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Why is the Secular Coalition for America giving Justin Vacula — online bully, A Voice for Men contributor — a leadership position? [UPDATE: He's resigned.]

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UPDATE: Vacula has resigned.

As most of you are no doubt aware, the atheist and skeptic movements have had just a teensy bit of a problem with misogyny in their ranks. You may recall the unholy shitstorm that erupted last year when Rebecca Watson of Skepchick casually mentioned in a YouTube video that it might not be such a good idea for dudes to try to hit on women in elevators at 4 AM. The assholes of the internet still haven’t forgiven Watson for her assault on the sacred right of creepy dudes to creep women out 24 hours a day, every day.

Watson is hardly the only skeptic to face vicious misogynist harassment for the crime of blogging while feminist. Last month, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag announced that near constant harassment from online bullies was wearing her down to such a degree that she felt it necessary to shut down her blog – hopefully only temporarily.

I can no longer write anything without my words getting twisted, misrepresented, and quotemined. I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few). If I block people who are twisting my words or sending verbal abuse, I receive an even larger wave of nonsensical hate about how I’m a slut, prude, feminazi, retard, bitch, cunt who hates freedom of speech (because the Constitution forces me to listen to people on Twitter). This morning I had to delete dozens of comments of people imitating my identity making graphic, lewd, degrading sexual comments about my personal life. In the past, multiple people have threatened to contact my employer with “evidence” that I’m a bad scientist (because I’m a feminist) to try to destroy my job. I’m constantly worried that the abuse will soon spread to my loved ones.

I just can’t take it anymore.

McCreight’s harassers and their enablers were delighted in this “victory,” taking to Twitter to give McCreight some final kicks on the way out the door. “Good riddance, #jennifurret , you simple minded dolt,” wrote @skepticaljoe. “I couldn’t be happier,” added @SUICIDEBOMBS. “Eat shit you rape-faking scum.”

One of the celebrators that day was an atheist activist named Justin Vacula, who joked that “Jen’s allegedly finished blogging…and this time it’s not her boyfriend who kicked her off the internet.”

So here’s the latest twist:

Justin Vacula has just been given a leadership position in the Pennsylvania chapter of the Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying group for secular Americans whose advisory board includes such big names as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Susan Jacoby, Wendy Kaminer, Steven Pinker, Salman Rushdie and Julia Sweeney.

It’s an astonishing choice. In addition to gloating that bullies had led McCreight to shut down her blog, Vacula has harassed atheist blogger and activist Surly Amy, including writing a post on A Voice for Men (yes, that A Voice for Men) cataloging all the sordid details of his supposed case against her. At one point he even posted her address, and a photo of her apartment building, on a site devoted to hating on feminist atheist bloggers.

Blogger Stephanie Zvan has set up a petition on Change.org urging the Secular Coalition of America to reconsider its choice. You can find further examples of Vacula’s questionable behavior there.

As Watson notes in a post on Skepchick, Vacula’s position with the SCA is likely to “drive progressive women away from the secular cause.” She adds,

I will never, ever get involved with SCA so long as someone like him holds a position of power anywhere, let alone in a state I live in. So Vacula is actively driving people away from SCA. …

It’s all a real shame, because SCA fills an important role in our movement and I’d like to give them my support. … I don’t believe secular organizations should reward bullies and bigots with high-level positions, even if those positions are volunteer-only.

I recommend that everyone here take a look at the petition.

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Posted on October 2, 2012, in a voice for men, actual activism, antifeminism, bullying, gloating, harassment, hate, misogyny, MRA, rapey, threats and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 553 Comments.

  1. The Stepford Knife

    I’m an atheist scientist myself and used to regularly attend Skeptic events in the UK, mainly because I simply enjoy attending talks about science. I hate to say this, but: while I’m sure the majority of Skeptics are open-minded, well-adjusted people, in my experience the movement does seem to attract a lot of socially awkward men, including some single men who may describe themselves as Nice Guys, and I’ve experienced sexism on numerous occasions.

    A few examples: being chatted up by two men on two separate occasions, both of whom seemed pleasant enough until they asked me “so, what do you do?” and got the answer “I’m a neuroscientist” after which they immediately changed and started belittling me and trying to take me down a peg or two. A female scientist I spoke to at one event told me she’d had exactly the same experience multiple times with men finding out she’s a senior lab group leader at her institution. I met a now-ex boyfriend at another Skeptic event and left him when I discovered he also had a nasty belittling streak with regards to my academic achievements. At a more recent event I brought my current boyfriend along and got talking to another female Skeptic, then when she mentioned her own boyfriend the man sitting with us angrily announced, “yeah, well I’d have a girlfriend if it wasn’t for everyone already being in relationships!” while glaring at my boyfriend. It was as if he was trying to say “you non-regulars should stop coming here and taking our Skeptic women”, and later my boyfriend told me that overall he’d been made to feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome by this man.

    I don’t want to generalise, but these are just a few examples from my own experience of the Skeptic movement and thinking about them it seems these sexist happenings have happened to me pretty regularly, and in a space which I had expected would be welcoming and tolerant to all. I used to wonder why Skepticism was getting such a major misogyny problem, now I’m wondering if it’s always had one and the Skeptic misogynists are just getting more vocal.

  2. To be fair, society in general is sexist, so it’s not a huge shock that there are sexists within any given atheist group. It’s just irritating that they’ve convinced themselves that they’re too intelligent and rational to be sexist and how dare you accuse me of such a thing and see this is why women can’t be atheists, they’re too emotional. And so on.

  3. @Nepenthe:

    *One of the reasons that I don’t count spiritual experiences as evidence for the existence of a spirit or deity is that spiritual experiences can be induced with drugs or brain damage. If it were possible to induce the experience of eating a ham sandwich with neural stimulation, we could still look at the sandwich and see confirm that it exists. The existence of ham sandwiches is well within the facts that have been discovered about how the universe works. Supernatural objects have no such outside confirmation and if they exist, there’s precious little space for them to sit. If you’ve had a spiritual experience (I certainly have), and concluded that this indicates that a deity exists, I’m interested to know how precisely you think that being interacted with your brain to produce that experience.

    I can’t speak for others, but I can block-quote myself from back in the thread as to how I trust religious experience:

    I’m a theist. The reason is that although I experience reality as pretty flimsy when I’m not on Haldol, I have always experienced the presence of God as rock firm. Sure, you could say I should put complete trust in my experiences when I’m ON Haldol, since science has proven that Haldol is an anti-psychotic drug. The problem is that I would have to completely trust my Haldol-drugged experiences FIRST in order to believe in scientific proof, since world-without-Haldol doesn’t follow scientific patterns. Problem of circularity. However, I do believe in God based on pure experience, and derivatively, I also believe in science and the world as it looks on Haldol, because I once had a religious epiphany to the effect that this is the version of reality I ought to trust.
    Now, given that I have thus decided to trust this version of reality, which follows scientific patterns, I have the same standards for scientific proof as any sceptic.

    I’m completely aware that this recounting of my experiences doesn’t provide anyone else with a reason to believe in God. However, most of you, atheists and theists alike, probably believe without questioning it that the external world is real and that your senses are generally (not in every instance of course, but generally) reliable. And that can’t be scientifically proven.

    I should probably add, too, something to these last lines: You might spontaneously think that the reliability of your sense experiences can be proven because, say, you experienced eating a ham sandwich, and then other people affirmed that you really did. Or some neurologist examined your brain and said “yup, reliable perceptive facilities”. But these other people who confirmed you ate the ham sandwich, or the neurologist, were also things you percieved with your senses. You must assume that your senses are, not in every instance but in general, a reliable source of information, for this to be evidence.

  4. Given the best information that I have, I believe in “God” (defined as a metaphysical, eternal thing), but when it comes down to particulars, religion doesn’t quite cut it for me.

    But yay for interdisciplinary stuff! :)

  5. The Stepford Knife

    Good points, but I’d say the Skeptic movement is a little different in that it’s based around the importance of evidence and thinking objectively, and not letting prejudice, emotions and personal beliefs get in the way of the facts. For example- favouring evidence-based medicine over unproven alternative therapies and the teaching of evolution over creationism. In this you get a lot of debunking- of evolutionary psychology as pseudoscience, of theories claiming one race is more intelligent than another, etc. Despite this the sexism remains and a lot of Skeptics don’t practice what they preach with regards to women- they’ll attack racism but defend sexist behaviour, they’ll claim the media shouldn’t focus on the appearance of scientists so much while they themselves fetishise “nerdy girls”, and of course they’ll ridicule a woman for admitting to feeling intimidated in an elevator at 4am and post hateful comments when a female Skeptic posts something feminist on her blog.

    The majority of them are very nice and accept that a wide range of issues fall under the Skeptic umbrella, from gay rights to libel law, and a lot of men accept that feminism and equality in general are also skeptic issues (Martin Robbins for example: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/media/2012/10/sinister-campaign-against-page-3 ) but a minority make an exception for feminism and can’t quite seem to explain why.

  6. The Stepford Knife

    ^^^ the above was a reply to Cassandra says, sorry for any confusion. I’m also not claiming to have the answers here, I just know that a lot of male Skeptics are misogynistic, and that this fact still surprises me.

  7. @Unimaginative

    I’ve investigated “world religions” pretty extensively. Take Buddhism. While in some aspects, it presents a relatively empirical theory of mind, other aspects are faith based, like cosmology, belief in reincarnation and certain conceptions of karma, and the existence of deities and hell beings. (And these have devastating effects, particularly the belief in reincarnation and karma.) And while my experience is obviously with my own culture, I feel pretty confident, given my knowledge and admittedly limited experience of other cultures, that irrationality is a universal.

    And yes, science is not the proper approach to all human experience, but it is the proper approach to claims about reality. It would be pointless to approach a Rembrandt and say “This painting is beautiful because it is X% black” or whatever. (Of course, empiricism and reliance on evidence is far more than science proper. Any complete discussion of art would require noting that, say, women’s work is represented far less often than one would expect and that from reading historical documents discussing women in art we can make reasonable hypotheses as to why.)

    @Katelisa

    No, religious people do not constitute all lazy or irrational thinkers, as I said explicitly. They merely constitute the largest, most entrenched group, to the point where even discussing religious belief in a non-deferential way is considered rude, mean, or unfair, in a way that discussing political or economic theories is not.

    @lauralot

    When anti-theists talk about forced conversion, you can start talking about “letting” people believe what they like. Critique is not force.

    @Dvärghundspossen

    Actually, I don’t have any particularly strong beliefs about my own existence or the existence of external reality. I accept it as axiomatic (a statement assumed to be true without proof), because it’s not a particularly useful argument to have. Do I exist? I don’t know, but I’ll act like I do. Any theory about, well, anything is going to have a few things taken axiomatically, the fewer, the better. If a theist says to me, well, I have absolutely no proof of the existence of god, but I take it as an axiom because I can’t see any other way to function, that’s a semi-acceptable answer. (Only unacceptable in that the existence of atheists acts as a counter-example to the no other way to function claim.)

    I’m really having difficulty understanding your “pure experience”. How could you have an experience of a deity? How did it interact with you to give you this experience? That’s the other thing about science/empiricism. We don’t ever say, well, that’s the answer, it’s incomplete, but we’ll call it a day. I mean, except in the literal sense, and then there’s beer.

  8. Critique is not force.

    I didn’t say it was? I’m addressing sarcastic posts like, “Oh sure, we should just let people believe whatever they want so *horrible things that will happen as a result*” or “I don’t think we should let people believe things that are false because…” Those don’t sound like critique. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but that sounds like forcing someone to give up their beliefs.

  9. How could you have an experience of a deity? How did it interact with you to give you this experience?

    I’ve had an experience of deity. I have no idea of *how* it interacted with me, and it’s probably not something I could intentionally make happen again. My feeling is that something clicked in me and I *allowed* it to happen.

    So I’m a theist who used to be an atheist, but I’m not religious. I don’t think god is a person or a group of people, I don’t think there are any rules that need to be followed or not, I don’t think that there are any rewards or punishments related to rules (except that there are consequences to our actions that are inherent in the actions themselves). I don’t think there’s a divine plan for my individual life’s path, or that it’s a sin to stray from that particular path.

    I don’t think that god wants anything in particular from people. And I’m definitely not philosophically consistent about any of it.

    I could spend a year writing up a treatise about it, and it still won’t come out right, and it still won’t make any sense to people who haven’t had an experience of deity (which I keep typing as diety :) ).

    In the end, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t evangelize, and my experience has impacted my actions and reactions in that it leads me to err on the side of compassion whenever possible. I think that’s a net “good” in the world, and I’m okay with that.

  10. Has there been any response from the Secular society to this appointment?

  11. themisanthropicmuse

    @lauralot89: “Going by that logic, I shouldn’t let anyone have different political/philosophical/ethical/any other beliefs than my own.”

    All I am saying is that it can be very problematic for people to hold positions built off of faulty premises. It can cause vast amounts of unnecessary suffering.

  12. http://skepticink.com/justinvacula/2012/10/04/i-resign-my-leadership-position-with-secular-coalition-for-america/

    Did we already note that he voluntarily resigned in a totally woe-is-me style letter this morning? He says he “was the target of a campaign of lies, character attacks, and distortions”. What a whiner.

  13. I’ve been a part of the skeptic community on YouTube for at least four years, now. I’ve had numerous experiences with sexist atheists/skeptics – up to and including an atheist male telling me that the only thing I could contribute to the community was having atheist babies (ie. to ‘outbreed’ the believers) and being harassed constantly in a sexual manner (trust me, I’m no wilting flower, but in some cases, I’ve had to flat out tell people to stop because they’re just going too damn far). But, really, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I mean, one of the preeminent Atheists vloggers (TheAmazingAtheist) posts in the MensRights subreddit and clearly has issues with women (he didn’t always, but he definitely has issues with us now) and another one has outright said that harassment of women at skeptic conferences isn’t a big deal. With friends like that in the community, who needs MRA’s?

    All I have to say is it’s a good thing I don’t go on camera in my own videos. I keep as much of myself and my personal details/specifics about my life out of my videos as I possibly can. It really sucks to have to do that, but that’s what you have to do if you’re going to be a feminist *AND* a woman and call people on their bullshit on the internet.

  14. @Nepenthe:

    Actually, I don’t have any particularly strong beliefs about my own existence or the existence of external reality. I accept it as axiomatic (a statement assumed to be true without proof), because it’s not a particularly useful argument to have. Do I exist? I don’t know, but I’ll act like I do.

    Fair enough. :-) Just wanted an admittance that you too believe certain things for no epistemological reasons. :-) (Believing X because one doesn’t think one will get anywhere by debating whether X, or because it’s way easier to just assume that X than not assuming X, is a reason to believe X, just not an epistemological one. Just like believing X because it makes you feel good is a reason to believe X, but not an epistemological one.)

    Any theory about, well, anything is going to have a few things taken axiomatically, the fewer, the better.

    I’m not sure I agree about the “the fewer the better” part. Suppose we have belief system A and belief system B. In belief system A, there are a small number of axioms, and every other belief are deducted from those axioms. In belief system B, there are like a hundred axioms, and all other beliefs are supported by like thirty-fourty axioms. Now if the axioms of A are really true, A is rock solid. But if these axioms are false, A is completely demolished. In B on the other hand, it could be the case that ten or twenty axioms turn out to be false, and it doesn’t shake the entire structure that badly…

    If a theist says to me, well, I have absolutely no proof of the existence of god, but I take it as an axiom because I can’t see any other way to function, that’s a semi-acceptable answer. (Only unacceptable in that the existence of atheists acts as a counter-example to the no other way to function claim.)

    Well, it could be true that some people can function without theism and others can’t, so the existence of atheists couldn’t prove that particular theist wrong.
    I don’t think I’m quite that theist, though. I’m not saying that I gotta believe in God because life is horrible otherwise or something like that. It’s rather that I don’t have any knowledge, at all, if I don’t trust my God experience. Because this world has always been so flimsy to me. It keeps flickering on and off, and there are other worlds beneath it. In order to trust normal scientific evidence I first have to trust this world. And I can’t just accept that it’s real, and other worlds unreal, like an axiom, because it’s not obvious to me.

    I’m really having difficulty understanding your “pure experience”. How could you have an experience of a deity? How did it interact with you to give you this experience?

    It’s just… a loving presence which is SOLID. Like, not flickering. Not going on and off. Like, a sun compared to a flickering strip light.

    Okay, that was a shitty metaphor and probably explained NOTHING. I’m not certain it’s possible to describe an experience to someone who didn’t have that kind of experience. Like, describing what it’s like to see colours to someone who’s colourblind perhaps.

    But anyway… throughout my life, in times when this world has been particularly flimsy, I’ve experienced this SOLID presence as a contrast. One of these times were when I had first come in touch with psychiatry, and they’d given me anti-psychotic meds. I had heard all their arguments for taking said meds, but these arguments only made sense GIVEN that I would FIRST believe in this world with its scientific structure. Now, if all that were false, if it were instead the other world that were the real one, I might be completely fucked if I started taking these meds and thereby changed my perception and way of thinking. You might be tempted to point at other patients taking these same meds as proof that it’s safe to do so, but once again, that’s only proof if we assume the reality of this world with its scientific system.
    And then I had the experience of God, of something solid and Real with a capital R.
    I can’t quite recall myself right now what it’s like to hear the voice of God, since it was quite a lot of years since I last did this, and it’s only happened a couple of times in my life. It’s not like hearing human voices. The voice of God rather appears in the centre of the head. It’s not like hearing psychotic demon voices either, which is something I’ve had my share of. Psychotic voices can come either from inside the skull, but they still have a certain external or alien feel to them when they do, or come from somewhere outside, and they just have a special creepy quality to them. The God voice just have this incredible reality quality to it, and is completely calming. Anyway, the message just was to believe in this world, psychiatry and science rather than the alternative world I experience time to time with its demons. So I went with psychiatry.

    You’ll probably think that from an atheist perspective the God voice is a psychosis symptom too, but that’s not quite true. There are atheists who have studied religious epiphanies and think they’re different from psychosis, although they still think it’s a neurological/psychological phenomena. It was years since I studied religion at university, so I don’t remember this precisely, but I do remember there are different definitions for psychosis and epiphany, and it has to do with how the experience impacts the individual’s ability to function. Psychosis has a negative impact on you, epiphany hasn’t (obviously, by this definition, a psychosis can have religious content and an epiphany may not refer to God). So yeah, if you’ve already accepted this world and science, you could probably find a neurological explanation in my brain for everything. The key is “if you’ve already accepted…”, and that’s what I can’t unquestioningly do the way others do.

    That’s the other thing about science/empiricism. We don’t ever say, well, that’s the answer, it’s incomplete, but we’ll call it a day. I mean, except in the literal sense, and then there’s beer.

    I don’t think you should write science/empiricism, since one can be a rationalist rather than empiricist and still hold empirical science high – only a rationalist would believe that it all ultimately rests on reason rather than sense experience.

    Anyway. Know about David Hume? He started asking sceptic questions and just never stopped, until he had reached the point that he was even sceptic about scepticism. Eventually he concluded that there was nothing left to do but going out with his mates and have a beer and stop thinking so much about philosophy.
    He still remained an atheist in everyday life though. Just came to think about it, through the beer comment. :-)

  15. Fuck, I wrote such an enormously long post and did a blockquote fail! :-(

    Okay, try again… @Nepenthe:

    Actually, I don’t have any particularly strong beliefs about my own existence or the existence of external reality. I accept it as axiomatic (a statement assumed to be true without proof), because it’s not a particularly useful argument to have. Do I exist? I don’t know, but I’ll act like I do.

    Fair enough. :-) Just wanted an admittance that you too believe certain things for no epistemological reasons. :-) (Believing X because one doesn’t think one will get anywhere by debating whether X, or because it’s way easier to just assume that X than not assuming X, is a reason to believe X, just not an epistemological one. Just like believing X because it makes you feel good is a reason to believe X, but not an epistemological one.)

    Any theory about, well, anything is going to have a few things taken axiomatically, the fewer, the better.

    I’m not sure I agree about the “the fewer the better” part. Suppose we have belief system A and belief system B. In belief system A, there are a small number of axioms, and every other belief are deducted from those axioms. In belief system B, there are like a hundred axioms, and all other beliefs are supported by like thirty-fourty axioms. Now if the axioms of A are really true, A is rock solid. But if these axioms are false, A is completely demolished. In B on the other hand, it could be the case that ten or twenty axioms turn out to be false, and it doesn’t shake the entire structure that badly…

    If a theist says to me, well, I have absolutely no proof of the existence of god, but I take it as an axiom because I can’t see any other way to function, that’s a semi-acceptable answer. (Only unacceptable in that the existence of atheists acts as a counter-example to the no other way to function claim.)

    Well, it could be true that some people can function without theism and others can’t, so the existence of atheists couldn’t prove that particular theist wrong.
    I don’t think I’m quite that theist, though. I’m not saying that I gotta believe in God because life is horrible otherwise or something like that. It’s rather that I don’t have any knowledge, at all, if I don’t trust my God experience. Because this world has always been so flimsy to me. It keeps flickering on and off, and there are other worlds beneath it. In order to trust normal scientific evidence I first have to trust this world. And I can’t just accept that it’s real, and other worlds unreal, like an axiom, because it’s not obvious to me.

    I’m really having difficulty understanding your “pure experience”. How could you have an experience of a deity? How did it interact with you to give you this experience?

    It’s just… a loving presence which is SOLID. Like, not flickering. Not going on and off. Like, a sun compared to a flickering strip light.

    Okay, that was a shitty metaphor and probably explained NOTHING. I’m not certain it’s possible to describe an experience to someone who didn’t have that kind of experience. Like, describing what it’s like to see colours to someone who’s colourblind perhaps.

    But anyway… throughout my life, in times when this world has been particularly flimsy, I’ve experienced this SOLID presence as a contrast. One of these times were when I had first come in touch with psychiatry, and they’d given me anti-psychotic meds. I had heard all their arguments for taking said meds, but these arguments only made sense GIVEN that I would FIRST believe in this world with its scientific structure. Now, if all that were false, if it were instead the other world that were the real one, I might be completely fucked if I started taking these meds and thereby changed my perception and way of thinking. You might be tempted to point at other patients taking these same meds as proof that it’s safe to do so, but once again, that’s only proof if we assume the reality of this world with its scientific system.
    And then I had the experience of God, of something solid and Real with a capital R.
    I can’t quite recall myself right now what it’s like to hear the voice of God, since it was quite a lot of years since I last did this, and it’s only happened a couple of times in my life. It’s not like hearing human voices. The voice of God rather appears in the centre of the head. It’s not like hearing psychotic demon voices either, which is something I’ve had my share of. Psychotic voices can come either from inside the skull, but they still have a certain external or alien feel to them when they do, or come from somewhere outside, and they just have a special creepy quality to them. The God voice just have this incredible reality quality to it, and is completely calming. Anyway, the message just was to believe in this world, psychiatry and science rather than the alternative world I experience time to time with its demons. So I went with psychiatry.

    You’ll probably think that from an atheist perspective the God voice is a psychosis symptom too, but that’s not quite true. There are atheists who have studied religious epiphanies and think they’re different from psychosis, although they still think it’s a neurological/psychological phenomena. It was years since I studied religion at university, so I don’t remember this precisely, but I do remember there are different definitions for psychosis and epiphany, and it has to do with how the experience impacts the individual’s ability to function. Psychosis has a negative impact on you, epiphany hasn’t (obviously, by this definition, a psychosis can have religious content and an epiphany may not refer to God). So yeah, if you’ve already accepted this world and science, you could probably find a neurological explanation in my brain for everything. The key is “if you’ve already accepted…”, and that’s what I can’t unquestioningly do the way others do.

    That’s the other thing about science/empiricism. We don’t ever say, well, that’s the answer, it’s incomplete, but we’ll call it a day. I mean, except in the literal sense, and then there’s beer.

    I don’t think you should write science/empiricism, since one can be a rationalist rather than empiricist and still hold empirical science high – only a rationalist would believe that it all ultimately rests on reason rather than sense experience.

    Anyway. Know about David Hume? He started asking sceptic questions and just never stopped, until he had reached the point that he was even sceptic about scepticism. Eventually he concluded that there was nothing left to do but going out with his mates and have a beer and stop thinking so much about philosophy.
    He still remained an atheist in everyday life though. Just came to think about it, through the beer

    Hope I made it right this time… There really should be a function on this site where you could just go back and change a post.

  16. @heidhi
    That’s good news. At least he has some self-awareness.

  17. I cannot believe how many of commenters talk about FtB ‘bullying’ Vacula on his resignation post. They don’t seem to notice any cognitive dissonance there at all.

  18. @inurashii yes, I noticed that too. There is not much evidence of sceptical thought, a la Thomas in this thread. Really, if they want to convince how our ladybrains are not as good as theirs for scientific thinking, they should actually, you know, show they can think in a scientific sceptical manner. Having one post after another complain about how FtB people post similar comments to each other is a level of irony I haven’t seen for a while.

    The Vacula supporters appear to be predominantly male, and believe what he says without question. But should any woman do a post about how they feel intimidated, creeped out, or harassed, then the woman is “wrong”. And this group of atheists has the unmitigated gall to think they are bereft of the illogical thought-traps of religious people.

  19. Sorry, I should have put “illogical thought-traps” in quotes to indicate that I am paraphrasing what they believe, not stating my own beliefs.

  20. timetravellingfool

    We should all save up for vacation by putting aside a dollar every time an mra doesn’t seem to notice their own cognitive dissonance. Ah well, douche-nozzle was forced to resign. Good.

  21. timetravellingfool

    I have indeed made some mistakes and handled some situations poorly in past months. These mistakes were errors of judgment and were not, by any means, coupled with malicious intent. My detractors have blown these mistakes out of proportion almost never bothering to mention my concessions, never to personally contact me in a constructive manner to address grievances, or correct their own mistakes — and treated me unfairly.

    Ok, this needs to be rephrased: I did some awful shit, but since it didn’t bother me that much I’m not willing to concede how awful it was. Take my word for it- posting the home address and a picture of the home of a woman with whom a group known for harassing its detractors was totally done in good faith (maybe I thought they’d admire her apartment building!). Since I wasn’t worried about emotionally unbalanced and angry strangers coming to my door at any time, I don’t understand why everyone’s so upset. Further, I totally said I was sorry and they didn’t even forgive me! I mean, if I encourage a bunch of angry strangers to show up at a person’s door, how am I supposed to know that person will be upset. She should have contacted me to tell me she was mad! No fair! And now someone is forcing me to say I am sorry- my life is so hard.

  22. We should all save up for vacation by putting aside a dollar every time an mra doesn’t seem to notice their own cognitive dissonance.

    I’m not confident my income is large enough to do that. Maybe putting a nickel aside.

  23. Katz, my examples of ineffective charities, alternative medicine, and Republican economics were examples of uncontroversial places where believing things without or against evidence is a Bad Thing, not example of things religious people do more.

    So you’re admitting that your entire argument was a non-sequitur. To recap:

    NEPENTHE: It’s bad for people to be religious!

    OTHERS: Why do you care so much about what other people think? Isn’t that their own business?

    NEPENTHE: If you are religious, you are irrational and will do irrational things!

    OTHERS: Example?

    NEPENTHE: Alternative medicine!

    OTHERS: Have you got a study showing that religious people are more likely to use alternative medicine?

    NEPENTHE: No, but I never said that religious people support alternative medicine!

    OTHERS: Dude, we can scroll up, you know…

    So we’re back at square one: You have absolutely no reason you should care if other people are religious, because you’ve admitted that you have absolutely no evidence that religious people act any less rationally than anyone else.

  24. @Nepenthe: I’m sorry, I’m going to have to disagree with your generalisation, as I come from a place where religion is private to the point of some people finding a cross on a necklace a bit too confrontational and it’s more likely that Christian/religious people pass for atheists out of desire not to be singled out negatively. I understand that the situation is different in the US and that this site deals mostly in US culture and US media, but I just want to pipe up and say that the US experience of being an atheist / being religious isn’t universal. And yes, I know that I’m incredibly privileged in having grown up where I have, and that I have hardly been oppressed (especially as I like that religion is seen as a private matter and think that the state should be wholly secular), but the need to discuss questions of belief and how to introduce more sceptical and critical thought into society compelled me to keep commenting…

    I do have to admit that the public discourse in the US baffles me, however, and I understand how sceptical, secularist and/or atheist people feel that their beliefs (or their lack of belief) is under threat. I feel threatened by some of the anti-science, anti-equality, right-wing, prosperity-theology religious thoughts in the US, even if I’m not American, because the US is so hugely influential on my society, and I rather like my society secular, scientific minded, critical of authorities and open to progressive ideas. Even though I believe there’s a God.

  25. @katz

    My impression of what nepenthe was saying was less that religion causes irrational behavior and more that it falls under the category of irrational behavior.

    IMO the vast majority of human behavior falls under this category so idk why religion always gets flak. People don’t, like, logically prove that the best possible thing for them to do right now is change the channel during commercials or buy brand name products instead of store brand, but who cares? We’re not robots, which is great! (Although I totes want to be a cyborg. Not because logic but because OMG awesome!!!)

  26. My impression of what nepenthe was saying was less that religion causes irrational behavior and more that it falls under the category of irrational behavior.

    No, the question was:

    So why should a belief in something entirely unverifiable that (presuming that said belief does not encroach upon anyone else’s ability to live as they choose) doesn’t affect you MATTER?

    And Nepenthe’s answer was:

    If you decide that it’s okay to do that, what won’t you believe? (View the phenomenon of “crank magnetism”, where people tend to believe many, many irrational things at the same time. Owly has a terminal case.) And that just makes it all the harder for people who do believe in empiricism to get things done. Try explaining to an aid group why dumping free food goods into a developing country is often a bad idea, when all they can see is how good they feel when they do it. Or to a health care system that half of “alternative medicine” is transparently bullshit that doesn’t work and it’s practically a crime to spend money pushing it.

    So zie was indeed directly saying that, if you are religious, you will totally support alternative medicine and stuff. And backing away from that, aside from being disingenuous, leaves no answer to the original question (why do you care if other people believe things that don’t affect you?).

    *(Nepenthe, I’m not sure I know your preferred pronoun.)

  27. timetravellingfool

    *sigh*- Nepenthe, it’s not people believing in sky unicorns that is problematic. It’s people doing stupid shit because the sky unicorns told them to. And the majority of people are quite happy believing in sky unicorns without doing what they say. Further, people do stupid things with or without sky unicorns. But this isn’t the time for petty fighting- some douche-nozzle who tried to harass a woman for writing on the internet was just forced to resign. We should be celebrating!! Huzzah!! Sky Unicorn be praised!!

  28. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Katelisa, couldn’t agree more with your posts – first, that science is not the only, or even just most important, way life is experienced or explained; second, that the world doesn’t reflect the US’s atheist-religious way of looking at things. I’m in Australia and while we are oversupplied with bigoted Christians – at least in some of the church hierarchies and in our parliaments – we’re a very secular country too. The closest I’ve ever had to religious harassment was the odd Mormon or JW trying their luck doorknocking.

    Nepenthe – if someone isn’t trying to convert you or pressure you, why the hell should they have to explain their experience of deity to you, or to anyone? What are we, lab experiments? There are times when the atheist response to somene’s individual experiences sounds far too much like mansplaining about why this or that didn’t happen. I know it’s not a direct comparison, but it sure comes across that way.

    As it happens deity is way down on my list of important spiritual matters; I’d echo much of what Unimaginative said upthread. Or just let this do the explaining.

  29. A massive “This” to katz’s, timetravelllingfool’s, and The Kitteh’s Unpaid Help’s latest posts.

  30. @katz

    You’re right, I’d forgotten the content of the conversation and just remembered the one part of Nepenthe’s point. I was too lazy to go back and try to find the OP.

    The way I think of it, the rationality of people or ideas is irrelevant when compared to the effect they have on the world. I’m not necessarily convinced that rational ideas are inherently better for humanity. After all, logically, humanity is completely unimportant. We’re part of a fungus that somehow started growing on a rock orbiting a star in a galaxy in the universe. Logically we should just disinfect earth so the whole universe doesn’t spoil.

    Amirite?

  31. Molly Moon: Absolutely to all of that! (Except the cleanse the earth of humanity bit, of course.)

  32. Just got this from a coworker.

    http://cheezburger.com/6635790080

  33. timetravellingfool

    @ Molly- Did you mean to start talking like a super villain there? Like, are you declaring mineral superiority and down with organic matter?

  34. ttf: I assume her role would be played by The Rock.

  35. @ttf:

    Absolutely! Was that not clear?

    @katz:

    I was thinking more like Hugo Weaving? Or maybe Katey Sagal

  36. thebewilderness

    I have indeed made some mistakes and handled some situations poorly in past months. These mistakes were errors of judgment and were not, by any means, coupled with malicious intent. My detractors have blown these mistakes out of proportion almost never bothering to mention my concessions, never to personally contact me in a constructive manner to address grievances, or correct their own mistakes — and treated me unfairly.

    So let me get this straight. His behavior has nothing to do with his character and it is everyone elses responsibility to regulate it for him in a constructive manner.
    One of the enduring characteristics of the abuser lobby is that they hold everyone else to a higher standard of behavior than they hold themselves. This is a classic example of that world view.

  37. There’s a guy who was so upset that people other than white/cis/straight men were listened to during the Occupy movement that he has now become an MRA & friend of JtO.</blockquote

    There were so many of that guy, they became a meme.

  38. Holy crap. What did Ryan Gosling ever do to deserve that? Seriously, I went looking, and I didn’t find any dirt on him, but I did find TWO separate tumblrs using his picture and saying asshole things. What’s up with that?

  39. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Yeah, that surprised me too!

  40. @Molly

    After all, logically, humanity is completely unimportant. We’re part of a fungus that somehow started growing on a rock orbiting a star in a galaxy in the universe. Logically we should just disinfect earth so the whole universe doesn’t spoil.

    Amirite?

    No, not really. ;-) There’s nothing we should do “logically”. You have to supply logic with values in order to get ANY conclusion of what we ought to do going. If you have nothing but logic, it’s neither better nor worse to kill everyone than to give everyone puppies and ice cream.

    I’m not pissed of with Nepenthe for asking me about religious experiences btw. I think zie sounded disrespectful in zir first posts, but was respectful enough when zie asked me questions.

  41. There’s nothing we should do “logically”. You have to supply logic with values in order to get ANY conclusion of what we ought to do going. If you have nothing but logic, it’s neither better nor worse to kill everyone than to give everyone puppies and ice cream.

    Damn! I was hoping no one would notice that. ;) I didn’t realize until after I’d posted.

  42. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Could we make that kittens and ice-cream as an alternative? :)

  43. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
  44. @Molly Moon. :-D
    However, it’s been claimed earlier in the thread that science can’t explain everything, and logic is a good example. Science makes use of logic, but logical rules can’t be scientifically proven. You can’t device an experiment or think of an observation that would prove modus tollens… rather, the very idea that science could prove anything presupposes the validity of modus tollens.

    I taught a seminar on Anselm’s ontological proof of God yesterday. In short form it goes like this:
    I define God as a being so perfect that nothing more perfect can be thought of (it doesn’t matter for the argument if this is the ordinary definition, or “right” definition… just that it’s a definition you can make, and which is comprehensible).
    Now, suppose that this being only exists in your mind, and that it’s loving, wise, omnipotent etc. However, it’s possible to think of a more perfect being than this, namely one who has all the previously mentioned qualities plus existence outside of the mind.
    Therefore, if God were only in my mind, it would be possible to think of a being more perfect than the being whom is so perfect that one cannot think of a more perfect one. That’s a logical contradiction.
    Therefore, God exists outside of the mind, not just in it.

    The classic response, which is pretty generally accepted, comes from Kant. He points out that existence isn’t a predicate. It’s a quantifier. Logically, existence belongs in a different category than qualities such as wise, loving, omnipotent (or red, blue, tall, short etc), and can’t be lumped in with them to make up the overall quality of perfection. Therefore, the logic of the argument is flawed.

    Now obviously you can’t pinpoint the logical flaw that Kant points out unless you have had logical training. However, lots of people without it spontaneously feel that there’s SOMETHING wrong with the logic. Like my husband, when he said “it’s some kind of philosophical cheating going on here”.

    A Facebook friend yesterday though thought that the problem with the argument was that it couldn’t be scientifically proven. And I’m like… what? It’s not a scientific argument! It’s a logical argument! Shouldn’t THAT much be obvious? But it’s like the notion that EVERYTHING is science and must be proven or disproven by scientific means has become so widespread now, that lots of people just can’t see when a problem they’re presented with doesn’t fall into that subject matter.

  45. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    I have no training in logic at all, but Anselm’s argument seems really odd to me. It’s like … it’s all just theory, being able to imagine something existing outside your mind doesn’t prove it does. I dunno, it doesn’t work for me as a proof. All these arguments just leave me going “whut?” because I haven’t the training to sift through them.

    But aye, the whole idea of everything being provable by science or being fake, imaginary, or valueless … that’s the thing that riles me. Apart from anything else, it seems to assume we know everything we possibly can, that science has nothing more to learn. (I feel a Hamlet moment coming on – “More things in heaven and earth, Horatio … “) :)

  46. @Kitten:

    I have no training in logic at all, but Anselm’s argument seems really odd to me. It’s like … it’s all just theory, being able to imagine something existing outside your mind doesn’t prove it does. I dunno, it doesn’t work for me as a proof. All these arguments just leave me going “whut?” because I haven’t the training to sift through them.

    Yeah, that’s the normal reaction if one hasn’t studied logic… One instinctively feels that there’s something wrong here, since how could one possibly proceed from imagination to reality like that. But to pinpoint where things go wrong one needs some kind of logical training.

    But aye, the whole idea of everything being provable by science or being fake, imaginary, or valueless … that’s the thing that riles me. Apart from anything else, it seems to assume we know everything we possibly can, that science has nothing more to learn. (I feel a Hamlet moment coming on – “More things in heaven and earth, Horatio … “) :)

    I think it’s important to distinguish between a) what science can’t prove today, but might prove tomorrow, and b) what science can’t prove because it falls outside the subject matter of science.

    Immanuel Kant was critisised for his speculations about life on other planets in the solar system, since he had also claimed that it’s useless to speculate about things that can’t possibly be proven. He responded that although it’s impossible to prove or falsify the existence of aliens in the solar system NOW (i e, the eighteenth century), it’s in principle possible to solve the question through scientific means. And he was right about that. Nowadays, we’ve investigated the other planets, and we’ve falsified Kant’s hypothesis that there’s intelligent life there.
    Just like they couldn’t investigate other planets in the eighteenth century, there’s stuff we can’t investigate right now but may investigate in the future.

    Basically, the subject matter of science is to causally explain and predict events. Everything that falls within that subject matter, science COULD one day explain or predict, even if it’s impossible right now.

    But then, outside this subject matter, there’s philosophy (logic, epistemology, ethics etc), and interpretative enterprises like, say, litterature and movie analysis. Saying science can’t solve questions in these areas is just like saying you can’t use biology to prove a mathematical theorem, or you can’t use chemistry to translate a text from English to Swedish.

  47. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Thank you for putting it so eloquently! Yes, there are two problems with the “science explains everything” notion – there are things science may well explain eventually, but hasn’t yet; and that there are things where it just isn’t relevant. When the idea that it can explain everything and anything gets bandied about, it seems to be fodder for the reductionist outlook that says we’re nothing more than a bunch of chemical or electrical reactions. Sure, we are those, physically, but even if one doesn’t believe in the soul (I do) I’d say it’s very much the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Reductionism of that sort can explain away, but it can’t really explain. I’m thinking of the feeling of being loved, for instance, when there is no physical being doing the loving. Calling it delusion or a cognitive error is just … no, it doesn’t work, it misses the point, for me.

    Gah, I’m getting all messy trying to express this. Friday night brain fade.

  48. I don’t think Ryan Gosling did anything! Last I checked, he’s pretty popular with feminists. I think it was just the height of the Ryan Gosling memes when that meme was created.

  49. @Anselm’s argument fails far before the transition from imagination to reality. The argument presupposes that one can imagine a perfect being, but can you really?

    You can certainly imagine the concept of perfection in broad strokes but the details are what kills it. What does this being look like? What is its energy source? How big is it? Does it have organs? Does it have a brain? Does it exist in the universe or is it somehow outside it? In either case, how does it interact with the universe? What atoms is it composed of? Is it even composed of atoms? If not, what is its composition?

    If you can’t answer these questions and many more about the nature of this being, then you haven’t imagined a perfect being, you have imagined an incomplete or flawed being that you are calling perfect.

    (sorry, but that argument always bugs me)

  50. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Very true. Just talking about a being ties it to an earthly concept, an individual, which seems to be starting out wrong, to me. I don’t think of deity as something I can grasp, or imagine, let alone being some version of “a person”; it’s simply too different and I’ve no knowledge to base the imagination on. I guess I fall into the “it’s essentially unknowable” camp on this one. Which is fine by me, I’m not looking for evidence, let alone proofs.

    Except cats, of course. Cats are proof of divinity. Just ask them.

  51. @Myoo:

    @Anselm’s argument fails far before the transition from imagination to reality. The argument presupposes that one can imagine a perfect being, but can you really?

    That’s a good point. Up until the nineteenth or twentieth century (I’m hazy on this point since this isn’t my expert area) philosophers tended to assume that if you grasped a concept, that meant you had some kind of image in your head. Like, if I grasp the concept “horse”, this means I have a mental horse image. Anselm thinks we can grasp the concept of a perfect entity, and one might give him that much, but when he goes on to talk about said entity “being in the understanding” (as he puts it) of the one who grasps the concept it seems like a false idea of what it means to grasp something.

  52. So zie was indeed directly saying that, if you are religious, you will totally support alternative medicine and stuff. And backing away from that, aside from being disingenuous, leaves no answer to the original question (why do you care if other people believe things that don’t affect you?).

    Wow, this is an amazingly uncharitable and distorted interpretation of what Nepenthe is saying. Full disclosure: Nepenthe and I both post a fair bit at FTB, so I may be more familiar with the arguments ze is advancing, but still.

    First of all, when was it established that other people holding false beliefs does not affect anyone else? That just seems extremely obvious. I mean, it’s not just religious beliefs. The beliefs we hold cause us to choose certain actions over others. Our beliefs are our model of reality. They determine how we interact with it.

    If other people are holding false beliefs about reality, how can you be in a community with them? Example: the GOP’s current behavior. Denying reality, insisting that unfavorable polls are faked, that global warming is a hoax, that the President is a fraud. It makes governing impossible.

    If other people don’t bother to check that their beliefs match reality, how can they, or I, be confident that their actions will match their stated intentions?

    It matters because the truth matters. Because reality matters. Because we live in reality, or at least an imitation of reality that’s impossible to tell from the real article, and odds are that this is our only life.

    Frankly I don’t see that religion or atheism predisposes any people towards good or bad behavior. The content of beliefs seems to function pretty independently of character. But with religion, the act of holding onto falsified or un-evidenced or un-falsifiable beliefs does, in fact, increase the chances that you’ll hurt someone without intending to. Perfectly nice Christians who mean well but insist that marriage equality is sinful, for example.

    It matters, not just what you believe, but also why you believe it.

  53. So zie was indeed directly saying that, if you are religious, you will totally support alternative medicine and stuff. And backing away from that, aside from being disingenuous, leaves no answer to the original question (why do you care if other people believe things that don’t affect you?).

    Oh, and, for the record, faith, as I defined it, clearly, several times, to wit: believing in things (concepts, beings, whatever) for which there is no evidence or contradictory evidence is a fucking cognitive error. If you hold a belief in something for which there exists ZERO evidence or CONTRADICTORY evidence, then you are making a cognitive error.

    I explicitly said that all people, including myself, make them. It’s pretty much inevitable. But it is a tendency that we should compensate for, not indulge and lionize.

    Making a cognitive error does not make you an inferior human being. It is part of being human.

    So just fucking bite me, Katz.

  54. Dammit, cut and paste error

    Yeah, SallyStrange may be amazed to discover that bigots usually don’t come out and say that they’re better than other people; it’s much more likely to be something like “Homosexuals were created in the image of God like everyone else, they just chose to pursue a sinful lifestyle!” Turns out that if you do that you’re still acting superior.

    Oh, and, for the record, faith, as I defined it, clearly, several times, to wit: believing in things (concepts, beings, whatever) for which there is no evidence or contradictory evidence is a fucking cognitive error. If you hold a belief in something for which there exists ZERO evidence or CONTRADICTORY evidence, then you are making a cognitive error.

    I explicitly said that all people, including myself, make them. It’s pretty much inevitable. But it is a tendency that we should compensate for, not indulge and lionize.

    Making a cognitive error does not make you an inferior human being. It is part of being human.

    So just fucking bite me, Katz.

  55. I’m thinking of the feeling of being loved, for instance, when there is no physical being doing the loving. Calling it delusion or a cognitive error is just … no, it doesn’t work, it misses the point, for me.

    I think you are hearing “Your feelings are a delusion,” what what is really being said is, “You have likely misidentified the cause of your feelings. It’s unlikely that an external conscious agent is causing them. There is no evidence for this agent, and also perceiving an external conscious agent when there is none is a common mistake.”

  56. So just fucking bite me, Katz.

    Here I was hoping this discussion got necro’d for some actual discusssion.

    When will I learn?

  57. You know, Laura, I said other things besides those words that reflected my irritation and frustration with Katz’s willful distortion of what I was saying. So you could address those other things I said, or you could just wring your hands about the fact that I gave voice to the emotions Katz was inspiring in me. ONE of those options will lead to actual discussion. I’ll let you figure out which one.

  58. Yeah, I’m so interested in holding a discussion with the poster whose only contribution to this site has been to repeatedly return to a single thread to tell us time and again why worldviews different than zir own are wrong, even when everyone else, including the people holding the same position, have stopped. So, so interested.

    Oh wait, no. No, I’m not.

  59. Sally: What you said was a repetition of things you said before; right down to the, “but you didn’t understand”.

    Why should anyone here repeat their disagreements with your arguments, since you’ve not made any new ones, esp. because a long discussion of how/why the actual underlying philosophical questions addressed in the course of the discussion you didn’t take part in addressed other failings in the limited view you used in reply.

  60. Woah, I missed what was happening, but if it’s necro’d, then I’ll jump in, too.

    My own background is that I was a fundie as a child, became an atheist, and now take the “accomodationist” stance in atheism. That means I believe that as long as someone’s beliefs aren’t harming people around them, then it’s none of my business. I have heard all of the “new atheist” arguments on why accomodationism is wrong, but I still take this stance.

    Now I saw this comment

    Frankly I don’t see that religion or atheism predisposes any people towards good or bad behavior. The content of beliefs seems to function pretty independently of character. But with religion, the act of holding onto falsified or un-evidenced or un-falsifiable beliefs does, in fact, increase the chances that you’ll hurt someone without intending to. Perfectly nice Christians who mean well but insist that marriage equality is sinful, for example.

    Okay, religion definitely can compel some people to do harm. I’m in the Bible Belt, so I see that kind of stuff all the time. On the other hand, religion can also make people more likely to do good for others, even if their motive is wanting to score points to go to heaven. I can’t even count how many many churches and religions have helped here in Joplin. The United Arab Emirates gave laptops to all the high schoolers because the temporary mall school doesn’t have lockers. They specifically said that the pillar of Islam promoting charity is part of their motivation. Billy Graham’s charity Samaritan’s Purse has helped a lot of people patch their roofs or rebuild homes from scratch. Almost all the local churches, mosque, and synagogue opened their doors to displaced people, collected food, clothing, and medicine from outside sources, and then distributed it all to those who need it. These were and still are very effective charities. So if someone’s religion compels them to help others, and they don’t use their beliefs as an excuse to do harm, then it’s a net good.

  61. Sally, your charming faith that you are absolutely correct in areas where you are ignorant* forms a rather large bloc of cognitive errors, and for the purposes of personal growth it would be advisable to address that in the future. I mean, you don’t have to – these blind spots are indeed perfectly charming and must surely provide a lot of conversation topics for you. But if you absolutely must storm into a forum and resurrect dead threads in order to insult regular posters, then it would be good for you to consider that your original ideas were – perhaps – not very good. Maybe just a wee bit. Multiple intelligent people from multiple educated, experienced and illuminated backgrounds explicitly said why. I invite you to consider the relevance of something called peer review, a method used to parse good science from garbage, and whether or not it behooves one to scream and rage at one’s reviewers, “BUT YOU FOOLS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!!”

    * a blind spot that includes things like “when people have stopped talking to you” and “all of evolutionary biology”; while your personality is surely evolved and pleasant, it would be really lovely if you could fix the biology one.

  62. Sally, I’m an atheist too, and trust me when I say that your contempt for religious people is coming across loud and clear here. People generally don’t like being treated with contempt. It is possible to be an atheist without talking down to religious people and suggesting that their brains don’t work properly.

    If for whatever reason you’re having a hard time restraining the urge to do that then maybe stopping and reminding yourself that people generally don’t like to be treated with contempt would help. Conversations that start that way rarely end well.

  63. Late to the party with a small but often over-looked correction – Watson did not say “Guys don’t do that.” she said “Guys don’t do that to me.” followed by a short list of reason why it made her uncomfortable.

    It’s the scariest part about that whole weird shitstorm. Watson wasn’t setting boundaries for her community, she was setting simple boundaries for herself. And that could not go unpunished.

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