A Few Examples of “Shut Up and Listen”

May 18, 2013

So I gave a talk yesterday afternoon in which I emphasized how horrible it was that women had been suppressed for thousands of years, and, on many matters, had been instructed to remain silent.  As I stated at the end of my talk, this enforced silence robbed women of their humanity, and I indicated that CFI was committed to working toward a society in which the autonomy of women would be respected and, among other things, they would be free to express themselves however they wanted. 

But that is not what people wanted to discuss; instead, a number of people took strong exception when I expressed concern during my talk that the concept of privilege sometimes was being invoked to tell people to “shut up and listen.”  Tweets during and after my talk complained I offered no specific examples. 

Two quick responses.  First, my talk was over its allotted time limit as it was, and my concern about the misuse of privilege was not the primary focus of my talk, as already indicated.


Second, there are examples you can find on the internet through a few minutes search.  For myself, when I drafted this portion of the talk, the two examples I had in mind were a presentation on privilege that was given at the Heads meeting in January and a statement by PZ Myers.  I am not going to identify the speakers at the Heads meeting, as the meetings are supposed to be confidential, but if you ask around, other people will confirm that there was a lengthy discussion of privilege, and within that discussion there were examples of how members of  “privileged” groups should be quiet and just listen to those in the non-privileged group when the latter were discussing their experiences. 


The Myers quote is below:

“When a member of a marginalized group tells a member of a privileged group that their efforts, no matter how well-meaning, are wrong, there is one reasonable response: Shut up and listen. You might learn something.
There is also a terrible response: arguing back. It always makes it worse.
It’s not that they are infallible and we are totally stupid. It’s that THEY are the experts and the subject of the discussion.”


It can be found here.


Other examples of the “shut up and listen” trope are here and here


By the way, I am well aware that our communications director in his personal capacity quoted Myers approvingly.  Obviously, I disagree with him on this point.  The fact of that disagreement does not affect our working relationship.  Paul is a great communications director.  Are there limits to what CFI employees can say?  Sure, but the restrictions are fairly loose.  At CFI, we do not follow the rule “shut up and listen.”  Generally, employees can express their opinions.  There is one requirement, however.  They need to supply reasons and evidence. Invoking their racial/sexual/ethnic/class identity, whatever it might be, is not considered a substitute for argument. 

 

Comments:

#51 oolon on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:53am

So where are the examples of men actually being silenced Ron?

Or is this some sort of slippery slope fallacy? Ask men to be silent and next thing you know they’ll be silenced!

Examples please. As the phrase goes, put up or shut up!

#52 Ichthyic (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:54am

“Privilege” and “Sin” are used in a similar manner: to engender a feeling of guilt in the target.

interesting.

Makes me conclude you must have felt guilty then.

did you?

do you?

#53 Nobody (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:06am

Ichthyic: Sure, why not. I also feel guilty for being literate, having all my teeth, and no venereal diseases. These are privileges, right? It’s a special immunity that not everyone has—from illiteracy, from dental caries which can be fatal, and from unsightly growths all over the netherbits.

#54 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:15am

“Neither did I suggest that you suggested that you were the only one.”

So what did you mean when you said:

“You think you’re the only one looking around and getting more cynical?”

No. I don’t.

Nor did I say anyone else need take responsibility for my attitude.

Nor did I say “there’s no hope for you”.

These are projections.

As for your reaction to my own dismay - you seem to assume that the matters on which I was ambivalent - sitting on the fence or slightly opposed to the gestalt in regard to the FtB A+ milieu.

You seem to assume my attitude to Todd Atkin is example of such fence sitting.

It isn’t, I find him rebarbative.

In fact if you read my first post I concede that there people who deserve to hear the words “shut up” and I think I could be perhaps given some benefit of the doubt as to whether or not Mr Atkin fulfil the criteria required to join that set.

My “dismay” has nothing to do with people getting angry at hidebound conservative attitudes to abortion.

In my own experience it’s down to two things in particular:

1) The degree to which psychology - my field - is regularly mangled and misrepresented by some figures in the A+ ambit, and the degree of vociferousness that results when you point out differing perspectives and even outright factual errors.

2) In trying to navigate the confusion over what is intended by the Schrodinger’s rapist blog post and reception of notions as to why it might be a counterproductive cause to champion - at least as written.

Fairly modest as bones of contention go, I would have thought. At least they stop somewhat short of support of Todd Atkin - a man whose demise I would welcome.

#55 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:18am

“So where are the examples of men actually being silenced Ron?”

What is your opinion of the recent flurry of false flagging of YouTube videos critical of “Those Pesky Dames”?

#56 athyco (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:40am

“Privilege” and “Sin” are used in a similar manner: to engender a feeling of guilt in the target. Don’t pretend that it has never been used this way, many people who call themselves Radical Feminists do this. It’s a way to get someone to shut their mouth because, it is implied, they aren’t allowed to have an opinion on the topic in question. They have “privilege”, vaguely defined, never concretely pinned on them in a solid way.

Do you expect me to stop using the concept of privilege because you feel you have an answer to when it’s used inexactly or as a feint? (Still ain’t buyin’ privilege/sin.) Honestly, Nobody, the best debate tactic in the world can be used against the wrong person, at the wrong time, with the wrong evidence. I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings, but I’ve argued a couple of times against someone saying “Shut up and listen” over perceived cases of privilege because people can do it rong.

You know, what people were asking of Ron Lindsay is exactly what I’d ask of you now. Step away from the argument that no one says “Shut up and listen.” They do. Step away from identifying it’s purpose as always implying someone has no right to an opinion. There are plenty of situations in which it is a valid point to be considered. If you can do those two things, then you get to what the original question was: Can you provide examples of when men active in the field of feminist issues were silenced by “Shut up and listen”?

A privilege is something you do not need; in this case, using the word is ridiculous. Substituting the phrase “special advantage” is dishonest: the implication of “privilege” remains.

Um….recheck your comment @45.  I got the term “special advantage” from you. As for immunity not being a privilege? Well…Google “definition of privilege.” 

A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to one person or group of people.

See?  You yourself were right with “special advantage” @45.

It’s at an officer’s discretion to issue a warning or a ticket in cases which are not serious violations. A busted light is not the end of the world. To use this as an example of societal privilege seems…I mean, I just don’t know how to respond to that. Moreover, it’s anecdotal. How do you know the officer wouldn’t have done the same for anyone else? You encountered this officer once. You haven’t a good metric to measure his enforcement history.

You might want to look at Google again, anonymous. State troopers have had their role widened and are specifically trained nowadays to stop drug traffic. “By liberating troopers from their ticket books, the drug-interdiction business is booming for the State Highway Patrol as it focuses more manpower on drugs and other crimes through an initiative dubbed “Trooper Shield.” said the Columbus Dispatch, dateline February 26, 2012. It’s rather neat to note the description of the vehicles the interviewed trooper pulls over.

In some cases, such as Akin’s, he was talking to religious people, who, we know, have a talent for believing incredibly silly things.

C’mon. He was ahead in the polls talking to religious people. They didn’t stop being religious people after he said “legitimate rape.” His numbers cratered among right-leaning independent and Republican women. He didn’t backtrack to regain them. It’s as though he thought some other voters mattered more. Hmmmmmm.

#57 athyco (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:14am

“You think you’re the only one looking around and getting more cynical?”

No. I don’t.

That’s good. Of course, my asking a question is not projection. If I’d said, “You think you’re the only one looking around and getting more cynical,” that would be a projection.

Nor did I say anyone else need take responsibility for my attitude.

You did see that that sentence was clearly plural, didn’t you? Also that it was a general statement of my overall position (TL;DR indicates a summary, after all) and not directed solely at you? So that’s good, too.

Nor did I say “there’s no hope for you”.

Nope.  The anonymous named Nobody did that. I was talking about why I didn’t consider him a fence-sitter to you. Not about you at all. So that’s cleared up.

As for your reaction to my own dismay - you seem to assume that the matters on which I was ambivalent - sitting on the fence or slightly opposed to the gestalt in regard to the FtB A+ milieu.

But…you wrote…they didn’t tell you….never mind.

You seem to assume my attitude to Todd Atkin is example of such fence sitting.

Not just no, but hell no. And my jaw is still dropped over how you got that from my explanation that his side is SET and he won’t change even though his stupidity is massively damaging! That’s NOT fence-sitting in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

It isn’t, I find him rebarbative.

Well, whew then.

In fact if you read my first post I concede that there people who deserve to hear the words “shut up” and I think I could be perhaps given some benefit of the doubt as to whether or not Mr Atkin fulfil the criteria required to join that set.

I’d be scared not to give you the benefit of the doubt over the criteria.

My “dismay” has nothing to do with people getting angry at hidebound conservative attitudes to abortion.

Criminy. Can’t somebody give an example of a foe of feminist thought outside the atheist/secular community in order to avoid picking and perhaps antagonizing someone inside the atheist/secular community??? An EXAMPLE?!?

In my own experience it’s down to two things in particular:

1) The degree to which psychology - my field - is regularly mangled and misrepresented by some figures in the A+ ambit, and the degree of vociferousness that results when you point out differing perspectives and even outright factual errors.

2) In trying to navigate the confusion over what is intended by the Schrodinger’s rapist blog post and reception of notions as to why it might be a counterproductive cause to champion - at least as written.

Sounds like all personalities are left out of those two. Sounds like you could discuss them without being told to shut up—I mean, most people who go into psychology learn that they can’t tell people how to feel, don’t they?

Fairly modest as bones of contention go, I would have thought. At least they stop somewhat short of support of Todd Atkin - a man whose demise I would welcome.

Example, Dave, example of one who’s so completely divorced from the idea of someone else’s lived experience that he’s a laughingstock. Example—not a claim of your support for him or his position.

#58 athyco (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:22am

“So where are the examples of men actually being silenced Ron?”

What is your opinion of the recent flurry of false flagging of YouTube videos critical of “Those Pesky Dames”?

I couldn’t care less about YouTube and flagging. There’s a process.  When the flagging is found to be false, the videos are restored. When the flagging is found to be valid, the videos are taken down. From my understanding, those doing egregious false flagging can be penalized as well.

That process is more like a debate with YouTube deciding the winning side. Ask Thunderf00t how he handles it, but since he’s still around, I doubt seriously that he’ll agree he’s been silence by a “Shut up and listen” argument.

#59 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:32am

“So that’s cleared up.”

OK, I see - thanks for that.

“And my jaw is still dropped over how you got that from my explanation that his side is SET and he won’t change even though his stupidity is massively damaging! That’s NOT fence-sitting in any way, shape, form, or fashion.”

Not “set” as in set in stone. Part of a set.

“Sounds like you could discuss them without being told to shut up…”

Sure - I like to think I *could* as well. However, my experience is that doing so on the A+ forum was - despite efforts to remain civil and factual - a fairly sharp move from dismissal to permaban (with some of shutupandlisten style catchphrases such as “not getting it” and “‘splaining” making an appearance in lieu of an actual explanation as to my apparent wrongdoing).

It’s not the only arena in which I’ve seen that happen and I’m not the only person to whom it has occurred.

#60 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:44am

“Ask Thunderf00t how he handles it, but since he’s still around, I doubt seriously that he’ll agree he’s been silence by a “Shut up and listen” argument.”

Surely the fact that a given individual handles it is not evidence that anyone can - if it is then the fact that Rebecca Watson receives regular rude abuse and remains active is proof that Jen need not allow it to silence her.

As far as I am aware the effort required to notify YouTube of a violation of your rights as a content provider involves a fairly Byzantine process. I invite you to look into the example of Potholer Vs Aminekin (sp?) where - even though she retracted her claim as soon as he threatened her with court action - it took a good few months for YouTube to recognise that he hadn’t violated either the law or their terms of service and allowed the vid to be reinstated and his strike removed.

And whilst I think people who menace others with threats of sexual violence deserve significant opprobrium, my abusing a technical legal loophole to actually censor individual videos and suspend someone’s channel is a far more effective way of silencing them. A threat need not be censorship - but censorship is always censorship.

#61 athyco (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:57am

Sure - I like to think I *could* as well. However, my experience is that doing so on the A+ forum was - despite efforts to remain civil and factual - a fairly sharp move from dismissal to permaban (with some of shutupandlisten style catchphrases such as “not getting it” and “‘splaining” making an appearance in lieu of an actual explanation as to my apparent wrongdoing).

So…are you cynical about?...they did cause your “dismay” after “initial warmth?...but you said?....never mind.

And whilst I think people who menace others with threats of sexual violence deserve significant opprobrium, my abusing a technical legal loophole to actually censor individual videos and suspend someone’s channel is a far more effective way of silencing them. A threat need not be censorship - but censorship is always censorship.

I…

Aside from “silencing” on the internet, the threats of sexual violence can do far more psychological damage. Yet you ignore that to call flagging out as “censorship.”

Reading your previous answers to me, I’d come to have doubts as to your comprehension. I went back to check if there were any way Todd Akin could be mistaken for a fence-sitter in any way. No. If there were any way you could think I connected support of Todd Akin with anyone who claimed to be an atheist fence-sitter.  No. If there were any way anyone who hadn’t said “No hope” about me, then see it later in quotation marks, could think I meant it referred to him.  No.

You are a person who claims psychology as his field of interest yet can equate the psychological damage of violent threats that results in self-silencing with the silencing done anonymously through a technical loophole of a video on YouTube (and then refer to the difficulty in Potholer54 going through a DMCA process with Amenakin). Enough.

#62 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 6:38am

Oh enough is it? Well I suppose that will provide you with an escape in regards to having to point out where I ignored anything or equated anything to anything else.

#63 Martin (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 9:49am

When someone with an under-represented voice asks the privileged to “shut up and listen,” the privileged hear “shut up” and stop listening.

#64 Dave Allen (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:52am

Kind of - though you could probably rephrase it as:

When people are told to “shut up and listen” they tend to hear “shut up” and stop listening.

#65 Astrokid on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 12:44pm

SallyStange@33:

The request was for examples of this actually being used to “silence” men by feminists.

City News coverage of Feminists severely disrupting a Mens’s issues Awareness Seminar in Toronto 2013, lecture being delivered by Academics Paul Nathanson and Catherine Young.

When a religious protester is lot more respectable than your feminist/social justice warrior, you got serious issues.
Meet ChantyBinx/Big Red Feminist and hypocrite

Ron,
If you are worried about feminism’s quashing of freedom of speech only now, one wonders what you have been doing in the past decades.
Like I said earlier.. you HAVE to start listening to a greater range of voices. for e.g The Amazing Atheist on Youtube. FEMINISM vs. FREEDOM OF SPEECH

#66 Nobody (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 12:44pm

>Do you expect me to stop using the concept of privilege because you feel you have an answer to when it’s used inexactly or as a feint?

I’m not so much interested in the “concept” of privilege at all, honestly. The question of racial and societal privilege is not a ridiculous one, but people have abused the discussion in very ridiculous ways. For example: is it a privilege not to get stared at like a thief? Black people get this a lot, white people don’t. Is that a privilege?

I say it should be a right: that people should be treated equally well. To suggest that it is a privilege suggests it’s something that should be done away with, for the sake of fairness.

As for “privilege” being used as a silencing tactic—yes, absolutely. Go take a look at the Atheism+ forums. You’ll see that any time someone from a “privileged” position starts getting out of line, they’re warned to be quiet, told to shut up, and kicked or banned if they don’t. The thing is, how do you assess who has what privileges on the Internet??? This is the confounding part. I’ve been told by strangers I don’t know that I’m a privileged person simply for existing—whereas they do not know any of the exact qualities of my life to tell me as much.

If I tried stereotyping minorities in this way I’d be called a bigot. But because I’m “privileged”, no one will care; obviously I must have had it easier than others. It’s just dishonest.

What will I gain by saying: “I am a Person of Privilege and I acknowledge it”? What does it accomplish, except make me aware of how badly others are mistreated? Is that the point? Why not just point out the many ways in which minorities have been discriminated against? Must I be made to feel guilt for having it “easy” by people who don’t know me? That’s how the “privilege” argument has been used. It’s a way to make me “shut up and listen”.

If you were to examine my life up to this point you would see a person who was in the financial dumps, whose parents were incompetent, and under whose stewardship life was pretty well awful. But nobody would ever take me seriously—because of this “privilege” stuff. I fully expect to be written off as an irrelevant complainer even now.

#67 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 12:50pm

““Privilege” and “Sin” are used in a similar manner: to engender a feeling of guilt in the target.”

Please tell me how you explain or use the concept of “privilege” without doing that; cause that would make my life easier if some white guys didn’t immediately go on the defensive when reality is discussed…and attribute to what I am saying a whole mess of crap that I never said because they insist that the words I am using mean something other than the definition I am using and how a great number of other people use them.

I am *incredibly* privileged in many ways.  Being told that I am is not a guilt trip and acknowledging that I am is not self-hatred.

It’s just true.

Acknowledging privilege is also not the same as thinking that every frickin’ thing you do is easy and you have it better than everybody else.

It just means that you are generally afforded social benefits, by the dominant structure, due to that ONE aspect of who you are that others don’t experience.  It means that there are certain things that you can just ignore and you are not negatively impacted by maintaining the status quo in that particular regard.

It doesn’t mean slavery was your fault or something.

This isn’t rocket science - Rocket science is easier apparently.

F = (mv)/t

#68 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 1:21pm

“In trying to navigate the confusion over what is intended by the Schrodinger’s rapist blog post and reception of notions as to why it might be a counterproductive cause to champion - at least as written.”

Schrodinger’s rapist is a “cause to champion”?

what…aewoi…..apoewiyf;alkjg;aoibu;lkqn;foiuk

With respect, I can see how someone might get impatient discussing the topic if that is your current understanding.

This is completely off-topic though.

If you want to have a conversation about that with me, go here: http://sinmantyx.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/when-they-get-what-they-want-they-never-want-it-again/

#69 GrzeTor (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:51pm

PZ Myers: “When a member of a marginalized group tells a member of a privileged group that their efforts, no matter how well-meaning, are wrong, there is one reasonable response: Shut up and listen. You might learn something.  There is also a terrible response: arguing back. It always makes it worse. It’s not that they are infallible and we are totally stupid. It’s that THEY are the experts and the subject of the discussion.”

It looks like PZ Myers doesn’t have an ability to think in the areas that are covered by his left-wing ideological dogmas. Instead he shows emotional prejudice against those whom his idelogies target for disdain: this time it’s about white males. Consider this citation:

1. Who is the expert on problems and solutions? The answer by PZ is that “marginalized people”, whatever it means, are experts on their problems and solutions. The reality shows something different - it’s always the trained experts that are experts. For example if a particular minority suffers from high rate of STDs - who are the experts on that STD problem? Answer: doctors.
If a particular group of “marginalized people” suffers from low-quality water in their taps then are they really the experts to not only solve, but actually diagnose what’s the problem (eg. what the water is contaminated with, what are the sources of contamination?). Or would you rather want to have it solved by a team of water quality engeneers?

And if a group of people has persistently the same problem over and over again - is’t it a good basis for suspicion that they are not experts at solving this problem?

If “marginalized people” includes people with ultra-low IQs, then according to the rules outlined by PZ Myers they should be consiered experts in the field of working of mind.

2. According to PZ Myers who is talking and judging should depend on the caste - with “marginalized people” somehow being better at certain topics just because of belonging to this caste. That’s outrageously contrary to what critical thinkers should support: an evaluation based solely on the quality of information that is presented.

3. PZ Myers presents debate as it was something wrong - “terrible response: arguing back. It always makes it worse.” According to him a debate should be replaced with monologues of one side “one reasonable response: Shut up and listen”.
Notice that according to the dictionary “arguing back” is “Usually said of persons who are supposed to listen and obey without comment.”
I’d argue that debate is important enough to science, that being against the debate, against the exchange of arguents makes him anti-science.

#70 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 9:58pm

“If “marginalized people” includes people with ultra-low IQs, then according to the rules outlined by PZ Myers they should be consiered experts in the field of working of mind.”

No, it makes them experts on what it is like to be someone with a cognitive or intellectual disability; and perhaps if you are someone who is trying to help that group with your “efforts” and they tell you that you are doing it wrong, that you should listen to them instead of falling into knee-jerk defensiveness.

I have worked with developmentally disabled people within social justice organizations before; and you are sort of being an ass.

At any rate, we are talking about the “quality of information”; the idea is simple - someone who has lived a life other than you and might have more insight into what that really means and what THAT community is all about - might have BETTER quality of information than you do, so you might want to listen to it BEFORE you “argue back” with insufficient information based on only your myopic, or even academic, perceptions.

Again - rocket science:

F=(mv)/t

Apparently is easier than this.

#71 Dave Allen (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:03am

“Schrodinger’s rapist is a “cause to champion”?”

No - I don’t think anyone champions the phenomena and I wasn’t talking about the phenomena, I was talking about the blog post in which the phenomena was - as I understand it - introduced into the conversation. It was certainly where I and others like me were directed to go first in order to get, and the fact that I found the message (in terms of noise as well as signal) problematic soon devolved into “shut up and listen” type stuff.

Am I off topic? I don’t think so. I wasn’t discussing Schrodinger’s rapist itself - I was citing the fact that my attempts to discuss it in the past led to the sort of thing Ron seems to be talking about - that the “shut up and listen” habit was being employed not to facilitate two-way conversation in which genuine understanding was sought, but to shut out any dissenting view (and to fair, as I think you find when you read my response on your blog - I don’t really dissent).

As for discussing SR on your blog - I will, though I say again that it isn’t actually something I want to discuss - I am pretty settled in my understanding of it. However I concede that you may have more to say on the matter and so I will take you up on the offer.

#72 David L Steinhardt (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 10:34am

Thanks for those straw-figure references that show others swatting at the same “trope” as yourself. You’re very helpfully making the case for how outrageously inappropriate your lecture was.

To recap: you appointed yourself keynote speaker of your own women’s conference, and used the occasion to scold them, man-to-women, for feminism tolerating women being confrontational and sometimes even impolite and lacking any deference whatsoever to men.

And rather than owning up to this reprehensibly atavistic insult and abuse of your role in convening the event, you use two webposts to dig your heels in hard, blink innocently, and here link to others who might somehow in part support your contention that cultural correctives are imperative to thwart the oppression that occurs to men when a woman has the unmitigated nerve to say to one, “Would you shut up and listen?”?!

Just a suggestion, Mr. Lindsay, but don’t you think this might be an appropriate time for a thoughtful man, of your own volition, to silence yourself for a time, and open your ears and mind to the possibility you might want to apologize and reconsider your thinking on this matter?

#73 Gary (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 10:34am

I am astonished that Ron Lindsay could be so out of touch with the controversies over feminism (and the SENSITIVITIES) within the skeptic/atheist community, to make such a blunder as he did.  To be a male (and a white one at that!) and to criticize the tactics of feminists at a conference to support feminism is the height of stupidity, especially at the welcoming talk.  Is he completely unaware of the bitterness of the current divide?  Each side of this debate demonizes the other.  Get with the program, Ron!  Either cease having this conference or get out of the way! At this point, the feminists will tolerate no discussion whatsover—that will be considered “digging”—the only acceptable response is to apologize, preferably with tears and submissive bowing and scraping.  Your appeal to reason is no use now!

#74 Andrew Wilson (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:29pm

“I am astonished that Ron Lindsay could be so out of touch with the controversies over feminism (and the SENSITIVITIES) within the skeptic/atheist community”

Whatever happened to the skeptic/atheist fundamental principle that offence can never be given, only taken?

#75 Homa Sapiens (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:20pm

You were asked to find examples of women using the term privilege to shut men up. I am not sure how P.J. Meyers qualifies.

You know—being a man and all.

#76 athyco (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 8:53pm

Me, to Nobody, #56:

...then you get to what the original question was: Can you provide examples of when men active in the field of feminist issues were silenced by “Shut up and listen”?

And Nobody at #66 tells me that he’s honestly not interested in the concept of privilege, but then goes on for another three hundred sixty-four words about how this horrible “privilege” issue culminates in “shut up and listen” so that he’s not able to have his unspecific (as evidenced here, at least) say.

He claims that some amorphous and anonymous “people have abused the discussion in very ridiculous ways.” He shifts to questioning the issue of “shopping while black.” Hey, Nobody…I’d been talking about my immunity to unwanted/unmerited scrutiny while driving. Why didn’t you stay with that common activity? Or is “driving while black” too real a thing for you to even try it? I already answered your hyperskeptical dodge with the Trooper Shield operation. I’ve already directed you to Google for a definition of privilege. Didja ever think that Google could help you with studies/examples about shopping while black, too? Shock your fingers out of their lazy whinge-typing pattern and try it.

Why spend hundreds of words to shake your fist at some amorphous and anonymous “they” (some on a moderated forum of their own—which you knew going in) who should be treating everyone equally, should not be warning and banning, shouldn’t be strangers telling other strangers things (gasp—on the internet!) or assuming things, or making anyone feel guilty.

But nobody would ever take me seriously—because of this “privilege” stuff. I fully expect to be written off as an irrelevant complainer even now.

Yeah, well.  You’re the only one who could make sure that doesn’t happen, and you ain’t doin’ it. My advice is to show that you acknowledge information given to you, not just drop that line of discussion (e.g. definition of privilege, info on Trooper Shield) because it’s not going your way. (That’ll reduce not being taken “seriously.”) Give a specific answer to a specific question like “Can you give an example of X?” (That’ll reduce “irrelevant.”) Don’t use passive voice that “disappears” the actors of +50% of your sentences. (That’ll reduce “complainer.”)

Good luck.

#77 MosesZD (Guest) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 12:36pm

@Monet:

Way to fail on the first post.  That’s not what Mr. Lindsay said.  He’s never said anything approaching your failed interpretation.

What he’s saying is STOP USING THE “PRIVILEGE” of your real, or imagined in many cases, victimhood to stop silencing others. 

When you silence others, they will not listen to you because they’re being LECTURED.  You don’t like it when others lecture you, I presume.  You should presume that others will feel the same about YOUR lectures.


The point is, and remains, NO DIALOG or EXCHANGE OF IDEAS can happens when one co-party to a problem is silenced.  ANY counselor will tell you that.  Any mediator will tell you that.  Anyone who has ever been a negotiator will tell you that.

It’s how it works.  You listen to the other person and try to agree where it’s possible and compromise where it’s not.  Not sit there, shout them down and insult them, they cry ‘victimhood.’

#78 athyco (Guest) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 3:34pm

I’m talking about the situation where the concept of privilege is used to try to silence others, as a justification for saying, “shut up and listen.” Shut up, because you’re a man and you cannot possibly know what it’s like to experience x, y, and z, and anything you say is bound to be mistaken in some way, but, of course, you’re too blinded by your privilege even to realize that.

That is what Ron Lindsay said. And he’s been asked over and over for specific examples of that happening among the speakers, the attendees, the major supporters of WiS2. Of course, he can’t, because he’s strawmanned himself out of examples.

Is anything bound to be mistaken? That’s a ridiculous assertion, considering the discussion and links to the writing of a number of men over the past year. Is there a “but, of course, you’re too blinded” dismissal among the women speaking and attending this conference? Again, the discussion and links to the writing of men proves that to be ridiculous, too.

This approach doesn’t work.  It certainly doesn’t work for me.

Who among the feminist women speaking at his organization’s conference feels that this approach does work? He mentioned that there’s been a lot of discussion of the issues brought up in the year since the first WiS. That doesn’t sound like anyone was silenced. That sounds like the perfect hunting grounds for his proof that the feminist women interested in the content of WiS2 are using the approach. He did not and has not since brought the evidence for that.

Thereafter follows a paragraph bringing full strength the scare words and mindreading: “dogmatist…because it beats having to engage someone in a reasoned argument….Marxism…dogma off the shelf…categorize, dismiss, and silence…heretic spreading the lies of Satan…lie to justify your power.” That culminates with the sentence:

You’re a man; you have nothing to contribute to a discussion of how to achieve equality for women.

Once again, who among the speakers at WiS2 agrees that a man has nothing to contribute to such a discussion? What about the men in the WiS2 conference audience who came there to support what they already knew about the discussion? What about the men in the audience who came to learn how they could engage in the discussion going forward?

Now don’t get me wrong. I think the concept of privilege is useful; in fact it is too useful to have it ossified and turned into a dogma.

Who among the speakers at WiS2 disagrees with that? Who among the speakers at WiS2 are—wittingly or unwittingly—in that “ossifying” process? You see, that hadn’t happened even at this targeted conference since Justin Vacula for one falls into the second category of attendees above. And from some of his tweets afterwards, he’s “engaging” by telling specific women to get out. He’s claiming dogma—same as Ron Lindsay—but he’s also not bringing the evidence.

By the way, with respect to the “Shut up and listen” meme, I hope it’s clear that it’s the “shut up” part that troubles me, not the “listen” part. Listening is good. People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn. But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer. Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.

Who among the speakers at WiS2 disagrees with that? But if someone—as Nobody did in this thread—is going to question a ridiculously common thing like state troopers using age, race, and sex as part of their criteria for deciding who gets their time for a closer look for drugs on a deserted interstate in the middle of the night? What makes that person a questioner on whom another should make a commitment of time and energy? If I don’t have evidence of good faith, should I go against my conscience and give that point of view an equal platform with mine? Ask William Lane Craig if Richard Dawkins does that. Should I give up my preferred association with those—even if they don’t agree with me—who at least give me an argument that is in active rather than passive voice, that is moved forward by recognition of definitions and valid analogies, that doesn’t predict how the argument will be received so that I either “prove” it or try to argue against self-serving mindreading?

Enforced silence is always and everywhere the enemy of truth and progress.  If someone is forbidden from speaking, you are obviously not going to hear what they have to say.

Who among the speakers at WiS2 disagrees with that? Who among the speakers of WiS2 has the power to “enforce” silence and “forbid” speech? Is there anyone so blinkered as to think that denial of certain venues means totalitarian denial?

Stop the presses! The US Congress won’t allow protestors to have their say freely on the Capitol floor or in their committee meetings! Censorship! The ideas of those protestors will never see the light of day!

Part of what allows us to give meaning to our lives is the ability to exercise certain core freedoms, such as freedom of conscience, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and reproductive freedom.  We need these freedoms to take control of our own lives, to give shape and direction our own lives; otherwise, we are just going to be forced into a role that has been assigned to us.

Yes. Don’t forget those other core freedoms. The attendees at WiS2 paid for an experience they expected based on last year’s conference, the writings of the CFI staff between that one and this, the writings and interim speeches of the invited speakers, the writings of well-known attendees. They chose with whom to associate freely based on their consciences.

They were met at the very outset with the unspecified and unsubstantiated allegation that at least some of what they’d been doing or listening to or reading had abrogated or was on the path of abrogating the freedom of others. They were, in essence, told to watch their step with no evidence that they’d stepped wrong in the first place. The examples in this post demonstrate “I can’t tell you the whole story; take my word for it” and “I’ve not addressed (and still haven’t) the nuance that makes the PZ example one that works against my argument.”

Ron Lindsay has presented no evidence that the group to whom he was speaking deserved any such “warning” over a welcome as an introduction to their conference experience.

#79 Lithp (Guest) on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 6:02pm

Gotta go with Dawkins on that one, that sentiment is incredibly retarded, for an easily demonstrated reason:

There are women who claim that feminism is irrelevant bullshit. No, really, do a Google search. They are not hard to find. So if I’m supposed to “shut up & learn” from women about women’s issues, WHICH ONES AM I SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO? The only sensible way out of that paradox is to assume (quite correctly) that I have the ability to evaluate the logic being used by both parties, & not simply assume that every woman has the same level of authority on the issue & speaks unanimously for her own gender.

The concept of privilege is SUPPOSED to clue me in to the fact that I might overvalue my manly opinion. Not that I should take every other opinion at face value.

#80 Astrokid on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 7:28pm

PZ “Listen to the women” Myers would never listen to this woman, would he?
More Patriarchy Malarkey From The Toronto Feminist Fight Club

#81 athyco (Guest) on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 9:14pm

Lithp, #79:

There’s a *citation needed* for your “not simply assume that every woman has the same level of authority on the issue & speaks unanimously for her own gender.” Who has asked/required you to do that? And why are the complaints about this claim—as yet unverified as a technique used by a single invited speaker or attendee at WiS2—so often presented in this formula? It is beginning to sound as though the “dogma” is solidifying on the side of those making this unevidenced claim.

Did you read the quote from PZ Myers provided in this OP? Did you not see that it was specifically addressed to a person in a privileged group who’s efforts were bent to helping those in a marginalized group?

Yes, addressed to those who want to help, but who might not have the specific knowledge or skill required to be helpful. To demonstrate how to present this as a real case example, representatives of first responder groups and local government in Moore, OK went to the media to get out the message:  “We know you want to help, but you’re getting in our way. Don’t come here!

Those who didn’t want to or didn’t bother to listen went there and got in the way. We all saw the video of stalled traffic as far as the camera could pan. Now, if you aren’t one of those non-listeners, you can then decide where to act once you listen: to a group telling you that donating blood and money to the Red Cross is the way to go. (Let’s say they are the third wave feminists.) You may decide to get with your neighbors and send a truckload of food to the foodbanks around Moore. (We’ll assign this to equity feminists.) You could live in one of the four states sending electrical crews but next door to the family of one of those employees, so go cut your neighbor’s lawn and edge his sidewalk in recognition of his work. (Womanists.)

You decide to shut up and listen because you want to help.

If you don’t listen to somebody who’s got some experience, you may end up causing a problem—along with the more recent Oklahoma traffic, there’s the example of hundreds of hours of work that went into unpacking, cataloging, storing, then figuring out what to do with items (63,000+ stuffed animals alone) sent to Newtown. I know no one said “Thank goodness for Hurricane Sandy,” but those toys were a problem until many of them ended up along the storm’s path for traumatized children.

I say again: “Shut up and listen” goes to those who want to help.

And I guess that also answers Astrokid with the snide “PZ ‘Listen to the Women’ Myers.”

#82 Lithp (Guest) on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 9:40pm

“Lithp, #79:”

Yo.

“Did you read the quote from PZ Myers provided in this OP?”

I just kind of assumed that it was a response to Dawkins, because the layout of his narrative was a bit confusing.

Reading the source, I suppose that, in this context, Meyers was simply the victim of the overanalysis typical of the blogosphere.

It’s worth noting here that I am fairly ambivalent towards Dawkins, Watson, AND Meyers. Hence, “I’m with Dawkins on THIS ONE.”

“Who has asked/required you to do that?”

It’s happened. I don’t keep a goddamn scrapbook on the off-chance that someone will ask me this. But if you think that, in the entire blogosphere, there has not been a single instance of privilege being weaponized to shut down disagreement…I’ve got a Nigerian Prince who keeps E-mailing me, wanna talk to him?

“It is beginning to sound as though the “dogma” is solidifying on the side of those making this unevidenced claim.”

Weren’t you just telling me not to make assumptions about people’s motivations, & whatnot?

“Yes, addressed to those who want to help, but who might not have the specific knowledge or skill required to be helpful.”

Everything you say from here on out is valid, but completely outside the purview of my comment.

#83 athyco (Guest) on Thursday May 23, 2013 at 11:43pm

Reading the source, I suppose that, in this context, Meyers was simply the victim of the overanalysis typical of the blogosphere.

It’s Myers. One E. And I’d say “under-analysis.” More nuance in the quoted passage and more content in the rest of the post/comments had to be ignored than interpreted in this case.

It’s happened. I don’t keep a goddamn scrapbook on the off-chance that someone will ask me this.

The OP is a response to virtually the same question being asked of Dr. Lindsay. It’s not a point in your favor to describe asking you that question in the comment thread as an “off-chance” when that question prompted the post on which you comment.

It’s also not a point in your favor that the question has also been asked of others in this thread and you’re depressingly another not only not keeping a “goddamn scrapbook” but also unable to link to or detail reliably enough an original source of just one example as it pertains to the speakers and attendees of WiS2. Even Rebecca Watson could find a feminist (whose rejection of trans*people assures that she’d never be considered for WiS2) who attempted silencing—even though it was of the “Shut up (full stop)” variety rather than “Shut up and listen.”

But if you think that, in the entire blogosphere, there has not been a single instance of privilege being weaponized to shut down disagreement…I’ve got a Nigerian Prince who keeps E-mailing me, wanna talk to him?

Dock another point for being oblivious to the conversation that has gone on here. If you want to know whether I think something as hyperbolic as “there has not been a single instance of…”, I’d suggest you read comment #56. You don’t even have to click back one page to where I entered the discussion at #37.

“It is beginning to sound as though the “dogma” is solidifying on the side of those making this unevidenced claim.”

Weren’t you just telling me not to make assumptions about people’s motivations, & whatnot?

I’m telling you what I’m seeing presented as evidence on this thread: nothing about anyone’s motivation or anyone’s whatnot. I’m saying that as I read the comments I note that there are no links to speakers or bloggers or activists in attendance at WiS2 who use the “Shut up and listen” technique in order to shut down disagreement. And yet, others come in—no matter their motivation and whatnot—who still present “Shut up and listen” as problematic enough to say to an audience at WiS2 without addressing points in the previous discussion. (Kinda like the Nigerian prince popping up in your email.) I’m telling you the opinion I’m beginning to form, and you are not blocked from the opportunity to clarify your own comments or quote previous comments as rebuttal in discussion of it.

“Yes, addressed to those who want to help, but who might not have the specific knowledge or skill required to be helpful.”

Everything you say from here on out is valid, but completely outside the purview of my comment.

I certainly don’t agree that it’s outside the purview of your comment.  My examples are to show how and why speakers and attendees at WiS2 have used the shorthand “Shut up and listen” in the cases they have used it. The purview of your comment included them in the “assume that every woman has the same level of authority on the issue & speaks unanimously [Did you mean unilaterally?] for her own gender” category who use it to shut down discussion.

My examples also show that those in the privileged group who heed that type of “shut up and listen” from the marginalized group they wish to support are not blocked from action or speech on the topic.

Let’s try this:  Lithp, you would get along much better if you don’t cram dried beans up your nose.

Wouldn’t I have to have at least one unrepentant example of your cramming dried beans up your nose before that little piece of advice was worthwhile, even non-insulting?

#84 Lithp (Guest) on Friday May 24, 2013 at 12:21am

The great bulk of that comment makes no sense, on account of the fact that I never mentioned WiS2.

#85 athyco (Guest) on Friday May 24, 2013 at 1:33am

Then I don’t see how the great bulk of anything you’ve said here has any relevance. “Shut up and listen” in relation to WiS2 is the origin of the OP. It wouldn’t have been written if those two things didn’t coincide.

If the CEO of CfI tells a group or individuals paying hundreds of dollars to attend his organization’s conference who have used “shut up and listen” as a silencing tactic that he disagrees with that tactic, then we have a debate.

Even if some say that he should not bring it up in the introductory speech, they’d have to add, “But he has a point about the phrase used to silence discussion in these posts/speeches/articles/podcasts/radio shows/debates/letters/videos” that have been made by some speakers and/or attendees.

If the CEO of CfI tells a group or individuals who have not used “shut up and listen” as a silencing tactic, then they naturally say, “That’s bull. We who have paid hundreds for this conference do not support the use of that shorthand for silencing. Bringing it up to us without specificity unfairly links it to all of us. That makes it your burden to prove. Provide the posts/speeches/articles/podcasts/radio shows/debates/letters/videos that make up your evidence.”

It’s a basic “put up or shut up,” and that’s not a silencing tactic, either.

#86 Lithp (Guest) on Friday May 24, 2013 at 2:22am

I really only ever made 2 assertions:

1. PZ Myer’s statement was ridiculous. Retracted this when you indicated that I carelessly dismissed it without fully understanding the context.

2. The phrase “shut up & listen” is used to defuse criticism. Which it is. And I’ve heard it used that way far more often than the way that PZ Myers used it, so I hope you won’t begrudge me if that’s where my mind went. But this 2nd assertion indeed does not seem to be relevant to anything you are saying now, as I never mentioned WiS2, or any other specific entities, for that matter.

Aaaand that’s…really all that I have to say about that. You appear to still be arguing, but I can neither improve upon nor retract assertions that I did not make.

#87 athyco (Guest) on Friday May 24, 2013 at 3:40am

Sorry. I had assumed you wanted to be on topic.

I’ve engaged in a comment thread by hewing to its specific topic far more often than the way that you have demonstrated here, so I hope you won’t begrudge me if that’s where my mind went.

Be well.

#88 GrzeTor (Guest) on Monday May 27, 2013 at 6:39am

@ M. A. Melby
Being a member of very-low-IQ subgroup doesn’t make one “experts on what it is like to be someone with a cognitive or intellectual disability”.
In order to understand it you need to see the path of becoming an expert. First there are difficult entrance exams. These exams strongly test aptitude rather than knowlege. After these the teaching tools (eg. professional books, software, lab equipment) will be targeted at being understood by people with such level of aptitude, with high probability of them being too difficult for those below.  For experts who gained their expertise on a job, rather than in university the equivalent test would be during their job interview, and equivalent . Then the candidates for becoming experts learn a lot of very dense information, and practice it in the labs for few years. At each level their mistakes being corrected by previous experts, and their progress verified, so they can’t stray from the right track. The knowledge they learn includes knowing basic mechanisms of how things work – these have much more predictive power than just observations. The observational data they learn is based on statistically significant (eg. thousands) numbers of observations, spanning whole range of subjects of different properties, summarized by statistical experts.  Then there’s this important data on what is the norm. Eg. for doctors what is the healthy state of organism, not only what is the pathology. This all is checked with frequent regular exams, as well as large final thesis and exams plus some field practice.
Compare this this standard way of becoming an expert, how does your claim that having very-low IQ “makes them experts on what it is like to be someone with a cognitive or intellectual disability”?
1.  Low mental aptitude prevents very low-IQ people from passing any aptitude exam that would enable them to become an expert, and prevents them even being able to properly use education tools (eg. professional books, software, lab equipment) that is designed for high aptitude levels.
2.  There’s nothing in such people that assures they have knowledge about basic mechanism of how the mind works.
3.  There’s nothing about such people that assures that they know what the norms are.
4.  There’s nothing about such people that assures us they have statistically important amount of data.
5.  There’s nothing about such people that assures us they have passed meaningful exams.
So it’s very clear that people with very low-IQs are not “experts on what it is like to be someone with a cognitive or intellectual disability”, and thus both you and PZ Myers are wrong.
Now, what would I be doing when discussing some issues with people affected by them? If I’m not an expert on an issue,  I’d just find some documentations made by experts and read it or cite it, or summarize it. In what way would it be “insufficient information” as compared to just the N=1 storytelling of the affected?

#89 athyco (Guest) on Monday May 27, 2013 at 8:34pm

Being a member of very-low-IQ subgroup doesn’t make one “experts on what it is like to be someone with a cognitive or intellectual disability”.

But that’s exactly what it does. That was a very long comment on how most who are not members of a subgroup becomes expert in dealing with the issues of a subgroup without falling within that group.

However, since no study is guaranteed applicable to each individual, we have a description for the medical expert who deals with the study of his subject without listening to the concerns and feelings of his patients:  lacking a good bedside manner. For decades, cardiologists sent home women who were having a heart attack because the studies that had been done primarily on men meant that the default diagnosis was based on how men experience heart attacks. It took doctors’ shutting up and listening to women—then getting that information to researchers rather than dismiss the circumstances as an anomaly—then researchers seeing the larger pattern to begin changing the makeup of their studies—before more accurately focused information started coming out of those studies.

Those experts in the field with the good bedside manner have found the humility to “shut up and listen,” not only because it speaks volumes about shared concerns, but because it also means refinement of information is possible. Yes, the expert can explain when the concern of a disadvantaged individual is not valid, but they don’t do it in the form of a dismissive “Why should I listen to you?”

No matter how popular the drama series may be, the character of Gregory House is fictional.

#90 Steersman on Monday May 27, 2013 at 9:13pm

oolon said (#51):

Examples please. As the phrase goes, put up or shut up!

I think a brief persual of the Pharyngula Dungeon list (1) should be sufficient to convince most of those who aren’t pathologically skeptical. While I’ll readily concede that some on that list probably deserve to be there, I think even you would agree that it is a stretch that all of them do. And likewise with the “Lymepit”: all those who post there are beyond the pale? Looks to me to be a pretty clear case of a whole bunch of people, largely men although a fair percentage of women in the “Lymepit” group, who have, in effect, been told by PZ to “shut up and listen”. [Well, chuck you Farley.]

And that has, most regrettably, been replicated on more than a few other FreeFromThought blogs, not to mention AtheismPlus and Skepchick (2) where in the latter case Rebecca Watson – who does, in fact, seem to have a very idiosyncratic “model of communication” of her own – banned someone (May 25, 11:50) for making what I thought was a reasonably cogent argument.

And, as an example in the first case (FfTB), consider the following post of mine on Brute Reason (3) which never even acquired the “Awaiting moderation” tag before being consigned, apparently, to never-never-land. A reasonably clear case of “shut-up-and-listen”, wouldn’t you say? And do ask yourself whether there’s anything in it that might reasonably be construed as trolling or as misogynism. Or whether its fate is evidence of the consequences of questioning “conventional wisdom” at best if not outright dogma and bigotry:

LeftSidePositive said (18.1):

<blockquote>2) Yes, it IS impossible for white people to suffer from racist abuse. I’m sorry that you don’t like that fact, but please learn to deal with it.

Let’s take a look a one set of definitions (1):

rac•ism (rszm)
n.
1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

You see anything in there that explicitly states that it is only one race that winds up on the short end of that stick? Don’t you think that it is rather bloody arrogant of you to insist on one definition, actually one interpretation, of the word when there are others that make it manifestly clear that it is a universal failing? [Seems rather racist to suggest that only whites can be guilty of that crime.] How about the many cases (2,3,4) of racism in Africa directed against both whites and other ethnic minorities?

Looks like a rather large pile of self-serving special pleading – being charitable – to me.

——
1) “_http://www.thefreedictionary.com/racist”;
2) “_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Africa”;
3) “_http://frontpagemag.com/2013/arnold-ahlert/the-gruesome-reality-of-racist-south-africa/”;
4) “_http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/53690”;</blockquote>

Looks to me to be an embarrassingly large number of cases in which many people, men and women both, have been told, in effect, to “shut up and listen”, of being silenced because of unpopular opinions.

——
1) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/dungeon/”;
2) “_http://skepchick.org/2013/05/happy-graduation-men/”;
3) “_http://freethoughtblogs.com/brutereason/2013/05/24/on-useful-and-not-so-useful-definitions-of-racism/#comment-8801”;

#91 Steersman on Monday May 27, 2013 at 9:49pm

Monette Richards said (#1):

You will not get a cookie for pointing out how religions have kept women quiet when you follow that with scolding us for telling men to shut up so that we may begin talking.

Begin talking? Seems to me that the women have been talking up a storm for some time.

And, considering Ron’s previous reference (1) to Louise Pennington’s claim that “we cannot destroy patriarchy w/o destroying capitalism”, and its serious and significant implications, it seems to me also that many of those women could also do a bit of “shutting up and listening” themselves. Particularly when it comes to listening to those men and women who have had some direct or indirect experiences with the consequences from the last efforts by various individuals and parties – notably Lenin, Stalin and Mao – to “destroy capitalism”.

Marxist-Leninist ideology may indeed have some benefits and utilities, but its historical record suggests that its problematic if not shotgun marriage to some branches of feminism – notably as manifested in “issues” such as privilege and patriarchy – may be a cure very much worse than the disease.

——-
1) “_http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/show/my_talk_at_wis2/P50”;

#92 athyco (Guest) on Monday May 27, 2013 at 11:18pm

I think a brief persual [sic] of the Pharyngula Dungeon list (1) should be sufficient to convince most of those who aren’t pathologically skeptical. While I’ll readily concede that some on that list probably deserve to be there, I think even you would agree that it is a stretch that all of them do.

That’s still not “shut up and listen” as a silencing technique as described in Ron Lindsay’s talk at WiS2:

I started my talk with that reading from the New Testament which unmistakably assigned women a subordinate role.  Both the symbol of that oppression and the vehicle for enforcing that oppression was silence.  Enforced silence is always and everywhere the enemy of truth and progress. If someone is forbidden from speaking, you are obviously not going to hear what they have to say.

But enforced silence is also a way of robbing someone of their humanity. Part of what allows us to give meaning to our lives is the ability to exercise certain core freedoms, such as freedom of conscience, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and reproductive freedom.  We need these freedoms to take control of our own lives, to give shape and direction our own lives; otherwise, we are just going to be forced into a role that has been assigned to us.

On the part of the speakers and published attendees of WiS2, there has been no systemic subordination, no enforced silence, certainly not in the “robbing someone of their humanity” sense. I bolded the first part to consider in light of the fact that the April 2 “Open Letter to the Secular Community” published on this site (and of which Ron Lindsay was a signatory) calls for moderation of websites and blogs. This blog is moderated in that some posts (such as statement re May 18) are closed entirely to commenting, others have comments deleted, others have comments closed even though they’re still active. None of those actions enforce silence/rob people of their humanity.

I bolded the second two sentences to bring into play that Dr. Lindsay counted more than freedom of expression among the core freedoms. At times, I don’t mind reading blog posts/comments that have a “rock ‘em sock ‘em” tone. At other times, I want to be among those who follow my views more closely and can express more of their pain in a safe space—for catharsis, for one reason. Freedom of conscience and freedom of association come more into play than freedom of speech in those nongovernmental spaces.

In such spaces, the perfectly civil (and I thought “pathologically skeptical”) Nobody and late-comer non-thread-reading Lithp could be told that unless they bring specifics or answer questions that have been asked of them, they can take their stories about an amorphous and anonymous “they” elsewhere.

“Shut up and listen” does not follow anyone off FTB blogs, A+, or Skepchick. You get to have your opinion of their views and their moderating here (on another moderated site), and very few commenters, if any, will follow you from site to site over an extended period.

Looks like a rather large pile of self-serving special pleading – being charitable – to me.

But why? I can find tweets and blog posts and comments at other blogs from at least one person who has been banned from the Slymepit. Your host had reasons, but it still resulted in “silencing” as you seem to be defining it. And rather than comment over and over about this banned young person on the ‘pit or follow and comment on Twitter and other blogs, the vast majority have turned to other things. Have you robbed her of her humanity? Enforced her silence? I’d say that you simply—for your own reasons—decided that your freedoms of conscience and association trumped your forbearance of her right to speak when and as she wished in your community.

Looks to me to be an embarrassingly large number of cases in which many people, men and women both, have been told, in effect, to “shut up and listen”, of being silenced because of unpopular opinions.

I disagree. There’s no newspaper or magazine that prints every letter to the editor. No library shelves every book available. No public square grants a permit to every person/group. Not every public gathering allows more than a momentary blip to the heckler’s veto. None of those things result in “shut up and listen” as systemic subordination, enforced silence, or the robbery of humanity.

#93 GrzeTor (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 2:05am

@athyco saying:
“we have a description for the medical expert who deals with the study of his subject without listening to the concerns and feelings of his patients:  lacking a good bedside manner”
An exapmle medical action:
1. A person is sent for a periodic medical check by his employer.
2. Diagnostic apparatus detects a medical condition.
3. The doctor informs this person about the condition and proposes the treatment.
4. The patient agrees to the treatment by saying “Yes”.
5. The doctor executes the treatment resulting in healing of the patient.
6. The person is informed about the results and sent home.
In this example the only thing a patient said was “Yes”, all the talking was done by a doctor. According to youm, tt what time in this example a patient should say “Shut up and listen” to the doctor or to the diagnostic equipment?

Then you go on about the historical cases of misdiagnosis. They are not relevant now. Right now diagnosis is not about listening, but primarly about making tests on diagnostic equipment - scans, blood tests, various measurments. And the diagnosis is made in a huge proportion by computer software. In many cases - like in the cases of diagnosing perspectives of cancer patients - computer software is superior to human doctors.

#94 Asher Kay (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 10:01am

@GrzeTor

>> “According to youm, tt what time in this example a patient should say “Shut up and listen” to the doctor or to the diagnostic equipment?”

The whole “medical diagnosis” analogy clouds the issue, unless you’re willing to see how it departs from the main issue being discussed. If the medical problem being diagnosed were highly dependent upon the internal experiences of the patient, then it would be necessary to “listen” closely to the patient.

This is how sexism works in our culture. A bunch of people want to say, “No, there is no sexism” and get into nit-picky, douchey arguments demanding “empirical evidence”, etc., etc. But you can talk about wage differences and gender ratios all day without getting to the basic fact that sexism is mainly *expressed* in personal interactions. It’s often subtle, and it’s often contextual. Fixing it - even analyzing it - requires an understanding of *how it is experienced*. So who needs to listen in order to help fix it? People who haven’t had those experiences. And who do they need to listen to? People who have.

The fact is that people who have not experienced a particular sort of mistreatment are much more likely not to see the problem. They are “blinded” by the lucky fact that they stand outside of the whole environment of being mistreated in that way. And if they do see it, their perspective (being outside it) makes them much more likely to be dismissive of it—to say, “you’re over-reacting”. They are much more likely to propose that the mistreated person make some choice or take some action that seems either absurd or impossible to the mistreated person.

That’s why, when someone says, “I got rape and death threats on the internet”, some people answer with things like, “I get rape and death threats every day playing Xbox on the internet—no big deal. I just ignore it”. This is blindness to the “environment” in which systematic mistreatment occurs, and blindness to how the other person *experiences* the mistreatment.

Notice that I’ve described all this without using the word “expert” or the word “privilege”. And what I said applies just as much to a white woman listening to the experiences of an african-american woman as it does to a white man listening to a white woman. They’re just words. What’s important is what they *mean* in the context of the discussion.

So, look. If you’re dead set on believing that systematic mistreatment doesn’t exist, or that people’s internal experiences are irrelevant, or that people who do not experience a systematic form of treatment don’t tend to mis-perceive it, just say those things. Otherwise, it’s evident that listening prior to thinking you know how someone should act is a really good idea.

#95 GrzeTor (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 10:22am

@Asher Kay - your post is irrelevant to the topic of Ron’s WIS2 talk in which he specifically said:

“By the way, with respect to the “Shut up and listen” meme, I hope it’s clear that it’s the “shut up” part that troubles me, not the “listen” part. Listening is good. People do have different life experiences, and many women have had experiences and perspectives from which men can and should learn. But having had certain experiences does not automatically turn one into an authority to whom others must defer. Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.”

Your post is only about listening, gathering information etc., usefulness of which is not questioned by Ron’s speach. It’s the “shut up” part that is controversial, and you wrote nothing about it.

Not only that - in the citation of PZ there’s also phrase “There is also a terrible response: arguing back.”, and according to the dictionary argue back i s a phrase “Usually said of persons who are supposed to listen and obey without comment”.

#96 Asher Kay (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 10:42am

>> “Your post is only about listening, gathering information etc., usefulness of which is not questioned by Ron’s speach. It’s the “shut up” part that is controversial, and you wrote nothing about it.”

As many, many people have said, “shut up” is a prerequisite for listening. “Shutting up” means not assuming you know better than the person whose experiences are relevant how they should react. It means not telling them how they should act or choose before listening closely to and understanding their experiences as well as possible. So I did deal with “shut up”—it’s just not important to phrase it that way and get douchey people who want to deny sexism all worked up about it.

Lindsay is misunderstanding the argument. I am not going to defend Myers’ phrasing, because that is the kind of dumb, nit-picky crap (along with things like dragging out dictionary definitions) that derails the real discussion. If you (and Lindsay) understand what I said in my comment, you understand everything that Myers was trying to communicate—with the addition that the message is intended for those who already agree there is a problem and want to be good allies.

If you don’t agree that there’s a problem or want to be a good ally, the message is not for you. In this case, you are an opponent, and the message to you is, “we will do this without you”.

#97 athyco (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 2:35pm

Then you go on about the historical cases of misdiagnosis. They are not relevant now. Right now diagnosis is not about listening, but primarly [sic] about making tests on diagnostic equipment - scans, blood tests, various measurments [sic]. And the diagnosis is made in a huge proportion by computer software.

GrzeTor, how recent would concern/action over the misdiagnosis of heart attacks in women have to be before it is not “historical”? Would the last three years be close enough to the present? Would trends in the fatalities from the late 1990s into the 21st century (considering the lag in consolidating and analyzing data) be current enough?

The HEART for Women Act was reintroduced to Congress on Feb. 12. If passed, it will fund programs to educate healthcare providers and women about the prevalence, warning signs and treatment of heart disease in women, authorize Medicare to conduct an awareness campaign for older women and require the Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to report health data by gender, race and ethnicity in order to shed new light on physiological difference among specific populations.

(It was passed in 2010 and amended in 2012.)

_"

#98 athyco (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 3:06pm

Now, why was my comment clipped after the second blockquote?

Ah, I see….I was trying to include links the way Steersman had in previous comments, but they didn’t work, so I must have missed something in the procedure. I’ll look more closely before I try it again.

Anyway, GrzeTor, the gist of the original comment is that you are wrong to categorize the misdiagnosis of heart attacks in women as “historical” and to say “They aren’t relevant now.” By saying those two things together (as well as including a self-serving, limited hypothetical of arguing with diagnostic equipment), you dismiss misdiagnosis as something no longer a concern. That is patently untrue and elides so many “minutes matter” situations in which recognizing a heart attack so that one gets to a hospital in the first place is necessary. You violated what you said you’d do as a non-expert: finding the determination of experts, then citing or summarizing them.

Can you explain what factors prompted you to act counter to what you said you’d do less than 24 hours earlier? Are you open to the idea that a member of a privileged group may have to “shut up and listen” to a member of a disadvantaged group? If you’d been open to it but thought I was wrong, would you have at least spent a few minutes with Google before composing your comment to me at #93?

Listen, listen carefully, but where appropriate, question and engage.

It might also have caused one who wishes to be an ally, as Asher Kay reiterated in #96, to follow that part of Dr. Lindsay’s advice: to determine when engagement was appropriate and to question rather than lecture or hypothesize.

#99 GrzeTor (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 4:42pm

@Ashley Key
So I have learned that the way of getting information recommended by the political correctness brigade is to personally passively listen to endless emotional stories by “marginalized people”. As apparently they have some magic knowledge.

I’d rather recommend getting information the standard way the civilization does -  letting experts investigate it: gather significant data in significant amounts, analyze it by many proven methods (that include not only statistical analysis, but also searching data for new disoveries), publish paper that includes results, have them reviewed or otherwise quality-checked. After that you can get appropriatly prepared data about “marginalized groups” whatever that means.

Going back to “shutting up” - what are the desires of politically correct people? How does their ideal world look like? I suspect that such PC-ideal includes the vision of “marginalized people” (whatever that means) being great sources of wisdom which they emitt via passionate storytelling speaches to the fascinated, passively listening white men, who suddenly understand how ignorant they were before being enlightened by “marginalized people”, and feel so ashamed and guilty because of it. And that some of them want to impose such schema on the world.

#100 GrzeTor (Guest) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 5:45pm

@athyco criticizing me for writng
“historical cases [...] They are not relevant now.”. Perhaps there’s something in it. When I took took some psychological tests (applied by a professional) one of the results classified me as future-oriented personality. So perhaps assigning low revelancy to the something popular in the past may be a result of a pro-future bias.

Going straigth to the interesting parts of your post - about class-based legislation. First some introduction. In the medieval or ancient past we did actually have a bunch of rights protected by the legal apparatus. But they were not universal. Humans were divided into classes (like aristocracy, clergy, peasants, townsman) or in the case of India into castes, which sometimes subdivided into some more sublcasses (eg. guilds). The set of rights was assigned based on such class. A member of aristocracy or clergy enjoyed a sizable set of rights, while a peasant was not free (assigned to the land, which he couldn’t leave).
One of the biggest achievments of modern legislature, as compared to the past ones, is not only the larger scope, but the universality of it - the law, including the rights, bans, responsibilites applies to everybody.

So what is the role of feminists? They are the destructors of this modern law system, via the abandonment of universality of it. They take what would be a reasonable general and universal law, and degenerate it by adding some “FOR WOMEN” clause. Thus causing the legislation to go back into class-based one, this time class being a gender.
It’s especially hypocritical if atheist women who first protested muslims attempts for a separate law system then support “FOR WOMEN” class-based legislation.

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