Thanks to PZ for the format/inspiration!

Be self-aware. You are the speaker in a room filled with dozens, hundreds, thousands of people. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are all very interesting people, but out of those dozens/hundreds/thousands of people who could have been chosen to give a presentation, you were chosen. Your opinion and your words are most likely highly valued, because other people want to hear them. Other people want to learn from you. Other people look up to you. Other people have not had the exact same life history, education, experience that you have had, and want to peek into your world, and hear about your perspective for a few minutes.

Not a round-table discussion where anyone can interrupt or disagree– you are a speaker, and the audience has chosen to spend their time with you. Not each other in the bar. Not with any of the other concurrent speakers. You. And if you are invited to be a keynote speaker, the conference stops, and everyone listens to you. All the more responsibility.

That opportunity requires one to be self aware. “Am I using words this audience understands?” “Am I taking the appropriate tone for this audience? Too stuffy? Too casual? Is it age appropriate?” “Will this choice of sentence advance my cause, or unnecessarily confuse the audience? Unnecessarily anger the audience?” “Could I be more articulate?” “Am I 100% this statement is true?” “Is the audience interested in this topic? Even if it is important to me, how can I engage everyone?” “Is this joke necessary? Could someone think this joke is offensive? Racist? Sexist?” “Am I talking down to the audience? Am I talking over them?”

All eyes are on you, so your own eyes need to be on you. Critically analyzing your every move, as critically as you would be critiquing an Enemy Speaker.

Be aware of your potential targets. Especially at atheist/skeptic conferences, we are pretty much always attacking/making fun of someone. Whether its Jenny McCarthy or Michael Behe or Deepak Chopra, or Sarah Palin, sometimes you need to talk about a person and their actions, not just purely vaccines or evolution or psychology or politics. Sometimes you might even feel the need to address the words/actions of someone in the audience. If you chose to do this, from a privileged position as The Speaker, where The Target will not have a fair opportunity to respond, you need to be Dexter. You need to be 100% sure. “Is this attack 100% necessary?” “Will pursuing this attack advance my goals?” “Will this attack take attention away from my primary goals?” “Is attacking this individual the best way to call attention to this issue?” “How would I feel if someone attacked me, maybe even misrepresented me, to a group of hundreds of people, and I wouldnt get a chance to respond?” “Am I 100% sure I understand this persons perspective/position myself?” “Is it possible that this persons opinions are equally valid as mine, I just dont understand their world view myself?” “Is this person really relevant to the topic Im speaking about?” “Am I abusing my position as speaker to ‘get back’ at someone on a personal level?” “If I pursue this attack, is it possible I will come out looking like an asshole? Have I honestly reflected on this attack, or am I actually being an asshole? (see ‘Be self-aware‘)”

Being a Decent Human Being is actually the best defense you can have against abusing your position as a speaker at atheist conferences. Dont abandon it for short-term gain: youre in a community, and youre going to lose that if you think of yourself as a predator on the make.

What about tactics? Lets say you are super passionate about an issue, but is a keynote speech really the best forum for your issue? Would a moderated, recorded brain-storming session be better? An official debate? An intimate, one-on-one conversation in a quiet side room? A light-hearted, open to everyone conversation in a noisy bar? Or maybe even an online discussion, where everyone can take time to think about their input and responses and questions carefully– where everyone can simply send links to others, so everyone is on the same page, even everyone didnt start on the same page? Using a keynote address to pitch an idea for a skeptics football league is no more appropriate than using a keynote address to confront someone who said something that you found personally offensive (while others did not) is no more appropriate to rant for an hour about how the rent is too damn high. Yes, you have been given the opportunity to give a speech at an atheist conference– but that doesnt mean a speech at an atheist conference is the appropriate tactic for what you are excited about 2 minutes before you give said speech. You need to put thought into this, or you will alienate your audience not because you are wrong or had a bad idea, but because you used the wrong tactic. People will think you capitalized on your invitation as a speaker, not to engage with the audience, but to pursue a personal interest (or vendetta). You abused the forum you were given. They might not be interested in providing you with that same platform in the future.

Of course, if any more experienced commenters would like to offer further suggestions, theyre welcome to continue…as long as they remember these are guidelines for Decent Human Beings, not assholes who will excuse someones bad behavior just because they are friends with the offender.

Comments

  1. #1 Justicar
    July 18, 2011

    Phil, while I’m flattered to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as his, from a purely pragmatic position, I would be an extremely unwise person for him to sit down with right now. He’s already being harangued enough for what he said, and what I’ve said is far, far more brutal. (And I make no apologies whatever for the fact that my satirical treatment of Rebecca Watson’s nontroversy is highly unfriendly – it’s not good satire if people are offended)

    Write in any language you want, but I only have an mediocre understanding of one language. I’m sure I butcher it daily!

    Beside all of that is the fact that I’m not a particularly gifted speaker, though I can turn a phrase. I have nothing particularly unique to say that would be generally intelligible by the public-at-large. Plus I have no particular desire to be a face for anything; I’m perfectly content writing my blog, making crappy videos on youtube and perhaps in some small way spurring people on to hold nothing sacred – to challenge any claim of any import with ruthless interrogation.

    It’s been the only method we’ve found that has a track record for consistently providing answers to questions. Plus, I don’t care one jot about how people feel. My care is what is true. This present silliness indicates that this is a concept quite foreign to much of this community.

    Odd, I’m an unwelcome presence in a skeptical community for being, you know, dubious about what I’m told I should believe.

  2. Justicar:

    You know what makes me feel better? It’s the fact that there at best 15 redundent commenters on Pharyngula (no actual data, but I think I’m close). Look at this very thread here, we are not so many commenting, and the same pattern arises for each blog.

    it’s really a storm in a teapot.

  3. #3 bluharmony
    July 18, 2011

    @Justicar: Brilliant.

    @Enraldo:
    “It would have ended there if so many people, men and (for MY surprise) women (including McGraw), didn’t start to chastisize Watson for that 1 min in an 8+ min video. It’s telling how so many of these (including McGraw) that critisize Watson’s original 1 min in an 8+ min video, invariably choose to mischaracterize it (‘She’s against men hitting on women in any circunstances’), or just to play stupid (‘what? He just asked for a coffee!

    The reason women replied is twofold: (1) Rebecca doesn’t speak for all women and (2) she’s dead wrong.

    What happened to Watson IS NOT OBJECTIFICATION. Listening to someone talk all day, then saying she’s interesting and you’d like to chat, is not objectification no matter where or when it happens (with the possible exception of a strip club or similar). It may be inappropriate, and Watson is free to say what she prefers, but she can’t speak for all of us. Having a different view on this matter is not misogyny (hatred of women) or anywhere near it. And realistically, there’s no fucking difference between being called a misogynist and being told that what you think or say is misogynistic (and also stupid). Especially when it isn’t.

    And no, if she were raped, none of us would defend the rapist. The case would be taken to court, where, unlike here, actual evidence is required to convict. There’s a reason for this rule. Can you figure out what it is on your own? Moreover, have you noticed that in this case WE DON’T EVEN HAVE A DEFENDANT? All we have is an accusation thrown out into thin air without any corroboration.

    “A COFFEE for Dawkins sake! At 4 am! Without have ever spoken to her before! What’s possibly wrong with THAT?’).”

    Nothing. I welcome all requests for coffee in an elevator. And if I’m in a bar until 4AM, I welcome all men to proposition me because I’m probably looking for some company. Even if I say “I’m tired” when I excuse myself. Because I’m capable of saying no. And if it’s a rapist doing the talking, then it doesn’t matter what he says or if he speaks at all; he’ll rape me anyway unless I take some responsibility for my own safety.

    PZ’s advice to dress nicely and chat a woman up before taking her to one’s hotel room won’t help me if rape is the intent. In fact, it’s far more difficult to escape from a hotel room than an elevator, and trying to teaching a guy how to best trick me into consensual sex is offensive. Not to mention, it’s patronizing and sexist. But not misogynistic. Because there’s a difference.

    No one is defending Dawkins. He used faulty logic, and he was rude. So what? It doesn’t make his work in evolutionary biology any less relevant. Moreover, his annoyance at this mess was justified.

  4. #4 ERV
    July 18, 2011

    Eneraldo Carneiro– Unless we are talking physics, if you have to posit alternative dimensions and alternative time-lines to even hypothetically make a point, you are not making a point.

  5. #5 bluharmony
    July 18, 2011

    “Greta: What you’re saying is historically we had issues that were interesting to middle class educated white men, and we should still only talk about those issues. That’s why we’re not attracting diverse people.”

    How do the issues in atheism and skepticism change based on the demographic in attendance? How is the employment of critical thinking different with women and minorities in attendance?

    Organizations supporting atheism and skepticism are nothing but social clubs. They serve no other purpose, so I guess money and power rule.

  6. #6 Jillian
    July 18, 2011

    The point, to me, is that it is divisive and unproductive to call out an ally while you are on a stage. The point is that there is aa way to have an argument – even an extreme argument – with an ally, and a way to declare war on an enemy, and common sense says you should know which you are doing before you open your mouth.

    I mentioned I used to blog. I did political humor blogging. I also mentioned my politics are on the left. So when I blogged, I made fun of and picked on people. I can be a dick when I want to. But I was targeting people who were never going to be my allies on anything. I don’t care if I hurt Jonah Goldberg’s feelings. I don’t care if Michael Medved or Joseph Farrah or Victor Davis Hansen cried in their beer after I was done with them. In fact, because they were my enemies, I hope they did. Because I’m not an idiot, I know they didn’t, but that’s neither here nor there.

    I’ve had plenty of arguments with friends and allies, and I have tried very hard not to use the same sort of snarky, bitchy, scorched-earth tactics when I fight with them. I have failed on occasion – i’m human. But when Rebecca Watson brings those sorts of tactics to near on someone directly out out the starting gate, then what she is communicating to that person – and everyone else – is that that person is an enemy. Everything else follows predictably from there.

  7. #7 pornonymous
    July 18, 2011

    Ya know, it is amazing how Rebbeca has increased her mating fitness in the whole thing, ain’t it?

    Or, in other words, her slander of a man who hasn’t yet had a forum to defend himself sure was profitable, and divisive–and sure does its part to uphold the clannish patriarch PZ Meyers.

    http://pornalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/academic-culture-is-the-etic-rapist-of-emic-meaning-by-classification-co-option-and-preemption-of-secular-paralanguage-part-1/

  8. #8 Mr. DNA
    July 18, 2011

    @Spence:

    Just piping in, folks, with a few quotes that some of you might have missed from the comments section in the link that Spence posted, where an ex-mod from the JREF forums explains why she doesn’t feel comfortable attending the likes of TAM any more, due to the preponderance of women such as the Skepchick crew being more interested in self-promotion and partying as opposed to, you know, advancing the principles of critical thinking. I apologise about the length of this post, which is mainly a copy & paste job from Spence’s link, but I find these to be very revealing:

    uncayimmy posted:

    “It’s interesting that I should see this blog today because I had just (out of curiosity) decided to check out Rebecca on the JREF Forums.

    I had heard the name mentioned a number of times, so I wanted to see her contributions in the trenches, so to speak. She posted there nearly 7,000 times before being banned for acting like an adolescent. Do you know how many posts she had in General Skepticism and the Paranormal? A mere 124. Science? 130. Religion and Philosophy? 140.

    How in the hell did she become some Skeptic Guru? Well, it ties into what you describe about the forums and TAM. It’s about popularity. She spent most of her time hanging out in Community, chatting it up and goofing around. She’s undoubtedly fun and somewhat charismatic. She certainly did NOT rise to the top (so to speak) for her insight and skeptical approach to things.”

    noblecaboose posted:

    “I just remembered one of the things that first started to bug me about Ms. Watson. At my first TAM, I went to the ‘Skepchick Pajama Party’ which was a ‘ladies only’ gathering (though some men did show up). It was different from the Forum Party which was hosted by Rebecca, but I still expected to see Rebecca there, since she was a prominent female in the movement and she was THE Skepchick. What I found out was that the men were having a “Scotch and Cigars” party at the same time for men only, as a counter-party to the all female Skepchick Pajama Party. The year I attended, Rebecca didn’t even make an appearance at the pajama party, preferring instead to crash the men’s party and hang out with the boys, who were her clear fan base. I found it incredibly rude of her, as it devalued the women’s party and it also showed that she was more interested in being the token girl than part of a group of women. Far from being interested in bringing more women into skepticism, she seemed to just wanted to be fawned over by drooling men.”

    Along with the sleuthing that Justicar has been involved with, there seems to be a distinct pattern emerging here of Watson being an all round contemptible bitch. I was only vaguely aware of her three or so weeks ago- now I find the fact that she is a prominent and influential member of the skeptic community to be deeply disturbing.

    By the way Justicar- what happened to your long blog post from a few days ago about Watson, where you outlined your intention to thoroughly investiagte her past actions? It isn’t there any more.

  9. #9 pornonymous
    July 18, 2011

    LMAO: ” a skeptical guru” is like, an oxymoron or something….

    “a guru of skepticism” is like a jack of no trades.

  10. #10 Prometheus
    July 18, 2011

    Just in the interest of full disclosure great grandma used to make me hot chocolate with little purple, green and white marshmallows.

    Then she would explain why.

    She died at 98 and was buried by the survivors of her 9 children wearing her sash and with her arms folded around her marching spear.

    My grandmother was a successful industrialist.

    My mother was a petroleum engineer and later a well reputed theoretical mathematician who shopped for tailored suits at Sax with Ayn Rand and swapped off color jokes with Friedan.

    The Bride, physically and emotionally abused and eventually abandoned by her mother spends the balance of her days in the trenches for women, abused, assaulted and legitimately threatened women, to exhaustion and to her own beggary.

    To the extent I can, I “get it”.

  11. #11 Justicar
    July 18, 2011

    I’m missing a blog entry?

    *activates rainbow power to dash off and check, leaving fairy sparkles behind*

    Ok, I’m back.

    “My specific and explicit purpose is to start a campaign to have Rebecca Twatson excluded from the selection of people who are paid to speak at our events. Her presence is a net drain in time and money.”
    From: http://integralmath.blogspot.com/2011/07/ceterum-censeo-rebecca-twatson-esse.html

    It’s still there, happily getting along with its neighbors. For the moment, I’m writing on other topics as I can only take listening to her talk in short doses. I believe, you see, in intellectual osmosis, and I don’t want to get too close for obvious reason. Like Nietzsche said: when you long-stare into the empty-minded, they suck you in and clobber you with stupidity. I think that’s an exact quote. Mm hmm.

  12. #12 Rystefn
    July 18, 2011

    bluharmony:

    No one is defending Dawkins. He used faulty logic, and he was rude.

    This is untrue. I am defending Dawkins. I also disagree with your assessment of his logic. Just so we’re clear.

  13. #13 cthellis
    July 18, 2011

    I think we also need to realize that a person who likes to pretend that they are correct about every fucking political matter and go so far out of the way to avoid having any serious discussion of their views that they make a straw man out of all of their opponents is not a good skeptic.

    This is just what I would expect a long haired, filthy, dope smoking, capitalism hating, violence craving, poor hating hippie scumbag to say. It is also completely wrong, and so wrong that it is not worth telling you how wrong it is because you would already know if you weren’t so wrong.

    . She did mischaracterize Watson and did parrot misoginystic arguments.

    Not so much. As with basically everyone else, she directly implied that Watson perfectly well had the right to be uncomfortable, but disagreed that the incident–even if it was Elevator Guy propositioning behind the flimsiest of obfuscation–automatically qualified as objectification, sexualization, and sexism. This was, in fact, specifically mentioned before PZ’s first post weighing in. (Not that PZ bothered linking to it, which seems a bit odd since he’s perpetually bothered when, say, creationists criticize and cherry pick his comments, and do not provide a link.)

    You can say Stef’s initial comments were not particularly clear, but that’s the kind of thing that can be easily clarified by–say–posting in the comments. Something Watson did not do until the next post, with the “10,000 readers” comment that spawned ERV’s first remarks here.

    Regardless, Watson’s response was to specifically target and intend to intimidate, humiliate, and–yes–silence a young atheist, skeptic, and feminist on a difference of opinion regarding feminism.

    Something that Watson and other Skepchicks have gotten into much haranguing with others in the past. Something Watson felt the need to cover her tracks on when one of her posts from five years back with HILARIOUSLY over-the-top objectification and sexualization was brought up. (Though her update, if she was speaking genuinely, should have forced her to criticize a number of PZ’s and Jen’s posts in reply as the steam continued to pick up.)

    In all, she claimed her perspective has matured over time. But her response to Stef showed Watson to be extremely juvenile.

    This is what was criticized by most, and has been given carte blanche by many. Many who continue to point fingers back to Elevator Guy (but shouldn’t be) and many more who think that Stef’s comments excused Watson’s response (which they did not), and many more still who are criticizing others as “overreacting to what Watson said during her talk” (which, if there is room for interpretation and perhaps some connections were “not meant” means they should also be criticizing Watson and defending Stef’s first blog post using the exact same reasoning.)

    You don’t get to pick and choose what to be skeptical about and what to be rational about; it’s a lump sum. As well, Watson does not get to claim to have perspective and maturity; she has to demonstrate it before we believe it.

    One way would have been to reply, say, “shit, I’m sorry, I was pretty riled up about other things, and may not have read your post very carefully. I still don’t agree with you, if I understand the gist of your first post, and we should talk about it…” Instead, everything that has occurred has been a vicious cycle of ego-stroking and ego-defending.

    If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

  14. #14 Mr. DNA
    July 18, 2011

    @Justicar

    Ah, my apologies. I wasn’t aware that it was that far back. 7th June? Jesus. This whole charade has been going on for quite some time now. Anyway, keep up the sterling work. I don’t know of anybody else who is actually doing anything constructive about this Watson character.

  15. #15 Mr. DNA
    July 18, 2011

    I mean, of course, July. 4:26am… time for sleep.

  16. #16 Justicar
    July 18, 2011

    Well, I’m not really doing anything about it either. I write lines pointing out the features that define the system.

    My influence is small, and it’s not as though my tone has won me many people who are going to direct people to blog to read it. (Or my other stuff, some of which is interesting – like my this week in woo bit, among other things).

    To the extent my blog will “take off” is to the precise extent that other people get on board with what I’m doing. I suppose I could start writing with more eloquence, but doing as much isn’t my style with respect to communicating information. The idea of my writing what I write is to convey information fairly directly – each layer of difficulty added to that by way of, say, larger words or metaphor serves to frustrate that.

    Take my spiderism parable. It’s not great prose or anything, but it is in that vein. It’s decent writing for the five minutes it took me to jot it down and post it. A lot of people are apparently confused by it if my e-mail is anything to judge by.

    I’m not looking for fanboys/girls or anything, but feedback is always nice provided it’s not just along the lines of “that sucked” or “that’s awesome”. Anyway, I’m not trying to hijack Abbie’s thread here! I’ll keep writing – perhaps people will start reading.

  17. #17 ERV
    July 18, 2011

    Justicar– One of the best ways to get readers is by commenting on lots of blogs and putting your address in the url bar. Personally, I also dont mind comments as links if the topic is relevant “Hey, I just covered this topic too! LINK!”

    If you just openly spam your site on any post though, thatll get you banned :)

  18. #18 Justicar
    July 19, 2011

    Oh, I try not to clutter up anyone else’s place as an advertisement for myself. It’s hyperlinked in my name; people can click if they think I’m rubbing two thoughts together.

    One thing I don’t do is embed links at other people’s place. People can read the address in full before clicking it so they know what they’re getting beforehand.

    I’m banned on a lot of blogs right now: Ophelia’s where at I’ve commented in all of one thread before this, Greta (whose blog I’ve never before commented on), blaghag, presumably skepchick, pharyngula. You should listen to your colleagues here and ban me too! I’m vile and repugnant!

    But thanks for stating outright your policy here. However, I’ll still try to remain infrequent with linkage. =^_^=

  19. #19 bluharmony
    July 19, 2011

    @Rystfn: Noted. I think Dawkins was wrong in not understanding that elevators posed a minuscule amount of danger, and more so to women than men. Also, the bubble gum situation was not analogous, due to possible perceived danger. I don’t really mind his comparison to Muslim women, since he was comparing great harm to no harm. Also, there’s the issue of tone. But nothing he did warranted the response he got from RW. That’s the point at which I started to get really upset.

  20. #20 Mr. DNA
    July 19, 2011

    Not wishing to come across as one of Justicar’s fanboys here, but in his defense with the linkage he was just showing me a blog post that I thought had been lost in cyberspace- turns out that I’m just a twat and didn’t look hard enough. :)

  21. #21 Rystefn
    July 19, 2011

    Blu, you are more likely to die today than to be raped in an elevator at any point in your life. The danger is not miniscule. Miniscule is dramatically overstating it. In the last decade, about as many people have been adopted by Angelina Jolie as raped in elevators. Are the odds of being adopted by Angelina Jolie something worth worrying about, taking into account, or even mentioning?

    Also, the bubble gum situation was not analogous due to the exact thing he was attempting to bring attention to? The difference was the perceived (i.e. not real) danger, and by leaving it out of his analogy, he drew attention to the fact that the danger people were talking about was, in fact, completely imaginary. Sarcastic analogy – Dawkins does it right.

    Also, the tone he used was entirely appropriate, in that the only correct response to stupidity is ridicule.

  22. #22 Munkhaus
    July 19, 2011

    Only halfway through these comments, but Harry Christ this is great! It´s like, sense.(Quiet night here in Bogota where, incidently, I have to “manage high-level threat” most days)

  23. #23 bluharmony
    July 19, 2011

    @Rystefn: I concede. I’ve never even thought to be afraid in an elevator. I’ve been afraid of it getting stuck, not of people. Those rapes that do occur in elevators are usually in dark, deserted garages, anyway. I’m not a fan of the bubble gum analogy because (and this is news to me) some women are seriously afraid of men. But I don’t believe that Watson was afraid, not for a second, if the incident even happened.

    Dawkins wins. Dawkins Foundation to sponsor childcare at atheist conferences. That’s feminism I can get behind — not Watson’s childish and vindictive nonsense.

  24. #24 Rayshul
    July 19, 2011

    Curious, all those childcare responses.

    Suddenly the radfems are saying how jolly great Dawkins is after spending weeks calling him an evil misogynist who hates women because of All His Privilege.

  25. #25 Justicar
    July 19, 2011

    Bluharmony:
    For one, the claim is factually not true. In the last ten years, almost all victims of sexual assault in elevators have been male. We’re talking something like fewer than 10 people near as I can tell. Even if they were all women, one attack per year isn’t a cause for panic, or even concern. Particularly since we’re good on this year’s attack as it happened before the conference in question.

    Of course, this is goofy math here. And it’s not related to Dawkins’ point in the slightest.

    To grant your premise we first have to accept that there was danger. The facts do not bear that out. She did walk out of the elevator untouched. Therefore, her actual level of danger wasn’t there. It all happened inside her head, and was not congruent with reality. In other words, she’s complaining that things she imagines in her head are being treated with due respect.

    Tone cannot be a relevant concern from those going after Dawkins now since these are the selfsame people who fully support his tone provided it’s directed at their enemies. If his tone is appropriate in the one case, they are in no position to cry foul when he’s using it to gore their ox. If it’s tone, then I expect that the letters of apology are in the mail from each one of these people to every religious person Dawkins has personally addressed in the same way, with their full support.

    I do not expect this will happen. Therefore, the tone argument is nothing more than a complaint that it’s unfair when he addresses their stupidity in the exact way he addresses anyone else’s stupidity. All that’s different is they don’t like it happening when their faith in something is its target.

    Dawkins has remained 100% consistent.

    Further, Watson has likened this ever so delicately to her fears of sexual assault and those of other women, which Dawkins should have known about considering she explained to him her e-mails detailing all of the rape events she claims to get. She wrote this explicitly in her privilege delusion post. To claim she’s not suggesting she had a legitimate fear of being sexually assaulted, or that it’s not part of the picture is to ignore what she says and writes. Further, if the concern wasn’t about sexual assault, what then was it? She mentioned being sexualized in “that way” as a segue into explaining her fear of being mugged?

  26. #26 bluharmony
    July 19, 2011

    @Justicar. I agree. My comment about tone was a general one; I’m not a fan of using ridicule toward anyone, and that was the one thing that I always complained about with Dawkins. But I’m not complaining now. This was brilliant, simply brilliant. And he was absolutely right; the threat was nonexistent, and the incident was “zero bad.” It was a publicity stunts from someone who has nothing to offer but publicity stunts.

  27. #27 Justicar
    July 19, 2011

    I think this is the part where we’re supposed to hug it out or something.

    I’m not entirely familiar with the netiquette of someone agreeing with me.

  28. #28 Southern Geologist
    July 19, 2011

    Justicar, I’m going to riff on some of your earlier thoughts, post #897 in particular:

    I think the problem of introducing politics to the atheism or skepticism movement is two-pronged: The first is the exclusionary issue that comes with losing those with minority political views because some people think that they should use the stage (or blog) as a place to grandstand and cast hellfire down upon all who disagree. The second issue is does this belong here?

    I am not opposed in principle to the idea of various atheists and/or skeptics taking on social issues and the skeptic movement taking on the role of a record label that promotes various ‘artists’ who use it in part as a forum to get contributions to charity or something along those lines, assuming it is done correctly. I feel that doing so at a conference, during speeches, is by necessity going to be exclusionary because the audience will share a political leaning with certain speakers that will give them an advantage and may react unkindly to those who disagree. For example, if Watson was to propose donating to a charity that supports shelters for battered women she would receive a lot of support. (I would support such a charity, for the record.) If Hell froze over (or I had my PhD) and I was speaking and suggested donating to a charity which gave battered women handguns accompanied by handgun defense courses to help prevent future abuse I would likely be booed off the stage, and if not, would be razed during the Q&A for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with any facts relating to that matter.

    For that matter, if I was to advocate for donating money to groups that are trying to save the California desert from being destroyed in the name of ‘green’ energy by massive, inefficient solar farms and state that I was in favor of doing away with all of that in favor of rooftop solar there is a good chance a schism would result that would light up the atheist blogosphere with a war between the ‘STOP GLOBAL WARMING AT ALL COSTS’ crowd and the wilderness preservation crowd. And this is a problem. The skeptic movement should not get consumed in a global warming debate of this variety as it has nothing to do with skepticism or atheism — except perhaps skepticism about the use of stimulus money to destroy wilderness — and should focus on more relevant topics like debunking global warming denialism.

    I think that a more reasonable ‘record label’ approach would be for conference websites to include a bio on each speaker and list their favored charity, social movement, etc. in said bio and include a few useful links for anyone interested. If a person finds something distasteful they’re free to ignore it rather than being beaten over the head with it and feeling the need to argue about the issue and muddy up conferences. Not only does it prevent people from using their speaking time as a bully pulpit rather than sticking to the assigned subject, it also helps prevent those who happen to support unorthodox charities from being harangued during or after their speech.

    By the way, Justicar, I found this comment interesting:

    “Being made to think of myself of some kind of emotionally vulnerable group requiring kid gloves before I can brave all the adults in the room puts me off. Before I found out that my gayness was an issue requiring special sensitivity in atheist groups, I was perfectly capable of walking into one without thinking about being a gay atheist. Now, I guess I should wear a sign so you people know to pity my poor lot in life.”

    It reminded me of a comment a Middle Eastern scholar made some time back (on a message board) on the culture of the gay rights movement: He spoke of a famous Arab poet (whose name unfortunately escapes me) who was known for writing various love poems about men. In the past he was known as a great Arab poet because his poems were quality work irregardless of whether he was writing about women or men. He has lately been co-opted (in Arabic studies academic culture, at least) by the gay rights movement as a gay poet. He posed the question, “A great gay poet or a great Arab poet – which is more inclusive?”

  29. #29 Justicar
    July 19, 2011

    I don’t really have any particular problems with what you’ve said here (except irregardless [sic]; that means, literally “with regard”). Let’s say Rebecca Watson is speaking at a meeting. Everyone knows her issues. Having a short bio that includes that is perfectly fine in my book – Rebecca Watson supports kitties international, a no-kill pet sanctuary, and our lady of battered housewives halfway house, for whom she actively campaigns to raise money and awareness.

    This is pretty boilerplate level stuff that attends many introductions – a short bio on work, interests and areas of expertise. I hate listening to them as I’d rather hear the speaker talk than to hear someone talk about the speaker, but I get that it’s marketing for the speaker so I shut up and sit through it. No real heartburn there anymore than having a couple of seconds tacked onto every commercial to read off its website. Part of the game. No biggie.

    I could even see a subpanel set of events that are scheduled in between bigger events where people can discuss different aspects atheists from different walks of life have to contend with. It’s good to be well-rounded, and I’m all for learning something.

    But when I go to a meeting to listen to a speech that has a title and a theme and then get entreated to something else, it pisses me off. Don’t fucking advertise buy one get one free if it’s really buy 20, get the next ten free. I don’t like being backed into something to which I didn’t earlier agree to. It’s rude to say the least.

    And unprofessional.

    Look at how Dawkins manages to slip in little bits here and there without detracting from his venue. He mentions feminism and feminists quite often. As an example of ways in which we can marshal arguments. He doesn’t co-opt an entire talk and do that. It’s a line here, a line there, it’s matter of factly put and moved on from. No heartburn there either.

    But to go from something like that to a “atheism should adopt” and add in whatever pet project you want is too far. For one, there is nothing about atheism that entails any political issues beyond secularism (which is more important than atheism in my opinion anyway). It shouldn’t be a sexist organization, but that isn’t the same as saying it should be an organization that has as a mission statement the conquering of this social problem. Nor should it be lobbying for my right to marry my insignificant other. I appreciate that most atheists think that way, but it’s not necessary that they do, and I don’t think it’s helpful to the atheism movements.

    If a right wing conservative fag-hating atheist is still working towards having religion taken out of government, we have a common goal. Why must it be that his/her failing to adopt all of my other positions should somehow retard progress on a common goal?

    Like I said: so long as the convention isn’t advocating my death, or whatever, I am perfectly fine with its never coming up. Atheism is kind of a one trick pony.

    Besides, if we manage to get religion put in check, a great deal of these other social problems kind of have a way of taking care of themselves. And the right wing conservative fag-hater I imagined, well, people die and are replaced by a new generation. The younger crowd are fairly ok with gays being married and in the military and women being presidents and all that. Of course I want the marriage rights RIGHT NOW. But that isn’t the universe I live in. Social progress of this kind takes a long time, and the gay movement has had an unusually steep slope to its progress anyway.

    It sucks for *me*, but my interests aren’t the only ones in question here. There are those who will live in the world I leave behind after I’m dead. If I’m smart, patient and persistent, that world can be better than one I live in, and it’s perfectly fine with me if I don’t get to enjoy its fruits. I’ll gladly deal with the heartache if the next generation has no one who will.

    To shoot myself and everyone who comes after me in the foot because I’m a petulant child is not being a good steward for those come after me.

    I had the student newspaper interview me once on being a gay person. That annoyed me. I’m a person first. After that, it also happens to be true that I’m gay. And a lot of other things. I guess I’m just not so much the provincial thinker that other people are. Meh.

  30. #30 Southern Geologist
    July 19, 2011

    Justicar:

    Thanks for the correction on improper use of the word.

    As for this:

    “But to go from something like that to a “atheism should adopt” and add in whatever pet project you want is too far. For one, there is nothing about atheism that entails any political issues beyond secularism (which is more important than atheism in my opinion anyway). It shouldn’t be a sexist organization, but that isn’t the same as saying it should be an organization that has as a mission statement the conquering of this social problem. Nor should it be lobbying for my right to marry my insignificant other. I appreciate that most atheists think that way, but it’s not necessary that they do, and I don’t think it’s helpful to the atheism movements.”

    Nail on the head.

    As for the right-wing conservative fag hating atheist bit: I realize you’re just trying to illustrate a point, but I do think it’s worth noting that a statistics blog I used to read posted a study a couple of years back that tracked opposition to gay rights across political and social boundaries; long story short atheists who self-identified as ‘conservative’ or even ‘Republican’ tended to share the same views on gay rights issues (by percentage) with the more liberal demographics. Unsurprisingly (to me, at least), religiosity was the prime factor which could be used to determine religious views with politics being present but secondary. (In other words, someone who was self-described as ‘extremely religious’ AND conservative was more likely to hate gays than someone who self-described as extremely religious and liberal.)

    I’ll see if I can dig up the link, but I have my doubts as I can’t recall the name of the blog.

  31. #31 Justicar
    July 19, 2011

    Oh, don’t go out of your way. It was a hypothetical, so the stats won’t change that.

  32. #32 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 19, 2011

    Justicar @900

    It’s not disingenuous, there is a difference. I don’t know who, or what you are. I don’t know what do you think. I can’t. Telepathy is not one of my skills. All I have is what you do and/or say. So all I can do, and in fact, I must do is to argue with what you say. I can only engage your arguments. And your arguments don’t give me the full picture of who or what you are. They don’t tell me where you came from, what your experiences were. I can’t say though that you are or are not this or that. So it doesn’t matter. What matter are your arguments. And when I engage your arguments, I’m just doing that, I’m not engaging you, personally.
    Besides, people are not straight lines. People are messy, and can and do have contradictions. Rational people can say and behave irrationally sometimes. One can be liberal about some issues and conservative on others. People can sincerelly believe themselves are not doing bigotry when they are. So, to say something like: as I’m not misoginystic, I’m don’t claim to be one, I don’t see myself this way, then nothing I say, or do, can be labelled as misoginy, is a fallacy. A red herring. Instead of clarify or defend ones arguments, defend oneself as if it was a pesonal atack.

    If I give a six hour long speech and put in, “And all niggers should be executed” does this become less bad because it wasn’t the whole of my speech?

    If and when you give such a speech we may talk about it. Here we’re talking about a 1 min of an 8+ min video that don’t have the slightest resemblance to your hypothetical 6h speech. That you, as many, choose not to address the real case to make a point, but keep coming with such hypothetical ‘what ifs’ it’s telling. QED too.

  33. #33 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 19, 2011

    bluharmony @904

    The reason women replied is twofold: (1) Rebecca doesn’t speak for all women

    Neither do you, don’t you? But maybe this need some clarification: I’m not surprised that women disagree with women. I’m surprised by the amount of misoginy, and sexism coming from women toward women, the mischaracterizations, distortions. Maybe I should not be surprized but I am.

    …and (2) she’s dead wrong.
    What happened to Watson IS NOT OBJECTIFICATION….

    Well, now that’s a disagreement don’t you think? There is such a thing as “objetification” at all? If yes, what it is? What counts and what doesn’t? For you it seems it only can happens, if it does at all, in strip clubs and similar places. Many women seem to disagree with you. I tend to disagree also, but need some clarification here.

    It may be inappropriate, and Watson is free to say what she prefers, but she can’t speak for all of us.

    Neither do you. But she can speak for herself, doesn’t she? That’s what she did, as far as I can tell.

    Having a different view on this matter is not misogyny (hatred of women) or anywhere near it.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not so sure on that. It seems to be part of the broad disagreement on this whole issue. I may be wrong but I don’t see misoginy as a black or white, take or leave kind of issue. It’s a spectrum. Where’s the demarcation line? Unless one declares plainly and openly ones hatred of women, including a T-shirt saying ‘women sucks’, or something, we cannot point out misoginy? If that’s the case, then we can say that misoginy practicaly don’t exist. I don’t think so. Things are more subtle, and insidious. Like this:

    Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practiced by women against other women or even themselves. Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in subordinate positions with limited access to power and decision making

    I think I agree with that (what doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind), so maybe it’s not unfair to call misoginy on some statements over this issue, as Watson and others did.

    And no, if she were raped, none of us would defend the rapist.

    Oh.. Really? “Us” who may I ask? Well, as I’ve said, it’s a feeling yes, but it’s not as if blame the victim have never happened ever.

    All we have is an accusation thrown out into thin air without any corroboration.

    I may have missed this “accusation” part. Do you have a quote?

    ..I welcome all requests for coffee in an elevator. And if I’m in a bar until 4AM, I welcome all men to proposition me because I’m probably looking for some company…

    Really? Glad to know. I would take a note of that if I was sinlge. But, so what? Yes, many women don’t mind been hit anytime, anywhere. Some like to have sex with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Some even like to be beatten during sex. So because of that Watson don’t have a legitimate issue to complain about?

    And if it’s a rapist doing the talking, then it doesn’t matter what he says or if he speaks at all; he’ll rape me anyway unless I take some responsibility for my own safety.

    Hhmm, like what exactly? Don’t be at bars late at night? Don’t be alone with strangers in elevators? To dress “properly”? To have the “right” behaviour? To carry a gun? To have body combat training? Seriously, I need to know if I’m missing some advice I must give to my 16yo daughter, beyond what her mother and I already gave, and give every time she leaves home.

    I didn’t like that PZ’s post either, and ever mentioned it. What’s the point? It’s sexist but it’s not misoginystic? Would help me more if you give some examples of what misoginy, and/or objetification, actualy is. Telling me what it’s not doesn’t help.

    We agree on the rudeness and stupidity (a fine example of a very smart guy been very stupid) of Dawkins’ remarks. But I don’t follow why you are bringing this. It’s because of the “Dawkins sake” joke? Bad humor perhaps, but it doesn’t mean I’m throwing his books I have on fire. I don’t need to agree with someone every time on every issue.

  34. #34 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 19, 2011

    ERV @905

    See if this looks like a point to you:
    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/07/bad_form_rebecca_watson.php#comment-4496344

    Cheers

  35. #35 dustbubble
    July 20, 2011

    “And if it’s a rapist doing the talking, then it doesn’t matter what he says or if he speaks at all; he’ll rape me anyway unless I take some responsibility for my own safety.”

    Hhmm, like what exactly?

    “Don’t end up staggering around wankered at dawn in the inner city” is advice I’d give to anyone.
    It’s mine to my own kids, and indeed to myself.

  36. #36 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 20, 2011

    Yep, that’s a good advice.
    But, now let’s be more specific: to stay until 4 am, after a conference, at a hotel bar, drinking, and chating with a group of people with similar ideas and ideals, then went to your room, anouncing that you’re going to sleep, it’s ok, or it qualifies as “end up staggering around wankered at dawn in the inner city”?

  37. #37 John Greg
    July 20, 2011

    In reply to EC #937.

    Your rebuttal includes false equivalencies, or asocciations. Most importantly, you are making the implicit assumption that EG is a rapist. If he is known to not be a rapist, and in this instance he is most certainly known to not be a rapist, heck, he wasn’t even pushy — he presumably accepted No for an answer — then your equivalency is false.

    I know I did not argue that well. Perhaps a more eloquent or skilled rhetorician can improve on it for me?

  38. #38 pornonymous
    July 20, 2011

    Just a thought about marshalling arguments and diminishing the impact of white female and feminists privilege from co-opting the debate.

    Males need to identify the sexual abuses in their childhood in order to gain any advantage in such a discussion–men have to understand the primacy of rape fear starting with themselves.

    Otherwise, the loudest mouths take the prize, not the truth, or wisdom, or statistical fact.

    I was trying to harness some of the anger that I feel about womens dismissals of womens violence as having a place in the discussion. This below is a bit of my response to one such woman ( who actually kind of gets it)

    “…on the feminist bingo board, men with actual knowledge of the abuse that women perpetrate–not on huge grown men who are potential rapists, but the violence that women perpetrate on little boys who can’t speak for themselves–is dismissed as men having :mother issues,” rather than an acknowledgement of womens violence and power-rape.

    But let me give you a clue about things that I am not alone in feeling, remembering, or experiencing as a YOUNG male, before I had to re-experience women’s rape anxiety and its projections, and its violence perpetrated against MY voice, I am certain I was raped dozens of times before the age of ten: If I NEVER have another auntie “hug me” while smashing her double D’s so deeply in my face that I literally could not breathe, I will be a man who can hear you; If I never have another woman stand there and shame me with my pants down or my red-slapped face in a corner because she ran out of language to discuss spilled milk with a four year old, I will get i; If Inever haveto see the neighbor woman fondling her sons penis through the crack in thedoor, while she “babysits” me, I can learn to listen to you; and if I never ever have another woman pinch the tip of my dick so hard that I cry–because I wet myself at three, I will understand your fears; and if I never ever have to face that wall, or stay in my room for a whole day because what I said about mom and the post man in front of dad, I will hear you, too.

    But for now, I have had enough of talking about rape anxiety, and not hearing about the horrors that little boys face when they are too small to rape, or fight against the female rapists that raise them.

    And I sincerely hope you can learn to listen too, and putyour fear and rage aside long enough to actually begin to solve the problem that creates rapists. You know, after all, some 30% to 80% of rapists report that they were sexually and physically abused by women when they were little boys. You can look the stat up yourself–that is if you actually care about the issue, and aren’t just “rambling on” to get attention.

    I mean rape is about power, right? Sure, “call the baby sitter, will ya hon? Mom needs to get out out of the house tonight”; that house often a scene of these unreported crimes.

    And sorry Virginia, but women’s violence has EVERYTHING to do with the discussion.

  39. #39 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 21, 2011

    JG @938

    you are making the implicit assumption that EG is a rapist.

    Maybe, but only as much as dustbubble @936 was making the implicit assumption that Rebbeca was “staggering around wankered at dawn in the inner city”. That you call out my implicit assumption but not dustbubble’s it’s telling.

    That EG accepted a NO for an answer is not something he deserves a medal for, as he shouldn’t have asked her, that way, in that circunstances, in the first place. Period.

  40. #40 Rystefn
    July 21, 2011

    EC: Why not? I agree he doesn’t deserve a medal, that’s the minimum standard of acceptable behavior, but I’ve yet to see anyone actually make a cogent case that there is anything wrong with asking. Sorry, but fuck you, an honest question, honestly asked, is never wrong. We have no evidence to suggest it was any other kind of question, so there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking it. Period.

  41. #41 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 21, 2011

    Rystefn @941

    If you see nothing wrong in ask a woman for sex, when you’re alone with her, in an elevator, where she can’t scape (you said something about honesty?), at 4 am, without have ever exchange a word with her before, ignoring her declared wishes to go to bed, sleep….well…then there’s nothing I can said to you further, as you seem to think that any man is entitled to ask any woman for sex anytime, anyway, anywhere, HE pleases, no matter her feelings and wishes may be.
    Really, there’s not a “cogent case” I can make that will change your mind in the slightest.

  42. #42 Wareyin
    July 22, 2011

    Eneraldo Carneiro @942
    Wait, did Watson tell EG that she wanted to sleep, or had she never exchanged a word with him before?
    Hotel elevators in Ireland that are equipped with both cameras and alarm buttons are places one needs to be able to escape from, if they are politely asked for coffee?
    I agree, there is not a cogent case that *you* can make to change my mind, either. That doesn’t mean there is no case that can change my mind, however.

  43. #43 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 25, 2011

    Wareyin @ 943

    sigh
    Yes, and yes. What part did you missed?
    To ask “politely for a coffee” to a woman you did never spoke a single word before, in an elevator, when alone with her, at 4 a.m., ignoring her previus stated wish to go to her room to sleep, is not polite by definition.
    As you seems oblivious of what is going on I’m not sure what do you think the case is.

  44. #44 Wareyin
    July 25, 2011

    So Rebecca never talked to EG before the elevator, but she explicitly told him that she was tired and wanted to sleep. How can you tell someone something without talking to them? Did she hold up a sign?
    Yes, I must be missing something here.

  45. #45 Wow
    July 25, 2011

    And EG was in the same building.

    As far as we know, he didn’t follow her there, so if he hadn’t spoken to her before, how would be manage to speak to her at all, if not while standing there with nothing to do with another person in the lift?

    Sign language?

    And did EG hear RW’s “previus stated wish to go to her room to sleep”?

    And what if the answer could have been “How about tomorrow, I get up for breakfast at 8am, see you there?” if she was just tired but no other reason for “no” existed?

    And what, exactly, is wrong about asking politely and accepting “no” as an answer?

    “If you see nothing wrong in ask a woman for sex”

    What, exactly, is wrong about asking a woman for sex? Is it dirty? Unnatural?

    And where exactly does “Don’t take this the wrong way, I want to talk to you some more, how about a coffee” get translated into “Lets fuck”?

    “where she can’t scape”

    RD already answered that: the emergency stop.

    And doesn’t she have knees? If you smack a bloke in the nuts, does he not cringe?

    “you seem to think that any man is entitled to ask any woman for sex anytime”

    What, exactly is wrong with that?

    And where, exactly, was that stated?

    Or are you hearing the words you expect to hear, not the ones being said? It’s rather easy to get het up when you’re making both sides of the conversation.

  46. #46 Wareyin
    July 25, 2011

    Eneraldo Carneiro, I think you mentioned that English is not your first language, so I will help you out a little here. If English is your first language, maybe you can follow my logic.
    Rebecca Watson claims that she never spoke to elevator guy, but she (and you) also claims that elevator guy ignored her wishes to go to sleep. How do you think elevator guy knew that RW wanted to go to sleep, when RW says she had not talked to him? You are blaming him for not respecting wishes he could have been unaware of.
    That makes the rest of your qualifiers silly.

    I am starting to think that this event never even happened, anyway. I’ve seen that Rebecca Watson has put out another video, but her story is changing. That makes it sound like a fabrication, to me.

  47. #47 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 26, 2011

    Wow @946

    And where exactly does “Don’t take this the wrong way, I want to talk to you some more, how about a coffee” get translated into “Lets fuck”?

    Planet Earth, Adults Land.

    What, exactly, is wrong about asking a woman for sex? Is it dirty? Unnatural?…

    It depends on the circunstances. To kill can be right or wrong. In war, or self-defense, right, otherwise in general, wrong. Circunstances. Dirty? Yes, it can be. Unnatural? If you are a stupid moron I can’t say it’s unnatural, as to be stupid is the nature of stupid people.
    But…hey?! I thought it was not a sex proposition, “just a coffee” right?

    And what if …

    What if we have an actual adult mature conversation, for a change?

    RD already answered that: the emergency stop.

    So, the elevator stops, between floors, where she can’t scape. Brilliant.

    And doesn’t she have knees? If you smack a bloke in the nuts, does he not cringe?

    Some krav-maga training would be handy! But, hey! To smack a bloke in the poor little guy’s nuts would be VERY sexist! Not allowed.

  48. #48 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 26, 2011

    Wareyin @947

    I’m brazillian, portuguese speaker.

    How do you think elevator guy knew that RW wanted to go to sleep, when RW says she had not talked to him?

    He was an attendee of the conference she was a speaker, so he would have one of those “badges” (I’m not sure if thats how you call this) hanging around his neck, with his name, and maybe picture on it. Ha may be easily around the group she was in in the hotel bar listening to the conversation but without engaging in it. As I would if in the group were someone as Dawkins and PZ Myers. She may as easily have aknowledge him around and knew he was listening. And she may even sopoted him in the audience of speech she gave earlier. If he wasn’t an attendee that wouldn’t be a problem of the “skeptical community”, in the first place.
    Of course I’m rellying on her acount of the incident. I have no reason to doubt it. It’s not an unusual human male behaviour.
    I saw the new video and no, she didn’t change versions, she just sumarise refering to the comments she recceived. Unless you want her to use the same exact words of the previous one, in wich case I would be the one suspicious.

  49. #49 Sigmund
    July 26, 2011

    Eneraldo, according to Jennifer Oullette Elevator Guy was “an intoxicated Irish guy”. I haven’t figured out where she got this specific information but PZ approvingly linked to it recently so I presume it must be accurate. It’s also rather curious. If the guy was a drunk Irish guy then are we 100% certain that he was a delegate at the conference and not some dopey businessman who just happened to be staying at the same hotel and who decided to try a dodgy chat-up line?
    I come from Dublin and it’s not a big town geographically. Most Irish atheists probably already live in that city and would not have required a hotel room.

  50. #50 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 26, 2011

    Sigmund

    I’ve read Oullette’s piece, and it’s not about EG incident only, when she talk about it, it’s briefly, she’s focused more on the reaction internetwise, than in the incident itself. So I don’t rely so much on her acuracy in particular, and I don’t think PZ does.
    Watson’s original account doesn’t mention, as far as I remember, if the guy was “intoxicated”. However, she says that she had been drinking herself, so if he was hanging around looking for an oportunity to show his charm and seduction skills, it’s suposed that he may have been drinking too, I don’t know…
    Anyway I may be wrong, but I don’t think this is so relevant after all.

  51. #51 Wareyin
    July 27, 2011

    Eneraldo, you are guessing when you say he was an attendee. You are guessing when you say he may have been in the group, listening. You are guessing when you say she may have spotted him in the crowd at her speech, earlier. And yet you are blaming EG for all these things that you are only guessing that he did. Do you see the problem?

    RW also admits that she was drinking? That makes her testimony even less reliable. And when her first claim is that he invited her back to his room for coffee after saying “Don’t take this the wrong way”, but her second claim is that he sexually cornered her, then she changed her story.

    I’m an adult on planet Earth. If I invite someone to drink coffee, that does not mean I am inviting them for sex. Maybe you can’t converse with a woman without only having sex on your mind, but that is not a problem for all men.

  52. #52 Wareyin
    July 27, 2011

    I also wanted to point out that for Rebecca Watson, youtube comments are a problem with the “skeptical community”, even though to the rest of us, they are a problem only with the “youtube community”.

  53. #53 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “Eneraldo, according to Jennifer Oullette Elevator Guy was “an intoxicated Irish guy”.”

    A tautology, surely?

    And the only odd thing about the situation with this information added in is that it wasn’t a pint offered: the Irish seem almost pathologically disposed to buying drinks. IMO, most fights in an Irish bar are over who’s going to buy the next pint (the winner getting to buy the drinks).

    “And where exactly does “Don’t take this the wrong way, I want to talk to you some more, how about a coffee” get translated into “Lets fuck”?
    “Planet Earth, Adults Land.””

    No, Planet Testosterone, Dick-followers Land. Just because YOU can’t keep your pecker in your pocket doesn’t mean every bloke is as dangerous a sex pest as you.

  54. #54 Wow
    July 27, 2011

    “But…hey?! I thought it was not a sex proposition, “just a coffee” right?”

    Well at least you’re now admitting it wasn’t a demand for sex.

    Now, given you insist that it’s circumstances that make sex dirty, what circumstances would make it dirty here; and, since you have to assess all circumstances, what makes it non-dirty.

    No circular reasoning, please. We’re skeptics, not religious kooks.

  55. #55 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 27, 2011

    Wareyin @944

    And yet you are blaming EG for all these things that you are only guessing that he did. Do you see the problem?

    Now this is getting sillier. Unless I’m missing (due to my louzy english) some obscure meaning of ‘to blame’, I hardly see how can somebody be “blamed” for been an attendee in a conference, or for been around listening to a group’s conversation.
    You ask me this question:

    How do you think elevator guy knew that RW wanted to go to sleep, when RW says she had not talked to him?

    And I’ve just give you an answer.

    but her second claim is that he sexually cornered her,

    No secound claim. Been hit inside an elevator = been sexually cornered. IMO.

    If I invite someone to drink coffee, that does not mean I am inviting them for sex.

    Ow, really? How exactly do you invite someone for sex? You just come out of the blue and say: ‘hey, lets fuck?’ I’m not very experienced, and I surely never was, nor I am, ever close to a PUA type, but I had some experiences and I, as far as I can recall, have never, ever directly invited any of my partners for sex. Surely never in the first time we had sex. Ever.
    A female friend of mine was picked up once by a line like: “would you like to leave and have some beer?”, or something like that. She accepted knowing that it was an invitation for sex, because they were drinking (and chating) already, but she couldn’t resist to ask jokingly: “do you want to go to a hotel,right?”. Context.
    So, yes, nonetheless the loads of sweet, respectful, kind, caring, gentle guys like you and me around, I think a woman is pretty much authorized to interpret a line like: “I find you interesting and I would like to talk more, would you like to come to my hotel room for a coffee?” as an invitation for sex. Specially if they have never exchange a word before, and they are in an elevator, at 4 a.m.. Context matters.
    When a man talks or approaches a woman without any sexual interest, I think he should avoid to say and do ANYTHING that could be interpreted as sexual interest, don’t you think?
    I know. It’s tricky business. But can be learned. It helps to listten to what women themselves have to say about how, where, and when they like and don’t like to be approached.

  56. #56 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 27, 2011

    In Eneraldo @956

    Where is

    Wereryin @944

    please read “Wereyin @952″

    Thanks

  57. #57 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 27, 2011

    Wow @955

    Well at least you’re now admitting it wasn’t a demand for sex.

    If you have nothing better to do than to fragrantly distort and misrepresent what one have said, or cannot engage in an argument without using such cheap and imcompetent tactics, I have no interest in pursue this conversation with you.
    Go to the kindergarten and play with your little friends. It will be better for everyone. Maybe not for your little friends, I guess.

  58. #58 dustbubble
    July 27, 2011

    Sigmund@950

    Eneraldo, according to Jennifer Oullette Elevator Guy was “an intoxicated Irish guy”. I haven’t figured out where she got this specific information but PZ approvingly linked to it recently so I presume it must be accurate.

    So that would rule out Moss, because of the accent. It must have been Roy.

  59. #59 Marco the Beagle
    July 27, 2011

    So that would rule out Moss, because of the accent. It must have been Roy.

    Holy crap, it fits perfectly!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwAFDlMsXhA

  60. #60 Wareyin
    July 27, 2011

    Eneraldo, maybe it is your English.
    You have no idea that Elevator Guy knew Rebecca Watson wanted to sleep, so you make up a lot of reasons why he might have. That is a lot of maybes, not a lot of facts. If EG did not know she wanted to sleep, then he did not disregard her feelings. If he did not disregard her feelings, he was polite.
    Asking someone to have coffee does not mean asking someone for sex. Period. Full stop. You say you aren’t very experienced, and that shows.
    A woman is allowed to interpret EG’s invitation any way she wants to. That does not mean he was asking for anything but coffee and conversation.
    The funny thing is, there are a lot of women posting here and other places who are saying your views are wrong. Are you listening to them? No one woman speaks for them all.

  61. #61 Rayshul
    July 27, 2011

    Eneraldo, when a man asks me for coffee in his hotel room because I’m interesting, my first assumption would be that he’s asking me to drink coffee with him in his hotel room because I’m interesting. I appreciate that in romantic comedy movies coffee often seems to mean “sex” (although usually it turns out later that it doesn’t, and there is thigh slapping and hilarity and comic misunderstandings) but in the reality I live in it usually means “it’s 4am and if we want to talk without sounding like slurring idiots, we probably need caffeine.”

    I’m also not sure how people in other countries interpret phrase “Don’t take this the wrong way” – I don’t know if Americans use it or if it’s specific to other cultures, but what it invariably means is, Please listen to the words I’m actually saying to you, I don’t mean offence, I don’t mean to be weird, I’m actually just saying something pretty bluntly. That to me is a fairly good way to stop someone assuming you have a “sexual interest” in them.

    Nothing about EG’s actions – even filtered through RW’s femcult vision – suggests to me that he meant anything else.

    And I don’t even know why this is still an issue. No one knows anything about this guy and unfortunately everyone is not a psychic. You can make stuff up forever, suggesting what he meant and what he didn’t, but the fact is that you don’t know. The power of the question posed is that in the right/wrong hands it can be twisted to mean whatever anyone wants in this controversy, but you need to realise that you are now convicting someone on someone else’s frankly dubious translation of an innocuous invitation.

    Please take what I’ve said in this context: I’m just a woman and I have a different opinion from another woman. I’m not scared of men in elevators (I *am*, however, scared of elevators which is another issue entirely) and while I have preferences in how men interact with me I would not suggest that these would apply to all women.

  62. #62 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 29, 2011

    Wereyin @961

    you make up a lot of reasons why he might have.

    As I said, to answer your question that implied that he may naver possibly know, as they didn’t spoke each other before. Anyway, how’s this game where you call me out for “guessing”, when you do this all the time, as you dismiss the account of the only person that was actually there, and keep making excuses for a guy you don’t know, in a situation you didn’t witnessed either.

    If EG did not know she wanted to sleep, then he did not disregard her feelings. If he did not disregard her feelings, he was polite.

    To approach a woman you don’t ever spoke before, when alone with her, inside an elevator, at 4 a.m., inviting her to your room is unpolite, and creepy, no matter what words do you use to wrap it up. And it doesn’t shows much regard for her feelings as well. IMO. It doesn’t matter if he heard she was going to sleep or not, as at 4 a.m. this would be a very reasonable assumption.

    You say you aren’t very experienced, and that shows

    As, I’ve said already, so teach me. How exactly do you invite someone for sex? What exact words (and I mean words only, without non-verbal communication) do you use to unambiguously make yourself clear? I’m really curious.

    A woman is allowed to interpret EG’s invitation any way she wants to.

    And that’s what Rebbeca did: she just expressed her feelings (unconfortable, creepy) about an incident that happened to HER, and asked people not to do that, but you dismiss that all the time. Your hypocrisy shows.

    there are a lot of women posting here and other places who are saying your views are wrong. Are you listening to them? No one woman speaks for them all.

    Nobody claims to speak for “all”, so what? Unless there are 100% consensus among women, Rebbeca should STFU? I don’t speak for “all” men so I should STFU? Well, if that’s the criteria, as YOU don’t speak for all men STFU you sir.

  63. #63 Eneraldo Carneiro
    July 29, 2011

    Rayshul @962

    Bolds added

    …when a man asks memy first assumption…in the reality I live in…

    I think I can give you, for now, the benefit of the doubt here, that you are not intentionally been obtuse, and that you really live in a reality where what people say is ALWAYS what they meant, and where ALL men ALWAYS take an “no” for an answer. A reality where women are not raped or sexualy harassed, and where there are no sexual predators, or, if there are some, at least they carry some kind of sign that allow women to spot them at distance, or are easily identifiable somehow. A reality where the police doesn’t need to advice women to avoid been alone with a strange man in an elevator. I’m so much glad that YOU live in such a place and time, that if it’s not a secret I would know where on Earth it is.

    Anyway, the point I want to make is that, and please, please, don’t take this personaly (especially as pretty much every women against RB seems to be making this), the point is that this is not about YOU. It’s not about YOU we’re talking. It’s not about YOU we should talk.

    I mean, of course you may have a whole lot of experiences to share, and I pretty much would appreciate to hear about them: cases where you were approached, both properly and improperly, things that men say that turn you on/down, approaches that make you unconfortable and creepy, ones that make you jump, anything. You, and any other women in this conversation, should do then your own videoblogs with all this interesting stuff. If you will, of course. Then we can talk about YOU.

    But here, now we’re talking about a particular experience of a particular woman, who express her feelings about it. No experience that you may had, in any way demean hers, or entitle you to be dismissive about it.
    You say

    I’m just a woman and I have a different opinion from another woman.

    And I really fail to see where this difference lies. You were not there, you didn’t witness the incident, did you? So there is little you can talk about doesn’t it? And certainly you are not entitled to say anything whatsoever about Rebbeca’s feelings, are you? It’ not up to you to say how she should or should not have felt. It’s just not up to you, or anybody else for that matter.

  64. #64 0verlord
    July 29, 2011

    To approach a woman you don’t ever spoke before, when alone with her, inside an elevator, at 4 a.m., inviting her to your room is unpolite, and creepy, no matter what words do you use to wrap it up.

    (…)

    Nobody claims to speak for “all”, so what?

    (…)

    Your hypocrisy shows.

    Indeed.

  65. #65 Wareyin
    July 29, 2011

    Eneraldo, wow. You got STFU from my posts? Where? I can’t find it.
    You obviously have no idea how to interact with people, based on your posts here. You want to be taught how to ask for sex? Why don’t you go ask RE how to ask a woman for sex? She seems to be someone you think you can learn from, and she must be one of the few women you might listen to.
    At least you bothered to add IMO in your post. Now if you can just learn that others have equally valid opinions about when and where they are allowed to talk, we’ll be making progress. Maybe even *more* valid opinions, since we may have actually had experience.

  66. #66 Wareyin
    July 29, 2011

    Re my post @966:
    I meant to tell Eneraldo to ask RW (Watson) how to ask a woman for sex. My phone’s autocorrect does not like those abbreviations! (STFU, RW, IMO)

  67. #67 Wareyin
    July 29, 2011

    Eneraldo @964:
    Seriously? You are telling us that Rebecca’s interpretation of one (made-up?) approach by one (imaginary?) guy should tell us all how we are not allowed to approach any woman, while also telling Rayshul (a woman) that since she wasn’t there, she, as a woman, can’t say how she feels about being asked for coffee? Really?

    Are you some 15 year old kid trying to prove his feminist cred so that the girls at school will have sex with you? Really, every time you decide that the only reason to interact with a woman is to have sex, it shows how *you* are, not every other guy out there who might actually want to talk to a woman over coffee without any sex at all.

  68. #68 Eneraldo Carneiro
    August 1, 2011

    Wareyin @966

    You obviously have no idea how to interact with people, based on your posts here. You want to be taught how to ask for sex?

    No thanks. I’ve figured it out myself years ago, but I appreciate your concern. That’s not the point. The point is that you claim that EG’s hit on Rebbeca, when their’re alone, in an elevator, at 4 a.m., can’t possibly be interpreted as a ‘hit on’, right? He said that he finds her “interesting”, and invited her for “a coffee” in his room. You claim that this may not be interpreted as having any sexual conotation, or impication. More. Given your’s, and other’s, outrage, it’s even preposterous to interpret things that way, right? That means that this is not the usual way a man interested in sex would approach a woman, that a man sexualy interested in a woman wouldn’t say: “I find you interesting, would you like to come to my hotel room for a coffee?”, because this must be taken as just an inocent invitation for coffee, nothing more, nothing less. And the fact that this was inside an elevator, at 4 a.m., and that they never exgange a word before means nothing. If that is so, I just ask you for an example of how an actual sex invitation would look like to make a comparison, but you carefully avoid to answer this simple direct question. You do so because “I find you interesting, would you like to come to my hotel room for a coffee?” is what a man could, and would say to express sexual interest. So you are been disingenuous and intentionaly obtuse, what qualifies you to go to play with Wow on the playground.
    Another way to show this is the case is this: if to say “I find you interesting, would you like to come to my hotel room for a coffee?” doesn’t have any possible sexual conotation, then this particular choice of words is gender neutral and would be used in an interaction between people of the same sex, isn’t it? How is it? Is it common for a heterosexual male to approach another male, with whom he’d never spoken before, in an elevator, at 4 a.m., saying that he finds the other one “interesting” (is this a word straight males commonly use to refer to each other?), and he would invites him for a coffee in his room? Is it common for strange people, that have never spoken to each other before, to meet and , out of the blue, one invite the other to his/her place?
    I don’t think so. No way a straight male would say to another male that he finds him “interesting”. Never. Ever. Unless, males have a very different behaviour where you came from. What I don’t believe for a secound.

    Why don’t you go ask RE how to ask a woman for sex?

    She did tell how NOT to do already, but you won’t listen don’t you?

    Wareyin @968

    Seriously? You are telling us that Rebecca’s interpretation of one (made-up?) approach by one (imaginary?) guy

    Seriously, if you want to follow this path to claim that the whole incident was made up by Rebbeca then we have nothing to discuss further don’t you think?

    should tell us all how we are not allowed to approach any woman,

    That’s a strawman and you know it, but you can’t avoid it because your claims depends on the mischaracterization of the incident. You simply can’t address it as it was.

    while also telling Rayshul (a woman) that since she wasn’t there, she, as a woman, can’t say how she feels about being asked for coffee? Really?

    Another mischaraterization. Intentional. As I’ve said Rayshul can and may say how she feels about been asked for coffee or anything else wherever and whenever she wants to. The point is that this simply tells me how Rayshul (whomever she is) feels, but nothing about Rebbeca’s feelings. Because Rayshul is a woman that don’t entitle her to say how another woman should’ve felt on something. Neither does Rebbeca of course. The difference is that she didn’t do that.

    Are you some 15 year old kid….

    Your attempts to piss me off are pathetic, and childish.

    it shows how *you* are, not every other guy out there who might actually want to talk to a woman over coffee without any sex at all.

    Of course. And that’s some piece of advice you would give to a daughter of yours: ‘don’t worry about strangers, you can and may talk to them anytime, anywhere’, ‘if a stranger approaches you in an elevator, without anybody else around, late at night, and invites you to go to his place for a coffee, a coffee is all that he possibly wants, ’cause, men are always straight, and honest’, and ‘if you say no to a man, anytime, you need no worry because all men ALWAYS take no for an answer’.

  69. #69 Wareyin
    August 1, 2011

    Eneraldo, you have a hard time reading English, don’t you? Either that, or you are very dishonest. I never claimed that EG’s approach to Rebecca, if it even happened, could not possibly be interpreted as “hit on”. I claimed that “hit on” is not the only way to interpret it.

    You go on and on about me mischaracterizing the argument, while distorting and outright lying about what I actually wrote in the comments preceding yours. I can’t and didn’t edit them. They are still there. Reread them. Anyone else looking in here can, and will see exactly who the dishonest, strawman debater is here.

    I’m sorry that your posts come off as a 15 year old, inexperienced kid trying to prove how feminist he is to get laid. You have admitted to having little experience, so I thought that a young age was the most charitable way of interpreting that. So you imply you are not 15? Are you now claiming to be older? If so, maybe your lack of experience could be caused by something else, possibly being creepy?

  70. #70 Wareyin
    August 1, 2011

    Another point you seem to be purposefully missing, Eneraldo, is that Rebecca is changing her story. Her first recorded telling of this story had EG saying “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” The story has now dropped the “talk more” bit. One has to wonder, how can EG talk more with Rebecca, if they had never talked before? I guess it makes sense to drop that part to make the story sound better, huh? Especially if the story is either made up, or the result of a tired and or drunken memory (read likely distorted).

  71. #71 Wareyin
    August 1, 2011

    Oh, and I just noticed how you think “interesting” is something men never say to each other? Really? Wait, are you a poe?

  72. #72 Eneraldo Carneiro
    August 3, 2011

    Wareyin
    I’m not the one having reading problems.
    What I’ve said was:

    I’m not very experienced, and I surely never was, nor I am, ever close to a PUA type, but I had some experiences and I, as far as I can recall, have never, ever directly invited any of my partners for sex. Surely never in the first time we had sex. Ever.

    If you interpreted it as meaning “little experience” = 15 years old then you really are very fucking stupid. OEC kind of stupid.
    That this is allegedly the “more charitable” interpretation you can think of it’s also telling. Why is that? A “little experienced” man is either young or creepy? That’s the only options? Again, why? Would it be because in the end of the day you are that kind of machist that thinks manhood is all about having as many pussy as possible? And that loves to brag about his conquests? Not been very experienced is demeaning in some way for a grown man? A man may necessarily have had unaccountable sex partners? There is a lower number? So a man that don’t fits this model is a teen or a weirdo? If that’s so, then all that talk that not all man are interested in sex when approaching a woman is just hypocritical bullshit of yours.
    Or, the option I think is more probable, you’re just a troll trolling.

    I never claimed that EG’s approach to Rebecca, if it even happened, could not possibly be interpreted as “hit on”. I claimed that “hit on” is not the only way to interpret it.

    Really? Then we agree that sex is not out of the picture. So it’s legitimate that Rebbeca have interpreted things this way. And given that she was there, and you were not, who’s the one entitled to make such judgment call? Not you troll.
    “If it even happened”? Yeah, sure. She may have made it all up, but she couldn’t fool you. You’re too smart.

    One has to wonder, how can EG talk more with Rebecca, if they had never talked before?

    You mean, if they talked before, then he knew she was going to sleep and ignored it, and cornered her in the elevator, anyway regardless. Or else they didn’t exchange a word before and he just cornered her in the elevator and invited her to his room, out of the blue, because he wanted to, and didn’t care how she would feel about it. She felt it was inapropriate and creepy. That’s enough to me.
    But you claim that the whole story was made up, so you can keep dismissing it ploting as many scenarios as you need right? Well, be my guest. By now I’m a bit tired of feeding you troll, and I need to have some serious work done.
    Keep playing, but take care, don’t hurt yourself, and don’t stole the stuff of the other kids, ok?
    Good boy.

    Cheers

  73. #73 Wow
    August 3, 2011

    “Then we agree that sex is not out of the picture. So it’s legitimate that Rebbeca have interpreted things this way.”

    It is, however, a projection.

    Thoughtcrime at one remove, as it were.

    Given that “no” was the response and accepted, there’s no EVIDENCE that sex was the correct interpretation.

    And you know what really defines a SKEPTIC?

    The demand for EVIDENCE.

    Think on it.

  74. #74 Wareyin
    August 3, 2011

    Eneraldo, so sorry that I interpreted your claim of having little experience plus your ignorant interpretations as meaning you had little experience so were likely young.
    It’s now obvious to me that you came here tone trolling from phawrongula, as evinced by your love of obscure acronyms (PUA is one I’ve never seen before but must be even more rare for a non native english user). Congrats on accusing me of being a troll before I realized you just came here to mansplain and project your silly inexperienced understanding of human interactions onto others.
    Maybe someday you will be around real women enough to know how little they like white knights.

  75. #75 Jaysus
    October 30, 2011

    Great post! Not only in its own right but as a comeback to PZ’s dishonest shit-stirring and well-poisoning. I wish I’d been aware of it earlier.

  76. #76 Dr. Ewen Cameron
    May 27, 2012

    Re: Wow

    “And you know what really defines a SKEPTIC?
    The demand for EVIDENCE.”

    Or another beer–and that knowing, motherly smile that denotes ‘snugglin, and mebbe more–‘”, you dumbass femtard.

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