Sunday, March 31, 2013

Adam Lee thanks the academy

Adam Lee has posted his thoughts about American Atheists' 2013 convention in Austin, Texas.

Under the banner : "Reflections on #AAcon13" (have to use hashtags in blogpost titles... right?) Lee writes:
It was a big convention, with attendance (I’m told) around 900, which made me especially happy to see the evidence that we’re improving the balance of gender and racial diversity. Women were a major presence, and black nonbelievers were well-represented and had at least two separate booths in the tabling area. It’s much too soon to declare this problem fixed, but there are definite signs of progress.
What is missing from this paragraph?

Adam Lee states there are "signs of progress" however he presents no data about the relative standing of minority groups.

Even the Republican party has gay members. What does this prove? You have a large enough club, you're going to eventually have all groups represented to some degree.

The number we received about minority groups was a number of booths. How about a breakdown of attendees?

The strange thing about doing math like this is that it comes out that the worst thing possible for a convention to experience is to have another few hundred white males decide to show up at the party. What an incredibly racist, misogynist disaster that would be!

If one recalls the donglegate stats, one would recall that people were pleased that PyCon was 20% women.

This could mean that the PyCon conference is doing something right in regards to acceptance of women, or it could simply mean that all the misogynist Python developers decided to attend a "Python Pricks" conference that just happened to be the same weekend.
And on that note, it’s worth emphasizing that this progress is only happening because we’re talking about it. 
Translation: "Black people are showing up at conferences because Adam Lee is being nice to them."

This translation is of course an exaggeration, however it is difficult to understate just how pleased Lee is with himself.
Richard Carrier gave a talk explaining Atheism Plus
Richard Carrier explaining Atheism Plus?

That is like the Pope explaining how to wear a condom.

He can conceptually understand why it's a good idea, he can promote it, but ultimately he hasn't actually used what he is advertising in any significant way.

So yes, Richard Carrier can do as much as post in the A+ subreddit and/or forums. Only then may he be taken seriously about his evangelism.
...and Jamila Bey moderated a panel with Greta Christina, Ophelia Benson, Beth Presswood and Amy Davis Roth about women in atheism, with special attention paid to the problem of online harassment and what we can do about it.
The only amazing thing about this is that someone put Benson, Christina and Roth on a panel and thought they might not talk almost exclusively about their online 'harassment'.

And what would they suggest we do about it?

Marginalize critics of "SkepChicks" without question. Anybody PZ Myers labels a "fuckbrained asshole" is blacklisted from conventions. That is the strategy in a nutshell.
Even I wasn’t sure at first how these would go over, but both talks were very well-received and got rousing applause and cheers from the audience. This is, again, a reminder that most atheists are good and decent people, and the outright misogynist trolls are an isolated and impotent minority, which goes to the point of my recent tiff about whether mainstream movement atheism is welcoming to women. (Several of these trolls helped prove the point for us by spamming the conference hashtag with whining petulance.)

There's "impotent" again.  It's important to remember that the "misogynist trolls" are "impotent" and "angry virgins".

Surely this is helping matters.
But I have to give special attention to a wonderful woman named Gayle, who recognized me and told me she keeps a copy of my New Ten Commandments on her refrigerator (!). She did say that she slightly altered one or two of them, and of course I wouldn’t have it any other way – I would never want anyone to treat my writings as sacred dogma.
Adam Lee doesn't want people subscribing to his dogma.

Lee just wants to write petitions that you should sign your name on. Petitions that happen to blast the behavior of other secularists. If you don't comply, then you're probably a 'harasser'.

Is this dogma? Perhaps not. Perhaps what Lee creates is better described as "tabloid drama".

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