Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sign if you're stupid

Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-leaders-of-atheist-skeptical-and-secular-groups-support-feminism-and-diversity-in-the-secular-community

Petition title: The Leaders of Atheist, Skeptical and Secular Groups: Support Feminism and Diversity in the Secular Community

Petition text:

To:
Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-presidents, Freedom from Religion Foundation
Ronald Lindsay, President, Center for Inquiry
Rebecca Hale, President, American Humanist Association
David Silverman, President, American Atheists
David Niose, President, Secular Coalition for America
August Brunsman, Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance
D.J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation
Elisabeth Cornwell, Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We've chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who've...
We, the undersigned, are atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers who value free speech and rational thought and who seek to build a strong, thriving movement that can advocate effectively for these values. We've chosen to put our names to this petition because we want to respond to a video created by a blogger calling himself Thunderfoot. In this video, Thunderfoot attacks named individuals who've been active in promoting diversity and fighting sexism and harassment in our movement. He describes these people as "whiners" and "ultra-PC professional victims" who are "dripp[ing] poison" into the secular community, and urges conference organizers to shun and ignore them.

We hold this and similar complaints from other individuals to be seriously misguided, false in their particulars and harmful to the atheist community as a whole, and we want to set the record straight. We wish to clarify that Thunderfoot and those like him don't speak for us or represent us, and to state our unequivocal support for the following goals:

* We support making the atheist movement more diverse and inclusive. It's long been clear that the skeptical movement has a preponderance of white men. While we don't disdain their participation, we believe skepticism is valuable and important to people in all walks of life, and in accordance with that principle, we consider it vital to have a movement that reflects the demographics of the society we live in. If our community continues to be dominated by white men, it will become increasingly out-of-touch and irrelevant as Western society becomes increasingly multiracial and multicultural and as non-Western countries gain economic and cultural power.
Yes, we should have organizations that don't ban Salman Rushdie, Sanal Edamaruku, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Oh wait, Adam Lee, you're the person that doesn't like Ayaan...

To that end, we urge the atheist and skeptical organizations to make a conscious commitment to diversity: to intentionally reach out to people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds to speak at our conventions, to serve on our boards of directors, and to be the public faces and representatives of skepticism. We believe that there are talented, dedicated and eminently qualified people of every gender and every race, and that seeking them out will strengthen our movement and broaden its appeal.
 Funny how Michael Shermer's SKEPTIC magazine has a section dedicated just for youth.

Why does Adam not think about that?

Adam doesn't like Michael Shermer, and more importantly the signatories of the petition believe that section was for adults.

* We support strong, sensible anti-harassment policies at our gatherings. There have been too many instances of people at atheist conferences reporting bad behavior and unwelcome conduct by fellow attendees. When it's repetitive or especially egregious, this unwelcome conduct may rise to the level of harassment, defined as behavior intended to demean, threaten or intimidate others. We hold that preventing harassment is a legitimate and obvious goal for conference organizers, and that this can be done through the implementation of fairly simple and well-tested conduct policies.
"We support strong, sensible anti-harassment policies at our gatherings." -> But not in public life in general?

"and that this can be done through the implementation of fairly simple and well-tested conduct policies." -> such as? 'NO ALCOHOL'? 'NO TOUCHING'?

We want to encourage robust debate over opinions and beliefs, as a good rational community should, and we believe that the wide adoption of anti-harassment policies advances this goal by fostering a rational atmosphere of civility and respect, where all people can express their opinions freely and feel comfortable in doing so. We applaud the conferences and organizations that have already created model policies in this regard, and we urge others to do likewise.
"We want to encourage robust debate over opinions and beliefs" - how does that happen if the opinions are against policy?

* We support the people in our community who've been the target of bullying, harassment and threats. Outside the conference environment, there are prominent members of the atheist community (including most of the people named in Thunderfoot's video) who've been subjected to a vicious and persistent campaign of online harassment, including obsessive streams of slurs and invective, threatening messages, sexually-tinged taunting, and malicious impersonation on social media, all carried out with the goal of bullying them into silence. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of the people who've been harassed in this way, and forcefully and unequivocally condemn those who've carried out the harassment. Unless they change their ways and make amends, they have no place within the movement.

"Unless they change their ways and make amends, they have no place within the movement." -> Please, kick out the people I don't like! Please oh please!

To put a stop to this bad behavior once and for all, we need to change the culture of the atheist movement so that sexism isn't condoned or defended, just as racism and homophobia aren't condoned or defended. We're grateful to the leaders of the movement who've spoken out against harassment, and we encourage all atheists and skeptics, regardless of their influence or prominence, to do likewise.
Sincerely,
[Your name]
"we need to change the culture of the atheist movement so that sexism isn't condoned or defended, just as racism and homophobia aren't condoned or defended." -> In this sentence, it is admitted the petition isn't about ethnic diversity or ageism at all, but rather almost completely about what they believe are sexist insults.

What was the working title of this petition? "GOD, PROTECT US FROM THUNDERFOOT"?

Here are some who have signed the petition:

EllenBeth Wachs LAKELAND, FL  
 As the President of a Humanist organization and a feminist that has been on the receiving end of a sustained campaign of vicious harassment simply because I had the audacity to speak up, it is imperative that we stand as a community against this behavior.
EBW - great when she's directing her cannons at the local county sheriff, not great when she's playing the victim against everybody within the community.

Ophelia Benson SEATTLE, WA
Because I consider myself a longstanding member of the community of atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers, and I want to be able to continue so to consider myself. Because I don't want to see any more women driven away. Because I'm one of the targets of bullying, harassment and threats, and I do not enjoy it, and I know the other targets do not enjoy it either.
Ophelia Benson is on board with anything that might take Shermer out.
Ian Cromwell VANCOUVER, CANADA
The idea that atheism specifically must not make the changes and accommodations of underrepresented groups that EVERY OTHER COMMUNITY IN THE WORLD is making is, frankly, ridiculous. The only people who would be opposed to making improvements are people who believe that this community is perfect (i.e., people who have a 'just friends' relationship with reality)

What is "EVERY OTHER COMMUNITY IN THE WORLD"? Hmmm? What changes are being made? Are tech conventions now full of women? Is the NRA full of black people? Is NOW going to be run by males? Are the Fortune 500 CEOs all women now?
Ronja Addams-Moring HELSINKI, FINLAND
I am an atheist woman, I have two atheist daughters, one of our closest relatives is an atheist lesbian, and our family + a large part of the extended family are language minority atheists. This is directly about us: are we a part of this community or not?
Obviously not. You're from Finland. Finns don't have souls.
Ed Brayton BELDING, MI
I support this petition because the entire atheist/secular community needs to stand up and condemn these vile attacks on those trying to bring attention to a real problem. There is a serious conversation to be had on how to best increase diversity in our communities, but that conversation cannot take place with those who scream "witch hunt" and "atheist cult" and "you all just hate men" and other hyperbolic nonsense at those who are trying to affect change. Still less can it be had with those who deride those women who have rightly spoken out on this issue as "bitches" or "professional victims." And it certainly can't be had by those who think the right response is to publish the addresses of those women, or who send rape and death threats to them. It's time that we all took a strong stand against such behavior in our communities.

"I'm Ed Brayton. I own FreeThoughtBlogs, and I support this message."

Then " And it certainly can't be had by those who think the right response is to publish the addresses of those women, or who send rape and death threats to them. It's time that we all took a strong stand against such behavior in our communities."

Yes, this is about taking a stand against rape threats. Tell me again, just who is pro-rape?

Sasha Pixlee OAKLAND, CA
Anti-feminism and anti-diversity movements are about hate. Aside from the strong correlation between religiosity and these opinions, any movements or organization *must* repudiate hate in order to have any moral authority or validity.

"What do we hate?" "Hatred!" "Who do we hate? "Thunderf00t!"

Paul Durrant NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM
Because I want it to be clear that Thunderf00t doesn't speak for me.

Yeah, let's organize ourselves around the idea that some guy on YouTube doesn't speak for a particular Mr Durrant in Norwich.

Jonathan McDowell SOMERVILLE, MA
The secular community should be LEADING the effort to ending sexual harrassment in our society, instead we are behind the curve and we need to fix that right away 

Jonathan, just a compass check here - is being asked for coffee sexual harassment? Thanks.

Beth Copenhaver JOHNS CREEK, GA
My interest and enthusiasm for participating in the skeptics and atheist communities has been chilled by the blatant sexism and ongoing attacks against women in these organizations. It is hard for me to understand how this has continued for so long.

Oh yes, oh my, when will the arranged marriages, dowries, and rapes in the secular community end?

Brian Murtagh SUMMERVILLE, SC
It is frankly absurd that this even needs to be said but plainly it does; we white heterosexual males are not the totality of the atheist movement, we aren't even an especially important part of it. We are all in this together, and any person or portion that privileges a part of our movement over the whole does us all a disservice. 

Wait, does this mean I can't wear my white hood to the next atheist meetup? I was so looking forward to that.

Who is the white knight in shining armour behind this?

https://twitter.com/DaylightAtheism/status/289889166907564033 
@DaylightAtheism 11 Jan         
@LadyAlissa All I'm really asking is for us all to treat others with basic courtesy and respect. If that makes enemies for me, so be it.
Don't worry, madam! Adam Lee will protect you from the racist misogynists!  

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