Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

The approach taken

Sep 18th, 2014 12:32 pm | By

Michael wants me to respond to his post without the sarcastic paraphrasing. Fair enough. I can at least try, although it’s a very long and winding post, which does make it difficult. This won’t be complete, therefore, but it will be something.

Item.

I believe that the approach taken by PZ Myers, and by some other people on (for shorthand) the FreeThought Blogs perceived ‘side’ of some disagreements, is counterproductive to these aims. It is also unjust and harmful in itself, because it routinely demonises decent people who support equality but who have a different approach to it.

That’s not a good shorthand. There are a lot of bloggers on this network, and many of them don’t write … Read the rest

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Not unlike thought police witch-hunter lynch mobs

Sep 18th, 2014 10:53 am | By

Adam Lee sums up the most recent outbreaks at Comment is Free.

He was, like me, a big fan of Dawkins. Now? Not so much.

Neither of us just plunged into this not so much state randomly or on a whim, nor did we do so as an exciting new way to draw attention to ourselves. It had to do with reasons, with things he said and did.

But over the last few months, Dawkins showed signs of détente with his feminist critics – even progress. He signed a joint letter with the writer Ophelia Benson, denouncing and rejecting harassment; he even apologized for the “Dear Muslima” letter. On stage at a conference in Oxford in August, Dawkins

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Guest post: A more complicated pissing on fire hydrants

Sep 17th, 2014 5:56 pm | By

Originally a comment by Brony on Thou shalt respect The Leaders.

Am I correct in remembering that Nugent was the one that tried to host the debate to heal the deep rifts earlier on? If so that matters.

On describing decency and demonization

So how does this,

I believe that atheist and skeptic people and groups, like all people and groups within society, should promote compassion, empathy, fairness, justice, equality and respect for people, combined with robust rational analysis of ideas.

…relate to this,

I believe that the approach taken by PZ Myers, and by some other people on (for shorthand) the FreeThought Blogs perceived ‘side’ of some disagreements, is counterproductive to these aims. It is also unjust and

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Guest post: On Dawkins, hero worship, and doubling down

Sep 17th, 2014 4:55 pm | By

Guest post by Josh the SpokesGay

I’m pondering this and haven’t come to any firm conclusions, but I want to float it for conversation.

We’re seeing an enormous number of people (who we thought would know and do better) ignore the most awful behavior from Dawkins. Obviously, not just with him, mind. It’s sometimes staggering; it’s so surprising to see people one knows to be capable of independent thought and analysis turn so completely nasty and dishonest in their attempts to stop any suggestion that Dawkins might be wrong.

We know that people have heroes. We know that we, too, are subject to the same instinct to circle the wagons. But the degree to which Dawkins supporters are doing this … Read the rest

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We’re the thought police again

Sep 17th, 2014 12:34 pm | By

More managing disagreement ethically from Richard Dawkins.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins
The “Big Sister is Watching You” Thought Police hate @CHSommers’ Factual Feminism, and you can see why.

That’s ethical disagreement all right – calling feminists who don’t respect Christina Hoff Sommers ‘The “Big Sister is Watching You” Thought Police.’

What would the other kind look like?… Read the rest

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Thou shalt respect The Leaders

Sep 17th, 2014 9:07 am | By

Michael Nugent has decided to defend Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer from the violence and abuse of those evil Freethought bloggers. It’s not a very even-handed account of the situation, in my view.

Let me preface this post by saying that I accept that I might be mistaken in anything that I write, and that I am open to changing my mind on the basis of reasonable civil discussion. Also, I assume that I have done variations of at least some of the things I am complaining about others doing here.

I believe that atheist and skeptic people and groups, like all people and groups within society, should promote compassion, empathy, fairness, justice, equality and respect for people, combined with

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Got a brioche?

Sep 16th, 2014 6:36 pm | By

PZ has a terrific guest post by Marcus Ranum on the nasty undertones of the bullshit about “click bait.” I was going to quote from it when it was a comment, but when I got around to it it had graduated to being a post.

I automatically despise people who use the “clickbait” “to make money” argument. And here is why: it never seems to come from someone who is enduring economic hardship, and it implies that the person supposedly doing it is so desperate that they need the extra fractions of a cent they might get. If you’re a bestselling author and lecturer with an international stature with an estimated net worth of over $100 million, claiming that your

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Representing the totality

Sep 16th, 2014 4:32 pm | By

My friend Muhammad Syed, co-founder and ED of EXMNA, has an open letter to Yale Humanists and Muslim Students Association at Hemant’s blog.

As an activist and an ex-Muslim, I have witnessed many attempts to prevent direly-needed conversations by those threatened by the voices of others. I am saddened to see this trend continue — namely, the letter signed by several student organizations at Yale in order to prevent Ayaan Hirsi Ali from speaking at their university.

I believe the Yale Muslim Students Association should be ashamed of their attempt to silence Hirsi Ali, and the Yale Humanists should be ashamed for being complicit in the effort.

There is no doubt that Hirsi Ali has made comments that are often

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Guest post: And now they’re stuck

Sep 16th, 2014 3:43 pm | By

Originally a comment by =8)-DX on The cavalry has arrived.

I’m just going to try to give a really accommodating interpretation of the events:

James Randi, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins: all agree women are human beings and should be treated as such. But in their specific, biased, tribal, personal, ordinary, everyday, exploitative, non-sexist!, clearheaded, logical, rational, fun-loving, emotional situations a crack has appeared. This is the crack through which feminist thought, language, experience, evaluations seeps through.

And they don’t know what the fuck to do. They’re not equipped for it. Because in the past three years they decided to ignore the rising tide of feminist voices. That wasn’t important, that couldn’t happen, they didn’t do it. And … Read the rest

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Provoking outrage

Sep 16th, 2014 12:44 pm | By

I made another attempt to talk reason. I’m absurdly optimistic, aren’t I.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 13h
Can it be true, some bloggers are paid by the click, and consequently fake outrage, or play the bully, in order to attract clicks? Hope not.

2h
Answer to my question seems to be yes, and on-line newspapers may be worst offenders – deliberately touting for clicks by provoking outrage.

Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson
.@RichardDawkins What about you, Richard? 2 million TGD sold, yes? Outrages many, yes? So…what is your point? You good we bad? That’s it?

@RichardDawkins Haven’t you been – often laudably – provoking outrage for years now? Why rebuke other provokers? Are you being consistent?

@RichardDawkins I heard you provoking outrage on

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Can it be true?

Sep 16th, 2014 11:01 am | By

So now Dawkins is going full-on sleaze, by talking like any random troll about bloggers “faking outrage” or “playing the bully” in order to make thousands of dollars per post.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 11h
Can it be true, some bloggers are paid by the click, and consequently fake outrage, or play the bully, in order to attract clicks? Hope not.

I pointed out (in a tweet that I now can’t find, don’t ask me why) that he is paid per book, so should we assume he “fakes outrage” in his books in order to sell copies?

Updating, because I figured out why. (Forgot to hit “tweets & replies,” like a chump.)

Ophelia Benson @OpheliaBenson · 4h
@RichardDawkins Did you “fake

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The cavalry has arrived

Sep 15th, 2014 4:35 pm | By

Shoulder to shoulder the Thought Leaders stand, resisting the barbarian hordes of witch-hunting thought-police feministas.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins · 17m
I wonder, is it best, @SamHarrisOrg, to just ignore the Outrage Junkies & Offence Junkies? Don’t feed their craving?
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/im-not-the-sexist-pig-youre-looking-for …

Sam Harris, witch of the week, talks sense as ever. Probably won’t satisfy the Thought Police. http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/im-not-the-sexist-pig-youre-looking-for …

Retweeted by Richard Dawkins
Steve Zara @sjzara · 14m
@RichardDawkins @SamHarrisOrg I agree Richard, that it’s best to ignore. Engagement is seen by them as a victory.

Retweeted by Richard Dawkins
Daniel Sidnell @DanielSidnell · 14m
@RichardDawkins @SamHarrisOrg Indeed. Being “offended” makes them feel all warm and fuzzy. Loved Sam’s blog though.

Retweeted by Richard Dawkins
Jeremy Stangroom @PhilosophyExp ·

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More than one factor

Sep 15th, 2014 2:24 pm | By

A couple of more notes on Harris’s pig piece, for thoroughness, just because they’re nagging at me. I was short on time when I did the first post so I rushed it.

I am well aware that sexism and misogyny are problems in our society. However, they are not the only factors that explain differences in social status between men and women.

Nobody said they were. It was Harris who tried to answer the question about why so few women in your audiences as if innate differences were the only factors. It was Harris who gave the simplistic one-factor explanation, not the pesky PC feminists.

For instance, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. How much

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Not the sexist pig

Sep 15th, 2014 10:57 am | By

Sam Harris has posted his response to objections to his claims about women in atheism.

He doesn’t start well. The title is not propitious.

I’m Not the Sexist Pig You’re Looking For

Not good. Why assume we’re “looking for” sexism? Why dismiss our objections from the outset by assuming that we wanted to find them, for some evil purpose? And then the pig part is outdated, and dismissive. He’ll be complaining about political correctness next.

Also? He illustrated it.

Sigh.

But onward. What did he say? He recaps what he said and then comments.

“I think it may have to do with my person[al] slant as an author, being very critical of bad ideas. This can sound very angry to

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Sowing strife

Sep 15th, 2014 10:11 am | By

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti doesn’t like Islamic State and al Qaeda. He thinks they’re just big ol’ heretic factional cultist splitter types.

But Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly a paradise of liberal tolerance itself, as you may have noticed.

The arch conservatives Abdulrahman al-Barrak and Nasser al-Omar, who has more than a million followers on Twitter, have accused Shi’ites of sowing “strife, corruption and destruction among Muslims”.

Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan was sacked as judiciary head in 2008 for saying owners of media that broadcast depravity have forsaken their faith, a crime punishable in Sharia law by death, but he remains a member of the kingdom’s top Muslim council.

Abdulaziz al-Fawzan, a professor of Islamic law and frequent guest on the popular

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Always under

Sep 15th, 2014 9:38 am | By

Finally, says Patricia Miller at Religion Dispatches, an unvarnished pro-patriarchy argument in all its glory.

Republican State legislator Paul Wieland filed suit requesting that he and his wife be allowed to opt out of the requirement under his coverage in the state health plan because it “violates their religious beliefs as Catholics and parents of three daughters,” says the National Catholic Reporter.

Wieland’s lawyer argues that if a closely held corporation like Hobby Lobby is allowed to opt out of the mandate, so too should individuals with objections to contraception. “If the corporations don’t have to do this for their employees, certainly Mom and Dad don’t have to do it for their daughters,” said Timothy Belz of the Thomas

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Guest post: Change always inspires reactionary backlash

Sep 14th, 2014 5:59 pm | By

Originally a comment by thephilosophicalprimate on I’d love to agree, but…

Change always inspires reactionary backlash. Indirectly, the increasingly crude, loud, shouty open misogyny is evidence that feminism is winning. Actually dominant social views don’t need to resort to such open methods: Their very omnipresence makes them subtle and hard to focus on, like the air. What we’re seeing is the flailing, spastic death throes of dying attitudes, lashing out in desperate hope of fighting off the forces of change that are killing them — but it’s ineffective thrashing, and it’s only deepening the wounds. As Penny argues, their antics aren’t winning them friends and influence, but rather the opposite.

The open racism of the Tea Party — which is … Read the rest

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I’d love to agree, but…

Sep 14th, 2014 4:34 pm | By

Laurie Penny says we’re winning.

There’s a culture war happening right now. It’s happening in games, in film, in journalism, in television, in fiction, in fandom. It’s happening online, everywhere. And everywhere, sexists, recreational misogynists and bigots are losing.

They are losing, and they don’t know why.

I don’t think they are losing – unless by “losing” she means “failing to drive all the women, especially the feminist women, out.”

I don’t think they’re going to drive all of us out, but I don’t think they’re going to admit defeat and stop trying, either. I think we’re stuck with this mess. Too many people are having too much fun being shitty.

The routine, the arguments, have become far too

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I’m right, you’re wrong, and she’s a feminist detractor

Sep 14th, 2014 12:28 pm | By

Good news – Sam Harris is ready to rock & roll.

Sam Harris @SamHarrisOrg · 21m
I have a draft of my response to my feminist detractors. Just going to run it by my wife, my mother, and Martha, my copy editor.

Fabulous start. We’re not colleagues, we’re not people with reasoned disagreements – no, we’re his “feminist detractors.” I guess he’s so important and correct that there’s no such thing as reasoned disagreement with him, there’s only detraction.

But at least he knows lots of women, so that’s reassuring. He has a wife, a mother, and a copy editor.… Read the rest

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Blowy Jesus

Sep 14th, 2014 11:22 am | By

A Pennsylvania kid age 14 poses for a photo in which a statue of Jesus appears to be giving him a blow job, and posts the photo on Facebook (as one does).

Not the best fake blow job photo ever taken – but apparently that’s not why he’s been charged with a crime.

According to The Smoking Gun, police have invoked a rarely enforced Pennsylvania law that makes “Desecration of a Venerated Object” criminal. Violation of this law could land the teen in juvenile detention for two years.

Two years is a harsh sentence for juvenile shenanigans. Especially, when upon closer inspection, the teen’s actions don’t really fit the definition of the law. The formal charge is classified as

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