Watson’s World and Two Models of Communication

May 18, 2013

Rebecca Watson inhabits an alternate universe.  At least that is the most charitable explanation I can provide for her recent smear.  Watson has posted comments on my opening talk at Women in Secularism 2.  It may be the most intellectually dishonest piece of writing since the last communique issued by North Korea.

Her distortions begin with her second paragraph, when she states that “Lindsay spends a good deal of time arguing against the idea that feminism as a movement has no significant internal disagreements.”  I expended about 200 words out of a 2,420 word text posing the question about whether there are significant divisions within feminism.  In other words, I spent 90% of the time talking about other topics.  The next time Watson asks me for a “good deal” of my drink, I will leave her an ice cube.

Second, she says she has never heard anyone take the position that there are currently no significant divisions within feminism, which I assume is fairly translated as no divisions worth debating.  Yet Watson is aware that just a short time ago, the organization Secular Woman rejected the Open Letter that was endorsed by most leaders of secular organizations, in part because it implied that there was a legitimate ongoing debate about the meaning of feminism.  The Secular Woman response to the Open Letter states, in pertinent part:

“It is confusing, therefore, that this same letter suggests that a significant problem with online communication is centered on the ‘debate’ about the ‘appropriate way to interpret feminism.’ At Secular Woman, the principle that ‘feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression’ (Hooks, 2000, p. viii) is taken as a given, and not a topic for debate.”

Next, Watson claims the “crux" of my talk was the problem I have with feminists using the concept of privilege as a justification for telling men to “shut up and listen.”  This claim is false.  No reasonable person could possibly describe the crux of my talk as dealing with this issue.  Instead, the crux of my talk dealt with the millennia-long history of the subordination of women and how CFI was committed to working toward a society in which women would have “complete social and civil equality and equal economic and political opportunity.”

But in her defense, perhaps Watson was too busy tweeting about how “strange” it was to have a “white man” open the conference to pay attention to what I was actually saying.  (I’m just glad Watson didn’t notify security: “white man loose on stage, white man loose on stage!”)

But let’s leave Watson’s distortions behind and move to the central issue presented by her criticism, and that is what model of communication we should adopt when we are conversing with someone who has had different life experiences, e.g., a conversation between a woman and a man.  As I stated quite clearly in my talk, we should listen respectfully and attentively to someone with different life experiences, especially if that person is from a group that historically has had its voice suppressed.  However, although we should listen attentively, we should not fail to engage and, where appropriate, question. This is exactly what I 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.”

By contrast, the position against which I was arguing, as articulated by PZ Myers, is as follows:

“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.”

Myers-Watson assume you should never question, you should never argue back, because the person from the marginalized group must have the expertise.

I do not share that assumption, and I doubt its wisdom.  Indeed, I think it is a horribly misguided, logically infirm understanding of communication.   This model of communication asks us to put our critical thinking on hold merely because the person speaking comes from a marginalized group.

No extended argument or analysis of this issue is needed, and I do not think the choice could be starker.  Either you believe reason and evidence should ultimately guide our discussions, or you think they should be held hostage to identity politics. 



#201 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 8:41pm

“The concept of privilege is not dogma it’s straight up sexism and racism posing as “social justice” and we should treat those who use it accordingly.”

Well - if it is the way you describe - but it isn’t; and it doesn’t seem to matter how much it is explained, but let’s give it a go anyway.

Oprah is rich as shit.

She is extremely privileged in MANY ways, and currently her life is pretty damned posh.

That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a unique perspective because she experiences how she is treated by a sexist and racist society due to her gender and race.

Just because someone has privilege associated with one aspect of their identity within a society does not mean that - on the whole - their life is roses and biscuits.


If you have a problem with something SPECIFIC that someone has said or done that is problematic; say something.

There is a pervasive problem within many social justice organizations to be patronizing and link “black” and “poor” and other problematic things - HENCE the call to “shut up and listen”.

Don’t just forward a CONCLUSION based on your own characterizations.

It’s rude.

For goodness sakes in the post by RW that is linked in the OP - she uses an example of a white man speaking to a white woman; and the woman dismisses what the man is saying because he is a man.  She condemns EXACTLY what you claimed she supports in a blog post that the OP is referencing.

#202 pilgrim (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 9:00pm

<< comment removed by moderator >>

#203 Freshverbal (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 9:39pm

The point isn’t whether Oprah -despite being stinking rich- has experienced racism or sexism, the point is the concept of “privilege” as used by the “social justice” crowd is a serious example of racism and sexism in and of itself.

Oprah might have experienced racism and sexism but if she was to say that her experience of being found attractive or people disagreeing with her were examples of sexism and racism people would be well within their rights to dispute her interpretation of her experiences.

It shouldn’t matter if those who disagree are white, black, male or female, on logic alone her interpretation of these experiences would and should be open to scepticism.

The fact is, the way privilege is being used means if Oprah says someone finding her attractive is an act of sexist objectification she must be believed, but if I tell you that I have experienced being beaten and robbed by black youths because I’m white questions should and would be asked.

Did my assailants use any racial epithets? Had I provoked my attackers with racist or inflammatory language of my own? And if I was robbed how could I believe that the incident was racially motivated when theft was clearly the motive?

Why would Oprah’s minor discomfort (and complete ignorance of the mind set and motive of the person who subjected her to these subjective experiences) be accepted as stone cold, unarguable examples of racism and sexism whereas my experience of serious assault is left wide open to rigorous sceptical inquiry?

How could that be?

If experiences matter then my experiences and interpretations should be just as valid and immune to scepticism as Oprah’s.

The reason why is because despite being an economically challenged male I supposedly have white male privilege and Oprah as a black woman lacks these privileges.

In other words her experiences matter more and her interpretation of those experiences are always correct because she has black skin and a vagina.

My experiences matter less and my interpretation wrong because I have white skin and a penis.

All the while completely neglecting the fact that Oprah has more power and privilege than most men on the planet.

This is as racist and sexist as a discourse could be without donning a white hood, throwing Nazi salutes and beating people for dress code violations.

The only thing that could work in the social justice warriors favour when it comes to this blatant bigotry is the fact that they readily dismiss, condemn and chastise people of colour and women who dare to disagree.

Whilst this does soften the charges of racism and sexism it is not very flattering.

#204 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 10:27pm

I don’t know how reasonable it is to have a conversation with someone who absolutely isn’t listening to what I am saying.

She understands what it is like to BE HER - and her perspective of her own experience is INFORMATION.

It’s the raw data of the situation.

You may interpret it differently or in a different frame; but it is what it is.

It’s something to learn from even if you believe that the way she might interpret or generalize her own experience is highly problematic.

Nobody has said that if you aren’t part of that particular group that you have nothing to say or that you MUST accept every opinion of someone else just because of their identity.

I mean, this conversation is like saying, “Hey the sky is blue.” and then someone piping in, “NO - you’re full of shit - it’s clear and only appears blue - scattering.”

It’s being contrary for shits essentially.

Nobody here is forwarding the stance you are arguing against.

Only in the MOST uncharitable interpretation do you even get close.

RW gave an example of someone who absolutely was doing this *thing* (at least in part) and she gives the example in order to condemn that practice.

So, who exactly are you having this conversation with?

As I mentioned, RW in the articled linked in the OP states this pretty clearly.

PZ wouldn’t talk at all if that is actually how he feels.

I certainly don’t think that way.  I’m just humble enough to realize I don’t know everything; and self-aware enough to realize that I absolutely have social privileges that others do not.

I witness that every day.

I’m also well aware of my status as woman; as I navigate male-dominated spaces in many facets of my life - even my own home.

I understood stereotype threat before I knew it had a name.

With this, I realize, that the experiences of men should not be somehow disregarded either.  That just goes hand-in-hand.

At the end of the day though, Justin Vacula just did an interview about his experience at WiS2 with A Voice for Men; an organization who just put out an article about how college girls actually enjoy rape so the concept of consent may need to be reconsidered.

I wish I was making that shit up - but I’m not.

#205 David Leech (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 10:44pm


Ho! I would have no problem using the word slave to anybody and I would do it to make a point. The bible approves of slavery and if a christian didn’t know it I will make sure to educate them on the matter.

#206 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 10:52pm

“Ho! I would have no problem using the word slave to anybody and I would do it to make a point. The bible approves of slavery and if a christian didn’t know it I will make sure to educate them on the matter.”

Have fun with that.

It really depends on if you are trying to convince the person you are talking to or “the audience”.

At that point, it’s about tactics.

#207 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:04pm

“The only thing that could work in the social justice warriors favour when it comes to this blatant bigotry is the fact that they readily dismiss, condemn and chastise people of colour and women who dare to disagree.

Whilst this does soften the charges of racism and sexism it is not very flattering.”

That bit I’m not going to give an argument against.  There are sometimes reasons, and occasionally the nature of the “disagreement” matters, but no, generally nobody (including the crew we’re discussing) avoid expressing their own disagreement.

PZ is brash - and some of the crew that hangout in his comment section are incredible in their viciousness at times.  (However, occasionally someone will go there as a Poe, just sayin’.)

Things have gotten pretty darned ugly at times - but generally (not always obviously) what is actually done/said and the *legend* of what has happened don’t always mesh very well.

Just like the OP there - it’s a fantasy of what RW actually wrote.

#208 M. A. Melby on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:08pm

The use of the Secular Woman quote is bizarre as well.  I don’t know if Ron actually thought that’s what SW meant; but it’s not appreciated.

#209 Asura (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:23pm

Lindsay claims RW was dishonest in her representation. Proceeds to be dishonest of what RW wrote to the point that I doubt he read it.


The problem with throwing out the reason and evidence line is that when you have biased evidence and reason, it gets you no closer to truth claims.

#210 BigBamboo (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 11:29pm

@ #201 M. A. Melby:

Is RW the same ahole who called Dawkins something like an old white male? That ahole? What do you have to say about an ahole who made three - three - stereotype accusations about Dawkins in three - three - consecutive words? I don’t think it was Dawkins who had the “Women Are Worthless Pieces of Meat Night” That would be your high priestess RW and her “Bordello Night”. Can I do an RW and call you a ‘WEAK EMOTIONAL AND HYSTERICAL FEMALE? Please? Can I do an RW on you?

#211 thetar (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:56am

PZ Myers has now trashed and smeared Justin Vacula in comments posted at Pharyngula by PZ himself.. PZ had said prior to the con that if Justin tried to approach him there that security would be called. So Justin does the right thing in response to that threat, he stays by himself with his associate Karla Porter during the presentations and stays out of Myers’ way. This behaviour provokes these responses by Myers.

“Vacula spent the entire conference sitting at the very back of the room, against the wall, hunched over his phone pounding out tedious and selective commentary. Every once in a while, when someone said something obvious about men, he’d suddenly clap very, very loudly and very strangely — the whole rest of the room would be sitting quietly, finding nothing of note in the comment, when this one lonely man at the back would erupt into applause.

Oh, Karla Porter was sitting back there with him, keeping the Brave Hero company.

They really made no impression on the conference at all, rarely moving from their cozy hidey-hole. I understood he was wearing a t-shirt with some ‘appropriate’ message every day…but he so rarely stepped out of his zone, that I never saw it or had an opportunity to read it. He was a very bad billboard. He wasn’t much of a presence at the con at all — he might as well have stayed home.”

Not content with that, Myers goes on:

“The “plain stupid” hypothesis for Vacula has been so thoroughly confirmed that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent, making it a scientific fact at this point.” 


“More. I’m not complaining, it’s what I predicted. You could tell he was hoping he’d get kicked out for some nothing — preferably for just existing — so he was trapped into the position of having to avoid all provocation. His martyrdom wouldn’t count if he were evicted for cause.

So he and Porter were effectively non-entities at the conference, and were reduced to stirring the shit on twitter, which they could have done at home. We managed to quarantine the little toad without having to do anything at the con itself.”

Not able to hold back, he then posts:

“Further rich irony: Vacula couldn’t find anyone at WiS2 who would talk to him…so he did a video interview with AVoiceForMen instead. He’s never going to be an effective atheist activist, so I guess he’s set his sights lower, to be an MRA activist. A tool for a hate group.”

I’m wondering if PZ considers himself to be “an effective atheist activist” because he only thing he is effective at is slinging mud at everyone he finds in fault in. No wonder he divorced himself from the Skeptic movement, because his cruel comments show he is an unskeptical speculator. It is his blog network, FTB, that is largely responsible for the poison that his been injected into the atheist movement.

It has all been said before by others, but I am exasperated at how far PZ Myers has fallen, how bitter and callous he has become.

#212 xxxild (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:00am

Stop inviting them, from Watson to Marcotte. And the rest of these events? Just say no to PZ Meyers.

These people have dominated the stage for too many years. Do you think your organization will crumble if they take the audience rather than the stage for a change.

And please, stop giving them attention.

I’m a skeptic and a woman and I won’t follow unreasonable personalities. I don’t listen to them. I don’t nod my head and I certainly don’t jump every time they have a nasty word to say about me.

Sex worker rights are human rights.

#213 Freshverbal (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:36am

This is a bit like arguing with a religious person. Point out how the Old Testament is a terrible book and they say they only believe the New Testament, all the while pushing for anti gay legislation based on a book they claim they do not believe.

Anyway it seems you are quite reasonable when it comes to the concept of privilege. Therefore it’s not you I have any argument with but the majority of the social justice crowd who use it exactly as I have portrayed. Just one glance at my Twitter feed and I can see hundreds of Tweets by prominent social justice warriors writing off Ron Lindsay as a privileged white man with no right to “mansplain” to women.

If you disagree with people using the concept of privilege to dismiss or silence people based on their gender or skin colour perhaps your time would better be spent arguing with your “oppressed” sisters instead of me!

This is what you are failing to understand.

If Oprah said she was punched, robbed and had racial slurs shouted at her it would be terribly stupid and pedantic for someone to say they think she is incorrect in her interpretation of the incident because theft was clearly the motive.

That would indeed be like arguing the toss over the statement “the sky is blue”

But if Oprah said someone asking her on a date in a way she didn’t like was proof of a corrosive sexist culture then it is legitimate to be extremely sceptical of her claim.

It’s the type of claims being presented which people are being sceptical about. 

Unattractive men finding you attractive without getting to know your personality first or making dick jokes might make you feel uncomfortable but no crimes have been committed.

Without stark evidence of malicious intent it is safe to assume that an innocent dick joke or someone finding you physically attractive -without getting to know you first- can be taken at face value. Any attempt to construe these incidents as examples of sexism or misogyny should be challenged robustly. 

It’s this robust scepticism which results in the social justice gang whipping out the privilege trump card.

They don’t use it in an intelligent and nuanced way, as you suggest. They just throw up the barriers and say “privileged white man” “mansplaining” “not listening” as if that was a respectable response.

There is no denying that the concept of privilege is used by most “social justice” activists to shield any and all claims of oppression and harassment made by women or people of colour from sceptical inquiry.

As for A Voice For Men, I had never heard of them until I was accused of being an MRA by a feminist I had the temerity to disagree with, so I thought I would check them out.

Expecting a cross between the Nazis and the Taliban I was pleasantly surprised to find a total lack of violent rhetoric and rape apology. Plenty of libertarian tosh to disagree with but rape apology no.

Please supply a link to the offending article or retract your accusation.

All the best

#214 MosesZD (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 4:17am

Mr. Lindsay,

Do yourself a favor and read Paul’s (PZ Myers) blog and how he’s trashing Vacula who is at your conference.  Vacula is one of many people that he’s spent quite some effort and time demonizing and flaming over the years.  Doing his absolute best to destroy Vacula over something

See how he describes Vacula and his inability to get interviews for Brave Heart Radio. 

Why is this?  Because PZ Myers, Watson, Benson, et. al., have spent close to two years lying about him and demonizing him because he doesn’t lockstep to their non-skeptical, non-atheist belief systems.

McCarthyism, Mr. Lindsay, isn’t limited to Repubulicans from the 1950s.  It is an on-going problem in all movements. There are liberal McCarthyites.  There are atheist McCarthyites.  There are feminist McCarthyites.

So, these McCarthyites among us, rather than celebrate Vacula’s similarities, ignoring his differences, and working with someone who was an effective leader, they have made him a toxic outcast with whom no one dares associate. 

They are in the process of making you toxic.  They will do their best to cost you your job.  They will do their best to destroy you as the leader of CFI.

You can be sure of that.

So, if you survive this, do yourself a favor, don’t reach out to these McCarthyites in the future and don’t let them into conferences to poison the well.  When you kiss the serpent, Mr. Lindsay, you get bit.

#215 J. J. Ramsey on Monday May 20, 2013 at 4:23am

Freshverbal: “As for A Voice For Men, I had never heard of them until I was accused of being an MRA by a feminist I had the temerity to disagree with, so I thought I would check them out.

“Expecting a cross between the Nazis and the Taliban I was pleasantly surprised to find a total lack of violent rhetoric and rape apology. Plenty of libertarian tosh to disagree with but rape apology no.”

Ahem. From Paul Elam, http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/false-rape-culture/challenging-the-etiology-of-rape/:

“In that light, I have ideas about women who spend evenings in bars hustling men for drinks, playing on their sexual desires so they can get shit faced on the beta dole; paying their bar tab with the pussy pass. And the women who drink and make out, doing everything short of sex with men all evening, and then go to his apartment at 2:00 a.m..  Sometimes both of these women end up being the ‘victims’ of rape.

“But are these women asking to get raped?

“In the most severe and emphatic terms possible the answer is NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED.

“They are freaking begging for it.

“Damn near demanding it.”

I hope the problems with the above statements from Elam do not need to be explained.

#216 Freshverbal (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 4:30am

I just clicked your link and the page doesn’t exist.

#217 Freshverbal (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 4:37am

Even if you are correct and Paul Elam believes rape is hunky dory (which I doubt)

The fact is you can’t dismiss Justin Vacula’s voice by association.

#218 Hunt (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 4:55am

You have to remove the : to get the link to work.  Elam is talking about the debate between culpability and wisdom.  In the perfect world, a woman should be able to walk through a known rape threat area at midnight with abandon.  In reality it is an ill-advised thing to do.  “Asking for it” is probably the most politically stupid way to express the idea, but then, we’re talking about Paul Elam here, who specializes in walking into lampposts.

#219 David Jones (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 5:20am

@Melody - it isn’t a PR disaster. It’s precisely what Watson wants.

#220 Iamcuriousblue (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 5:59am

The oddest thing about Watson’s blog post was the example she gave of the argument Rhys Morgan and Amanda Marcotte had with the “TERF” radfem, and how that was an example of how even the most extreme feminists don’t silence people.

What’s totally off-base about Watson’s example is that their argument was with one Terri Strange, somebody who’s physically threatened me on at least one occasion, and has very ruthlessly gone after several vocal sex worker and trans activists in her time, with a close associate of Strange going so far as to make a grotesque OK Cupid profile of someone’s *infant daughter* (with choice text about liking being “fucked up the ass”) for the temerity of having a mother who was for legalization of prostitution.

“That feminist did not start an entire blog dedicated to calling Rhys slurs.” Yeah, mighty white of Terri not to go after Rhys and Rebecca, and solid proof of how “civil” even the most radical feminists are.

#221 oolon on Monday May 20, 2013 at 6:00am

I’d upvote Comment #143 by M. A. Melby.

I’ll also pick out one little point, anyone impartial might wonder why the list of crimes against FTBs/Skepchick is so easily to hand for those wanting to derail. Most of this thread is nothing to do with the post but a long drawn out whine about PZ, Rebecca and FTB/Skepchick in general. Its probably because there is a small contingent of obsessives who have decided to dedicate their online existence to finding any small thing they can attack FTBs/Skepchick with. Not all of them are anti-feminist loons like @ElevatorGate, some just never got over the ego damage from a ban at Pharyngula for being boring.

Just look at Drosera’s boasts about “wiping the floor” with the Pharyngula commenters. Years from now they will likely be whining about having their “freedom of speech” infringed while photoshopping PZ’s head onto an animal of some sort with the rest of the whiners on their butthurt crusade at the Slymepit.

Have a look at how one of the bloggers at FTBs got on and decide who is rational in this “dialogue” between the Slymepit and FTBs. http://freethoughtblogs.com/nonstampcollector/2013/04/07/wrapping-up-my-blog/

#222 oolon on Monday May 20, 2013 at 6:18am

@iamcuriousblue, [back on topic]
“The oddest thing about Watson’s blog post was the example she gave of the argument Rhys Morgan and Amanda Marcotte had with the “TERF” radfem, and how that was an example of how even the most extreme feminists don’t silence people.”

—> You didn’t read the post very well. She gave that example as one where a feminist WAS misusing privilege to TRY and silence someone. She also pointed out Terri Strange called her and Amanda Marcotte “pimp apologists”. That was no “civil” exchange as you call it. Just so happened they were not silenced by this tactic that Ron decries but produces NO examples of. Rebecca is still closest with a real example, but no one was silenced.

She also said this which you managed to miss somehow -> “I’m certain there have been transphobic feminists who have silenced transgender people”

Her comparison with @ElevatorGate and other obsessive loons like Victor Ivanoff who do devote their blogging output primarily to her and associates still stands. Terri is obviously a nasty piece of work as I believe your account to be true. Hope she didn’t manage to scare anyone off the internet and into silence like the anti-crowd have with Jen McCreight. None of this is using *privilege* to silence anyone, but out and out bullying tactics which should be called out whoever does it ...

Where are the examples of feminists misusing *privilege* to silence a man? Ron said he had them but just produces hypotheticals where someone is saying they would shut up… Should be easy to produce an example of it happening! Right?

#223 Sister Chromatid (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 7:07am

We understand that there are trolls on the internet who write horrible sexists things, but these are not the people that Myers-Watson clique has decided to demonize. Instead, they take those that disagree with their approach to feminism (and anyone who associates with and/or supports such people) and labels them “misogynosts” so that their frenzied supporters can imagine these are the same people making rape threats (or asking women to coffee in elevators) and begin a witch hunt which they hope results in a complete shunning by the atheist community.

I hope one day they are deeply embarrassed and ashamed by what they have done. Ask yourself—what is the very worst thing these “misogynists” have done—can any of it compare to what Myers-Watson have done to the skeptic community

#224 John Ash (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 9:21am

Thanks Ron for taking a stand against the radfems and their attempt to poison freethought with their tedious thought-terminating cliches (“privilege”, “patriarchy”, “objectification”, “micro-aggression”, et al.), hysterical histrionics, and bully tactics which do a grave injustice to the spirit of open inquiry.

#225 Withinthismind (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 9:54am

In the very thread Drosera is whining about, plus several others on FTB, we have repeatedly provided links and references to pitters making rape and death threats as well as engaging in other forms of harassment.

And much like the pope, you don’t give a shit and pretend it isn’t happening.

Try this -

#226 Withinthismind (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 9:56am

You guys sound like fucking flat earthers with your constant ‘show me citations and evidence’ when buried up to your necks with citations and evidence.

I can’t post links, but fuck it anyway, it’s not like you folks starting telling the truth and owning up to your shit the first 10,000 times we posted citations anyway.

And no, I’m not going to be approving the shitty comments you make on my blog either, no matter how many ‘free speech’ whines you make.  I don’t owe you a forum for your misogynistic crap, rot in the spamfilters.

#227 Lsuoma (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 10:10am

Yeah, Withinthismind is clearly a (very bad) troll.

#228 John Ash (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 10:30am

A threat on the internet is meaningless.  Getting hysterical over such threats is neurotic.  Claiming you’re being “silenced” by those threats is dishonest.  Using those threats to justify derailing an honest debate about the issues is irrational, and has no place in the freethought movement.

#229 drosera (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 12:18pm

The frustrated troll Oolon poses as an FTB cult member nowadays, but not so long ago he wrote on Pharyngula:

Also as a general theme I’d encourage people to go to the slymepit and engage in some conversation. Apart from a lot of paranoia about FtBs and how if you post over there you will get banned here a lot of them are nice people. Some express distaste for the MRAs there and some of the nuttier contingent such as Boss Hoggle. Seems a good idea to me for calm discourse and not painting all at the slimepit with the Hoggle-brush

He is like a double agent who has forgotten which side he is on. PZ Myers should feel privileged to have him on his side.

#230 drosera (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 12:49pm

Also note the delicious irony in what Oolon wrote:

Apart from a lot of paranoia about FtBs and how if you post over there you will get banned here [= Pharyngula]

It’s not paranoia. Not only has PZ instituted a blanket ban on anyone whom he considers a Slymepitter, he will even outright lie and pretend that he “knows” that someone posted on the Slymepit as an excuse for banning that poster (evidence: see above in this threat). Of course, his demented cult members swallow it whole.

#231 Phil Giordana FCD (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:00pm

I can confirm Drosera never posted on the Slymepit.

They were probably cited there by another poster. So, Should Myers ban himself? And his friends?

#232 Weeblo on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:02pm

@230 drosera

This is related to the sentiment someone posted above which I agree with completely, in which they compared it to an Old Testament vs. New Testament Christian.  They’ll claim to follow the teachings of Christ but their behavior will often be consistent with the Old Testament.  PZ and Co. can claim to value free speech, open discussion, etc. but this is utterly meaningless when his standard for “troll” includes “someone who disagrees with him”.

There’s also another sentiment expressed above that I completely agree with.  I feel like a broken record saying this, but ironically it was groups like Atheism+ / Freethought Blogs / Skepchick that made me investigate this whole “Slymepit” / MRA business.  And in doing so, I quickly found that they weren’t the demons they were portrayed to be, and in fact their arguments were often (if not usually) more compelling than the feminist counterparts.  And coupled with the fact that feminist groups so very often block / ignore / dismiss opposing arguments without addressing them, it makes the MRA groups seem much more reasonable in comparison.

Just look at the recent YouTube drama with feminist groups false flagging opposing videos and blocking comments / ratings in their own.  Then compare that to the reaction of YouTube MRAs when one of the most notorious, unapologetically radical feminist YouTubers called “Femitheist Divine” had her channel flagged.  MRAs came out in defense of her right away, making videos decrying the unfair banning of someone simply for their opinion.  I’m sorry, but if I had to look at either side and make a judgment call, I’d say the MRAs (who I don’t always agree with) are much more in line with the spirit of skepticism.  Of course, PZ has already explicitly divorced himself of that term, so I suppose it’s a moot point in his case.

#233 drosera (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:19pm

Lsuoma wrote:

Yeah, Withinthismind is clearly a (very bad) troll.

Outofthismind sounds to me more like a thoroughly brainwashed cult member. But then again, those can be trolls too.

#234 Iamcuriousblue (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:34pm

oolon @222:

“I’m certain there have been transphobic feminists who have silenced transgender people”

Nope, didn’t miss that one at all. Weird statement - “Oh, well, I guess somewhere there must be transphobic feminists who have silence trans people”. Um, yes, Rebecca, right across the Twitter feed from you, as a matter of fact. If not, “silenced”, then certainly attempted to, through bully tactics and outright threats that meet or exceed the kind of tactics people like Watson and Ophelia Benson say are being used against them.

As for the rest of your argument, you’re distinction is that Terri Strange isn’t using “privilege”. Well, that makes ALL the difference, now, doesn’t it. No wonder I consider “privilege” to be a concept with limited utility at best, and I’m glad somebody from CFI is finally calling out overuse of that term too.

#235 M. A. Melby on Monday May 20, 2013 at 1:49pm


Thanks so much for exemplifying a common problem.

ALL of my comments about RW (yes, Rebecca Watson) were about an article that she wrote that the OP references.

If you want to talk about something else entirely, why direct your comments at me?

If you want to call people names and imply that I RW is my “high priestess” or something bizarre; instead of engaging with ANYTHING that I said about this particular issue -

YOU are sort of the problem.

It would be like jumping in on a thread about the “moral landscape” model of Harris with: “You mean that asshole who wrote that idiot piece about racial profiling?!”

It’s asinine.

You might want to check yourself and figure out who is really on a holy crusade here.

RW’s article is pointed, but at no point does she engage in personal attacks or jump the shark with hyperbole.

To summarize her article:

Yes, the concept of “privilege” can be misused to be dismissive and that’s bad.  Being dismissive of someone is not the same as “silencing them”.  There is not a problem with the privileged being *silenced* so it seems strange to discuss it.  It is best to not presume to speak for groups when you aren’t a member of that group and don’t share that experience - that’s what was meant by “shut up and listen”.  “Shut up and listen” does not mean that the other person is never wrong or that you should never contribute to the conversation; it just means to be quite long enough to learn something.

THAT was the article she wrote.

It was NOT a character assassination piece.  At no point did she say that Ron had no right to speak due to his color or sex; she only implied that it might contribute to his perspective.

If you’re about to try to make an argument that our social defined identities do not contribute to our perspectives - I don’t know, I have a bridge to sell you or something.

#236 Mark Brown (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:03pm

So you take time and focus away from the real talks from the real speakers of WiS2 over your objections to the phrase “shut up and listen”. One would hope you would learn from this backlash the true value of the phrase, and how by not doing so you has effectively played a part in drowning out – if not actively silencing – the voices of women with so much noise.

I would hope a man in your position would realize how this has been a PR disaster for the CFI, especially given the level of support you have received in these comments from people who work so tirelessly to marginalize and harass women.

#237 oolon on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:10pm

@Drosera, “The frustrated troll Oolon poses as an FTB cult member nowadays, but not so long ago he wrote on Pharyngula…”

Hehe, might seem a strange concept to you… I changed my mind…. Very “unskeptical” of me to admit I was wrong I’m sure. So “cult” like and dissimilar to the Slymepit :D

I saw that the “reasonable” ones on the Slymepit while not being openly misogynistic, racist, transphobic, bigoted are supporting those that are. With their intransigence at the very least but many are apologists for the bigotry with some very bad arguments. Fortunately, after being banned by PZ [doh], I did listen to those that say they cannot afford to be “generous” to people who minimise harassment. Sally Strange’s comments mainly. Women who are harassed online said they have had enough of the assholes. I was on board with that, but I was told worse are the ones that minimise the effect of harassment with their “Freeze peach” and “Grow a thicker skin” arguments…. Or in my case “They are not ALL bad…”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

In my well meaning aim to not throw everyone in the Slymepit under the bigotry bus I threw the victims of their bigotry and harassment under that bus. Hopefully I’ve learnt and won’t make the same mistake next time… Strangely that is my aim in reading feminist blogs, to learn, not to win points in some game.

Nice try Drosera, no one from the pit has ever tried to cite an example of my “two faced” nature before. They just assert it to be true with no evidence, somewhat of a modus operandi for them.

#238 oolon on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:20pm

@@Drosera, “Also note the delicious irony in what Oolon wrote:

“Apart from a lot of paranoia about FtBs and how if you post over there you will get banned here [= Pharyngula]”

It’s not paranoia.”

Yup, it is. I wasn’t banned for posting there. For defending them. Others from Pharyngula have posted there and not been banned - with PZ’s knowledge. Also you do realise PZ=/=FTBs? Seemingly not… But anyway he can manage his blog however he likes. The Slymepit has shown over and over they will troll a blog they decide they don’t like. As a collective hivemind. nicely illustrated with the two new bloggers to FTBs.

One deemed ok by the Slyme-collective so a collectively nice response. One deemed a threat, so collectively not given a nice response. Pretty stark and not at all unusual a response from their echo chamber knee jerk of FTBaaaad!

#239 Phil Giordana FCD (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:50pm

Being banned for defending some people from another blog is totally normal…

Yeah, right.

#240 Weeblo on Monday May 20, 2013 at 2:58pm

@239 Phil Giordana FCD

When all else fails, they’ll fall back on “But anyway [they] can manage [their] blog however [they] like,” which of course completely misses the point.

#241 Patriarchy (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:04pm

I just want to apologize for all of the misogyny I created. It must have been really hard, all those years, to put up with the oppression of men finding women attractive. The torture of being bought a drink by a fella at a bar must be terribly traumatic. Worry no more feminists! I have decided to retire.

No more will you have to worry about free speech. No more will you have to give trigger warnings. I’ve known all along that only men can be sexist and I allowed them to do it.

I realized long ago that men should just shut up and enjoy the privileges of harsher punishments for similar crimes, dying in wars, and getting screwed in family court. I mean, after all, They’re men. They’re tough. They should just suck it up and take it!

To think that, because of me, there’s a domestic slave out there making sandwiches for her husband and three children while he’s outside playing with the them. I knew all along that she’d rather be the CEO of a giant corporation, the leader of a nation, or a great scientist finding a cure for a dreaded disease. What does she have to settle for because of me? A life of having to “love” a man and his offspring.

So, from now on, I will step back and allow women to die in wars, get screwed in family court, and be sentenced to harsh punishments. I will sit back and advise the rest of my dude-bros and chill girls to create diversity, even if it means forcing women to be politicians or powerful corporate executives to their chagrin. The feminists are absolutely correct. Why waste time trying to keep women from being ritualistically raped and marginalized in 3rd world countries when we still have so much equality to force upon everyone.

We all know it’s really because women are discouraged to have power that is the reason they don’t seek it. My bigoted friends and myself saw fit to program women to want families instead of careers and power. Because that’s all men care about and by golly they should be equally able to ignore biological desires for a political agenda.

So I am handing in my resignation. Best of luck to you, feminists of FTB. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go begin my new career of marginalizing men. By the time I get done with those pesky MRA’s, they’ll be offing themselves in disposable droves.

#242 oolon on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:05pm

@Phil, “When all else fails, they’ll fall back on “But anyway [they] can manage [their] blog however [they] like,” which of course completely misses the point.”
... Does it indeed! Maybe you should tell your team on the http://atheistskepticdialogue.com/ team who said: -

“At present it shall suffice to say that we support the right of a private individual to moderate their own online space as they see fit”

I don’t see you there disagreeing or agreeing, in fact no Pitters are there disagreeing… But then after lots of whining that “FfTBs” refuse to have a dialogue with you - including Vacula very recently on the WISCFI hash. You seemingly mostly didn’t bother to join in. Very noticeably Justin “No one from FTBs will talk to me” Vacula. I guess actually talking is a lot harder than whining for attention!

#243 Patriarchy (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:12pm

<<< comment removed by moderator >>>

#244 Patriarchy (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:19pm

BTW, I’m gonna need that money back that people like Watson and Sarkesian made because of me. The wrongly befitted from my existence. I was only suppose to ever benefit men.

#245 Artemis (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:25pm

#243 Patriarchy (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:12pm
... Be silent! Men are talking!!

Congratulations Mr. Lindsay. You have cultivated this lovely atmosphere in this blog that is officially associated with CFI. Who could possibly not feel welcome here?

#246 HisDaemon (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:27pm

Whenever I see any kind of comment thread about this A+/FtB/Skepchick nonsense I always see the same group of names arguing about it, both for and against.

The truth is that, apart from the people looking to score blog hits off of being “controversial”, I think that at this point there’s maybe about 20-30 people who even care anymore. The idea of trying to turn a censorious, politically exclusionary brand of atheists into a popular movement is one that fell on its face and died at least a year ago. Let it rot.

#247 spectator (Guest) on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:41pm

<-theist chill girl enjoying popcorn! Go you rationalists and fembots!!!

#248 M. A. Melby on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:41pm

“At the end of the day though, Justin Vacula just did an interview about his experience at WiS2 with A Voice for Men; an organization who just put out an article about how college girls actually enjoy rape so the concept of consent may need to be reconsidered.

I wish I was making that shit up - but I’m not.”

My sincere apologies.  The article I was made aware of was actually some sort of object lesson for how you can make shit up.  I traced one of the articles mentioned in it and it went to something completely different.

The last paragraph in the article essentially said - see how this article was complete shit - feminist ideologues make shit up like this.

(Well - that was embarrassing.)

I’m pretty sure the REAL researchers who they used the names of think their little joke was awesome. /sarcasm

I guess AVfM will just go back to assuming that people who claimed to have been raped and attempt suicide are too crazy to be believed; and inexplicably call Courtney Love and Monica Lewinsky sluts just to put some flavor into their articles.

#249 Weeblo on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:51pm

@242 oolon

“Does it indeed! Maybe you should tell your team…”

My team?  What team is that?  Did someone sign me up for something that I wasn’t aware of?  I’ve never even heard of that site, nor did your link point to the quote you cited, so I have no clue of its context.  To reiterate my point, it’s irrelevant what right a person has to moderate their content, speak their mind, etc.  If they act in ways contrary to open discussion of ideas, we’ll call them on it.  And if they express terribly unsupported ideas, we’ll similarly call them on it.

“I don’t see you there disagreeing or agreeing, in fact no Pitters are there disagreeing…”

I can’t tell; were you just implying that I am a “Pitter?”

#250 Weeblo on Monday May 20, 2013 at 3:53pm

@248 M.A. Melby

“(Well - that was embarrassing.)”

There’s no shame in correcting yourself given new information.  (There’s a lot of shame, however, in the opposite.)

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