ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

Rating: 26 votes, 4.85 average.
ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for
Submit "ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for" to Digg Submit "ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for" to del.icio.us Submit "ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for" to StumbleUpon Submit "ElevatorGate: Rebecca Watson & Richard Dawkins are not the droids you're looking for" to Google
Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 07:04 PM (19:04) by Gurdur
Updated 19-Jul-2011 at 10:29 AM (10:29) by Gurdur

You may have heard of the huge wildfire in the atheist and skeptic blogospheres over the last week. It's made it to the mainstream media; Gawker picked up on the story, after David Allen Green had blogged about it on The New Statesman, the Atlantic Wire had covered it, and Salon.com too. None of those reports really did much background at all, leaving out a lot.

The issue is now very often being narrated only as though:
  • [Note: this has been edited to correct a conflation between Watson's talk at the convention and a video made by her afterwards, and then a talk by her at a different convention].

    Rebecca Watson in an address to a convention made several remarks about alleged sexism in the atheist movement, and about a previous speech by Paula Kirby. There is a video of the Women Atheist Activists panel at the Dublin convention, and you can find a posted comment by Paula Kirby outlining her position here.
    .
  • Watson then made a later video, and in that made a simple request for men to reconsider trying to chat up a woman in an elevator (for the Brits, a lift, i.e. we are not talking escalators here) late at night, after she had by her account being asked by some clueless dork at 4am in the elevator (lift) if she would like to join him for coffee in his room
    .
  • She then made a speech at another, different conference, in which she addressed reactions to her video.
    .
  • A few people blogged about the talks of Watson's, including PZ Myers here.
    .
  • Then on the comments thread under PZ Myers' post, Richard Dawkins suddenly made a very condescending, sarcastic and dismissive comment (at Comment #75 in the thread, which has some importance, detailed below); Dawkins then followed it up with a bit of explanation (#104) and then another comment under a different, later blog post of PZ Myers', then went silent everywhere on the issue.

    Now let's get one point settled here: Dawkins was patronizing and dismissive. Even if you fully grant his point (of which more later), you can admit that being patronizing and dismissive is bad, and that it looks like Dawkins is simply trying to shout down Watson. Can we agree on that? Dismissive patronization = bad? Shouting down people = usually bad?
    .
  • There was then lots and lots and lots of argybargy, and now it's being said gallons of misogynist men over the net are trying to shout down Rebecca Watson; that is explicitly so presented in this very recent broadcast on Citizen Radio featuring an interview of Watson (the part with Watson starts only a bit after 20 minutes into the recording, so skip the first 20 minutes).

And that's that. That is the only picture given by many bloggers of the now huge number of those blogging on this, and it is woefully deficient in many facts and much background.

Now let's do some background. In the convention speech in which Rebecca Watson made her comments about the conduct of the clueless dork in the elevator, she trashed Stef McGraw who had made criticisms of of Watson's line, criticisms also largely made by Rose St. Clair too (@stclairose), and Watson had previously trashed Paula Kirby. In Watson's justification of it afterwards, Rebecca Watson claims she did not attack the person, i.e. McGraw, she only attacked the argument, but actually Watson accused McGraw of "parrotting of misogynistic thought", and accused her and @stclairose of "ignorance of Feminism 101" and of being "so uneducated about the fundamentals of feminist thought". Watson went on in self-justification, "I hope I don’t need to point out to this audience that criticizing a person’s words is not the same as criticizing the person. At no point did I ridicule McGraw ...".

Well, goodness. Accusing someone of "parrotting" anything is to be accusing them of mindlessly repeating some line, and that's a direct attack on the person, not the argument. The rest of the remarks are also patronizing and dismissive of the persons involved. Whoops. Didn't we have a point somewhere about dismissive patronization being bad? Shouting down?

Watson wrote, "... but when ancient anti-woman rhetoric like the above is repeated verbatim by a young woman online ..... It also negatively affects the women who are nervous about being in similar situations. Some of them have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, and some just don’t want to be put in that position".

Except women like Rose St. Clair have also suffered sexual abuse. So just maybe she has a right to be heard, and not to be dismissed as "misogynist".

PZ tried airily and emptily dismissing Stef McGraw's criticisms in a very silly way, even trying to claim Watson was doing McGraw a favor (by misrepresenting and airily dismissing her), which is just so incredibly ironic, how a man just handwaves a woman away - in the name of feminism. Oh, and whoops. That point again about dismissive patronization?

Scented Nectar, ERV and other women argued in that thread against the simplistic stance being presented by Myers and others, and were ignored. One of the better remarks was: "This whole argument is so bloody bourgeois".

Now one point needs to be made here, again as to how the debate is being presented (with hordes of loud male misogynists); on that thread, until Richard Dawkins makes his less-than-blessed-stellar appearence at Comment #75, there are only really two male misogynists commenting (and one may only be pretending to be so for trollish fun). There are simply not many of the male misogynists around, and nowhere near as many overall as is being claimed by some.

Now let's get away from that one post and thread under it for the time being. Let's get to a few blog posts around the rest of the atheist and skeptic blogospheres. In one of the very few truly interesting posts made on the whole affair, Jean Kazez points out what she thinks may be the moment where Richard Dawkins lost his patience with Rebecca Watson while listening to her talk. Alison Smith posted a good reflection on the matter. Then quite a lot of other women dispute Rebecca Watson's line; @AllStevie makes a blog post, Miranda Celeste Hale does one blog post and then another . ERV does a blog post, and then is savagely attacked as a "gender traitor" by Skeptifem.

Around that time, PZ Myers busily posted a new one, which in the name of feminism was a guide for men all about how to get laid at an atheist convention. Because otherwise men won't go to atheist conventions? Because men should be bribed into better behaviour? Just how cluelessly dorky is this whole mess going to get? Oh, it's going to get even worse.

ERV then did a follow-up post, with a title parodying the title of Myers' post. In the comments thread under that post, ERV noted how many commenters around the net, both male and female, had been endliessly slamming Dawkins for his "male privilege" and his cluelessness in not recognising how a woman might feel threatened. Then she noted in contrast to that how Dawkins himself had been sexually molested as a child, and she and others wrote more on what his point of view might have been on Rebecca Watson.

Meanwhile, Paula Kirby explained more of her own position in a comment made on Jerry Coyne's blog. She talked of just how many efforts, at great expense, had been made to get more atheist women speakers to conventions, and she wrote of how women need to take the initiative, and to avail themselves of the opportunities so made. In other words, the problem was not male sexism stopping women speaking at atheist conventions, but women despite a great deal of aid still not being willing to speak (and not because of hostile sexism, either). This is a very complex matter, and lightyears away from the misogynism alleged by Rebecca Watson. The argument continues all over the net; Rose Schwartz rather poignantly asks, "Why does everyone keep leaving out Stef McGraw as if she doesn’t exist?" A couple of other posts to mention: Emily Willingham makes another of the few really interesting posts in the whole affair. A very old post should be mentioned, one on a list of awesome female atheists But really, that list should be extended, and include all sorts more women atheists, no? To include people like Stef McGraw, Rose St. Clair, Rose Schwartz, @RemieV, ERV and so on. If the purpose is to promote and publicize women atheists.

Greta Christina makes some good points in a post supporting Rebecca Watson's position. I've blogged myself in support of the general position advocated by Christina, here, and especially here, as well in many other posts. However, it may well be that Watson is being self-sabotaging in that position.

The basic point that seems to be being made by Watson (it morphs at times) is that women don't turn up at atheist conventions because of sexism, and that also explains the lack of women speakers. Kirby has pointed out that women are greatly encouraged in all sorts of practical assistance to become speakers, and that sexism has not greatly affected her or others at said conferences.

The supporters of Watson decry what is claimed to be a flood of male misogynist attacks; but if you go right through all the comments under all the milion and a half blog posts, there simply aren't all that many at all.

Rebecca Watson points to the hate-mail she gets. I can relate; I get hate-mail too, quite a bit sometimes. But anyone who says anything publically becomes a target for sickos and twits, and sexism can often be just a tool for those who simply want to make personal attacks. I.e. they are often motivated more by simple envious hatred rather than by sexism.

Now we get onto how many people have been as busily adding as much benzine to the fire as they can. PZ Myers did a flock of posts specifically on the subject, then one declaring an end to discussion of it on his blog because of the number of allegedly misogynist comments made. Then he just had to do a couple more posts, and then again declared an end to discussion of it. The blogospheres kept on conflagrating. Things got even worse.

When I said on Twitter I would be blogging on this, it was suggested by @lousycanuck that: "Perhaps you'd also like to mention @echothirteen 's death threat of @rebeccawatson when you write your post."

So, OK, I researched on @echothirteen. It turned out he had made no death threat. None at all. What he had done was, in connection with the upcoming TAM9 conference that starts this Thursday or so, to make one really stupid joke at the wrong time in the wrong place: "If I run into Rebecca Watson in an elevator at #TAM9 next week I'm totally copping a feel." That's not a "death threat".

He was quickly and officially warned by JREF convention organizers not to make any more such remarks and to behave himself. That wasn't enough for some; the outrage that greeted him was enormous. People asked JREF to ban him from the upcoming convention, and much worse, @kefox wanted to organize a vigilante group to "shadow" @echothirteen at the conference. I'll bet JREF organizers had a heart-attack when they saw that little suggestion; the last thing any conference organizer needs is some self-appointed vigilante squad threatening to cause trouble.

So now for the conclusion: exactly what's going on here all over? Is it all just misogynism as alleged by Watson and some? Is it general stupidity? No; something else. There's perhaps a clue in an important post @JoshRosenau made. Josh pointed out that the flame-war consuming the atheist net had been largely fueled by the promoted tactics of certain people before this incident. Jerry Coyne now complains of the flame-war on his blog and on the net on this subject; but flaming and name-calling were perfectly OK with Coyne before. Same with PZ Myers, who once boasted how proud he was of his rudeness. The point is that certain people have been encouraging an atmosphere of habitual scorn, never treating people as people, being as abusive as possible. Richard Dawkins is himself very guilty of this, as shown in the RDF forum board affair. And now it's come back to bite them in the arse on a subject where they can't easily blame the Usual Suspects, and they can't simply flame.

Therein lies the nub. Those who usually roll around looking to dump on others, often enough only for the egotism, not for the professed cause, now battle on the subject of sexism, and the tactics are just the same.

There's one very funny, light-hearted comment from the Mr.Deity show on the whole affair, but let's get back to the specifc original topic, and leave the subject of the atmosphere of self-righteous abuse to be followed up in later blog posts. Let's get back to Richard Dawkins and his sneering dismissal of Rebecca Watson, and Watson's reaction to that. Dawkins tried shouting down Watson, rather than persuading her and/or others. Brute-force tactics, tactics of sneering patronizatioin. They failed.

So Rebecca Watson talks all about it all, in the above-mentioned Citizen Radio broadcast. In that she says there are very powerful voices shouting her side down; just where, who knows? Since Dawkins himself has gone completely silent on the matter, and it's limited to those commenting on blog posts. How does Watson plan on combating this? Learning to live and let live? Concentrating on the facts, like encouraging more specific women to speak at atheist conferences? Bringing in something different to the old atmosphere and tactics of shouting down through abuse and dismissive scorn any opposition? Can Dawkins be rehabilitated, or will Watson go on in her own boycott of him? Some are calling for Dawkins to be boycotted by all the atheist movement. Considering the American atheist movement owes one hell of a lot to Britain at the moment, for example with Dawkins himself, on whose own personal succes much of the success of the American atheist movement is built? Or the British Guardian, the only really big newspaper in the Western world to afford a relatively huge amount of space for atheist opinion pieces, alongside and equal to religion pieces? Considering the upcoming TAM9 convention, at which all the main protagonists will once again meet?

No, Rebecca Watson specifically speaks of her and her side "shouting them down". Shouting down the opposition (whomever they're supposed to be).

Oh.

"I'll tip my hat to the new constitution,
Take a bow for the new revolution,
Smile and grin at the change all around ....
.....
The change it had to come,
We knew it all along;
We were liberated from the fold, that's all.
And the world looks just the same,
And history ain't changed,
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war,
.....
Meet the new boss,
Same as the old boss."




-- The Who, Won't Get Fooled Again


        


              

divider line


Comments are welcome! Please keep in mind if you are not registered that comments posted here to this blog post may take a while to appear - up to 16 hours after you post them, since they go onto a moderation queue and have to be individually approved, in order to stop spammers. The answer to the so-called "Random Question" is always "human".









Trackbacks used in this post:

http://scienceblogs.com/mt/pings/160204

http://scienceblogs.com/mt/pings/160247



http://scienceblogs.com/mt/pings/160471
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 47331 Comments 50
« On suicide        ——   Main   ——       Mr.Deity makes some jokes about #ElevatorGate »
Total Comments 50

Comments

                   Post a Comment   Post a Comment
  1. Old Comment

    I'll cop to that

    You're right, I'll cop to being incorrect about @echothirteen's actual threat. It certainly was a threat to molest her rather than kill her. As for it being a joke, even if meant in jest it's in poor taste. So poor as to be exemplar of part of the underlying problem of sexism.

    That this has exploded indicates that there are larger festering problems of actual sexism in bringing women into the skeptical and atheist communities. I'd rather discuss the issues at hand than go into the exact events behind Rebecca Watson's particular complaint in picayune detail, so I'm blogging about privilege over at my own blog. Up to you if you want to link back to them.

    Incidentally, one of the posts is about how I don't think Dawkins or anyone else unaware of their white male privilege is actually sexist or racist or what-have-you.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 07:48 PM (19:48) by Jason Thibeault
  2. Old Comment
    iamwombat's Avatar
    The more things change, the more they stay the same? .... I admit to getting lost there while trying to actually go and read links of conversations, and all, I find I lean toward sympathetic response to attacks on feminism in general but when the supporter of a fem. ideal or concept undermines the same with personal anecdotes and dismissal of rebuttal and comment, well, it gets hard to argue along side and in support of them doesn't it? Over time has every compliment just gone straight to Dawkins swollen head? He speaks these days as though he is appointed fiduciary for the masses. Do they make a hat to cover that I wonder. Old cliché my Dad used about silence, it's not always golden, sometimes it's just yellow. Looking for Mr. Deity shows now, was unaware of them, thanks.

    "Incidentally, one of the posts is about how I don't think Dawkins or anyone else unaware of their white male privilege is actually sexist or racist or what-have-you." In trying to explain heterosexual privilege to privileged white male heteros in a minority relations class, I found it difficult get across the concept only because it is perceived as threatening. Being unaware or choosing to pretend to be unaware or even choosing to remain unaware after being enlightened does not remove or reduce racist or sexist or prejudiced expressions and contributions to injustice., IMO and based on experience. No offense intended JT, but do really believe that?
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 07:57 PM (19:57) by iamwombat iamwombat is offline
    Updated 13-Jul-2011 at 08:09 PM (20:09) by iamwombat
  3. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    I'll cop to that

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jason Thibeault View Comment
    You're right, I'll cop to being incorrect about @echothirteen's actual threat. It certainly was a threat to molest her
    It was a joke. A very stupid joke, in the wrong place at the wrong time. But many swear for @echothirteen, that he is not a misogynist. It was not a threat.

    Quote:
    rather than kill her. As for it being a joke, even if meant in jest it's in poor taste. So poor as to be exemplar of part of the underlying problem of sexism.
    Poor taste, agreed. Extremely poor timing, even more so. However, again, the other issues are more complex and debateable.

    Quote:
    That this has exploded indicates that there are larger festering problems of actual sexism in bringing women into the skeptical and atheist communities.
    Why? That the issue has exploded in the way it has indicates a huge amount of baggage is being attached to the triggers; but it does not necessarily mean sexism in the skeptic and atheist communities.

    Quote:
    I'd rather discuss the issues at hand than go into the exact events behind Rebecca Watson's particular complaint in picayune detail, so I'm blogging about privilege over at my own blog. Up to you if you want to link back to them.
    Sure, will be happy to do so, let me know URL's when ready, please. I do not see the problem as being one of privilege; I see it as a whole lot of different people having a massive sense of entitlement. I include Dawkins in that, but anyone who starts accusing others of being a "gender traitor" is part of the problem, not the solution.

    Maybe I didn't make it clear enough; in your terms, Dawkins was accusing Watson of privilege and abuse of privilege. Privilege is not one-sided here.

    Quote:
    Incidentally, one of the posts is about how I don't think Dawkins or anyone else unaware of their white male privilege is actually sexist or racist or what-have-you.
    I know, however, we differ greatly in what we see the problem as actually being.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 08:02 PM (20:02) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  4. Old Comment

    .

    iamwombat: no, in fact I do understand that even people who are aware of their position of privilege might still contribute to the problem even if they're aware and try to compensate for it. For example, I consider that Richard Dawkins is hypocritical in his complaint against Rebecca, insofar as he fights against adoption of creationism in the US and Europe even though the US and Europe do not have nearly the problem with anti-scientific religious dogma that some extraordinarily hostile-to-secularism countries have in, for instance, the Middle East.

    Dawkins is arguing against a first-world problem in the adoption of creationism in such a privileged area as the US or Europe, despite it not being near as bad as elsewhere, in much the same way that Rebecca Watson was arguing against men considering women at atheist/skeptic conventions to be nothing more than pickup fodder, despite that level of sexism being less serious than the sexism rampant in other countries and situations.

    Dawkins recognizes his position of privilege in religious matters but was completely blind to the position of privilege he held in dismissing Rebecca's complaint.

    And Rebecca's complaint wasn't that this elevator guy was trying to rape her. Only that it's creepy, and that she'd just got done saying (within his earshot) that she was knackered and heading to bed. The problem in that case is that he ignored her obvious "don't hit on me" signals (if the talk earlier that day wasn't a clear enough signal) in order to hit on her.

    And he might not even have hit on her. He might just have been horribly tone-deaf and asocial. That doesn't matter though, because his example makes a good object lesson for how not to treat ladies if you want to encourage more ladies to join the skeptical and atheist communities.

    Rebecca's right about the pervasive idea that there should be more women in skepticism and atheism simply to provide more fuck buddies for the atheists and skeptics -- this is definitely an attitude I got while at CONvergence in the Skepchickcon room, where people only stopped by to see if they could find women to have sex with. Seriously.

    Gurdur: Of course, we're getting derailed by the details of what happened, and I even get derailed in my privilege posts on my own blog by people specifically arguing the details, so they might not be the best examples. Despite my best intentions to argue the underlying points, I failed miserably. I'm hoping to turn that around with another post in the future, once I square away more fighting about details and try to put an end to it.

    Post 1: The Problem with Privilege (or: you got sexism in my skepticism!)
    Post 2: The Problem with Privilege (or: no, you’re not a racist misogynist ass, calm down)
    Post 3: The Problem with Privilege (or: missing the point, sometimes spectacularly)

    Post 4 will hopefully end all the sidebar details nonsense so I can get on with the real issues.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 08:34 PM (20:34) by Jason Thibeault
    Updated 13-Jul-2011 at 08:38 PM (20:38) by Gurdur (to clear up incorrect coding from Jason Thibeault - Gurdur)
  5. Old Comment

    funny

    "If I run into Rebecca Watson in an elevator at #TAM9 next week I'm totally copping a feel."

    LOL

    It's just a hilariously funny comment!
    Let's not be more pious than the pope - and let's appreciate a good joke when we see it: They are rare enough.

    A sporadic (female) visitor
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 08:36 PM (20:36) by Unregistered
  6. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    .

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jason Thibeault View Comment
    ...
    Jason, I edited your comment in order to clear up your coding. You cannot use HTML; you need to use BBCode as shown in the editor window; go to "Advanced Reply" for help. I don't mind editing comments to clear up coding, so it's no worry to me. You can simply post the links, I will edit the comment so as to correctly code them. No worries.

    Quote:
    .... For example, I consider that Richard Dawkins is hypocritical in his complaint against Rebecca, insofar as he fights against adoption of creationism in the US and Europe even though the US and Europe do not have nearly the problem with anti-scientific religious dogma that some extraordinarily hostile-to-secularism countries have in, for instance, the Middle East. ...
    This doesn't make much sense to me, sorry. Dawkins was not talking about Creationism, but the much worse problems of women elsewhere.

    Underneath Dawkins' remark, one senses an impatience of his with Watson; one can easily imagine he lost his temper with what he saw as her derailing with inconsenquentialities, and the trashing of Paula Kirby and Stef McGraw.

    Quote:
    Dawkins recognizes his position of privilege in religious matters but was completely blind to the position of privilege he held in dismissing Rebecca's complaint.
    Blind? No, I think it was SOP, like it is so often for so many atheists, to simply use whatever weapon there is to hand. You did get that from my whole blog post, no?

    Quote:
    .... And he might not even have hit on her. He might just have been horribly tone-deaf and asocial. That doesn't matter though, because his example makes a good object lesson for how not to treat ladies if you want to encourage more ladies to join the skeptical and atheist communities.
    Let's not overdo public hangings and floggings. Seriously. Otherwise it may well drive off a great many, female and male.

    Quote:
    Rebecca's right about the pervasive idea that there should be more women in skepticism and atheism simply to provide more fuck buddies for the atheists and skeptics -- this is definitely an attitude I got while at CONvergence in the Skepchickcon room, where people only stopped by to see if they could find women to have sex with. Seriously.
    It doesn't help PZ Myers and now Greta Christina specifically aid that view. Greta Christina: "We are trying to help you get laid."

    Quote:
    Gurdur: Of course, we're getting derailed by the details of what happened,
    Well, it would help if you hadn't suddenly introduced aspects no-one here is even discussing. No-one disputes Watson may have felt threatened -- even though she herself did not say that was a motive.

    Quote:
    I failed miserably.
    Hey. Man. It's OK. Relax. We are none of us perfect.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 08:54 PM (20:54) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 13-Jul-2011 at 09:14 PM (21:14) by Gurdur
  7. Old Comment
    I dont agree at all that Dawkins was 'wrong'. I dont think its physically possible for me to care less about Rebecca Watson being asked for coffee in an elevator. If she had just made a video on the internet complaining, whatever, I still dont care. I would have happily ignored all of this. Where things crossed the line, for me, is when she attacked Stef McGraw. That I could not ignore.

    My response to Watson is the same as Dawkins, even though I am a young female skeptic that goes to conferences who has been the victim of sexual assault. "Really? For real?? You got asked for coffee in a painfully polite way, but at 4 am??? You poor thing! I just had a frat boy try to drug me in hopes of raping my unconscious body! He didnt ask me anything, much less for coffee! You poor dear! I only had a stalker (whos name I didnt know until the cops told me) for over 6 months, lol I really thought I was going to die or my dog was going to die or I was going to have to kill a human, but MAN! An invitation for coffee in a strange foreign country like Ireland??? How are you not in therapy right now??? POOR BABBY!"

    And I am well aware of the fact that what I have been through is *nothing* compared to others.

    There *is* a gradient. Its not about 'BAWW! U SIAD SHEE CANT HAS HER FEWINGS!!', no, Im saying to have some damn perspective. Pretty much what Dawkins said.

    I also vociferously argue that Watsons personal issue cannot be extrapolated to 'the skeptic community'. "Guys, dont hit on me, Im not interested, ever." is different from "Guys, dont hit on women at skeptic meetings, ever, its derogatory. You know what, the whole skeptic community is sexist." Dont speak for *me*. Dont tell people how they have to act around *me*. I can speak for myself, thank *you* very much, as can any other human in the 'skeptic community'. At the conferences I have attended, everyone has been exceedingly gracious, men, women, and children. I am extremely offended by Watson trying to paint all of these lovely people with the same 'SEXIST!!!!' brush because she gets asked for coffee and gets naughty messaged on YouTube.

    This whole damn fiasco is a temper tantrum from someone with the emotional maturity of a child, encouraged by indulgent 'parents'/bloggers.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:21 PM (21:21) by ERV
  8. Old Comment

    R2D2

    *This* is the droid you're looking for by the way:

    http://vwdarkside.com/en/jedi/kate-smith-54923

    I think Dawkins, in common with many scientists of his generation, is slightly inept on the sexism thing - much as I'm happy for him, I always wince a *bit* when he goes on about 'showing off' Lalla Ward. Still feel he needs gently nudging towards the paths of righteousness - and also reminding that as an elder statesman of atheism, his comments may cut more of a punch than those of another person - he needs to be a bit more careful of people on his own side. You're bang on about the atmosphere of perpetual scorn - it's very narrow and unhelpful.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:21 PM (21:21) by Unregistered
  9. Old Comment

    .

    Heh, I haven't used BBCode in probably ten years! I'm so rusty, it'd be much simpler for me to simply avoid any such fancy tricks.

    Gurdur: "This doesn't make much sense to me, sorry. Dawkins was not talking about Creationism, but the much worse problems of women elsewhere.

    Underneath Dawkins' remark, one senses an impatience of his with Watson; one can easily imagine he lost his temper with what he saw as her derailing with inconsenquentialities, and the trashing of Paula Kirby and Stef McGraw."

    I'm making the analogy myself, actually. I'm saying that Dawkins fights with "inconsequential" creationists in America and Europe in much the same way that Rebecca was making "inconsequential" complaints about sexist behaviour. It is analogous -- Dawkins understands privilege in fighting with religious dogma but doesn't understand it in fighting "first-world" problems like Rebecca's complaint.

    And I agree that many of the commentariat on this issue are coming at it from the angle of "we'd like you to work on your poor social skills so you're more likely to get laid", in order to tell people what behaviour is typically deemed to be "rape trigger" stuff that would keep you from actually making contact with your potential new lady friend.

    I'm not into public flogging. The fact that this person was not outed is actually really very good. If he had been, I'd be first in line saying "don't tear him apart for being socially inept". As it stands, the anecdote serves, as I've said, as an object lesson of the types of things that women find creepy, and *why* they find them creepy.

    The underlying issue, then, is why so many people jumped to this guy's defense when he obviously did something to step on Rebecca's (and her defenders') rape triggers. The fact that he may or may not have done it simply because he has poor social skills has, simply, nothing to do with the fact that he did, and that Rebecca's right to point out to others that those triggers exist and that people should, generally, avoid them if they want to not be seen as having poor social skills.

    What is objectionable about this line of reasoning, in particular?
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:25 PM (21:25) by Jason Thibeault
  10. Old Comment

    ERV

    For the record, I also completely agree with ERV. Yes, despite supporting Rebecca. Figure that one out! (Hint: it's really not that hard. Start with "I'm against rape" and move on to "I'm also for people understanding why some people might be creeped out by behaviours that look like rape strategies".)
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:28 PM (21:28) by Jason Thibeault
  11. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ERV View Comment
    ..... This whole damn fiasco is a temper tantrum from someone with the emotional maturity of a child, encouraged by indulgent 'parents'/bloggers.
    I'm an equal-opportunity enabler.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:28 PM (21:28) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    .

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jason Thibeault View Comment
    .... The fact that this person was not outed is actually really very good. ...
    Um, yes. In the really over-heated atmosphere being created by so many, yes.

    Quote:
    The underlying issue, then, is why so many people jumped to this guy's defense when he obviously did something to step on Rebecca's (and her defenders') rape triggers.
    Eh? As far as I know, Watson spoke of no "rape triggers". She merely said she found it - and here I translate into my terms - discourteous, especially by being in a lift. That was all.

    No triggers.

    Quote:
    What is objectionable about this line of reasoning, in particular?
    I can only speak for me, but I think much, much, much in the entire debate is being terribly exaggerated.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:32 PM (21:32) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    R2D2

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    *This* is the droid you're looking for by the way:

    http://vwdarkside.com/en/jedi/kate-smith-54923
    Let me guess: you're Kate Smith? Deviously getting everyone to get you points? Wicked!

    Quote:
    think Dawkins, in common with many scientists of his generation, is slightly inept on the sexism thing - much as I'm happy for him, I always wince a *bit* when he goes on about 'showing off' Lalla Ward.
    I personally think the man is often a complete twit. However, his dedication to the atheist movement is not ignorable. He's given a huge amount of himself to it.

    Mind you, he can often be a twit. Like, seriously, major twittage. But then, one of my points is, he's hardly alone in that.

    Quote:
    Still feel he needs gently nudging towards the paths of righteousness -
    Need a bulldozer for that. IMvHO.

    Quote:
    and also reminding that as an elder statesman of atheism, his comments may cut more of a punch than those of another person
    Oh, I think he's perfectly aware of that. But he also does treat others as equals, I'll give him that much.

    Quote:
    - he needs to be a bit more careful of people on his own side.
    The whole bit about the RDF forum. He dumped and dumped on thousands on atheists with that one. And another of my points that seems not to come over is that atheists should stop overdoing with the celebrity culture. Not that they will, I grant you.

    I'll also add: why only his own side? And to the point below!

    Quote:
    You're bang on about the atmosphere of perpetual scorn - it's very narrow and unhelpful.
    It's really bloody nice that someone thinks I am right on something!
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:41 PM (21:41) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 13-Jul-2011 at 09:51 PM (21:51) by Gurdur
  14. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    One thing which I completely forgot to make clear in my blog post:

    the argument from ERV is clear (read her blog posts if necessary).

    But I find the argument made by others to be compelling; if they don't see faces similar to theirs, they won't enter the room. So if no women are there, women won't come. Same for everyone else, really.

    That does not make ERV's argument wrong. It just means a different focus.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 09:47 PM (21:47) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  15. Old Comment
    1-- "How can we make skeptic conferences/groups more inviting to women?"

    and

    2-- "There are no women at skeptic conferences/groups because of sexism and we need to make the community acutely aware of this sexism so women feel more welcome."

    are two grossly different statements.

    1-- If one wants to make skeptic groups/conferences more welcoming to women, I have a bunch of suggestions. Things we have done within my local groups, OKC Atheists and Norman Naturalists-- but the thing is, my suggestions make groups more welcoming for everyone, including women. First: Child care. Mom and Dad are atheists, Mom stays home with kids, Dad goes to the meetup. Or, Single Mom doesnt know what to do, so she stays at home. We have at least one meetup a month at a pizza place that is super kid friendly, and we actively work to make those meetups kid friendly. We also have regular meetups at the zoo, local museums, picnics/parks. TX Freethought convention had childcare, run by Camp Quest. AWESOME. Secondly, we have low intimidation social gatherings-- Again, the zoo, volunteering at the local food bank, lunch meetups downtown, book clubs, etc. Not every skeptic meeting needs to be a lecture or a meetup in a bar (but we do those things too).

    If having women, and really, *everyone* feel less intimidated by skeptical groups/conferences, than those are the first steps I would take.

    My first steps would not be putting everyone on edge as to what they are 'allowed' to say and do, and making it perfectly clear if they say/do the wrong thing, a lynch mob is going to come for them (and apparently ban them from conferences for making the 'wrong' jokes on TWITTER. nice, rational perspective there, folks)

    If I want to hide my true feelings and opinions because dont want to be attacked, Im going to save my money and stay in Evangelical Oklahoma, thanks.

    2-- However if one is going with the second statement, based on ones personal experiences, then I must disagree, based on my personal experiences. I also dont think people with this goal want to make conferences more welcoming for everyone. They want to make conferences more comfortable for Their Royal Highnasses.
    Posted 13-Jul-2011 at 11:47 PM (23:47) by ERV
  16. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    I have to go run and fly out to London now (see my next blog post), though I would like to comment much more. I will try to be on the web later.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ERV View Comment
    ..... make groups more welcoming for everyone, including women. First: Child care.
    Yup. Vital.

    Quote:
    Secondly, we have low intimidation social gatherings--
    Yup. And social get-togethers and intros can be organized.

    Quote:
    My first steps would not be putting everyone on edge as to what they are 'allowed' to say and do
    Exactly. And no tolerance of lynch-mobs.

    Quote:
    .... I also dont think people with this goal want to make conferences more welcoming for everyone. They want to make conferences more comfortable for Their Royal Highnasses.
    Again, very true. A complex, multi-sided problem, and too many atheists have a big sense of entitlement, and want entertainment rather than genuine interaction. Much more to say, but I must run. Many thanks for the input.

    Really, too, people need to get off their arses more, and do things, rather than demanding they be done for them. Simple problem, simple solution.
    Posted 14-Jul-2011 at 06:23 AM (06:23) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  17. Old Comment
    Makbawehuh's Avatar
    Related, but in no way a part of the argument:

    Shitty, horribly laid out, and incredibly fucking creepy pickups happen (as per my blog post about my vacation last year and meeting the man I termed "Mr. Creepfuck), and they are horrible and creepy and whining to a bunch of people who don't give a shit doesn't help you.

    Ladies, you need to learn that there are two ways of dealing with such idiocy:

    - Learn to make them so uncomfortable with what they're doing that they stop of their own volition (My tactic with Mr. Creepfuck and the subtle implication of homosexual advances is a shining example).

    Or

    -Troll them. Yes, ladies, hit back, and make sure you suggest something so outrageous that they will be utterly shocked and feel the need to run the fuck the other way, then smile at their discomfort, and blithely state that you need to go powder your nose.

    Of course, while certainly some men act like they're entitled, possessive pricks sometimes when it comes to sex, the simplest way to provide an antidote to the situation is to relentlessly and aggressively hit on them, with purposefully bad timing. Sometimes it gets you nervous laughs, sometimes it gets you laid, and mostly it provides a shining example to men of why they're assholes when they act that way towards you. After all, the only way to cure sexism is to make sure everyone is equally sexist.

    Also, it's fun to be a bad girl for a few minutes while you're shaking out your "axe-crazy woman" alter-ego.

    More seriously (or less, as you please) I find the insensitivity of some of the guys in the comments there pretty shitty.

    Are women so scared of people that we start looking for escape routes the moment we run into them in a potentially confrontational situation?

    You are god damned right we are, sometimes.

    It is not pathetic or sad or weak, it's an issue of survival. Just because you, whoever the hell you are, can't comprehend it... Doesn't mean there aren't people who don't think that way. Whether whatsherface was one of hem or not, I don't give a shit, but don't knock me and people like me because I've been hurt and try to go out of my way to not be hurt again. Thank you.

    Not trying to plug my blog, those posts just happen to be applicable, and my feathers are slightly ruffled.

    Also: PZ Meyers

    Quote:
    I hear too much talk about a "power imbalance". There isn't one.
    Says someone who isn't a woman. I call bullshit.

    Duuuude.... Dawkins needs to spend a few years as a hot young lady. What an everloving... No, I can't even bring myself to call him a douchebag. He's lower than douchebag. What's lower than douchebag?

    His comment made my jaw drop. I'm sorry- last I checked, equality was what feminism is about, and since we aren't there yet, there's still work to be done, and that was totally callous and uncalled for.

    Fucker.

    To repeat, I really think that addressing that sort of bad behavior as whatsherface did (sorry, I can't remember her name and don't want to look it up) in public, where it can (and will) get to the internet is fucking stupid unless you have the world's biggest e-penis.

    Not because it doesn't need to be addressed, but because it's blood in the water, and bored trolls are half shark.
    Posted 14-Jul-2011 at 07:18 AM (07:18) by Makbawehuh Makbawehuh is offline
    Updated 14-Jul-2011 at 07:25 AM (07:25) by Makbawehuh
  18. Old Comment
    Makbawehuh's Avatar
    Quote:
    To repeat, I really think that addressing that sort of bad behavior as whatsherface did (sorry, I can't remember her name and don't want to look it up) in public, where it can (and will) get to the internet is fucking stupid unless you have the world's biggest e-penis.
    Different sort of bad behavior, but I'd like to add "Unless you're Kevin Smith".

    Posted 14-Jul-2011 at 08:02 AM (08:02) by Makbawehuh Makbawehuh is offline
  19. Old Comment

    As a male skeptic and former sex worker, let me say

    <b>Are you all *%&^$%# crazy?</b>

    All of this from one drunk guy in an elevator? Do you know what women say sometimes? Never mind swingers parties, ever been to a MENSA convention? I mean all this from one drunk guy?

    I was thinking TAM/Las Vegas, why not? But now I'm glad I couldn't make it, you all sound like a Christian Coalition tent meeting.
    Posted 16-Jul-2011 at 11:59 AM (11:59) by Unregistered
  20. Old Comment
    Even urban dictionary is getting in on the action, Urban Dictionary
    Posted 17-Jul-2011 at 08:07 PM (20:07) by Unregistered
    Updated 17-Jul-2011 at 09:22 PM (21:22) by Gurdur
  21. Old Comment
    You didn't even get that most basic facts right.

    This...
    "Rebecca Watson in an address to a convention made a simple request for men to reconsider trying to chat up a woman in an elevator "

    ...is was completely wrong. Nothing in her talk even came close to touching on the issue of women being hit on by men at all, let alone in an elevator.

    What she did is have a big disingenuous rant at Paula Kirby who had previously said she personally didn't experience sexism as an activist. Her examples of sexism were all nasty emails received from men.

    Her attempt to tie in her panel contribution at the conference to this event that occured afterwards is also incredibly disingenuous if not dishonest.
    Posted 17-Jul-2011 at 08:21 PM (20:21) by Jimbo
  22. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jimbo View Comment
    You didn't even get that most basic facts right.

    This...
    "Rebecca Watson in an address to a convention made a simple request for men to reconsider trying to chat up a woman in an elevator "

    ...is was completely wrong. Nothing in her talk even came close to touching on the issue of women being hit on by men at all, let alone in an elevator.
    That has now been corrected in my blog post above.

    Quote:
    What she did is have a big disingenuous rant at Paula Kirby who had previously said she personally didn't experience sexism as an activist. Her examples of sexism were all nasty emails received from men.

    Her attempt to tie in her panel contribution at the conference to this event that occured afterwards is also incredibly disingenuous if not dishonest.
    Go tell her that. Maybe you didn't read all my blog post.
    Posted 17-Jul-2011 at 10:09 PM (22:09) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  23. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Posted 17-Jul-2011 at 10:30 PM (22:30) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  24. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Timeline of all that happened (with grateful thanks to epepke on RationalSkepticism):
    ______

    Date
    Place
    Event
    Sometime around June 3-5 2011 World Atheist Convention Watson gives a talk, supposedly about Communicating Atheism; in it, she trashes Paula Kirby, and mentions emails as evidence of sexism within the atheist movement. The alleged elevator incident is supposed to have happened around this time at that location (Dublin, Ireland).
    June 20, 2011 YouTube video Rebecca Watson makes a video describing the alleged elevator incident. Watson says she is extremely uncomfortable about being sexualized that way.
    June 21, 2011 YouTube video Rose St. Clair criticizes the ideas in Watson's speech.
    June 22, 2011 Blog post Stef McGraw posts a criticism of Watson's initial video
    June 26, 2011 CFI Student Leadership Conference Watson makes a speech a this conference, and in it trashes Stef McGraw.
    June 28, 2011 Blog post Watson makes a blog post talking about her speech at the CFI Student conference, continuing to criticize Stef McGraw, and in Epepke's words, "indirectly associating EG with the term 'objectification' for the first time ... ....She refers to a tweet @rebeccawatson '[@stef_witha_f]'s post was a pretty standard parity [parody?] of misogynistic thought,' clarifying in the blog that she meant "parroting."".
    June 30, 2011 Blog post Stef McGraw responds to Rebecca Watson through a blog post.
    July 1, 2011 Blog post ERV makes a blog post criticizing Rebecca Watson for trashing Stef McGraw.
    July 2, 2011 Blog post PZ Myers makes his first blog post (he does several more later) supporting Rebecca Watson. Richard Dawkins makes a comment under the blog post, then two more.
    Posted 17-Jul-2011 at 11:11 PM (23:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 17-Jul-2011 at 11:25 PM (23:25) by Gurdur
  25. Old Comment

    Bigger Fish

    I used to think most atheists and skeptics were rational people. I heard about this a little over a week ago when a theist posted a link of the fiasco in an atheist/theist discussion forum. He and the other theists were loving it and I must say it's been a humbling experience.

    This is atheist style Jerry Springer nonsense. Feminism has nothing to do with atheism. Now if some guys are being jerks at conventions, that should be addressed. But he asked for coffee, she declined and NOTHING happened. Next thing ya know everybody and their mother wants to chime in and make damn sure this non issue doesn't go away.

    I live in Texas, a state where people want to teach my daughter the basics of biology are only an opinion, and an alternative and equally valid opinion is that Moses and the Israelites rode raptors out of Egypt screaming YEEEEEEHAW. I need people like PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins working together to make sure that doesn't happen.
    Posted 18-Jul-2011 at 09:49 AM (09:49) by Lee Myers
  26. Old Comment

    Link to Kirby's talk

    I notice that the paragraph pointing out that Kirby didn't come close to what Watson said about her has been remove. That's OK, but now I cannot find the link to Kirby's talk. Could you please point it out to me?

    Also, I've put together a timeline, if you're interested. I've posted it several places, but there doesn't seem much interest.
    Posted 19-Jul-2011 at 02:25 AM (02:25) by epepke epepke is offline
  27. Old Comment
    Oh, I now notice that you put up an abbreviated version of the timeline. Thanks. I still want to find Kirby's talk again.
    Posted 19-Jul-2011 at 06:16 AM (06:16) by epepke epepke is offline
  28. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Link to Kirby's talk

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by epepke View Comment
    I notice that the paragraph pointing out that Kirby didn't come close to what Watson said about her has been remove. That's OK, but now I cannot find the link to Kirby's talk. Could you please point it out to me?

    Also, I've put together a timeline, if you're interested. I've posted it several places, but there doesn't seem much interest.
    Epepke, I don't know how that happened - the accidental removal of a link to Kirby's full remarks - but now I have re-inserted near the beginning of my blog post above a link to Paula Kirby and her posted comment explaining her position in full, and a link to the video of the Atheist Women Activists panel.

    As you have already noticed, I have posted in a comment in this thread a timeline with credit and grateful thanks to you for it.
    Posted 19-Jul-2011 at 10:32 AM (10:32) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  29. Old Comment

    Come on!

    This is ridiculous. The spam filter here wants to make sure people are humans, and that's what Rebecca need to do, is treat people like humans instead of pieces in some sort of gender struggle. She is a spoiled b**** and needs to get over herself.

    [Link deleted -- by Gurdur as blog owner]
    Posted 20-Jul-2011 at 07:08 AM (07:08) by Unregistered
    Updated 20-Jul-2011 at 02:09 PM (14:09) by Gurdur
  30. Old Comment
    Thanks!
    Posted 20-Jul-2011 at 07:09 AM (07:09) by epepke epepke is offline
  31. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Come on!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    This is ridiculous. The spam filter here wants to make sure people are humans, and that's what Rebecca need to do, is treat people like humans instead of pieces in some sort of gender struggle. She is a spoiled b**** and needs to get over herself.

    [Link deleted -- by Gurdur as blog owner]
    I followed the link given, and I found it ironic that the flamer here bitches that Watson needs to treat people as people - something I agree with, but on that link the flamer goes in for a big personal attack on how Watson looks and her lack of sex-appeal.

    Link deleted; I'm not in the business of providing free spam-space. Even Jimbo's silly hurrumphing was more intelligent.
    Posted 20-Jul-2011 at 12:12 PM (12:12) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 20-Jul-2011 at 02:10 PM (14:10) by Gurdur
  32. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Bigger Fish

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lee Myers View Comment
    I used to think most atheists and skeptics were rational people. I heard about this a little over a week ago when a theist posted a link of the fiasco in an atheist/theist discussion forum. He and the other theists were loving it and I must say it's been a humbling experience.

    This is atheist style Jerry Springer nonsense. Feminism has nothing to do with atheism. Now if some guys are being jerks at conventions, that should be addressed. But he asked for coffee, she declined and NOTHING happened. Next thing ya know everybody and their mother wants to chime in and make damn sure this non issue doesn't go away.

    I live in Texas, a state where people want to teach my daughter the basics of biology are only an opinion, and an alternative and equally valid opinion is that Moses and the Israelites rode raptors out of Egypt screaming YEEEEEEHAW. I need people like PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins working together to make sure that doesn't happen.
    I'm going to do a blog post especially in reply to this comment very soon.
    Posted 20-Jul-2011 at 12:31 PM (12:31) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  33. Old Comment

    Thoughts....

    As Ms. Watson is claiming to speak for my entire gender, I feel the need to counter with my thoughts:

    A) If a man is interested in me, I want him to hit on me. I realize this means I may occasionally be hit on by someone I have no interest in. I will take this as a compliment I'll be lucky to get in a few years, be respectful in turning them down, and not suggest that their behavior is akin to that of a rapist or publicly humiliate them by letting them know how unpleasant I found the whole experience.

    B) I will not become a regular reader of Skepchick except to laugh or cringe, and if TAM is full of those types, this female "skeptic" will never attend. I knew about this site before from a friend and I wondered, all these "women in skepticism" (whatever that means) and not one of them actually studying science or employed in science it seems. Walk the walk, beeyotches. I am a female engineer -- that takes a lot more guts than going to some party in Vegas.

    C) The whole uproar made me watch Richard Dawkins speech at Ted, which makes me want to buy one of his books and find out more about him. It didn't make me want to align myself with any feminist groups. Thanks for turning me on to his work, Ms. Watson.

    D) I'm surprised no one else has made this comment, but Rebecca reminds me of other women I know who like to brag about "creepy" guys hitting on them because it serves their own vanity (whether this is a conscious or not). She seems like an attention seeker (nudie calendar + need to be controversial public figure who tells everyone else what to believe and how to act + hipster video blogger). Deep down, I suspect her initial motivation in making that comment was not to help the men of the world behave better, but to brag about how hard it must be to hit on all the time. This seems to be a theme for her. She wants everyone to know that she's so hot, losers and "sexists" that are beneath her can't help but hit on her. Aside from anything that followed, that's what my take away was from her original video post, even if she wasn't doing this intentionally.

    E) Her assertion that people shouldn't hit on her at an atheists' convention because atheism is serious business and this is why women aren't involved is silly. We meet people we are compatible with over shared interests, whether religion, a favorite restaurant, or a concert. Again, men of the world, please feel free to hit on me, especially in places like this that indicate shared interests and compatibility.

    F) Get over yourself and learn what it means to be a badass woman in this world who refuses to define her existence solely in terms of her gender. If you don't want to be treated as an object, don't publish a pin-up calendar or advertise your science site by telling readers they'll find hot chicks there. If the guy just attended her panel, he was likely attracted to her mind as well as her body. To assume he is a rapist who is only interested in her tits, sounds ... well, sexist.
    Posted 21-Jul-2011 at 11:50 PM (23:50) by Verm
  34. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Thoughts....

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Verm View Comment
    As Ms. Watson is claiming to speak for my entire gender, I feel the need to counter with my thoughts:
    You think you got it bad. I just got told tonight on Twitter I personally am the type of person why a particular woman left skepticism -- and that only because I said that when Watson accused other women of "parroting misogynism", she was attacking their character (ad hominem). The "parroting" bit is straight insult (the "misogyny" bit is open to debate). And yet I got told I was being bad, and that I didn't know what an ad hom was. I'm still in shock on that one.

    Quote:
    ... D) I'm surprised no one else has made this comment, but Rebecca reminds me of other women I know who like to brag about "creepy" guys hitting on them because it serves their own vanity (whether this is a conscious or not).
    I'm certain a lot of people have been thinking that angle.

    Quote:
    ... To assume he is a rapist who is only interested in her tits, sounds ... well, sexist.
    To be fair to her, she didn't say he was a rapist, just it wasn't right at that time, in that place.

    To be fair to you, you have a point there anyway. The sexism - objectification, stereotyping - cuts both ways.
    Posted 22-Jul-2011 at 12:01 AM (00:01) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  35. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Thoughts....

    Sorry, Verm, to go off-tangent in my comment just above, and not to have answered your comments fully above; was just feeling a bit shell-shocked from events on Twitter.

    I'll be making a new blog post very soon which will be addressing much of what you've said here.
    Posted 22-Jul-2011 at 12:22 AM (00:22) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  36. Old Comment

    PC

    It's interesting to watch the mechanisms of political correctness work in this fiasco. Watson commands her little alliance; her critics are largely ignored unless they have a reputation which is vulnerable to her PC tantrums.

    She has never demonstrated skills at debate or critical thinking. But she has waggled support from the skeptic crowd. Many commenter's seem to embrace the idea of political correctness as a means of controlling behavior - only the details need to be ironed out. This is not a small issue. I am very disappointed with the self appointed skeptic movement.
    Posted 22-Jul-2011 at 01:58 AM (01:58) by Gonz
  37. Old Comment
    First of all, thank-you for the roadmap; I'm interested but not obsessed enough to track all the detail. I like your writing, and I know from experience how long this type of piece takes to put together.

    My thoughts:

    a - We only have one side of the original incident, and that from the more powerful figure - Rebecca W - who made allegations against a person unidentified. How would she be reacting if she had only the man's account of an alleged harassment encounter?

    That one probably has no practical mileage in the debate, though.

    b - I think Dawkins, for his own sake, should have retired about 2 years ago. This is - what - the 5th or 6th thing since then, for a start:

    Rhino Gate.
    The embarrassing rhetoric around Non-Believers Giving Aid.
    This - Elevatorgate.
    Great Collapsing Embezzlement Action Gate about to break when people notice.

    c - What they *all* probably need is for St Paul to write them a letter about the problems of living together. Just because many athiest-skeptic-Gnus (choose your word) think that the religious lot are as silly-stupid as bronze age goatherds, doesn't prevent them having *exactly* the same human problems, with perhaps 90% overlap in the solutions.

    cf the informal conversations that went on between members of Ship of Fools and those of RatSkep.org after Rhinogate.

    d - On the positie side, I've met the interesting concept of Shrodinger's Rapist, and perhaps we should move on to Shrodinger's Victim, but it seems to be a purely rhetorical lever without taking any account of actual statistics.

    Rgds
    Posted 23-Jul-2011 at 06:08 AM (06:08) by Matt Wardman
  38. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Matt Wardman View Comment
    First of all, thank-you for the roadmap; ..
    Thanks for the appreciation! Thanks for your comments here too, and please do forgive me where I wax sardonic in reply.

    Quote:
    ... a - We only have one side of the original incident, and that from the more powerful figure - Rebecca W - ..... That one probably has no practical mileage in the debate, though.
    I assure you, that has not gone without notice.

    Quote:
    b - I think Dawkins, for his own sake, should have retired about 2 years ago.
    You're passing over the facts that:

    1) he's a source of great inspiration for many. Whether one likes him or no, whether one thinks that there should be such attendent inspirational figures at all, he is a source of great inspiration for many, and that alone - plus especially the next point - means "retirement" till forced by death or old age is most likely out ot the question.

    2) He puts his money where his mouth is, and he volunteers for practically anything and everything (itself sometimes a problem, given his hip-shooting tendency). Since he volunteers, any talk of "retirement" is in actual fact talk of embargo, and in today's atmosphere, that won't wash.

    Relatively few among those in any position to make a difference think Dawkins completely, utterly 100% wrong about Watson; and bluntly, I think he had something to his point he made, although he made it dreadfully.

    3) You haven't asked his own opinion. I'm reasonably sure he feels dedicated enough he would think any question of "retirement" to be out of the question; he's still (evidently) sprightly enough, and as far as I know healthy enough, to go on as he has been doing a fair while yet.

    Quote:
    This is - what - the 5th or 6th thing since then, for a start:
    Rhino Gate.
    What is "Rhino Gate"?

    And, by the way, why do you leave out the whole farrago that surrounded the closing of the RDF forum board? Or is that what you mean by RhinoGate? Never heard the term before, myself.

    Quote:
    The embarrassing rhetoric around Non-Believers Giving Aid.
    *shrug* It was and is embarrassing, however, he could justifiably reply everyone has to start somewhere. He could simply reply this was/is only a start, and it would be a fair enough answer. Even a bad start is a start.

    You might well reply it was a totally unneeded as well as bad start; I might agree. That doesn't change the fact he can simply reply it's a start, and valid on those terms.

    Quote:
    This - Elevatorgate.
    See my points above. I assure you, a lot of people think he had/has some kind of point, albeit horribly made.

    And even more bluntly, if people were forced to choose between Watson and Dawkins, they would be in my opinion badly served to choose Watson.

    And I stress I am not pro-Dawkins on the whole at all.

    Quote:
    Great Collapsing Embezzlement Action Gate about to break when people notice.
    You should read my blog more.

    I am also of the opinion that even if anything pretty bad came out -- like, and I stress this is only for an example, all legal disclaimers made, only an example of a possibility, no matter how remote or unfactual -- even if, say (example), it came out Dawkins had sought to actively circumvent taxation/charity laws in the RDF USA/UK Timonen affair, since no legal action has been even mooted as far as I know, it's unlikely to ever make any big waves.

    The entire suit of the RDFRS + Dawkins against Timonen etc. may well collapse, as I hinted at in my other blog post, but I doubt it then has any major repercussions for Dawkins or the RDFRS.

    Quote:
    c - What they *all* probably need is for St Paul to write them a letter about the problems of living together.
    Because St.Paul worked so well for the Christians, in particular on women clergy and bishops? Because the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and GAFCON shall lie down with women and gay bishops? And "Dr." Jim West shall lie down with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori?

    Or because the Pauline transformation in Christianity led to Christianity being what it is today, a unified worldwide force whose members dwell in demonstratable harmony guided by the Holy Spirit? As shown by the unifying around Rob Bell?

    Or because Paul himself was so well-known for harmony, with Peter, with others, and his strictures are always non-debateable (insertion of fake verses?) and so plainly brilliant (women headcoverings)?

    Just mildly wondering. I kinda prefer James myself a little, more social justice in James.

    Quote:
    Just because many athiest-skeptic-Gnus (choose your word) think that the religious lot are as silly-stupid as bronze age goatherds, doesn't prevent them having *exactly* the same human problems, with perhaps 90% overlap in the solutions.
    You should definitely read my blog much more.

    Here, and here, and a whole shepherded flock of similar posts.

    Quote:
    cf the informal conversations that went on between members of Ship of Fools and those of RatSkep.org after Rhinogate.
    I've had my own conversations on SoF; I have to say, the attempts to control SoF by a small inofficial cliqué of Christian hyper-righetous flamers led me to become very unimpressed with it. It simply wasn't worth the grief in the end for me, and I am extremely unimpressed with how some Christians - ordinary members of SoF - bully other Christians behind the scenes, in private, not to have anything to do with atheists or those deemed too heretic.

    Quote:
    d - On the positie side, I've met the interesting concept of Shrodinger's Rapist, and perhaps we should move on to Shrodinger's Victim, but it seems to be a purely rhetorical lever without taking any account of actual statistics.
    The entire Schrödinger's Rap leaves out too many aspects. It's very one-sided and misleading, and results in false risk-assessment -- as well as false over-hyping of otherwise justifiable fears. I think that's what you're hinting at.

    And yes, of course I agree with you on lots of things, including the fact we're all humans.
    Posted 23-Jul-2011 at 07:09 AM (07:09) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 23-Jul-2011 at 07:16 AM (07:16) by Gurdur
  39. Old Comment

    Dawkins

    Has it occured to anyone that Dawkins wasn't responding to Watson's initial comment about feeling "uncomfortable" but instead to the circus that came after, of her supporters equating the man's behavior to "misogyny"..."potential rapist"...."assault"...."sexism".?

    If that is the case, he was spot on. This man's behavior, in no form or fashion, represented misogyny or any of the above, ergo, possibly felt the urge to use some shock value so people would put things in perspective. Imagine what would happen if this much energy was put into EVERY situation where ANYONE felt uncomfortable at something someone said, did, timing and nothing came of it and no one's rights were violated.....bloody...fucking...hell...the waste. A waste that should be better spent on situations of REAL misogyny, REAL assault and REAL discrimination. THAT is possibly what Dawkins was trying to drive home. Otherwise, why wouldn't he make the response on Watsons blog, where the initial comment was made, as opposed to PZ's blog, where the circus gained ground.

    Though Watson has a right to feel uncomfortable, these supporters of her exaggerating the issue like they did was over the top.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 05:29 PM (17:29) by Unregistered
  40. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Dawkins

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    Has it occured to anyone that Dawkins wasn't responding to Watson's initial comment about feeling "uncomfortable" but instead to the circus that came after, of her supporters equating the man's behavior to "misogyny"..."potential rapist"...."assault"...."sexism".?
    ...... A waste that should be better spent on situations of REAL misogyny, REAL assault and REAL discrimination. THAT is possibly what Dawkins was trying to drive home. Otherwise, why wouldn't he make the response on Watsons blog, where the initial comment was made, as opposed to PZ's blog, where the circus gained ground.

    Though Watson has a right to feel uncomfortable, these supporters of her exaggerating the issue like they did was over the top.
    I think you make a couple of bloody good points with that. But I will be blogging again soon on this anyway.
    Posted 27-Jul-2011 at 05:38 PM (17:38) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  41. Old Comment

    Two Cents

    I came into this with clean hands, as it were. I'm the sort of guy who isn't dismissive of women or their concerns about sexism and related problems but who also doesn't think merely BEING a woman (or a man with, ahem, 'correct' views) authorizes you to tar as "sexist" anyone who disagrees with you.

    I knew about Rebecca Watson only from the SGU podcast. I'd never met her, read her SkepChick pieces or heard anything about her interaction with other members of our little enclave before this. I had no strong feelings about her either way.

    I do now.

    While I can understand Watson taking exception to Dawkins' "Muslima" remarks, her response and subsequent conduct were an order of magnitude worse - and more revealing - than any missteps he may have made.

    If there's a more textbook case of High School Princess Syndrome on view in the blogosphere, I have yet to see it. You could float a battleship on Watson's sense of lese majeste and entitlement.

    Even worse has been the appalling group-think, mendacity and gender-politics opportunism of Watson's Amen Corner, most certainly including Pimp Daddy "PC" Myers, seeking to turn what was at worst a clumsy, drunken pass into some kind of Bastille-storming call-to-arms against the dreaded "Privilege."
    Posted 30-Jul-2011 at 10:55 PM (22:55) by BrainFromArous BrainFromArous is offline
  42. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Two Cents

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BrainFromArous View Comment
    .... I knew about Rebecca Watson only from the SGU podcast. I'd never met her, read her SkepChick pieces or heard anything about her interaction with other members of our little enclave before this. I had no strong feelings about her either way.

    I do now.
    ....
    Even worse has been the appalling group-think, mendacity and gender-politics opportunism ....
    It's been rather devestating for the movement, I'ld say, on the personal level. More blog posts on exactly those after-effects coming up.
    Posted 30-Jul-2011 at 11:12 PM (23:12) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  43. Old Comment
    Makbawehuh's Avatar

    Thoughts....

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Verm View Comment
    D) I'm surprised no one else has made this comment, but Rebecca reminds me of other women I know who like to brag about "creepy" guys hitting on them because it serves their own vanity (whether this is a conscious or not).
    I hate to bring this up, given that I don't know Rebecca Watson from Eve, but given that I'm one of those who bitches about "creepy" guys, I have to say....

    Sometimes it is legitimately creepy and legitimately fucking scary. From what I've gathered about the whole elevator thing, if I'd have been in her shoes, I would have been scared out of my fucking wits.

    Vanity? I can't speak for others, but at least this person who bitches about creepy people finds it fucking terrifying.
    Posted 31-Jul-2011 at 07:26 AM (07:26) by Makbawehuh Makbawehuh is offline
  44. Old Comment

    sexism is not even related to atheism

    What does feminism have to do with atheism? Nothing! Nada! Atheism has been around for thousands of years while feminism has been around about 100 years. They are in no way related. Having someone talk about sexism in the atheist community is as relevant as talking about alcohol abuse, lack of fitness or cigarette smoking in the atheist community. Future conference developers cannot fall into this trap again. Stay on subject. Atheism
    is the lack of believe in supernatural dieties.

    I would rather see (gasp!) S.E. Cupp at a conference than a divisive speaker such as Watson.
    Posted 02-Aug-2011 at 01:51 AM (01:51) by Unregistered
  45. Old Comment

    The saddest thing about 'elavatorgate' is the tribalism

    Humans seem hell bent on divvying up into Hatfields and McCoys just for the sake of feuding. It doesn't matter how homogeneous a group is - people will find a way to split it into "Us" and "Them". If ever there was an issue and a community which should not have led to this - this is it.

    This episode has been very damaging to the reputation of the community of skeptics... or rather, it confirms a suspicion that many non-skeptics have: skeptics are kill-joys who love to spoil things for other people - like telling children that there's no Santa Claus. Of course, being an atheist or skeptic is not required to be a kill-joy ... the Internet provides ample evidence of that... but the fact that Phil Plait felt the need to advise the skeptic community "Don't be a dick" is telling.

    Also, I'm not saying that atheists & skeptics should automatically come to a consensus on these matters - part of being a rational thinker is thinking for yourself... Honest people starting from different positions can arrive at different conclusions - and that diversity of opinion can be a good thing. Plus rational thinkers should be able to express dissenting views to other rational thinkers without all the venom. Skeptics should be even more sensitive to diverse opinions, after the history of dogmatic persecution and oppression of novel ideas.

    Despite our culture, technology and erudition, we're still little children who want to poke each other with sharp sticks. This is the tragedy of humanity.
    Posted 02-Aug-2011 at 10:34 PM (22:34) by Bad Boy Scientist
  46. Old Comment
    Makbawehuh's Avatar

    sexism is not even related to atheism

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    What does feminism have to do with atheism? It's a time honored question. I just don't understand how it is that we want to build a community online based around mutual disbelief in the divine, and the women don't want to come to conferences! The people all working to create this community are incredibly warm and supporting people, and I just can't imagine why women wouldn't feel comfortable, when we care about the issues surrounding them in an unequal society that we are trying to right on so many levels, all at once, so very much. It makes me sad. *insert sadface here*
    I know, Unregistered. It's a sad, sad thing, and I can only wonder what keeps the women away. I'm not an atheist, but I wholly sympathise with your efforts.

    Edit: That would have been funnier if they'd have left a name I could sign to it.
    Posted 03-Aug-2011 at 01:29 AM (01:29) by Makbawehuh Makbawehuh is offline
  47. Old Comment

    Link update

    Hi Gurdur!

    I hope your recovery from surgery is going well.

    I have a housekeeping request to make for the link provide with the text, "Rose St. Clair have also suffered". That link is no longer functional. The blogpost was reposted at unifreethought however. Here's an updated link:

    http://unifreethought.blogspot.com/2...i-atheist.html

    I think this is a very important link since Rebecca stated this in her talk at the CFI Student Leadership Conference in June 2011.

    "Because there are people in this audience right now who believe this: that a woman's reasonable expectation to feel safe from sexual objectification and assault at skeptic and atheist events is outweighed by a man's right to sexually objectify her. That's basically what these people have been telling me, and it's not true.


    .I've heard from a lot of women who don't attend events like this because of those who have this attitude. They're tired of being objectified, and some of them have actually been raped; quite a number of them have been raped, or otherwise sexually assaulted. And situations like the one I was in, in an elevator, would have triggered a panic attack. They're scared, because they know that you won't stand up for them. And if they stand up for themselves, you are going to laugh them back down. And that's why they're not coming out to these events."

    I very much doubt that Rose St. Clair would laugh at the genuine concerns of women who have been raped as Rose has been raped. Rebecca claims to have been rebutting arguments against her claim that she had been sexualized in the elevator. Rebecca was, in fact, engaging in character assassination.

    I think the link to Rose's blogpost is very important and thought you might like to have an updated link to include in your post despite the age of this post. This post is one of the best posts written about how elevatorgate
    Posted 13-Jun-2012 at 10:34 PM (22:34) by An Ardent Skeptic
  48. Old Comment
    Well, if there was any doubt about the issue, we can now be officially sure that intelligent people also make/say/write stupid things.

    Luís Henrique
    Posted 29-Aug-2012 at 04:53 AM (04:53) by Unregistered
  49. Old Comment

    Hell-Evator-Gate

    What Dawkins did was indeed creepy and weird. Sounds like it was even planned-

    After a night of drunken revelry and stimulating, non-stop, pseudo-intellectual discussion, and mutual adoration of all the attendees towards one another, a 70 year old, British, intellectual, academic, corners and propositions a 20-something, hipster-chick in elevator. To add to the insult and injury, he creates a silly and transparent subterfuge, based upon sipping coffee in his lair and the continuation of same pseudo-intellectual jabber.

    Hipster chick predictably becomes 'creeped out' and offended. Understandably so. Thinking about Richard Dawkins naked, or even having a sex drive, would scare any rationalist thinker.

    Just a few comments I need to get off my chest here- Is Ms. Watson actually naive enough to believe rationalist academics types, are in full control of their penises and are immune to evolutionary-based, sexual urges? Perhaps more importantly, does she believe rationalist/skeptic types are in any way better or superior to other folk in morals, character, etc? This is her fundamental mistake. I think this incident perhaps 'burst her bubble' a bit that 'skeptical types' are above such coarse aspects of human nature.

    Disclosure- I am myself an engineer/scientist, cold rationalist, atheist, pseudo-intellectual, and I am in no doubt, in many regards, eerily similar to Ms. Watson and her crowd of skeptical skeptics, with one keen distinction- I find that group of people, no more interesting and no more worthy of respect, adulation, or adoration, than anyone else. I find them just as annoying, if not more so, than born-again x-ians and their lot. The idea of "atheist/skeptic conventions," groups, organizations, and such is quite nauseating to me. Replete with its heroes, best-selling authors, evangelists of the movement, etc. I would not want to be in the same city as one of these gatherings, never mind the same hotel. It's just a mutual-adoration, mutual-verbal-masturbatory, society. Surrounding yourself, because of the lack of intellectual security, and for reasons of self-doubt and comfort-zones, with a bunch of like-minded, clone-ish, people. All eerily similar in their thinking and beliefs.
    Anything humans organize into a group, goes to hell in a handbasket, whether it is religion, politics, "skeptic societies," etc. In any case, I still have hope for Ms. Watson. If she is smart, she'll become a misanthrope such as myself, and start to see the pettiness and hypocrisy within her own movement and crowd of people.
    Posted 28-Oct-2012 at 06:41 PM (18:41) by Benson
  50. Old Comment

    Thank goodness

    Thank You Gurdur,

    I been an Atheist for a few years, but started delving in the atheist/skeptic blogospher only this year, since May. Was really troubled to learn about ElevatorGate and whatnots and to think that Skeptic Movement, in western world was divided on this line.

    Thanks for summing it up and putting my mind to rest.

    And yeah, over the years after following RD, I have assessed that he can be a jerk. Jerk with a heart of gold, maybe. Still a jerk. Also, that RW and people at FTB blew it out of proportions.

    Fortunately, I'm away from all this. Already very occupied with convincing my friends that Saffron Wave we're seeing can spell disaster for India.
    Posted 07-Jul-2014 at 02:03 PM (14:03) by Unregistered
Post a Comment Post a Comment
Total Trackbacks 0

Trackbacks


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 06:17 PM (18:17).

       

Credits and thanks:
Basic Style design: Design By: Miner Skinz.com
(much altered by Gurdur)

For smilies:

Koloboks, including Aiwan, ViShenk, Just Cuz, Laie, Connie, snoozer, Viannen,
and especially Mother Goose too.
KitKatty. and PederDingo, and phantompanther.

For help, coding, and/or modifications:

Different people at vBulletin.com, and a whole lot of people -- too many to be individually named, sorry -- at vBulletin.org

For artwork, avatars, backgrounds and so on:

KitKatty, and verte, and britpoplass


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright is asserted for the Heathen Hub itself and for its owner by its owner, from 2008 onwards. Copyright of individual posts remains the property of the original poster, however by posting on the Hub the poster grants the Hub the rights to host and present the posted messages for perpetuity. The Hub is in no way responsible for opinions or messages posted in any way on the Hub by its members. Please also see this here. Copyright of individual icons and other graphics, as for individual vBulletin styles, remains the property of the original owner/creator. Copyright for the vBulletin software itself, and the vBulletin Blogs software, remains with Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd, as in the copyright notice above.
Welcome to a place to talk about atheism, religion, science, humanism, evolution, politics, Creationism, literature, reason, rational inquiry, logic, cooking, reading, and travel - the Hub: a community for everyone.