Thursday, January 31, 2013

An AtheismPlus Axe to Grind

Thread: PZ: if Soc&Pol are off agenda "well then, fuck skepticism"

Contained: a bunch of discussion about how it's high time to take down those evil libertarians.

Setar writes:

It would be a good thing, but of course, while it's okay to just ignore all the harassment thrown at the leftists, we can't even consider turning a reality-based spotlight on the libertarians. That's a purge. It's always the right-wingers who have to get a pass on their horrible beliefs. Always.
Seriously, fuck that noise. Someone needs to go after Shermer and the libertarians publicly. Otherwise, skepticism is nothing but a bunch of ivory-tower-dwelling privilege defenders =/

An interesting phrase: "someone needs to go after Shermer" - if a similar wording were found elsewhere, AtheismPlus would have an endless discussion about the "threat".

By the way, on what subject do you intend to school "Shermer and the libertarians"?

User HugoRune adds:

Surely you can listen to what other people have to say and then form your own opinion. Just because you admire someone it doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything they say.  
Why should we only discuss subjects that everyone agrees on? Skepticism is not a religion and we should not expect to have opinions dictated to us from authority figures. 

Yes, I agree completely. Being told what you can and can't say is retarded (sorry, ablelist language)

It will be a dark day when our friend HugoRune finds out Atheism+ moderates out anything approaching gender studies/evo psych/anything 'unsafe'.

Mr Samsa writes:

Skepticism isn't, and shouldn't be, tied only to that which can be scientifically or objectively demonstrated. It's obviously and necessarily true that it's impossible to provide an evidence-based argument against slavery, but it is also true that it's possible to make rational arguments against it. Just because a topic can't be touched by science doesn't mean it's irrelevant or useless, that's scientism at it's finest (which is in itself a concept that skeptics should actively work against).

Apparently there are loads of 'rational' arguments to be made that have no basis in facts. I'm wondering what those are.

Richard_Austin adds:
Deciding that we should tolerate discrimination or oppression simply to avoid conflict is harmful

That's funny, because nobody has made the argument that we should tolerate discrimination or oppression. Nobody said we needed focus merely to "avoid conflict" as a goal. Novella did not make that argument.

Who are these people arguing with?

Women In Secularism: Jillian Becker

 In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.

Today's Woman in Secularism: Jillian Becker

She maintains
"If leftists’ do-goodery does painful harm, they do not see it as a reason to abandon a theory that makes them feel good for believing in it."

Skepchicks want to lower age of consent

Something happened in an episode of "Glee", and since we're such philosophers it's going to determine what secular bloggers are talking about.

Turns out that some Skepchicks think Glee supports 'rape culture'. Other Skepchicks think statutory rape is one big joke. (Crossposted here)

Following that logic, the majority of times I’ve had sex, I was being raped. I’m 18 and I became sexually active when I was 14, two of my partners were over 18 while I was a minor. However, I’ve never been the victim of sexual assault and not a single one of those encounters was rape. This is just one example, but there are probably a substantial number of young people who engage in completely consensual sex with their peers, give or take a few years.

From the comments:
I hadn't really considered that end of it, but yeah, it's definitely insulting to rape survivors to have completely consensual sex labelled as ‘rape’ when there are true victims out there.

And then Elyse chimes in to clarify her disagreement with the show:
The issue isn’t about whatever age the consent laws state. It’s that the writers made it a point to determine that she wasn’t able to consent. They set that up. Then immediately turned around and had her “consenting”. It’s the show blurring the lines of what is okay and not okay.
I’m not giving absolute moral authority to local bureaucrats. I’m calling out the creators of a story for the way they use that story to trivialize consent. Is establishing ability consent important to their characters? Apparently yes, because they went through the trouble to ask. But that consent also doesn’t matter because regardless of their characters’ established inability to consent, they’re writing them having “consenting” sex. 

Wow. It's as if a modern drama has created an episode outlining how the law doesn't accurately describe what is always right and always wrong in human relationships. Perhaps we could burn some neurons imaging a scenario wherein someone is obviously breaking the law, but any rational human being would recognize that the criminal justice system would be applying an especially blunt instrument. And perhaps the show could be describing a specific situation that a great percentage of the population have experienced themselves.

It's interesting to see how this debate emerges within a community that both drinks a lot and somehow believes drunk sex pretty much never establishes consent. "If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape."

Perhaps it is difficult to reconcile the law, or one's own moral pronouncements, with the sexual history of many "regular" individuals that don't feel victimized as often as we think they should.

That is, my sexual history is strange but somehow acceptable, yet everyone else is a drunk innocent being taken advantage of by old pervs.

Parallels exist with the frequent drug user in college that somehow grows up to have extremely conservative opinions about drug laws.

Do as I say, not as I did.

Skepchick supports child abuse

It's not an entirely accurate title, but it's surely a title Rebecca Watson would find herself writing.

Getting on with the show - it turns out that one of Skepchick's favorite sci-fi conventions, DragonCon, may have an alleged child abuser on its payroll.

The man apparently rakes in $150k a year, refuses to have his share bought out by the organization's other owners and people are calling for a boycott.

What is the opinion of Skepchick? It reads:

"I’m not saying that I or Skepchick as a whole will definitely be boycotting DragonCon, as it’s something I have to think a lot about. But I do hope that DragonCon’s leadership will take this seriously and do the right thing, and save us all from a difficult decision. 
I’ve been informed that due to a legal battle between Kramer and DragonCon, DragonCon may be legally prohibited from defending themselves publicly at this time. I’ll be interested to hear their defense when they can state it."

Yes. If you can believe it, Rebecca Watson is playing 'wait and see' in regards to alleged child abuse. 

This is the same person that apparently can't imagine herself purchasing a Richard Dawkins or Michael Shermer book because, well, patriarchy.

The story doesn't end here. Her previous wrap-up post about DragonCon is hilarious.

In her post, she has a picture of herself in "gender-bending Star Wars" outfits. The cosplay is strong in this one.
"Yesterday, I booked a (double!) room at a nicer hotel for next year. Hooray for planning ahead!"

So, Skepchick could keep the 2013 reservation, and potentially be supporting a child molester. The same abuser they've already been throwing money at for several years. Likely more money than they've ever given any one 'patriarchal' secularist author.

Or Skepchick could cancel. But that would mean giving up an opportunity to dress up like an Ewok in public!

Alas, so much to think about. The trials and tribulations of the Skepchick.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Women In Secularism: Camille Paglia

 In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.
Today's Woman in Secularism: Camille Paglia

Some quotes:

The feminist line is, strippers and topless dancers are degraded, subordinated, and enslaved; they are victims, turned into objects by the display of their anatomy. But women are far from being victims — women rule; they are in total control ... the feminist analysis of prostitution says that men are using money as power over women. I'd say, yes, that's all that men have. The money is a confession of weakness. They have to buy women's attention. It's not a sign of power; it's a sign of weakness.

The broken logic of Adam Lee

Article: The Lay of the Land. (trigger warning)

Some quotes:
But in the last year or two, there’s been a new and much uglier debate, centered around diversity, feminism and the place of women in the secular community. It’s no secret that atheists are dominated by white men, and an increasing number of people have noticed this problem and have been asking how we can broaden our appeal. But apart from the legitimate debates over how best to achieve this aim, the conversation has roused an ugly viper of prejudice: a faction of retrograde atheists who are violently opposed to any deliberate effort to reach out to women and other underrepresented groups.

A bunch of white men responded to an online opt-in survey about secularism.

What Adam Lee thinks is happening: white men are dominating secularism and scaring the chicks away.

What is really happening: white men, when not playing minecraft, are wasting their lives answering online surveys about atheism and really need more gainful employment.

I don’t think the anti-feminists have any real power to shape the direction of the atheist movement, but what they do have is a willingness to engage in intense campaigns of vicious, misogynist harassment against people who do. Several prominent atheist women, all intelligent writers or dedicated activists, who’ve spoken out on the subject have received a flood of harassing messages and threats, and some of them have either withdrawn from activism or have contemplated withdrawing rather than deal with this onslaught and the inevitable toll it takes on one’s mental health.

What Adam Lee thinks is happening: all the important secular female activists are surrendering to the hordes of men's rights activists!

What is really happening:

Jen McCreight stopped blogging for perhaps 30 days. She's since compared Adam Lee's favorite movement to Portland's feminist bookstore.

Natalie Reed left FreeThoughtBlogs to... blog somewhere else. The horror.

Ophelia Benson wrote another article in which she's the martyr to some bizarre cause.

Stephanie Zvan is busy imagining a world in which her blog is preventing rape

and Rebecca Watson wrote another click-bait article in which she accuses fans of Richard Dawkins of behaving like fans of PZ Myers.

The ending is great:
To be clear, I don’t think the atheist community will ever march in lockstep, nor would that be desirable even if it were possible. We’re too independently minded and disputatious for that. There will always be dispute about the focus and priorities of the movement, which is fine. But since we’re a community of rationalists and humanists, we ought to at least be able to agree that this behavior is unconscionable and shouldn’t be excused or defended. And I think we’re making progress: we’ve advanced diversity by leaps and bounds; we’ve brought anti-harassment policies to all the major conventions; and we’re talking about social justice issues as never before. But to truly rid ourselves of the haters, we have to bring about a deeper cultural change. This is a longer and harder slog, but if the secular movement is going to continue to grow and to build on the progress we’ve made, it’s an essential step and a challenge we can’t shirk.

Advanced diversity by leaps and bounds? How is success measured there?

Did you believe any of this bullshit pep-talk from a guy that believes Rebecca Watson is a great pillar of the feminist movement?

If you did, you can literally buy it.

You can have him show up at your conference and speak about this -
The connection between atheism and feminism. As atheism grows and becomes more diverse, the secular community has been wracked by infighting over feminist issues. This talk is an argument for for why atheists should care about women’s social, political and cultural equality and make it one of our priorities for activism.

The world has a problem, and Adam Lee has the solution.

He will speak to your sins.

Women In Secularism: Emma Goldman

In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.
Today's Woman in Secularism: Emma Goldman

In her blind devotion woman does not see what people of intellect perceived fifty years ago: that suffrage is an evil, that it has only helped to enslave people, that it has but closed their eyes that they may not see how craftily they were made to submit.  
Woman's demand for equal suffrage is based largely on the contention that woman must have the equal right in all affairs of society. No one could, possibly, refute that, if suffrage were a right. Alas, for the ignorance of the human mind, which can see a right in an imposition. Or is it not the most brutal imposition for one set of people to make laws that another set is coerced by force to obey? Yet woman clamors for that "golden opportunity" that has wrought so much misery in the world, and robbed man of his integrity and self-reliance; an imposition which has thoroughly corrupted the people, and made them absolute prey in the hands of unscrupulous politicians.

An interesting quote. And yes, she was into anarchy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Diversity is great, unless it's used to make money

The latest AtheismPlus crisis!
Title: Appropriating diversity/representation for commercials
Eowyn Entwife writes, 
The Representation matters thread reminded me of one ugly side effect of the growing awareness of diversity, intersectionalism etc.
Representation, too, can be appropriated, and I have no words for how I feel about it, because it is just so incredibly wrong. I feel like gagging or retching when trying to wrap my head around e.g. the following example.
I had no pre-information about the latest (?) Danske Bank TV/movie/video commercial, so my initial reaction when seeing it for the first time was a tearing-up "OMFSM, a major commercial where we (me and so many of the people who are important to me) actually exists -- at least a little...". The "a little" came from that I immediately also noticed e.g. that the (very few) brown people (no blacks, thanks!) were either beautiful or an anonymous mass, all the women thin, the lesbian couple was white, all but one of the children were sitting nicely still in adult or technology controlled situations, the whole cultural context -- also for brown people -- was Western (except for one recognizable location), and the one disabled person was a white, male super-athlete (inspiration porn anyone?). When the logo for Danske Bank ended the commercial, I had a WTF moment: what did any of that stuff I just saw have to do with DB?
The YouTube feedback from Anonymous is way too mild, IMO, but at least it is out there.
The DB video does not have any description on YouTube, other than the slogan - the video has no voiceover, it is wordless music with clip after clip of moving pictures, and I haven't found a decent description yet -- please post one if you find one:
The Anonymous video is short and has a full transcript on its YouTube page (much needed, because the voiceover is fairly low-standard computer-generated):
Edit: added some detail

The "representation matters" thread happened to be sourced from an observation that drawing pens the opposite way includes left-handed people.

Next up: Kellogg's uses depiction of empowered Atheism+ social justice activist to sell All-Bran. Several heads explode in rage.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Women In Secularism: Julia Gillard

In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.

Today's Woman in Secularism: Julia Gillard

Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is an Australian politician who is the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Australian Labor Party since 24 June 2010. She is the first woman to hold either office.

On Gay Marriage:

"We believe the marriage act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalize treatment for gay couples"

"My view's not changing"

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Women In Secularism: Heather Mac Donald

In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.
Today's Woman in Secularism: Heather Mac Donald

Author of several books:

She has also contributed numerous writings for magazines and newspapers - one of which is "The Campus Rape Myth".

She often contributes to

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Women In Secularism: S.E. Cupp

In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.

Today's Woman in Secularism: S.E. Cupp


"I'm a fan of George Bush, I think he had a conviction, personal principles that require him to answer someone else when he went to bed at night... I don't see the same kind of reverence in some of our other recent presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton included. That gives me comfort as a citizen, knowing that my president is going to bed answering to a higher power ... I really respect that"

"I really aspire to be a person of faith one day"

Women In Secularism: Ayn Rand

In preparation for the Women in Secularism conference this May, this series reflects on some great women in secularism.

Today's Woman in Secularism: Ayn Rand

"What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem."

Double down

Original post:

Greta Christina writes:  What To Do When Half The Atheosphere Dogpiles On You And Tells You That You Screwed Up

Some of you may remember that Charlie Jane Anders, one of the writers/ editors on io9, wrote a really dumb piece a couple of months ago about how smug atheists need to read more science fiction. If you do, you may also remember that she got reamed up one side and down the other about it, all over the atheosphere. She’s actually a colleague and friend of mine… and even I was going, “WTF? Charlie Jane said that?”
You might be interested to know that she’s now apologized for it, handsomely. Her apology is included in a piece she’s written on what she’s learned from five years of arguing on the internet. The relevant graf:
At the same time, I’ve definitely written things I regretted afterwards. Like that piece about atheism and science fiction a while back — that was a case where I hadn’t fully thought through what I was trying to say, and I wrote something kind of half-assed, that hurt people who already felt marginalized and under assault from mainstream culture. (And in retrospect, a lot of what I had been reading as “smugness” from a few of my fellow non-believers was probably more like anger at that marginalization.) I’m sorry about that.
This is how it’s done, people. She didn’t double down. She didn’t insist that she hadn’t done anything wrong; she didn’t equate “lots of people disagreeing with you” with tribalism, bullying, McCarthyism, or witch hunts. She kept it short and sweet, without a “making it worse” morass of defensive rationalizations/ making it all about her hurt feelings about people being mean to her. She heard the criticism, accepted that she screwed up, and apologized. This is how it’s done.
([cough] Michael Shermer [cough])

This is what reality is in Greta's mind: Michael Shermer is the one that "doubled down" when he refused to accept that his feeling that certain speaking engagements appealed to males more than females.

PZ Myers didn't "double down" when he compared everyone to mass murderers.

Ophelia Benson didn't "double down" when she spoke as if Twitter insults were suddenly going to turn into acid throwing.

Rebecca Watson didn't "double down" when she turned being asked for coffee into the biggest circus ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Women always have it worse

Post from PZ:

Title : “It’s about misogyny. It’s about intimidation. It’s about silencing.”

Jane Fae writes about the realities of online bullying in the New Statesman.
…there is something disturbingly misogynistic about online bullying. Yes: blokes, male columnists, undoubtedly get it too. But it feels as though there is something far more vicious, gender-related with respect to what women have to endure.
Beard makes the point well, in a blog responding to her own online treatment. It is clear that she is no stranger to tired old jokes about her appearance – but even she has been shocked about the response she evoked, describing the level of misogyny as “truly gobsmacking”. The focus of much of the abuse is sexual, sadistic even and, she adds: “it would be quite enough to put many women off appearing in public, contributing to political debate”.
In other words, it is silencing, something I get very well from personal experience. I’ve opted out of contributing online for periods ranging from hours to a couple of weeks after being subjected to this sort of online nastiness. Not just me. Many far braver women with serious contributions to make to public discourse on violence and abuse have suffered similar: been silenced simply for having an opinion.
Yeah, the guys get it, too. I thought it was ridiculous before — I had Conservapædia raving about how fat I was, whole blogs dedicated to how stupid I was, and of course, frequent accusations of being gay — but once I got associated with feminism, the hatred reached a whole new level of shrieking. I’ve basically been declared an honorary woman by a whole new category of people, online atheists, who turn out to be worse than creationists, Christians, and Muslims. There are even more rants about my appearance, my ‘irrationality’, my sanity, than ever before.
And the scary thing is that when I compare what I get to what women activists get, I’m getting off easy.
It’s not criticism, either. It’s just raving mad hatred.

Essentially we have two things here:
  1. Women, as subjects of online abuse, have it worse than everybody else
  2. "Anti-feminist" haters are worse than religious zealots, are far more vindictive, judgmental, and threatening
Let's outline a story.

A young teenage boy, with poor immigrant parents from Latin America, logs onto Facebook and "likes" something remotely thought to be a girl's sport, e.g. gymnastics, or something a bit passé, like roller skating.

What response can he expect? "Faggot", "Loser", "Fairy"

Then he posts pictures of his Christmas presents on TwitPic. Look what the poor kid is fascinated by!

He excitedly logs on with last year's version of Call of Duty. Now what does he hear? "n00b", "beaner", etc. Perhaps an insult or two how he may still be a virgin.

Maybe what I'm describing here is the online persona of a poor version of Manny.

If PZ and his women friends don't really like this story, they can read a story from Skepchicks - "That's not bullying"

Scene 1: “Hey, you fucking faggot. If I see you in this hallway again, I’m going to take a broomstick from the janitor’s cart and rape your faggot ass with it. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, you stupid fucking faggot!” This was said as I was being shoved up against the wall of lockers, face first, as a crowd of other students gathered around and laughed and cheered. Again.
Will seems like a honest guy and this seems like a legit story.

Now, Will's argument was that critics of FreeThoughtBlogs aren't actually victims of bullying. A would-be PZ Myers can weigh if it is worse than Mary Beard being called a bearded lady. When it comes to online bullying one may disagree to a certain extent about what treatment may be worse. Many would opt to having the stereotypically awful grade school experience rather than having their reputations damaged right this moment.

Which is why many don't go online, use their real name, and suggest that the gendered insult they received on Twitter is a more vicious form of harassment or one particular gender leads a more difficult life. Such a statement would be ridiculous.

Back to some focus on online harassment.

Of all the people being called names on the internet right now, who deserves the most empathy?

Some possible choices:
One thing in common with these "feminist" activists is that they can and do spew profanities as they accomplish "God's work" which is to somehow expose every sleeper cell of misogyny in online communities.

All the single-word comments they receive serves to buttress their arguments. "Look, I said there was an epidemic of misogyny online and I was called an ugly bitch by user '@tehDude29485'!"

Their vacuous battle is equal parts naïve and douchebag. And they have a long list of white boys to back them up.

Yes indeed, find all the woman haters on Twitter! Maybe afterwards they'll find time to identify all the female fans of Chris Brown or Tiger Woods and publicly shame them as well.

Also on the list of things to-do from this crowd:
All life and death issues. But first, let's focus on what @FootballGuy2303 just called PZ Myers!

It's a real tragedy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Skepchicks want in a conference

Repost of yesterday's content, with a more "work safe" title and some spelling fixes.
Apparently, this was SkepchickCon '09

As a contingency plan for if the day ever comes that Rebecca Watson grows up, decides to remove this rather bizarre video from YouTube, I will document its contents here.

First, there is a Star Wars-esque intro in text:

SkepchickCon '09

The 1st SkepchickCon took place July 2-5 at CONvergence, a sci-fi/fantasy convention in Minneapolis.
In addition to panels and speakers, the Skepchick crew hosted a Mad Science Party, in which guests were given test tube shots of our signature drink, The Buzzed Aldrin (tang and vodka).
The following video was recorded at that party. It wasn't set up, and if we were more credulous ladies, we'd say this is the result of the Universe expressing It's ultimate love for us.
But we're not. So it's just a hilarious coincidence.
Depending on how cool your boss is, this may be considered NOT SAFE FOR WORK.

The video starts.

The camera is panning around a dark noisy room of mixed gender. Obviously drinking is happening.

The room either has glow-in-the-dark stickers or is lit in a strange way. There is a bed. Probably an after-party of sorts. The type where "anything" can happen - by design.

The cameraperson (Rebecca Watson) walks into a bright room which appears to be the bar.

The first thing the viewer notices is that there is a male with no shirt on that is wearing a tie.

Two women are wearing lab coats (no pants) and laughing hysterically.

One lab coat woman shouts "REBECCA!" and points to the direction of the male. (in the background: "please, don't miss this!")

The camera pans, to discover the male is holding a drink in each hand. The male is not wearing shorts, but is instead wearing some sort of bizarre loincloth outfit.

A woman (maybe 30-ish?) in a low-cut top has her hands clasped where the male would have a belt buckle, if he was wearing anything substantial.

PAUSE - In case you're wondering, max temp that day was 80F, but the day's low of 60F means he would have had a pair of clothes for the cab ride home. Minneapolis is not Cancun, there isn't very many reasons to find oneself in a loincloth.

The woman's head bobs, comes back to reveal that she has a test tube shot in her hand (presumably a "Buzzed Aldrin"). She knocks her head back, leaving one hand on the man's waist.

She opens her eyes, and connects with the camera for a moment, with an expression that says "Who the hell would be stupid enough to film this?"

The man, smiling (perhaps a bit nervously), gestures as if to return the woman's drink.

One woman in a lab coat shouts "I'll be in my bunk!".

PAUSE -  CONvergence is a sci-fi convention, and "I'll be in my bunk" is a Firefly reference. Firefly happens to be a show about a rather conservative starship captain leading a crew that contains a sex worker. During the course of the show the captain finds himself in a false marriage to a manipulative character played by Christina Hendricks. Someone ought to do a study and find out how this content became so popular among would-be warriors for political correctness and critics of the patriarchy.

Camera cuts to text -

Come to Our Next Party

That's a wrap.

This was July 2009. Nearly two years later, elevatorgate happened.

There really is too many words to write about all the elevatorgate nonsense. But this YouTube video does a good job of distilling how ridiculous Rebecca Watson is in that regard:

From the video, she is quoted as saying this June 24, 2011 in Amherst:

You know, since starting Skepchick, I've heard from a lot of women who don't attend events like this because of those of you who have this attitude. They're tired of being objectified, and some of them have actually been raped; quite a number of them have been raped, or otherwise sexually assaulted. And situations like the one I was in, in an elevator, would have triggered a panic attack. They're scared, because they know that you won't stand up for them. And if they stand up for themselves, you're going to laugh them back down. And that's why they're not coming to these events.

 What else has Rebecca Watson said?

Well, December 2012 she tweeted:
If you have sex w/ someone who is drunk, they are unable to consent & that is rape.
And she packaged up all the responses she got in a blogpost titled "Twitter Users Sad To Hear They May Be Rapists"

Later she called someone on Twitter an "angry virgin".

And then there is this:

The photo (and its caption) is not mine, so here is a text description of what it shows: a woman who looks quite a bit like Rebecca Watson kissing a long haired man wearing a JREF shirt in what appears to be a hotel bedroom. On the nightstand in the background is a bottle of Glenfiddich and a bunch of cups.

What does this give us?

A bunch of questions.

Questions for the "SkepChicks":

  1. The text from the SkepchickCon said it wasn't "set up" and was just a "hilarious coincidence". Just what is so funny about the video, and who in their right mind would be so weird as to fake those actions?
  2. How can you presume to be able to make a safe space, when it is readily apparent that no secular organization would find itself endorsing your alcohol fueled toga parties?
  3. When you say females aren't coming to "these events", just what events are you talking about? Are people afraid of being assaulted at a lecture, open panel discussion, or Rebecca Watson's fratboy afterparty?
  4. If the man and the woman in the "Buzzed Aldrin" video had sex shortly after the party, would that have been a consensual act?
  5. What would your legal responsibility be, as host of the party, if the act was not consensual?
  6. How inclusive do you feel your own events are?
  7. How do you reconcile the idea that women are being sexualized and objectified, when you have created this content, "hug me i'm vaccinated" t-shirts, pin-up calendars, and labeled males as 'angry virgins'?
  8. SkepchickCon aligns with CONvergence, a sci-fi event. Is the sci-fi event more or less sexist misogynist than secular conferences?
It is a wonder what would make SkepchickCon align with TAM or a CFI meeting. Perhaps secular organizations need more cosplay?

In fact we may have narrowed it down here:

Cosplay + alcohol = SkepchickCon

(science and skepticism largely optional)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Doing other things

Ophelia adds her opinion to Rebecca Watson's piece (you know, the one that shits on PZ's idea that things might get better):

On the subject of SSA, JREF, RDFRS, et al:
I think that’s pretty much right. The organizations aren’t against us, but they’re not really for us either. They’re doing other things.

Minor correction for Ophelia: These organizations were doing other things and really should be doing other things.

Things like:
  1. Leaving you to deal with your online persona *
  2. Leaving the police and hotel staff to deal with what happens in elevators at 4AM
  3. Leaving it to YouTube and Twitter to decide which interactions cross the line
  4. Ignoring any bizarre beefs members might have with one another
  5. Staying away from the general Twitter complaint-fest
(* - growing tired of Shermer, Benson is now trolling Rick Warren and I wish her luck)

Secular organizations may not care much about feminism (at least not to your satisfaction).

Here's a short list of things secular organizations have little time for:
  1. Legalizing gay marriage
  2. Gun control (or gun rights, depending on one's opinions)
  3. Immigration reform
  4. Income equality
  5. Foreign aid
  6. Israeli/Palestinian conflict
  7. Union busting (or right-to-work, depending on one's opinions)
  8. Drug policy reform
  9. Health care reform
You get the idea.

If Ophelia, SkepChicks, FreeThoughtBlogs and Atheism+ want to talk about this nonsense more, they can form a political party or lobby group.

It's obvious that these unrepentant shills do not even know what the hell a non-profit charitable educational organization is.

And please, move to Portland, and disconnect your internet. The result ought to be a mind-numbingly safe space.

Rebecca Watson wants Twitter police

The other day, an asshole named [redacted] said this to Ophelia Benson:
Maybe a vial of acid would do you some good. You already look like you were set on fire and put out with a wet rake.

This upset PZ a great deal as it pushed him to recognize the fact that if the entire world were atheist, we would still have plenty of assholes. Conlon apologized, for what it’s worth (not much), and today PZ posted a bit of optimism:
Really. Look at American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Center for InquiryAtheist Alliance International and Atheist Alliance America, the Secular Coalition, the Secular Student Alliance, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation. They are not supporting these petty, resentful snipers; they are working towards a future in which those goons are irrelevant.
Unfortunately, his links only go to the main websites of those organizations and not to any evidence that those groups are doing anything that would make irrelevant those who harass many of us every day.
Do we expect these groups to police Twitter for you, Rebecca?
While many or all of those groups may be doing good things to advance the rights and freedoms of atheists, few have taken any large steps to stop what’s happening to women. Some of them, like American Atheists and Center for Inquiry, have instituted anti-harassment policies.

Oh, harassment policies. Great.
A few of them have employees who have participated in Amy’s essay series in which men speak out against harassment (specifically: Ron Lindsay, Barry Karr, Jim Underdown, Paul Fidalgo and Michael DeDora of CFI, Dave Niose [then] of AHA, and Dave Silverman of AA. It’s worth noting that Dan Barker of Freedom From Religion Foundation also wrote a piece). As far as I can see only one of them – AHA – prominently uses the term “feminist” on its site and in its organization in a way that takes it as a given that feminism is an integral part of humanism and progress.
So these groups have to both identify as feminist, and write about harassment of women, if they are to convince you they do not wish to see you raped. Does this make sense?

What is this, a high school class? Everybody gets to write an essay? What infantile bullshit.
(EDIT: Though I do want to note that CFI is sponsoring the Women in Secularism conference, for which it deserves kudos.)
Of course it does, because things like this are paying your bills.

For the most part, these organizations work on their causes while pointedly avoiding what they see as a divisive quagmire. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, no. For years, I defended the JREF’s pointed disinterest in atheist topics because while I do think atheism is the natural outcome of skepticism and that the two are ultimately inextricably linked, I understand that there’s a benefit to an organization focusing resources on a particular goal while also appealing to a larger audience. But it would be silly to then congratulate the JREF on working toward some atheist or secular goal, just as it’s silly to congratulate these organizations that are not focused on fighting for women.
And then there’s the Richard Dawkins Foundation. Over on PZ’s post, I commented:
I guess if you’ve never been called a “feminazi” by Paula Kirby or had your inbox explode with rape threats thanks to Richard Dawkins, RDF wouldn’t look out of place on that list.
PZ replied:
I know that Dawkins’ comments have led to some very ugly results, and that Kirby just completely lost the plot, but considering that the RDF confines itself mostly to science education, I don’t think that organization as a whole is the ‘enemy’.
Could this be the day that the PZ becomes the enemy of the Rebecca? Allah be praised!
I could not disagree more, obviously. When discussing whether or not an organization supports “petty, resentful snipers,” it’s worth asking whether it keeps any on staff or whether the organization is named after one. Richard Dawkins’ comments have been the very definition of petty and resentful, including those he has continued posting on Twitter. Whether he’s retweeting victim blaming trash or coming up with his very own passive aggressive ways to denigrate a free vaccine program because Skepchick runs it, he has not only failed to stop the torrent of abuse aimed at me and other women in this movement but he has actively participated in it himself. And Paula Kirby of RDFUK has spent months defending her point that those of us asking for atheist conferences to be safer spaces for women are literally like Nazis and the Stasi.
Yeah, RD pointing out how hypocritical your organization is means he hates women. Don't offer me coffee, but run up and hug people because we're creating safe spaces here!
Regardless of what RDF does for science (and I’m not sure what that is, exactly, though I do know that they donate substantial amounts of money to other organizations that actually do things), they are not to be counted among organizations that discourage harassment of women.

This is priceless. Why should feminists support SkepChicks, when they could support Ayaan Hirsi Ali's foundation, or NOW, or countless LGBT groups that have focus?

So while PZ finds optimism in the work these organizations do, I, for the most part, do not. I see anti-feminists who think those organizations stand for them. (Hell, I’ve seen misogynists cite feminist and Freedom from Religion Foundation co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor as an inspiration.) I don’t think these people are stupid (though yes, many are – just look at the people populating my Twitter @ replies) – I think that secular organizations aren’t being loud enough in their support of women. I think often these organizations are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by a few progressive employees who want to do good at the risk of being seen as radical troublemakers.
Oh, now Annie Laurie is on notice until she writes something good about SkepChicks!
And that’s where I find my inspiration: not in the large organizations but in the individuals who are strong enough to stand up for what’s right despite the endless hateful shit thrown their way. People like Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan, Greta Christina, and Melody Hensley. People like Surly Amy and all the other Skepchick Network contributors. People like Amanda Marcotte, who in December recounted what it’s like to be a writer who happens to be a feminist:
If the lion's share of your writings is 140 characters or less, you are not a writer who just happens to be engaged in feminism.
6PM: This is approximately the time the first tweet was out accusing me of “ignoring” the situation I had learned about an hour and some change before and had already drafted an intro paragraph about and started researching. I made fun of how weird that was…
6PM-until this morning: This results in an absolute torrent of abuse from wingnuts, many insulting my looks, making sexualized jokes about me, calling me a “hypocrite” for supposedly ignoring a story I was writing about. About an hour into it, I turn off Twitter because it’s distracting me from organizing my thoughts and also it’s really unnerving,
Pro-tip: also good to log out of Facebook as well when trying to be productive.
as a survivor of violence against women, to see folks like Ace of Spades get so excited at hearing about violence that they need to go find another woman to harass, to keep the thrill going. You know, under the cover of “outrage” about the supposed “ignoring” that’s going on.
The harassment Marcotte and other feminists experience is non-stop and at times overwhelming.
It's Twitter. The trending topics are pure garbage. Rebecca herself calls people "angry virgins" and rapists. The dialogue is idiotic and its participants are largely idiotic. It's like finding the nearest kindergarten and trying to have a debate. It takes no time at all to find a long list of "h8ers" or stalkers.

Rebecca's complaints are only amazing if you disregard this is reality for nearly everyone that participates on Twitter, XBOX Live, YouTube...

If everyone who was called a "faggot" on YouTube wrote a blog post about it, that's all the internet would be.
Hell, I haven’t written a substantial blog post in ages, mostly because I have 800 tabs open filled with anti-woman bile and bitter hatred that I feel deserves to be exposed, but there’s just too much, and focusing on all of it long enough to write a post is exhausting. But the more individuals who stand up to fight this shit, the easier it gets.
Citation needed. The more people that "stand up" to "fight" just compounds the problem. What kind of soldiers do you need, Rebecca, to police Twitter for you?
I could slack off on my blogging without worrying that the misogyny was going unanswered. I could take a break from supporting other women being harassed because I knew that there was a support network for them. I could block haters on Twitter without taking screen caps because now the Internet is flooded with the evidence of what we get every day.
But that’s because of individuals, not organizations.

Yes, please do screen cap everything bad that happens on the internet, and email it all to the male white knights that are Richard Carrier, PZ Myers, Greg Laden, and Ed Brayton. They'll be eager to save the princess from the YouTeenagers.

I mean, what couldn't we do with a million more PZ Myers? The internet would be a safe place again! Rebecca would be booked at a conference every weekend!

AtheismPlus tribalism

So a while ago Michael Shermer, responding to questions about why there weren't more females on stage in debates, responded that while atheism would be about 50/50 in gender breakdown, the debates, the campaigns, etc might be more of "a guy thing".

You know, if atheism had its own football league, it might be more of "a guy thing" too.

He posted an article describing that this statement may be now wrong, and would be especially wrong if the AtheismPlus crowd bothered to keep up their conference appearances.

The response from the Atheism+ gang?

  1. "it's a guy thing" is undeniably sexist (somehow) and there will be no take backs!
  2. Quoting Martin Niemöller is violating Godwin's law, and only A+ is allowed to do that
  3. The use of the word "witchhunt" is especially sexist now. Or something.
To be in the A+ trenches is to believe that Michael Shermer hates women.

What else does the A+ gang believe?

Well, this comes straight from PZ Myers:
Rebecca has never called for a boycott or an end to his career, either. But he did say some stupid and unself-aware stuff that has been a kind of nucleus for a lot of the hate that followed afterwards.
Repeat after me:

Rebecca Watson telling all her fans that she will never buy Dawkins' works again is not a boycott. She just says things, and people ought to ignore her.

Shermer saying anything could appeal to males more than females is unabashedly sexist.

Just learning who is always right and who is always wrong will help you get along way in the social justice movement that will save the world, Atheism+.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Don't apologize to Ophelia

Original article.

The acid-face guy apologized. This is how Ophelia reports it.

I am, obviously, not going to treat this as a private correspondence. [redacted] isn’t a friend of mine, I never asked him to contact me in any way, he tweeted at me yesterday (and the day before) just to stir the shit aka harass me, so I don’t consider his apology or my reply part of a private correspondence.
[redacted] to me:
I would like to apologize Ophellia for that vile tweet I sent you yesterday. I did not mean it as threat on your person being but as a childish insult agaisnt your appearance.
I understand how you take it as personal threat and I hope in no way did I make you feel unsafe in your own home. That was not my intent and I apologize if I did.
I do not expect you to accept this apology or expect you to. I am not doing it to safe face with fan base either. I feel terrible for the tweet I sent and if it caused you any duress.
My apologies,
My reply:
Well, Mr Conlon, I don’t see why you think it’s ok to insult people for being old and ugly, either. It’s not “childish” – it’s vicious. I don’t suppose you do that to your mother (assuming she’s alive) or other ancient female relatives. I don’t suppose you would enjoy hearing other people doing that to your mother. I don’t even suppose you would do it to anyone face to face.
You did of course make me feel unsafe. I didn’t think you were going to hop on a plane and come here to throw acid on me – but of course it makes me feel unsafe when people are willing to say things like that to me. Hatred and rage escalate. That was what I was saying in the post about acid-throwing yesterday. Yes, I feel unsafe because of the non-stop hatred at the slyme pit and on Twitter. Yes, you made that worse.
Thank you for the partial apology, but I really urge you to stop doing things like telling women you hate how ugly they are.
I mean that. I hope he does. I would like to see everyone stop fostering the hatred and rage. However I don’t for a second think that will happen.

Here's what the man did:
  1. Apologized for his comment
  2. Clarified that his comment was not meant to be a threat (in other words, he didn't wish her harm)
  3. Noted that he is not issuing this apology hoping to save face (he has no fan base, and no platform of his own)

Here is how Ophelia responded:
  1. Shared the apology in full, but only really as a pretext to share her own clever rebuttal
  2. Told the man he's embarrassing his dead mother and grandmother
  3. Fed him a bullshit line about feeling unsafe (if you honestly feel unsafe on Twitter, why be on Twitter?)
  4. Blame him for escalation ("Hatred and rage escalate", "you made that worse")
  5. Didn't view the apology as complete... what would have been enough?
  6. Urges the man to stop calling women ugly, presuming this is what he does that all the time.
  7. Adds a comment about how the other side is just beyond help at this point
And then in a comment to her own posts, she immediately wants to now what people are saying about her in the evil "SlymePit" forums.
Could you paste it in, Jafafa? I don’t have the stomach to go there right now. (I hardly ever do have the stomach…but especially not right now.)
Here she admits to reading the SlymePit.

If she honestly feels unsafe, why continuously engage with these people?

3 out of 3 of her posts today (100%) were devoted to the subject of her problems with online comments.

Acid in the face

This is "Acid in the Face".

Working Title : How to not deal with criticism, how to fan flames, and how to fail at life in general.

Step 1) Out of the blue, use unrelated subject to slide the knife into your opponents

Original text:

"The Bolshoi sounds like “the atheist community.”The artistic director got acid thrown in his face yesterday. Apparently the Bolshoi is riven with deeeeep rifts. (That’s good, isn’t it? Riven with rifts? Same root, no doubt. I can’t say I use “riven” much. Every now and then though – well it’s the word that fits in the slot.)
…even before police find the culprits – if they ever do – many will connect the attack to the ongoing squabbles and infighting that have been plaguing this jewel of Russian culture.

Most of the squabbles that have affected the theatre have not been about money, but about personal competition, and they appear to have degenerated into nasty attacks on the talented dancer-turned-director.
Before acid was used in Friday’s attack, Sergei Filin had already received numerous phone threats, and his email and Facebook accounts had been hacked.
Interesting. One minute it’s just hacked Facebook accounts, the next it’s acid attacks. Maybe I should start wearing protection."

Make it clear - things are fucked up, and its everyone else's fault! Make it clear that everyone else is an acid-throwing terrorist.

Step 2)  Repeat Step 1

Add to the post the following text:
Update for you creeps [invective] from the mildew pit [invective] -
No it’s not that I think I’m that important, you assholes. [invective] It’s that you do. You’re the ones [deflect blame] who act as if I’m pretty much the most important person in the world! Along with eight or ten others. You’re the ones who monitor my every move every hour and every day. You’re the ones who focus a creepy amount of attention on me. [pot, kettle, black] I don’t think I’m that important at all! I don’t think I’m worth that kind of attention – not from people who like me and not from people who hate me. No, I don’t think maybe someone will eventually attack me because I’m so important – [then why post it?] I think that because you people are so fucking unhinged and obsessive and you keep ratcheting up the hatred. [defect blame] I am very small potatoes, yet there you are, staring and frothing and hating.
I hope that clears that the fuck up. [invective]
Funny how someone who doesn't want attention will post 3-4 times per day, with 50% of content devoted to all this drama.

Step 3) Drop an F-bomb on someone... or everybody.

@OpheliaBenson 13h  
@[redacted] Fuck off.

Three minutes later she received this reply:
@OpheliaBenson Maybe a vial of acid would do you some good. You already look like you were set on fire and put out with a wet rake.
OB explains her policy in a comment on her blog:
"I told him to fuck off after he turned up from nowhere to harass me. I tell them all to fuck off." 

Step 4) Retweet "threat"

By many accounts, OB retweeted the message which would definitely appear to someone without any context to be a completely undeserved threat, (where did this reference to acid come from?) instead of an insult directed at OB's appearance. 

Step 5) Blog "threat"

Caption of screenshot of the "threat" received: "Gee I don’t know why you’re always making such a fuss about all this stalking and hate-mongering."

Step 6) Be completely oblivious

Ophelia comments on her own blog:
What’s so stupid is – they’re pitching fits at me for being so self-important. But they’re the ones who spend their lives tracking my every move!! They treat me as if I were earth-shakingly important – evil, and hugely important. If they were not stalking me every minute of every day, I wouldn’t be talking about possible shifts into violence. I don’t have delusions of reference. THEY KEEP FUCKING TALKING ABOUT ME.
And you keep talking about them. See a connection?

and finally,

Step 7) Pat self on back and applaud your own genius

Yet another comment:
I’ll just read my response to Shermer again. That will cheer me up.
 Yes, you really stuck it to that misogynist, didn't you Ophelia?

And that's a wrap. Really good conflict resolution skills, right?

You may be wondering - why is the twitter handle [redacted] above?

Here's the crazy status of all this: After this exchange, the person Ophelia was communicating with deleted his Twitter.

He knew that the comment could get him into a whole lot of trouble. The text and the gender of its target are so off-limits that it is absolutely indefensible - that it could cause serious problems for his career, etc.

Here is the disconnect in behavior - can you imagine this exchange happening between two males?

Here's how it could go down -
  1. Party A and Party B are arguing about which person is the biggest obsessive lame asshole
  2. Party A tells Party B to "fuck off"
  3. Party B calls Party A ugly, otherwise in need of corrective surgery
  4. Party A solicits input from the audience about the hurtful comments made most recently by Party B
  5. Then if both parties are close in time and space, this step is when physical assault may occur.
This isn't the Bolshoi Ballet. This isn't some theoretical escalation of some internet bitchfest.

This is any pub. Any club. Any schoolground, any workplace.

But tomorrow we'll all wake up, Ophelia Benson will have another half dozen blog posts about how the internet hates her.

Bloggers miss the essential lesson of elementary school - you can't spend too much time talking about how nobody likes you.

What does a good harassment policy look like?

From the archives -

Turns out Skepticon wrote an anti-harassment policy a long while ago:

How did it turn out? Well it got a rave review on the /r/GodlessWomen subreddit:

Yet the top rated comment:
hauntedchippy 6 points ago

This is a statement condemning sexual harassment, not a policy to mitigate it. The only powers it explicitly mentions are ones that conference organisers have had all along, namely the ability to eject people they don't like without refund.

What I would like to see is appropriate training being given to the members of staff who have to deal with any complaints. Are they trained to know what qualifies sexual harassment or are they just going to use their own intuition? i.e. are we going to have a case where, say, an attendee is subject to sexually provocative remarks from another but the staff rejects this as being harassment with an excuse like "it was clearly meant as a joke and I'm not going to eject this person because you don't have a sense of humour darling". Are they trained on how to counsel someone who has been attacked? Are they trained to pro-actively spot harassing behaviour? What evidence do they need to eject someone? Just someone's word or do they have to witness it themselves? There's no mention of any process to establish this. 
As it is, it simply says they can eject anyone they don't like, which is nothing new. The rest is just words to sooth concerns without actually addressing them.

And then it immediately leads to argument from the OP:
tkmlac[S] 0 points ago

If they are employees, they probably have sexual harassment training already. Why would that need to be in the convention policy? You want their entire employee handbook online? In my state, sexual harassment training is mandatory. What you're asking for as far as making sure the staff are educated is outside the scope of this policy. The only thing Skepticon could do is add a sentence that says, "Our staff have been through a standard sexual harassment training."

They are not counselors. It's illegal and unethical to offer a service like counseling if you don't have a degree. Proactively spotting harassment? Often, what is harassment for one person is harmless to another. Sometimes it's not obvious, which is why it is stressed that a person feeling harassed find a staff right away. This is no more and no less than you find in a workplace environment.
So what we have now:

A policy that essentially restates that the organizers can remove whomever they want without having to explain themselves.

What some people seem to want:

Proactive arbiters of what is right and wrong, trained in what is appropriate in social situations, able to provide therapy for those that have been harassed. All their actions would be buttressed by formal guidelines about how evidence would be gathered, how decisions for removal would be made (maybe a jury of their peers?)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Morally appropriate foods

Topic title: Social-justice-aware eating (nutritively. low-budget?)

Eat local, to save on transportation expense and carbon footprint! --Have fun finding a balanced diet in only local foods, especially if one's diet cannot contain major food groups.

Eat vegetarian/vegan, to reduce total energy going into one's food and number of animals killed! --Not possible without considerable exploitation, see also the quinoa thread. (EDIT: Geez, there is actually a "quinoa thread")

Eat organic, because who knows what nasties might be in one's food otherwise, in particular insecticides! --Some of us don't have that sort of money for the food budget.

Don't consume coffee and chocolate [and other foods? I'm only sure of these two] that don't use fair-trade beans! --Money again, and which fair-trade labels are the honest ones again?

Cook everything oneself, to assure food safety! --Who's got the time? Often, who's got the money? And in a household with mixed-gender adults, guess who usually gets landed with the task?

Grow as much as possible in one's own backyard, to assure food safety and really minimize transportation expenses! --Yeah, going back to a society where we're all farmers, that'll work well. Especially for those of us who buy plants that are sold as ridiculously easy to keep alive and then can't keep them alive.

Basically I am looking for opinions on how to eat without worsening any of the societal problems associated with the typical USA diet, without shortchanging myself on nutrition (at least no more than I already of the many things that I resolved to fix this year and haven't got started on), and without increasing my food budget (much). My personal situation is that I'll have financial room to maneuver starting the paycheck after my May car payment (that being the last car payment), and if I can't cook it with a microwave then I can't cook it at work, but everything before this sentence has broader applicability and I doubt I'm the only one who wants to know.

This is great.

This is really great.

But what the fuck does this have to do with atheism again?

Join your local food zealots organization. It's not like they don't exist. Maybe some of them are Catholics - who cares?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AtheismPlus' favorite word

If you take a look at the Atheism+ subreddit, you get this in the sidebar, as the rules:
Comments: Atheism+ is intended to be a safe space, and submissions that violate the spirit of that goal will not be tolerated. This includes harassment, trolling, personal attacks, and hostile posts alluding to ethnicity, skin color, gender, and sexual orientation/identity. Oppressive, sexist, ableist, sizeist and objectifying language is expressly unwelcome. There are ample other places on reddit to play those games, and if you disagree with the whole concept, there's even a place for that. Offending posts will be deleted, and deliberate or repeated offenses will result in warnings and/or banning.
Let's dissect a few words here.

Ableist - what is ableism? Dictionary definition: "favoring people who are not challenged: discrimination in favor of those who are not physically or mentally challenged"

Words like "slow", "stupid" or "derp" are considered ablelist. So don't use them on AtheismPlus forums. SRSly.

What words are encouraged, and always get a free pass?

"Fuck you."

Yes, "Fuck you." In a land of trigger warnings, talks about sexism, and whatever politically correct winds of the day, apparently wishing someone would get fucked is not a problem.

PC English, what a language.

Don't believe me? Look it up on Google.

One of the first hits is a thread titled: "Forum Language"

kr¥ton (a now banned user!) writes: (emphasis mine)

I have been lurking for some time and decided to register just to make this post. i may continue to contribute, i may not.
The language on the forum is not to my taste and is often overly foul and evocative of violent sexual imagery. You do yourselves no favours and give no credibility to your arguments by peppering your posts with F's and by having this in house competition where each poster tries to out-outrage the last person, invariably by swearing as if to say "I swore, i must therefor care greatly about this issue". By using this foul language you don't make A+ as accesible as it would otherwise be, because a lot of people will be put off by the way sexual expletives are thrown around on here. 
Just an FYI, think about it. 
The mods chime in, almost in order:

piegasm (mod)
Please read and understand the global announcements which can be found at the top of every subforum. Tone-policing is strongly discouraged here. Your concern is noted.
SubMor (mod)
Swearing is the best goddamn poetry known to man. I'm sorry you disagree. Welcome to the forums, anyway.
OP asks for specifics:
Do you have a link to where this is spoken about? I looked in a couple of subforums but couldn't see anything about the use of sexual expletives to make a point.
It's not so much the tone of a post i find offensive, it's the frequent use of violent sexual language. Of course i wouldn't want people prevented from being passionate about something, i just think the words they use to express it could be more intelligently selected and the policy of the forum should include encouragement for them to do that.
SubMor, out of interest, would your view include gratuitous use of the C word? Is that the best poetry known to man, or would it not be permitted?
 piegasm responds first:
It is in the global announcements at the top of every subforum. General profanity is fine. Slurs are not. Telling people they're using the wrong language is tone policing.
Let me get this straight. Category A is OK, Category B is BAD, but categorization itself is wrong...

Nice logic there.

ischemgeek asks the tough questions:
Furthermore: How the hell is "fuck" violent? Please explain. It's vulgar and crude, yes. Violent how? 
Yes, what could be violent about fucking? Ever?

Grimalkin chimes in:
Finding something offensive because it makes you clutch your pearls != being triggered by actual slurs
Ah, so here we're getting to the meat here - people are only triggered by actual slurs.

Abuse victims that are aided by putting "trigger warning" are triggered by the following:
  • Gendered slurs (cunt, bitch, etc)
  • Ablelist slurs (stupid, dumb, retard, derp)
  • Limericks
But they are not bothered at all by:
Safe space indeed.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Richard Carrier to the rescue

In a new blog post, Richard Carrier deems Atheism+ the "The Name for What’s Happening"

In it he endorses Adam Lee's petition to change... something... about atheist groups.
I’ve written about this issue before, of course. I brought up the rising sexism and abuse women are facing within the atheism movement

Wait, rising sexism and abuse? Has there been an uptick in domestic abuse that I did not hear about?

I explained further what the movement is that this term is a name for, and why no one needs to adopt the label “Atheism+” but rather “we are only at odds with those who condemn Atheism+ and its values,” the values I spelled out in those two posts, and which have been embraced and furthered by its most avid activists at the resource hub

And what is AtheismPlus for? Reasonableness, honestly, integrity, compassion, inclusivity, and generally being nice!

Who can be against those things?! Bad people, that's who!

In short, you don’t have to call yourself a “member” of the A+ movement to be welcome by it, or to support it.
It is abundantly clear that Richard has never posted to the Atheism+ community forums.

The next segment is about how if one doesn't support the brand, they don't support atheism finally achieving support:

The same has long been done to “feminism,” and now those tactics are being picked up and used by organized atheists to attack feminism the same way the Tea Party does. Indeed they do this the same way Christians do with the term “atheism.” They pick absurd caricatures and extremists (e.g., Stalin) and then claim all atheism is that or that’s what atheism inevitably leads to. The antifeminists in the atheist movement are doing the same thing, picking absurd caricatures and extremists (e.g., Dworkin) and then claim all feminism is that or that’s what feminism inevitably leads to.
Hostility to Atheism+ is often born of the same seed. By trying to make it impossible to give a respectable name to what we are doing, haters are trying to interfere with our ability to promote and organize in defense of our values and aims. This is fundamentally irrational, rather immoral (in its dishonesty as well as its ruthless disinterest in the welfare and feelings of others), and embarrassing to atheism as a whole.
Loosely translated: "If it weren't for all you nonbelievers, atheism would have a respectable name."

What Richard doesn't seem to realize is, Atheism+ is making atheism look ridiculous.

Atheism+ should do what communism should do, which is take its half-baked moral/political framework and shove it up its ass.

They are so successful at this they even convince women to declare they are not feminists

No, ambiguity about what feminism is exactly means people are less likely to identify as feminist.

The same problem applies to atheism, once you add this Atheism+ nonsense.

Atheism+ is not like a religion, not least because it embraces nothing supernatural, but also because its epistemology is not at all faith-based but entirely responsive to reason (as in, arguments devoid of logical fallacies) and evidence (as in, actual documentable facts), and it does not embrace “authorities” (we have no Popes) but only “arguments” (we side with those who argue well, meaning those who make logically valid arguments from well-evidenced premises). In other words, it is far more like science and philosophy than cults or churches. When it comes to what we should believe, including what we should believe about how we should behave, we expect people to be reasonable and persuaded by sound arguments. Nothing more.

Let's break this down.

Atheism+ embraces nothing supernatural... okay.

Atheism+ is entirely responsive to reason and evidence... if it happens to pass an inclusivity test.

Atheism+ is entirely responsive to reason and evidence... if it makes it past the filter.

Atheism+ is entirely responsive to reason and evidence... but will not demand it in regards to measuring sexism.

Atheism+ does not embrace “authorities” (we have no Popes)... unless you count the moderators.

Atheism+ only has "arguments"... among those allowed to participate.

In other words, Atheism+ is just atheism + skepticism + humanism. Why anyone would have a problem with that quite astonishes me.

Today you learned that some people might not agree with everything that happens under the banner of secular humanism. Were you born yesterday?

...(with covertly sexist and racist political policies, and overtly homophobic ones, for example). We now have enough atheists in our movement behaving in exactly the same way to become a visible problem.

Yep, TAM was the most sexist, racist, homophobic conference ever, wasn't it?

Greta Christina already exposed the joke of them calling us divisive last year. No, they are the divisive ones, making women and minorities feel unwelcome, and attacking anyone who makes an effort to welcome them.
Our movement has been largely white, predominately because it was only interested in “white people’s problems,” and thus uninterested in anyone else’s (and thus not attracting their interest in turn).
We care a lot about discrimination against atheists, but not so much about discrimination against black atheists or Hispanic atheists. We care a lot about creationism in schools (and often only in schools with lots of white kids in them), but don’t show as much interest in the quality of schools generally (such as in predominately black or Hispanic neighborhoods). That can change.
Where did this more wanton sexism and more subtle racism come from?

Now, here we have a bunch of white men:
  • Adam Lee
  • Richard Carrier
  • PZ Myers
  • Ed Brayton
  • All the other old white jerks at FreeThoughtBlogs
To come solve a problem put forward of predominantly a group of white women (e.g. Rebecca Watson)

And now we're getting told that we're racist. Wow. Carrier's got balls the size of the patriarchy.

It's OK though, because we've already been told that we're mass murderers and a lot of other things.

Keep up the battle though, Richard, one day Atheism+ will save us from the cisgendered, Apple and limericks.

How about we spend a bit more time at that Atheism+ forum?

Maybe we'll learn what it is really about.