a photo of fried eggs inserted below]

Where’s the fuckin trigger warning?

that picture is revolting. When you look at Rebecca Watson her atrocious oral hygiene is overwhelmingly evident. The other “chicks” in the picture aren’t smiling, they’re grimacing at her repulsive appearance and are disgusted by her atrocious breath. MEOW BECKY!

Enough. There are more like that if anyone has a stomach to read.

Some other stuff:
_slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=236850#p236850

I bet Jen McCreight could get that tree down in just 5 days!

_slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.phpf=31&t=266&hilit=greta&start=26910#p95194

A naked picture of Greta Christina, juxtaposed with an image of some puking guys and a puking dog.

_slymepit.com/phpbb/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=857

What have you fuckers got against the Stephalump anyhow?

You want more, Piero? Yes, I can link to more. Just ask. Criticism, you say? Criticize my ass!!!

You want an advice? When you see someone making accusations of “providing a haven for rapists” and when it strikes you as over-the-top, reread what you wrote. To remind you: “I usually do not take over-the-top accusations or insults seriously”. You think PZ’s accusation was over-the-top? Then obviously by your own standards it was a mere jest! Don’t take this seriously, man. Let’s drink and let’s have fun together. When we are sober again, we can discuss hard topics – like, maybe, hypocrisy, or whatever you want. Until then, let’s just enjoy ourselves.

Michael Nugent, please pay attention: there is a wonderful party going on here. We have pictures of women, some of them naked, we are laughing, we are having fun! All of this is one big jest and the atmosphere is splendid. Will you join us?

Patrick, later. I’m too angry now to have a conversation like ours.

***
Ok, so this was yesterday. I still stand by one crucial point: if you really think it’s difficult to find anything else than “criticism” on your site, then you are prejudiced beyond the point of no return. For your sake, Piero, I hope that you used the phrase only as a rhetorical device. Hopelessly bad move imo, but still better than if you said it in earnest.

I think also that I seriously need a break.

311 Patrick Brown November 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Ariel: what you are describing falls under the heading of vulgar abuse. You might find it unpleasant, but vulgar abuse is not defamatory. Unlike what your idol PZ said about Michael. It’s an important distinction and one which you don’t seem to have grasped.

312 Ariel November 22, 2014 at 10:37 pm

The phrase about “my idol PZ” is over the top and should not be used in our discussion. Do you agree? Or should I treat is as a “mere jest”?

I think also that it’s something more than vulgar abuse. You are adopting a lawyer’s point of view; please try to think beyond that. Please try to appreciate how concentrating on someone’s physical appearance can be degrading, shaming, and silencing – think of it especially as a strategy of degrading women. Add to this the element of permanence – it’s going on for years. Add to this the fact that the group in question presents itself (although not in conversations with someone like me, no way!) as fighting for recognition and influence – boasting in fact how they were able to mobilize more important people and more widespread support. Be realistic and count with the possibility that perhaps they are not completely wrong in this.

As for all the rest: shoo!

(The “shoo” part was directed to myself. I really think I need a break. See you later, probably in another thread.)

313 piero November 22, 2014 at 10:39 pm

@Ariel:

You want more, Piero? Yes, I can link to more. Just ask. Criticism, you say? Criticize my ass!!!

I’m sorry, your examples are irrelevant. Nobody is forced to read the Slymepit, so in order to feel harassed by the pitters you would have to actively go looking for it. But then it ceases to be harassment, doesn’t it?

Besides, I don’t know whether calling people names is actually worse than wishing them to die in a fire. Are we going to see you post your dissent any time soon?

For what it’s worth, I didn’t like the offensive comments either. However, given that I joined a couple of months ago and the thread you mentioned dates from January, 2013, I had no chance to voice my objections at the appropriate time. And, frankly, I doubt they would have been received with unanimous warmth: the slymepit is extremely heterogeneous, and some of the posters there are by no means the kind of person I’d be friends with. But others are, and I find this messy, chaotic environment very stimulating.

Concerning your ass, without further information I have no reason to criticise the poor brute, no matter how nicely you ask me.

To remind you: “I usually do not take over-the-top accusations or insults seriously”. You think PZ’s accusation was over-the-top?

Of course not. Myers refused several times to clarify, explain or retract what he meant, and therefore we must take the literal meaning of his words as the intended message: he did accuse Michael of protecting rapists, and cited slymepitters commenting here as evidence. That cannot possibly be taken as a joke. Over the top? No. Idiotic? Yes.

By the way, I believe I could tell you exactly what Myers meant to say (one-track minds are not that hard to predict), but I’m not going to dig him out of the hole he stupidly jumped into. He had more than enough opportunities to clarify or apologise; he chose not to; game over.

Concerning the accusation of hipocrisy, I reject it. As I told you in a previous comment (#275), I don’t believe Myers is a despicable person, and I am therefore inclined to be biased in his favour when I read things like “tentacle-rape enthusiast”: I believe his linking to tentacle-rape imagery was at least partly tongue-in-cheek, given the prominence of cephalopods in his bloke, and the (formerly) good-natured rivalry between Myers’s octopuses and Coyne’s cats. Besides, even if he were indeed a tentacle-porn enthusiast I wouldn’t criticise him for it, and I doubt any slymepitter would (it was perhaps not wholly wise to publish those links in a blog his students might read, but that’s for him to judge). The same applies to his mermaids fantasy: clearly, he knew that at least some of his female students could read his blog, so it would be inconceivably offensive for him to publish a real fantasy there; I took it to be a joke, and I also read the pitters’ invective in that light. Not that the invective was intended as funny, mind you: it was meant as disparaging, of course, but in the full knowledge that it had no substantive basis.

I still stand by one crucial point: if you really think it’s difficult to find anything else than “criticism” on your site, then you are prejudiced beyond the point of no return.

First, it is not my site. It is a site where anybody can post. Even you, should you ever want to. Even Ophelia Benson and Myers. Second, nobody has to visit the site if it offends you. I find Butteflies and wheels deeply offensive, and so I don’t go there; ditto with Pharyngula and several other blogs that share with those already mentioned a tendency to smear anyone with grave, serious accusations such as “rape apologist” or “defender of rapists.”

314 piero November 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

“bloke”? No, “blog”!

315 Guestus Aurelius November 22, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Yes, Ariel, some posters at the Slymepit have said and done some pretty vile things.

Out of curiosity, what’s your point?

316 Matt Cavanaugh November 23, 2014 at 2:37 am

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: “David Buss seems to argue that Evolutionary Psychology is a radical new scientific theoretical viewpoint but I don’t really see it as all that different from sociobiology. I’d certainly be a lot more interested in it if it produced anything like the evolutionary explanations developmental psychologists like Michael Tomasello produce. Or if it engaged with the actual radical new theoretical perspectives such as those presented by embodied cognition, the extended mind hypothesis of Andy Clark or those of ecological psychology, dynamical systems theory – the list goes on.”

EP derives from Sociobiology, which derived from Ethology, which is extremely robust. EP is simply Ethology applied to homo sapiens. As such, EP is eminently valid in principle.

Clark’s EMT imo, is at best an interesting paradigm; at worst, a frivolous word game/philosophical onanism on the meaning of “mind.” I’m also uneasy with the dualism and mysticism that seems to underly this school of thought. I’m far more impressed by the real-world relevance of the extended phenotype.

Tomasello does have an interesting hypothesis, which I believe contains elements which may prove true. But he relies on much pure conjecture about hominid development, and claims animals lack certain cognitive and ‘social’ learning abilities which in fact have been shown to exist.

I find it interesting that, while Evolutionary Psychologists readily acknowledge that much of human behavior is driven by culture, EP opponents frequently deny that any human behavior is evolved & innate (and proceed to strawman EP as genetic determinism.) Instead, all behavior emanates from an heuristic “black box” (this is PZ Myers’ belief, btw), thus restoring humanity to tabula rasa.

I don’t know, Gunboat, if or to what extent you ascribe to this view, but it would seem odd coming from a cognitive, as opposes to behavioral, psychologist.

Oh, and, since tempers seem to be flaring a bit hot of late — thanks for engaging civilly and intelligently.

317 Matt Cavanaugh November 23, 2014 at 3:20 am

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: “I also think its best to think of sexuality on a kinsey scale rather than binary or absolute categories. Nonetheless it seems likely that many aspects of sexuality can be influenced by education, along with many other aspects of the environment. At the same time there do seem to be mechanisms which lock in sexual orientation quite early, possibly in-utero. As with any discussion of phenotypes its really complicated and I don’t know all that much about it.”

With one exception, I heartily concur with your assessment of the origins of sexuality, and join you in your acceptance of every individual’s own sexual identity.

Are you familiar with the 2011 UCLA meta-study “How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?”
http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-How-Many-People-LGBT-Apr-2011.pdf

Self-described same-sex or bi attraction ranged from 1.2% to 5.6, with a slight majority attracted to one sex only. The high-end outlier study found only 11% reported ever having felt a same-sex attraction in their lives.

Trans* identity was estimated at 3/1,000, with most trans* people having a firm gender identity, a tiny fraction being “gender-fluid.”

All this data indicates a distinct binary in sexuality, as opposed to the Kinsey model (individuals) or SJW rhetoric (population) of an evenly-distributed spectrum.

Instead of elaborating here, I’ll just plug my post on the subject:
http://trueliberalnexus.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/what-gender-spectrum/

318 Kirbmarc November 23, 2014 at 4:02 am

Please try to appreciate how concentrating on someone’s physical appearance can be degrading, shaming, and silencing – think of it especially as a strategy of degrading women.

I agree that physical appearance shouldn’t matter in a discussion about ideologies: an idea doesn’t become more wrong or more right depending on the level of attractiveness of the person who exposes it.

However in satire and mockery physical appearance is frequently a target. There’s a long tradition of vilifying an enemy as unattractive in order to undermine their point.

The SJW feminists are not immune to the temptation of attacking their critics’ attractiveness: I remember an endless series of “neckbeards”, “basement dwellers” “lifelong virgins” and the like used by people on the FTB boards and on Skepchick, including Rebecca Watson.

Why is it this tactic “degrading, shaming and silencing” when used against feminists and fair game when used against critics of feminism?

If you propose that both sides should stop criticizing irrelevant matters, I will fully support your proposal. I hope that you won’ttry to argue that criticizing a feminist’s personal appearance is somehow worse than when feminists criticize their opponents’ personal appearance.

319 Matt Cavanaugh November 23, 2014 at 4:12 am

Ariel @ 310 provides some examples of crude & juvenile comments. An ongoing debate at The Slymepit has been over whether these are wise, productive, appropriate, etc.

These examples, however, do NOT constitute harassment. One may completely avoid them by simply not visiting The Slymepit. Yet Myers, Benson, Svan, Watson, Avicenna, Roth and other FTB/Skepchick personages regularly lurk at the ‘Pit and vanity search for material over which they can whine and keen. Stephanie Svan (whose entire opus seems to be complaints over what other people have said), recently offered to write poetry (sic), comprised of random lines she compiled during her frequent slumming at the ‘Pit. Ariel, obviously, has been lurking since at least February of 2013.

(NB: in response to Piero, Ariel has deftly moved the goalposts from “harassment”, an objective felony, to ‘valid criticism’, a subjective interpretation.)

320 Aneris ✻ November 23, 2014 at 5:52 am

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: Heres some additional criticism: this statement appears absurdly obstinate. There’s a clear implication that nothing I wrote at all has even enough validity to be considered a criticism. Which is a bit mad.

How can it have “validity”? Two replies late you found you argue without a definition. Despite that I included misogyny in Christianity, the practice of Wife Selling and more, plus what I learned from people like Steven Pinker or Robert Sapolsky (parts you deemed especially problematic), you branded that as angry right wing antifeminism. You have no idea how misguided you are. I won’t carp on about it, but it’s high time that deeply misguided folk like you see what you write. I am not “absurdly obstinate” here because it is a big problem of this “movement”. I value that you seem to be able to recalibrate, so let’s continue.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote: Also, we haven’t hammered out a definition we agree on, which makes it even more difficult

Not even feminists agree what is meant by Teh Patriarchy™ and to what extent it is a useful term. Some feminists admit that it’s more of a fighting word. Sylvia Walby attempted to make it less ahistorical, yet the assumption of a passive and weak role of women was criticized by other feminists. Seeking confirmation and lacking some way how a hypothesis can be falsified brings it into the realm of pseudo-science.

The origins of the term “patriarchy” lies in late 19th century in the works of Johann J. Bachofen. Friedrich Engels (he who co-wrote with Karl Marx) picked it up and believed that capitalism is more of a guy thing and that before that, women – the more social and communal gender in his opinion – were at the helm. In “Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigentums und des Staates” (the origins of the family, private property and the state) he claimed the overthrowing of the “mother-right” by men was the “world-historical defeat of the female gender”. Engels book was banned for a long time but his views found their way into feminism via Max Weber and others. Other than that, it’s considered Bolshevik.

Due to the banning in most countries and strong politicisation, his ideas weren’t properly assessed. I believe it is the current understanding that he was probably right about some things and I incorporated that, too (making your assessment of “right wing” even more ludicrous). It looks like he was right that earlier societies were matrilineal and that makes sense for the reason that early humans probably had no idea in which way men contribute to a child. As I have written, a father could never be sure whether the child was his.

However, there are examples where despite matrilinearity, there was still a man calling the shots. If that was also the case in ancient times Engels assumptions are simply wrong. I am unsure what the relevant fields currently believe about early humans – I am an empirical/scientific skepticist, unless there is concrete evidence it’s pretty much guessing. It’s not the first time we impose relatively recent ideas onto the past (e.g. many an “ancient tradition” came up during Romanticism or Nationalism).

Patriarchy is somewhat established as a description of an autocratic “rule of men/fathers” also known as androcracy. The only patriarchy definition that appears to be totally uncontroversial is the one from the Jewish and Christian context (e.g. see the Patriarch in the Orthodox Church).

It’s not my job to somehow guess what is meant and then promote those ideas to pass various purity tests. There is an unclear situation while at the same time people in this “movement” pretend it’s all crystal clear (you included) and promote the word with a most cocksure attitude.

What is meant is hard to tell at this point even when we look at the FreeThoughtBlogs people, who are strangers to modesty and reason. From the collection of quotes, it’s apparent, they prefer a very expansive and nebulous idea. That is most likely pseudo-science. They also don’t seem to agree on one “patriarchy theory” that can be reviewed and studied. Unless I am mistaken. Then it’s curious that I never saw a link or reference to the Charles Darwin of Patriarchy Theory.

For example Stephanie Zvan at times preferred the “Kyriarchy” and it’s more consistent with the other views I often read from their faction, since it’s an adaption that places emphasis on “intersectionality” — which is another term they often bandy about.

I am unsure what your expectations are, Gunboat Diplomat. What have you left to convince me and others to adhere to your expectations? And let’s not forget how we got here. The idea of a patriarchy wasn’t brought up because FreeThoughtBloggers have thought about something. On the contrary, the idea is used to throw everyone who disagrees with them into a blender with trolls, harassers, misogynists, sexists and whatever else they consider the “other”. And this othering process is then used to carve out their own identity and to confirm their “safe spaces”.

321 Patrick Brown November 23, 2014 at 7:56 am

Ariel:

The phrase about “my idol PZ” is over the top and should not be used in our discussion. Do you agree?

No, I don’t. I think it’s fair comment based on your behaviour on this thread.

You are adopting a lawyer’s point of view; please try to think beyond that.

There is a difference between saying “x is ugly, smelly and stupid” and “x abets criminals”. The law rightly recognises that. You want to make a moral equivalence between the two because you want to distract attention from the defamatory statements of your idol PZ , but they are not morally equivalent.

Please try to appreciate how concentrating on someone’s physical appearance can be degrading, shaming, and silencing – think of it especially as a strategy of degrading women.

I forgot, that overrides everything. Damsels in distress, therefore what your idol PZ said wasn’t wrong.

322 Gunboat Diplomat November 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm

@Aneris #320

How can it have “validity”?

Because its my opinion about how I thought your arguments sounded. I didn’t claim your position was:

angry right wing antifeminism

I said it sounded like angry internet guy who doesn’t give a damn about women’s rights.

Now you have done a little to ameliorate that impression but not much. And if you continue to write in the way you’ve been writing that’s the way you’re going to continue to look to me and others. But hey, why bother acknowledging criticism as even being criticism?! Just dismiss it as the machinations of the an out-group. I’m sure your arguments are perfect in their current form and require no modification. Because that’s how true skeptics roll. There’s no similarity here at all with the obtuse attitude on FtB, where all criticism is seen as being malicious or idiotic and one must never retreat from any position, no matter how absurd.

@ Matt Cavanaugh #316

EP derives from Sociobiology, which derived from Ethology, which is extremely robust. EP is simply Ethology applied to homo sapiens. As such, EP is eminently valid in principle.

Other than there’s nothing simple about it and some concepts can be very difficult to apply across different fields, I agree. In fact I’d go further and say I know of no cognitive psychologist or cognitive scientist who doesn’t agree with the primary thesis of EP in principle.

However, EP has major structural and practical problems.

Although I think you give an unfair assessment, there is a lot to criticise about Tomasello’s work. However, even his opponents agree that his research program is brilliant and innovative. My point about Tomasello is his work is highly relevant to the evolutionary origins of human behaviour. Yet it is not referred to as EP by Tomasello or by EP journals partly because of his criticism of the concept of modularity that underlies most EP. You might disagree with this but it shows there are other paths to exploring the evolutionary origins of human behaviour other than through the restricted theoretical lens of EP.

I find it interesting that, while Evolutionary Psychologists readily acknowledge that much of human behavior is driven by culture, EP opponents frequently deny that any human behavior is evolved & innate (and proceed to strawman EP as genetic determinism.) Instead, all behavior emanates from an heuristic “black box” (this is PZ Myers’ belief, btw), thus restoring humanity to tabula rasa.

I don’t know, Gunboat, if or to what extent you ascribe to this view, but it would seem odd coming from a cognitive, as opposes to behavioral, psychologist.

Seeing as you think “EP opponents frequently deny that any human behaviour is evolved and innate”, perhaps you could provide some links to recent peer reviewed articles where cognitive psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists or cognitive scientists make this argument. Or seeing as you think PZ Myers holds this position perhaps you could link an article where he makes this argument?

I think you’ll have serious problems complying with this request because frankly I have never even heard of this argument within the scientific literature, outside of the (mis)characterisations of EP. No scientist in their right mind would argue that language is not a result of human evolution for example. However plenty of psycholinguists are not evolutionary psychologists.

Even the terms of the so-called nature vs. nurture debate is now considered absurd.

As the psychologist Vaughan Bell wrote:

Nature versus nurture is a lie. Music is not melody versus rhythm, wine is not grapes versus alcohol and we are not environment versus genes. We are their sum, their product and their expression. They dance together and we are their performance, but neither is an adversary.

So there is straw-manning going on, but its not from the scientific opponents of EP on this issue.

323 tina November 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

The notion of patriarchy has been updated to kyriarchy which describes a system of interlocking oppressions applicable to both genders thus allowing equal opportunity whingeing. It has the advantage of recognising that we humans can be really really shitty to one another for all sorts of reasons. Who knew?

A lot of feminists are sticking with good ‘ol patriarchy though. Black and white. White and black.

324 piero November 23, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I think the concept of kyriarchy has potential. Its scope, however, is too vague to be of any use in its present form:

Kyriarchy is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word itself is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza in 1992 to describe her theory of interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others.[1] It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy[1] beyond gender. Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, homophobia, economic injustice, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized.[2]

Wikipedia

Power, oppression, submission, subordination, domination, hierarchy must be operationally defined before the concept can be said to usefully reflect an aspect of reality.

325 Blueshift Rhino November 23, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Dear Arielima –

Not all mean things are equal.

326 Aneris ✻ November 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Gunboat Diplomat Explained…

Gunboat Diplomat (322) wrote: Because its my opinion about how I thought your arguments sounded. I didn’t claim your position was:

Fantastic. Here he continues to claim something because of “lived experience” not because of some substance that could be addressed. He places his “lived experience” away from scrutiny, where he believes by pleading mere opinion, every rubbish can be repeated. He tries some other stunt later with this, but let’s backtrack to a previous comment first…

Gunboat Diplomat (305) wrote: Recently I’ve changed career and completed a degree in psychology and I’m currently studying a masters in cognitive science. I’m a socialist and have done some social justice work over the years, most recently for the Irish Abortion Rights Campaign.

That’s good work, yet his career or his abortion activism has no bearing on anything here. If he can’t produce some solid arguments (or they are buried under all the fallacies he has tried out: several strong ad hominems, ad poplum, naturalistic fallacy, and now appeal to authority), he can’t hope to persuade anyone who values education and reasoning. Would you change your opinion because some bloke on the internet, especially someone like Gunboat Diplomat said so? I hope not.

Gunboat Diplomat (322) wrote : Now you have done a little to ameliorate that impression but not much.

Here he goes meta (about the discussion), pretends to contemplate whether he should change his mere opinion how something sounded and uses it to reinforce it. It’s a kind of “let me think whether I still believe you beat your wife …”. Dishonest. Watch him how he repeats his ad hominems or uses quoting to repeat them in a more underhanded fashion. What you don’t see: he’s not addressing the substance.

Gunboat Diplomat (322) wrote : And if you continue to write in the way you’ve been writing that’s the way you’re going to continue to look to me and others.

Gunboat Diplomat refers to “others” yet none are established within this discussion. For all we can tell, he simply made it up to boost up his mere opinion, like he attempted by mentioning his career and activism. What’s more: first he downplays his ad hominem attributions as mere opinion and “it just sounded like”, then he gives the impression they are something more than just his mere opinion. You see already what kind of character we have here: a dunning-kruger candidate who thinks other people are idiots who don’t see what he is doing, while he obviously tries to boost up his unsubstantiated whargarble. Even many people shared his opinions, we would have another ad populum again. Belief of many people doesn’t make it true.

Gunboat Diplomat (322) wrote : But hey, why bother acknowledging criticism as even being criticism?!

See for yourself what kind of “criticism” he has offered. To me it looks like the same authoritarian bully style I’m used to from FreeThoughtBlogs. If someone spotted a good argument somewhere, would you kindly presented it again in a sanitized form for another go. Gunboat Diplomat is simply disappointed that his distasteful rhetoric were detected and then throws his tantrum that some of the more salient points he might have made went unaddressed. For the time being, I’ll keep the priorities that way because such sleazy characters like him should be called out for their behaviours.

Gunboat Diplomat (322) wrote : But hey, why bother acknowledging criticism as even being criticism?! Just dismiss it as the machinations of the an out-group. I’m sure your arguments are perfect in their current form and require no modification. Because that’s how true skeptics roll. There’s no similarity here at all with the obtuse attitude on FtB, where all criticism is seen as being malicious or idiotic and one must never retreat from any position, no matter how absurd.

Here we can see another meta hogwash that does not adress anything of the substance in discussion. The snark muddles the point even more. The True Skeptic™ is another attempt to invoke an unpleasant stereotype and thereby it’s another way of ad hominem and emotional manipulation of the reader. I don’t think anyone falls for it, I am pointing it out for the record.

As people with a weary scrollfinger can attest, I wrote rather too much on the subject matter and pointed out where patriarchies already in the feminist-colouring can be seen in history, origins of the term, and more, but that it was probably false to believe in an overarching Teh Patriarchy™ that doesn’t explain anything. I cited credible scientists and pointed out that the views Gunboat Diplomant found problematic can be found in “How The Mind Works” (by Steven Pinker) or in lectures by Robert Sapolsky (I add the link below, they are excellent).

He further tried to use the Baily-and-Motte rhetorics, to which I also add a link (I missed that one last time), which are apparently never far away with Post-Modernists (Gunboat Diplomat stated sympathy for postmodernism in 183). The baily-and-motte doctrine in a nutshell is about swapping out definitions and using one more defensible and one less (but desired) definition. That’s a form of obscurantism at the very least.

You can see this in context when Gunboat Diplomat changes from the patriarchy as a global, historical thing (which I reject), to a description of specific systems (which I proposed). If he truly stuck to the latter, he could simply agree in general at least and then provided something were we could all improve our understanding. He chose not to.

In summary, Gunboat Diplomat is someone who “goes meta” and simply makes proclamations from his meta throne with hardly any substance to show for. He is the closed-minded post-modernist who clings to his conception of the Patriarchy conspiracy which he felt attacked (that motivated him to engage). Since he is not open to argument or discussion, he tries to sway the public (like a true social justice warrior) with emotional manipulation and other dubious methods, citing his career or his activist work while trying to discredit other people with “sounds to me like” (followed by something disliked). Of course, you will recognize the “sounds like outgroup” is a common “argument” on FreeThoughtBlogs, where such weak witted characters belong.

My arguments are laid out in 239 and 320 in quite some detail. Something more on the Bailey-And-Motte technique the post-modernist such as Gunboat Diplomat use can be read here: _philpapers.org/archive/SHATVO-2.pdf

Robert Sapolsky’s excellent lectures on human behavioral biology can be viewed here, but be warned Gunboat Diplomat thinks its right wing antifeminism. (:D) _youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&list=PL45A5E21ECA5FA850

Anti-intellectual, pseudo-science individuals like Gunboat Diplomat can be found here: _freethoughtblogs.com

327 Guestus Aurelius November 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for the link to the Panksepp and Panksepp article, Gunboat.

But note the difference in the kind of criticism leveled against EP there and leveled against EP by ideologically compromised “critical theory” types who allow no distinction between explanation and justification when it comes to certain sensitive topics. Here’s a typical (forthcoming) example of the latter: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1628923792

There are legitimate and robust debates over the degree of modularity of the human mind—EP is still a young field, after all. But too many of its ostensibly serious critics irresponsibly jump on the “that’s ____-ist!” bandwagon or lend well-poisoning support to it from the sidelines. That’s a problem. Outsiders are then further emboldened to commit the is/ought fallacy in order to attack scientists they disagree with, and scientists are discouraged from pursuing potentially fruitful but controversial lines of inquiry for fear of backlash. Researchers should be encouraged to explore difficult avenues, and they’re colleagues should help foster a supportive environment in which being controversial doesn’t imply shady motives or intellectual dishonesty.

At comment 295, you said this to Aneris:

The sexual selection evolutionary psychology (EP) arguments don’t help the impression. These are constantly trotted out by many (especially right wing) commentators as a justification for sexism and social status quo. That doesn’t mean EP sexual selection theories don’t have some validity. But so many of the fundamental EP assumptions are under attack now from so many different angles (it’s gene-centrism, functionalism, modularism, computationalism, representationalism) it would be wise to consider the causes of sexual behaviour – along with all the rest of human behaviour – to be very much an open question and to consider other (scientific) viewpoints. I’ll plug “sex at dawn” here again but there’s some terrible science in there too.

Aneris was unambiguously pointing to EP in the service of explanation, not justification. Of course, it’s possible that the research Aneris has in mind is flawed, but your criticism goes beyond that: you seem to be suggesting that because some people whose values you abhor fallaciously point to EP in the service of justification, it would be reasonable to attribute those same values to someone pointing to EP in the service of explanation—someone like Aneris.

And then when Aneris explicitly denies holding those values you abhor, you say (at 322):

Now you have done a little to ameliorate that impression [that Aneris “sounds like angry internet guy who doesn’t give a damn about women’s rights”] but not much. And if you continue to write in the way you’ve been writing that’s the way you’re going to continue to look to me and others. But hey, why bother acknowledging criticism as even being criticism?! Just dismiss it as the machinations of the an out-group. I’m sure your arguments are perfect in their current form and require no modification. Because that’s how true skeptics roll. There’s no similarity here at all with the obtuse attitude on FtB, where all criticism is seen as being malicious or idiotic and one must never retreat from any position, no matter how absurd.

This is reminiscent of McCarthyism. Where has Aneris invoked EP to justify patriarchal structures? Aneris has only invoked it to explain their cross-cultural existence. Your insistence that it’s perfectly reasonable to attribute base motives to Aneris is thus unfounded, and yet you brazenly imply that the onus is on Aneris to “ameliorate that impression.”

At the risk of going Godwin (hell, I’ve already gone McCarthy), I’ll add that this is the same tactic ID proponents like Ben Stein use to criticize evolutionists. Some people, including Nazis and their sympathizers, have fallaciously invoked evolution to justify atrocities, so surely it’s reasonable to impugn the motives of those who invoke evolution to explain phenomena, no?

It’s easy to spot the pernicious illogic at play here.

328 Guestus Aurelius November 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

In the last sentence of my paragraph that begins “There are legitimate and robust debates,” they’re should be their. I will now self-flagellate.

329 Aneris ✻ November 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm

For those interested, Evolutionary Psychology is another part of the “Rifts”. As in other conflicts, the sides aren’t symmetrical. Gunboat Diplomat, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson are notable for their full rejection of the entire field, whereas the people who appear on the “pro” side find the approach valuable but are otherwise also critical of some of the claims that were made under that umbrella.

In “A defense of evolutionary psychology (mostly by Steve Pinker)” Jerry Coyne wrote the following…

Jerry Coyne wrote: I’ve been known for a while as a critic of evolutionary psychology, particularly when it first began as “sociobiology” in the Seventies. […] I now see it as a valuable way of studying the origins of human behavior. […] Sadly, some self-professed skeptics have decided to debunk the entire field of evo-psych, and for reasons that I see not as scientific, but as ideological and political.

Bold added by me.
_whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/a-defense-of-evolutionary-psychology-mostly-by-steve-pinker/

In an older piece, Ed Clint described the views expressed by Rebecca Watson (and apparently echoed by Gunboat Diplomat) as “science denialism”.

Ed Clint wrote: The charge of science denialism is a serious one, and I will support the claim with a preponderance of evidence.

_skepticink.com/incredulous/2012/12/01/science-denialism-at-a-skeptic-conference/

330 Gunboat Diplomat November 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm

@Guestus Auerlius #327

You’re dead right that science should tackle hard subjects and not be limited by what is politically acceptable. The geneticist Steven Oppenheimer made this point in “Out of Eden: The Peopling the World” where he argued for a biological definition of races which had become politically unacceptable but which he felt was hindering research into historical population movements.

At the same time, in ‘The Mismeasure of Man’ Stephen jay Gould argued that science is far from immune to the political and social attitudes and struggles of its time, a point also made by social constructionists and philosophers such as Thomas Kuhn. Gould’s book detailed how the scientific study of intelligence, codified into psychometric tests, were used both as an explanation and justification for the systematic racial oppression in north America. Even today little has changed in that regard.

I think Gould was a bit too hard on psychometric testing which I think has more scientific value than he ascribes to it. However I agree with him that there is not such a Chinese wall between justification and explanation and one influences the other, not just in wider society but within science itself.

I used to generally vote no in referendums in Ireland. Sometimes I’d find myself voting no alongside the religious right. So I’d make damn sure I differentiated myself from them when discussing the referendum with strangers and explained that I was voting no for very different reasons.

On this post, Aneris has hurled quite a bit of invective towards “SJW’s” and “Teh Patriarchy.” Before I challenged him he didn’t really bother to differentiate it from weaker and far more broadly accepted concepts of patriarchy. Even then he treated patriarchy as if it was an historical issue. He also didn’t bother to acknowledge sexism and misogyny in society today until I challenged him, and even then, on a rather peripheral issue. On top of that he trots out EP explanations, which are often used by right wing conservatives as justification for sexism in society.

Now, ask yourself, what might a feminist minded atheist new to these discussions think? Hopefully, by the end of this thread, they might think Aneris gives a bit more of a damn about women’s rights than he might have appeared originally. Then again, they might not, but I don’t think I can be blamed for that.

I need no thanks for this service, but paypal donations would be welcome. Starving students and whatnot.

@aneris #329

Gunboat Diplomat, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson are notable for their full rejection of the entire field.

Sadly I have a busy few weeks ahead so I’m going to have to flounce. Some parting words:

You couldn’t possibly have read and understood what I wrote on EP and come to the above conclusion, so I’m guessing you’re just trying to show me what misrepresentation looks like. Well done, but I got enough of that when I was active on FtB. And thanks for the lesson in what discussing with some of the other side in the rift are like. Between you and Shatterface I’ve learned quite a lot.

331 Blueshift Rhino November 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm

I’m always amused by folks who know about (biological) evolution, but reject evolutionary psychology. Are they dualists or some other kind of non-materialist, or can then just not connect the dots?

Of course there are specific claims within evolutionary psychology that are unsupported and probably motivated by something unpleasant. But the same has occurred within (biological) evolution. Do these folks who use this sort of argument against evolutionary psychology also reject (biological) evolution because of the similar events?

ps. if you honestly believe that biological structures are not at least partly responsible for human behavior, then you are free to reject evolutionary psychology while retaining (biological) evolution without being inconsistent and, therefore, this particular post is not aimed at you; but you already knew this because you read my mind via the collective unconscious or some other woo method … tee hee

332 piero November 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm

If evolutionary psychology is wrong because everything is constructed socially, where did society come from?

333 SocraticGadfly November 23, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Per point 5 on the list, especially, I guess we need an “It’s OK if you’re an SJW” line?

334 A Bear November 23, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Ariel: Are you truly offended by this?

that picture is revolting. When you look at Rebecca Watson her atrocious oral hygiene is overwhelmingly evident. The other “chicks” in the picture aren’t smiling, they’re grimacing at her repulsive appearance and are disgusted by her atrocious breath. MEOW BECKY!

In context, that remark about Watson’s oral hygiene was written to mirror a nasty remark Watson made about Dr. Harriet Hall and her presumed bad hygiene. It was a parody about how vile and catty ( hence the meow) Watson had been to Dr. Hall.
Does Watson have this on her wall of hate? If so it is odd that she is so lacking in self awareness to not notice that it was basically her own statement, except about teeth and not T-shirts, and directed at her and not Dr. Hall.

335 Guestus Aurelius November 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Gunboat, I know you’re flouncing, but much of what you wrote deserves comment.

I think Gould was a bit too hard on psychometric testing which I think has more scientific value than he ascribes to it. However I agree with him that there is not such a Chinese wall between justification and explanation and one influences the other, not just in wider society but within science itself.

Of course justification and explanation can influence one another. I didn’t deny that. What I questioned was your insistence that it’s reasonable to reflexively ascribe to “explainers” the motives of “justifiers.” I pointed to the example of creationists doing the same thing to evolutionists. I noticed that you didn’t engage with that analogue.

I used to generally vote no in referendums in Ireland. Sometimes I’d find myself voting no alongside the religious right. So I’d make damn sure I differentiated myself from them when discussing the referendum with strangers and explained that I was voting no for very different reasons.

So I guess that since you unnecessarily kowtow to the reflexive douchebaggery of irrational ideologues, everyone else should, too?

On this post, Aneris has hurled quite a bit of invective towards “SJW’s” and “Teh Patriarchy.” Before I challenged him he didn’t really bother to differentiate it from weaker and far more broadly accepted concepts of patriarchy.

Really? I just looked at Aneris’s very first comment on this thread (160), and found this quote: “Teh Patriarchy™ should not be confused with a patriarchy, which is a social system that assigns leadership roles to men and which was dominant in many societies around the globe.”

Before I challenged him he didn’t really bother to differentiate it from weaker and far more broadly accepted concepts of patriarchy. Even then he treated patriarchy as if it was an historical issue.

The only “evidence” I see for that uncharitable inference is that Aneris, whose first language isn’t English, wrote that patriarchy “was dominant in many societies around the globe” (emphasis added).

Of course, saying that something “was dominant” doesn’t mean that it no longer exists or even that it isn’t still dominant in some places.

But in any case, I get the sense that you’re mainly basing your uncharitable inference on Aneris’s subsequent attempt to explain why human societies have tended to be patriarchal. An account of how things came to be is necessarily in the past tense. If you’re implying that something nefarious is afoot because Aneris’s comments were confined to the past, then I’d say that your implication is symptomatic of an off-putting tendency to play mind reader. Would you accuse an author of indifference for not addressing present-day racism in a book about the origins of slavery? Perhaps you would, but the truth is that staying focused isn’t a sign of bigotry.

He also didn’t bother to acknowledge sexism and misogyny in society today until I challenged him, and even then, on a rather peripheral issue.

But present-day sexism per se wasn’t the topic of Aneris’s comments. Aneris’s original topic was a specific blogger’s rhetorical tactics. In response to you, Aneris switched topics to the origins of patriarchy.

Not addressing Topic A while discussing related but different Topic B does not imply a position on Topic A.

On top of that he trots out EP explanations, which are often used by right wing conservatives as justification for sexism in society.

I’ve already explained why this is wrongheaded, so I’ll just reiterate: this is wrongheaded.

Now, ask yourself, what might a feminist minded atheist new to these discussions think? Hopefully, by the end of this thread, they might think Aneris gives a bit more of a damn about women’s rights than he might have appeared originally. Then again, they might not, but I don’t think I can be blamed for that.

You’re a real mensch.

336 Aneris ✻ November 23, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Sorry, Gunboat Diplomat but you aren’t getting away with your BS.

Gunboat Diplomat wrote:

Me: Gunboat Diplomat, PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson are notable for their full rejection of the entire field.

GB (330): You couldn’t possibly have read and understood what I wrote on EP and come to the above conclusion, so I’m guessing you’re just trying to show me what misrepresentation looks like.

You wrote previously…

Gunboat Diplomat wrote (295): The sexual selection evolutionary psychology (EP) arguments don’t help the impression. These are constantly trotted out by many (especially right wing) commentators as a justification for sexism and social status quo. That doesn’t mean EP sexual selection theories don’t have some validity. But so many of the fundamental EP assumptions are under attack now from so many different angles (it’s gene-centrism, functionalism, modularism, computationalism, representationalism) […]

Bold by me. In particular “but so many of the fundamental EP assumptions are under attack now” (Gunboat Diplomat) sounded like a strong rejection of the field. Or are you about to move the goal post around further, until nobody can locate anymore on what grounds you made your severe accusations towards me?

The charge holds that your whole kerfuffle here are to quote Jerry Coyne “for reasons that I see not as scientific, but as ideological and political”.

337 Guestus Aurelius November 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

(This was automatically put in moderation the first time I tried to post it, so I changed a word that contained within it what I think is a banned word. Hopefully this goes through now. And sorry for the double post, MN — perhaps you could delete my first attempt.)

Gunboat, I know you’re flouncing, but much of what you wrote deserves comment.

I think Gould was a bit too hard on psychometric testing which I think has more scientific value than he ascribes to it. However I agree with him that there is not such a Chinese wall between justification and explanation and one influences the other, not just in wider society but within science itself.

Of course justification and explanation can influence one another. I didn’t deny that. What I questioned was your insistence that it’s reasonable to reflexively ascribe to “explainers” the motives of “justifiers.” I pointed to the example of creationists doing the same thing to evolutionists. I noticed that you didn’t engage with that analogue.

I used to generally vote no in referendums in Ireland. Sometimes I’d find myself voting no alongside the religious right. So I’d make damn sure I differentiated myself from them when discussing the referendum with strangers and explained that I was voting no for very different reasons.

So I guess that since you unnecessarily kowtow to the reflexive douchebaggery of irrational ideologues, everyone else should, too?

On this post, Aneris has hurled quite a bit of invective towards “SJW’s” and “Teh Patriarchy.” Before I challenged him he didn’t really bother to differentiate it from weaker and far more broadly accepted concepts of patriarchy.

Really? I just looked at Aneris’s very first comment on this thread (160), and found this quote: “Teh Patriarchy™ should not be confused with a patriarchy, which is a social system that assigns leadership roles to men and which was dominant in many societies around the globe.”

Before I challenged him he didn’t really bother to differentiate it from weaker and far more broadly accepted concepts of patriarchy. Even then he treated patriarchy as if it was an historical issue.

The only “evidence” I see for that uncharitable inference is that Aneris, whose first language isn’t English, wrote that patriarchy “was dominant in many societies around the globe” (emphasis added).

Of course, saying that something “was dominant” doesn’t mean that it no longer exists or even that it isn’t still dominant in some places.

But in any case, I get the sense that you’re mainly basing your uncharitable inference on Aneris’s subsequent attempt to explain why human societies have tended to be patriarchal. An account of how things came to be is necessarily in the past tense. If your implication is that something nefarious is afoot because Aneris’s comments were confined to the past, then I’d say that your implication is symptomatic of an off-putting tendency to play mind reader. Would you accuse an author of indifference for not addressing present-day racism in a book about the origins of slavery? Perhaps you would, but the truth is that staying focused isn’t a sign of bigotry.

He also didn’t bother to acknowledge sexism and misogyny in society today until I challenged him, and even then, on a rather peripheral issue.

But present-day sexism per se wasn’t the topic of Aneris’s comments. Aneris’s original topic was a specific blogger’s rhetorical tactics. In response to you, Aneris switched topics to the origins of patriarchy.

Not addressing Topic A while discussing related but different Topic B does not imply a position on Topic A.

On top of that he trots out EP explanations, which are often used by right wing conservatives as justification for sexism in society.

I’ve already explained why this is wrongheaded, so I’ll just reiterate: this is wrongheaded.

Now, ask yourself, what might a feminist minded atheist new to these discussions think? Hopefully, by the end of this thread, they might think Aneris gives a bit more of a damn about women’s rights than he might have appeared originally. Then again, they might not, but I don’t think I can be blamed for that.

You’re a real mensch.

338 Aneris ✻ November 24, 2014 at 12:12 am

Thank you Guestus Aurelius. My past-tense was about an attempt explanation why patriarchies arouse. That such systems were domimant in the past seems clear and uncontroversial, it’s not that clear today. It’s rather eccentric to see our today’s society as the same with one were, e.g. “Wife Selling” was a practice. Abrahamitc religions are also, sadly, still around and the practice of “Purity Balls” is even a more recent trend in the USA. So you can only stretch the “was” so far without ignoring the substance.

I can only assume Gunboat Diplomat pulled his strong BS because I am not subscribing fully Teh Patriarchy that permeates space-time, which I ridiculed as a conspircay theory. That is a apparently a heretical position for this dogmatist.

339 franc November 24, 2014 at 2:08 am

Keep on calling it Michael, I applaud you. You should take a look at Myers’ most repugnant habit – doxxing. I equate it to terrorism because it is – applied fear to silence dissent. Noxious idiot attempted to doxx me with zero corroborating evidence based on gossip from Australian atheist celebrity atheist blow hard Chrys Stevenson. Hit some rural retirees and a small business owner instead. Does he or she care? No. Not one bit.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/?s=ivanoff

340 Dave Allen November 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I can’t see that there is anything sensible to be gained from drawing equivalences between Gunboat Diplomat and PZ/Rebecca.

GD has a fairly solid notion of what he is talking about – they do not. He’s illustrating some challenges for the field – they simply deal in tired canards.

I think he somewhat overstates those challenges. However, if he is doing so in the spirit of countering claims about the field which are in their own way overstatements, then I don’t necessarily see that as foul play.

Regarding some of the things he has said:

The sexual selection evolutionary psychology (EP) arguments don’t help the impression. These are constantly trotted out by many (especially right wing) commentators as a justification for sexism and social status quo.

I wouldn’t take issue – save perhaps to say that the sex difference stuff talked about between serious proponents of EP does tend to be couched in caveat and context that such commentators routinely strip.

And such subjects aren’t just controversial within EP because of their political charge, but often because they are more plastic to cultural and individual experience than other phenomena.

That said, the notion that men may prefer younger wives in comparison to women preferring younger husbands – in gestalt – may well have both innate, cultural and individual components.

As far as I see it, none of that is any challenge to those EP studies that go on to examine the evidence for the innate component – provided they themselves admit it isn’t the full story.

That doesn’t mean EP sexual selection theories don’t have some validity. But so many of the fundamental EP assumptions are under attack now from so many different angles (it’s gene-centrism, functionalism, modularism, computationalism, representationalism) it would be wise to consider the causes of sexual behaviour – along with all the rest of human behaviour – to be very much an open question and to consider other (scientific) viewpoints. I’ll plug “sex at dawn” here again but there’s some terrible science in there too.

Certainly nothing wrong with that – provided we acknowledge that the quality of these attacks, and their pertinence to genuine EP (as opposed to tabloid stuff), is often highly variable. A lot of them are little more than canards repeated in the face of counter-objection.

Well David Buss seems to argue that Evolutionary Psychology is a radical new scientific theoretical viewpoint but I don’t really see it as all that different from sociobiology. I’d certainly be a lot more interested in it if it produced anything like the evolutionary explanations developmental psychologists like Michael Tomasello produce. Or if it engaged with the actual radical new theoretical perspectives such as those presented by embodied cognition, the extended mind hypothesis of Andy Clark or those of ecological psychology, dynamical systems theory – the list goes on.

Given that EP does in some sense take a lead from cognitive psychology, anthropology and evolutionary biology, then it may often have to play catch-up. However, more often it is merely perceived as having to do so.

Given that bodies of solid work exist in such fields unless they illustrate genuinely revolutionary discoveries does the bleeding edge discovery really trouble EP?

For example I’ve known a few Biologists criticse EP on the grounds that pleiotropy or epigenetics aren’t often explicitly referred to. This is seen as an example of EP’s adaptationalist bias.

But I don’t think so. Why? Because genetic drift and spandrels have been acknowledged since the start of EP.

So just because we know of more types of evolutionary change now, does this necessarily mean that EPers were failing to consider un-adaptive change previously? Generally I think no.

Your citing of embodied cognition as a challenge to modularity strikes me as similar. It only seems to me to challenge the sort of “everything-is-modular” strawman who doesn’t exist outside of Fodorian thought experiment.

Does embodied cognition challenge a given modular concept that has solid support – such as the Face-Recognition Module?

If not then I don’t see it as a challenge in a serious sense – because most modular advocacy allows for degrees of exception.

(And is embodied cognition really new? Didn’t James have similar notions right back at the genesis of psychology?)

Even the terms of the so-called nature vs. nurture debate is now considered absurd.

As the psychologist Vaughan Bell wrote:

Nature versus nurture is a lie. Music is not melody versus rhythm, wine is not grapes versus alcohol and we are not environment versus genes. We are their sum, their product and their expression. They dance together and we are their performance, but neither is an adversary.

So there is straw-manning going on, but its not from the scientific opponents of EP on this issue.

Right, and the only thing that this misses is that most serious EP Proponents would be in full agreement.

However, I believe GD’s take home message is that in terms of social trends EP alone is never an answer – cultural and individual differences will always have a part to play.

They just don’t “trump” EP without a convincing argument – which is the core mistake of PZ/Rebecca.

But it doesn’t “trump” them without a serious argument either.

341 Aneris ✻ November 26, 2014 at 7:07 pm

There must be something in the air. Jerry Coyne, by pure coincidence, has written more on Evolutionary Psychology and it’s ideological opponents.

This is not to justify any sex differences in behavior as “right” or “moral.” That is the naturalistic fallacy. But the left-wing opposition to evolutionary psychology as a valid discipline in principle, especially when it involves differences in sexual behavior, seems to me based more on ideology than on biology. Ideologues cannot allow any possibility that males and females behave differently because of their evolution. Such people think that this would buttress the view that one sex would be “better” than the other.

Evolutionary psychology, sexual dimorphism, and ideology

Feels a bit like an airstrike on a certain gunboat :)

342 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 27, 2014 at 6:35 am

@ Michael Nugent

Some people would consider all of the following behaviours to be sexist….

1. 1 PZ, while being introduced at a conference, told the host to do her belly dance, then told her to get off ‘his’ stage as he has work to do. He then said he was a warm-up for Rebecca Watson, who was going to come on and look spectacular.

At most, you could be ungenerous and say he was being pompous, … selfish even. (Did he really use the term ‘his’ to refer to himself? That would be weird.) But then he gets all self-deprecating towards the next woman on stage, Rebbecca Watson. Odd kind of “sexist” behaviour.

1.2 He later told an audience volunteer that if she won a poker game, he would have to submit and have sex with her. After she won, he told her not to worry, they would do the sex thing later.

OK, no talk about sexual differences, no humour while talking about sex, no attempt to engage an audience? If I have a discussion with colleagues, or students, about waste management I am suddenly scatological?

[2.1] PZ has several times written about and linked to pornography involving women and octopuses described as ‘hentai tentacle rape’.

That is a translation of ‘shokushu goukan’. It pertains to pure fantasy and is a misnomer (or are you going to redefine the term “rape” to beat PZ on the head with?). No-one has ever been raped by an octopus. If you know otherwise, please provide citations.

If an obscure Japanese art reference to the act of masturbation translates as “self rape”, would you dig equally low to make the same specious argument?

2.2 In one post, PZ wrote: “I know some people will be aghast at the exposed mammalian flesh and weird exploitation of women… but it’s got tentacles everywhere, and molluscs…”

So what? Porn is not implicitly “weird exploitation of women”. Why is fantasy “tentacle porn” any different? Neither PZ, nor you, are qualified to make the call. Are tentacle dildos bad, or exploitative, or sexist? What about tentacle dildo porn? What about full-size inflatable rubber octopus sex-toy porn? You simply have an axe to grind, Michael.

2.3 In another post, he wrote: “Although nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel, I’m afraid. Mmmm, Aplysia, if you weren’t so cold, I’d… ahem.”

“There is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about a firm, young carrot“, for that penis feel!

If PZ likes to play with his food, so what?

3. PZ has written about a dream in which he flooded his classroom with saltwater and turned all of his students into mermaids “and we… well, you don’t need to know.”

Swam around? Cavorted? Played water polo? Gained a deeper understanding of what it is to be a zebrafish?

What are you actually telling us about yourself, Michael Nugent?

343 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

Part deux:

4. PZ, in one of his Google Hangouts, publicly joked about rape. The participants were discussing a campaign to get advertisers like Dove to protest to Facebook about sexist content beside their ads. A participant joked: “It’s like ‘Dove – we’re pro-rape’!” and PZ added: “You know, after a rape, you want to wash yourself up, and clean up…”

There is a difference between endorsing (as you seem to be implying) and mocking. You would have to be flat out lying to me to tell me you honestly believe PZ ,or the other participant, endorses or trivialises rape.

They are mocking Dove for allowing their products to advertised together with sexist content. Dove are making their own brand look ridiculous by bundling it together with sexist content.

You rub shoulders with the likes of Thunderf00t, on your blog. You should realise how bad this makes you look. You are endorsed by Vox Day. You should realise how bad this makes you look.

Then again, perhaps you don’t realise it yet. In which case: “I fart in your general direction!”

5. PZ has endorsed a pornographic book that includes rape fantasies… that that [sic] the word “tentacle” only appears once in the book.

The inimitable Avicenna has already written an excellent rebuttal to the argument that this is “sexist”, or endorsing of rape. For now, I shall not add to his post but instead provide the link here: Rape Fantasies and Consent Explained

6. PZ … prevented an investigation into a threatened false allegation of rape against himself.

Woah, Michael! Stop digging and see what you are saying here. You say PZ has obstructed justice (assuming for a moment that one is bound to investigate “threatened false allegations”). By my lights that is a serious matter. Yet you blow it off. I would condemn PZ if he ever actually did such, yet you tell me you are “not condemning PZ for any of this behaviour”. As far as I can see, he has not obstructed justice by his leniency.

You make the accusation that: “Some people would consider all of the following behaviours to be sexist.” Which people Michael? Yourself? Who then? Stop with the weasel talk. Name someone who honestly feels this way.

344 Minnow November 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

“You would have to be flat out lying to me to tell me you honestly believe PZ ,or the other participant, endorses or trivialises rape.”

Endorsing no, but trivialising obviously yes. Do you think he would have made that joke in front of someone he knew to be a rape victim?

345 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

@ Minnow

Should we ever raise the issue of rape in front of a rape victim? Should we ever challenge the problems of corporate entities, such as Dove, apparently endorsing sexist propoganda by allowing their advertising to be associated with such? If it feeds into rape culture?

Do you imagine a victim of sexism, or rape, being more offended by Dove’s tacit approval of sexist messages, or by the people seeking to end such tacit approval?

Personally, I imagine it is better for Dove to condemn such sexism and threaten to withdraw their support otherwise. This may require public mockery of Dove’s current, complacent, stance.

346 Minnow November 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

“Should we ever raise the issue of rape in front of a rape victim? ”

Yes, but we shouldn’t make trivialising jokes about it. In fact, we shouldn’t make jokes about rape in public spaces just in case someone present is a rape victim. It is not so unlikely. For all Myers knew he was talking to rape victims when he made his sniggering remarks. I don’t see why this minimal level of sensitivity that should be a such a hardship.

347 Minnow November 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

“Why is fantasy “tentacle porn” any different? Neither PZ, nor you, are qualified to make the call.”

It is not so much a question as to whether this kind of porn is ‘wrong’ but whether a science educator should publicly describe his pleasure in sexual fantasies about raping women. It is easy to see how this sort of behaviour from male teachers makes the sciences seem less welcoming to women.

348 Matt Cavanaugh November 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm

@ Gunboat 322 — I have numerous examples of PZ Myers strawmanning EP, and of him claiming that virtually no human behavior is innate, no sex dimorphism in behavior exists, etc. I shall present these in an upcoming blog post.

349 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 28, 2014 at 4:11 am

@ Minnow

Yes, but we shouldn’t make trivialising jokes about it. In fact, we shouldn’t make jokes about rape in public spaces just in case someone present is a rape victim.

He was outright mocking Dove. What do you think the consequences of associating your product with rape would be? What do you think a rapist would use soap for?

Let the president of South Africa (J_____) answer that for you. He recommends washing yourself after rape, in order to prevent you from getting AIDS. And no, as much as this sounds like a joke made in bad taste, it is all too true. In SA, people call him “Showerhead” for this reason.

I don’t see why this minimal level of sensitivity that should be a such a hardship.

Would you rather everyone just remain silent about rape culture? Of course there are people who were raped, or suffered from the effects of rape, who might follow a “discussion about a campaign to get advertisers to protest to Facebook about sexist and harassing and violent content” [my emphasis]. In such a discussion, do you find it inappropriate to mock such sexism, harassment and violence? The context and content of the discussion was not vague.

Yes, a title page at the beginning might be good. “TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion about a campaign to get advertisers to protest to Facebook about sexist and harassing and violent content.

What more would you suggest?

a science educator should publicly describe his pleasure in sexual fantasies about raping women.

No-one has ever been raped by an octopus. If you know otherwise, please provide citations. PZ is a sex-positive person. This is a good trait in a person who’s job it is to teach about evolutionary biology. It all revolves about sex! Don’t want to talk frankly about sex? Don’t study biology.

It is easy to see how this sort of behaviour from male teachers makes the sciences seem less welcoming to women.

No it is not easy to see – without first assuming that the hypothetical student is squicked out by sex, and all that it entails. A science educator, such as PZ, can have a detailed discussion of rape, and rape fantasies, yet still be highly condemnatory of actual rape. This is a necessary part of their job.

350 Gunboat Diplomat November 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

@Matt Cavanaugh #348

To repeat:

Seeing as you think “EP opponents frequently deny that any human behaviour is evolved and innate”, perhaps you could provide some links to recent peer reviewed articles where cognitive psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists or cognitive scientists make this argument. Or seeing as you think PZ Myers holds this position perhaps you could link an article where he makes this argument?

You don’t need to have a blog post for this, just go ahead and post a couple of links. After all if its frequent you should have no trouble with this.

351 Minnow November 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

“He was outright mocking Dove. What do you think the consequences of associating your product with rape would be? What do you think a rapist would use soap for?2

That may have been his intention, but intent isn’t magic and what he actually did was make a trivialising joke about rape. As I said, I think it very unlikely that he would have made the joke to a rape victim that he knew to be a rape victim. Why? Because it would have been cruel and insensitive. That isn’t all right and he ought to know that.

“Would you rather everyone just remain silent about rape culture?”

No, but I don’t think making trivialising jokes about rape does anything to address rape culture, in fact I think they endorse and perpetuate rape culture and I think that should be obvious.

“No-one has ever been raped by an octopus. ”

Fantasising about women being raped whether it is by an octopus or anything else seems to me to be an inappropriate thing for an educator of women to do in public. Of course Myers has written about his enjoyment of more traditional rape fantasies too. I think it is obvious that that sort of thing is off putting to some women, they don’t look for it from their professors, it creates an environment where many women feel unwelcome.

“It all revolves about sex! Don’t want to talk frankly about sex? Don’t study biology.”

Talking frankly about sex and talking frankly about how much you enjoy the fantasy of raping young women are different things. That ought to be obvious.

“No it is not easy to see – without first assuming that the hypothetical student is squicked out by sex,”

No, a woman need not be squeamish about sex to find a male tutor publicly fantasising about rape off putting. The idea that women objecting to pornography, rape culture or sexual objectification mean they are just uptight or not sexy enough is a big part of the problem that women have traditionally faced in acedemia and the professions. It is surprising to find that people like you will still defend that sort of old school sexism.

352 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) November 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm

@ Minnow

You are fishing now.

Octopuses have never, nor can ever, rape any human. If you have anything else than this, I would like to see some citations. If you are party to information that I am not, be sociable – share.

I cannot read your mind. If you merely want to state your opinion here, that is your perogative. If you wish to make substantive claims, please provide substansive evidence.

353 Minnow November 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

“Octopuses have never, nor can ever, rape any human”

I don’t know if they have, but they certainly could. But that isn’t my point. My point is that fantasising about young women being raped by octopuses is the sort of thing that young women might find off putting in male teachers. Imagine, for example, if a teacher were to wear a shirt depicting octopus rape in his classroom. I think you would see the objection there?

Of course, Myers has also described his sexual excitement at imaging women being raped by men in the usual way. He is entitle to, of course, but he ought to consider the effect that it has on others, how it contributes to the rape culture that many women find intimidating, perhaps especially in the STEM subjects.

354 Kristine December 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Wait a sec. I DO belly dance. PZ knows that. A good part of the atheist community knows it.

Whatever he thinks of it, it is actually work. It is Raqs al Sharqi, a folk dance for literally millions of people. The cabaret version, which is what people think of when they hear “belly dance,” is a highly specialized dance in which part of the body are isolated – quite difficult. Both men and women do it, and it is not a hoochy-mama dance nor a come-on. For the record, I also studied ballet and jazz dance, and yes, “belly dance” also requires study. In the United States, it actually incorporates a good deal of Russian ballet.

I don’t want to make a lot of that comment, but it seems pretty culturally insensitive.

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