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. 

 

Comments:

#51 John C. Welch (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 9:42pm

How is being a member of a group the same as expertise?

I’m a member of half-a dozen marginalized groups, hell a lot more if I go back to my childhood. Overweight, poor, bullied, abuse victim, children of alcoholics, people who have survived being hit by a car, gun in my face, natural disaster survivor, etc.

But I’m not possessed of “expertise” in any of that. I am possessed of *experience*. I don’t even claim “expertise” on being tall, not bald, hirsute, male, a honky, or green-eyed. I have *experience* in those areas. There are areas where I do claim some expertise, because i have actually spent the time to actively acquire it. I couldn’t tell you any details about being green-eyed with a gun at my head. I happen to have green eyes. That’s the extent of my knowledge. I happen to have survived a Cat 5 hurricane, (Andrew). What, am I now an expert on hurricanes? Meterology? Attaching boards to a wall? What “expertise” is conveyed because I lived through something a lot of people didn’t?

If i’m being honest, and I am, not a goddamned thing. I am no more an expert on hurricanes than I am on being Batman.

Being a member of a group doesn’t confer “expertise”, it only confers “experience”.

The difference there is not small.

#52 John C. Welch (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:10pm

Half of the Slymepit have shown up to support these series of blogs. These are not our supporters or donors. They are harassers and sexists.

I’m completely embarrassed. I feel betrayed that that my allies are upset and the people that wish me ill will are cheering this on. I wish we could go back in time and delete this PR disaster.

Wait. Some members of the ‘pit are not only women, but women of color, others are not heterosexual. Others aren’t particularly well off.

Perhaps you should check your white, heterosexual, fiscal privilege, and shut up and listen.

After all, don’t your own rules apply to you as well?

#53 John C. Welch (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:22pm

Also, were I you, i’d not be too confident about who is and is not a CFI donor. I’m not, but blindly saying that about everyone in the ‘pit might not be the most accurate thing you could say.

Assumptions are not your friend.

#54 Pitchguest (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:23pm

Melody:

Half of the Slymepit have shown up to support these series of blogs. These are not our supporters or donors. They are harassers and sexists.

I’m completely embarrassed. I feel betrayed that that my allies are upset and the people that wish me ill will are cheering this on. I wish we could go back in time and delete this PR disaster.

Half of the Slymepit? Must be short-staffed. I can see 5, including me, so 6. That’s like a spit in the ocean. Also, it’s amusing each time you attempt to poison the well and defame the Slymepit in general whenever some members make an appearance on these posts. The Slymepit is not the Borg, it is not a collective, it’s an unmoderated forum with individuals with individuals ideas who sometimes agree with eachother. It’s also a public forum, anyone can visit and see for themselves without your propaganda.

As for how this is “embarassing”, I hardly think you should be the one to use those words, Melody. I seem to recall a few “embarassing” incidents myself, involving you at the forefront, in particular one where you tried to use your influence as a CFI associate to rally your followers to flag and remove a video from YouTube that you didn’t like. And that’s just one incident that I can recall off the top of my head.

*That* was embarassing. This talk by Lindsay is not. Because some members of the Slymepit agrees with what he’s saying does not make it “embarassing”, it makes it polarising. That’s how you avoid an echochamber. Besides, he wasn’t saying anything anti-feminist or anti-women in his talk so get over yourself. If you want to be in charge of an echochamber, resign. That’s what I suggested back in January and it hasn’t changed. Do the CFI and everyone else a favour: resign and let someone else competent replace you.

#55 John C. Welch (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:26pm

Pitch,

perhaps we could ask Sara Mayhew about some of Melody’s better moments?

#56 rogelio tavera (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:26pm

TL;DR

#57 Nobody (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:58pm

I wonder when it was that being a victim became a strength. It’s a war amongst everyone to see who is more abused, disadvantaged, aggrieved and downtrodden.

You know what?

I’d prefer to do and be as monstrous as these lunatic radfems claim men are. It seems that treating people as equals will never be a benefit to me, because I’ll always be treated like one of the Oppressors—so long as I don’t act exactly as they say I should.

Thanks for ruining feminism. It could have been great.

#58 M. A. Melby on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 10:59pm

FFS

Let me make this clear:

SW said that they adopted a definition of feminism, which is the academically accepted one, and that the definition (itself) wasn’t up for debate.

They said that in the context of some people redefining it as the straw-feminist variety, which in the crazy land of some MRA is a movement to immaculate men and send them off to war while taking alimony payments and never letting them see their children.

NOBODY said that feminism doesn’t have camps.  That’s ridiculous - seriously, the earth is flat - ridiculous.

However, the DEFINITION of feminism, is not in debate - because it’s a frickin’ definition.

#59 Astrokid on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:07pm

@59: MAMelby
Outsiders judge feminism by its actions, not by its words. Just as any sensible person would.

Feminism: The never ending project to improve the woman’s condition, not giving a damn for the corresponding man’s condition.

You can rest assured that as long as feminism raises its head in the Atheist community, there are many that will beat it down. The internet.. where religions come to die & where ideologies also come to die.

#60 Weeblo on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:07pm

Mr. Lindsay, the bad news is that you’re a skeptic who has gotten on Rebecca Watson’s bad side.

The good news is that this is practically synonymous with “a skeptic”.

#61 M. A. Melby on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:25pm

“I wonder when it was that being a victim became a strength. It’s a war amongst everyone to see who is more abused, disadvantaged, aggrieved and downtrodden.


When the alternative is to continue to actually be treated unfairly or even abused and not inconvenience others by pointing it out - allowing other people to force you to be silent because if you say ONE WORD about your experiences or how your treatment is unfair they will mercilessly attack you due to the inconvenience of hearing you speak.

Seriously - have you EVER heard of a male skeptic or atheist be penned a “professional victim” for reading/publishing their hate-mail?

Of course, part of this is that when women explain how they are treated, it is sometimes so out-of-this-world horrible that people simply CHOOSE not to believe it; even when they see it first hand.

It’s all: LALALALALALA

#62 M. A. Melby on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:30pm

“Feminism: The never ending project to improve the woman’s condition, not giving a damn for the corresponding man’s condition.

You can rest assured that as long as feminism raises its head in the Atheist community, there are many that will beat it down. The internet.. where religions come to die & where ideologies also come to die.”

Thank you for making my point so quickly - WOW - record time.

#63 M. A. Melby on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:36pm

Also - PLEASE - would anyone reading this actually click on the link to RW article so that you know what she actually said; because you are going to get a REALLY skewed perspective of her article by reading this reply to it -

- which was not so much a reply by an angry defensive attack that mischaracterized both her and PZ’s stated positions in order to make them more easy to attack - even though they are almost identical to his own.

Strange that.

Yep - One gigantic strawman - ick.

#64 Doug B. (Guest) on Saturday May 18, 2013 at 11:57pm

The problem is if you are engaging or arguing with a person who has been marginalize it does make it worse because you are arguing why their experiences don’t matter or are trivial in your view.

One never seems to question things one agrees with.

Instead of engaging about their marginalization accept that they have been and try to move forward together knowing you both have different experiences.

#65 SAGuest (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 12:03am

Dear Mr Lindsay

Good for you.

I am a woman. I am also an adult.

Ms Watson et al do NOT represent me and they never will.

#66 ArtCrawl on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 12:29am

Thank you Ron.

I just want to add another voice in support of your position (which if I may paraphrase as “Privilege has its place in conversations, but it should not be abused in order to squelch debate, and no statement should be above questioning.”

If you disagree with this, especially the latter, how can you call yourself a skeptic?

I used to be a member of CFI (not a big donor, just a regular individual membership), but a few years back, I was becoming disillusioned with CFI’s support of people that I do not respect (Watson, PZ for example) and people in leadership like Melody Hensley.  I knew nothing about Melody until meeting her and realizing that this woman has no desire to hear my point of view (and I am also a woman) because I do not hold her views re: my treatment as a woman in the skeptical movement.

I do not assume that my experience is the same as other women, not do I assume women with poor experiences are liars, but that is the assumption people like the above seem to have about me.  Since my experience does not fit the narrative of people like Watson (who is so much more privileged than me, so it would be nice if she would “shut up and listen”), it is not valid. But, we will have an inaccurate view of women’s experiences in the skeptical camp if we do not listen to ALL women.  You cannot address problems with skewed data.

Watson, Hensley, PZ…they do not speak for me.

ps., I heard about the Slymepit from PZ last year, so of course, I checked it out.
I would take the commenters in the “pit” over the commenters on Free Thought Blogs any day of the week.

#67 David Leech (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 1:16am

So if the religious now claim they are a marginalize group we have to take their experiences into consideration? We are no longer allowed to question their ‘experiences’ of having god in their heart. When will this madness ever end? Either everything is on the table or it is not and if so skepticism is at an end.

#68 PZ Myers (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 1:55am

A correction: I am not here as a guest. CFI is not paying my bar bill (or anyone else’s, for that matter). I am here as a paying attendee of the conference who is paying for my own flight here and hotel room, because I care about this cause. I think making women active and equal partners in secularism is essential to grow and maintain the cause, and that’s entirely why I am here.

What I learned here, unfortunately, is that Ron Lindsay does not share my passion for the stated mission of the conference.

#69 Metalogic42 (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:00am

@#69 PZ Myers:

You’re an old white hetero cis male. Why don’t you shut up and listen to the women on the slymepit, who are, by the way, active and equal partners in secularism?

#70 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:01am

“A correction: I am not here as a guest. CFI is not paying my bar bill (or anyone else’s, for that matter). I am here as a paying attendee of the conference who is paying for my own flight here and hotel room, because I care about this cause.”

Ron, this sounds like a classic troll to me.  He’s just trying to cause problems and hates everything we stand for.  You should ban him immediately.

Oh, wait, sorry Ron.  I forgot this isn’t Freethought Blogs.

#71 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:10am

@67

That’s the irony of this for me.  It was the behavior of Atheism+ / Freethought Blogs that even made me start to critically examine their ideology in the first place, and in doing so, found so many flaws.  I otherwise would have continued to swallow their ideology hook, line and sinker.

It’s a giant red flag when your members alienate themselves from the greater skeptic community.

It’s a giant red flag when your members ban people for merely having a subtle difference of opinion.

It’s a giant red flag when your members accuse people of being misogynist / sexist / trolls / hateful for the same reason.

It’s a giant red flag when you disable comments / ratings in any forum in which you don’t have full moderation power.

It’s a giant red flag when, in the event that you neglect to do the above, the overwhelming majority of the viewing/reading audience downvotes / criticizes you.

Of course, a red flag isn’t absolute proof of guilt.  It could be that you are a rare minority that happens to “see the light”, in a world full of hateful bigots you once considered friends who can’t.  Perhaps you have some great vision that hordes of otherwise rational, kind, reasonable skeptics are completely blind to. 

But what are you going to bet on?

#72 Jody (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:30am

Please notice the ones actively working to bring down the movement you just opened for are currently cheering you on, Dr. Lindsay.

Just saying.

#73 Cult of Personality (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:31am

@PZ Myers

If you care so much about “the cause”, why do you write, promote and sanction so much divisive, abusive and dogmatic vitriol on your blog network?

#74 Tork (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:31am

@68

Why do you think you need to question women about their experience? When did it become a debate at all? Why must you treat secular women like you treat religious people - with contempt?

Why are you trying to answer by having skepticism toward women’s experiences?

I don’t agree with religious people on matters of faith but I don’t chance them down in every situation to scream at them to their face like what seems to be happening to secular women.

Male privilege is all about talking about men every day giving some of that time to talking about women and their experiences take nothing away from you.

#75 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:38am

@75 Being a skeptic when you hear claims that stand-out from the norm is not “contempt”.

#76 Sister Chromatid (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:39am

PZ

Your methods for making women active and equal members in secularism isn’t working. It involves vilifying so many people including women who consider themselves to BE active and equal members in secularism- women like Abbie Smith, Paula Kirby,  Harriet Hall,and Sara Mayhew. It turns off people like me who want nothing to do with your vilification of these people nor your vilification of Justin Vacula, Thunderf00t, DJ Grothe, Dawkins, and now Ron Lindsey. Surely there are plenty of real enemies to reason more deserving of your ire.

These people are not misogynists even though that’s the scary word you’ve pinned on them to justify your your attempts to make them into outcasts and thus garner “hero” points from the women who seem to need you to prop them (and their victimhood) up.

Have you asked your wife and daughters what they think of your efforts? Have you listened to their input on the subject? Does it bother you that you and your seeming crush on Rebecca Watson are seen as a very divisive alliance in the secular/skeptic community? Maybe it’s time for you and your groupies to split off into your own little sect and have your own little conferences with your own little harassment policies and own little organizers/speakers where you can talk about what misogynistic sister punishers the rest of us are and pat yourselves on the back for being martyrs for your cause.

By the way, do you ever stop to ask yourself if you are achieving your goals? Would you want to know if you weren’t? Maybe just maybe if you and your cohorts quit vilifying every atheist who doesn’t see your brand of feminism as representative of their understanding of feminism, people will stop documenting your hypocrisy with such delicious shadenfreude.

What you and your cohorts have done is to force people who don’t want any part of this craziness to choose sides… and more and more people are choosing the side of those you imagine are misogynists. It seems like the much more rational side to me. This witch hunt of yours has gone on long enough.

#77 Brive1987 on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:44am

I don’t get how a CEO organising a conference on a sensitive topic can:

+ Not welcome the delegates
+ Not introduce the speakers
+ Open with a speech he *knows* is contrary to the confs spirit
+ Engage in public personal arguments with attendees while the conf is still on

And not get fired or disciplined.

I don’t care what the relative rights and wrongs are, the above behaviours are completely out of line.

Given the pre event controversy his job (which I assume he is paid to do) is to pour oil on the water and ensure a professional successful enjoyable conference.  Debate could follow at leisure.

Does he report to a Board?

#78 Daniel Waddell (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:46am

I see what you did there Paul , you implied Ron is against supporting women in the secular movement because he disagrees with your tactics. That’s your favorite dishonest tactic. I’m surprised you didn’t compare him to Marc Lepine. You keep beating up those nasty straw men just keep in mind your dishonesty & slanderous implications are transparent to the majority of skeptics.
Thanks Ron for standing up to these unskeptical ideologues, when it comes to these idiots just remember “don’t negotiate with terrorists”

#79 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:47am

@74 I agree.  I seriously don’t understand what could come out of needlessly alienating themselves from the rest of the skeptic community.  How does this help their cause?  And I say “needlessly” intentionally.  It’s one thing to call out someone who is clearly harassing, intimidating, etc.  It’s quite another to sling vitriol at someone who merely has a difference of opinion about “what qualifies as a ‘troll’”, or about the degree to which the term “privilege” is abused.  I can only imagine how awkward it must be getting for the hosts of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast to have to walk on eggshells when discussing fellow skeptics that Rebecca Watson has turned against—and the list keeps growing.  D.J. Grothe, Michael Shermer, Abbie Smith, Penn Jilette, Lawrence Krauss, Al Stefanelli, Richard Dawkins, Thunderf00t, and many more.  I can’t even keep track anymore.

If PZ and Co. are trying to gain momentum in their movement, they’re doing it wrong.

#80 Ichthyic (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:47am

Bloody unprofessional of you, Lindsey, to post your ridiculous rationalized defenses HERE, on the front page of the organization that sponsored the very conference whose banner is blinking just above your comment.

If you have a board of directors, they should be calling you in for a discussion about now.

#81 Notung (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 2:57am

Some of the things I’m reading in the comments here really smack of desperation.

For a start, it doesn’t really matter who agrees with you on a particular issue. I support the idea of freedom of speech, but sometimes I notice that right-wing groups also purport to support free speech. Should I therefore give up the idea of free speech because my arguments might garner support from the right wing? Should Ron change his mind because certain folks that he may not like agree with some of his statements? I think the answer is no in both cases.

Secondly, saying ‘I’ll stop donating money’ is a rather cheap way of pressuring someone into backing down. The day that an organisation called ‘Centre for Inquiry’ gives in to such demands is the day it should think about changing its name.

#82 Yukimi (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:07am

Wow, this is a sad response. Long before Watson wrote that blog post (which I read through your link), several women (as in more than 20) had complained about your speech. These are women who were incredibly excited to go to WiS 2 and are now feeling slightly betrayed.

I’m out of the fighting lines of the “deep rifts” because I’m not good at conflict but I just want you to know that there are people who are very disappointed with your attitude and conduct in this issue as the head of a big organisation and opening speaker at a woman-centred conference.

I sincerely hope you take the time to consider all the comments you’ve received, take the pulse to the community and think seriously what you are accomplishing or not with this.

Despite all our disagreements, I wish you a very nice day. Enjoy the conference.

#83 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:14am

@83

“I sincerely hope you take the time to consider all the comments you’ve received, take the pulse to the community and think seriously what you are accomplishing or not with this.”

Yukimi, there are others who would do well to heed this advice.  I won’t mention names because I don’t have to.

#84 jmpea81 (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:17am

“If you have a board of directors, they should be calling you in for a discussion about now.”

And people still pretend as if there is no attempt at silencing going on? People call for it in this thread. The stupid…

#85 Hunt (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:19am

Wow, did not expect the campaign to get Lindsay fired to commence quite so soon.  I guess eager beavers waste no time.

#86 Weeblo on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:26am

@85

Exactly my thought.  This reminds me of the time I was in a Freethought Blogs discussion, and was repeatedly accused of being a Slymepit MRA (before I even knew that these terms existed, and despite my repeated denials) all during the exact same discussion in which these members were loudly decrying Michael Shermer’s comparison to their tactics as a “witch hunt”.

#87 Peter Beattie (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:29am

Thanks, Ron. That was well put. The “don’t argue back” line is exactly the problem: it’s the same thing (some) parents advise their children to do, and that thing is to respect authority. Problem is, in matters of knowledge about problems in the real world, there is no and can be no authority. As for your subjective experiences, I may take your word for it; as for anything else, which may be talked about objectively, I certainly won’t. And as you completely correctly say, shouldn’t.

#88 Steve Vanden-Eykel (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:35am

There are good ideas and there are bad ideas.

There are people who hold good ideas and there are people who hold bad ideas.

The difference between good ideas and bad ideas is that bad ideas cannot survive criticism.

The difference between people who hold good ideas and people who hold bad ideas is that people who hold bad ideas, knowing that their ideas cannot survive criticism, utilize a variety of techniques to shut criticism down.

For obvious reasons, people who hold bad ideas tend to find the skeptical community a hostile place.

Do not give in to them, Mr. Lindsay.

#89 hjhornbeck on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:35am

“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!”)”

This is not professional conduct, Lindsay. You’ve done a remarkable amount of damage to the CFI brand in the span of two days, and you would be wise to step down immediately to help repair the damage.

#90 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:52am

I think this has been an eye-opening experience for many, watching the dogma unfold before their very eyes. The first was the reaction they had towards EllenBeth Wachs (who thought she was their ally) when they viciously tore her apart for breaking the status quo about Adria Richards. Suddenly she was no longer a trusted companion, but shunned- truth be told, it reminded me of the behaviour by the Westboro Baptist Church whenever one of their family members or friends decides to leave the church or leave home: utterly shunned and denounced.

Actually, I suppose the first (the very first, just before the forming of FtB) was Abbie Smith, aka ERV. Her “crime” was to call out Rebecca Watson for abusing the power of a podium to accuse a member in the audience of “parroting misogynist thought” among other things. That audience member was Stef McGraw and she was, understandably, confused - and distraught. And the reason for being attributed with this accusation was that she had written about Watson’s “ordeal” in the elevator and questioned Watson’s characterization of the event as being “sexualised.” For this, she, too, deserved to be shunned and denounced.

And now this. Even though Ron Lindsay said nothing anti-feminist in his talk, nothing anti-women or anything that would even *remotely* hint that Ron Lindsay is either of the two, or a “misogynist”, or an MRA, or—and this is because it’s apparently ideologically opposite to Watson’s ideals—a Slymepitter. None of these things. However, for simply saying that the concept of privilege shouldn’t be misapplied and how you really shouldn’t tell someone to “shut up” based on the aforementioned concept, he is apparently espousing hate for women and “mansplaining” and all sorts of nonsense. Ridiculous.

Hopefully this response to Watson will serve as a catharsis.

#91 Peter Beattie on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 3:54am

» Melody:
Half of the Slymepit have shown up to support these series of blogs. These are not our supporters or donors. They are harassers and sexists.

By all means, go on othering people who disagree with you. That shows what a fine human being you are.

I’m completely embarrassed.

I should think you were looking for the other adjective.

#92 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:00am

hjhornbeck:

Speak for yourself. The damage being done to the community is far more encompassing by Myers’ and Watson’s divisive tactics, and I would be more concerned about those than the response to an overly entitled, privileged, cis, white woman.

The conduct is in kind to the content which he’s replying to.

#93 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:02am

Peter Beattie:

I’m just waiting for her to call us “vermins” like Myers did.

#94 David Jones (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:18am

Watson is a seriously divisive figure. Here’s a partial list of the people she’s picked a fight with:

* You
* DJ Groethe
* Riched Dawkins
* Justin Vacula
* Paula Kirby
* Penn Jilette
* Ben Radford
* Harriet Hall
* Stef McGraw

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here. It could be that this erstwhile publisher of a pin-up calendar discovered 3rd-wave feminism a bit late and has been making amends, desperately discovering all manner of oppression in every corner.

I think, more likely, is that she’s hit upon a way of making money. Create artificial Internet outrage, stir up her groupies, watch the ad revenue pile up and speaking engagements roll in.

#95 vexorian (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:51am

Watson’s “alternate universe”  seems to have invaded your comments feed. When people who can straight-faced make the assertion that males are being exploited like this AstroKid, you got to wonder what exactly are you doing wrong that makes these people the kind of people that agrees with you?

#96 vexorian (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 4:58am

David Jones, In your list we got a lost of male atheist/skeptic leaders that are also great at picking up fights with others. Or do you mean that when a woman does it, she is being divisive and when a man does it he is just being edgy?

Dawkins for starters, he was the one who picked up the fight with Watson. With the dear Muslima comment at all. I do not really think “picking a fight” is wrong. Atheists picked a fight against the theist establishment and when you challenge dogma you are being divisive. Try calling out anti-vax claims when they are made in certain forums and you will be called divisive too. Critical thinking is a divisive thing. And it should stay that way.

#97 Withinthismind (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:04am

Next time just run the MRA in secularism conference.  It’s obvious that’s what you wanted to run.  Thank you for demonstrating again that women are unwelcome.  I will no longer be donating to your organization nor promoting it in any fashion.

#98 Pitchguest (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:09am

David Jones:

She started Skepchick back in 2005, but presumably her branch of feminism didn’t appear until after 2010, when she hosted a “bordello” themed party at TAM8.

_http://skeptopia.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/why-ill-never-return-to-jref-forum-or-the-amazng-meeting/

Which strikes me as a bit odd for someone who often talks about the “sexualization” of women, objectifying them, etc. Then there’s a video of Rebecca (I think on YouTube, I haven’t looked) filming a male dancer (who they paid) simulating oral sex on a strap-on. Which you think would be completely contrary to how her minds operate now these days. I suppose back then she was more care-free, or she didn’t care. She also wrote IIRC “fuck off, pussy” on a guy’s chest. The guy was in on it, but with Watson’s attitude towards these so-called “gendered epithets” nowadays, I don’t think she likes her former self very much. At least, you would think so.

Another incident involves Watson hosting a “Skepchick Pyjama Party” at a TAM convention (which were woman-only parties that apparently was a regular thing at TAM) where she blew off her own base and chose instead to attend the men’s equivalent party.

_http://skeptopia.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/why-ill-never-return-to-jref-forum-or-the-amazng-meeting/#comment-207

So it’s been going on for a while now. I suspect she won’t last much longer.

#99 Oxzimmaron (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:17am

Mr. Lindsay:  Thank you!  Thank you so much for finally calling out the bullies and the non-skeptics masquerading as skeptics.  As well as the ones who have “divorced” skepticism.  Good riddance to all of them.  I can’t tell you how close I was to canceling my Skeptical Inquirer subscription so many times recently.  I couldn’t quite do it because I am a long-time subscriber.  But it was close.  Myers and Watson are bad for skepticism.  Worst of all, bullying people in real life, trying to get them fired, or trying to have their grad student funding pulled—just because those people disagree with you on the internet!  Well, that’s just beyond the pale.  So again - good on you Mr. Lindsay.  Please don’t back down.  A lot of people are cheering for the triumph of reason and skepticism.

#100 Tuttle (Guest) on Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:18am

Lindsay is an embarrassment. Does anyone at this organization have any PR training? Does he really think he’s playing by the same rules as a blogger? I don’t agree or disagree with Watson’s comments, but she’s a blogger. Lindsay is the head of an organization and using that organization’s site to handle his conflict with her is so unprofessional, it is mind boggling. Say goodbye to my future CFI donations.

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