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Feminism with atheism: two great tastes that go together.
November 24, 2009 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Amanda Marcotte on why atheism needs feminism.

Here she is earlier blogging about attending The Amazing Meeting, "a celebration of critical thinking and skepticism sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation:": "Having a meeting of skeptics at a casino is a great idea. A lot of the energy of skepticism is dedicated to understanding why people believe weird things, and you really couldn’t ask for a better illustration for certain theories than a casino." Among other interesting links from Marcotte is this one from Skeptifem on skepticism/atheism's Bill Maher problem.
posted by Mngo (154 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Everything needs feminism.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 5:26 PM on November 24, 2009 [38 favorites]


And blackjack. Feminism and blackjack.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Adding feminism really brings out the flavor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


"A spoonful of feminism makes the athiesm go down, atheism go down..."

sorry
posted by jonmc at 5:33 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Things Amanda Marcotte is good at and clearly knows a lot about: Feminism.

Things Amanda Marcotte is bad at and clearly needs work on: Writing sentences.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:35 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


A lot of the energy of my skepticism is dedicated to wondering why anyone would believe a weird thing like "calling our conference 'Amaz!ng' will make people take us seriously."

But maybe that's the point and I'm missing it.
posted by dersins at 5:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I actually think a lot of religions need feminism.
posted by bearwife at 5:36 PM on November 24, 2009 [16 favorites]


Oh, good timing on this post. By doing it two days before thanksgiving, that should give enough time to build up steam for the annual Thanksgiving/Holiday season feminism blowout thread.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Atheism needs feminism.

Bill Maher needs a man.

yes, you heard it here first
posted by klanawa at 5:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Remind me who needs the fish and bicycles again?
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some great quotes, in there, but also some seriously depressing notes.

When I was at The Amazing Meeting [Sorry, Randi, the fact that several prominent skeptics are also magicians isn't helping, and 'The Amazing Meeting' is even more ridiculous than 'Brights'], what was immediately obvious to me was that the movement is afraid of what they’d do without libertarians, in terms of numbers, and the problem with attracting libertarians is that you can’t offend their sexist/racist beliefs without them threatening to take their ball and go home. But because of this, the movement is missing a great opportunity to recruit women and people of color. It’s also inculcating an analysis of religion and belief in the supernatural that’s off-base, because it doesn’t incorporate feminism.

Libertarians.
posted by box at 5:41 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


"...skepticism/atheism's Bill Maher problem."

Right...

After reading this piece it appears to me that she either doesn't actually watch a lot of Bill Maher or that she's cherry picking from his material. He makes fun of every gender, ethnicity and creed. How this somehow makes him a racist and a misogynist as she claims is anybody's guess. The only problem I see here is Amanda Marcotte's humor problem.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:44 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I need fish and bicycles.
posted by klanawa at 5:44 PM on November 24, 2009


Things Amanda Marcotte is bad at and clearly needs work on: Writing sentences.

Clearly, this is based on the patrician view that there is a right way to write a sentence. Sexist as hell.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 5:45 PM on November 24, 2009


From the article:

I went to the movie “Religulous” and enjoyed it; however, it’s more than a little bit counterproductive to have a raging misogynist like Bill Maher be a leader in an atheist/agnostic movement. This is because you can’t really understand the rising tide of fundamentalism if you ignore its anti-feminist reactionary aspects. It’s far from a coincidence that fundamentalism rose up after women worldwide started to taste freedom of the likes we have not traditionally had and that fundamentalists are preoccupied with using the fear of female sexuality as a scare tactic to give them cover to oppress women.

Bill Maher is a raging misogynist? There's a rising tide of fundamentalism? It only rose up after started demanding equality?

I thought Maher was obnoxious, though smart, asshole, fundamentalism had been around for centuries and that's why women started demanding equality.

And dream on all you want but religious folks ain't giving up on their beliefs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 PM on November 24, 2009


Yeah, I don't think Bill Maher is a "raging misogynist" as much as he is a "dude who sometimes says some pretty misogynistic things, mostly to get a rise out of people." There's a difference here: One description can lead to productive conversation, the other leads to a shouting match. I won't deny that he says some things I find pretty distasteful sometimes, but that's no reason to toss the baby out with the bathwater and say he's a useless voice against the fundies.

But this, in a nutshell, is modern feminism's biggest problem: It often rejects potential allies because they're 90 percent in agreement instead of 100. Seriously, if we're calling one of the most popular liberal voices a raging misogynist, how the hell are we going to get through to the general public. Attack the words, sure, but remember the person is, for better or worse, on your side.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:58 PM on November 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


The only problem I see here is Amanda Marcotte's humor problem.

Aw hells! Just a few comments in and we've ALREADY got one of the classic tropes: "Hey women! Why can't you just take a joke?" Oh, right. That's a very good point! For example, just shortly after Shawne Merriman (allegedly) assaulted Tila Tequila, Bill Maher came up with this hilarious gem:

New rule: stop acting surprised someone choked Tila Tequila! The surprise is that someone hasn't choked this bitch sooner.

MY GOD I CAN'T STOP LAUGHING IT'S SO FUCKING HILARIOUS WHEN THOSE BITCHES GET CHOKED WHEN THEY DESERVE IT LOL! Come on, ladies! Why aren't you laughing? Why don't you laugh and laugh when dudes make fun of violence against women? Do you have some sort of humor problem?
posted by Frobenius Twist at 6:04 PM on November 24, 2009 [51 favorites]


Amanda Marcotte on why atheism needs feminism.

Hey it's the two postulates that almost always has me arguing with people I'm most like to agree with but they think they've found the ultimate truth and that's always a bummer so I find mind self writing run-on sentences when I should just shut up and drink.
posted by nola at 6:09 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I doubt he's advocating violence against women as much as noting that drama filled media personalities get mixed up in the crazy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Atheism doesn't need shit. Feminism is a movement. Atheism is a simple lack of belief. It doesn't need to be politicized.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:10 PM on November 24, 2009 [28 favorites]


fundamentalism had been around for centuries and that's why women started demanding equality.

Modern religious fundamentalism is a recent phenomenon that started as a consciously reactionary movement against liberal enlightenment values, feminism obviously included. For example, one of the biggest put downs in fundamentalism is to call someone a "secular humanist". The Wikipedia article on this is pretty good, especially on the american history of fundamentalism.
posted by afu at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's libertarianism that needs feminism (and vice-versa).
posted by ntk at 6:15 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mayor Curley: I don't think religion needs to be politicized, either, but it's kinda too late for that.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:16 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


counterproductive to have a raging misogynist like Bill Maher
[citation needed]

Christopher Hitchens is an even bigger dingbat, because his racism against non-white people has caused him to treat Islam as if it were a special threat.
[citation needed]

but a lot of his (Dawkins) atheist ideas stem directly from feminist analysis, sometimes radical feminist analysis.
[citation needed]

The belief that some people are lesser than others, and should be relegated to a servant class, is unscientific and irrational, and so religion is better for defending these beliefs than science
[citation needed]
posted by limited slip at 6:24 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


It may be a matter of simple numbers. It's a consistent finding in the sociology of religion literature that women are much more likely to be devout and less likely to be religiously skeptical than men.
posted by jonp72 at 6:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


The only problem I see here is Amanda Marcotte's humor problem. [..] For example, just shortly after Shawne Merriman (allegedly) assaulted Tila Tequila, Bill Maher came up with this hilarious gem

It strikes me now just how much our discourse leans upon the recognition of famous proper nouns. I feel like I've just cracked an oyster to find a Russian dollhouse, oysters all the way down.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:27 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


So, yeah, I also think that the Randi meetings tend toward the libertarian boyzone thing, and I think that's a bug, not a feature.

But I don't think Amanda Marcotte makes that point very well in this piece.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:27 PM on November 24, 2009


Things Amanda Marcotte is bad at and clearly needs work on: Writing sentences.
What's wrong with her sentences? They don't seem any worse then your average blogger.
A lot of the energy of my skepticism is dedicated to wondering why anyone would believe a weird thing like "calling our conference 'Amaz!ng' will make people take us seriously."
When I read Marcotte's peice earlier, I thought "The amazing meeting" was just a ironic nickname or something and the meeting simply had a kind of generic name. I'm amazed they actually called it that. That's not as bad as when they all decided to call themselves "brights" a while ago. Glad that never caught on.

The whole "Atheist advocacy" thing lately certainly has some annoying aspects. Like Christopher Hitchens being taken seriously, for one. They really come across like a bunch of bitter old men. And throwing Marcotte into the mix just adds a bitter young woman, not too much of an improvement.

I'd like to see secularists add some honey to the mix. Try to make Atheism seem fun and enjoyable, and for god sake you don't have to bash religion all the time. While I'm personally not religious, I don't really think that someone's religion turns them into a bad person. Just look at Ayn Rand and her Objectivists -- people who have built an atheistic religion around being assholes. There's nothing stopping religious people from being good, look at Ghandi or MLK.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Among fundamentalists, 'secular humanist' is a putdown? Like 'liberal,' or 'college boy,' or 'intellectual,' I guess...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:29 PM on November 24, 2009


Clearly, this is based on the patrician view that there is a right way to write a sentence. Sexist as hell.

Patriarchal. At least try to get the snark right.

limited slip: The world is not your Wikipedia. Sometimes people make assertions and you are welcome to do your own research if you want to claim otherwise.
posted by rusty at 6:30 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


"a celebration of critical thinking and skepticism..."

Ceeeeee-le-brate critical thinking and skepticism
COME ON!

it's a celebration to last throughout the year!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


It may be a matter of simple numbers.

Not in my own experience of in-person Amazing! Meeting attendance and participation on the JREF forums (under this very username). Although the majority of guys who are stalwarts in the Randi mishpocheh are awesome, there were a really annoying contingent of guys working very hard to maintain boyzone who alienated me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:30 PM on November 24, 2009


I'm also pretty sure that the "The Amazing! Meeting" name was originated by Randi's assistant Linda as a joke, and that it persists because people like it, not as some weird statement of superiority.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:32 PM on November 24, 2009


I can tell you with absolute authority that atheism doesn't need pants.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:32 PM on November 24, 2009


"After reading this piece it appears to me that she either doesn't actually watch a lot of Bill Maher or that she's cherry picking from his material. He makes fun of every gender, ethnicity and creed. How this somehow makes him a racist and a misogynist as she claims is anybody's guess."

So true! Maher isn't a misogynist; he's a misanthrope.
posted by oddman at 6:32 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Faithinism needs more emineminism?

I reckon we could all stand a bit less ismism.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


My atheism and (left) libertarianism have plenty of feminism, thanks, and they all get along just fine.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


rusty: I admit I didn't work on it very hard. You'll notice in my "secular humanist" comment I forgot "freethinker."

Work's a little busy tonight.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:39 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "skeptic" movement has to an extent hijacked atheism, especially in the US. I'm tempted to think of this as an American thing, there seems to be this American need to make every viewpoint or belief (or lack thereof) a "movement" and be really absolutist about it. This is probably just a horribly unfair stereotype on my part, but atheists, leftists, feminists, and a bunch of other groups in the US can't seem to just let a viewpoint be without pushing it and being total dicks about it.

And well, skeptics are dicks. They're dicks in the same way as libertarians/randroids are dicks (and this is because they're often the same people). It's that whole "I'm right about this and that makes me smarter than you and superior to you, and if you're not 100% in agreement with me, you're deserving of derision and ridicule, while I'm exempt from having to ever critically analyzing or having to doubt my own beliefs" attitude.

And, again, in the US, it seems to very frequently be mixed with some weird brand of conservatism. I once read The Cult of Alien Gods, an examination of the influence of H.P. Lovecraft's influence on alien astronaut theories and general UFO and New Age stuff. That's an interesting subject, but the book's full of mentions of the decline of western culture and derisive mentions of how pseudoscience was all the fault of women's and queer studies being allowed in universities, etc.

But as I mentioned above, the absolutism and black and white thinking evident in the skeptics and libertarians is also very much present in many US feminists and leftists. It's impossible to accept anyone who doesn't agree with you 100%, and god forbid there's a joke that should offend your sensibilities. Thing is, skeptics and libertarians are as sensitive to jokes that offend their belief systems as the "PC" people they like to criticize.

Now that I've probably pissed off every thinkable group, I should probably shut up. The point is, beware of anyone who lacks a sense of humor, be it on the left or the right. I'm an atheist and a leftist, and though I hesitate to call myself a feminist, because that label has associations I'm uncomfortable with, I'm a strong believer in women's rights, equal opportunity and salaries for women, more than a little queer, and so on. But have a fucking sense of humor about it, or you all turn into dicks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:41 PM on November 24, 2009 [17 favorites]


the book's full of mentions of the decline of western culture and derisive mentions of how pseudoscience was all the fault of women's and queer studies being allowed in universities, etc.


Holy cow. Just...guh. That's like overhearing that guy on the bus tell his friend about the time the aliens told him about Jesus (something I really did overhear once). If it weren't for my horse...
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:48 PM on November 24, 2009


What's wrong with her sentences?

Nothing, if you don't mind putting a finger on the screen to mark the beginning of each sentence, so you can remember where it started once you're 60 words and eight clauses into it.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


the fact that several prominent skeptics are also magicians isn't helping

It should not surprise you that people who are professionally engaged in trickery and illusion tend to be very interested in belief and disbelief.

Also I love how quickly people with indefensible beliefs go to the whole "WELL YOU'RE ALL DICKS" thing. My ideas my be horrifically offensive and impossible to defend, but PEOPLE WHO CALL ME OUT ON OR CRITICISE THEM ARE ASSHOLES! This is especially true of skepticism- there's still people who will defend credulousness and believing in things without any good reason for it, but mostly people just like to call skeptics assholes and feel good about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [13 favorites]



Nothing, if you don't mind putting a finger on the screen to mark the beginning of each sentence, so you can remember where it started once you're 60 words and eight clauses into it.


She writes like Henry James?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also I love how quickly people with indefensible beliefs go to the whole "WELL YOU'RE ALL DICKS" thing.

I think you're missing the point that Amanda Marcotte is herself an atheist and has blogged and written about that extensively. What she's trying to say here is "Please don't alienate your fellow atheists and/or skeptics who are female with the boyzone shenanigans."
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:56 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, it's "The Amazing Meeting" because it's organized by Randi and his stage name was "The Amazing Randi". It's a reference to one of the most beloved and admired skeptics in the movement/tendency/whatever, not a statement of hubris.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:57 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil, I was really referring to this thread as well as others. It wasn't aimed at Amanda Marcotte, whose blog I read regularly and enjoy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:57 PM on November 24, 2009


Ah, I get you now, Pope Guilty. Misparsed your comment.

And, yep, as I said upthread I think Linda came up with the name as a placeholder based on Mr. Randi's stage sobriquet, and everyone liked it so much it stuck. Amanda Marcotte is coming into a party that's been going on for a while and not really picking up on what are in-jokes and what really is asshat behavior.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:02 PM on November 24, 2009


Pope Guilty I like James Randi and all but if someone like Randi has to tell you that Uri Geller can't really bend spoons with his mind you're kind of dumbass to begin with. So it's kind of funny to me that once Randi shows the credulous dolts how they're being tricked, he has to also throw in a subtle " . . . and that's how it's done, you dumbass" with his whole body.

Like he's to dumb to understand what a fucking dope you'd have to be in the first place to believe that shit. It's like mocking a child for not knowing Big Bird isn't real.

Not really disagreeing with you, it's just something I've thought about from time to time. So in that sense yeah skeptics aren't dicks just kind of obtuse about a few things.
posted by nola at 7:07 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's kind of like once you've shown people the spoon trick they're all like "got it." and they go outside and there is a guy who can make a penny disappear by rubbing it on his elbow and they see this and say, "wow!" and now you're back to square-one.
posted by nola at 7:13 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty I like James Randi and all but if someone like Randi has to tell you that Uri Geller can't really bend spoons with his mind you're kind of dumbass to begin with.

You know what, I think that's a shitty attitude. Not everybody gets the kind of education that enables them to figure this stuff out on their own, and we live in a world where pretty much every culture- and the American culture is pretty bad about this- is full of psuedoscience and quackery and vilification of reason and so on. The big reason skepticism- and public, outspoken skepticism- is so important is to act as a counter to such influences.

There's a difference between stupidity and ignorance, and non-willful ignorance really isn't something that a person should be faulted for. Not everybody is good at this- I know I'm sometimes a dick about it- but it's an important thing to keep in mind.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:14 PM on November 24, 2009 [11 favorites]


This is also why it's important to spread not just debunkery but also skepticism and reason as epistemic habits- if you show a man a fraud, you've helped him for a day, but if you show him how to spot frauds, you've helped him- and those around him- for life.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:16 PM on November 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


Also I love how quickly people with indefensible beliefs go to the whole "WELL YOU'RE ALL DICKS" thing.

I'm assuming this one was for me. I'm not sure you read my entire comment, though, since I specifically mentioned that I'm an atheist. Or are there any specific indefensible beliefs you think I hold?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:21 PM on November 24, 2009


You know what, I think that's a shitty attitude. Not everybody gets the kind of education that enables them to figure this stuff out on their own

I was homeschooled by my mother who held a highschool diploma and believed that Noah took Dinosaurs on the Ark, and the world is only 6 thousand years old.

I have no real education other than the one I've put together over the years like some kind of homeskooled Robinson Crusoe

So I'm not really sympathetic towards people who thought Uri Geller could bend spoons. But maybe I'm wrong and I should try to be, it couldn't hurt my relationship with my mother any.
posted by nola at 7:21 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


American culture is pretty bad about this- is full of psuedoscience and quackery and vilification of reason and so on. The big reason skepticism- and public, outspoken skepticism- is so important is to act as a counter to such influences.

That is a really good point though I will admit.
posted by nola at 7:23 PM on November 24, 2009


Nothing, if you don't mind putting a finger on the screen to mark the beginning of each sentence, so you can remember where it started once you're 60 words and eight clauses into it.

Maybe the problem is on your end?
posted by delmoi at 7:23 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It should not surprise you that people who are professionally engaged in trickery and illusion tend to be very interested in belief and disbelief.

Doesn't surprise me a bit. But the magician stage persona has a little bit of I'm-better-than-you in it, and that's the last thing that atheism's would-be evangelists need. Religious folks have gotten pretty good mileage out of the I-was-once-a-sinner-like-you shtick. More flies with honey, etc.
posted by box at 7:24 PM on November 24, 2009


This is also why it's important to spread not just debunkery but also skepticism and reason as epistemic habits- if you show a man a fraud, you've helped him for a day, but if you show him how to spot frauds, you've helped him- and those around him- for life.
Seconding, thirding, and fourthing Pope Guilty on this.

For better or worse, humans are pretty hard-wired to trust their senses and find patterns in the world around them. It's basic survival stuff that's wired into us. The problem is that we live in an era where deliberate exploitation of those basic survival traits is used to hoodwink large swaths of people on an ongoing basis. The work necessary to filter out the legit 'weird stuff' from the hoodwinkery is just that: work.

It's work of a type that many people aren't prepared for, any more than they're prepared for debugging a C++ program or figuring out what's wrong with tomato plants that are going yellow. Attacking them for being stupid is not helpful, and asking them to simply "trust the skeptics" is counter-productive: that kind of mindset has given us 'climate change skepticism' -- people need to learn how to weigh competing claims when the underlying data is beyond their ability to make sense of. That isn't easy, and being respectful of people who are taken in by things we think are stupid is just basic pragmatism.
posted by verb at 7:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


I was homeschooled by my mother who held a highschool diploma and believed that Noah took Dinosaurs on the Ark, and the world is only 6 thousand years old.

I have no real education other than the one I've put together over the years like some kind of homeskooled Robinson Crusoe

So I'm not really sympathetic towards people who thought Uri Geller could bend spoons. But maybe I'm wrong and I should try to be, it couldn't hurt my relationship with my mother any.
As someone who was also homeschooled by conservative Christian parents (primarily by a high-school educated mother) and who pieced together a bedrock of skepticism despite his Bob Jones science books, I totally identify with you there.

Curiously enough, my first real experience with skepticism cam when a close family member became deeply enmeshed in the 'prophetic movement' and other charismatic circles. I jumped into rational skepticism from a purely theological perspective, and only later allowed it to leak out into other aspects of my belief.

One thing I had to realize eventually was that not everybody has a built-in hard-wired drive to make sense of and understand everything. Not everyone grooves on picking ideas and beliefs and assumptions apart and rebuilding them again, not everyone spent their teen years grappling with euthyphro and comparative theology and arguing with the science books they were taught from.

Avoiding an ego-trip after coming out of a background like that is hard, god knows. But it's also important to think back and realize that were it not for gentle and respectful input from a couple of people who were important to me, I would never have followed the sweater-threads that unraveled my former views. Extending the same gentleness and respect is, to some extent, like being gentle to me-from-a-decade-ago.
posted by verb at 7:34 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


the fact that several prominent skeptics are also magicians isn't helping

This is really building on the example of Houdini, who spent the first half of his career building a symbology of escape, and the second half escaping from all the symbolism. He's really the prototype of magician turned professional skeptic. He treated magic as stage art - sacred and real until the lights come up and not a second longer - and he savagely debunked anyone who stepped over that line: the mediums, clairvoyants, and necromancers swept in on the skirts of neopaganism.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:37 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: It's like mocking a child for not knowing Big Bird isn't real.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:41 PM on November 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


And well, skeptics are dicks. They're dicks in the same way as libertarians/randroids are dicks (and this is because they're often the same people). It's that whole "I'm right about this and that makes me smarter than you and superior to you, and if you're not 100% in agreement with me, you're deserving of derision and ridicule, while I'm exempt from having to ever critically analyzing or having to doubt my own beliefs" attitude.

I see where you're coming from here. But I don't think skepticism reduces to this sort of behavior. There are a lot of unscrupulous individuals and organizations who take advantage of people who don't think critically and/or don't understand the principles of science and the scientific method. Some are relatively benign, and other are downright villainous, exploiting ignorance for profit and/or to fulfill some sort of sociopathic power trip. There are skeptics who excel and specialize in exposing people like this while, at the same time, demonstrating critical reasoning and scientific principles in real-life/everyday situations and terms, for which I'm very thankful.
posted by treepour at 7:45 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell kind of crap was that?

For instance, Dawkins’ special focus on children’s rights is some radical shit, but the idea that children are oppressed and denied the right to conscience within the family unit is something straight out of radical feminist critiques of the patriarchy.

I’m sorry, what? So if a feminist said something once, that means no one else can independently arrive at the same conclusion? And who says that it’s only the “patriarchy” which limits children’s rights? Isn’t that, you know, sexist?

Dawkins has fallen into the trap of focusing on modest dress over other issues at times; men should be careful around that issue, because of the danger of sending the signal that you’re more interested in seeing more female flesh than you are liberating women from the shackles of patriarchal religion.

Cripes. Yeah, that’s it exactly. Dawkins—who is a MAN, PEOPLE, THINK ABOUT IT—can’t possibly have any sincere beliefs regarding women’s dress. He only wants them to take off those burqas so they can shake what their momma gave ‘em.

Extremists of any stripe are obnoxious as hell.
posted by Garak at 7:46 PM on November 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


verb, I think we're Super Friends now or something.

Oh oh, I call Rorschach.

In all seriousness I wonder how many of us there are in the USofA.

I also wonder how fucked up the rest of my fellow fundie-homeskooled freaks are out there. It's sucks getting introduced to a girl when you're 13 as " Oh yeah that's Mark he doesn't go to school"
posted by nola at 7:47 PM on November 24, 2009


Awesome. I sense a real opportunity in this for belligerent social retards preoccupied with alienating friends and family, lecturing down to people, delineating enemies, and conjuring up subtext to battle in everything.
posted by dgaicun at 7:51 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Houdini's passion for exposing frauds cost him his friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle- Doyle was a strong believer in spiritualism, and after Houdini devoted himself to showing how mediums fake seances, Doyle very angrily dropped him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
posted by nola at 7:56 PM on November 24, 2009


Cocaine needs more feminism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel like I probably didn't make myself quite clear earlier.

I think encouraging and teaching critical thinking, skepticism, and even atheism is appropriate and important (although I have my doubts you can teach people to be atheists directly, I think it's probably better to teach critical thinking and skepticism, and let the atheism work itself out).

I just think that many of the most public and high-profile representatives of atheism and skepticism seem uniquely badly suited to their role, because they're absolutist, abrasive, patronizing, and seem to think everyone who even remotely disagrees with them are total idiots worthy of mocking.

And then I think it's been hijacked by libertarians, who happen to have a lot of the same attitudes, but are actually host to a lot of irrational beliefs themselves.

It's actually really interesting how their conference is held in a Las Vegas casino. Would they hold their conference in a pricey New Age center? Because it's basically the same thing, a business dedicated to taking advantage of and encouraging people's irrational beliefs and superstitions, and taking their money.

As it happens, libertarians love Vegas, because hey, legalized gambling and prostitution! (Yeah, I know, prostitution isn't legal in Vegas proper.)
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:05 PM on November 24, 2009


Houdini's passion for exposing frauds cost him his friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle

Yes. There's a real tension between radical skepticism and creative endeavors. I think the price of having no more Rasputins (at all) is no more Carl Jungs and no more Alan Moores.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:05 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


And beyond this, many of the things we've comfortably identified as 'magical thinking' are going to bite us very hard in coming years. I can think of no better metaphor than animism for a world dominated by artificial intelligence - of machines, and perhaps of hyperdense corporate, legal, and informational structures. This is why voodoo was of such significance in William Gibson's sprawl; it was "street reality. It "just worked." When other parts of the universe are growing in consciousness faster than mankind, well, all bets are off.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:13 PM on November 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's actually really interesting how their conference is held in a Las Vegas casino.

Not always--the most recent one was in Florida. This is also something adventitious rather than A Statement: Penn and Teller were big supporters of the first one, and they and their staffs made it happen in the city where they lived and worked, and attendees have encouraged the JREF staff to keep the conference in Vegas when possible because they've enjoyed the setting.

It is astonishingly fun to hang out in Las Vegas with a bunch of Australian skeptics. Those folks know how to party.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:19 PM on November 24, 2009


And beyond this, many of the things we've comfortably identified as 'magical thinking' are going to bite us very hard in coming years. I can think of no better metaphor than animism for a world dominated by artificial intelligence - of machines, and perhaps of hyperdense corporate, legal, and informational structures. This is why voodoo was of such significance in William Gibson's sprawl; it was "street reality. It "just worked." When other parts of the universe are growing in consciousness faster than mankind, well, all bets are off.
Anyone who's built a reasonably complex server cluster to serve up a webapp will attest to the truth of this statement.
posted by verb at 8:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


kid ichorous: Actually, that's what I was getting at when I mentioned libertarians holding a lot of irrational beliefs. I'm not sure I'd put "artificial intelligence" on that list, since what limited artificial intelligence we have working in stuff like finance is actually one of the more rational things in that sector, but it's trying to make sense of essentially irrational systems: The markets.

But yeah, libertarians' tendency to believe in irrational, spontaneous, random systems' superiority over designed, rational, throroughly thought out and controlled ones is something I'd definitely consider part of their irrational beliefs. It's one thing to believe that there are disadvantages to planned economies, for instance (obviously true), but it's something entirely different to think that any government intervention int he market isn't just wrong in principle, but also doomed to never work properly.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:29 PM on November 24, 2009


For instance, Dawkins’ special focus on children’s rights is some radical shit, but the idea that children are oppressed and denied the right to conscience within the family unit is something straight out of radical feminist critiques of the patriarchy.

I’m sorry, what? So if a feminist said something once, that means no one else can independently arrive at the same conclusion? And who says that it’s only the “patriarchy” which limits children’s rights? Isn’t that, you know, sexist?


Garak--what? She wasn't saying Dawkins stole his ideas from radical feminists; she was saying his idea was also a radical feminist idea. In a post that talked about the things atheists and feminists have in common.
posted by emjaybee at 8:42 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think you all should just pray on this. I'm sure that listening to the Holy Spirit will help you resolve these arguments.
posted by oddman at 8:43 PM on November 24, 2009


Atheism needs feminism like a fish needs a bike amirite?

Also, why does Atheism need anything? You're either an atheist or you're not, right? I mean.
posted by GilloD at 8:58 PM on November 24, 2009


I think you all should just pray on this. I'm sure that listening to the Holy Spirit will help you resolve these arguments.
That kind of New Age claptrap will just lead you into deception and open doors to The Enemy. You need to study Scripture and dedicate yourself to living the truth: gird your loins, or the roving lion will devour you!
posted by verb at 9:02 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: But have a fucking sense of humor about it, or you all turn into dicks.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:13 PM on November 24, 2009


Also, why does Atheism need anything?

Well, for starters, it needs a transcendental, noumenic definition of "religion". You'd be surprised how many atheists react viciously when I tell them that religion is a particularly Western category.
posted by shii at 9:16 PM on November 24, 2009


I think something some skeptics/atheists/etc (especially but not only white male middle-class-and-up types) don't quite get is that the same principles need to apply in multiple directions. If you assume that all religion is harmful because you know of times religion has hurt people, you're not any better a skeptic than the person who believes that Christianity is good because s/he knows somebody who got better when somebody prayed for them once.

But this especially goes for race and gender. I am an extremely progressive Christian. I think that the main reason that I fell into that rather than atheism was that I found articles discussing Christian theology which specifically defended the value and rights of people of color, women, non-heterosexuals. The leaders in my faith community include a lot of women and people of color. When I go to church, I go to commune with a diverse group of people who have chosen to emphasize that all, including disagreeing viewpoints, are welcome there.

So, that's the community God gives me. I explored atheism. I'm a fan of rational thought and I consider it quite possible that God is more metaphorical than actual. But you know what? The skeptic and atheist communities I looked into were full of people slinging as many insults as any fundamentalist church, and those insults were just as rooted in privilege. And sometimes, yes, misanthropy in general. I have no idea who thinks that it's markedly better to hate everybody than just some groups of people.

My church is small and it struggles but it's a group of people who really love each other. There's a lot of value in that for people who come from groups who have historically had to work harder to make it in the world. I will continue to totally respect atheists and look at the world with what really is a healthy dose of skepticism of my own, but I still see the atheist movement (rather than individual atheists) as being primarily an ego-boost for middle/upper-class white males. I'll take it seriously when it starts addressing the issue of how to replicate the value that religion has for the downtrodden, instead of just mocking us all as being dumb sheep.

And, eep, this got longer than I intended but I don't know where to cut it, so. tl;dr: If atheism as a movement wants to be valid for the long haul, "you just need a sense of humor and it's not our fault there aren't women around" doesn't cut it.
posted by larkspur at 9:20 PM on November 24, 2009 [22 favorites]


Also I love how quickly people with indefensible beliefs go to the whole "WELL YOU'RE ALL DICKS" thing. My ideas my be horrifically offensive and impossible to defend, but PEOPLE WHO CALL ME OUT ON OR CRITICISE THEM ARE ASSHOLES! This is especially true of skepticism- there's still people who will defend credulousness and believing in things without any good reason for it, but mostly people just like to call skeptics assholes and feel good about it.

"You're not wrong, Walter, you're just an asshole."
posted by Snyder at 9:22 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll take it seriously when it starts addressing the issue of how to replicate the value that religion has for the downtrodden, instead of just mocking us all as being dumb sheep.
Larkspur, isn't one of the basic ideas of progressive politics about making that part of the social contract, rather than the religious contract? And isn't one of the main (enduring) objections of fundamentalist thought that 'social welfare' takes the place of the church's call to charity?

I'm not arguing with your underlying experiences, just noting that substituting 'taxes' for 'tithe' as a funding source explains a lot.
posted by verb at 9:34 PM on November 24, 2009


Christopher Hitchens is an even bigger dingbat, because his racism against non-white people has caused him to treat Islam as if it were a special threat.

I do think she gets Hitchens wrong, he's not a racist, but bully who finds joy in violence. After 9/11 he was giddy with anticipation that people on his side were going to kill people on the other side.
posted by afu at 9:38 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Larkspur, isn't one of the basic ideas of progressive politics about making that part of the social contract, rather than the religious contract?

That's socialist politics, not progressive. And yeah, the classical Marxist argument is that religious angst is a reaction to the horrors of the world, and that religion is not a palliative for true angst but merely a substitute good for real change- and one that keeps people focused on something that's unreal and which doesn't actually benefit them, much as barbituates allow people to gain relief from their pain without addressing the actual cause of their pain.
Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:48 PM on November 24, 2009


I have no idea who thinks that it's markedly better to hate everybody than just some groups of people.

Me. Well, now you know.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:01 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


larkspur: I'm a fan of rational thought and I consider it quite possible that God is more metaphorical than actual. But you know what? The skeptic and atheist communities I looked into were full of people slinging as many insults as any fundamentalist church, and those insults were just as rooted in privilege.

Ultimately, should the behavior of the adherents have anything to do with your choice in religion? It isn't like it affects the fundamental nature of the universe, and that's what you're deciding on.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:03 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The problem with religion is the opiate is that religion is also the useful hallucinogen.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:22 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Atheism is fundamentally a epistemological moment based on the scientific method.

Only after you've separated the strands of feminism that allow themselves to be subjected to the scientific method from those who do not, can they be incorporated in the atheistic movement without friction.

Many feminists argue from assumptions that are not only not based on scientific findings but are in outright denial of them. E.g, the idea that no behavioristic differences between the sexes can be ascribed to biology.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 10:25 PM on November 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


Mitrovarr: "Ultimately, should the behavior of the adherents have anything to do with your choice in religion? It isn't like it affects the fundamental nature of the universe, and that's what you're deciding on."

For many, the important thing about a religion is not "what does it say the world is", but "what kind of person does it make of a follower".
posted by idiopath at 10:32 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


But yeah, libertarians' tendency to believe in irrational, spontaneous, random systems' superiority over designed, rational, throroughly thought out and controlled ones is something I'd definitely consider part of their irrational beliefs.

Yes, some people prefer the idea of emergent behavior, or natural equilibrium, per se, as if economics were a science of beauty and not need. But property rights, and the existence of a mercantile class, have functioned as historical checks against a heavy-handed sovereign. It's not that chaos is more beautiful, it's that the centralization of power into any hands (state or private) is dangerous.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:33 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "skeptic" movement has to an extent hijacked atheism, especially in the US.

Man, if those are the same people who make that really crap podcast with the sexay British robot lady voice over, you USAtheists* are hooped.

*Though I bequeath to you that annoying portmanteau, surely some knobend can try and create some sort of movement with it as their title.

Rats, it appears some knobends have.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:42 PM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


idiopath: For many, the important thing about a religion is not "what does it say the world is", but "what kind of person does it make of a follower".

Don't pretend that you're acting rationally, then. Unless you're just manipulating other people - and that's just reprehensible.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:57 PM on November 24, 2009


Mitrovarr: "Don't pretend that you're acting rationally, then. Unless you're just manipulating other people - and that's just reprehensible."

I am an athiest, but point taken.
posted by idiopath at 11:12 PM on November 24, 2009


Shii: You'd be surprised how many atheists react viciously when I tell them that religion is a particularly Western category.

You sure that's not bemusement instead of viciousness? Cos you've lost me there. Unless your definition of religion excludes Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam for starters.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:24 PM on November 24, 2009


We all agree that reverse racism isn't racism, right? Then why do we insist that atheists who attack Christianity as a monolith is the same exact thing as Christians who attack atheists as a monolith.

Remember when people used to say as if it were the most obvious thing in the world that "women talk a lot." And then science came around and was all, actually not really, men talk more but because either women are a minority group, or because we devalue women and don't want to hear what they say, or culturally paint them as flighty and chatty it just seemed obvious that they must really talk more?

I think atheism talks a lot now in the eyes of dominant culture. But I think the latest stats/poll results show that most atheists are silent.

And Bill Maher is a misogynist asshole. I know this because I've watched him a lot. A LOT. He's also casually homophobic. It's not funny.
posted by birdie birdington at 11:40 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


The sooner atheists can stop pretending we have something in common the better.
posted by minifigs at 12:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bit more Marx for you:
I desired that, if there is to be talk about philosophy, there should be less trifling with the label “atheism” (which reminds one of children, assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the bogy man), and that instead the content of philosophy should be brought to the people.
posted by Abiezer at 1:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Only after you've separated the strands of feminism that allow themselves to be subjected to the scientific method from those who do not, can they be incorporated in the atheistic movement without friction.

Many feminists argue from assumptions that are not only not based on scientific findings but are in outright denial of them. E.g, the idea that no behavioristic differences between the sexes can be ascribed to biology.
It actually sounds like you don't actually know much about feminism. Can you give me an example of a feminist making that claim?
posted by delmoi at 4:18 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


We all agree that reverse racism isn't racism, right? Then why do we insist that atheists who attack Christianity as a monolith is the same exact thing as Christians who attack atheists as a monolith.

Because we don't all agree that "reverse racism" isn't racism.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:47 AM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Karrine Steffans thinks Bill Maher is a genius.
posted by box at 7:07 AM on November 25, 2009


"Pop’s parents [see footnote], both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”"


If you've never heard this view being expressed by an avowed feminist, maybe it's a swedish brand of feminism then, since I've run across this view both in academic settings (a course of gender equality was mandatory at my college), in social settings, and been directly subjected to this view since the government has incorporated it into laws and guidelines for a long time.

E.g. the makers of the national standardized academic test noticed that year after year men performed slightly better (mainly due to the math section), clearly this was impossible, after all we are all the same. A solution was put into effect, the texts used for reading comprehension should be focused on subjects women were presumed to be better at (an incongruity, I know) so the texts used for testing reading comprehension to this day became about what effect breast feeding has on later life osteoporosis and similar subjects.

For the record, before you jump to conclusions about any eventual misogynistic streak on my behalf, may I say that I don't require the two genders to be exactly the same in order to recognize that a society should value them both just as highly.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 7:15 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


JeNeSaisQuoi, I'm still with delmoi here; if you had done any serious reading regarding feminism, (or even in the multiple evo/bio/feminism discussions here at metafilter) you would know that issues of ability and biology have been addressed by many self-identified feminists, in scientific as well as political terms.

Stating that you know all about feminism based on a throwaway line in an article about a child being raised gender-neutral shows that you do not, in fact, know all about feminism.

If you are sincerely interested in feminist commentary with an emphasis on scientific approaches, I can recommend Echidne of the Snakes (J. Goodman) you might start with her excellent series of essays on "gender gaps" and research.
posted by emjaybee at 7:49 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know precisely what meaning is intended by the phrase reverse racism. The phrase itself is indicative of institutional bias. It implies that there is normal or correct direction for racism to flow.

Note that I am not accusing anyone who uses the phrase of approving of the "normal" flow of racist ideas. Just that the phrasing highlights a baseline intellectual starting point that is unbalanced.
posted by Babblesort at 8:07 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is probably just a horribly unfair stereotype on my part, but atheists, leftists, feminists, and a bunch of other groups in the US can't seem to just let a viewpoint be without pushing it and being total dicks about it.

We are smug and overbearing in our doubt, want a pony, and can't let a viewpoint be without being total dicks about it. (And we stick our pinkies out when we sip our tea.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:19 AM on November 25, 2009


In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

There are a lot of social science theories about gender and in the sense that they're using the word gender, it is a social construction. In this context, sex is one thing, gender is another. Sex is what genitals and/or chromosomes you're born with, gender is what happens while you're growing up (and throughout your life). Now, gender studies is its own thing and I am certainly not an expert, but if you're interested that's where you should start.

Other terms: male and female are used to refer to the sex of the people involved, man and woman are used to refer to gender of the people involved. Hence, feminist vs. womanist.
posted by kathrineg at 8:27 AM on November 25, 2009


Many feminists argue from assumptions that are not only not based on scientific findings but are in outright denial of them. E.g, the idea that no behavioristic differences between the sexes can be ascribed to biology.

JeNeSaisQuoi, eponysterical.

Much of the received wisdom about "inherent behavioral differences between men and women" is based on crap science, as has been shown by a number of recent studies in psychology and sociology.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:28 AM on November 25, 2009


And yeah, someone "hating everyone equally!" is thrown into question when that person uses violent and/or sexist jokes and imagery specifically against women. Men get general insults, women get gendered insults. John McCain gets called old, Sarah Palin gets called any number of things that I don't care to repeat.
posted by kathrineg at 8:32 AM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


delmoi: Try to make Atheism seem fun and enjoyable, and for god sake you don't have to bash religion all the time.

I wonder if there is a fair bit of confirmation bias going on here. Most atheists have active careers and interests beyond talking about atheism and religion. If you bother to pick up either of the two American Humanist periodicals, The Humanist and Free Inquiry you'd find a fair quantity of discussion of issues like education, crime and punishment, and arts and culture. Certainly atheism's political relationship with Christianity in America is a reoccurring theme, but not the only one. Many bloggers who identify as atheist blog about a wide variety of issues, including the daily cat photo. But when we have a piece that's about sexism within atheist movements, suddenly it's about bashing religion all the time.

The Skeptic for example has published debates regarding Evolutionary Psychology and The Bell Curve, including an excellent takedown of Stephen Pinker showing how The Blank Slate was intellectually dishonest in it's treatment of Skinner and James. It's also had ongoing coverage of encroachment of questionable treatments into health care. I think it's also been one of the few publications to critique issues in forensic evidence. But somehow, it's only the religious debates that get recognition.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


>. . .though I hesitate to call myself a feminist, because that label has associations I'm uncomfortable with, I'm a strong believer in women's rights, equal opportunity and salaries for women . . .

Fine, I'll do it: You're a feminist.

-
posted by General Tonic at 8:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


you would know that issues of ability and biology have been addressed by many self-identified feminists, in scientific as well as political terms.

I've never claimed otherwise. It seems that you're intentionally misreading me. I said:

Only after you've separated the strands of feminism that allow themselves to be subjected to the scientific method from those who do not, can they be incorporated in the atheistic movement without friction.

I trust that you can infer from that statement that I'm not making any blanket claim that all feminists are unscientific man-haters.

Stating that you know all about feminism based on a throwaway line in an article about a child being raised gender-neutral shows that you do not, in fact, know all about feminism.

Delmoi asked me to give an example, I did. And I never claimed I knew all about feminism. Maybe I expressed myself poorly. Let me try again: Just as a lower calcium level after a period of breastfeeding doesn't mean that you have an elevated risk of osteoporosis when you grow older, participating in a discussion doesn't always mean that you are a self claimed expert on the subject. Present company excluded of course.
posted by JeNeSaisQuoi at 9:44 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or to put it another way, no one cares what an atheist has to think about life, death, food, rock & roll, cinema, books, sex, sports, education, or law unless it involves some perceived conflict with a dominant religion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:51 AM on November 25, 2009


birdie birdington: "But I think the latest stats/poll results show that most atheists are silent. "

In that color map of North American religious identification in the article you linked, there is a "less religous belt" that goes from Vermont down through the MidWest and up through the provinces, skipping around Minnesota in the middle, over to the Pacific Northwest, and curving up to it's strongest point in Alaska. It occurs to me that I have lived in that belt my whole life, despite moving around all over the place within it. The idea that the rest of the country outside of where I lived is that much more religious is kind of scary.
posted by idiopath at 10:12 AM on November 25, 2009


It comes as no surprise to me that there are certain mysoginistic tones in western atheism since similar to the 'hard sciences' (a term whose distinction from the soft sciences I don't respect but it's a useful label that I think most would understand) the mentality that brings one to it, is stereotypically considered the male mindset. Like most of those that I grew up with that found their way into atheism it was from rejection of the emotional bromides in favor of rational inquiry even when often of a cynical slant rather than from rejection of religion itself. I can't say this is the majority of atheists but certainly I see this attitude in many of their publications. This mentality was one that was likely to be met with hostility from the majority of those pushing religion as it would be from women ergo, mysoginistic tendencies amongst some of the atheists.
posted by kigpig at 10:23 AM on November 25, 2009


I think the Thanksgiving-themed takeaway message here is THERE'S ALWAYS ROOM FOR JELL-O FEMINISM!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:54 AM on November 25, 2009


. . .though I hesitate to call myself a feminist, because that label has associations I'm uncomfortable with, I'm a strong believer in women's rights, equal opportunity and salaries for women . . .

Fine, I'll do it: You're a feminist.


Thank you. I'm not bothered by others labelling me that way at all, I'm just hesitant to label myself a feminist, especially since it seems that to get a precise definition of the type of "feminist" I am, you'd have to add on a bunch of modifiers, and that's pretty tedious. But I consider your comment a compliment, none the less.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I need fish and bicycles.

I have dreams on an almost weekly basis about having a fish tank.

Bicycles, not so much.
posted by limeonaire at 4:34 PM on November 25, 2009


kathrineg: And yeah, someone "hating everyone equally!" is thrown into question when that person uses violent and/or sexist jokes and imagery specifically against women. Men get general insults, women get gendered insults. John McCain gets called old, Sarah Palin gets called any number of things that I don't care to repeat.

I don't think you'd have a hard time finding someone calling McCain a male-specific insult. I think the main problem is, you haven't thought of which insults are male-specific. I know when I did, nothing came to mind immediately - but after a little reflection, you realize how many of the common insults are male-specific. It's a surprising number.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:36 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think you'd have a hard time finding someone calling McCain a male-specific insult. I think the main problem is, you haven't thought of which insults are male-specific. I know when I did, nothing came to mind immediately - but after a little reflection, you realize how many of the common insults are male-specific. It's a surprising number.
Look, just stop being a dick and -- ooooh. I see what you did, there.
posted by verb at 5:13 PM on November 25, 2009


but after a little reflection, you realize how many of the common insults are male-specific. It's a surprising number.

Other than "dick," "prick," and "cock," what else is there? Because I would think that "cunt," "pussy," and "twat" would balance those out right nice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:24 PM on November 25, 2009


Sidhedevil: "Other than "dick," "prick," and "cock," what else is there?"

Cocksucker, pussy, faggot, knobgobbler, turdburgler, buttmunch, fudgepacker, fairy, hillbilly, dickswinger and the rarely used cunt-tease off the top of my head. Of course most of these are insulting homosexuality in a specifically masculine way. And they all have female counterparts.

Also: douche and all douche-derived insults seem to pretty much be referring to men. If you Google Image search for douche, the pictures of women are either showering (french usage of term) or the illustration on a douche bottle. Otherwise it is mostly a bunch of pictures of men.


I wonder if the default male subject makes many insults seem masculine, even if they are unisex?

also I hate the fact that knobgobbler and turdburgler are homophobic slurs, because they are so euphonious and fun to say
posted by idiopath at 5:38 PM on November 25, 2009


Well, many common insults that, on appearance, wouldn't seem to be male-specific, are in fact rarely used when referring to women. You hardly ever hear "she's a jerk", or "she's an asshole". It's usually "she's a bitch".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 PM on November 25, 2009


"Turdburgler" a homophobic slur in the US? That's a shame. In Australia it's a slur against plumbers.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:47 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You hardly ever hear "she's a jerk", or "she's an asshole". It's usually "she's a bitch".

Really? I hear "she's a jerk" and "she's an asshole" a lot.

And I never hear "he's a bitch."

Of course most of these are insulting homosexuality in a specifically masculine way. And they all have female counterparts.

I hadn't thought of anti-gay insults as gendered against men, though of course they are. Good point.

"Hillbilly" really isn't gender-specific: it's a slur used against both men and women.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:19 PM on November 25, 2009


It's interesting that "cunt", "pussy", and "twat" are somewhat gender-neutral in their application, but "prick" and "cock" are almost never used for women and "dick" only very rarely.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:20 PM on November 25, 2009


Pissflap and meatcurtain are pretty much female specific, but rarely heard, whereas knob-end or bell-end or foreskin are heard more often, but specifically male. Pussy is much more often an insult directed at men, in my experience (twat and cunt are definitely unisex). Whore and slut don't really have good male analogs.
posted by idiopath at 6:48 PM on November 25, 2009


This thread has really taken an unexpected turn.
posted by verb at 7:28 PM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whore and slut don't really have good male analogs.
"You tart!" is fairly unisex in English English (especially Cockney), though how far people are actually thinking of sex workers when they use it, I don't know, not being a Southern shandy-drinker.
posted by Abiezer at 10:01 PM on November 25, 2009


I remember people calling John McCain a "codger" and a "coot" during the campaign, those are pretty male-specific. So is "creep", for instance. If you want insults gendered against men, try thinking of what people call older men who hit on younger women, or men who are perceived as "sexually deviant".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:19 AM on November 26, 2009


* Feminism could use some skepticism.

* Seriously. Like just about every other *-ism, adherants are so wrapped up in the framework they have created for themselves that it becomes difficult to converse rationally.

* People who "believe" in atheism are just as religious as anyone else. It really makes me uncomfortable when self-styled free thinkers go around evangelizing.

* There is a difference between the "soft" sciences and the "hard" sciences. (I mean no derision with those word choices, just can't think of better ones). When science deals in the physical world, you can observe behavior, formulate a theory, and then test it. If it works once, it will work every time under the same conditions. But sciences like social ones and economics depend upon the behavior of individuals. It is useful for understanding our world and maybe making it better. I like to call it predictive science versus reflective science. If you flip a (standard, non loaded) dime 99 times and it comes up heads, that has ZERO predictive value on what it will do the next time. Sadly, our brains are wired to ignore this. Same thing with social/reflective sciences- we can measure a thousand individuals, but the next one is going to act based on their own preferences/biases, etc. Too many people misunderstand this difference- the people who say feminism isn't a science as well as the people who say that feminism *is* a science and will predict individual behavior. Both are wrong.

* Skeptics ARE (generally) assholes. Doesn't make them bad people, but when the default response to ANYTHING is "prove it or STFU", dealing with them is awfully tiresome. Didn't Monty Python figure this out 40 years ago? There is a difference between argument and the automatic gainsaying of whatever the other person says.

* If you aren't interested in having your mind changed with new or better facts, you aren't a skeptic. You're a religious follower like everyone else.

* Compelling anecdotes aren't facts.
posted by gjc at 7:22 AM on November 26, 2009


* Also, insults aren't meant to be fair. And really shouldn't be dissected down to anything more than that the insulter was trying to hurt someone's feelings. Calling someone a cunt isn't (necessarily) deriding their gender- it's just an attempt to be hurtful using a gender specific word. If the recipient of the insult happens to be hurt even more because they don't care for the genered association, all the better.

* It seems counter productive to proclaim that male-gendered insults are "standard" and that female-gendered insults are even worse. If I believe that one gender has more power than another, it doesn't make sense to add to the problem by reinforcing that idea by defining things that are specific to that gender as better. Unless my goal is to maintain the imbalance.
posted by gjc at 7:35 AM on November 26, 2009


* People who "believe" in atheism are just as religious as anyone else. It really makes me uncomfortable when self-styled free thinkers go around evangelizing.

Goddammit, I'm sick of this shit. Atheism is not a religion any more than bald is a hair color, or not collecting stamps is a hobby. That this idiotic and inane canard is getting used in two thousand motherfucking nine is a disgrace and an insult to the intelligence of everyone here.

Too many people misunderstand this difference- the people who say feminism isn't a science as well as the people who say that feminism *is* a science and will predict individual behavior. Both are wrong.

This is unfiltered nonsense. Feminism isn't a science. It's a set of related and interrelated ideas, values, and ideologies, many of which complement or contradict one another. It is a broad term which encompasses many schools and groups of thought. Feminism can influence or influence science, but it is not in and of itself a science.

Skeptics ARE (generally) assholes. Doesn't make them bad people, but when the default response to ANYTHING is "prove it or STFU", dealing with them is awfully tiresome.

You know what's tiresome? Working to convince people that reason is a useful tool for understanding the world and that they shouldn't believe things without a reason and getting told that that makes you an asshole.

* If you aren't interested in having your mind changed with new or better facts, you aren't a skeptic. You're a religious follower like everyone else.

This describes absolutely none of the skeptics I've known/met and is a vicious and unfair caricature of skepticism which serves, fundamentally, to call skeptics liars without saying "liar". I'd fucking love to see some evidence that we could treat all illnesses by shaking up tap water, or move things around with our minds, or that there's aliens visiting earth regularly. Any of those things would radically change the world, and likely for the better. But there's no reason to believe those things, and that I refuse to believe in them without evidence doesn't make me an asshole or "a religious follower" or any other poorly-considered insult you'd care to throw around.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, insults aren't meant to be fair. And really shouldn't be dissected down to anything more than that the insulter was trying to hurt someone's feelings.
This is utterly mad as well - why on earth would being compared to the part of the female body associated, inter alia, with sexual pleasure and birth be deemed an insult of an order more strong than being called, say, a 'turnip'? You can argue about why, precisely because it is something ripe for dissection and obviously significant.
posted by Abiezer at 9:49 AM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know people who can't stop talking about their religion*. They send out emails mocking people who disagree with them, they bring up their religion* at inopportune moments, they seem to not care that people might not want to talk about their religion*, they try and debate reasons why their set of beliefs are better than anyone else's. I find people who act like this to be totally annoying, and wish they would shut up.







*replace with atheism if you like
posted by 23skidoo at 10:09 AM on November 26, 2009


23skidoo: "I find people who act like this to be totally annoying, and wish they would shut up"

You may also find it opportune to skip over threads where their creed is the subject of conversation, because that would generally be considered the right time and place to discuss those things that annoy you so much..
posted by idiopath at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Skeptics ARE (generally) assholes. Doesn't make them bad people, but when the default response to ANYTHING is "prove it or STFU", dealing with them is awfully tiresome. Didn't Monty Python figure this out 40 years ago? There is a difference between argument and the automatic gainsaying of whatever the other person says.

Which is why the saying is "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Certainly, skeptics have discussed at length the idea that taken to extremes, skepticism devolves into solipsism. I see no conflict in taking you at your word when you claim perfectly ordinary and typical events, and expressing reasonable doubts when you claim that a fancy backrub can cure my allergies, that my psychological problems can be solved by a guy watching an ohmmeter, or that sipping extremely dilute solutions can cure autism.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:28 AM on November 26, 2009


You may also find it opportune to skip over threads where their creed is the subject of conversation, because that would generally be considered the right time and place to discuss those things that annoy you so much..

Ummmno. I consider myself an atheist, and I don't consider ANY of the things I listed as annoying and shut-up-worthy to be part of an atheist creed, and pretty much directly related at least the part of the conversation that intimated that even using the word "religious" when talking about atheism was stupid.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:43 AM on November 26, 2009


There are two arguments here. Some people think that the main criticism of atheists and skeptics is that they're wrong, or that they don't "respect other people's beliefs". I don't think that. I merely think that it's in the best interest of atheists and skeptics everywhere to have social skills and empathy beyond those of a high-functioning autistic when trying to convince people.

But sadly, many atheists react to the "you may be right, but you're being a total dick about it" argument with "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" and go into straight mocking.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:52 AM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joakim: I merely think that it's in the best interest of atheists and skeptics everywhere to have social skills and empathy beyond those of a high-functioning autistic when trying to convince people.

What the flying fuck does this have to do about one atheist arguing that other atheists should be more informed about feminism? I mean really, what is up with jumping into discussions lately about fiction featuring atheistic characters and internal discussions regarding feminism within atheism to grind an axe regarding perceived rudeness by atheists toward people of faith?

We are smug and overbearing in our doubt, want a pony, can't let a viewpoint be without being total dicks about it, and have the social skills of a high-functioning autistic. (And we stick our pinkies out when we sip our tea.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:40 PM on November 26, 2009


KirkJobSluder: Hey, I'm an atheist. I'm fairly vocal about it. But I try not to be a dick.

And my point was that the self-appointed spokespersons for atheism act like this, not all atheists.

And the relevance to the debate at hand is that I think a lot of what the author of the original article perceives as sexism is this whole "I'm smarter than you, so I don't need social skills" mindset of the same self-appointed spokespersons, who I in an earlier comment associated with the "skeptics" movement part of atheism, and specifically the part of the skeptics movement who are also libertarians.

It's a problem of attitude. I think when it comes to facts, atheists and skeptics are generally 100% correct. But we as a group have done an extraordinarily poor job of presenting our viewpoints, especially in the US. And if that's not something you want to hear, or are willing to consider as a fact, I'd like you to give us some references to some sort of extraordinary growth of atheism over time in the US, or a reduction in irrational beliefs.

Bottom line: What we're doing isn't working. And if we want it to, maybe we should consider changing our tone, since there's nothing wrong with our facts.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2009


Joakim: But I try not to be a dick.

You know what I consider a dick move?

People who ignore the fact that most of us are relatively calm, reasonable, and soft-spoken in our relationships with people of faith, who we love dearly.

People who attack other atheists using a fairly obvious and transparent stereotype in order to concern-troll their way into looking like the most reasonable in the room. I don't like it when gay rights supporters start bashing queens, butches, leather, and the non-monogamous.

What isn't working is derailing every discussion on stupid and flimsy pretext to grinding an axe on your personal bigotry. Because personally, I'd like to have conversations about fiction and feminism that didn't reflexively put the community on the defensive for the accusation of dickery.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2009


The blog posts in the original post quite obviously talk about specifically how that feminist atheist's problem with atheists and skeptics is their behaviour, which she finds in some cases sexist or off-putting.

I don't see how talking about what I call dickery amongst atheist and skeptics spokespeople is off-topic, given that.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:32 PM on November 26, 2009


Joakim: The blog posts in the original post quite obviously talk about specifically how that feminist atheist's problem with atheists and skeptics is their behaviour, which she finds in some cases sexist or off-putting.

Yes, behavior that is sexist and targeted at atheist women. The behavior she describes, gender-biased jokes and accusations that the women involved need to get a sense of humor, isn't limited to conferences focusing on skepticism and atheism. It is, in fact, a common complaint about conferences where men numerically dominate going back to the 1970s.

And of course, you are glossing right over the context that Marcotte herself openly identifies herself as a "New Atheist" and supporter of direct confrontation with religious beliefs. In the FPP, she openly praises two of the most confrontational figures of Atheism. It is a position that has led to her becoming personally targeted by members of the religious right. So she's a rather odd figure for you to use as a poster-child for your own prejudiced axe-grinding. (Which you admitted as an expression of personal prejudice in your first response.)

So really, your complaints have not a fucking thing to do with the opening post. It's a classic example of something we saw in the last Dawkins thread in which "atheists are dicks" overshadowed the political movement for the UK government to apologize for and construct a memorial for the historical mistreatment of Turing. I'm getting sick and tired of "atheists are dicks (to the religious)" becoming the dominant theme of any discussion in which atheists just happen to be involved. Especially in cases in which people of faith are not involved at all.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


KirkJobSluder: Actually, my admission of personal prejudice in my original comment was regarding my view that "atheists, leftists, feminists, and a bunch of other groups in the US can't seem to just let a viewpoint be without pushing it and being total dicks about it." The important part being "in the US".

And, yeah, the original blog post was about sexist behaviour from atheists (not targeted at atheist women, specifically, I have no idea if Tila Tequila is an atheist, and I doubt Hillary Clinton would admit to being one, at least), and then racist, given this quote from one of the articles linked to in the original post, and also quoted in the thread:

When I was at The Amazing Meeting [Sorry, Randi, the fact that several prominent skeptics are also magicians isn't helping, and 'The Amazing Meeting' is even more ridiculous than 'Brights'], what was immediately obvious to me was that the movement is afraid of what they’d do without libertarians, in terms of numbers, and the problem with attracting libertarians is that you can’t offend their sexist/racist beliefs without them threatening to take their ball and go home. But because of this, the movement is missing a great opportunity to recruit women and people of color. It’s also inculcating an analysis of religion and belief in the supernatural that’s off-base, because it doesn’t incorporate feminism.

Which led directly into my comment about "skeptics", atheists, libertarians, and dickery, and how the way atheism is profiled publicly is probably not the best. If you can't see how that flows naturally from the quote above, I'm not sure how much more clear I can be.

And, as I've been saying repeatedly, I'm not saying "atheists are dicks", which would be weird, given that I'm an atheist, I'm saying "some self-appointed spokespeople for atheists are dicks, and we as atheists would do good to consider whether that's in our best interest".

And lastly, it seems this is something that comes up a lot because people want to talk about it. I'm sorry if that's not the way you want the thread to go, but it seems lots of people (not just me) have this concern, and if it's coming up so often that you're sick and tired of it, maybe it's because it needs to be addressed.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:06 PM on November 26, 2009


Joakim: I'm sorry if that's not the way you want the thread to go, but it seems lots of people (not just me) have this concern, and if it's coming up so often that you're sick and tired of it, maybe it's because it needs to be addressed.

It's not only addressed every time atheists are remotely involved in a discussion, it utterly dominates the discussion to such an extent that we can't have a conversation about anything else related to atheism here. We can't have a conversation about the other professional and political accomplishments of atheists. We can't have a conversation about atheist characters in literature. We evidently can't have a conversation about atheism and feminism without a focus on atheists as dicks.

And how do you expect to have it "addressed?" The more controversial "New Atheists" have heard the criticisms of confrontation, and have made strong arguments as to why confrontation is necessary. For the rest of us, you are just promulgating a harmful stereotype. Yeah, yeah, that's nice, can you put your prejudice aside for a while so we can actually talk about the relationship between atheism and feminism?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:14 PM on November 26, 2009


It's not really addressed, unless you count saying you're sick and tired of it as addressing it. And as the quote I just posted from one of the links in the FFP shows, the FPP is about this, at least in part, since the writer seems to think this attitude is a problem for joining atheism and feminism.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:30 PM on November 26, 2009


It is a fact that atheists face an extreme prejudice in this country.
posted by wantstobeadesigner at 6:45 PM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joakim: It's not really addressed, unless you count saying you're sick and tired of it as addressing it. And as the quote I just posted from one of the links in the FFP shows, the FPP is about this, at least in part, since the writer seems to think this attitude is a problem for joining atheism and feminism.

The problem here is that you are attributing opinions to Marcotte that she clearly does not agree with if she's both citing Dawkins and Meyers (who publicly desecrated Catholic Host). And in the referenced post, Marcotte herself advocates a more openly critical attitude towards religion in the FPP:
But I believe you cannot understand religion’s enduring popularity without understanding its role in systems of oppression. The belief that some people are lesser than others, and should be relegated to a servant class, is unscientific and irrational, and so religion is better for defending these beliefs than science.
Let's just take Marcotte's response to the communion wafer controversy.
If you want my honest opinion, and since this is blogging I assume you do, I think that the hand-wringers are speaking more from an subconscious belief that religion deserves special treatment more than a real concern that we’re losing anyone. But like I said, if you have this subconscious urge to protect religion, remind yourself that you’ve been indoctrinated precisely so that nonsensical beliefs can be protected from criticism. Don’t take that lying down! We’ve all been brainwashed. We need to get angry about that, not defensive. Every time you think, “Maybe I shouldn’t say that Jesus really wasn’t a god, because that might hurt some deluded soul’s feelings,” think about how you’re being roped into the great conspiracy and muddle through. Together, we can topple the religious exception from criticism.
If you want to make the case that it's not really about misogyny and instead about the stereotypical failure of atheists to be all huggy and kissy with religious faith, claim it for your own and don't attribute it to Marcotte, who openly holds the opinion that both atheism and feminism are not aggressive enough.

But, bigoted stereotypes don't need to be "addressed" beyond pointing out that they are bigoted stereotypes, and you are a dick for insisting that we have to do something about them before we can move on to real issues.

Like misogyny.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:20 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pardon, but this reminds me of the concern trolls who kept holding gay rights issues like partnerships, discrimination, and violence hostage until their personal discomfort regarding sexual liberation, and gender non-conformity were "addressed." I had no patience for them either.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:27 PM on November 26, 2009


Or let me put it another way, I live among people of faith. I congratulate ministers when they get new jobs, stand in respectful silence during prayer, and say "thank you" when I'm told "I'm praying for you."

But the "New New Atheists," the hand-wringers who take every opportunity to declare that people like Marcotte, Dawkins, Meyers, Hitchins, and Dennet, are just so rude and need to be muzzled have become a blight onto themselves. This was abundantly clear when people made the case that Dawkin's shouldn't have an opinion regarding historic issues in gay rights. And it's clear here where misogyny is buried under the refrain of "outspoken atheists are dicks."

And especially here, it's missing the whole point that Marcotte is making that atheists need to be openly critical of religious misogyny.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:52 PM on November 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


KirkJobSluder: Wait, now you're saying I'm calling the author of the links in the FPP a dick, and also I'm a misogynist for doing so?

I'm sorry, you're ascribing so many opinions to me that I've never expressed and certainly don't hold, that I don't think I can continue discussing this with you. You claim that I'm calling the author of the articles a dick, when I'm agreeing with her when she complains about dickery from other atheists. I've basically called myself a feminist, and been called such by other people in the discussion, and you call me a misogynist. You keep throwing out allegations, ignore it when I correct you with references to back it up, and you just called me a dick.

I'm done here.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:21 AM on November 27, 2009


Joakim: Wait, now you're saying I'm calling the author of the links in the FPP a dick, and also I'm a misogynist for doing so?

You seem to be having trouble understanding complex paragraphs. Let me lay it out in bullet points:

You claim that I'm calling the author of the articles a dick, when I'm agreeing with her when she complains about dickery from other atheists.

Slide 1: Marcotte's views:
1: Atheists should openly confront religion.
2: Confrontational atheists like Dawkins are good people.
3: Atheists who advocate playing nice with religion are "brainwashed" and "hand-wringers."
4: The problem of misogyny in atheism is due to the political influence of libertarianism.

Slide 2: Your views:
1: Atheists should be nicer in regards to religion.
2: Confrontational atheists like Dawkins are bad people.
3: Atheists who advocate confrontation with religion are dicks.
4: The problem of misogyny in atheism is due to atheists being dicks.

I'm struggling to see where you agree with Marcotte. Your quote doesn't back you up, as it talks about an entirely different topic.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:48 AM on November 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


KJS, Joakim: Get a room.
posted by msalt at 12:22 PM on November 28, 2009


Yeah, they're really crowding out all the discussion that would otherwise be going on in this four day old thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:54 PM on November 28, 2009


There was plenty of discussion until two days ago when they made 13 out of 15 comments in a row, replete with witticisms such as "you are a dick" and "can you put your prejudice aside for a moment" and "What the flying fuck does this have to do about...".
posted by msalt at 1:59 PM on November 28, 2009


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