Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Breaking up with Richard Dawkins

Some of you are aware of recent attacks on Richard Dawkins. This video by Brian Dalton (Mr. Deity)1 is directed at certain people who have led the attacks. Some of them are my friends but I'm having second thoughts. They should pay close attention.

I disagree with several scientific ideas that Richard Dawkins has promoted and we have discussed these disagreements in person and on the internet. I've always found him to be polite and respectful.



1. Brian will be at Imagine No Religion 2016.

76 comments :

  1. This guy is eminently sensible. Far too sensible for the interwebs.

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  2. dawkins is interesting guy. is main argument in is books is that a self replicating watch can evolve by a natural process. because it have a self replication system. and therefore can evolve naturally.

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  3. He is very good as a science popularizer, however he is no leader in the skeptic or atheist community, except as a board member for cfi.

    He is not an inspiring figure, or someone able to communicate to the community in ways that will make people listen and join forces. Mostly he is a rather bad communicator.

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  4. So calling a teenager "hoax boy" and suggesting that the kid manipulated his way into a White House invite is both polite and respectful? Of whom?!

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    1. The school and police were stupid, no doubt. The U.S. has this incredibly stupid zero tolerance policy for everything from Pop Tarts to doodles. I think derision is called for when the parents asked for 15 million in compensation. the kid did something that kids do, but he is now a victim of all the adults in his vicinity.

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    2. Of his audience, many of whom see the kid as a transparent attention seeker who did everything but piss on the flagpole to draw attention to draw attention to his phony device. The fact that he eventually found some adults whose stupidity matched his transparently manipulative behavior does nothing to excuse his actions. If you think that kid was sincere, you need to get out more.

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    3. the point is Dawkins did just what Dalton said we shouldn't do. He singled out the kid and got annoyed because he didn't "make the clock", he didn't care that the kid was bloody arrested, he compared him to a child who killed people on video.

      So what is it, should we follow Daltons lead and look at the whole person, and try to put what they do in the best possible light, or should we take Dawkins lead and write off kids who a grossly abused by the police? Its strange how its only people disagreeing with Dawkins that are singled out by Dawkins. Why is it wrong to engage with what Dawkins does, but not a problem that Dawkins thinks it is ok to vilify a women for something she did three years ago in the heat of the moment?

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  5. IMHO, one of the reasons that Dawkins has found himself in hot water is he continued use of Twitter. Because of the 140 character limitation, its a terrible communication milieu for his because it greatly inhibits nuance. Dawkins who does not communicate in sound bites needs nuance badly.

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    1. I agree. That's why I cut him some slack.

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    2. Why are you not as generous to the people responding to him? They're "pillorying" him -- in response to things he's actually chosen of his own free will to say -- but he's a victim of character limitations. Does he not have access to other forms of media? How long do bystanders have to put up with his willful deficiency of "nuance" before they're allowed to correct or disagree with him? Why do you want to restrict free speech? Why are some contrarians allowed to be contrary, but not others? Why is his lack of expertise, authority, and experience in certain subjects not open to debate? Why are your standards for him so low?

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    3. Saurs, has anyone said that Dawkin's views should not be debated? I don't think so. What people say is "cut him some slack", as Larry put it above.

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    4. No. Hyperbolically characterizing criticism as a witch hunt or a lynching, comparing critics to slighted girlfriends and thought police, is not asking for slack. Again, if contrarians are to be allowed their contrariness (for its own sake, seemingly), the contrariness is going to flow both ways. Dawkins is allowed his anti-feminism, and feminists and feminist allies are allowed to respond and correct him, allowed to disassociate with him, allowed to decide when and under what circumstances they'll disengage completely. Spokespeople for a free and unfettered movement (or, in this instance, a series of loosely associated movements) are not appointed or formally elected; people will vote with their feet and their money and their ears and their time, and that's the way it should be.

      Whinging about "boyfriends" is just tone-deaf, counterproductive sour grapes. You don't get to dictate to people their allegiances.

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    5. I mean, this notion that Dawkins (or any high profile, western, white atheist) is some kind of iconoclast who invariably speaks truth to power is truly, hauntingly risible. His perspective never varies from the status quo from whence he came--when something needs changing, and it rarely does because life is pretty grand for these fellas, it's "them over thar" or it's nearby uppity folk who need quieting.

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    6. Saurs,

      "Why are you not as generous to the people responding to him? They're "pillorying" him -- in response to things he's actually chosen of his own free will to say -- but he's a victim of character limitations. Does he not have access to other forms of media? How long do bystanders have to put up with his willful deficiency of "nuance" before they're allowed to correct or disagree with him?"

      Dr. Moran is giving his opinion which he has chosen of his own 'free will' to say. "Bystanders" have not had to put up with anything Dawkins has said. They are criticizing whatever they want to their hearts' content, aren't they, Saurs?

      "Why do you want to restrict free speech?"

      Nowhere did Dr. Moran suggest restricting anyone's free speech, did he, Saurs? In fact, in all this drama, everyone has pretty much said whatever the hell they wanted to say. But now, Dawkins has been disinvited to a talk. It seems to me that in all this mess, the only one whose free speech is being curtailed is Dawkins. Of course the inviters are free to disinvite, as Dawkins would speak at their invitation. But to suggest Dawkins or Moran are restricting the free speech of others is absurd.

      'Why are some contrarians allowed to be contrary, but not others? Why is his lack of expertise, authority, and experience in certain subjects not open to debate? Why are your standards for him so low?"

      Who said any aspect of this was not open to debate? Anybody can be as contrary as you like. That does not mean they cannot be questioned on their ideas. I thought you said that contrarianism was supposed to flow both ways? Are you saying Dr. Moran cannot present an alternative view to yours on this Dawkins issue?

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    7. But now, Dawkins has been disinvited to a talk. It seems to me that in all this mess, the only one whose free speech is being curtailed is Dawkins.

      Regarding the free speech issue:

      It's worth remembering how suppression of free speech worked under the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Yes, there was direct censorship as in someone creating a work of art that was deemed unacceptable and then banned. But the main mechanism through which ideological purity was enforced was the threat of what would happen if you opened your mouth and said something inconvenient to the powers that be. There were still ways to do that so it's not like your freedom to say something was completely taken away, it's just that some very bad things could happen to you if you exercised that freedom. The end result was that the censors actually had relatively very little to do -- most of the censorship was done by the intellectuals and artists themselves, before it ever even got to the point that the censors had to intervene.

      This is why it is so dishonest for people to claim "Nobody's free speech is restricted, but people should suffer the consequences of their free speech". Which is exactly what they're saying.

      See here for example:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2013/05/free-speech-vs-freeze-peach/

      free speech doesn’t include the right to suffer no consequences whatsoever for your expressed opinions.

      Or here:

      http://sjwiki.org/wiki/Free_speech_argument

      Free speech does not include the right to not suffer consequences for your speech.

      Of course, everything you say and do has consequences to you -- that is how people evaluate you. But there is a very slippery slope there, and we have been sliding down it for a while now. Dawkins getting disinvited is in fact a relatively minor accident (but with major symbolic meaning -- if we have gotten to the point where people who count themselves as atheists are excommunicating Richard Dawkins from their secular cult, you know there is something deeply problematic with that cult) -- what happened to Tim Hunt was a scarier, because he actually lost his position (honorary or not, he seemed devastated about it) because of what he said, and that is not the only such example. Once this happens sufficiently many times, people will begin to self-censor. In fact they already are -- note Larry's comment above about the need to avoid certain topics.

      There is another aspect to this that nobody seems to make the connection with. There have been in recent years numerous attempts (and successful too) by governments to muzzle scientists and prevent them from speaking on politically inconvenient topics. I think Canada has in fact been among the worst offenders. There was some protest against that, but overall there has not been as much uproar as one would expect. The problem is that if academia begins to heavily censor itself on topics having to do with gender, race, etc., that will establish an overall intellectual climate in which it will be even easier for governments and corporation to enforce ideological purity on other topics. Think about it a little bit and you will easily see why.

      This is also something that happened under totalitarian regimes in the previous century -- there was the official ideology, that was not to be questioned, but there were also many other extremely stupid ideas (and that varied from place to place) that were not challenged even though they had little or nothing to do with that ideology (or even sometimes contradicted it).

      You cannot restrict people's right to free expression on just one topic -- that sort of thing tends to spill over into everything else.

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    8. "Who said any aspect of this was not open to debate?"

      The video-d person who said there aren't any real or substantive differences between Dawkins and his detractors and who has suggested women and other non-entities take one for the team and quiet down so the movement (and, most importantly, its leaders) can be better served; and the blog-type person, right here, airily dismissing issues of social justice as tedious, academic fodder for "purity" wars. Two different strategies to silence Dawkins critics: you can't mean what you think you mean, and even if you do, it makes no real difference to anyone who counts.

      Dawkins has not been robbed of his speech, figuratively or literally. No one is obligated to host him. No one is censoring him. He had no problem removing Rebecca Watson from the dais when she dared disagree with him, so the thorny problem of a dis-invitation you're suggesting is, even from his own perspective, non-existent. Goose, sauce, contrarianism.

      As for Moran being gagged, where do you think we are? Do you all not understand that criticism is not the hindrance of speech but the expansion of it? Where is your skepticism? Where is your reason?

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    9. Georgi Marinov wrote:

      ...people will begin to self-censor.

      Good for them! When is the last time you used the "N-word" in public?

      The fact of the matter is that some ideas are bad. They've been discussed a zillion times, and they're still lousy ideas. They've been exercised and tested, and found wanting. There's no need to mourn their loss, or to try to treat them as equally valid as competitive ideas. This isn't a slippery slope into totalitarianism, it is instead how the "marketplace of ideas" is supposed to work.

      And there's nothing totalitarian about not wanting to associate with people whose ideas you abhor. If there were, then it'd be "totalitarian" for NAACP conferences to refuse entrance to hooded KKK members.

      And conflating conference organizers and/or university executives with state governments is, of course, a cowardly and underhanded way to try to make your point.

      In fact they already are -- note Larry's comment above about the need to avoid certain topics.

      Indeed, but note the basis for that avoidance. Dr. Moran says he should probably "avoid the sensitive issues" ... "because I said some pretty stupid things here." You're claiming that his avoidance of saying stupid things about sensitive issues is self-censorship? Well then, bravo for self-censorship! I celebrate Dr. Moran's freedom to choose to silence himself on certain topics.

      Of course, this doesn't just apply to "sensitive" issues. I self-censor constantly for fear of the consequences. If I were to, say, start talking about the Aztec Empire, about which I know almost nothing, the consequences would be for knowledgeable people to call me ignorant or worse. I don't want that, so I don't say anything about the Aztecs.

      Self-censorship is awesome. You should try it sometime.

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    10. Saurs,

      "The video-d person who said there aren't any real or substantive differences between Dawkins and his detractors and who has suggested women and other non-entities take one for the team and quiet down so the movement (and, most importantly, its leaders) can be better served; and the blog-type person, right here, airily dismissing issues of social justice as tedious, academic fodder for "purity" wars. Two different strategies to silence Dawkins critics: you can't mean what you think you mean, and even if you do, it makes no real difference to anyone who counts."

      No, Saurs. Those people were expressing their opinions. That is in fact part of debate.

      "Dawkins has not been robbed of his speech, figuratively or literally. No one is obligated to host him. No one is censoring him."
      Yes, I know, I said that.

      "As for Moran being gagged, where do you think we are?"
      I never said Moran was gagged.

      "Do you all not understand that criticism is not the hindrance of speech but the expansion of it?"

      Yes, I do.
      So why did you say in response to Moran's criticism:

      "Why do you want to restrict free speech?"

      Moran wasn't restricting anyone's free speech. He was exercising his own.

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  6. PZ Myers has a different take on it, and I lean more toward his side. Dawkins has said a fair number of bizarre and tone-deaf things, and I'm not talking about evolutionary biology here. It would be best to discuss the specifics with him, calmly and rationally. I don't think Dalton's contribution is useful.

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    1. OMG!!! Richard Dawkins said some tone-deaf things!!!

      Let's lynch him because that's what we do to atheists who don't completely agree with everything we stand for.

      Someone said something insensitive on Twitter ... get the torches.

      I think that PZ has said quite a few bizarre and tone-deaf things but I don't turn it into world war III just because he's an atheist like me.

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    2. Are you aware of the details of what happened two weeks ago?

      If not, you should look into it.

      This has been extremely disturbing to watch unfold.

      And he was making a perfectly valid point -- the feminists have indeed allied with the islamists in trying to silence dissenting voices, and this is very telling about the nature of their movement circa 2015-6.

      The fact that he got crucified for it only helps make his point even more forcefully.

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    3. Are you aware of the details of what happened two weeks ago?

      I am.

      This has been extremely disturbing to watch unfold.

      It reminds me a lot of the attacks on Tim Hunt.

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    4. I wasn't replying to you, sorry for the miscommunication.

      The Tim Hunt situation was horrible too. And the Matt Taylor one before that. And many others.

      Again, illustrating Dawkins' point.

      I've been watching these things happen for a while now and I am horrified. Do I want to work in a university when one walks on eggshells all the time in fear for his job because the thought police has taken full control of everything? That's where we seem to be going.

      Also, how long will it be before they move from enforcing their ideology on social media and within the humanities to enforcing it on science too? I don't know how much you know about current feminist, race, queer theory, etc. I took some time to look into what's going on there (a long time before this latest episode), and it was terrifying -- it in many ways goes against science just much as creationism. The main difference is that creationists are a laughing stock and not in the university while those fields have whole departments in every university and plenty of time on their hands for activism. So how long before they come for the science itself? I can think of a fairly long list of very politically incorrect from a feminist perspective conclusions in evolutionary biology...

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    5. Georgi: the feminists have indeed allied with the islamists in trying to silence dissenting voices, and this is very telling about the nature of their movement circa 2015-6.

      Total bullshit. What's your negative control, Georgi? It's immensely easier to associate ANTI-feminists with Muslims. It's the ANTI-feminists who agree more closely with Islamic extremism, like not letting women vote. More and more right wing nuts say don't let women vote.

      I'm sick of people criticizing X by associating X with Muslims. Like Muslims are some kind of turd, you smear a thing with "Muslim" and now it's untouchable.

      Dawkins links to a disgusting little smear video, then he adds the caveat 'of course not all feminists.' Actually, almost none of them, Richard.

      The moronic video in question says feminists love Islamists. Bullshit. The feminazi in the video says, "It's not rape if a Muslim does it!" Nope, not an intelligent criticism.

      Do we have to smear everybody we disagree with by screaming "Them Muslims!"

      I'm not going to demonize Dawkins, I agree with him on some things. But this isn't an intelligent, or fair, critique of feminism.

      If you critical method is 'smear with Islamism', that's a moronic criticism. Isn't intelligent criticism a reasonable request?

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    6. OMG!!! Richard Dawkins said some tone-deaf things!!!

      Let's lynch him because that's what we do to atheists who don't completely agree with everything we stand for.


      Larry, that's just the sort of intemperate posturing that has obscured any real discussion. PZ Myers has said similar things, but not this time.

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    7. Total bullshit. What's your negative control, Georgi?

      I wasn't aware this was supposed to be a controlled experiment. While you're at it, tell the same to geologists looking at geological layers.

      It's immensely easier to associate ANTI-feminists with Muslims. It's the ANTI-feminists who agree more closely with Islamic extremism, like not letting women vote. More and more right wing nuts say don't let women vote.

      It is clear that you are not familiar with what is going on. Feminists have indeed supported islamists when trying to shut down dissenting voices. Empirical fact. Does that mean that ALL feminists have done son? No. But some did, and it wasn't just the Goldsmith University feminist society.

      Also, the video in question was parodying not just that alliance but the refusal of intersectional feminism to go after Islam with the same fervor it goes after shirts, Nobel laureates, or Dawkins. Because in their mind there is an hierarchy of oppression, and while white western males on top of it and to blame for everything, how different groups situate on the lower layers of the pyramide is not well established. For some reason they have decided that being muslims beats being a white westerm women in the oppression olympics, but that had to be rationalized somehow.

      The end result was that after what happened in Cologne on New Year's eve there were several feminist articles literally saying "It isn't Islam to blame, it's men", as if German men have been mass raping German women on every New Year's eve in the past. Again, objective empirical fact.

      That is what that video was a reaction to.

      I'm sick of people criticizing X by associating X with Muslims. Like Muslims are some kind of turd, you smear a thing with "Muslim" and now it's untouchable.

      Why the word switch? I was talking about Islam and Islamists, you are talking about "Muslims". I am sure people reading this will appreciate the difference.

      Dawkins links to a disgusting little smear video, then he adds the caveat 'of course not all feminists.' Actually, almost none of them, Richard.

      How is the video disgusting? It's satire and it makes very valid points. What I find disgusting is the original Big Red video. If you haven't watched it, make sure you do.

      I haven't seen a feminist criticize it, if anyting they are defending her.

      The moronic video in question says feminists love Islamists. Bullshit. The feminazi in the video says, "It's not rape if a Muslim does it!" Nope, not an intelligent criticism.

      Again, the video is satire. Satire often is based on hyperbole, and not should not be judged the same way we read a scientific paper where everything has to be taken literally. The fact that so many people conveniently forgot that is also very telling.

      Do we have to smear everybody we disagree with by screaming "Them Muslims!"

      How is that relevant to the case?

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    8. I'm not going to demonize Dawkins, I agree with him on some things. But this isn't an intelligent, or fair, critique of feminism.

      I am curious what is an intelligent critique of feminism according to you. I have yet to see a feminist react to any critique of feminism with anything but an apoplectic fit. I am actually genuinely curious to see a counterexample if you can find one. Everyone who dares criticize it is immediately labelled "misogynists", "MRA", "scum", "slime", etc., even when they make perfectly valid and reasoned points. I have long ago stopped reading PZ's blog but after this latest fiasco I went there to see what level the craziness has reached. There were people making resonable arguments to which the regular posters there replied with yelling profanities at them (Big Red style). Guess who ws banned.

      If you critical method is 'smear with Islamism', that's a moronic criticism. Isn't intelligent criticism a reasonable request?

      The video was not an attempt to "smear with Islamism", it was exposing the hypocrisy and internal logical inconsistency of intersectional feminism. There is a significant difference between the two things.


      While we're on the subject of internal inconsistencies -- Big Red is a shining example of another one. Feminists have been pushing for "safe spaces", "trigger warnings" and other BS of the sort. The lists of "trigger warnings" invariably include pretty much anything related to sex as well as the use of profanities. However Big Red screaming "fuckface" in the face of people, PZ's minions in the comment section doing the same to those who disagree with them (who themselves use very polite language), or students protesting imaginary oppression on campus yelling profanities in the face of their professors is somehow OK. There seems to be a contradiction there unless they are willing to admit that their approach is "It's OK when we do it but don't you dare challenge us". Rational and reasonable people hate hypocrisy.

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    9. I can think of a fairly long list of very politically incorrect from a feminist perspective conclusions in evolutionary biology...

      Oh, really? Evolutionary *Biology* you say? What, like Haldane's Rule is anti-feminist? I'm sure you can find "evolutionary psychology" stories that are pretty sexist, but that's not the same thing as actual *biology* with real biological evidence.

      I am curious what is an intelligent critique of feminism according to you.

      You are assuming that an "intelligent critique of feminism" is something that exists. Do you think an "intelligent critique of racial equality" is something that exists too?

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    10. Oh, really? Evolutionary *Biology* you say? What, like Haldane's Rule is anti-feminist? I'm sure you can find "evolutionary psychology" stories that are pretty sexist, but that's not the same thing as actual *biology* with real biological evidence.

      So basically if I do give you some examples, I will be labelled a misogynist?

      You are assuming that an "intelligent critique of feminism" is something that exists.

      Thank you for making my point for me.

      Do you think an "intelligent critique of racial equality" is something that exists too?

      Let's imagine there were in fact innate differences in, for example, intelligence, between people from different parts of the globe (there is no evidence to suggest that right now, but I am making a hypothetical argument; after all, there are observable innate differences in desirable physical traits between different populations). Or, while we're at it, between the sexes? Surely, we would like to know that, investigate it, and understand it in detail if we were truly after obtaining objective truth?

      Would we be able to that in today's intellectual climate? I don't think so, it looks to me like that is a closed off-limits subject, and you just demonstrated it once again.

      That is a problem -- nothing should be be off limits to inquiry.

      P.S. People play very dishonest language games with the terms. When it is convenient for them, "feminism" is defined as "fighting for equality between the sexes". There is a very serious problem with what exactly is meant by
      "equality" in that definition (equality of opportunity or equality of outcomes?), but let's ignore that for a second, it is more important to note that when phrased like that it is indeed true that nobody can be against feminism.

      But then the meaning of the term switches and we're talking about third-wave intersectional feminism, which has a lot more very deeply problematic intellectual baggage consisting of deep internal inconsistencies, tons of postmodernist nonsense and frequent outright denial of objective scientific facts. This is on a purely intellectual level. Then come the totalitarian ideological nature of the real-life movement, its assault on free speech and free inquiry, and the obvious misandry of many of its followers.

      This is what people have a problem with when they criticize feminism, because this is what most feminism is about today.

      But, of course, it is easier to switch the meaning of the term and accuse people of being cavemen then to actually engage with the arguments.

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    11. So basically if I do give you some examples, I will be labelled a misogynist?

      Not necessarily. Only that "just-so" EP examples don't cut it. We are both practicing biologists and I think we both know the difference between evolutionary biology, with its vast mathematical and genetic grounding, and EP story-telling, which can be used to rationalize any position without any real scientific evidence whatsoever.

      Let's imagine there were in fact innate differences in, for example, intelligence, between people from different parts of the globe (there is no evidence to suggest that right now, but I am making a hypothetical argument; after all, there are observable innate differences in desirable physical traits between different populations). Or, while we're at it, between the sexes? Surely, we would like to know that, investigate it, and understand it in detail if we were truly after obtaining objective truth?

      It isn't as if people haven't been looking for such evidence for hundreds of years already. It doesn't seem to be a very fruitful path of research. Eventually people have to accept that the null hypothesis of racial and sexual equality hasn't been rejected and move on to other things.

      People play very dishonest language games with the terms. When it is convenient for them, "feminism" is defined as "fighting for equality between the sexes".

      That's literally all it means. Your problem is that you are assuming that everything that a given person who identifies themselves as "feminist" believes in is part of "feminism". It's not. It's the same thing with atheism. Some atheists like Hitchens supported the Iraq War, but the arguments to the effect that people who rejected the war should also reject atheism were specious. People who dislike wars or postmodernism should attack those, not atheism or feminism.

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    12. Not necessarily. Only that "just-so" EP examples don't cut it. We are both practicing biologists and I think we both know the difference between evolutionary biology, with its vast mathematical and genetic grounding, and EP story-telling, which can be used to rationalize any position without any real scientific evidence whatsoever.

      Three things to note:

      1) That there has been a lot of bad science in E-P should not be used as an argument against the existence of E-P as a field of inquiry. That behavior is influenced by genetic factors is an indisputable fact. It is not easy to understand how because it's a slippery subject, but it should be studied, just a bit more rigorously.

      2) There are much worse offenders in that category (of legitimate fields of inquiry that are unfortunately often practiced as a pseudoscience). Economics is chief among them (mainstream economics is founded on several baseless assertions that are taken to be absolute truth; and everything proceeds from there often with the goal of affirming already preconceived ideologies). The problem is that I don't see as much overlap between the people who criticize mainstream economics for being a pseudoscience and those who criticize E-P as one would expect if the motivation behind the criticism stemmed from the idealistic desire for doing proper science all the time. Which makes me think that the motivation comes from elsewhere.

      3) Following that line of reasoning, if you rail against E-P, then what does that make of feminist, queer, etc. "theories"? If E-P is bad science, surely you would agree that those in comparison are somewhere on the level of coffee beans fortune telling? Which is where I am approaching the issue from (again, you should not ignore what I said about the language games people play as you just did)

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    13. 1) Behavioral genetics is a real field, yes. But it involves, you know, actual genetics. It isn't clear if EP has anything to add whatsoever to that.

      2) No. Have you even taken a single semester of economics? I have. It's surprisingly similar to population genetics. It's not just about "affirming already preconceived ideologies". Standard economic theory does make some pretty absurd assumptions, I agree, but its not terribly different from assuming independently assorted genes. And like with genetics, the way to get ahead in economics is to make a model that fits the data better.

      3) Those are theories in the humanities. They aren't scientific theories nor claim to be. They basically are about reading literature in the context of being female and/or gay.

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    14. So how long before they come for the science itself?

      They already did. I see it around me. Lots of meetings about how mistreated and ignored women are, people boycotting symposia if they have more male presenters than female presenters ...

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    15. Georgi Marinov wrote, "I have yet to see a feminist react to any critique of feminism with anything but an apoplectic fit. I am actually genuinely curious to see a counterexample if you can find one. Everyone who dares criticize it is immediately labelled "misogynists", "MRA", "scum", "slime", etc., even when they make perfectly valid and reasoned points."

      Georgi, you're obviously upset about this, but take a deep breath and listen a moment. I'm a feminist, have been since I knew about the issues 50 years ago, and I don't react to criticisms of feminism with "an apoplectic fit," even when the criticisms are stupid, as they often are.

      Some modern feminists are loudly and noisily engaged in a too-broad and inadequately-thought-out defense of Islam. That makes me angry. Just like I'm angry when environmentalists make stupid arguments about hunting (necessary for controlling some populations) or GMO's (usually harmless, so save the protests for the few that aren't). And I'm not going to have "an apoplectic fit" about those things, either.

      Why does it matter what this single feminist and environmentalist does? Because you've overgeneralized and offended potential at least one potential ally. This is stupid. Unlike the creatards we argue with here, you're smart. Do better.

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    16. Yes, I am upset.

      As I pointed above, I make a distinction between the "feminism" of old times and "third wave intersectional feminism", while being aware that most "feminism" today is "third wave intersectional feminism", which means that circa 2016 the two terms have come to mean the same thing.

      I don't see how anyone in the hard sciences can be anything but anti-feminist if we are to understand "feminism" as "third wave intersectional feminism". There is just too much anti-scientific pseudoprofound BS there.

      However when you say that, people are quick to switch to the definition of "feminism" as "being against sexism and fighting for equality" and to label you as a misogynist and a sexist pig. While indeed being dead serious about the lunacy that is intersectional third wave feminism.

      That's all.

      I am also really upset with the intersectional feminist concept that white males all share some sort of original sin that they have to pay for for the rest of their lives. And I am not exaggerating when I say that they think that. They really do. It should be obvious why I would be upset in general, and if you want to go there, personally too (first, I was born in the mid 1980s thus I have absolutely nothing to do with anything that has happened prior to that, second I might be white and male, but I come from a place where white Christian people were legally second class people for a good part of the second millennium A.D; thus I am particularly aware of the insanity of the whole thing).

      P.S. I've never felt the need to label myself a feminist -- for the simple reason that for most of my life it had never occurred to me that women might be lesser that men beyond the clear sexually dimorphic traits we are all aware of (or should be aware of; such obvious facts about human biology have not prevented some feminists from claiming that an woman would be competitive in male weightlifting/wrestling/athletics/basketball/you name it, if it only wasn't for the patriarchy molding her mind into not putting the necessary effort from a young age -- I am not kidding or exaggerating, I have seen that). If anything, the feminists have made me aware of that possibility (even if there is no evidence to support it).

      Delete
    17. Georgi, In my opinion, people who really think women are and should be legally and otherwise are feminists -- people who believe in and sometimes even act for rights for women. Fair, open-minded people generally are feminist in this sense, as apparently are you. It shouldn't really be the kind of thing one has to claim, just as one shouldn't need to claim that one is anti-litter or pro-education.

      Whatever lunacy "intersectional third wave feminists" are committing, many feminists, I venture to guess even most feminists (though probably not the loudest feminists) are pretty much sane and reasonable. We get pedantic on this website about terminology regarding DNA and evolution, and for good reason. I think that if you're angry at "intersectional third wave feminism" (and it sounds like you have some reason to be), it's reasonable to be precise in your terminology and restrict the anger to that. You've been writing in ways that conflate it with all efforts to seek full equality (but not identity) for women. You sound, to a non-intersectional, non-third wave feminist, to be setting up a strawman argument. The fact that you do have some legitimate criticisms is all the more reason not to do that. Your valid criticisms will get lost.

      Delete
    18. Georgi wrote:

      I am also really upset with the intersectional feminist concept that white males all share some sort of original sin that they have to pay for for the rest of their lives. And I am not exaggerating when I say that they think that. They really do.

      I read a bunch of feminist writers. Name a dozen feminists who think what you claim they really think. Let's see some empirical facts, please.

      Besides, I would call anyone who made such claims a female supremacist with all the negative connotations that term includes.

      Delete
    19. Let's see what we have here:

      http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Feminist_link_roundup

      I click this link:

      https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/faq-what-is-male-privilege/

      And I see the following:

      Male privilege is a set of privileges that are given to men as a class due to their institutional power in relation to women as a class. While every man experiences privilege differently due to his own individual position in the social hierarchy, every man, by virtue of being read as male by society, benefits from male privilege.

      There is also a link to this:

      http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html

      Where we read that:

      I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.

      Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"


      After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are justly seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

      My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow them to be more like us.


      And later:

      I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them.

      You can read through this too, there are many howlers there:

      http://blog.shrub.com/check-my-what/

      We can also go here:

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Privilege#Privilege_blindness

      Where we read that:

      Furthermore, the misconception that intersectional factors can "cancel out" privilege of one sort or another ("I don't have white privilege because I'm poor" or "I don't have male privilege because I'm not white") disregards that life would probably be different if that privileged intersection were to go away or stop being rewarded by society

      Etc. etc.

      There is also the infamous microaggressions list:

      http://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/seminars/Tool_Recognizing_Microaggressions.pdf

      Which includes this little gem:

      “I believe the most qualified person should get the
      job.”

      Delete
    20. Ah, Georgi, you're using "pay for" and "original sin" in bizarre ways.

      My mother-in-law learned and internalized in childhood how she'd be expected to do the "women's work" in her family. And when she and her husband could no longer survive on his income alone, she went to work, but still was expected to do all the "women's work" around the house when she got home, because her husband learned and internalized the same lessons. When he got home from work, it was all beer and TV and "when's dinner gonna be ready?" while she cooked and cleaned and wiped the kids' noses.

      So when my mother-in-law is at my house, and starts doing "women's work," I stop her and do it. Her life was filled with male privilege, and I do what I can to lessen its effects now, because I recognize that she didn't deserve the crap drilled into her brain, and I didn't do anything to deserve the relative life of ease than I was born into. I am able to bring things a teensy tiny bit more into balance, so why shouldn't I?

      You want to call that paying for some alleged original sin? I don't. It's not my fault that mom had a crappier life than she should have, and I don't act out of guilt at being more privileged than she. The dishes need to be done by someone, I'm able to do them adequately, I'm not in competition with my mother-in-law for any potential monetization of my spare time, and I don't apologize to her when I don't have time to do the "women's work."

      I think you're reading stuff into the links you've posted that doesn't exist. Or you're at least interpreting it through heavily clouded lenses.

      And I'm not sure you understand what "micro" means.

      Delete
    21. Dave weiblen,
      You're such a nice person, you should get a medal for washing the dishes!
      If you think you've got an easy life, good for you. Don't assume the male privilege guilt bs is shared by all xy's

      Delete
    22. Of course, zumb. I don't feel guilty about my privilege, so I don't assume anyone should, either.

      If you think pointing out unearned privileges is intended to make you feel guilty, then you're missing the point. And that explains your confusion about why I wash dishes.

      Delete
  7. A bizarre post. The problems people have with Richard Dawkins are completely unrelated to his politeness and respectfulness when discussing your perennial scientific hobbyhorses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, they are not completely unrelated.

      The Richard Dawkins I know is nothing like the one that's being pilloried on social media.

      Delete
    2. You mean that the Richard Dawkins you know is nothing like the one that's tweeting stupid shit, perhaps.

      Delete
    3. Lot's of people tweet stupid shit from time to time. Most of us avoid the sensitive issues where our tweets can be easily misinterpreted. I should probably do the same thing on my blog because I said some pretty stupid things here.

      Dawkins seems to lack the filters that most of us use to avoid antagonizing certain groups and he seems to be unaware of the cultural differences that get him into trouble.

      That does not make him an evil person whose reputation has to be dragged though the mud just to prove that you are a superior being who's on the "right" side of the issue.

      Delete
    4. That does not make him an evil person whose reputation has to be dragged though the mud just to prove that you are a superior being who's on the "right" side of the issue.

      More of the intemperate nonsense that unhinges any rational discussion. Nobody that I know of is saying Dawkins is an evil person; no mud-dragging; and your characterization of motive is bizarre. Please stop.

      Delete
    5. He is a bad communicatyor - at least when he is on twitter and in interviews.
      But the onus of communicating is on the one communicating. If you say something that is reasonable to understand in one way, but you truly meant something else entirely, its your fault, not the fault of the people you communicate with.
      Dawkins showed a picture of child killing a prisoner, in conjunction with talking about clock boy, and people understood it as if he compared clock boy to the killer. that was a reasonable assumption to make, but Dawkins is shocked, shocked, that people understand stuff lke normal people, and thriugh his veil of cold logic. So he does not apologize, or even admit that he fucked up - no the fault is all in the everyone else.
      This is his pattern, and that is as much a problem as his silly tweets. He doesn't seem to be able to understand how communication works, and he seems unable to put aside his own biases.
      I'm not saying he is unique this way, but it is strange that people try to defend him from criticism, when Dawkins himself criticizes people more harshly for way smaller infractions than he himself is gulty of.

      Delete
    6. John,

      Are you saying that you agree that Dawkins should be uninvited for a conference because he linked to a youtube video that makes fun of one of the nastiest "feminists" out there and compares her to extremist Muslims?

      Delete
    7. @Photosynthesis

      You seem to be wanting to interpret the video as favourably as possible (a possible bias here?) when it is not at all clear from the context of the video whether it is supposed to be a slur against all feminists or just one feminist in particular.

      Also given Dawkins' antagonism towards moderates like Rebecca Watson, I get the impression that he really does think this gross video applies to some feminists who would be attending NECSS

      Delete
    8. That cartoon is not making fun of one feminist, photosynthesis. It literally says "Feminists [plural] love Islamists." That's the title, fer crissakes.

      I've seen the actual Big Red video (Georgi should watch it.) Where does Big Red say she loves Islamists, and 'we have so much in common', and 'It's not rape if Muslims do it'? Big Red says 'Patriarchy, patriarchy' and 'f$%&face, f$%&face.' She never says 'Islamist.' The cartoon is titled 'Feminists [plural] love Islamists.'

      I don't care if Dawkins tweeting it is sexist. He's said anti-sexist things in the past, OK. I don't care if it's offensive. Everything offends somebody. I do care that it's moronic.

      The cartoon is literally below the intellectual level of the anti-evolution, anti-gay comic books by fundamentalist Jack Chick. Literally, Jack Chick's "Big Daddy" is like "War and Peace" compared to this garbage.

      I wouldn't disinvite Dawkins for being sexist. I'd disinvite him for being boring. The 40% of the time he's right, he's boring. We have to slog through this moronic stuff in hopes that he'll be right about something some time... and when that happens, and he finally says something accurate, it will be pedestrian.

      Delete
    9. That cartoon is not making fun of one feminist, photosynthesis. It literally says "Feminists [plural] love Islamists." That's the title, fer crissakes.

      Again, ever heard of hyperbole? It's a satirical cartoon pointing out some the most idiotic things feminists have said and done in the last few years. That's all.

      I've seen the actual Big Red video (Georgi should watch it.)

      I have. Years ago. Very strange comment.

      Where does Big Red say she loves Islamists, and 'we have so much in common', and 'It's not rape if Muslims do it'? Big Red says 'Patriarchy, patriarchy' and 'f$%&face, f$%&face.' She never says 'Islamist.' The cartoon is titled 'Feminists [plural] love Islamists.'

      Big Red is used as the embodiment of rabid feminism. You have to put a face to it if you're going to make a cartoon. It is not about Big Red herself.

      The fact that so many people failed to understand these very obvious facts is very telling -- people are just not approaching the subject rationally.

      Delete
    10. Georgi... I don't know if you're familiar with Sargon of Akkad but he isn't known for being able to draw a distinction between moderate feminists and the feminists he hates. His video in his mind would have been about all feminists.

      This shouldn't be too difficult to understand given that there are plenty of youtubers who have built their fan base upon stereotyping and bashing feminists.

      Delete
    11. @Ace,

      You seem to be wanting to interpret the video as favourably as possible (a possible bias here?)

      Of course I have a bias. I tend towards reason. I think that the kind of "feminism" represented by that red-haired idiot deserves nothing but mockery. I truly don't understand why people become blind when stupidity acts in the name of something that sounds very superficially like "equality."

      when it is not at all clear from the context of the video whether it is supposed to be a slur against all feminists or just one feminist in particular.

      If the boot fits.

      Also given Dawkins' antagonism towards moderates like Rebecca Watson,

      So you think that Dawkins deserves to be shun because he might have imagined Rebecca Watson as such a nuts "feminist"? (We could discuss if she's "moderate," but I rather not.)

      I get the impression that he really does think this gross video applies to some feminists who would be attending NECSS

      I agree that he might think that it applies to some of them. It might as well apply. So what?

      Delete
    12. Diogenes,

      As Georgi said, and:

      That cartoon is not making fun of one feminist, photosynthesis. It literally says "Feminists [plural] love Islamists." That's the title, fer crissakes.

      I know. It's not just about that one, but all the ones of her "kind." As I said, if the boot fits.

      I've seen the actual Big Red video (Georgi should watch it.) Where does Big Red say she loves Islamists, and 'we have so much in common', and 'It's not rape if Muslims do it'?

      You seem to have trouble with satire.

      The cartoon is literally below the intellectual level of the anti-evolution, anti-gay comic books by fundamentalist Jack Chick. Literally, Jack Chick's "Big Daddy" is like "War and Peace" compared to this garbage.

      The video-maker purposely makes fun and tries to be offensive and distasteful. I have felt nauseated myself by the bad taste of some of the videos. Not all of them for everyone. So what? It is still ridiculous to judge Dawkins on the basis of a link to this particular video.

      I wouldn't disinvite Dawkins for being sexist. I'd disinvite him for being boring.

      If that's the case, then you would not invite him in the first place. Right?

      The 40% of the time he's right, he's boring. We have to slog through this moronic stuff in hopes that he'll be right about something some time... and when that happens, and he finally says something accurate, it will be pedestrian.

      I get it. You don't like the guy. But he wasn't disinvited because you don't like him. He was disinvited because some idiots felt offended by the video. That makes the organizers complicit with idiocy.

      Delete
    13. I have nothing per se against intelligent criticism of feminism, and I acknowledge that, in principle, such a thing could conceivably exist like a magnetic monopole, but like the monopole, it has never been observed. Theoretical possibility is not enough. We must actually observe an intelligent criticism of feminism before we believe in its existence.

      Photosynthesis says: the kind of "feminism" represented by that red-haired idiot deserves nothing but mockery

      That would be nice, but we're not going to get it, are we!? Not from Dawkins, and not from Sargon of Akkad!

      The Sargon cartoon does not mock "the kind of "feminism" represented by that red-haired idiot". The tile here is "Feminists [plural] love Islamists." The title is not "the kind of "feminist" represented by that red-haired idiot loves Islamists." It's "Feminists [plural] love Islamists."

      Hey guys, how many feminists do you think there are in the USA alone? Tens of millions? Love Islamists, do they?

      Almost no lines within the text are parodies or satire of anything Big Red said, except I think the word "patriarchy" appears in there, and that's it.

      But even here, Big Red's idea of "patriarchy" isn't even mocked in the cartoon. The gag is in the title, "Feminists love Islamists". There are no lines or gags pointing out, e.g., sloppy illogical thinking in she defined "patriarchy" or her hypocrisy in how it's applied (of course not!)

      Rather, Big Red appears in the cartoon because the cartoonist

      1. wants to smear ALL feminists with a turd, and the best turd nowadays to smear anything with is Islamism,

      2. Big Red's annoying as hell and unattactive, so

      3. Let's unite them, not based on logic, but on emotional revulsion. Because the first rule of the COMPLETE IDIOT is "If two things produce in me the same emotional reaction, THEY ARE THE SAME THING."

      BullSHIT! That's a propaganda technique to get people to feel emotional revulsion (not logical analysis) by associating an opponent with something agreed to be revolting. The idea of propaganda is basically the scene in "Clockwork Orange" where Alex is shown movies of sex while being made chemically ill. You associate visceral nausea with the thing you're training the viewer against. It's Pavlovian programming, not intelligent analysis.

      No, guys, this is not an intelligent criticism, NOT a parody and NOT a satire. It's Pavlovian, emotional conditioning.

      Here's a line you might see in a real parody:

      "All students on campus need a safe space where they feel welcomed and accepted and equal, so shut up now, you stupid fuckface!"

      Now THAT would be funny! And it would be a satire of Big Red. But no, what we actually get from our moron cartoonist is:

      Feminist: I say 'problematic'

      Islamist: And I say 'unquranic'

      Both: We have so much in commmmon!


      SNOPE. Not parody, not satire, just propaganda.

      Scientists will observe gravity waves before we observe an intelligent criticism of feminism.

      Delete
    14. Diogenes,

      The cartoon is not Sargon's.

      On everything else. I see that there's no reasoning about this with you. So that's it from me.

      Delete
    15. I concede that the humorless one was SyeTenAtheist and not Sargon! Big deal.

      Delete
    16. Ultimately all of these YouTube channels (whether it's Sargon, SyeTen or Thunderfoot) seem to be run by people with the emotional maturity of teenagers. Desperate for attention, they attempt to gain attention through bullying others.

      We seem to be playing fast and loose with the terms here once again, in this case "bullying"

      I am not aware of Thunderf00t, for example, ever screaming profanities in people's faces, just trying to have a reasoned and rational discussion of things (doesn't mean he doesn't use harsh language, but it's done in a very different way). But I am aware of Big Red and many others that deserve the SJW label doing exactly that.

      So who exactly deserves the label "bully"? And why is it that very objectionable behavior merits the label "victim" while a lot more benign people are labelled "bullies"?

      I am sure you have also seen the Yale Halloween video. That was one professor in the middle of a bunch of students around him, again telling him literally to shut the fuck up . Also notice how the student who does that removes her backpack and makes a move towards him:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEFD_JVYd0

      I would not be sure nobody would have touched me in that kind of situation if I was him.

      Also, note that they were allowed to do that without any consequences. But if he had responded in kind even just verbally, you know what would have happened to him.

      Big Red was in a similar situation in Toronto -- she was able to scream in people' faces because she knew fully well that they had no way to respond the way they should have, because had they done so, they would be in trouble, while for her there are no consequences.

      Take some time to reflect on the actual power dynamics in these situations, on the behavior of the players, and who deserves to be called a bully and who does not.

      Delete
    17. @photosynthesis

      You're right.. the video was originally made SyeTenAtheist and Sargon of Akkad was simply sharing a copy of it. I didn't realise this, but the exact same criticism applies to SyeTenAtheist - he seems to have the same problem of failing to draw a distinction between moderate feminists and the feminists he hates.

      In his description he writes:

      So what WOULD a feminist say on the subject of Muslim men raping Western women?

      Nobody knows.

      They don't talk about it.

      Ultimately all of these YouTube channels (whether it's Sargon, SyeTen or Thunderfoot) seem to be run by people with the emotional maturity of teenagers. Desperate for attention, they attempt to gain attention through bullying others. This seems to gain them some respect from other teenagers (and people with the maturity of teenagers) on YouTube but then they are baffled when adults in the real world don't give them the same respect. SyeTen writes that he found the response that his petty immature video got to be "infuriating".

      Even Dawkins removed his tweet when he realised these scum of the internet were bullying somebody in particular.

      Ultimately it's pretty obvious from the commentary from both SyeTen and Sargon that this video is not about "certain feminists". It's about the way that they see all feminists. Like it or not but portraying all feminists this way is a popular meme on YouTube.

      You seem to have a bias that makes you want to interpret this video in the most favourable light possible but ultimately if you have a look at the author's commentary it becomes obvious that this is not their intent and if you have a look at the history of the videos they've shared it becomes obvious that they hate all feminists.

      Ultimately this was a petty and immature video without nuance which attempted to portray all feminists as people who think all criticism of Islam is bigoted, even to the point where they would willingly be raped by an Islamist.

      There might be some feminists who have protested criticism of Muslims (such as at Goldsmiths university) but once again the reactionary crowd of feminist haters on YouTube got it wrong - the feminists weren't defending islamists, they were defending Muslims. Their issue is that Namazie doesn't restrict her criticism to radical or extreme Islam - she often goes out of her way to say that there cannot be a moderate or liberal branch of Islam.

      Now I'm a strong believer that universities should be bastions of free speech, so I don't agree with the actions of this feminist society. But the claim that they were defending islamists, mysogeny or rape is pure bullshit. Unfortunately fact checking is not something often done by people who promote news that confirms their biases.

      You write:

      "Of course I have a bias. I tend towards reason"

      I'm sorry to tell you this but you aren't special in your critical thinking abilities - you are just as prone to your biases as the rest of us.

      Delete
    18. @Georgi

      Nobody is saying that there aren't people who call themselves feminists who are also bullies. But justifying bullying by pointing this out is simply an example of the tu quoque fallacy.

      Big red might well be a bully, she might just have an anger problem but that doesn't justify other's actions. It doesn't justify the death threats she has received. It doesn't justify the rape threats she has received. It doesn't justify her name being dragged through the mud constantly. It doesn't justify the slurs she's received on her breasts or weight. It doesn't justify the hateful messages or the doxxing.

      Ultimately people need to grow the fuck up and realise the harm they cause when they behave like immature teenagers. And yes that applies to both feminist haters and feminist defenders.

      Delete
    19. the feminists weren't defending islamists, they were defending Muslims. Their issue is that Namazie doesn't restrict her criticism to radical or extreme Islam - she often goes out of her way to say that there cannot be a moderate or liberal branch of Islam.

      Fortunately for us, there is a video of her talk and what exactly the feminists were defending is out there for all to see.

      Delete
    20. @Georgi

      I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong so I'll look into this further. But keep in mind they were protesting based on what they believed she would talk about, based on the history of her talking points. Whether she ended up delivering a different narrative or not is beside the point because that was after the fact.

      Delete
    21. Scientists will observe gravity waves before we observe an intelligent criticism of feminism.

      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/09/watch-this-spacetime-gravitational-wave-discovery-expected

      Guess the way is now clear for that intelligent criticism. (If anyone thinks it's really needed - I find intelligent criticisms are most often specific rather than directed at huge worldwide groups of people. This stands to reason, since the greater number and variety of people, the less chance they all actually display particular characteristics that could be criticized intelligently.)

      Delete
    22. Here are examples of things MN has said in the past to illustrate that her criticism is not of islamists but rather one of all Muslims:

      - "Islam and political religion are constantly repackaged in a thousand ways to make this cultural relativism and appeasement more palatable for the western audience. There is now moderate Islam, Islamic reformism, Islamic human rights, Islamic feminism and Islamic democracy (oxymorons in my opinion)."

      - "The futile and ongoing support for a 'moderate' Islam"

      - "if Islamism is not Islam, well then people who’re telling me that Islam is something else should in fact tell the Islamists”"

      I find myself agreeing with her. I think all religions are ultimately repressive and I think that if Islam in it's most popular form were to spread it would be bad for women.

      At the same time there is a very real culture of hatred towards Muslims and this sort of language is often used as fuel for far right groups that like to bomb mosques and intimidate Muslims.

      I don't see any evidence of this feminist society defending mysogeny or rape within Islam. What I see is another ill-conceived attempt to defend those who are marginalised by attempting to limit the free speech of others. This is wrong, but there is no hint here of defending mysogeny, rape, Shariah law or Islamism. As far as I can tell that is a made-up slur against feminists.

      So to summarise, I find myself in the awkward position where I mostly agree with Namazie but I also worry about attitudes and intimidation towards Muslims. I think this feminist society is probably in a similar position but they seem to have the naive view that Islamic feminism is possible. I don't agree with their response towards people they disagree with but I see no evidence of them supporting mysogeny, rape or Islamism.

      Delete
    23. Ace,

      For some weird reason, people become quite irrational when it comes to breaking the PC "code." I know I have biases, that's why I wrote "I tend towards reason." I tend, I might not always succeed.

      However, so far no reason has been given to me other than the irrational gut-reaction to things like the video, or to the tweets by Dawkins. I found that supposed "article" that "responded" to Dawkins tweets, quite irrational too. Nothing in the tweets that the "article" posted was that bad or condemning for Dawkins. Dawkins found, as I do, the red-haired idiot to be deserving of mockery, yet he deleted the tweet because of the potential violence and threat. I found that to be quite a good attitude from him. Yet, he was still condemned! I suspect that no matter what Dawkins did afterwards. Go on his knees asking forgiveness, or whathaveyou, the end result would have been the very same. He would have been condemned, disinvited, and labeled a racist misogynist. Why? Because the condemnation is irrational.

      In the same vein, I rather not discuss if Rebecca Watson is a moderate feminist or not. I have read the stupid/horrendous shit she gets, and, should I say anything negative about her, I would get mistaken for that irrational lynch mob. Why so? Because reasoning becomes impossible once PC-ideology and idiots like those sending threats enter the discussion. It should't be like that, but it is. For example, you equate thunderf00t, SyeTenAtheist, and Sargon, to that idiotic lynch mob. But I have never seen them threatening anybody. Mocking and such, sure. But threatening or bullying? Nope.

      Anyway, I doubt that we can have a rational discussion about this. Too much emotion invested. So see ya.

      Delete
    24. Judmarc: "'Scientists will observe gravity waves before we observe an intelligent criticism of feminism.'

      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/09/watch-this-spacetime-gravitational-wave-discovery-expected

      Guess the way is now clear for that intelligent criticism."

      I love it!

      Delete
  8. "lynch", "crucified", "dragged through the mud"? What a load of utter, ludicrous, dishonest garbage. Dawkins has been criticised for a stream of stupid, offensive crap he's been spewing for several years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nonono. Criticizing what Richard Dawkins says is exactly like lynching him or starting World War III, while receiving death/rape threats for criticizing Dawkins is a part of that 3% where we differ that should be ignored like Brian Dalton says. Professor Moran should be congratulated on the politeness and respect he demonstrates by hitting the nail so squarely on the head.

      My goodness, don't you see that despite whatever he says voluntarily, in public, through a medium of his own choosing, Richard Dawkins' reputation is at stake here? If people point out all the crappy things he says, someone else might...

      ...Aw, hell, I can't keep that nonsense up.

      The idea, Larry, that people are doing harm to Dawkin's reputation "just to prove" their own tribal bona fides is as polite and respectful as Dawkins has been lately to anyone who doesn't side with him on "the issue": not at all.

      But I'm sure you'll consider the above criticism as part of a witch hunt against you, right? Got to keep comparing your (and Dawkins') critics to violent mobs, after all. It's the reasoned and rational thing to do. The kind of discussion Dawkins says he wants to have.

      Delete
  9. The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    etc.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "...What a load of utter, ludicrous, dishonest garbage. Dawkins has been criticised ..."

    Widespread calls for boycotts and blackballing of Dawkins followed his "Dear Muslima" comment - that's not "criticism" - it's a vindictive witch hunt. That one comment alone earned him permanent status as a "misogynist" in certain circles. And it has gotten worse in the years to follow.

    One can see this everywhere - how can you have missed it?

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    1. That one comment alone earned him permanent status as a "misogynist" in certain circles It wasn't that one comment alone, it was the continued insistence that he couldn't be sexist because he's too rational.

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    2. That's a definition of "misogynist" of which I am not familiar. Perhaps you would like to expand on that a little?

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    3. "... it was the continued insistence that he couldn't be sexist because he's too rational."

      This has not actually taken place anywhere. Prove me wrong.

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  11. I hope Dawkins makes a full and speedy recovery.

    https://www.facebook.com/IdeasAtTheHouse/posts/1148283941851441

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