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This Week: The Original Motto Project

"Dogmatic Feminism" Pt. 2, and Some Other Things

There are things in this post that I will apologize for, and then there are other things I will not apologize for.

Here’s part 2 of our discussion from Tuesday morning, and if I had my druthers, I’d ditch or re-record it for technical quality reasons.  It’s blaming tools, I know, but my headphones started failing during this recording and I didn’t hear the peaking in the middle of the conversation.   I’ve since purchased new headphones.

After the cut, more discussion about Ophelia Benson and stuff.


Ophelia Benson’s Response to Our Response: A Silly Metadiscussion

Yesterday, Becky posted an email from Ophelia Benson, and her response to it.   Since then, Ophelia has pointed out that she believes that we posted her email without permission.   Even if we thought that posting her email is wrong, the accusation in and of itself is baseless.

I am not in the habit of publishing emails which are not intended for the public, and when Becky let me know that she planned on posting the email to the website, I asked her if she had received permission, direct or implied, to do so.   Becky believed that she had explicitly received permission to respond publicly, referring to this part of the email:

Could you give a specific example on my post on the podcast or on yours or here but with permission to quote you?

We agreed with Becky’s assessment that this constituted permission to respond publicly as Ophelia’s never been on our podcast. When we respond publicly, we are always careful to quote what we are responding to so there can be no misrepresentation. We felt that an open response in an open debate was the best way to move forward– context is hard enough to preserve in online debates already, and Becky deserves to make her statements without editorialization from opponents just as much as Ophelia does.

I have to admit that I’m baffled by Ophelia’s response over this.  First and foremost, her request was a good one and deserved attention and considered response.  Nothing private or untoward was revealed, and I felt that her request spoke well of her: she was willing to look in her writings to see if she could see the dogma that Becky had referred to but had not yet provided evidence for.   Keep in mind, I think this speaks well of Ophelia even if she ultimately disagrees with Becky.  She may be unhappy at the critique Becky brings to the discussion, but it appeared that there’s room in her world for Becky to be right.  When I stand up and say something, I hope to be in the same mindset.

Furthermore, evidence from blogs at FTB makes it apparent that posting emails without permission is generally acceptable practice.

When Becky posted the response I made an off-hand, silly comment: “CRISWELL PREDICTS: The response will get darker from here.”    I didn’t back that up, because it was a silly comment intending to be silly, but I believed it.  I never thought that the direction of the dark response would be from “Butterflies and Wheels.”  She’s taken to sniping at Mike in her blog just to make it clear that she intends to continue using shame as a primary, if not the primary, motivator for her work in this realm.

If I were to guess, I’d guess that her social media shenanigans about her email are her attempts put us on the defensive  and to cast us not only as people who disagree with her, but as bad people generally.   It seems that there is no room in her world for people who disagree with her approach (or tone, or framing) but agree with her in principle.  To approach her on feminist subjects with something other than complete agreement with message and mode is to be, at best, a naive poison, and at worst, a supporter of rapists and abusers.

Ophelia’s motivations are known only by her, of course.   But I think this response, that good people can’t disagree with her, is the ultimate evidence of a dogmatic approach to feminism in an otherwise very rational person.  I think her ability to scare up social media attention at the smallest of perceived slights is the ultimate proof that we needed to make our voices heard on this subject.

The ERV Comment Train is Coming to a Stop

I think at this point I’ve made clear my intentions on allowing ERV folks to run roughshod over some of the comments on this site.   The experiment is over, and this is now going to end.  Here’s the deal: we’ll be closing commentary on some blog posts, but we’ll be keeping comments on the episode open for the foreseeable future or until circumstances change.  That said, no one is calling anyone else a cunt, starting now.   We allowed it to some extent to make the point that misogyny remains a problem, and thanks for proving it.   No more.

If this discussion bleeds into other discussions on Ask an Atheist it will be curtailed.

And now, a request.   I voiced my low thoughts about the ERV discussions in this podcast, but I also said that I thought there were some good people who’ve been thrown into that mix.   Some of them I suspect started out in a situation like the one we find ourselves in now.   If you think I’m referring to you and you use phrases like “baboon” about bloggers on FTB, I’m asking you to reconsider using them.  It sounds misogynistic to many people regardless of your reasons, and it does nothing to further the cause of atheism, skepticism, rationalism, or feminism.    If you just want to snipe at people like Stephanie Zvan and Ophelia Benson, I’m probably not talking to you.

On Ask an Atheist moderation will look unfavorably on people using these phrases.  Outside of Ask an Atheist I doubt anyone will take me up on it, but I feel better having said it.

New Week, New Episode

When Becky opened up this topic last week, I said that “we can’t discuss the infighting without inviting it to sit at the table with us for a little while.”  We’ve said what we’ve needed to say, for the most part, and we are ready to move on to other things now.   We’ll try to practice what we preach and use our proposed framework when we deal with feminism-related issues.   We may also return to this subject specifically some other day.   We’re content to let the two battling parties have the last word about our commentary of their battle.

This week’s episode is the culmination of a long discussion we’ve had on the subject of abortion.   Please see Mike’s post about it in May.  It’s a special episode with a wide variety of guests, so calls will be limited and related to the subject at hand.   If you want to ask us questions about last week’s episode, please stick to voice mail and emails this week.


Edited: Word removed in editing readded.

About the Author: Sam Mulvey

Sam Mulvey is a producer and the technical brain behind Ask an Atheist. He is a collector of vinegar varieties, vintage computers, antique radios, and propaganda.

Feedback and Commentary

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KiwiInOz June 15, 2012 at 12:00 am

“Some of them I suspect started out in a situation like the one we find ourselves in now.”

Yes. Yes, we did.

“If you think I’m referring to you and you use phrases like “baboon” about bloggers on FTB, I’m asking you to reconsider using them.”

I don’t use this turn of phrase or some of the other salty terms. However, my understanding of the use of the term baboon is that it is more related to the mob behaviour of baboons to outsiders. It’s along the lines of chimps throwing poo, rather than being a misogynistic term directed at any one person.

I would ask that you reconsider the way that you have phrased the sub title “The ERV Comment Train is Coming to a Stop” and the text “…allowing ERV to run roughshod …”, as a) to my understanding, the blogger known as erv has not commented here, and b) she nor her blog posts have made any substantive comment about this site.

Some of the people who post on one of the threads on that site are known for their straight and often indelicate turns of the written word, while others of us tend to be more tactful and diplomatic.

But we have all been damned.

Sally Strange June 15, 2012 at 12:03 am

When you linked to Natalie Reed’s “Feminist Dogma” post… did you realize that it was not even tangentially related to the point you’re trying to make? That it… contradicts it, in fact? You are insisting that feminism can be dogmatic in its application. Natalie Reed was writing about how feminism is a field of inquiry more than it is an ideology, and that there’s really only one point of dogmatic insistence: that women are human beings, with all the rights and responsibilities attendant thereto.

Then you identified the following comment as being “one of the most egregious characterizations of atheist men” you have ever seen. Let’s review it in its entirety:

I have been an atheist since I was 8. But the atheist community (in which I had hoped to connect with other atheists), which is dominated by upper-middle class and rich white guys with misogyny issues that it vehemently denies, has really put me off. What did it for me was the rampant jokes about rape on atheist social media sites like Atheist Nexus, so I voted with my feet and that was about 3 years ago.

When the whole Elevatorgate thing erupted, what really bothered me the most was not the initial incident (although that was uncool), but the vicious misogyny and the threats of sexualized violence aimed at Rebecca Watson in response to her very reasonable request that guys not corner women in elevators. This same kind of vitriol was also hurled at Greta Christina. The contempt for women and our bodies manifested by misogynist males reveals a pattern (and for those here who are fellow mathletes, you know where I’m going with this!).

The hatred of female sexuality, women’s equality and agency enacted through FGM is not far removed from the hatred spewed at Greta Christina and Rebecca Watson laces with explicit threats to “kick Greta and her followers in the cunt” and threats of rape aimed at Rebecca Watson. Their “crimes?” Living While Female and daring to voice an opinion about why they deserve the same human and civil rights and respect for their personal dignity that is automatically conferred upon males.

The misogyny, followed by the gaslighting of the recipients of it, left a foul taste in my mouth leaving me with the impression that the atheist community is really more like the virulently misogynistic MRA/PUA community than a community of rational people that supposedly eschew sexism and misogyny because of its relevance to religion.

Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how many “rational” men who are “reasonable” resort to evo psych — the last refuge of scoundrels, a load of bullshit cooked up by professional bullshit chefs — in order to justify oppressing women and keeping the atheist community a privileged white ol’ boys’ club, where the only women that are welcome are women who don’t challenge men’s use of their unearned male privilege as a cudgel to beat women down and silence us.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being male. There is nothing wrong with wanting to ask someone you find attractive out for coffee. There is, however, a hell of a lot wrong with feeling entitled to any woman’s vagina you want and treating women as inferior creatures with no value except as male ornaments or as disposable, interchangeable reproductive “livestock” (a couple of Christian lawmakers referred to women as “cows and pigs” in their argument against abortion, even in the event of in-utero fetal death where the fetus doesn’t expel and the woman will get sepsis and die).

Telling women that sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, and reproductive rights is not of concern to the male-dominated atheist community and its organizations is telling women that we are not important enough to matter. And if we’re not important enough to matter (except on male-centric terms only) — outside of being an ornament or a potential sexual conquest in the atheist movement — then our money, time, work, research, efforts and resources and contributions are better spent elsewhere.

Please explain what, precisely, qualifies as “egregious” about this comment, and why you think the author means to apply it to all atheist men, rather than atheist men who are sexist, or men in general who are sexist.

Phil Giordana FCD June 15, 2012 at 12:10 am

Your blog, your rules.

There will be no “cunt” or other slurs from me (well, there hasn’t been for almost a year, but whatever).

However, how is calling FTBers “baboons” misogynist? I don’t get that. We usually call them that due to their attitude toward anyone they think of as “enemies”. There is nothing even remotely related to gender in this appelation.

Phil Giordana FCD June 15, 2012 at 12:34 am

Sally Strange: I would say this part:

“Telling women that sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, and reproductive rights is not of concern to the male-dominated atheist community and its organizations is telling women that we are not important enough to matter.”

Noone in the atheist/skeptic community ever, EVER told women these things. Please prove me wrong, and I will recant.

John C. Welch June 15, 2012 at 12:38 am

So let me get this straight:

if you’re from a specific site that other people don’t like, you’re “on watch”.

For things you may or may not have said. (I highly doubt you read all the comments sam, but that’s okay, most of the people bagging on ERV don’t actually read full comment strings. They read the quote mining others have done and make up their minds based on that. It’s okay, it’s what I’ve learned to expect from the Skeptic/Atheist community at FTB. Why spend a lot of time doing your own work when you can just buy into someone else’s narrative. Saves a lot of time when you think about it.)

That’s pretty awesome. It’s not as awesome as your magnificent condescension in statements like this:

“And now, a request. I voiced my low thoughts about the ERV discussions in this podcast, but I also said that I thought there were some good people who’ve been thrown into that mix. Some of them I suspect started out in a situation like the one we find ourselves in now. ”

Oh thank you sir sam. Thank you for your kind, open heart, to allow for all the poor innocents, so preciously stupid and unknowing who were drawn in by ERV’s singularity of eeeeevil and are now brainwashed into badthought.

Thank you sir sam. It is hard to believe that one so upright as you would be willing to allow for possible interest from any who dwell in the morass that is ERV. Truly, we are blessed by your generosity. Truely.

Can you actually ponder, just for a second, how amazingly patronizing your statement is? What, someone was just walking down the street, slipped, tripped, and now thanks to a concussion, doesn’t understand the universal truth that all who are not anti-ERV are forever slimed? That it’s un-possible for anyone to even begin to think that ERV and her elk might have a point sometimes? Or more often than not even?

No, no, that can’t happen. They must be poor innocents who wandered too close to the slimevent horizon and were sucked in.

The Bog of Eternal Stench is as much a myth as the religion you laugh at, and yet, there you are, promulgating a similar meme.

But hey, it helps you feel superior to another group you don’t know anything about, and that’s all that matters, right?

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 1:03 am

I guess this means that PZ’s lecture on baboons won’t be welcome here, huh?

Sam, I love you. You’re one of the best internet trolls I’ve met; you’ve got skills. Publicity and all.

Not a new media douchebag at all – dash cunning.

Spence June 15, 2012 at 1:29 am

I suppose you set a thief to catch a thief, and in this case, Sam has extended that principle by using dogma to fight dogma. It’s a shame, because I think Becky has a keen eye for recognising dogma and made good points, but Sam seems unable to see dogma in his own writing.

Sam, you insist you allowed the “c” word to prove that misogyny exists in the atheist community. I assume by that you mean someone has used it in that way here. Justicar noted at ERV he was unaware of any such use. Being a skeptic, I went to check the evidence for myself, and also I could find no such use, but I only checked four threads, and may have missed one. Can you directly link to an example? I documented my findings here. Thanks.

Sam June 15, 2012 at 2:14 am

Part of what you’ve got to say deserves attention, Spence.

I don’t think anyone out-and-out called someone the c-word, but there were some pretty heavy references to it, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable with the way it was moving. I challenge him on it in the thread. So no, I’m willing to admit that on Ask an Atheist, no one has called anyone else anything like that, but there have been references and I wanted to set a clear policy.

That said, if you think that I’m gauging the existence of misogyny merely on the usage of the word, you are incorrect. I outline that in both the first and second podcasts.

Edit: I can also see how I’m saying the bad behavior is based off of someone calling someone someone else shitty names. Not my intention, apologies for that.

Darren June 15, 2012 at 2:37 am

I’d like to use HTML blockquote here, but am unsure if this board allows it, and there is no preview, so plain old text will have to do:

Sam: “I don’t think anyone out-and-out called someone the c-word, *but there were some pretty heavy references to it*”

Such as?

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

Well, I hate to sound dense, but I still fail to see the supposed evidence here that misogyny has happened here. So, if someone could link to where it happened I’d appreciate it – it would be nice to finally, after all this time, have a clear example of what it is that constitutes a show of the ‘hatred or dislike of women or girls’ that Sam references above. In particular, the bit mentioned under the heading of the ERV comment train. I fully grant that many of us are snarky, but smart ass commentary does not a hater of women make.

So, if it isn’t the use of words (now that you’ve stipulated no one has called anyone the infamous ‘c’ word here) beyond baboon, I am at a loss to understand the rather matter-of-fact declaration of misogyny being on display here. I’m not owed a response or anything, but if one is sincere in calling it out, it would seem to be of use to cite specific examples.

Darren June 15, 2012 at 2:50 am


I just did some digging… Is the following comment by Justicar the one you refer to when you say you “challenged him” on the thread (for stepping too close to the line)?

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 3:01 am

Right. I wrote that. And nowhere in that do I call anyone anything. I translate into plain English what it is that is meant by ‘slimepit’. And then I point out that so long as one uses code to call Abbie that special word it’s perfectly acceptable in a way that not using code isn’t okay, and it’s not okay if the target of it is anyone other than one of the ‘gender traitor’s or ‘sister punishers’.

Darren June 15, 2012 at 3:13 am

Yeah, I agree with you there, Justi. I’m just trying to understand the perspective Sam is coming from. You’re comment in the above linked thread (censoring mine):

“Unless, of course, Abbie being the enemy justifies her being a slutty c**t in a way that Ophelia Benson approves of because it’s Abbie, but disapproves of if it’s Rebecca Watson.”

I can understand how Sam may have seen this as stepping too close to the line if he is not familiar with Ophelia’s history of using c**t as a pejorative against those she does approve of. It was a very subtle reference.

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 3:17 am

I’m usually subtle like a lead pipe. I’ll endeavor in the future to be more direct in my speech.

But if that be the post he had in mind, I’m happy to apologize for it and retract it. Besides, it’s not like anyone with google and some free time can’t go back through all of it and figure it out for themselves.

Now that I think about, someone mentioned AaA was a tv show once. If that’s the case, then I think bionicdance used to be associated with the show, and I have in fact heard of it. No clue they went radio though.

Darren June 15, 2012 at 3:22 am

Oops… “those she does approve of” should read, “those she does *not* approve of”, in my comment above. You all probably guessed that, but just for the record.

Fabricio June 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

This…. this means that the waste of time is finally over? The discussions about who banned who on what blog will hold no more? Thank you, then!

I hope we won’t need that Aquaman Month I mentioned to compensate for this. Please tell Mike I was kidding. I respect his opinion, but Aquaman sucks.

John C. Welch June 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

Oh I’ll totally cop to having used “cunt” other places.

Two reasons:

1) To argue that words aren’t magical. Just like racist slurs have never, ever, solely by their use, caused someone who is NOT already a racist to become one, “cunt” did not somehow alter the thoughts, behaviors and way of living of a person who hears it to become a misogynist. Words are not magical. Yet, that is something Ophelia has argued for over and over. That simply by using or hearing the word, regardless of context, it turns the user into a misogynist automagically, almost forces the change, and has a high chance of turning the listener into one.

Note, by “misogynist” i don’t mean the FTB lot’s use, which is “anyone we don’t like” or “people who disagree with our views”. I mean the actual idiotic hatred of women, the thought that all women, everywhere, are less than men solely because they are women.

It’s an ugly state of mind, and yet, for Ophelia, Laden and the rest of them, that word, relentlessly abused and misused is now their favorite slur. When they say “misogynist” i hear a word that rhymes with “jigger”. (with a Bull Connor kind of accent, because it’s rather appropriate.) Not because of the word itself, but because of the context of its use and the specific source. It is their way of relegating you to the “less than really human” pool. They make that word far uglier than it normally might be, because their use of it is so despicable.

2) IT’S JUST A FRIGGIN’ WORD! I hate to point this out, because it seems like the obvious, but if you leave the US, “cunt” loses almost all it’s maaaagical power and becomes just another “rude” word. Does that mean millions of people in many countries on multiple continents are alllll misogynists, because they don’t understand that using “cunt” causes women around the world to go fetal, and be unable to function at all, just because you used the Word Of Evil Power?

Logic would dictate no. (We’ll leave off the idea Ophelia et al like to push that women are so helpless a word can shatter their very identity. it’s out of scope at the moment.)

So does “cunt” get used rather a lot in other places? By me or others? Yes. Does it make us misogynists until we properly prostrate ourselves, don the hair shirt, and perform the Labors of Redemption?

Um. No.

See, I always thought atheists and skeptics didn’t believe in magic. And yet, over a year of evidence clearly disproves that. Wait until they find out about “abracadabra”. They’re going to be screaming in fear on that one.

Spence June 15, 2012 at 7:48 am

Wow. I managed to miss Justicar’s use. Very sloppy of me. Thanks for filling in the gap in my original list, Darren.

Sam, thanks for the reply. A reminder of what you wrote above:

That said, no one is calling anyone else a c***, starting now.

OK, this is a simple statement about your expectations of the future.

We allowed it to some extent

This is what I have a problem with. That impersonal pronoun. We really are in Alice in Wonderland territory here. What does “it” mean? Within the context of your blog post, it can only refer to the previous sentence – people calling someone else the “c”-word. That’s what you “allowed”, but it didn’t happen despite your clemency.

to make the point that misogyny remains a problem, and thanks for proving it.

And so your claim now is that this last phrase does not follow from the prior sentence, but in fact links back to some other claims made in the podcast. Can I suggest this isn’t going to be terribly obvious to the casual reader? It’s almost like you don’t want people to follow the tenor of your argument.

The usual reason for running an experiment (as you describe it) is to derive data that is then used to shape your conclusions. It appears that your conclusions are largely independent of the data you gathered during your experiment. In scientific circles, this is typically considered a pretty good indication that you did the wrong experiment. Under these circumstances, the only conclusions you can draw are the ones you assumed a priori to be correct.

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 8:05 am

@John C. Welsh, et al: I’m not trying to ‘call you out’, but perhaps for the time being we could all agree to use a starred-out version like “c***” or just ‘the c-word’, as a show of willingness to allow the AaA folks to set their desired atmosphere for their own website. A kind of truce flag, if you will. Until it becomes clear to everyone that we’re not trying to ‘get away with’ using the word without ‘using the word’. Again, I’m not trying to be some sort of language police. I have no authority to be so, nor would I want it if I had the power. This is only a suggestion. To hopefully help lower the current temperature of the debate. (Honestly, I think we’ve already come a long way since the beginning of this discussion.)

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

@John C. Welsh: (Oops, forgot to add: I actually agree with your points about the word and its usage. I lived in Europe for a bit, met a bunch of folks from all sorts of different countries/cultures; lots and lots of them saw it as simply a crass word; some (notably from Scotland and England) even used it to refer to their best friends, loudly, in public.)

Magicthighs June 15, 2012 at 8:17 am

In this podcast you state that certain people are being “dogmatic” because they insist that one certain anti-harassment policy, which is simply false. In her blogpost at Stephanie Zvan clearly calls it “an excellent sample policy you can adapt to your event and your needs”. How on earth is that a mandate to use one specific policy.

I also think you misunderstand the word “strict” when they’re talking about a “strict policy”. What they’re talking about is a clear and extensive statement about what sort of behaviour will not be tolerated, and the consequences of such behaviour. I hope you don’t have any objections to such “strict” policies.

Magicthighs June 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

“because they insist that one certain anti-harassment policy”

That should be, “because they insist that once certain anti-harassment policy be adopted by all sceptical gatherings”.

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

Spence wrote: “The usual reason for running an experiment (as you describe it) is to derive data that is then used to shape your conclusions. It appears that your conclusions are largely independent of the data you gathered during your experiment.”

@Sam: I think Spence has a bit of a point here. I think if you review the thread in question, you may find that the evidence of misbehaviour there mostly has to do with MKG jumping the gun. I honestly don’t see much beyond that. I’m pretty sure if there was ‘gen-u-ine’ misogyny in that thread, I missed it completely. Could be wrong, but it would be nice to have some specifics.

Spence June 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

Thanks for your kind comments, Thaumas.

On the topic of profanity, I also think people attributing magical properties to words makes little sense. Offence is in the eye of the beholder, and if our goal is not to offend, the unusable word list would be impossible to produce.

That said, I usually try to reflect the tone of the person I’m talking to, and I also recognise that this is Sam’s place and if he wants to impose civility rules to post here, then that’s fine. If I don’t like the code, I can always go somewhere else.

On the topic of profanity, famous atheists Penn and Teller summed it up better than I ever could in series 2 episode 10 of their BS programme, link here (while it lasts):

Spence June 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hmm, just dawned on me my last comment could be easily misunderstood. By “while it lasts”, I don’t mean it might be cut from this blog, but that Showtime will probably eventually take that video down with a DMCA. Thought I should clear that up 🙂

John Greg June 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Sam, I think you have made some good points about Ophelia — it appears she wasn;t always so dogmatic, stubborn, and irrational, but things seem to have changed over the last year or so.

Also, your points can be applied to several FfTB blogs and bloggers.

Now, like others, I have some questions.

1. How on Earth is calling someone a baboon, misogynistic? Rude, perhaps. Demeaning, certainly. Misogyinstic? Huh? Personally, I think it would be a quality move for you to either explain that truly odd comment, or to withdraw it.

2. How and when is asking legitimate questions, and posting legitimate points of disagreement, or even agreement, running roughshod? OK, so a couple of individuals from ERV, and a handful of individuals from elsewhere got into some slight contretemps, but you then accuse all of ERV, giving the FfTBers a free pass, of running roughshod? That’s really skewed, and deeply unfair to the several so-called ERV posters who only asked a couple of questions or made a couple of comments.

3. If you are going to issue claims of poster misbehaviour, and demands that they clean up, so to speak, (and all without specifics, citations, or evidence) don’t you think it might be more reasonable, and certainly fair, to post some sort of specific posting guidelines? I’ve asked before, without getting a response, but how do you expect people to follow your posting guidelines and rules when you don’t have any?

4. Final query: Are you even reading these comments and the questions posted to you? Or are you now playing three monkeys? Am I wasting my thoughts on an unresponsive dogmatist?

Sili June 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

@John C. Welsh, et al: I’m not trying to ‘call you out’, but perhaps for the time being we could all agree to use a starred-out version like “c***” or just ‘the c-word’, as a show of willingness to allow the AaA folks to set their desired atmosphere for their own website.

I would hope the objection is to any use of “cunt” at all. Asterisking does not remove the slur.

Presumably we’re allowed to mention “cunt” in discussions of why exactly it’s not something one should call people.

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thaumas, I have a weird question. Which is worse? a pedophile, a cunt or a dick? No one ever argues that the word pedophile (despite what it entails) needs to be called the ‘p word’ or ‘p********’. I don’t see anyone saying dick should be the ‘d word’ or ‘d***’. It’s just something that’s always struck me as bizarre – the attachment to special words people have. For instance, the selfsame people who are quite content to read literature from around the time of the Civil War object to the word ‘nigger’ appearing, but are quite content to finish the story, some characters of which will almost certainly ‘own’ another person.

I don’t get it. If I were going to object to school children reading a book, it would be on the grounds of a book extolling the joys of owning other people – not because some character or other uses naughty words.

As an aside, if people can’t handle the heavy baggage of a word such that they have to find ways of saying without having to actually say it, I am generally of a mind to think they aren’t mentally or emotionally up the challenge of adult conversation.

Anyway, I’d be happy if someone could explain that to me in a way that is sensible.

Spence, I’m not sure anyone’s objected to Sam wanting to have some rules for discourse here. The points that have been made is that without posting said rules or some indication, it’s a bit silly to chide someone for not following them. And, more to the point here, to say that ‘starting now’ he’s not going to allow the continuance of calling other people cunts – despite no one actually having done as much as that.

(I apologize in advance if any of this sounds at all reasonable – I’d hate to fail to live up to my reputation).

Sili, I made that distinction last night – there’s a difference between ‘using it’ and quoting something as an example that has it in it.

Ophelia Benson June 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

“I can understand how Sam may have seen this as stepping too close to the line if he is not familiar with Ophelia’s history of using c**t as a pejorative against those she does approve of. It was a very subtle reference.”

That’s a fucking lie. I’ve never called anyone a cunt in my life.

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I think I believe Ophelia on this one. She’s all along insisted that gendered insults or insults which reduce women (and only women) to their genitals is sexist and wrong. For more information, please see either dick, or Abbie’s slimepit.

She also has been consistent all along that it’s not acceptable to post other people’s emails without their express consent. For information, please see any email she’s posted without obtaining the author’s consent (and she even includes full names).

Plus I checked her blog real fast, and I can’t a find a single comment or article in which Ophelia herself actually calls someone a cunt. But that might not mean a lot given the frequency with which she goes Orwellian and rewrites her own history (deal with it). But, it’s not there all the same.

Fabricio June 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Hey, isn’t it nice? While you keep blabbering about “cunts”, “slime pits”, Ophelia’s Online Privacy Police v 2.0 and crap like that, some feminist protesters at Ukraine may have been kidnapped:

While I think that they certanly exagerate on their motivation, I think it goes without saying that KIDNAPPING the protesters is, in fact, a “big no-no”.

May those American bloggers get some sense of perspective.

John C. Welch June 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm


“cunt” is just letters. a sound. It is how you USE the word that changes things. Using a word in an illustrative context and calling someone the same word in a hateful manner are two rather different situations. If I’m calling someone something to be hateful, then even if the word I use is “daisy”, in that context, “daisy” is a hateful word. Not because of the word itself, but because I’m using it to be hateful.


“That’s a fucking lie. I’ve never called anyone a cunt in my life.”

1) Proof or you’re wrong. Given your age and the fact you’ve probably been both tiddly and angry at least once when you were younger, absolutism is not your friend here. Ask Mark Furman about how well that kind of statement works out. I’m younger than you, yet not even close to stupid enough to claim I remember every word I’ve ever said in my life.

2) You use “cunt” as a pejorative all the bloody time, even WITHOUT directly using it. In fact, it’s your favorite way to reduce people to nothing but sub-human “others”. “They used “cunt”, therefore, they wrong, bad people. They are *misogynists*”, which in your world, well, hell, means they’re just human sewage, should be treated like rats. I’d think a philosophy “expert” such as you claim to be would be better versed in the multiple ways a word can be used, and all the pejorative meanings context can give really, *any* word.

(If you hadn’t shat all over Miranda on your blog, perhaps you could ask her, she’s really excellent with semantics. I mean, before you memory-holed that post. But, you burned that bridge, and in style. Ah well, maybe someone else.)

It’s not like you have issues with treating people who aren’t on your side poorly. I mean aside from Miranda, look at how you cheer any and all levels of hate against Abbie. I don’t mean “silently tolerate” but actively encourage.

While I’m thinking about it, question:

Exactly what level of action against Abbie would you actually publicly disapprove of? I’m kind of curious, since you don’t seem to have a problem with:

– attempts to get her kicked off of NatGeo

– lying about NatGeo censoring her

– writing letters in attempts to get her in trouble with her job.

So I admit to some curiosity, exactly how bad would someone have to attempt to treat Abbie before you said “that’s wrong”?

Given all that, you’ll understand why it is a *bit* difficult to fully buy in to your protestations of innocence.

Fabricio June 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm

To make myself more clear: when I say that I disagree with their motivation, it’s not that I disagree with they protesting about trafficking of women and sexual exploration; I think everyone agrees that it must be stopped everywhere, and some countries may not be taking the matter as seriously as they should. But I disagree with some of their radical positions (like “Euro incentivates sexual tourism”).

John C. Welch June 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm


that is truly horrific news. I’ve little hope of a good outcome, but I shall cling to it nonetheless.

however, “dear muslima” should have showed you that such attempts at perspective are just misogynistic and sexist. The fact that three women may be missing or dead doesn’t matter. Someone accused Ophelia of using a bad word!

Darren June 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Ophelia: “That’s a fucking lie. I’ve never called anyone a cunt in my life.”

Ophelia, I must have got my wires crossed somewhere. I was under the impression that you had (on your blog) at some point. I failed to find any references with google, so I apologise for claiming that you had.

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

@Justicar: “Thaumas, I have a weird question. Which is worse? a pedophile, a cunt or a dick?”

Assuming you mean the words themselves, personally I don’t see words themselves as offensive, so the answer would be none of them. Again, I wasn’t making the suggestion to try to be some sort of language police, but instead to try to send a signal that we’re all taking the new rule seriously. Kind of like when a parent tells a boy, “Stop touching your brother.” And the kid makes poking motions toward his brother saying, “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” My suggestion was along the lines of intentionally putting our hands in our pockets for a few minutes, even though we don’t really have to. It just signals to Sam, Mike, and Becky, that we’re not trying to push the boundaries to see how far we can go. As I said, it was only a suggestion.

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

@John: “Thaumas:

“cunt” is just letters. a sound. It is how you USE the word that changes things. ”

I assure you I’m 100% in agreement with you on that, and I was only making a suggestion, as a way to signal the raising of a ‘truce flag’, as I mentioned, and elaborated in my reply to Justicar. A ‘show of good faith’, if you will (though I cringe every time I can’t think of an alternative to the f-word; I guess that’s *my* word superstition for the day).

Bernard Duce June 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I’d be interested to know whether Ophelia now no longer agrees this view:

“I should add that I don’t feel the smallest compunction about publishing Proyect’s emails, because I never requested them.”

which she states here (after publishing some private email):

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

@Fabricio: “some feminist protesters at Ukraine may have been kidnapped:

I feel your frustration, Fabricio. It’s news like this (and similar stories about religion) that make me frustrated that we aren’t making more progress.

But I see this whole thing in the *extreme* long term. Personally, I have very little power. There are so many wrongs I would right if I could, but I’m just one guy, with very few resources, surrounded by a vast population of people most of whom either a) have no real awareness of the problems in the world, or b) see the problems, but don’t give a shit, for whatever reasons (apathy, complacency, whatever).

The only real power I have comes from words and ideas. One person alone cannot change the world. But one person championing a good idea, can give that good idea to other people, and those others can give it to still more people, and a good idea championed by *many* people *can* bring about much greater change than any one of those people could do alone. That is what I try to do.

When our community is tangled up in drama storms like this, a lot of human effort is being wasted on sub-optimal lose-lose social dynamics, trying to cut each other down. We could be doing so much better if we could ‘change the game’, so to speak, so that we begin playing the win-win game of social cooperation.

But that requires changing peoples’ minds. And changing peoples’ minds requires talking to those people, and that requires to some extent to get down in the trenches where the lose-lose game is being played, and hopefully being able to show how we can break out of this downward spiral.

So, yes. These blog wars are extremely counterproductive. But we cannot ignore them. They *will not* end on their own.

I’ve spent years arguing and debating with theists, because I knew it needed to be done. Religion has proven that it will not fade away as many of us had naively hoped.

The same dynamic is at play here. If we keep ignoring the problems, they do not get fixed. This blog-war social dynamic is a big problem for the atheist/skeptic movement(s), because it drains energy, ties up resources, destroys our effectiveness as coordinated social groups. It won’t get fixed on its own. We need to fix it. Today, tomorrow, over ten years, I don’t know, but it needs to be done.

Unfortunately, I have no power to help those folks in the Ukraine. I hope the outcome is good, but there is almost nothing I personally can do to change it.

But what I *can* do is try to cooperate with my peers in this social movement, to help encourage others to join in the cooperative dynamic, build a stronger foundation for our collective activism, and *through that process* bring about the kinds of changes that will prevent and correct the social ills of our future. It is *in this process* where I actually have a smidgen of power. And so that’s why I’m taking part in this discussion, because that’s the long term future I want to bring about.

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

To make your example more relevant, it’s more like a parent telling a child to stop touching his brother to which the child points out that at the time of the alleged offense he was staying the night over at Bobby’s house and thus didn’t touch his brother. Someone merely saying x happened and then proceeding from there as though it did (until it turns out that it didn’t, but even then) decides that the corrective measure which wasn’t needed in the first place is the proper way to solve a crisis. That never existed.

And now, as a response to that insanity, just to make sure, we should all infantalize one another by denying to the readers the emotional wherewithal to read words on the internet they might not particularly care for.

I am expected to take in my stride with a smile the analogizing of my dissent from the FfTBers as that of if not overtly rape happy, at least knowingly rape enabling (and that all men should think of themselves as rapists even if they aren’t) all the way through being told I’m sexist and hate women and am misogynistic (for those who failed grammar school, if you have to use a word and then its definition in a sentence to complete a series of insults, you have problems; misogyny literally means hatred of women, not people who think you’re full of shit) because I write somewhere where people use words Ophelia Benson, et al, disapproves of.

And make no mistake: she gets in the fray with rusty knives up people’s asses, and porcupines, and the rest of it. Oh, she might not be the one who writes the words herself, but remember, she is draconian in moderating her blog (to include rewriting people’s comments for them) such that if she doesn’t like it, it doesn’t stay. That’s the rub, once one starts editing for content on the basis of what can or can’t be said, one per force accepts that what remains has passed some bare minimum level of acceptable.

And if Abbie is indicted by what people write on her blog (despite not moderating it at all) so that anyone who slips into it is an irredeemable shit, why then does Ophelia recommend as reading articles written by PZ which include rape jokes, and not subtle wishes of actual rape to befall dissenting commenters? How come PZ gets to analogize transsexuals as child rapists because it makes for a funny joke against catholic priests? Oh, right, because when PZ fucking Myers does it, it’s good fun. When people point it out (including transsexuals themselves), they’re derided at PZ’s place, denied all agency and then banned for the trouble of being relegated to some not entirely human level.

But sheesh, use the word cunt and, well, now that’s a step too far and it’s time to intervene.

This is the tail (tale I suppose) wagging the dog. People wonder why we slimepit denizens respond to this the way we do.

Abbie was stalked by a guy for a long time and the police did nothing to help her. When she tells PZ this, what’s his response? Well, silly girl, you don’t understand the fear that victims experience when they’re being victimized or possibly victimized. These are people who dismissed Richard Dawkins from being able to express a view on sexual assault because he’s rich, white, famous, educated and privileged . . . after it was ‘conveniently’ remembered that unlike many of his detractors, Richard Dawkins is actually a survivor of sexual abuse. And it dare be said that it’s we whose world doesn’t come to a grinding halt because someone, somewhere used words we don’t like.

Anyway, that’s why I’m in the for lulz now – these people aren’t capable of having a serious, all growed up discussion about important issues. So we point and laugh at them for the same reason we point and laugh at $cientologists.

Anyway, just curious why this word seems to be one that makes supposedly grown adults goddamned apoplectic. Thanks for the response nevertheless.

Justicar June 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Rather a pedestrian clause in there needs sharpening. Last sentence, third to last paragraph should read:

“And it dare be said that it’s we whose world doesn’t come to a grinding halt because someone, somewhere used words we don’t like who have the apologizing to do?”

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm

“To make your example more relevant, it’s more like a parent telling a child to stop touching his brother to which the child points out that at the time of the alleged offense he was staying the night over at Bobby’s house and thus didn’t touch his brother.”

Yes, from *your* perspective. But Sam clearly doesn’t share the same perspective.

Also, in my example, I may have been unclear: I didn’t intend to say that anyone here had been doing the poking thing saying “I’m not touching you!” Only that regular, open usage of the c-word — all while technically not actually calling anyone by it — could *appear* like saying “I’m not touching you!”

Perhaps a better example could have been two arguing friends visiting a third friends’ house.

“And now, as a response to that insanity, just to make sure, we should all infantalize one another by denying to the readers the emotional wherewithal to read words on the internet they might not particularly care for.”

Please re-read my posts. Nowhere did I say “should”. I have emphasized it’s only a suggestion. Don’t want to do it? Then don’t. Entirely up to you.

“I am expected to take in my stride with a smile the analogizing of my dissent from the FfTBers as that of if not overtly rape happy…”

Is this directed at me?

[Assuming you are serious and not being hyperbolically sarcastic for dramatic effect:]

Are you saying that I ‘expect’ you to do this? Perhaps you mean Sam ‘expects’ this of you?

How do you know this? Is it possible that this is an instance of ‘mind reading’ on your part, aka the Fundamental Attribution Error?

Here I would suggest what I have already suggested: Instead of acting out of the assumption that Sam or I *do* expect this of you, you could — if you so chose — take one additional self-skeptical step to simply *ask* if he or I really *do* expect this of you.

I will give you a sneak preview of what would have happened if you had taken that single simple step:

Justicar: Do you expect me to take in my stride with a smile the analogizing of my dissent from the FfTBers as that of if not overtly rape happy, ….

Thaumas: No.

“And make no mistake: she gets in the fray with rusty knives up people’s asses, and porcupines, and the rest of it.”

I understand that I may appear to you to be a kind of outsider to this whole affair. Actually, I am almost certain I have been following it and participating in it for longer than you have. (Not to brag! I couldn’t care less who has been. I just think it may be a tad surprising to learn.) I am extremely familiar with Ophelia’s ways. You are probably far more familiar with the Rebecca Watson side of things, but I’ve been following Ophelia’s blog for years and years. She is my primary perspective into that side of the conflict.

As for the other incidents you mention, I’m aware of all of them. I lurkee long time on ERV. Not all of it, but during major drama storms, I tune in.

“Anyway, that’s why I’m in the for lulz now”

Wee bit of pragmatic philosophy for you here, from my own perspective: Lulz may be entertaining, but at the end of the day, lulz on its own doesn’t accomplish shit. I’m here to actually do something. I’m here to actually effect some change in the world, however small or big I can.

If you’re *only* in it for the lulz, then good luck with that. I’m not interested, myself. To whatever extent I can influence where I end up, as much as possible I want to avoid ending up on the wrong side of history, and instead strive to end up on the right side of history. Lulz couldn’t give a shit either way, by definition. Lulz is for lulz. That’s all. Not good enough for me.

If lulz is just a tool to you, to accomplish some deeper underlying goal, then I would suggest that like pretty much any tool, lulz sometimes works great, sometimes doesn’t do much at all, and sometimes catastrophically backfires. And the trick is to know when and how to deploy it for maximum effect. I would further suggest to you that it seems clear to me that in this particular debacle, lulz hasn’t pulled its weight. In fact, it may be making some things worse than they could be.

“these people aren’t capable of having a serious, all growed up discussion about important issues”

a) this is plain old complacency, diseased brother of apathy, b) how do you really know that?, and c) if that were true, theists would never deconvert into atheists. Yet they do.

I would suggest that you haven’t exhausted all the options. I’m offering you more options.

“So we point and laugh at them for the same reason we point and laugh at $cientologists.”

You want to see an alternative to pointing and laughing at Scientologists? Here are just two I know:

There’s a whole huge network of folks fighting Scientology. They get a lot more done than they would if they just sat and laughed.

“Anyway, just curious why this word seems to be one that makes supposedly grown adults goddamned apoplectic.”

I have no idea. My best guess is the sound of it, the hard consonants and the kind of semi-disgusted face you kind of have to make to pronounce it. Taboos have been created from far less, so who knows?

Thaumas Themelios June 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm

“And it dare be said that it’s we whose world doesn’t come to a grinding halt because someone, somewhere used words we don’t like who have the apologizing to do?”

Interesting you mention that word. I have long been advocating an approach of unapologetic criticism, or unapologetic atheism (I’ve since wrapped that up into my advocacy of ‘gnu atheism’). See (There are lots of red links in there; stick with the blue ones, especially the external links; I’ve kind of stalled on developing that wiki, part of my ongoing struggles with ADHD, but I’m hoping to spark it up again one day (or another wiki hosted somewhere else; perhaps I’ll eventually do a real website, but that won’t be in the near future)).

John Greg June 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Sam and Becky, while it appears, and please check the precise definition of “appears”, that you have both flounced your own discussion, and decided, without observing for yourselves, that ERV is evil, and FfTB is to some degree worthy of respect, I would very much like to direct you to Phawrongula:

While it may not be perfect, it does something that NO FfTB bloggers and commenters do: it provides links, screenshots, and citations to back up its accusations and claims.

Yes, yes, yes, it is somewhat angry, and in its specific and resourced referencing of the profound deceit of almost all FfTB bloggers, and blog commeters, it can be uncomfortable viewing and reading. And it is, despite the mendacious rhetoric of all FfTB boggers and commenters, based on fact, and reinforced by links, citations, screen captures, and other methods of verification.

Seriously if you think ERV is somehow evil, yet have the courage to view Pharwongula with an open mind, you will see that FfTB is one of the most vindictive, hostile, hate-promoting, and dishonest set of blogs available in the so-called athiest/skeptical community.

In particular, there is, in my opinion, no credible way to deny that PZ Myers, Steph Zvan, Ophelia Benson, and most especially, Jason Thibeault, are anything other than hate mongers, hate-speech disseminators, and hate promoters.

Come on you two, be strong, be courageous, be free, and most importantly, be true to your self-stated claims.

John C. Welch June 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Ah Ophelia.

Dear Ophelia.

Dear, Wonderful, Unthinking Ophelia.

I knew, just knew, were I patient, you’d eventually give me the world. Or at least this, aka comment #165 on this post –

“It’s not an excuse, you stupid man. It’s my reason. I don’t need an excuse. You had no business sending me that email in the first place. I did nothing the least bit wrong in publishing it. You sent it to me: it’s mine: I published it.”

You Sent It To Me.

It’s Mine.

I Published It.

That may be the sweetest thing you have ever said to me. Because then in the following paragraph:

“Yes of course usually, between friends and/or people behaving like civil adults, one does ask permission before publishing an email exchange. You’re not a friend and you were not behaving like a civil adult. You called me a cunt – quite unprovoked, I might add; at that point I hadn’t even called you stupid. You called me a cunt. I don’t need an excuse to publish your unsolicited unprovoked verbal abuse.”

I dance, I dance with joy, and freedom. Oh the rapture you have given me. It is not, as you asserted in

“A stupid pedantic distraction? Excuse me? Becky posted an entire email of mine in public without my permission. Since when is it stupid and pedantic to object to that? It’s common knowledge that you don’t publish other people’s emails without permission.”

Clearly that’s not the case. All you have to do is decide the person is not a nice person, and they have no rights. It’s just you never thought you’d be the one with your email published. Oops.

Or even better, this bon mot:

“Mike Gillis – for the third time, it is impermissible to publish other people’s emails without asking. Do not tell me to knock it off. Do not tell me what I’m doing. You’re a rude and obnoxious guy.”

So does that make you a rude and obnoxious woman for doing the same thing?

I do believe you, yourself, qualify for that distinction.

I sing the body electric! I dance as though mere gravity exists but for others!

RB760 June 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm

@ John C. Welch (#10346)

LOL!!! That’s great!!!

She gets mad about her e-mail being made public; an e-mail which was she expected a response from a group of people who were criticizing her, but she made someone else’s e-mail public. Outstanding!

Also, if I were an activist or some sort of a public figure, and engaged in a discussion with someone who is criticizing me, I would be very certain that everything I said in e-mails are things that I wouldn’t mind being made public. After all, if I’m right, then what do I have to hide? And if it’s something specific that I wanted to stay private, I would ask for it to remain private in the message itself, but still anticipate the possibility of it going public.

RB760 June 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm

er… typo… *an e-mail which she was expecting a response….

Justicar June 16, 2012 at 12:51 am

Thaumas, no, the analogizing bit wasn’t in reference to you. It’s the backlash from the FfTB that immediately attended those who are unpersuaded that Rebecca Watson was nearly raped and was lucky to escape the elevator of death with her skin intact. (or that elevatorguy even exists – we do have a picture of everyone in the bar–minus PZ who was taking the picture–and Watson can’t seem to spot the bad man in the picture). Anyway, another discussion for another time.

“Yes, from *your* perspective. But Sam clearly doesn’t share the same perspective.”

Apparently, he clearly does for he had to go back and concede this very point. “Stop doing x”: “no one was doing that”: “oh yeah, seems no one actually was – my bad”

I did not mean to imply you were issuing the suggestion as some kind of edict. But if that’s the reading that attends it, then mutatis mutandis and voila.

I think it’s a bit off to say that the ‘lulz’ isn’t of utility to people out there. Remember, no one strategy for refutation works for everyone. Dawkins’ so-called ‘stridency’ isn’t for everyone, but it does work for some. I have no great illusion though that writing on the internet is analogous to actually doing something; rarely is it the case that it works out that way. I have for the whole of my life had a deep revulsion for stupidity, and I thus deride wherever it starts making demands on my life.

Before elevatorgate, most of these people were unknown to me. Let’s just say that they and I don’t run in the same social circles. But here I am all the same.

How do I know they’re not capable of having all grown-up like conversations on ‘important issues’? Well, I should probably specified that slightly more carefully: these important issue. How do I know? The same way one finds out how it is another converses: I’ve talked to them. If one takes Ophelia’s cited example from above: she’s conceded out of the gate that it won’t do at all for her if I’m reasonable, polite and rational. She won’t be able to respond in kind, for she doesn’t want to see me as any of those things.

And it’s not like I’m unique among peers or anything. From the outside, right down from PZ to Watson, to McCreight, to Christina it was extremely obvious that The Truth would brook no dissent. July 1 was when Abbie called out Watson on Watson’s abuse of the speaker position to keep a youngling in line. It didn’t take a day’s time for her to be dismissed as a gender traitor, and others as rapists, rape apologists, rape enablers and so on.

Hell, PZ even dared to claim that the only reason I didn’t agree with him was so that I could continue cornering young vulnerable women so I could get some pussy. Small detail there: PZ knows I’m queer as the day is long. Rationality was not on the menu.

Oh, a documentary instead of derision. As it happens, one need not preclude the other, and I spent a moderate amount of time last summer doing just that. Data only is important for people who are interested in tailoring their views to what the facts can bear out.

So, now I just sit back and wait until someone directs me to a link, and I go read whatever they’re kvetching about at the moment and compare that against what they do to others. See, for example, the e-mailing publishing bit. Ophelia thinks it’s so wrong that only she can do it.

The supposed cunt-kick non-threat is of the same type that is right now on Almost Diamond’s blog where one of the feminists there is averring that she won’t be at TAM, but if she were she’d have to bring extra ammo to show the sexists what she really thinks. Of course, I don’t take it seriously as a threat because I’m not a dimwitted ideologue. But that’s even more plausibly a threat than Hoggle’s was: his required him to have sex reassignment surgery first.

Will there be the hue and cry about the importance calling out threats of violence? Nah. Not really. It’s been up for a day now. Hoggle’s was up for a couple of hours and already it was time to alert the media, and go scouring Australia to find out who Hoggle is and out him as a dangerous threat to women. So, they found some apparent liar who named a name that seems to have turned out not to be Hoggle.

I’m sure that dude is mighty appreciative of the blind, religious acceptance of the atheist/skeptical movement which would have preventing their posting his name and not Hoggle’s. But whatever.

I don’t disagree about taboos one jot. But a taboo implies something is sacred. And, I thought it was decidedly the case for PZ’s Horde that nothing is sacred. (except their particular brand of feminism it would seem).

So, I mock their stupidity; it’s as useful as trying to reason with them, only that the laughs I get are more robust and more on purpose.

Justicar June 16, 2012 at 1:05 am

Oh, Thaumas, with respect to your wiki, you might like the term ‘gnusade’, which is a bit of cheeky maneuver pulled by Jerry Coyne to coopt the uncommon descent people’s attempts to caricature Coyne:

Sam June 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

As we said before, we’re trying to put commentary in one place. Thread being closed, feel free to move to the episode post.