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.


  1. #1 Roger
    July 12, 2011

    Victoria Johnson: “Rorshach: How on earth can you interpret my personal feelings as “a lie”? I expressed how I (and my husband) felt about the presentations. I never said that the whole audience felt that way. Indeed there were people present who supported Rebecca, including Skepchick fans, PZ, and members of the Horde.”


  2. #2 Mr. DNA
    July 12, 2011

    Hello everyone,

    I am a first-time poster. In fact, apart from a few posts here and there at, this is perhaps the first time that I have ever posted in an “atheist/skeptic/science-type” blog. However, I am an ardent lurker of various humanist websites, and I have been following the likes of Pharyngula, WEIT etc for a number of years now. I very rarely read the comments sections of these blogs: my internet/faffing about time is extremely limited, and I have such a range of interests on the ‘net that I find it hard to become too embroiled in any one thing for a prolonged length of time.

    In saying that, I have become extremely involved over the last week or two in the recent Elevator Guy travesty, finding myself unable to sleep most nights because I am up until the wee hours of the morning, ravenously inhaling as many reader comments to the various blogs relating to this issue as is humanly possible. As a result I have been exposed to a veritable Smörgåsbord of differing tones, views and attitudes in the comments sections of the various blogs, and it has been a truly enlightening experience.

    I had no idea that the various skeptic blogs contained such a wildly differing array of posters. I began my voracious blog-reading escapade at Pharyngula, where I read Dawkins’s first post shortly after it had been posted. My initial reaction was overwhelming amusement: I had been surprised at how seriously the posters at Pharyngula has been taking Watson’s anecodote, and it was a real breath of fresh air for me to read Dawkins’s cutting dismissal of its relevance. The resulting shit-storm in the comments was nothing short of ludicrous. Hundreds upon hundreds of outraged fuck-wits screaming blue-murder about “privilege” and “ivory towers” and how a renowned supporter of womens’ rights “just doesn’t get it” (I’d put that last bit in italics for emphasis, but I don’t know how to do it). It really did pain me to see that the vast, vast consensus of opinion was strongly in favour of that snivelling blow-hard Watson, and overwhelmingly against the legend that is Richard Dawkins. I was starting to wonder just what in the hell I had been doing spending so much time reading atheist blogs when the majority of the people who frequent them were such quick-to-be-offended, no-nothing douche-bags. (That “Caine, Fleur du mal” guy in particular- what a prick! Does he know how to do anything apart from condescendingly refer to people as “cupcakes” and tell them to “fuck off”?)

    This has been an overly-long ramble and so I shall cut to the chase: thank FUCK for blogs such as ERV. I had only ever heard of ERV a few times before, and I remember watching her hour-long talk with PZ Myers a few years ago, but I had never checked out her blog until a few days ago. I have read all of the posts here, and I am really glad to find so many learned and coherent individuals who share my views on the matter. I have also been made of aware of other blogs, such as The Friendly Atheist’s and Miranda Celeste’s, and I now have a whole cavalcade of new and excellent blogs to check out. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the 95% of you who have posted in this forum for helping me to not lose my sanity over the past couple of days. I think that I would have just given up on these kinds of sites if I hadn’t encountered you all. Cheers.

  3. #3 frank habets
    July 12, 2011

    Hello Mr. DNA,
    I concur. ERV’s blog is one of the rare places where sanity is always the soupe-du-jour. I too rarely read the comments on the sundry science blogs I frequent, and post even less, but like you I made an exception here.

  4. #4 John Greg
    July 12, 2011

    I think two of the most popular critical thinking/skeptical posts at Pharyngula are “Shut up”, and “Fuck off.” Amazing, really.

  5. #5 Bob Johnson
    July 12, 2011

    Justicar @696.

    No offense taken; no apology required. I read your post exactly as you intended. I just wanted everyone else to be clear (“For the record”) on my position.

    PS- Sorry for the delay getting back to you, as I was getting my garden in shape for when I’m off to TAM 9.

  6. #6 dustbubble
    July 12, 2011

    @ Mr. DNA: [shift]+[comma][i][shift]+[period] keys in front of the stuff to be italicised, with [shift]+[comma][forward slash][i][shift]+[period] keys at the back end.
    I’m still nervous of [Enter]. Have visions of the carriage shooting across and punting my tin of Special Brew across the room. Just pile in, and check with the [Preview] button. Stiff upper lip and all that, old chap.

  7. #7 cthellis
    July 12, 2011

    I think two of the most popular critical thinking/skeptical posts at Pharyngula are “Shut up”, and “Fuck off.” Amazing, really.

    Which is a shame, because “fuck up” and “shut off” are far more amusing commands.

  8. #8 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    Mr. DNA:
    As the leader of the 5% team here on ERV, I am authorized to say you’re welcome. I don’t know if the “other” group will say anything.

    John Greg:
    shut up and fuck off!

  9. #9 Victoria Johnson
    July 12, 2011

    We just sent Mr. Deity an extra donation (we’re already subscribers). He is bound to receive a lot of flak over his last video, so I might suggest that a few words of support, or even better a donation (if you can afford it) would be great.

  10. #10 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    I thought about, but my involvement in this has already reduced my income – google disabled my ad sense account because my content presented a “threat” to their advertisers’ interested. So to protect their advertisers, they disabled my account.

    Meh. I guess I’ll have to forgo hookers and beer for a while.

  11. #11 Victoria Johnson
    July 12, 2011

    Amendment. Send a donation to Justicar. Support hookers and beer.

  12. #12 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    Not why I mentioned, but I appreciate the sentiment. Just that, you know, if you’re going to take the unpopular side in such a thing, there are consequences. I knew that going in, particularly with the approach I decided on. Meh.

  13. #13 Mr. DNA
    July 12, 2011

    Frank: Great minds think alike my man.

    John Greg: If I was PZ I would be deeply, deeply concerned at the overall douche-baggery that seems to prevail in the Pharyngula comments scetion. Although perhaps I just don’t “get it”. :/

    dustbubble: Thanks for the help, but I have been faffing about trying to do as you suggest and I can’t get it to work. Am I supposed to write the word out that I want italicised, highlight it, and then press [shift]+[comma] or [shift]+[period]? That’s probably completely wrong, but I’m too idiotic to decipher your help. Thanks anyway, though!

    cthellis: “Fuck up” (which is similar to the old faithful “fuck off”) is a beautiful expression, although I was not aware that it was very common outside of my native Scotland. Do you live there?

    Justicar: It is painfully obvious that from your posts both here and in various other blogs over the past week or so (Miranda’s; Ophelia’s etc.), that you are a fully paid-up member of the 95% to whom my initial post was directed. Although I have also learned through actually reading the comments sections over the past wee while that Ophelia won’t be reading this comment. Too many “epithets” for her liking. And not enough broomsticks. 😉

  14. #14 frank habets
    July 12, 2011

    I’ve just renewed my subscription to Mr. Deity (yes, I was a lapsed misterdeist).

    Here is the epistle of support I sent him:

    “O Mr. Deity,
    When I changed credit cards, I had forgotten to carry over my subscription to your show.
    Seeing your latest video reminded me I should give a tithe of a tithe of a tithe of my income to such a worthy ’cause’. I expect you will lose some of your fan base after you’ve defended Mr. Dawkins, so I hope this will make up for it a bit.
    Frank Habets
    Patron Saint of tomato sandwiches”

  15. #15 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    ZOMG, you read my blog! I’m telling everyone!

    I have to say, I was taken a bit aback reading Ophelia scolding Rebecca Watson about not wearing the right kind of clothing. Particularly given that about a month ago Ophelia had an article about how it’s nobody’s fucking business what people are wearing, and it’s sexist to point it (IIRC – not going back to find it).

    Rebecca, in my estimation, was perfectly right to essentially tell Ophelia where to shove that kind of talk. It was nice to see that “Twatson” is a worse crime than gender traitor. She majorly objects to “genderized”insults, but apparently is content with the “Dear Dick” letter campaign.

    The tone card from Ophelia Benson. This past week has certainly been an interested exercise in revealing people’s inner-selves instead of what they tell everyone they are, present company excluded.

    So, take heart, Abbie, you’re slightly less despised than I am . . . barely.

    I want to stay in the 5% . . . playing the victim is current atheist fad you know. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to myself cornered in any elevators, so I don’t have a good reason to cry out . . .

  16. #16 Mr. DNA
    July 12, 2011

    “This past week has certainly been an interested exercise in revealing people’s inner-selves instead of what they tell everyone they are, present company excluded.”

    So what have I learned from this whole escapade? Read the comments section! The spur-of-the-moment, unedited comments from certain posters has indeed been extremely revealing, as I have found out a great deal about the character of the various bloggers to whom I have been invested for the past few years. I have Ophelia’s blog bookmarked: I find her to have a snappy writing style, and she tells a good anecdote. But you know, all of this crap coming from her over the past week or so, lambasting ERV and yourself for daring to have a sense of humour, is very disheartening. And her support of Watson is obviously also extremely disappointing. She obviously doesn’t get it.

    This might be bad form, and if it is then I have no porblem with it being removed, but I just watched this YouTube video about the whole deal (, and I think that the dude sums it up well. I’m not normally a huge fan of The Amazing Atheist, but this video points out the honest-to-goodness lunacy of the whole ultra-feminist position in relation to this issue.

  17. #17 ERV
    July 12, 2011


    “Not even ‘for sure hit’ on.”

  18. #18 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    I think Abbie should make it a rule here that no one is allowed to quote me. Invariably, the section being quoted has a typo! My keyboard is oppressing me – help!

    This event hasn’t changed my mind about most people in it. Ophelia’s blog is sometimes interesting, sometimes not. Pharyngula is one I check every few weeks and skim over it to see if there’s anything I shouldn’t live without knowing. I’ve contributed to maybe 5 or 6 threads there. Maybe. I don’t mind a rough and tumble crowd in the least, but at some point the conversation has to go from a string insults to something of substance or I lose interest. Well, unless you’re really, really clever with the insults. I now only skim those blogs real fast now, mainly to see how much shit’s being talked about me. =^_^=
    I’ve never paid attention to TJ on youtube; he’s always been too erratic and off-putting to me. Plus, I’ve never heard him say anything interesting. But he subscribed to my channel last night, so I’m not sure if my channel is heading in the direction I want it go or not . . . on the other than Wildwoodclaire1 subscribed to me. She’s a hoot, and does excellent geology videos as well. Her pwnage video series, travels with creatards, is awesome if I do say so myself.

    Reading up-thread, I really need to start using “preview” before I post. I’m making a lot of silly grammatical errors. le sigh.

    If you want to see someone who does top notch science videos on youtube, check out “thelivingdinosaur”. He’s a PhD biochemist I think. He has a series titled “Holy Hallucinations”, and they’re animated quite superbly. He probably spends 3 weeks or so making a video.

    Look at me babble!

  19. #19 dustbubble
    July 12, 2011

    Can we have some GeekAid for Mr.DNA here please? (A redirect to some hyperlink on html codes (x or other) is not going to work).
    He’s not an idiot, I believe. And I’m a jiner to trade, and a gey auld yin forbye. So I likely am, and floundering a bit.

    Thing is, Mr.DNA, gif I schaw Yee thon Runes, ye Device eates thame upp, and enacts ye magicke Spell which chaunges ye Wordis intil thair shiftet schapes.
    I shall try to disguise them. Substitute [the character above the comma on that key] and [the character above the dot, next door] for [ { ] and [ } ] (ignoring the square brackets, I should add ..
    Type piecewise into the box, literally, no fancy-dan highlights.

    {i}.. get ti Freuchie whaur the French-men gang ..{/i}
    then see if you’ve done it right with the onscreen [Preview] radio button.

    See? Much more satisfying than dreary old “fuck off”.

  20. #20 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    Ok, this video is the bees knees. This religious girl . . church of radical atheist feminism.

  21. #21 Mr. DNA
    July 12, 2011


    ahhahahahaaaa!!! Can you believe that I did actually try this method before asking for help, and it didn’t work! I must not have done it correctly. But now I have! Thanks for spelling it out to me in terms that even an idiot could understand. I think that’s the reason that I finally got it. Now I just need to figure out how to do quote tags…


    I unsubscribed to TJ’s videos a while back, but I had to re-subscribe after watching this video. It’s just beautiful.

  22. #22 Dave
    July 12, 2011

    You mean this video on YouTube we can all watch

    OK, so I actually bothered to watch Watson. This is the face of modern feminism? Someone should take advantage of the opportunity and hook a dynamo to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s grave.

  23. #23 Justicar
    July 12, 2011

    I’ll watch his next couple of videos and see how they go. It’s not like he needs my support anyway – he’s the most popular atheist on youtube I think. He has something like 1.75 times Tf00t’s audience.

    apparently. She’s a “leader” in the atheist movement. News to me since I was unaware I was a follower. Shows how low on the totem pole I am.

  24. #24 pornonimous
    July 12, 2011

    It is AMAZING what white womens privilege can do to stir up a hornets nest of conversation!

    RD was so right as both a rationalist who agrees that manufactured controversy has actual value (food supply)–and Rebecca is right too, because in the white woman’s universe, every man that doesn’t merely tip his hat and acknowledge her privilege is non-Victorian(on top of the list of privileged well-fed individuals has always been white American women to dump some protein on) …

    I mean, we all know that stirring the gene pool is what males are designed to do–which is good for all of us– and that in the end, she has positioned herself right center to a bunch of men who can really stir up conversation–and cleverly, manufactured controversy that will ensure her gametes get noticed.

  25. #25 cthellis
    July 12, 2011

    OK, so I actually bothered to watch Watson. This is the face of modern feminism? Someone should take advantage of the opportunity and hook a dynamo to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s grave.

    I must warn you, this can have dire consequences

  26. #26 JD
    July 12, 2011

    The fearless leader Herr Myers,

    Comments closed here, because I’ve put up with enough of the hysterical delusions of people offended by calm, nuanced, proportionate statements

    And with that thousands of irony meters explode all over the interwebz in a light show that can be seen from space.

  27. #27 Nibi
    July 12, 2011

    From Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon [1]:

    If I were designing a phony religion, I’d surely include a version of this little gem—but I’d have a hard time saying it with a straight face:

    If anybody ever raises questions or objections about our religion that you cannot answer, that person is almost certainly Satan. In fact, the more reasonable the person is, the more eager to engage you in open-minded and congenial discussion, the more sure you can be that you’re talking to Satan in disguise! Turn away! Do not Listen! It’s a trap!

    What is particularly cute about this trick is that it is a perfect “wild card,” so lacking in content that any sect or creed or conspiracy can use it effectively. Communist cells can be warned that any criticism they encounter is almost sure to be the work of FBI infiltrators in disguise, and radical feminist discussion groups can squelch any unanswerable criticism by declaring it to be phallocentric propaganda being unwittingly spread by a brainwashed dupe of the evil patriarchy, and so forth. This all-purpose loyalty-enforcer is paranoia in a pill, sure to keep the critics muted if not silent.

    So, do we need room under the bus for Dennett too?

    [1] Chapter 8, Belief in Belief

  28. #28 Mr. DNA
    July 12, 2011

    JD, you have to wonder whether PZ actually reads the comments to his own posts. Any objective observer can plainly see (thanks, dustbubble) that most of the Pharyngula commenters, at least over the past week or so, have been anything but “calm and proportionate”. I mean- WTF is he talking about? How is “fuck off, gender-traitor” and “you just don’t get it…” “proportionate”? Richard Dawkins must have a very red forehead, what with all of the violent facepalming that he is currently engaged with.

  29. #29 John Greg
    July 12, 2011

    Especially just for justicar I will now, for the evening, shut off and fuck up.


    Mr. DNA, I’m afraid that when it comes to Pharyngula, I just don’t get it either. I must be a simpering mysogynystyc (say! what about all those Ys eh?) rapist apologist nazi sympathiser, etc….

    Oh yes, oh yes, I am so sorry I know it’s all been said before so just crucify me as a parrot … a dead parrot … a bloody dead parrot with a handkerchief on its head.

    Gosh. It’s so pleasant here. And it seems, at first droppings, to be so calm, and intellectual. Say, are we elites?

    Ooh! Pop-eyes!

    Oh, and Justicar, I too have read your blog. Can you do me a great, great favour (please note the Canadian spelling) and tell everyone?

    JD said:

    “And with that thousands of irony meters explode all over the interwebz in a light show that can be seen from space.”

    ROFLOL! Truly.

  30. #30 thememe
    July 12, 2011

    thx Nibi, very intersting read.

    You know guys, i came to the hole elevatorgate-‘debate’ with quite an open mind. I don’t think there is prevalent sexism going on in secular movements….and i can’t see why the elevator-incident has anything to do with sexism at all. But I could have been wrong, as I was often wrong on various issues in the past. Maybe its me, who lost every sense of reality and perspective….quite possible…
    I wanted to see some compelling evidence and reasoning that proves their point. But there wasn’t any (Hint: No, anecdotes, ‘appeal to emotion’-stories and cheap character assassination campaigns DON’T PROOF anything). That’s why I find it somehow disturbing why many high-profile atheists and skeptics buy into Rebecca Watsons bullshit. *arghhhh*
    Maybe it’s just because they want to be ‘good guys’, and not Satan-preachers (aka misogynists, rapist-defenders…).
    Pleeaaase….PZ Myers…Phil Plait..and many others, come back to reality!!!

  31. #31 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    john Greg, when I start detecting your quoting from my blog while you’re casually talking, then I’ll confirm you’ve read it!

    Does anyone know how much Rebecca Watson gets by way by a speaking fee? It would be interesting to see how much money one makes as a useless blowhard.I digress.

    We should get Rebecca Watson a tshirt:
    I’m not half the woman PZ Myers is!

  32. #32 John Greg
    July 13, 2011

    Well, slap my flimsy wrist and call me a total moron, but I just had to post a nasty, evil, wicked thingy over at Watson’s place PR market:

    I am so ashamed.

    But I just could not help myself.

    The sycophancy just curdled my tummy and ruined the fine pinot noir that I was supping … sipping … well, one or the other.

  33. #33 John Greg
    July 13, 2011

    We should get Rebecca Watson a tshirt:
    I’m not half the woman PZ Myers is!

    Ahahahaha!!! Screaming with laughter!

    Jeebles I wish I was gay; I’d come over and rodger your dodger for a fortnight.

  34. #34 Max
    July 13, 2011

    First time commenting here at ERV.
    If there is a good thing to come out of this nonsense its that I have discovered this blog, among others, and had revealed the sad fact that even where critical thinking is supposed to reign, is suppose to be our default mode of operations, our band isn’t wholly immune to cults of personality.

    Rebecca Watson stands revealed, I think, with her latest blog “The Privilege Delusion” as a very shallow, and petty person. Consider her current dismissal of Dawkins, all his work and his current efforts to promote reason, to oppose religious misogyny everywhere over a simple disagreement. Lets keep in mind, this is the result of a difference of opinion. How petty can one get? The hypocrisy of her allies is no less annoying. It is completely okay to get worked up over terms like cunt, but anyone can be a dick. As Christopher Hitchens might say, “Its all enough to make a cat laugh.”
    Since everyone else has kindly shared their blog and their thoughts on Watson, I hope no one will mind me doing the same. Enjoy.

    Thanks for the wonderful comments and the blog.

  35. #35 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Well, as long as that’s all you have on your mind. If you’d offered me coffee, we’d have to have to words, you potentially sick fucker.

    You might as well have just typed over there, “I came, I saw, I learned nothing”.

    It would be hysterical if all of the gender traitors showed up wearing a tshirt that read that. Particularly when he’s on the panel about feminism: are we being oppressed?


  36. #36 Cheng Vang
    July 13, 2011

    The campaign against Richard Dawkins is just depressing. I may not agree with everything Richard Dawkins says but this is a professor, a scientist, someone who has actively advocated for education and equality of women being oppressed in religion, an author who has sold more books and inspired individuals with them than anyone in atheist history (in my opinion).

    Rebecca Watson, I don’t know who you are but on track record alone you don’t hold a candle to Dawkins. And this is coming from someone who cringe when he hears Dawkins say “us evolutionists”.

    Lets observe again what Dawkins great crime was? Rape? Being a pedophile? Cheating on his wife? Siphoning money from his organization?

    …. A sarcastic post on Pharyngula to focus on more pertinent issue in a shit storm of comments.

  37. #37 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Cheng Vang:
    if Abbie hadn’t already given out all of the internets, I’d recommend you for one.

  38. #38 pornonimous
    July 13, 2011

    We put heroes up on pedestals only to knock them down later, and elect new heroes.
    Or, in the language of Catholics everywhere: we put female heroes up on pedestals so we cn look underneath their dresses…

    PZ is a cowardly, wannabe Richard Dawkins lite–and there is something in Minnesota that just ain’t quite right when it comes to girls and women–after all, Minnesota girls are a huge part of the sex pipeline of prostitution. I wonder exactly what it is those minnesota moms are teaching their girls abouut money, power, and ‘fame’.




    Maybe they mommas is a bit too close to them…

  39. #39 JD
    July 13, 2011

    Cheng Vang (#737),

    The campaign against Richard Dawkins is just depressing. …

    So true as was your description of his contributions. Yet in PZ’s mind the insane and unjustified strawmaning of Dawkins comments that led to a call to boycott him and and claims that he was a rape apologist were “calm, nuanced, proportionate statements”

    Myers has lost the plot. His cred has taken a huge hit and I have a feeling people will be using the “calm, nuanced, proportionate statements” as new meme whenever PZ goes another rant regardless of the topic. It’s hilarious.

  40. #40 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Have any of you caught Greta Christina’s mendacious blog missive?

    She has completely misrepresented what Dawkins said. Ugh.

    Greta: A shitstorm in which many men, including Richard Dawkins, have argued that this is a trivial issue, or even a non-issue: that it’s ridiculous for women to be cautious or fearful when they’re propositioned by a strange man in a strange country alone in an elevator at four in the morning;

    Richard: If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker.
    And: Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his.

    What a turd she is. Must write response . . . ok. I’m back. Response blog is clear for launch.

  41. #41 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Spam filter ate my post. *sniffle*

    Anyone check out Greta Christina’s latest blog? Ugh. It’s so dishonest. I would say go tell her what you think, but she’s conveniently going to be not able to respond because of TAM.

  42. #42 Phyraxus
    July 13, 2011

    I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ’s blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn’t. Nothing but emotional appeals, character assassination, and “privilege.”

    I called PZ out asking him if this is really PZ’s brand of “feminist.” I doubt he read it -_-

  43. #43 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Read Greta’s hatchet job. Gosh. At least she’s not trying to hide the fact she’s outright misstating what Dawkins said. I wrote a reply blog about it, but she’s out of town. I doubt she’d read it anyway – I’m persona non grata. Persona non greta?


  44. #44 Setar
    July 13, 2011

    Justicar #739:

    Anyone check out Greta Christina’s latest blog? Ugh. It’s so dishonest.

    Don’t just say it, show it.

    I would say go tell her what you think, but she’s conveniently going to be not able to respond because of TAM.

    Yes, of course. That is, after all, what the organizers of TAM had in mind when they scheduled it for this weekend — they totally knew that this was going to happen and scheduled it just so Greta Christina would be able to make a blog post about it that she can’t respond to comments on owing to her obligations at TAM. Because, y’know, James Randi can see the future.

    …seriously, how the fuck do you not think that you sound like Alex Jones by saying that?

    Phyraxus #740:

    I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ’s blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn’t. Nothing but emotional appeals, character assassination, and “privilege.”

    As I said to Justicar: don’t just say it, show it. Also, why the quotes around privilege? Does it not exist because feminists like to talk about it, or something?

    I called PZ out asking him if this is really PZ’s brand of “feminist.” I doubt he read it -_-

    Judging by how you did over there, my guess is that he read it and decided it wasn’t worth his time. Besides, I have this sneaking suspicion that you’re just looking for validation in the form of being engaged by the Grand Poopyhead, considering that many other people (myself included) responded to you and you’re not saying anything about that.

  45. #45 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    I have shown it – unfortunately, as my post to which you’re now referring says, Abbie’s spam filter is holding it hostage. However, if you click my name, it’ll take you to my blog whereat I have a rather detailed refutation of some of the more glaring problems.

    Nowhere did I imply that the TAM people organized it to be convenient to her. I implied that it’s convenient she dropped the article and then left for TAM. And it is convenient for her in that way. There’s nothing wrong with that; it is just a statement of fact: she writes article, she posts articles, she announces she’s not going to be able to be in the conversation because of TAM. I don’t see the problem here.

    Try harder, Setar. You must do better than this.

  46. #46 Wow
    July 13, 2011

    You know, I’ve decided RW is right.

    Men asking her at 4am is creepy and we shouldn’t do it. We should avoid actions that creep someone out.

    On a completely unrelated point, Pat Robertson is creeped out by abortion, so women should NEVER have an abortion.

    He’s also creeped out by women having jobs and so women should give up their jobs and work at home.

    He’s also creeped out by gay men so gay men should get back in the closet. And armed gays? No way, get out of the military, it creeps Pat out.

    Could you PLEASE think of the poor old fundie xian, people!!! Stop creeping them out!

    Especially you gays: objectifying and looking with covetous eyes on Pat’s arse. He KNOWS you want a bit of it. So stop sexualising him! STOP BEING GAY! Just so simple.

    (unfortunately, Pat really DOES think like this. I just wanted to point out that so does Rebecca, Jen, PZ and Greg)

  47. #47 Wild Zontargs
    July 13, 2011

    *applause* for Justicar, *headdesk* for Greta. This has turned into a skeptic/atheist “We invaded Iraq because Saddam was responsible for 9/11”. No, that is not why this shit started. Doesn’t change that it happened, but it is NOT why it started, and it makes it easier to misunderstand what is going on now.

  48. #48 Spence
    July 13, 2011

    Time for another episode of “Spence’s illustrations of why Watson fans are not good skeptics”. Number 47 in a countably infinite series.

    Phyraxus said:
    I tried to find some kind of rational argument to be had in PZ’s blog. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn’t.

    Setar responded:
    As I said to Justicar: don’t just say it, show it.

    Setar, see if this argument seems familiar to you:
    Atheist: I went to see if there was any evidence that god existed. Yeah, big mistake, there wasn’t.
    Religious nut: Don’t just say it, show it. Show me that god does not exist

    You see Setar, in rational skepticism 101 we learn that you cannot show a negative. If your argument is that god does not exist, or that there are no rational arguments on the pharyngula thread, then these are things that cannot be evidenced. If you believe the reverse – either that god does exist, or that there are rational arguments on the pharyngula thread – then the burden of proof falls on you to show it, not Phyraxus. The correct response would be for you to provide a counter-example. Having said that, based on experience so far, your ability to identify rational arguments may not be as good as you think it is.

    But thank you for coming here and arguing like a creationist. It helps to pad my new series out.

  49. #49 John C. Welch
    July 13, 2011

    I was reading Greta’s post until she got to the same trope that says, less directly:

    “Look guys it’s simple: You’re wrong. If a feminist tells you something, she’s right. Your option: agree with her. If you disagree, you’re wrong. Period. The content of your disagreement matters not at all. If a woman disagrees with a feminist, she’s a gender traitor and you’re still wrong.”

    that’s what this grand movement is telling men: you’re not ever allowed to disagree or question anything we say. Shut up.

  50. #50 Spence
    July 13, 2011

    Aha! Found something I’ve been looking for. About 2 years ago, an authoritarian far-right politician, Nick Griffin (scumbag leader of the facist British National Party) won a seat in a European election, and by precedent, was allowed a seat on a panel of UK politicians on the BBC.

    During this discussion, he said something that really caught my attention. It can be found at 07:25 on the following youtube video: youtube link

    For convenience, I post what Griffin said here:

    “I’ve said that a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand homosexuals don’t understand that, but that’s how a lot of us feel; the Christians feel that way, the Muslims, all sorts of people. I don’t know why, that’s just the way it is.”

    The parallels between this and the current debate are striking. Nick Griffin wishes to outlaw certain behaviours not because they cause harm, but based on what he finds “creepy”. He points out that the people who disagree with him don’t understand (they don’t “get it”). And he invokes a whole bunch of people who he claims would agree with him, without asking first. He just assumes they all agree with him.

    Of course, radfems will explain this away with the word privilege, even though objectively their position is next to that of Nick Griffin and Dawkins would be consistently opposed to both of these viewpoints. But to them, Nick and Dick are both wrong – not because of their viewpoint, but because the assessment is purely one of “privilege”, not the actual meat of the issues at hand.

    What they don’t see is the similarities between the authoritarian right and the authoritarian left. Different sides of the same coin, unfortunately.

  51. #51 cthellis
    July 13, 2011

    Dammit, I was hoping Greta would come across better through this… She’s usually very thorough and careful.

    Meanwhile, speaking of heroes an pedestals…

  52. #52 thememe
    July 13, 2011

    Well, it isn’t so that controversial views and variety of opinions shouldn’t have a place in secular movements. Because Sam Harris was mentioned somewhere before: His last book caused some interesting debates (imho he made some good points, but I can’t agree on everything). Furthermore some people think that his soft spot for some forms of mysticism and Buddhist thought is questionable….and you know, that’s perfectly fine. I think he’s intellectual honest and is is engaging in rational debates, tries to make his points..and he’s cool with it, when people can’t agree with him.
    I am clearly missing such attitudes from the new feminist atheists…..instead they sound like religious nutheads…

  53. #53 Blargh
    July 13, 2011

    I’m guessing it won’t be long before men aren’t allowed to carry a penis within 50 feet of a woman:

    Check out which posts get all the ‘likes’.

  54. #54 INTP
    July 13, 2011

    thememe: I am clearly missing such attitudes from the new feminist atheists…..instead they sound like religious nutheads…

    Agreed. Someone (I can’t remember) commented that the Dworkinite radfems are essentially “the Tea Party of feminism”.

  55. #55 bhoytony
    July 13, 2011

    I hope RW and the Pharyngula crew don’t listen to Chuck and Leighton’s latest Irreligiosophy podcast, they’ll have a seizure. Those two really love to piss people off and they will probably be very happy if the Skepchick pitchfork mob go after them. There’s a standing joke on the podcast of Leighton being a misogynist, sexist pig and he really goes to town on elevatorgate. Disgusting behaviour from two ex-mormons.

  56. #56 Gender Traitor
    July 13, 2011

    thememe @ 753

    The new feminist atheists sound like religious nutheads, because they are religious nutheads. Equality feminism was rational; it gave women the vote, equal pay, and other basic legal rights. It was based on pragmatic actions in the real world.

    Gender feminism is a whole different animal. It is based on many beliefs and ideologies.

    There is a belief in ‘male privilege’, even though men make up most of the imprisoned, the homeless, the suicides, and the casualties in war and on the job. There is a belief in ‘patriarchy’, not as an anthropological term for a system of inheritance through the male line, but for a vast conspiracy of all men all over the world, for thousands of years, to keep all women oppressed. There is a belief that all men are potential rapists; some women live their whole lives in fear of men because of this belief. There is a belief that any heterosexual male who is sexually attracted to a woman is somehow ‘sexualizing’ her and turning her into an ‘object’. There is a belief that any failure of a woman to achieve a goal is due to some man preventing her. There is a belief that all people are born as ‘blank slates’, and that the apparent differences between men and women are all caused by socialization. There is a related belief that this means that we can, and should, use this to ‘deconstruct’ our current society and ‘reconstruct’ a new utopia.

    These are some of the core beliefs of the new religion of radical feminism. Mostly, they are accepted on faith. Frequently, any evidence to the contrary is ignored and/or denied. Note PZ’s “there is NONE” response- there is no possible contradictory evidence to his world-view. He derides the entire field of evolutionary psychology, which challenges his ‘blank slate’ belief. Evolution applies- except when it comes to human behavior.

    And, like any religion, if you don’t ‘get it’, you need to be converted or killed. In this debate, ‘killed’ just means intimidated into silence, or being expelled from the community, goals that many in the atheist/skeptic community are now pursuing.

    There is also the paranoia, the persecution complex, and the victim-status that we have seen in the religious. There is a belief that if you don’t agree with me, then you are out to get me. Any one who disagrees becomes an enemy. Any woman who disagrees is a gender traitor- no matter what she has accomplished in the real cause for women’s rights.

    I haven’t called myself a feminist for years because of what the term has come to mean.

    I am shocked and saddened that people who are so rational and skeptical in other fields are so irrational and credulous in this case. It is another example of the compartmentalism the human mind is capable of.

  57. #57 Hez
    July 13, 2011

    I’ll tell you why it was creepy. It’s not because it was an enclosed space, or because it was 4am. It’s because the guy was probably an ugly looking dude.
    If it was some hunk like Scott Clifton who offered her coffee, Rebecca would’ve been all like this:

  58. #58 Tom
    July 13, 2011

    Great post Gender Traditor-

    Did you read Christina Hoff Sommers “Who Stole Feminism” and Steven Pinker’s “Blank Slate”? Both make stirring arguments in favor of equality feminism and against the heavily marxist, heavily post-modernist influenced gender feminists….

  59. #59 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    I just woke up – let’s see how this goes.

    No, I didn’t. But I don’t need to read a book to spot sexism when it’s happening. Is it also worth noting that Pavlovian responses don’t work on me either, either in suggestion or smell. (but the reverse does with paper, toothpicks and crayons – I might have to write an article on this). Also, those 3d stare at them long enough and see the thing inside thing, I can almost never do. Maybe I’m defective.

    I have no real comment, except that to say when Rebecca Watson is in the mood, she’ll let you know. How fucking arrogant. When it’s time for you to hit on me, I’ll tell you advance that you’re now permitted. Otherwise, back of the bus!

    Gender Traitor:
    That name sounds familiar. Haven’t we met somewhere else?
    Without even discussing privilege too much, I would point out that I, a gay guy, am being told by a white, straight, married (but soon to be divorced – the privilege denied me she throws away!), woman that because I’m male and white I somehow occupy a space of privilege in regards gender relations. Yes, I suppose that’s true. For one thing, most gay people I know are fucking scared little kitties, and don’t need her Victorian prudishness to decide whom with they want to sleep.

    And you know what – in my area, the chance of being gay and sexually assaulted are statistically indistinguishable from being a woman and being sexually assaulted. But I don’t “get it”. I suppose I don’t “get it” in the way that I don’t “get” people lead their lives constrained by irrationality. That, I admit – I don’t get.

    The podcast of which you reference has put me off to it before I’ve listened. They’re tired of celebrity atheists. You know, the ones known because they’re atheists.
    “I am getting extremely tired of atheist celebrities.” Skip a sentence or so “I am referring to people who seem to have gained an inexplicable sort of celebrity simply for being outspoken atheists.”

    With sarcasm, not at the list but at the fact these people are having a conference, and are “famous” if I’m reading this correctly, “Oh look, TAM is coming to Vegas! Just look at all the atheist celebrities! You can see Richard Dawkins, the man who has repeatedly been dubbed our leader! And what’s this? There will be atheist bloggers (gasp) there like Rebecca Watson and Jen McCreight featured alongside legitimate scientists like Elizabeth Loftus and Carol Tavris. Think of all the autographs you could get! ”

    Yeah, that Richard Dawkins – if he hadn’t been an atheist, no one would have ever heard of him or something.

    To everyone who mentioned it, *takes a bow*. Thanks.

    Hey, should we all do a podcast and get a website called Abbi, you can our Rebecca Watson – just crack stupid jokes while we menz talk about science and stuff – mmkay?


  60. #60 Rystefn
    July 13, 2011

    Justioar, apparently someone already owns, they just haven’t done anything with it. I’m too lazy to look into it beyond that, but I’m all kinds of on-board with actually going forward with something like that (obviously without treating Abbie as the useless incompetent – I’m much more suited to that role than she is).

    Also, sorry for disappearing like that. Had to write a hit-ton of stuff for chemistry. The good thing about procrastinating is that you can die at any moment, and anything you put off past that, you never have to do. Sadly, I had to live a few more days at least.

  61. #61 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    I’ve never been good at chemistry. For some reason, my brain refuses to treat it as math. I have to substitute in and out like crazy, and then reverse the substitutions after I’ve finished. May I never have to balance another chemical equation as long as I live!

    It’s a little sad too, since chemistry produces such elegant reactions. Oh, and I suppose also because it’s occasionally useful for doing something important . . . like the barking dog!

    My hat’s off to anyone who can look at it and read it straight out. You and your “chemistry privilege”.

    Oh, I have an idea for a blog article now while I wait on some answers to a few comments I’ve seen. Hrm. Let’s see if I can make it interesting.

    Incidentally, don’t forget to check out Abbie’s latest article. Apparently, vaccines aren’t evil. Or she’s part of the conspiracy – Abbie, are you?

  62. #62 Sigmund
    July 13, 2011

    Someone on butterflies and wheels managed to get some interesting information about RW at the Dublin conference by simply going through PZ Myers tweets from that time.
    Oh dear!
    There’s even a picture of elevator guy! (well a line-up at least!)

  63. #63 ERV
    July 13, 2011

    Getting drunk and missing events, what a responsible, positive role model for the young ones… Really nice that PZ thinks thats ‘cute’.

    If I was in a position of influence I would be deliberately ‘holding Watson back’ too, but its got nothing to do with her gender.

  64. #64 Gender Traitor
    July 13, 2011

    Tom @759

    Yes, I’ve read both excellent books. If people really want to address feminism, and/or the biological basis for human behavior, as a topic in a future skeptics/atheists’ convention, these two people would be great speakers. Christina Hoff Sommers also wrote “The War Against Boys; How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men”, which is largely a critique on our public schools. Steven Pinker could also describe how violently and maliciously he and other evolutionary psychologists have been attacked by those who feel threatened by any biological basis to behavior, and don’t understand that it is NOT biological determinism, or a negation of free will. Or an excuse to pillage, plunder, and rape!

    Justicar @760

    I don’t know if we have met. There are quite a few “gender traitors” in the world; we just have often learned to keep our politically-incorrect mouths shut much of the time. The closets are getting pretty crowded with all of us…

  65. #65 Rystefn
    July 13, 2011

    Yeah, I’ve spent far more than my fair share of nights staying up into the wee (actually, generally into the not-so-wee) hours drinking more than my fair share of alcohol when I had things to do the next (technically, the same) day. I show up to the thing. Mostly, I don’t schedule things in the morning for exactly that reason, but that would be the responsible thing to do, right? Does that disqualify me from becoming a speaker at these sorts of events?

  66. #66 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    My mistake, Gender Traitor:
    I stereotyped you I guess – if you seen one, you’ve them all, ya know? Besides, apparently, you all share a brain or a hivemind or something I can’t quite yet understand. I’m sure one day I’ll “get it” though. =^_^=

    I have two articles now that deal with your issue. It’s not that “we” aren’t listening to women that the other side is bitching about. The problem isn’t that at all. The problem is that there are women who don’t agree with them. So, what they’re really saying is that “we” are listening to the wrong kind of women.

    Apparently, you’re not a woman if you don’t agree – it’s the only situation in which their statements that “we” aren’t listening to women can be logically coherent. No, not that we disagree – that there simply aren’t women who do. How do we know? Because they’re saying x and we don’t agree with x; therefore, since we aren’t listening to them we aren’t listening to women. It’s stupid.

  67. #67 Gender Traitor
    July 13, 2011

    I think that I’m still a woman. Let me check. Yep. I’ve still got my “credentials”.

    Seriously, I think that many of the radical feminists feel much more hatred towards “gender traitors” than to the men who don’t agree with them. They seem to expect that men “won’t get it”, will be “misogynistic pigs” and so forth. I wonder if they really stop to think of how often they denigrate all men as a monolithic, malignant group. Can we say “patriarchy”? It’s sad. Most of the men I know, gay and non-gay, are quite nice people who truly respect women as equals. (I’ve met the occasional Neanderthal.) I’m sure that my experiences don’t count for some reason, just like Paula Kirby’s experiences don’t count. Privilege?

  68. #68 Rystefn
    July 13, 2011

    Gender Traitor, that is a slur against Neanderthals, and it’s not ok. What’s next, you going to start calling them “cave-men”? Your privilege, as a member of a nonextinct branch of humanity, renders you unable to see the trials and challenges of living in a world dominated by the extant.

  69. #69 NJ
    July 13, 2011

    Gender Traitor @ 757:

    The new feminist atheists sound like religious nutheads, because they are religious nutheads.

    cf. La Marcotte:

    Gender Traitor @ 768:

    I think that many of the radical feminists feel much more hatred towards “gender traitors” than to the men who don’t agree with them.

  70. #70 Sophie
    July 13, 2011


  71. #71 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Yes, Paula Kirby isn’t able to understand what “normal” women experience. Apparently, her superwoman powers are awesome sauce. I treat everyone I meet with a baseline level of respect, which can go either up or down based on – wait for it – what the person does and says in life. It doesn’t seem to fluctuate based on color or genital arrangement.

    I’ll take your word you have your credentials – I am definitely not interested in being the gay guy in charge of checking ids in that way!

  72. #72 John C. Welch
    July 13, 2011

    hey, just because you have a vagina and a uterus doesn’t make you a woman.

  73. #73 thememe
    July 13, 2011


    When someone asks for concrete facts or possible actions that could be taken…’s time to close the church….lol

  74. #74 Marco the Beagle
    July 13, 2011

    @ NJ #770:

    Holy shitcrackers, is comment number 5 on that Marcotte article SERIOUSLY suggesting that all men should be PREEMPTIVELY locked up?

    Seriously, WTF?

  75. #75 thememe
    July 13, 2011


    When someone asks for concrete facts or possible actions that could be taken…’s time to close the church….lol

  76. #76 ERV
    July 13, 2011

    Dude, check out my Mercotte impersonation in #368.

    I just had an interesting thought.

    I have *never* had trouble at atheist/skeptic conventions. The hosts and attendees have been nothing if not gracious.

    Paula Kirby says the same.

    I wonder if people do genuinely treat Watson ‘differently’ because she doesnt present herself professionally– her disastrous Skepticon last year, YouTube comments in presentations/attacking students, drunk/partying all the time, hijacking panels, and so on. People treat her differently than they treat other speakers because she acts like an immature woman-child. Watson is too dull to figure out why people treat her differently than say, Dawkins, so she decides it must be sexism. Her frustration about people not ‘respecting’ her has kinda blown up into ‘this’ *gestures at the internet*


    *psych minor gang sign*

  77. #77 frank habets
    July 13, 2011

    @ 774 Marco:
    To be fair, he was trying for hyperbole. Just the same, the sentiment behind that comment is genuine, and disturbing.

  78. #78 frank habets
    July 13, 2011

    From Skeptic Moneys’ blog entry on Skepticon 2010:

    “After our dinner break, P.Z. Myers started his bit. He used a deck of card to make an analogy to evolution and asked for an assistant from the crowd. They started by playing a hand of poker. The game went something like this… if she wins she gets a bag of old peanuts, if he wins she has to sleep with him”

  79. #79 Gender Traitor
    July 13, 2011

    John @ 773

    I take your comment as humorous, but on the serious side, lots of trans-people that I know would definitely agree with you. The genitalia and the gender identity are separate issues. In my case, both are female.

    ERV @775

    Telling a bunch of men at a bar, late at night, to not hit on her and not sexualize her is sort of like saying, “Don’t think of a pink elephant” repeatedly and being surprised if someone mentions a pink elephant. Does she realize that she is the one bringing the subject of her sexual availability up to begin with? Does she think she is so attractive that unless she beats the men off with a stick, they will be all over her? If so, she has “sexualized” herself.

  80. #80 Marco the Beagle
    July 13, 2011

    @776 frank:

    It is rather.

    Y’know, the more this debacle goes on, I can’t help but be reminded of the George Romero film, The Crazies…

  81. #81 frank habets
    July 13, 2011


    As it happens, Marco, just three months ago I saw, for the first time, The Crazies on the big screen. One of the original prints, too. Bonus: There was an intro short featuring G. Romero himself discussing the movie, and addressed specifically to the audience of our local art-house cinema.


    And for sure, there are elements from The Crazies at work here.

  82. #82 Southern Geologist
    July 13, 2011

    Abbie @ 775:

    I think you may be on to something there. It’s perfectly sensible, really: Act like a child and get treated like one. What a concept!

  83. #83 Marco the Beagle
    July 13, 2011

    @782 frank


    Damn you and your art-house privilege! 😛

    There is one (other) good thing that’s come out of all this, though. My (female and very definitely not in agreement with Watson) best friend have now taken to calling each other misogynists in EVERY SINGLE THING WE SAY TO EACH OTHER.

    The lulz are too good not to… hehe

  84. #84 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    More like act like a mature adult and you don’t get treated like one. Unless you’re a man. Hey, wait – that explains why no one is has mentioned a single word about Richard Dawkins!

    He does have privilege!

    Abbie – shame on you, how could you?!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rebecca Watson needs not to be a paid, invited speaker here. The panel she shared with Dawkins titled “Communicating Atheism” should be re-titled, “The Vagina Monologue: E-mail Edition”. You ever notice what the topic is she manages to remind us that, apparently, she’s hot shit because so many men write in telling her they want to bang her or something?

    She calls herself the “sexy” skeptic.


    Say, I wonder if he “hug me” campaign at TAM is going to warrant a video when someone, you know, walks up and hugs her.

  85. #85 Justicar
    July 13, 2011

    Ok, I’m going to be sincerely sexist for a moment, sorry in advance. I’m having a conversation on my youtube channel, and a guy/gal has said:
    “to take something like attraction and love and convert it into a form of hatred with all of these little twists, but feminists can work wonders.”

    I noted that this is true of *some* feminists are like that.
    S/he counters with the challenge: show him/her even one example of a “feminist activist” who is “well established” who isn’t like that.

    I ignored the activist part, but it wasn’t entailed by the comment to which I responded. I listed, among others, Paula Kirby and Mary Ann Waters. Not good enough as they’re not active or well established within feminist circles.

    I’m beginning to think s/he’s arguing for a definition of feminist that excludes from its confines women unlike Rebecca Watson et al.

    So, ladies (sorry, gentleman, I won’t be valuing your opinion highly here because of the nature of the person whom I dealing with – namely, it’s going to have to be what women think about feminist women in feminism circles enough to give them sufficient cred):

    If you could pick one well-established, feminist woman who is dissimilar from the Watson clan, who would it be? I need me an esteemed woman!


  86. #86 cthellis
    July 13, 2011


    Interesting. I was unaware Bruce Springsteen was so astute. Apparently he is more than a white T-shirt and jeans jacket!

    I take your comment as humorous, but on the serious side, lots of trans-people that I know would definitely agree with you. The genitalia and the gender identity are separate issues. In my case, both are female.

    As friends with a still-pre-op-because-dammit-the-surgery-is-so-fucking-expensive-and-it’s-still-a-pain-in-the-ass-to-get-willing-doctors-even-in-NJ-because-fuck-the-Catholic-run-hospitals, I must respek-knuckles the absolute truth of this statement.

  87. #87 Gender Traitor
    July 14, 2011

    cthellis @ 787

    The surgery is much cheaper in Thailand, even with the plane fare. And it is the best in the world, as they do so many of these surgeries there every day. Also there is no significant b.s. to go through to get some kind of “approval”. Your pre-op friend might want to check this out. Canada is also cheaper and easier than the United States. We are so “civilized” here (snark).

  88. #88 cthellis
    July 14, 2011

    I’m sure he’s already investigated any number of options and is weighing them. It’s not a topic that tends to come up in casual conversation, you know? 😉

    Makes me wonder if there’s some bureaucratic monkey-crap in place in the state which can get in the way of official gender-changing if surgery is performed out-of-state or out-of-country.

  89. #89 Justicar
    July 14, 2011

    Mary Ann Waters should totally have been Anne Marie Waters. Sorry.

  90. #90 Chidi Baptiste
    July 14, 2011

    I personally like to believe that the reason nothing has been heard from Richard Dawkins on the matter since his last comment on Pharyngula is because he is busy sitting home, with a well-prepared cup of hot tea, thinking to himself, “I’ve survived 25+ years of mind-numbing creationist, pseudo-intellectual, anti-scientific babble head on, and now some bloggers think they can take me. Don’t they know I run this motherfucker. KING KONG AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME!”

    Regardless, whether one agrees or disagrees with Dawkins, he’s voiced his opinion on the issue and there is no reason for him to argue it over the web. Maybe it will come up during TAM (probably), we’ll see. On the bright side, at least now whenever religionists try to claim that atheists devoutly follow Dawkins no matter what, we can point to this shitstorm and tell them to fuck off with their tired strawmen.

  91. #91 Stephen Bahl
    July 14, 2011

    On the bright side, at least now whenever religionists try to claim that atheists devoutly follow Dawkins no matter what, we can point to this shitstorm and tell them to fuck off with their tired strawmen.

    Is your insufferable optimism natural, or do you make a conscious effort at it?

  92. I think we can grossly resume this mess as this:

    Rebecca did to Stef what EG did to Rebecca. Using a priviledged position and making her feel unconfortable. In a place with no way of escape (read “respond”).

    Anyone comes and says you can’t compare the two situations because creepy is worse than being publicly umiliated, I’ll refer him/her to the shitstorm Prof. Dawkins went through.

  93. #93 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “Rebecca did to Stef what EG did to Rebecca.”

    Nope. Rebecca verbally assaulted Stef whilst EG didn’t, and the location was externally more hostile for Stef than for Rebecca.

    And looking at the shitstorm RD has gone through hasn’t proved that the two cases are equal.

  94. #94 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    “There is a belief that any heterosexual male who is sexually attracted to a woman is somehow ‘sexualizing’ her and turning her into an ‘object’.”

    Which many have now made up into “If I *think* you are attracted to me, you’re sexualising me”.

    EG asked if she wanted a coffee. If he’d wanted sex, he could have asked for that instead. You have to ASSUME he meant sex. But why not assume he was refused because he wasn’t hawt?

  95. “Nope. Rebecca verbally assaulted Stef whilst EG didn’t, and the location was externally more hostile for Stef than for Rebecca.”

    Agreed, 100%

    “And looking at the shitstorm RD has gone through hasn’t proved that the two cases are equal.”

    No, but he has gone through it for simply saying that there are worse things than the EG incident. This is most surely one of them.

  96. #96 Wow
    July 14, 2011

    That doesn’t mean that the shitstorm RD has gone through is in any way showing that the situation RW dropped Stef in is as bad as the creeping out that RW felt IN HER HEAD.

    RW insulted Stef and set her up as a bad person, aiding and abetting violence against women.

    EG creeped RW out because she gets creeped out if she’s talked to by EG when she’s tired and wants to go to bed. If EG had said “Nice ass, sugartits”, you’d be somewhat similar.

  97. Ok, Wow. Are you not following? Do you not see that I TOTALY agree with you?

    If someone tells me I can’t compare (in ANY possible way) the EG incident to Watsongate, I will show them the stupid reactions to RD’s comments. Most of these were on the basis of “you can’t lessen a situation because there are worse situations”.

    And I am not sorry to say I DO agree with RD on that one. Being proposed for coffee at 4 in a lift doesn’t compare with being buried alive for talking to a stranger. Sure these issues need to be talked about (creepy move/being buried alive), but in my own personnal head being buried alive gets the priority.

    Also, are you consciously looking for confrontation where there is none?

  98. #98 ERV
    July 14, 2011

    *shrug* I get you Phil. I think Wow is just worked up from the GMO post 😛

  99. #99 Justicar
    July 14, 2011

    It’s not that they simply do not compare – that implies they’re in the same logical space in some way or another. It’s that they can’t compare. It’s not that something worse happens elsewhere. It’s that something bad does – her elevator thing isn’t a thing. It’s a nonthing.

  100. Justicar (big fan here, just suscribed to your channel (had I known about it earlier, would have done earlier, too)):

    That’s the point. Exactfuckingly! Not being an english speaker, I think I have dificulties bringing my points across.

    Abbie: Thanks for that. I might be a bit strung up myself (no way!).

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