In Support of Feminism and Diversity: Atheists Speak Out

In January, I created a petition calling on atheists to show their support for feminism and diversity. That petition, with more than 2,000 signatures, was delivered to the leaders of the largest atheist and secular organizations at the end of January.

The petition also attracted over 400 comments from people who wanted to further explain why they were signing. Most of these comments were excellent, and I want them to be seen more widely. In this post, I’ll continue spotlighting some of my favorites.

Too often, minorities have been excluded from groups or opportunities based on factors outside their ability to fit into those groups. This trend must not mar the atheist/skeptical/secular community.
—Yvonne Hamilton

Being part of a minority group, it’s bad for the movement and ideas other groups are shut out or harassed. Also makes the movement lose appeal and credibility. Finally, this movement is suppose to be ‘more inclusive’ than religion; however, the same social justice issues that are seen in religion appear to be prevalent in this movement.
—Benjamin Nault

The skeptical/atheist movement should strive to be a reflection of the best of humanity – chauvinism and misogyny are not behaviors to be tolerated in our leadership.
—Joel Wheeler

It is bad enough that churches hold women as inferior to men. If the secular movement wishes to be a group representing people from all walks of life, it cannot tolerate those who dismiss, and worse, threaten potential allies.
—Shyra Latiolais

Diversity and free speech are core principles that the skeptics and freethought community should, and I think, must place an exceptionally high value upon. No one should be excluded from our community nor made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in it due to gender, ethnicity, viewpoint, skin color, etc.
—Randy Pelton

A diverse community is a strong community. Sexism is toxic, and should be discouraged.
—Jon Pinksen

To further outreach and tolerance in the movement I identify with, to make the world a better place for my children, and to send a clear message that equality and diversity are valued quantities in the secular movement.
—Jennifer Phillips

In any discussions, a balance must be struck between civility and the freedom to speak. An exchange of ideas in which participation is limited by coercion, intimidation, or bullying is neither free or an exchange. In the commerce of ideas, we are all cheated when we are not allowed exposure to the entire range of viewpoints or forced to select from the limited stock produced by those who shout loudest, obscuring the the offerings of those with equal or better thoughts.
—Dale Otteson

I’ve heard people argue that religion is the most destructive institution on the planet. If that’s true, then making atheism open to everyone that wants in is the only way to have a chance against it. And if religion isn’t as bad as other bigoted structures? Then those that consider themselves skeptics who care about human welfare ought to be willing to put their rationality where it counts, instead of patting themselves on the back for another great debunking of God.
—Colleen Potvin

I value free speech, and am opposed to those who would silence anyone or who would exclude anyone from participation based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, or any other personal attribute.
—Bob Hagar

I just have this quaint idea that women are people, and as such entitled to be treated equally. I am the stereotypical Old White Guy, but I want the makeup of our community to to reflect reality. If that makes me a minority within it, that’s cool.
—Pieter Breitner

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Kacy Ray

    Is there a prominent member of the skeptic/atheist community who has explicitly spoken out against diversity in the movement, or denounced the idea of increased diversity? Anyone with any real influence? I’d be curious to know who they are and what they said.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani J. Sharmin

    Thanks very much for sharing these comments; they really cheered me up.

    @Kacy Ray: Where to begin? I should perhaps start by saying that most people are not going to step up and say outright “I’m against equal rights” or “I’m against diversity”. People tend to think that whatever they believe is just and fair, so even people with totally different views are going to think that what they’re doing is fair. They don’t see it as being “against” diversity necessarily; they just don’t think that a lack of diversity is a problem (or at least, not a big enough problem that anything has to be done proactively to solve it). They sometimes refuse to acknowledge that bias (conscious and unconscious) could be affecting demographics at events and membership, insisting instead that any attempt to increase diversity would mean that less qualified people would be included (assuming that what’s going on right now is a totally merit based selection process).

    Whenever the topic of diversity comes up, people dismiss it. Any comment section about this topic gets filled up with people who accuse the original writer of complaining about nothing, of hating white men, etc. Whenever Adam or anyone else who is a relatively well-known atheist blogger writes about feminism or equal rights, people complain that it has nothing to do with atheism; they’re fine with it if an atheist blogger writes about religion mistreating women, because it gives them the opportunity to criticize religion, but if equality is brought up in any other context, they don’t want to talk about it.

    The most recent example of a well-known person saying something questionable along these lines that I can think of is Michael Shermer. His initial comments concerning women in the skeptical community may have been excusable (one could suspect he just may not have phrased it in the best way), but whose follow-up essay made the situation worse. He tried to claim he cared about equal rights … while complaining about any effort to bring attention to discrimination or lack of diversity, making the people bringing up equal rights issues to be the bad guys who were acting like witch hunters. Adam did a post on it: “Diversity Doesn’t Just Happen: A Response to Michael Shermer”.

    Another example was the whole Richard Dawkins “Muslima” comment, in which he completely and utterly embarrassed and contradicted himself by accusing Western feminists (specifically Rebecca Watson) of complaining about nothing while Muslim women are mistreated — even though he himself speaks up about ways atheists are mistreated in the West, despite the fact that atheists are treated worse in some Muslim countries, too. He also did this despite the fact that Watson has in fact spoken about the way women in other countries are treated. (In other words, he’s falsely accusing her of not caring about diversity, even though she does, while he himself is being against diversity.) See Rebecca Watson’s “The Privilege Delusion” at Skepchick.

    Again, it’s not that they stepped up and said, “We’re against diversity” … but what am I supposed to think if they respond to concerns about diversity and equal rights with such comments?

  • Azkyroth

    I should perhaps start by saying that most people are not going to step up and say outright “I’m against equal rights” or “I’m against diversity”

    You should also start by acknowledging that no one who claims to need this explained to them is arguing in good faith.

  • Kacy Ray

    Azkyroth – I never asked to have anything explained to me. I asked for examples, and I appreciate Ani’s response and effort to lay the situation out as (he or she) sees it. But thanks for immediately calling my motives into question. That always helps foster quality dialogue.

    I specifically asked about examples of someone speaking out against efforts for diversity in the skeptic movement. The two provided here have been Shermer and Dawkins. The Dawkins situation I’m familiar with – the Shermer one I will follow up on.

    You said “He tried to claim he cared about equal rights … while complaining about any effort to bring attention to discrimination or lack of diversity, making the people bringing up equal rights issues to be the bad guys who were acting like witch hunters.”

    It is specifically that complaint that I’m asking about. Has any prominent skeptic or atheist ever actually stated that they desire a non-diverse community? It sounds like this entire characterization relies on inference. In fact, you pretty much acknowledge as much when you say “Again, it’s not that they stepped up and said, “We’re against diversity” … but what am I supposed to think if they respond to concerns about diversity and equal rights with such comments?”

    What are you supposed to think? I suppose that’s for you to decide, but the idea that there is only one conclusion to be had from this premise seems dubious to me.

    (I’m not sure how Dawkins’ comment that derided Watson’s complaints about ElevatorGate – whether justified or not – translate into a complaint about efforts toward diversity. It seemed a pretty straightforward satire on first-world complaints – not a complaint itself. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.)

    I want to make clear… I am neither defending, endorsing, or repudiating any statement made by Shermer, Dawkins, or anyone else. I am asking, in good faith, if there have been any prominent, influential atheists who have explicitly and unambiguously stated that they feel a less diverse movement would be a better movement. Not inference, not interpretation… but explicitly stated.

    Are there any examples?

    (P.S. If you doubt that I ask this question in good faith, I offer you the following – show me an example of a prominent, influential skeptic/atheist *explicitly rejecting* the idea of a more diverse movement, and I will join you in speaking out against that individual.)

  • RowanVT

    Kacy:

    Most people nowadays don’t do ‘explicit’ in their dislike of a minority group or their lack of desire for equality, because of the massive backlash. So while not intended, your question basically boils down to “If they don’t directly say it, they’re not doing it!”

    How about folks like Justin Vacula, who has written an article for the misogynist website A Voice for Men?
    How about folks like Thunderfoot who expressly said that anti-harassment policies at gatherings/conventions will destroy ability to have fun and that he should be able to touch women (and bite them on the legs) without their explicit consent?

    Much of sexism today is subtle. It’s in the men who think they can pet my hair because it’s long and when I tell them to stop respond with “Oh, but…” It’s in the men who ask if there is a ‘guy’ who can carry their 100lb dog, after I say that I am able to. It’s in the psychologist I saw about getting some meds for my ADHD and he called my state board exams for my RVT license my “big girl test.” It’s in the elderly client who was shocked when I told him that I did not appreciate him kissing me without my consent. It’s in the men at the reptile shows that think I can’t possibly know anything about the genetics of the snakes I own and breed.

    None of those folks came right out and said “Women should be treated differently”. But the behaviour is there. The visuals are there. Look at commercials. Look at how women are portrayed. And then look at the behaviour and the words of the men around you.

  • Adam Lee

    If you doubt that I ask this question in good faith, I offer you the following – show me an example of a prominent, influential skeptic/atheist *explicitly rejecting* the idea of a more diverse movement, and I will join you in speaking out against that individual.

    Let me put this in plain language: If we produce a “prominent, influential” atheist saying that he wants to keep blacks out of the atheist movement, you’ll join us in condemning him. Well, how very magnanimous of you.

    This is literally the most minimal standard of moral decency possible, and you’re offering it as if it were a brave and heroic stand. Ani and Rowan answered your question perfectly well, so let me ask a better one: What else would you condemn? Is there anything short of explicit, declared racism that would move you to speak out?

  • Kacy Ray

    Rowan – I don’t deny that men and women are treated differently in our society. But your contention that “most people nowadays don’t do *explicit*” is absurd on the face of it. Does Dawkins strike you as someone who “doesn’t do explicit”? How about Shermer, Thunderfoot, or even Vacula? Do you really think these guys “don’t do explicit”?

    I realize that the ingrained undertones of our culture are subtle and not always in-your-face. I get it. And in regards to the example you cited of your own experiences, I personally would probably have reacted exactly as you did to each one of them (except the ‘big girl test’ thing.. that seems like it could have gone either way).

    Here’s what I see as happening here: there seems to be a consensus among folks on *this* side of the schism that certain actions have very specific implications and cannot reasonably be interpreted any other way. For example… you point out that Vacula wrote an article for AVFM. You point out that TFoot is against harassment policies. And from this you extrapolate that they are against diversity in the skeptic movement.

    (Maybe there are folks on the other side that want to argue in defense of TF and Vacula, but that’s not my intent here.)

    My point (if I’m making one) is that the evidence that is being presented here seems tenuous at best. There are no prominent, influential atheists opposing increased diversity in the movement. What they are opposing seems to be – specifically – neo-feminism. But that’s very different than diversity.

    So even granting your points about Vacula and TF, and accepting all of your anecdotal evidence at face value… *none of it* points to anyone actually opposing DIVERSITY in the skeptic movement.

    I sure don’t, and I’ve never met anyone who does.

    Adam: Of course there is. Actual racism, sexism, homophobia, etc… all of that is to be opposed and condemned. And it need not be explicit – but it DOES need to be positively identified using reasonable criteria. I’m simply not ready to call someone a misogynist because they oppose in-house harassment policies (with the rationale that there are already laws in place that prohibit sexual harassment).

    Now if someone were to oppose those laws – damn right I’d condemn them. But that’s because I condemn any attempt to exploit the vulnerable via force of law – not because I’m a feminist. One need not be a feminist to oppose the exploitation of the vulnerable.

    I wasn’t offering anything as a “brave and heroic stand”, by the way. Not nice to project that onto me. I was making my position clear – that’s all I was doing. Azkyroth’s immediate questioning of my sincerity compelled me to do so, and I think it was appropriate.

  • Kacy Ray

    By the way… I said “I condemn any attempt to exploit the vulnerable via force of law” – but I also want to be clear that I condemn any failure to use the force of law to protect the vulnerable. FWIW

  • RowanVT

    “For example… you point out that Vacula wrote an article for AVFM. You point out that TFoot is against harassment policies. And from this you extrapolate that they are against diversity in the skeptic movement. ”

    No. From that I extrapolate that they don’t really care about women, about us participating, about us feeling comfortable in the movement. AVFM is explicitly anti-woman and Vacula wrote a piece for it AND it was well received. TF wants to be able to touch me, or any other woman, whenever he wants whether or not we want it.
    So I extrapolate they are against change, and against anything that makes them have to consider how their own behaviour impacts us, and that in turns helps *cause* a lack of diversity. They aren’t actively against it (maybe) but they certainly are not actively promoting it. They don’t want anything to change at all. They are *fine* with how things are right now.

    ” I’m simply not ready to call someone a misogynist because they oppose in-house harassment policies (with the rationale that there are already laws in place that prohibit sexual harassment).”

    Oh, so we should only worry about harassment that is bad enough to call the cops on? We shouldn’t have codes of conduct that say “This is not going to be tolerated”? I shouldn’t expect people to understand they should respect my physical boundaries, and instead it’s much better to tell someone to get off my foot AFTER they stood on it?

    If I called the cops on the guys petting my hair, they’d probably laugh at me. Here’s another story for you because while you may condemn it it doesn’t change what the ‘law’ actually does.

    When I was 17 I was stalked. The guy tried to break into my house and I’m 100% certain that the only reason I wasn’t raped and killed was because of my 2 large dogs going ballistic. I hid in a closet for 4 hours, with my bow and a quiver of hunting arrows, before I was able to overcome the terror to call the cops, and then my grandma and mother. It took an hour for the cop to arrive.
    The man sat down in our kitchen, with me still in shock, and explained that he would not dust for prints (despite the guy’s handprints being all over the glass sliding door) or open an investigation because I had taken too long to call them. Because I had taken so long, they had no way of knowing if someone had actually tried to break in, or if I had just simply had an argument with my boyfriend.

    He effectively told me to my face that I was a liar and overreacting.

    And you are saying the same goddamn thing. We don’t need harassment policies because of the law existing. Because if it’s anything less than actual assault it’s not harassment. And even actual assault might be able to be explained away with “What were you wearing? Did you lead him on? How much did you have to drink?”

    My opinion of you is halfway down the hill and gaining speed rapidly.

  • fwtbc

    … I am asking, in good faith …

    I don’t believe you.

  • Figs

    Kacy, we’ve all seen this shtick before. This very one. I sure hope you don’t think you’re presenting anything original here. You come in and claim “reasonableness,” and then proceed to define down harassment and bigotry in such a way that they effectively never happen, so you can then turn around and say that people looking to forestall that kind of gross behavior as being unduly alarmist (after all, by your hastily assembled definition, there is no problem!).

    Here is the problem with people resisting anti-harassment policies or measures to increase diversity. It isn’t a problem simply that there is disagreement on the measures themselves, or what might be more or less effective. The problem is that the reflexive response is to belittle people who say lack of diversity is a problem that requires introspection on our part as a community. The problem is the attitude that wants to make it more wrong to call out prejudice than to be prejudiced. The problem is gross opinions like yours, wielding the word “feminism” at arm’s length as though it didn’t simply mean equality of the genders.

  • Kacy Ray

    I have no interest in discussing or defending harassment policies. I was describing TFoots position, not endorsing it. I personally have no problem with harassment policies (surprise!).

    fwtch – of course you don’t. I’m not a feminist, so everything I say is suspect, right? Typical tribal mentality.

    I asked if there are any prominent, influential skeptics/atheists who explicitly, in word or in deed, have an objection to increased diversity in the skeptic movement. It was an honest question, because there could very well have been people I currently endorse that have said things I didn’t realize they had said. I couldn’t possibly expect to know every statement all the prominent people have made, so it was a question that was legitimate and worth asking.

    But I’m starting to gather than you folks don’t really regard that question as important. If someone rejects feminism or makes a statement you find disagreeable, then that person must be a sexist, right? And if they’re a sexist, they must be against diversity, right?

    Is this the logic or isn’t it? I appreciate the stories of bad things that have happened to you and as someone who has been victimized in the past only to have the cops shrug it off because I made a juvenile mistake (I was 14 and I lied about what my girlfriend and I were doing in order to avoid her getting in trouble) I do sympathize with your anecdote. But the question stands… is this the logic you’re employing in order to get from “He’s against harassment policies” or “He wrote an article for AVFM” to “He’s against diversity”?

    Simple yes or no will do. If no, then again I ask… who is against diversity, and how do you know this of them? It’s a serious question!

  • Kacy Ray

    “TF wants to be able to touch me, or any other woman, whenever he wants whether or not we want it.”

    I’m pretty certain this isn’t true. If it is, I’d like to know. Can you point me to anything that supports this? (Hint: Pointing out that he doesn’t support anti-harassment policies won’t suffice).

  • Figs

    Is there any standard you would accept beyond “this person explicitly called for discrimination”? If so, please outline it. Otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time.

  • GCT

    fwtbc got it right. Kacy isn’t here in good faith. Kacy will continue to make sure that the boundaries for what constitutes “Actual racism, sexism, homophobia, etc…” will forever remain far enough away that he will always be able to declare that those damned uppity feminists are being hysterical and engaging in “Typical tribal mentality”…as always. Of course, he is simply part of the problem – a long line of people who try so hard to minimize the actual issues so that they can sleep more soundly at night telling themselves that the real bigots are those “other” people that threaten their white, male privilege.

  • Kacy Ray

    Figs – As I said… in word or in deed. I don’t need a verbatim statement. Just a clear one.

    For example – if someone were to say “I’d be perfectly fine with the demographic composition of our movement remaining exactly as it is” (or anything similar), I would accept that as a statement of resistance to diversity. Has any prominent figure actively, in word or in deed, expressed such a sentiment?

    I would think this would be easy, given that such a fuss is being made about it including a petition and multiple blog posts. You’d think that after all this, you’d be armed with a multitude of examples. So far, all we have here is “So-and-so wrote an article for AVFM!” or “So-and-so doesn’t support anti-harassment policies!” and “So-and-so already explained it to you” and “People don’t do explicit nowadays” and “You’re not here in good faith”… but no actual examples of anyone actually advocating for a less diverse movement.

    Does this not strike you as odd? Or do you check your skepticism at the door where the feminist/non-feminist schism is concerned?

    The more comments that show up here that spend time questioning my motives rather than providing actual examples, the more I become convinced that the logic I named about is *actually* what is happening here (Person X criticized some feminist ideal>>> Person X is anti-women>>>> Person X is against diversity).

    This is particularly surprising in light of the fact that I explicitly stated that I would join in condemning any statement made by anyone that spoke out against diversity. None have been produced, but multiple comments questioning my motives for asking have popped up. Lot’s of folks questioning my motives and putting me in a box, yet none citing a single example of someone resisting diversity. Does this not strike anyone as alarming?

  • Figs

    Feminism is the idea that men and women should be treated equally. That’s the only “feminist ideal” that matters. The fact that people like you insist on not getting that is what’s really upsetting.

    You ask if people have said “I’d be fine with the demographic makeup of the atheist movement remaining as it is,” as though you haven’t read and participated in these comment threads before. It is basically an iron law of the universe that in a post arguing for diversity in the atheist movement, some concern troll will come in and say, “I’m all for diversity, but I think we should put the focus on putting people on panels who are most qualified,” etc. The barely-unspoken assumption there is that the current composition of the atheist movement represents some meritocratic ideal which just happens to shake out to be overwhelmingly straight, white and male; the logical implication of “I don’t support measures that actively encourage diversity and discourage harassment” combined with “I think the slates of speakers at our conferences and the participation in the movement represents a meritocratic ideal” (along with some more loathsome arguments about how maybe men are just better at thinking rationally than women, and that’s why they’re disproportionately represented in the atheist movement), firmly implies the statement you say would be damning: “I think it would not be a problem for the demographic makeup of our movement to remain as it is.”

    I’m not going to go link-hunting for you. I’ve seen you participate in these threads. You know this stuff is out there, and demanding that everybody go on a wild goose chase for you doesn’t really make any sense.

    BTW, pooh-poohing the evidence of somebody writing an article for AVFM (a site on notice for its misogyny by the Southern Poverty Law Center) as showing that they’re misogynistic is like asking for more evidence that somebody’s racist than their regular column on Stormfront. Guilt by association isn’t a good way to go judging somebody, but you’d damn well better take seriously the groups a person chooses to align themselves with. Blithe dismissal doesn’t make AVFM any less hateful, nor dismiss the questionable motives of someone who’d willingly associate with them.

  • GCT

    I love the persecution/victim complex that Kacy’s got going on. Who cares that his questions have already been addressed? Who cares that this conversation isn’t happening in a vacuum and Kacy hasn’t already shown himself to be less than a good-faith actor in this in past conversations? Who cares that Kacy is using the same tired old rhetoric that opponents of diversity continually use? Nope, it’s all those raging feminists who are the real sexists and are attacking poor Kacy Ray just for posing the question. Oh, woe is the white male privilege of Kacy Ray.

    I see that Figs is already handling Kacy quite nicely, but I don’t mind dog-piling a bit.

    …but no actual examples of anyone actually advocating for a less diverse movement.

    This is blatantly false and dishonest. Kacy’s whole entire argument rests on the idea that it doesn’t count unless A) the person is question is prominent and B) the person in question has specifically stated they are against diversity. This completely ignores the real world ramifications of their actual policies, arguments, words, etc so long as they don’t say the magic words that Kacy has outlined. So, for instance, when a conference resists putting harassment policies into place and implies that it’s hurting the conference for women to speak out about the actual harassment they’ve received, and they also lie about whether they are aware of such incidences, that does not meet Kacy’s requirement of what constitutes “Actual sexism”. And, this is just another example to add onto the copious examples already given and already hand-waved away.

    Kacy also ignores the fact that inaction is also an action and indicative of intent at times. When concerns of women are downplayed through action and inaction, it sends a loud and clear signal to anyone who isn’t actively seeking to ignore it, like Kacy does.

    Also, I’m not at all clear why Kacy is insisting that the person in question be a significant figure in the atheist movement, except to hand-wave away the denizens of places like AVFM or the slymepit and deny their existence and the effect they have on the atheist movement and how it contributes to a poisonous culture.

    Lastly, Kacy’s obvious disdain for feminism and his insistence on demonizing feminists as man-hating zealots is par for the course for white, male privilege and sexism.

  • Kacy Ray

    Figs: “Feminism is the idea that men and women should be treated equally. That’s the only “feminist ideal” that matters.”

    That depends on who you ask. I recently had a conversation with multiple friends of mine on FB who identify as feminists (some rather vehemently), all of whom suggested that I was quite silly for assuming that feminism can be described in such simple terms. In fact, many of them repudiated the description of feminism provided by the other, which I found pretty amusing.

    From one friend: “Either way the evidence is anecdotal and even a basic amount of research into the feminist movement will reveal that argument, that feminism is only about political or even social equality, is not indicative of modern feminist thinking. The intersectionality of feminism is huge and it is not limited to discussions of the United States. Feminism could be argued to be a construct of Western culture, which is very debatable, but it is entirely global in its applications.”

    So what’s interesting is that when I state that I don’t accept feminism because I can’t swallow the entire ideology, I get told that “Feminism is the idea that men and women should be treated equally. That’s the only “feminist ideal” that matters. ” But when I state my support for that exact idea, I find myself getting blasted by feminists because, for example, I ask for actual evidence to support the idea that there are influential figures in the skeptic movement that resist an increase of diversity within the movement.

    Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

    See? You SAY that “Feminism is the idea that men and women should be treated equally.”, but in practice, you repudiate anyone who even questions the idea that there are prominent figures who resist diversity. So it’s clear that this is not about treatment, it’s about the swallowing-whole of an entire ideology. If I don’t accept every bit of it, then suddenly I’m everything you despise – a liar, a misogynist, a sexist a (fill-in-your-favorite-euphemism here).

    I support political equality for men and women. I support efforts to protect the vulnerable from physical and social exploitation and oppression. I condemn such exploitation when I see it. I become irate when I see instances of mistreatment, from anyone toward anyone. I extend this ideal to animals as well. By these measures alone, I well exceed your stated criteria for what constitutes a feminist.

    Why, then, do you see me as a threat, and my question as disingenuous?

    There can only be one answer. Your description of feminism is deliberately deceptive and manifestly dishonest.

    I’m still wondering if there exists any actual evidence of a prominent skeptic who resists increased diversity.

  • RowanVT

    I’ll play your game, Kacy. Re: ThunderFoot-in-mouth, the original blog posts no longer exist, but the reactions and quotes from them still do.

    Some of the quotes, that can be found linked below:

    “Put simply, YES talking about sexual harassment can sometimes be a bigger problem than sexual harassment.”

    “Further it’s my personal experience that sexual harassment affects only a very significant minority of attendees. Indeed I personally know prominent women who went to TAM last year who said from a harassment point of view, it was the cleanest TAM yet (battle fought and game won?). So the full scope of the problem is a minority of a minority. ”

    “And maybe most pertinently, PZ explaining why his policy wouldn’t be a killjoy:

    PZ- “If you want to chew on some woman’s leg, no, you don’t have to consult the conference handbook. You have to fucking consult the woman.”

    Facepalm. Yes this is exactly why you are killjoys to the VAST majority of civil, honest respectable folks. IT WAS IN A BAR. I enjoyed it, she enjoyed it (she left a comment specifically saying so, just to remove all doubt (see MyLegMYCHOICE!)), AND I NEVER HAD TO CONSULT HER, NOR APPLY FOR PERMISSION FROM THE CONFERENCE, IN ORDERS SIGNED IN TRIPLICATE SENT IN, SENT BACK AND BURIED IN SOFT PEAT FOR THREE MONTHS AND RECYCLED AS FIRELIGHTERS etc etc. Indeed had I had to fill in the paperwork along with ‘permission to bite your leg in a horseplay photo’ form under conference interpersonal contact rule 144 b) 2, it would have probably kinda killed the moment, and neither I nor she would have got our mild thrills for the night. It’s boys n girls have fun in bars!”

    http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/addressing-some-things-thunderf00t-definitely-actually-said/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/25/so-much-wrong-part-1-thunderf00t-and-sexual-harassment/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/26/so-much-wrong-part-2-thunderf00t-and-sexual-harassment/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/27/so-much-wrong-part-3-thunderf00t-and-sexual-harassment/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/28/so-much-wrong-part-4-thunderf00t-and-sexual-harassment/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/06/29/so-much-wrong-part-5-thunderf00t-and-sexual-harassment/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/06/26/congratulations-on-not-harassing-anyone-this-time/

  • GCT

    Apparently, Kacy’s idea of “actual evidence” is the idea that the plural of anecdote is data.

    But when I state my support for that exact idea, I find myself getting blasted by feminists because, for example, I ask for actual evidence to support the idea that there are influential figures in the skeptic movement that resist an increase of diversity within the movement.

    Except, you aren’t stating your support. You may say so in words, but your deeds speak otherwise. It’s kinda like the groups that claim they are for marriage. That’s what they say, but in reality they are really just against marriage equality for gays. Your insistence that you’re for equality, so jump through hoops to prove to me that there’s an issue or else you’re a raving “feminist” is pretty much the same.

    So it’s clear that this is not about treatment, it’s about the swallowing-whole of an entire ideology. If I don’t accept every bit of it, then suddenly I’m everything you despise – a liar, a misogynist, a sexist a (fill-in-your-favorite-euphemism here).

    No, you blundering dolt, that’s not the case at all. And, your misrepresentation is just digging the hole deeper.

    Why, then, do you see me as a threat, and my question as disingenuous?

    There can only be one answer. Your description of feminism is deliberately deceptive and manifestly dishonest.

    Why do you say such transparently stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot so readily? Do you think we are too stupid to see through your facade of fake concern for equal rights? Do you honestly believe that we’ll simply say, “Oh, he says he’s for equal rights, so when he paints all feminists as evil harpies he must have a point”? Or, how about, “He says he’s for equal rights, so he must have a point that all these women speaking out about diversity are a bunch of hysterical screeching idiots that are just trying to cause trouble”? Stop insulting our intelligence you cad.

    I’m still wondering if there exists any actual evidence of a prominent skeptic who resists increased diversity.

    It’s been presented to you, you lying weasel. That you can continually set the bar so high that it can’t be achieved just shows your white, male privilege and your sexism. You’re a sexist bigot, plain and simple.

  • Kacy Ray

    GCT:

    “Except, you aren’t stating your support. ”

    Oh, I’m sorry… I must not have been clear when I said: I support political equality for men and women. I support efforts to protect the vulnerable from physical and social exploitation and oppression. I condemn such exploitation when I see it. I become irate when I see instances of mistreatment, from anyone toward anyone.

    “You may say so in words, but your deeds speak otherwise. ”

    What deeds, I wonder? I didn’t realize you and I were acquainted. Last I checked, all you know about me are my words.

    Wait… you mean the deed of QUESTIONING YOUR PREMISES? Ah, yes… the unforgivable sin of the pseudo-skeptic.

    “No, you blundering dolt,”
    “you lying weasel.”
    “you say such transparently stupid things”
    ” you cad”
    “You’re a sexist bigot, plain and simple.”

    Glad to see that you don’t disappoint. Say what you want about me, at least I’m civil.

    “It’s been presented to you, you lying weasel. That you can continually set the bar so high that it can’t be achieved just shows your white, male privilege and your sexism.”

    That you somehow draw a line between a “high bar for evidence” and “male privilege” just shows your entrenchment in the pile of dogma you’ve bought into. Are you suggesting, with a straight face, that only a white male would require evidence before accepting a proposition?

    And that doesn’t even address the irony of a (presumably) self-professed skeptic claiming that my request for evidence of any influential figure in the skeptic community indicating – in word or in deed – that they oppose increased diversity amounts to an unreasonably high standard for evidence. That’s funny stuff right there.

    For you NOT to demand such evidence is a creationist-grade standard of skepticism.

    Now… please hurl more insults my way. It’s an effective method of persuasion. OR… produce the evidence I very courteously asked for. OR… do something else or nothing at all. I’m easy.

  • Adam Lee

    For example – if someone were to say “I’d be perfectly fine with the demographic composition of our movement remaining exactly as it is” (or anything similar), I would accept that as a statement of resistance to diversity. Has any prominent figure actively, in word or in deed, expressed such a sentiment?

    Yes, Michael Shermer has. This was already pointed out to you and you failed to address it. Here are Shermer’s exact words:

    There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population (in gender, in age and socio-economic class, or in height, weight, or any number of other variables for that matter), so short of some other evidence of bigotry, racism, and misogyny, there is no need to go in search of demons to exorcise. (source)

    You’ve also ignored the question put to you by me and others: Is there anything short of an explicitly stated desire to discriminate that you would condemn?

  • Kacy Ray

    Rowan -

    “PZ- “If you want to chew on some woman’s leg, no, you don’t have to consult the conference handbook. You have to fucking consult the woman.” – TF00t

    Whoa… this is interesting. This is the exact opposite of what you said before: “TF wants to be able to touch me, or any other woman, whenever he wants whether or not we want it.”

    How do you reconcile your statement that TF wants to be able to touch women without their consent with his explicit statement that a woman must be consulted in order to be touched?

    Do you believe that explicit consultation is required for consent?

    I acknowledge every one of the citations you posted. I accept them all at face value. However, I didn’t see one that indicated that he opposed the idea of increased diversity in the A/S movement. Again, your logic seems to be “TFoot doesn’t agree with the idea of harassment policies” ergo “TFoot is not a feminist” ergo “TFoot is a sexist” ergo “TFoot opposes increased diversity”.

    That is literally the only logic here I can see. And I’ve been asking if this is the logic being employed here, to no avail.

    So here we are… no one will post a citation of an influential A/S figure opposing diversity. No one will demonstrate a logical implication between the citations that have been posted and an opposition to increased diversity. It all adds up to… no influential figure in the A/S movement opposes increased diversity.

    Yet we have a petition demanding increased diversity and a chorus of folks celebrating it (and condemning anyone who dares ask for evidence that such a petition is necessary – complete with all of the typical character smears and insults, courtesy of GCT).

    And not one skeptic in here sees a problem with this.

    Here’s a clue – when you regard a request for evidence of your position as a direct, insidious, covert assault on your position – you just *may* have swallowed some dogma.

  • GCT

    What deeds, I wonder? I didn’t realize you and I were acquainted. Last I checked, all you know about me are my words.

    Wait… you mean the deed of QUESTIONING YOUR PREMISES? Ah, yes… the unforgivable sin of the pseudo-skeptic.

    What must it be like to inhabit your intellectually feeble mind? I’ve continually pointed out to you what you are doing that makes us see through your rhetoric, and you continually ignore it so that you can claim that you are the only true Scotsman…er skeptic. Which, coincidentally, is yet another data point in my favor. Duh.

    Glad to see that you don’t disappoint. Say what you want about me, at least I’m civil.

    Hiding sexism and intolerance behind a false veneer of using nice words is not civility. There is nothing civil about your argument.

    That you somehow draw a line between a “high bar for evidence” and “male privilege” just shows your entrenchment in the pile of dogma you’ve bought into. Are you suggesting, with a straight face, that only a white male would require evidence before accepting a proposition?

    Not at all. I’m suggesting that only a sexist cad like you stuffed full of white privilege would demand that an unrealistic bar be met before begrudgingly giving your acceptance to the premise. But, it’s not only that, it’s also the fact that you ignore every bit of evidence given you because you’ve written the letter of the law of your request to specifically rule out all the actual instances given you. Oh, but there’s more. There’s also the problem that you ignore everything inconvenient for your white, male privilege. Oh, and to make matters worse, you automatically ascribe all your opponents as being beholden to some nefarious dogma, not real skeptics, hysterical idiots, etc, thus projecting your own failings to some extent on everyone else.

    For you NOT to demand such evidence is a creationist-grade standard of skepticism.

    Why do irrational atheists seem to have this need to try and paint their adversaries as nothing short of creationists when they’ve been caught with their pants down? I don’t think you’re that dumb, but I’ll spell it out for you. The evidence is there – it’s been presented to you. Women are being harassed at conferences by members of the atheist community, and something needs to be done about it. If you actually cared for diversity, you wouldn’t be arguing with us that there’s really no problem when the overwhelming evidence is that there is a problem. You are a liar, and your actions testify to that.

    Now… please hurl more insults my way. It’s an effective method of persuasion.

    I’m not trying to persuade you, you’re a lost cause. I will not hide my contempt for your sexism though.

    OR… produce the evidence I very courteously asked for.

    Evidence has been produced to you in spades, here and elsewhere. You refuse to deal with it and then claim that you are the civil/courteous one. You are not. You are a puss-filled boil on the idea of diversity and equality for women (and other minorities I should add). You are an intolerant bigot. I won’t apologize for pointing it out.

  • GCT

    How do you reconcile your statement that TF wants to be able to touch women without their consent with his explicit statement that a woman must be consulted in order to be touched?

    Well, some might recognize that eliminating the means for a woman to deny him the “right” to touch here when and how he sees fit is tantamount to him wanting to touch her without consent, especially as it engenders a culture where women are seen as objects to be touched without their consent. But, that sort of concept I’m sure is beyond you.

    However, I didn’t see one that indicated that he opposed the idea of increased diversity in the A/S movement. Again, your logic seems to be “TFoot doesn’t agree with the idea of harassment policies” ergo “TFoot is not a feminist” ergo “TFoot is a sexist” ergo “TFoot opposes increased diversity”.

    And, this is why you are not being honest. You’ve set the bar such that TFoot is somehow not seen as an opponent of diversity. Nevermind the fact that he fights tooth and nail to sweep the issues under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. Nevermind the fact that he fights to keep the status quo where women are being harassed. Apparently, to you, working to ensure that women continue to be harassed is a great way to ensure diversity.

    That is literally the only logic here I can see. And I’ve been asking if this is the logic being employed here, to no avail.

    It’s to no avail only because you ignore all the answers you get.

  • Kacy Ray

    Adam: “You’ve also ignored the question put to you by me and others: Is there anything short of an explicitly stated desire to discriminate that you would condemn?”

    Actually, I answered that question immediately, in the very next comment right underneath the question. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2013/03/petition-comments-iii/#comment-51284

    “Yes, Michael Shermer has. This was already pointed out to you and you failed to address it. Here are Shermer’s exact words:

    There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population (in gender, in age and socio-economic class, or in height, weight, or any number of other variables for that matter), so short of some other evidence of bigotry, racism, and misogyny, there is no need to go in search of demons to exorcise. ”

    I have not ignored this at all. Shermer is asserting that “There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population”. Nowhere in this citation does he state any opposition to increased diversity – he’s merely stating that he believes that the current disproportionate nature of the demographics within the movement can be attributed to factors OTHER THAN racism, sexism, etc…

    Interestingly enough, I was watching a video just about an hour ago in which Sikiviu Hutchinson (discussing this issue) offered up a variety of reasons for this disproportionate composition. The video I was watching can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eWUcvazF8qo

    So here we are again – no one is making a statement indicating that they would be resistant to the idea of increased diversity. At best, you have Shermer acknowledging the disproportionate demographic composition and stating that it is not inherently indicative of sexism or racism. But at no time does he make a statement endorsing the current composition or expressing any desire for it to remain in its current state.

    There’s simply nothing in there that indicates a RESISTANCE or OPPOSITION to increased diversity.

    Please, show me if I’m wrong!

  • Kacy Ray

    GCT: “Apparently, to you, working to ensure that women continue to be harassed is a great way to ensure diversity.”

    See, this is very instructive. You are making a very classic mistake of assuming that since someone disagrees with the method you endorse, they must therefore oppose the end you seek.

    TFoot has never, to my knowledge, endorsed harassment of any kind. I welcome any evidence to the contrary. But nowhere have I ever seen him make a statement indicating that he thought harassment was acceptable.

    But you translate his opposition to *harassment policies* as an endorsement of *harassment*.

    This is the EXACT thing I encounter when I express my opposition to drug laws. People automatically assume that my *opposition to drug laws* constitutes and *endorsement of drug use*. You are making the EXACT SAME ERROR.

    The truth is that I believe there are better ways to fight drug addiction. Education, treatment, etc… they have all been proven to be more effective than prohibition. So my opposition to prohibition is not at all an endorsement of drug use. In fact, my opposition to prohibition constitutes what I see as *a better way* to combat the affects of drug addiction.

    I fully acknowledge that TFoot opposes harassment policies. But, as I have demonstrated, that does not translate into an endorsement of harassment. His opposition of harassment policies constitutes what he sees as *a better way* to address the problem.

    Again… nothing here that indicates a resistance to increased diversity.

  • Figs

    This is pointless. Kacy clearly doesn’t understand how quotes work (what he’s claiming was a Thunderfoot quote was clearly, in context, Thunderfoot quoting PZ so he could then disagree with him; attributing PZ’s quote to Thunderfoot is particularly perverse); he’s got the goalposts in hand, ready to shift them in case anybody starts coming close to his arbitrary definitions for what’s condemnable; and he claims that nobody has shown him a logical implication between statements people have made and a resistance to diversity in the atheist movement, though I posted this above:

    You ask if people have said “I’d be fine with the demographic makeup of the atheist movement remaining as it is,” as though you haven’t read and participated in these comment threads before. It is basically an iron law of the universe that in a post arguing for diversity in the atheist movement, some concern troll will come in and say, “I’m all for diversity, but I think we should put the focus on putting people on panels who are most qualified,” etc. The barely-unspoken assumption there is that the current composition of the atheist movement represents some meritocratic ideal which just happens to shake out to be overwhelmingly straight, white and male; the logical implication of “I don’t support measures that actively encourage diversity and discourage harassment” combined with “I think the slates of speakers at our conferences and the participation in the movement represents a meritocratic ideal” (along with some more loathsome arguments about how maybe men are just better at thinking rationally than women, and that’s why they’re disproportionately represented in the atheist movement), firmly implies the statement you say would be damning: “I think it would not be a problem for the demographic makeup of our movement to remain as it is.”

    If he disagrees with my reasoning, he certainly hasn’t said why, or even said so. Since he responded to other stuff in that post, I’ve got to assume that he just ignored it or wasn’t able to engage it.

    On the definition of feminism: feminism is the idea that women should be treated equally to men. Period. A lot of other stuff flows from that, and viewing society through the lens of the knowledge that women are consistently not treated equally makes things look a lot different, but it all flows from that simple idea. There’s not a complex feminist dogma. It’s equality. Period.

  • Figs

    Kacy,

    You say Thunderfoot endorses “a better way” to address harassment. What is that way? Because from what I’ve seen it includes belittling and implying that none of what’s claimed even rises to the level of harassment in the first place. Thunderfoot assembled a video to make womens’ complaints about their treatment at conferences look silly and petty, as though it needn’t even rise to the level of being addressed at all. Is this his “better way”?

  • GCT

    What Figs said. Although, maybe he has a point in a perverse way. Harassment will not happen if we can define away any instance of harassment as not being harassment, right? I mean, we’ll have the most egalitarian movement in history with zero harassment, because nothing will ever rise to the level of harassment, meaning we can declare victory and that our method of dealing with it was so good that it never happens…right? Right?

    No Kacy, you dolt, that’s not how it works. TF is not simply stating a different method and getting unfairly maligned because he sees a different way to solve the problem. This is especially true because he continually minimizes the problem. How does one work towards solving a problem that one continually claims doesn’t exist? When one ignores the very real concerns that women are voicing in order to mansplain to them that they don’t actually have any issues and should just go away, that person is engaging in sexism. That you are fighting so incredibly hard to defend this gives the lie to your claims that you believe in equality. You do not. Again, I will not apologize for pointing this out to you and anyone else reading this.

  • Kacy Ray

    Am I getting moderated??

  • Kacy Ray

    Ah, I guess not. I just noticed this mysterious “Your comment is awaiting moderation” line at the top of one of my comments.

    Very well… carry on!

  • Azkyroth

    Is there anything short of an explicitly stated desire to discriminate that you would condemn?

    Well…

    But thanks for immediately calling my motives into question. That always helps foster quality dialogue.

    Pattern recognition, apparently.

  • Kacy Ray

    Figs – As far as I can tell, TFoot believes that the problem of harassment in the A/S community is no better or worse than the problem of harassment in any other community where men and women assemble. He seems to be asserting that by characterizing the problem as “chronic” and, in a flurry of overreaction, implementing a bunch of harassment policies, we are shooting ourselves in the foot because we are creating an illusion that the problem is much worse in the A/S community than it actually is, thereby scaring off women (and maybe even other under-represented demographics). After all, what self-respecting woman is going to want to associate with a crowd in which the harassment is so bad that they need to codify policies just to be able to function? Why would a typical dive bar be able to function just fine with out such policies, but the A/S community can’t?

    As far as I can tell, his solution involves addressing the individual instances as they occur, and creating an atmosphere in which such behavior is culturally unacceptable. In other words, just as no one in their right mind would go into a church and start grabbing asses (because they know they’d be shown to the door very quickly), over time people would recognize that the A/S community is no place for such behavior.

    Now, I’m describing TFoot’s position *as I understand it* – I am nether endorsing nor repudiating it (at this time). And only because you asked – not because I’m trying to propagate it.

    If I misattributed a quote – my apologies. that’s what happens when I try to fit blog-commenting in with the hustle and bustle of my life. Mistakes happen.

    You said: The barely-unspoken assumption there is that the current composition of the atheist movement represents some meritocratic ideal which just happens to shake out to be overwhelmingly straight, white and male; the logical implication of “I don’t support measures that actively encourage diversity and discourage harassment” combined with “I think the slates of speakers at our conferences and the participation in the movement represents a meritocratic ideal” (along with some more loathsome arguments about how maybe men are just better at thinking rationally than women, and that’s why they’re disproportionately represented in the atheist movement), firmly implies the statement you say would be damning: “I think it would not be a problem for the demographic makeup of our movement to remain as it is.”

    But who has actually said those things??? That’s what I’m asking! Who (of influence) has come out and said those things in conjunction with other? You’re talking about “logical implications” and “barely unspoken assumptions”… but you haven’t cited anyone in the movement actually coming out and saying these things! You’re making this stuff up as you go along!

    I asked a very simple question. Has anyone of influence in the A/S community come out against increased diversity in the movement? I asked for evidence of such a position. Here’s what I’ve been provided evidence for:

    1 – Thunderfoot opposes harassment policies.
    2 – Michael Shermer believes that the lack of diversity among in the demographic composition among the leaders of the A/S community – as compared to the general population – may be attributed to reasons other than sexism, racism, or homophobia.
    3 – If you combine statements such as “I don’t support measures that actively encourage diversity and discourage harassment” and “I think the slates of speakers at our conferences and the participation in the movement represents a meritocratic ideal” (along with some more loathsome arguments about how maybe men are just better at thinking rationally than women, and that’s why they’re disproportionately represented in the atheist movement), then it adds up to “I think it would not be a problem for the demographic makeup of our movement to remain as it is.” (Note: there has been no citation provided of any influential figure in the movement actually making those statements.)
    4 – GCT is a socially inept individual who cannot hold an adult conversation.

    That is the evidence I’ve seen. And, with the exception of #3, I am willing to capitulate the truth of all that I listed. (#3 would be subject to a bit of deliberation, but since it has not demonstrated that anyone has actually articulated those particular sentiments, I see no need in deliberating it).

    But none of it points to an influential figure in the A/S movement speaking out against, or actively attempting to throttle, increased diversity in the A/S movement. It seems that no one can provide a citation, an example, or even an anecdote of an influential figure attempting to subvert efforts at increased diversity in this movement.

    Yet … there’s the petition. And the celebration. And I am truly bewildered at this.

    For the record – I do not view all of YOU with the same seething contempt with which you appear to view me. It disappoints me that any attempt to have a civil conversation is met with accusations of “concern trolling” and “tone trolling” and whatever other blogological meme’s you’ve replaced real-world vernacular with, but I realize that when you spend more time associating with blips on screens than you do at tables with those warm bodies you occasionally encounter when you leave the house, your -psycho-social paradigm will adjust accordingly.

    But through all that, try to remember that every now and then, when the moon is full and the creek hasn’t flooded, there might come along someone who *disagrees* with you yet is still actively trying to understand you and your position. And I don’t do it just for the laughs, social advantages, and female attention I garner from hanging out in these places (snicker)… I do it because, against all reason, I actually do care about these issues.

  • Adam Lee

    I have not ignored this at all. Shermer is asserting that “There is nothing inherently bigoted, racist, or misogynistic in the fact that the demographics of the secular community do not reflect those of the general population”. Nowhere in this citation does he state any opposition to increased diversity – he’s merely stating that he believes that the current disproportionate nature of the demographics within the movement can be attributed to factors OTHER THAN racism, sexism, etc…

    Then we’re just back to what I said earlier in the thread: you’ve magnanimously declared that you’ll oppose any “prominent, influential” atheist who openly advocates racism against non-white people, and present that incredibly basic and minimal standard of decency as if you expect to be showered with accolades for it.

    As people have repeatedly told you, the problem isn’t atheists who openly advocate racism, but atheists who deny that diversity should be a concern at all; atheists who minimize the problem, who stall and slow-walk it, who patronize and condescend to people who speak out about it. This point has been explained to you often enough that I refuse to believe you haven’t grasped it.

    Actually, I answered that question immediately, in the very next comment right underneath the question.

    You said that you would oppose “actual” racism and sexism, but as your other comments in this thread have demonstrated, you reserve for yourself the right to define what counts as “actual”, and apparently your standard is that only explicit, declared racism and sexism count as such. By your standard, we’d have to take intelligent-design advocates at their word when they claim that their ideas aren’t motivated by religion at all, no sir.

  • Azkyroth

    It disappoints me that any attempt to have a civil conversation is met with accusations of “concern trolling” and “tone trolling”

    As opposed to the following, which is merely regular trolling.

    and whatever other blogological meme’s you’ve replaced real-world vernacular with, but I realize that when you spend more time associating with blips on screens than you do at tables with those warm bodies you occasionally encounter when you leave the house, your -psycho-social paradigm will adjust accordingly.

    Let’s hear it for civility.

    As Kacy Ray well knows, he is receiving a harsh reaction because we’ve heard this song before and we’ve seen the mask come off. Over and over and over.

  • Azkyroth

    But none of it points to an influential figure in the A/S movement speaking out against, or actively attempting to throttle, increased diversity in the A/S movement.

    Every single person who wastes the time of activists with this kind of dishonest hairsplitting and goalpost-moving is actively attempting to throttle increased diversity in the atheist movement.

  • RowanVT

    “Rowan -

    “PZ- “If you want to chew on some woman’s leg, no, you don’t have to consult the conference handbook. You have to fucking consult the woman.” – TF00t

    Whoa… this is interesting. This is the exact opposite of what you said before: “TF wants to be able to touch me, or any other woman, whenever he wants whether or not we want it.””

    Let me do my complete and utter reading comprehension fail dance for you, to celebrate your complete and utter inability to figure out how quotes work! The thing with PZ- in front of it… was said by PZ. The rest was said by TF who thinks it’s ‘no fun’ to have to ask a woman before he bites her.

    And you can go bite yourself as well.

  • GCT

    After all, what self-respecting woman is going to want to associate with a crowd in which the harassment is so bad that they need to codify policies just to be able to function?

    Perhaps one that wants to feel like A/S communities are safe spaces that will listen to their concerns and act upon them to ensure the community remains a safe space? Oh, that’s just crazy talk though.

    As far as I can tell, his solution involves addressing the individual instances as they occur, and creating an atmosphere in which such behavior is culturally unacceptable.

    And, you’d be wrong. That’s not surprising though, since you can’t even figure out how quotes work.

    If I misattributed a quote – my apologies. that’s what happens when I try to fit blog-commenting in with the hustle and bustle of my life. Mistakes happen.

    Yet, you continue to argue as if you hadn’t made that mistake when you clearly have. How very dishonest of you.

    You’re talking about “logical implications” and “barely unspoken assumptions”… but you haven’t cited anyone in the movement actually coming out and saying these things!

    This has already been explained to you, multiple times. People don’t just come out and say, “I hate women.” It’s implicit, however, in their attitudes, their stances, their policies, their arguments, etc. You would have us believe that anyone can do or say anything short of “I hate women” and never be considered an opponent of diversity. That’s not how it works, however, as has been explained to you multiple times. You continue to cling to your original argument which has been debunked, thus proving that you have no interest in acting in good faith.

    4 – GCT is a socially inept individual who cannot hold an adult conversation.

    High praise indeed from a bigoted troll. But, you left off all the other examples provided to you and the explanations of why they are examples, as well as downplaying the 3 examples you did list and hand-waving them away. Why is it so important for you to downplay the very real examples of harassment that women in the A/S community have suffered? Why is it so important for you to act as if nothing is wrong and their concerns are merely a trifle made up by lying and/or over-reacting women? Don’t you see how sexist that is, or are you so blinded by your white, male privilege that you literally don’t see how much of an ass you are?

    For the record – I do not view all of YOU with the same seething contempt with which you appear to view me.

    That’s an out and out lie. You see the women posting here as less than human. You see all of us as “others” shown by your contempt for feminists and your constant need to demonize. Don’t lie in order to try and claim the moral high ground, because your lies only compound your seething and sneering hatred.

    It disappoints me that any attempt to have a civil conversation…

    Again, there is nothing civil about your arguments and what you are trying to do, especially when you follow it up (in the same sentence no less) with insult.

    But through all that, try to remember that every now and then, when the moon is full and the creek hasn’t flooded, there might come along someone who *disagrees* with you yet is still actively trying to understand you and your position.

    When that person comes along, then maybe a civil discussion can be had, but that person certainly is not you. We’ve been explaining our position and you’ve been impervious to it because you refuse to listen. You’re not actively trying to understand anything. Couple this with your sexist attacks and it puts the lie to what you’ve said above…yet again.

    And I don’t do it just for the laughs, social advantages, and female attention I garner from hanging out in these places (snicker)…

    Wow, just wow. You’ve just got done telling us about how civil you are and complaining about your treatment, and then you drop this gem (along with all the others) which justifies our contempt for you. Go away troll, the grown-ups are talking.

  • Figs

    The most dishonest thing that people like Kacy do is start out comments on every post as though this is the first time this conversation is being had. Demands to set up the terms of discussion, to solicit links and examples from everyone, all of these are tactics to waste everybody’s time. Doing it with the veneer of civility is a way to do it while giving himself some modicum of cover (but really to just piss people off more by rubbing his “civility” in their faces, which makes it not really civility in the first place).

    We have had these conversations before. This is not a 101-level discussion. The examples have been hashed out again and again, and the parameters of discussion are well-understood. Demanding that somebody who has attained an arbitrary level of “prominence” make a statement that lives up to some arbitrary level of “explicit” in its opposition to diversity is just silly, and as many have pointed out, simply serves to guarantee that nobody could ever violate this standard.

    The problem is harassment, and that doesn’t simply come from “prominent” atheists. Even if it did, in a leadeless, decentralized movement, it makes no sense to limit a discussion of systemic problems to so-called (often self-appointed) “prominent” atheists. The bulk of the atheist movement takes place in discussions and at conferences and stuff. That makes comments and things perfectly reasonable areas in which to discuss systemic opposition to diversity.

    The idea, also, that harassment policies scare people away in a way that actual harassment doesn’t is mind-boggling in its wrongness. This is to say that pointing out a problem is a bigger problem than the problem itself. People like Thunderfoot are the ones who compound this problem, by showing people who have been victims of harassment what he thinks of them and their complaints (hint: it ain’t kind). These people never come out and say, “Yes, I think this is a problem, but I have a better way to deal with it.” They instead say, “This isn’t even a problem, and the people who say it is are liars, and by the way, saying it’s a problem is going to drive people away more than if it even was a problem, which it’s not, so screw everybody who says it is. Also, fuck feminism, because why not, but I’m totally not anti-woman, that’s just FEMINIST GROUPTHINK.”

    Obviously I’m paraphrasing, but not terribly much. This is what MRA types say all the time. Kacy has dressed up bits of it in this very thread. And that’s far more alienating than to acknowledge that there is a problem and to attempt to address it by holding the atheist community to a higher standard than society at large (seriously, is it supposed to be a defense to say that the incidence of harassment in the atheist movement is the same as in society at large?). The attempted vilification of feminism is particularly pernicious, in its redefinition of terms.

    Basically, Kacy, we’ve all seen this game before. We’ve all seen YOU play this game before. It was old the first time you did it. It’s older and more irritating now. Go away.

  • Azkyroth
  • Kacy Ray

    Adam: “As people have repeatedly told you, the problem isn’t atheists who openly advocate racism, but atheists who deny that diversity should be a concern at all”

    Sounds like you’re more concerned with who is speaking out than what those who speak out are saying… basically advocating affirmative-action within the A/S community.

    “atheists who minimize the problem”

    And what exactly is the problem? Lack of diversity? I can understand that it would be a problem if someone – ANYONE – failed to acknowledge or appreciate someone’s value to the movement because of that persons sex, race, or orientation. That makes sense and I’m on board with it. But what is the inherent problem with a demographic within a movement that doesn’t represent the diversity of the general population? And why is that necessarily an indication of racism, sexism, etc within the movement? As I’ve pointed out, there can be many reasons for such a state, and nothing about the current demographic indicates that it won’t change over time on its own.

    Do you feel that diversity, for diversity’s sake, is somehow an intrinsic value?

    “This point has been explained to you often enough that I refuse to believe you haven’t grasped it.”

    I find this curious about you as of late. It’s not a trait I ever noticed over the years and I’m not sure if its because you’ve changed or because I just didn’t notice it. You seem to consistently behave as though your case, once presented, is beyond scrutiny. As though your evidence, once presented, is not subject to further inquiry or scrutiny. When challenged, you state with absolute authority “Look, I’ve explained this to you – if you don’t see things exactly as I do by this point it can ONLY be due to evasion or idiocy on your part.”

    Have I just never noticed this, or is this a recent polemic adaptation on your part?

    Either way… I see now that there really are no prominent figures in the A/S movement who either oppose or take steps to throttle increased diversity within the movement. Congratulations, I guess, on garnering such support for a petition that demands something we all already advocate and no one really opposes.

    “we urge the atheist and skeptical organizations to make a conscious commitment to diversity: to intentionally reach out to people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds to speak at our conventions, to serve on our boards of directors, and to be the public faces and representatives of skepticism.”

    Yes… I do hope they decide to continue doing this.

  • Kacy Ray

    Azkyroth, if there’s something you want to say to me, please just say the word and we can find a nice little quiet corner of the internet to have a chat. Otherwise, please keep your vitriol to yourself. I have not been dishonest about anything. Is “liar liar pants on fire” really the best you can up with?

    I asked a relevant question in the first comment that pertained to the OP. The question has been answered. I’m satisfied with that.

  • Adam Lee

    You seem to consistently behave as though your case, once presented, is beyond scrutiny. As though your evidence, once presented, is not subject to further inquiry or scrutiny. When challenged, you state with absolute authority “Look, I’ve explained this to you – if you don’t see things exactly as I do by this point it can ONLY be due to evasion or idiocy on your part.”

    Have I just never noticed this, or is this a recent polemic adaptation on your part?

    Figs explained this to you already, Kacy. We’ve been talking about feminism and diversity in the atheist community for several years now; we’ve debated it ad nauseam, including lengthy and detailed discussion of the exact points you brought up in this thread; and yet every time this topic comes up, there are people, like you, who wander in and act as if this is the first time any of this has ever been mentioned, and demand to be educated starting from first principles until every quibble and objection is answered to your personal satisfaction. It’s the same principle as creationists who want an entire education in biology in the space of a comment thread. I’ve even had one-on-one e-mail conversations specifically with you about this topic, as you know perfectly well, and it seems as if none of it has registered.

    And now, we come to this bit of outrageous dishonesty:

    Either way… I see now that there really are no prominent figures in the A/S movement who either oppose or take steps to throttle increased diversity within the movement.

    What we agreed upon is that there are no prominent atheists who openly advocate keeping women and minorities out of the atheist movement. Everyone understands why that would be career suicide. But through what mental process did you decide that this is the same thing as saying that there are no atheists who do anything at all to resist efforts to increase diversity? If you don’t grasp the difference between those two positions, you’re either stupid or willfully dishonest, and I don’t think you’re stupid.

    As long as you’re going to pretend not to know anything about the substance of this debate, you’re not welcome here. Do not attempt to comment on Daylight Atheism again until, at the very least, you’ve read and comprehended the posts I linked to above. I will enforce this if necessary. This is my final word on this matter.

  • The Devil’s Towelboy

    Your petition was a fraud and you know it. Like the lynch Vacula petition, it was a third protest commenters, a third trolls and the remainder repeat voter ideologue losers. Stop making crap up. Stop inventing a false sense of authority. You represent no one other than your own identity politic ghetto. This is pure propaganda and little more. I expect more from patheos than this kind of substance free pap.

    [I couldn't have asked for clearer proof that the petition is having an impact. When you make bigots and harassers mad, you know you're doing something right! —Adam]

  • Azkyroth

    You’re a known two-faced troll. Go find your own quiet little corner.

  • RowanVT

    “Either way… I see now that there really are no prominent figures in the A/S movement who either oppose or take steps to throttle increased diversity within the movement.”

    How bloody dishonest can you get?

    Because saying that skepticism is a ‘guy thing’, and saying that a man should be able to touch whatever woman he wants whenever he wants without asking aren’t steps to throttle an increase in diversity? Are you entirely ignorant of the concept of the chilly climate? Somehow I doubt it… you just don’t care. YOU aren’t being affected, so clearly it’s not a problem.

    So, welcome to being part of the problem.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Gosh, Kacy reminds me of CL.

  • GCT

    Wow. Not only has Kacy played the “I’ve never really talked about this stuff before” schtick in this thread and other threads on this very blog, but now we learn that he even had an email correspondence with Adam on this very topic? I’m surprised that Adam didn’t call him out on this sooner, although letting him dangle on the hook for so long may have been satisfying in its own way I suppose.

  • http://www.shoutingapes.com Discount Deity

    “For example – if someone were to say “I’d be perfectly fine with the demographic composition of our movement remaining exactly as it is” (or anything similar), I would accept that as a statement of resistance to diversity.”

    “But what is the inherent problem with a demographic within a movement that doesn’t represent the diversity of the general population?…Do you feel that diversity, for diversity’s sake, is somehow an intrinsic value?”

    Oh, look, Kacy’s position has evolved to match what he originally cited as a hypothetical example of the opposition to diversity that he opposed. Funny how things change.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X