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Richard Dawkins, Lindy West, and the Cartoon Video of Great Hatefulness

Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?
Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?

Almost three years ago, a feminist activist committed what many not-so-impartial observers apparently see as an unpardonable sin: she was less than polite to a small squad of Men’s Rights activists at a demonstration in Toronto. At least one of these gentlemen caught her outburst on video, and uploaded it to YouTube.

You know the rest: the video went viral, and the activist, a red-headed woman known as Chanty Binx (or “Big Red,” to the douchebag army), found herself suddenly transformed into “The Posterchild of Everything Wrong with Feminism,” as one of her haters put it. Her face has become ubiquitous in antifeminist memes, and she’s endured nearly three years of harassment.

Earlier this month, antifeminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad — who makes his living pandering to some of the internet’s worst lady haters — posted an animated video by another antifeminist YouTuber in which an angry Islamist and an angry feminist sing a song explaining that they pretty much believe all the same things. (For some reason, this nonsensical theory is something that a lot of antifeminists have convinced themselves is true.)

The angry Islamist in the video is a familiar racist stereotype, complete with “funny” accent. [Correction: He’s evidently supposed to be a parody of this guy, known as Dawah Man, a legitimately terrible person you wouldn’t think atheists would have to strawman in order to criticize..]

The angry feminist, meanwhile, isn’t a generic figure; she’s an especially crude caricature of Binx, spouting nonsense that neither Binx nor any other feminist actually believes: the video ends with her encouraging the Islamist to rape her, because it’s not really rape if a Muslim does it, dontchaknow.

It’s a vicious, hateful little cartoon made worse by the fact that these words are being put in the mouth of a real woman who’s been the target of a vast harassment campaign for years.

Yesterday, Richard Dawkins, apparently seeing this horrendous video as a clever takedown of some brand of feminism that he must think actually exists, shared it with his 1.3 million Twitter followers:

Dawkins-tweet

Dawkins, a well-respected scientist-turned-embarrassing-atheist-ideologue, has become notorious for his endless Twitter gaffes. But this is plainly worse than, say, his famously pathetic lament about airport security “dundridges” taking his jar of honey; his Tweet contributed to the demonization of a real woman who’s already the target of harassment and threats.

The awesome Lindy West pointed this out to him in a series of Tweets and linked to one of my posts cataloging some of the abuse Binx got after the video of her went viral.

In a series of eloquent and angry Tweets, she made clear to Dawkins how and why he was misusing his huge platform and contributing to an atmosphere of hate online. Dawkins, alternately indignant and defensive, ultimately took down the offending Tweet, but not before making other Tweets that were nearly as bad. Dawkins can’t even do the right thing without being a dick about it.

Let’s watch Lindy at work:

 

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest like literally what is wrong with you @RichardDawkins RETWEETS 47 LIKES 337 Lamentation Smythethank god it's overMargaret PlessAllison ElaineRachyAlice Pinegabs ❁GORILLA SUITNINA 5:19 PM - 26 Jan 2016 Reply Retweet Liked More Tweet text Reply to @thelindywest @RichardDawkins Who's in these photos? Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Jan 26 the complete ideological horror show aside, that is a caricature of an actual real woman and you are feeding her harassment @RichardDawkins

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I didn't know that. Who is the real woman? 1 retweet 5 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 5 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Here: https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 55 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 55 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It would serve you well to research the people & movements whose support you accept & whose propaganda you disseminate. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago One might even argue that it's a basic responsibility concomitant with wielding such a large and powerful platform. @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 114 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 114 More View other replies Show more Zoë “Shitpost” Quinn ‏@UnburntWitch 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest @RichardDawkins oh good he's promoting a guy who built a career off of stalking and harassing me and my family 19 retweets 86 likes Reply Retweet 19 Like 86 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Richard, this is not a thought experiment for us. It's not an ideological pissing match. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It is a constant, violent, unprovoked, psychologically damaging barrier to full engagement with the world. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 83 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 83 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago You make yourself complicit in that system by validating and amplifying the voices of our harassers. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 22 retweets 100 likes Reply Retweet 22 Liked 100 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Please stop, or at least do so with full knowledge of the scope, history, and implications of your actions. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

After what was apparently an unsatisfactory response from Dawkins — I couldn’t find his Tweet, if there was one — West repeated and expanded upon her basic points. [EDIT: The unsastisfactory respose, West tells me, was that Dawkins posted a link to one of the videos of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.]

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest If this is your response, please go on record, explicitly, that you believe women you dislike deserve rape & death threats. @RichardDawkins

Well, that got his attention:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest What the hell are you talking about. When have I ever said any such thing? 7 retweets 34 likes Reply Retweet 7 Like 34 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Did you read the link that I sent? Posting this video implies an endorsement of her abuse (and will definitely amplify it). @RichardDawkins 9 retweets 71 likes Reply Retweet 9 Liked 71 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest No. What link? Somebody told me who she was. I was about to delete my original tweet. Then I looked up the Toronto vid . . .

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago I sent you a series of tweets. Feel free to read them in my TL. Here is the link again: https://wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 67 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 67 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Then you looked up the Toronto vid and...felt like that woman deserved what she got? That's exactlly what I'm talking about. @RichardDawkins 7 retweets 77 likes Reply Retweet 7 Liked 77 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I think she deserves nothing more than ridicule. I would never shriek "Fuckface" at her. But I would laugh at her. Ridicule.

So there you have it: when informed that a tweet of his will almost certainly worsen the vicious harassment faced by a young woman whose only “crime” was being rude to a couple of MRAs in public, Richard Dawkins, a one-time winner of  the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year Award, replies by saying that “she deserves nothing more than ridicule.”

West replied:

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Please don't insult me by pretending you don't comprehend the gravity and scope of this conversation and your complicity. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Great. Good job. If you leave those links up you are fomenting further abuse, and that's a choice you should own. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins then decided to suggest that perhaps Binx was, you know, crazy:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @FulcrumAmber @thelindywest Perhaps mentally ill, to be charitable. Anyway it's disgraceful that she's apparently received violent threats. 1 retweet 8 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 8 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago First of all, mentally ill people are fully capable of holding and expressing valid, well-considered, justified opinions. @RichardDawkins 48 retweets 214 likes Reply Retweet 48 Like 214 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago 2nd of all, you know nothing of this woman's mental state but her anger. Armchair diagnoses are presumptuous and insulting. @RichardDawkins 37 retweets 159 likes Reply Retweet 37 Like 159 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago And thirdly, it's exactly this spectrum of misogyny--dismissiveness to outright abuse--that feminists are angry about. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins ultimately agreed to take down his Tweet linking to the execrable video. But he offered no apology. And he went on to suggest that just maybe Binx had … threatened herself.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago Having learned that the woman in the joke song is a real person who has been disgracefully threatened with violence, I'm deleting my tweets. 65 retweets 436 likes Reply Retweet 65 Like 436 More Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h5 hours ago Maybe I'm naive. Can't believe anyone's as nasty as her. Nor that anyone would threaten her. Nor that anyone'd lie about being threatened.

User Actions Follow Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins Richard Dawkins Retweeted Boltzmann Is this really true? How depressing. But it would explain a lot. Richard Dawkins added, Boltzmann @NameIsBoltzmann @RichardDawkins People lie about being threatened all the time these days. Some have gotten caught threatening themselves.

We’ve seen this, er, argument before.

sharkethics

Does Dawkins have any conception of just how much abuse women like Chanty Binx get? If she were sending herself all the threatening and harassing messages she gets, she wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep.

And I wonder if Dawkins thinks she drew the caricature of herself that was used in the video he retweeted.

Thoughtful as ever, Dawkins made sure to remind his 1.3 million followers that Binx still deserved all the mockery they could deliver. Just not the death threats please!

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8h8 hours ago @YourSluttyGF Yes, she deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier. But she doesn't deserve violent threats. Nobody does.Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins @cleanpulse @YourSluttyGF I don't feel the smallest bit guilty. She deserves mockery. But if there's a risk of inspiring violence, NO NO NO!And he begged his readers to think about the real victims here — those people, like him, who might have to curtail their mockery somewhat because their terrible, terrible fans might be inspired to hurt someone.

Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't EVER threaten anyone with violence. We should be free to use comedy/ridicule without fear it may inspire violence

RIP, Richard Dawkins’ comedy career.

Is Dawkins actually unaware that by punching down at a woman who’s already been the target of a three year harassment campaign he almost certainly is contributing to the threats he claims to deplore? It’s hard for me to believe that he could be so naive. But the alternative explanation — that he knows full well that he’s encouraging the harassers — is even more disquieting.

One good thing has come out of this ugly episode today: The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has un-invited Dawkins from its event this year. A post on the group’s website today explains:

The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.

We will issue a full refund to any NECSS attendee who wishes to cancel their registration due to this announcement.

The NECSS Team

Good for them. The atheist movement needs to stand up to the haters and harassers in its midst, including those like Dawkins, who may not directly harass or threaten but who use their huge platforms to amplify and embolden this hatred and harassment.

It would be nice if Dawkins were to actually learn something — a little humanity, a little humility? — from this incident, but when it comes to the subject of feminism Dawkins seems incapable of taking in new information, much less learning anything from it.

EDITED TO ADD: And now, as if to prov what I just said in that previous paragraph, Dawkins is now second-guessing his decision to take down his tweet linking to the video, because GamerGaters are telling him that Chanty and I made up the evidence of the abuse she got.

dawktakeback

NOTE: Lindy West has a book coming out soon. Pre-order it below!

CORRECTION: I added  a bit noting that the Islamist in the cartoon video is supposed to be a parody of a real person.

EDIT: I added a line about Dawkins tweeting a link to a video of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.

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dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

At least this guy made me remember this song:

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

@wwth

I completely agree, except for the thing about word salad. :p

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

but having a “bias problem” is very different than “having no say” in a discipline.

Why is this distinction important? Any bias at all can affect research. If you care so much about accuracy and science, you’d be more focused on getting the bias out of scientific fields as much as possible. Not quibbling with feminists over semantics.

arash
arash
5 years ago

We need a word for this, because it’s something that a lot of people say when they pop up here to defend their heroes. I remember that orange tango drinker did it too.

I suggest The Pedant Signal; because just like the Bat Signal it will summon people from great distances to come and burst through windows and disrupt whatever’s going on.

wow the force is strong with you and some other indigenous commentators.the force of tribalism.
i visit here occasionally but just read david posts and never participated in comments section till now, hmm damn it i’m depressed now 🙂

why are you the arbiter of who deserves to be called an anti-feminist
Are you even a woman or a feminist?

so this is THE Rule, unless i’m a feminist or woman i can’t say who deserves to be called a feminist or an anti-feminist.
do i have to show my identification card!? maybe i’m an MRA or anti-feminist infiltrator

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

So, he’s arrived at the “tribalism” accusation. “Echo chamber” coming up next, followed by “censoring all dissenting opinions”, and then an angry flounce while yelling sexist slurs at everybody. I’m gonna go make dinner now, let’s see if he self-destructs before or after I come back. :p

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

so this is THE Rule, unless i’m a feminist or woman i can’t say who deserves to be called a feminist or an anti-feminist.

… No shit. That’s not a gotcha, that’s telling us the sky is blue.

arash
arash
5 years ago

@dhag85

So, he’s arrived at the “tribalism” accusation. “Echo chamber” coming up next, followed by “censoring all dissenting opinions”, and then an angry flounce while yelling sexist slurs at everybody. I’m gonna go make dinner now, let’s see if he self-destructs before or after I come back. :p

well it’s always the other way around, and sadly you’re going to be disappointed.
but please don’t kill yourself over this disappointment, i’m here to stay, later your suicide would be a little more justified.

… No shit. That’s not a gotcha, that’s telling us the sky is blue.

so basically if i’m not a chicken i can’t tell what is a chicken and what is a cat?!or am i distoring your ad hominem argument

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

so this is THE Rule, unless i’m a feminist or woman i can’t say who deserves to be called a feminist or an anti-feminist.

Yes. Yes, that is exactly right. Unless you’re a feminist you can’t say who’s a feminist or not; and unless you’re female you’re going to have bad judgement about who’s a misogynist or not. People outside a group don’t get to make decisions about the membership of that group.

Is that new to you?

Nathan Hevenstone
5 years ago

@arash

If you’re not a woman, you will never understand what it’s like to be a woman.

I’m a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. I will only ever know what it’s like to be a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. As a result, I listen to people who are not on that spectrum when it comes to issues that affect them, because they are experts in their experiences, and I am not an expert in their experiences.

So when it comes to what women go through, I defer to women.

You should consider doing the same.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
5 years ago

Tweeting a meme that says feminists don’t care when Muslim women are executed is iron-clad proof that Dawkins is an anti-feminist.

It’s like MRAs who say women are liars and are after men for their money. They can’t credibly claim that they only meant to insult some women.

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

Aw crap, I forgot to mention the inevitable suicide “jokes”.

arash
arash
5 years ago

@EJ

Yes. Yes, that is exactly right. Unless you’re a feminist you can’t say who’s a feminist or not; and unless you’re female you’re going to have bad judgement about who’s a misogynist or not. People outside a group don’t get to make decisions about the membership of that group.
Is that new to you?

i just hope it’s another joke but i treat it as it’s not.

the concept is not new, group bias is well known in humans and animals.but actually i didn’t expect it here and that surprised me, my bad.
anyway let me illuminate you:)feminism is not a kind of group that in it people are selected or elected, it’s an ideological group and parameters of membership(according to appearances) are pretty objective and determining (logically) that someone is in group or not is a task that any in/out group member can do it.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

so this is THE Rule, unless i’m a feminist or woman i can’t say who deserves to be called a feminist or an anti-feminist.

That’s right. You’re not an expert on everything. When you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should listen to people who do. As a white person, if a ton of POC are saying they find someone or something racist, even if I’ve never noticed that person being racist before, I’m going to listen to them. Because they would know better than me. For example, I probably wouldn’t have noticed how overwhelmingly white the last two slates of Academy Award nominations were if there hadn’t been people of color pointing it out. We tend to have a harder time seeing things that don’t directly affect us. You seem to have trouble grasping this.

And you still haven’t answered me. What makes you qualified to decide who is or isn’t anti-feminist? I’m asking for evidence. If you don’t give it to me, I’ll know you hate the scientific method.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

@ Auntie Alias

You’re being dismissive of the feelings of those of us who have described being dogpiled; i.e., “I don’t see much of a problem” and “I have limited sympathy here.” Please don’t do that.

I gave more detail than that and it’s fair for me to ask that people take that detail into account, and in return I can explain more in places where I was not clear or gave too little information on something that requires more. My comment was focused on trolls and I provided too little information on something that needed more. I do not simply dismiss people who have felt dogpiled as a general group and I do give more weight to what people from groups who have to deal with bigotry and xenophobia feel. In sort the people I have in mind are the people how are bigoted and xenophobic and I’m giving more detail below.

I can’t promise that everyone will be happy with my views but I can say that I have no problems with rules against dogpiling and adapting to anything that exists here. I can even suggest some things if the rule came up for discussion because I see “dogpiling” as more of a consequence of group behavior and not a tactic that one deliberately uses (though some people can make others feel dogpiled because of how much text they put on a screen. If I make people feel that way I want to know because I am one of those people).

I believe that what is seen as “dogpiling”, and “group criticism/shaming”, and “harassment” likely feels very similar but is not something that should simply not exist. Let me be clear, I’m talking about group criticism of bigots and xenophobes and I am in fact a person who would aid the people that have to deal with bigots and xenophobes. That is a form of social role-modeling that communicates what is unacceptable or shameful and like other things is needs morals and ethics. As a species we do still respond to “making an example out of people” and in many ways that is what is happening to MRAs and Dawkins when they get large amounts of criticism. But it always needs defined scope and limits and there is not a lot of social agreement there at the moment. Social change takes place via many routes, but I would not complain if it was something I could not participate in. Maybe the world would be better if it was a broadly disapproved behavior, I’m pragmatic here.
I’ll try to make sure that my wording does not dismiss what others feel even if I end up strongly disagreeing, so if there are any more problems I hope you are willing to speak up.

@ rugbyyogi
My response to Auntie Alias was written with you in mind as well.
As for unironically, I’m not sure. I see these things in terms of social conflict strategy and like I mentioned above I don’t think that group criticism is a thing that necessarily should disappear from human behavior. So on one had I do feel that I should “own it” when it comes to shitty behavior in the atheist community, but I see dogpiling as a behavior that is shitty in some contexts but not others. It’s a matter of there being lots of tools available when it comes to social conflict and change. Master Beta and Gavan would be example of people I would help pile onto.

As for the in-group here, I can agree that as a group there is likely some automatic defensiveness when it comes to new posters. It’s probably as a result of marginalized people finally having a space where they stand on equal or even superior ground so to speak and in that context it’s a good thing (and I also agree that it’s not deliberately organized). But I can also agree that it’s a thing that requires codes of conduct. For my part as a person with Tourette’s Syndrome I do experience marginalization and very often attract the sorts of people you have in mind, but TS ends up being an advantage there because it gives social conflict advantages and I actually make an effort to take such people seriously as a necessary habit so my perspective has some unusual biases there.

I tried to be clear about there being limits to pressuring people to “owning” group behavior. I don’t believe that everyone can or should try to do so (there are few universals here). If the current rules are not useful and it was revisited I would certainly take your experiences seriously in such a thread. If a way could be found to effectively get the group to limit things to 2-3 responders I would not see that as a bad thing.

Ddog
Ddog
5 years ago

It seems Dawkins has attracted all the MRAssholes to himself and this post sigh.

It’s like trollopolooza on this thread!

Sorry I am on a four hour train journey and was really proud of thinking of trollopolooza and had to post
😀

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

comment image

( Does not present an opinion on the argument going on, i just like the idea :3 )

Brony

“dogpiling” as more of a consequence of group behavior and not a tactic that one deliberately uses

^^^^^^^^ That thing right there. It is true! Hard to avoid, needs careful attention to minimize. A bit of a challenge to deal with. I support the idea of guidelines to help minimize this, even if it’s just an occasional reminder from da boss.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

Re: Outrage

Outrage is a perfectly fine response to human behavior or communication. What matters is why the person is outraged. Most people I have seen criticizing outrage by feminists, LGBT+, racial minorities, others and their allies look like people being outraged at outrage to me and I have not yet seen a good argument against the outrage.

It’s looks more like an attempt to get people to stop complaining about things worth being outraged at and is accompanied by fallacious arguments like “it’s just a joke” or “emotion is not valid”. Both of those are garbage because humor is a part of social conflict and is often unavoidably insulting towards a group. Seriously, here is my attempt at analyzing the “humor” in this video and it’s disgusting.
http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/01/28/its-just-the-total-dawkins-meltdown-now/comment-page-1/#comment-997419

As for emotion, emotion is always a part of everything that we do as human beings. Emotion is a file system structure that links perception and memory. It governs our responses including use of reasoning (all reasoning) and it’s a targeting system for logic. It’s not a matter of keeping emotion out, it’s a matter of figuring out where one’s emotion is and being aware of it.

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

@arash

This has nothing to do with “group bias” at all. It’s not even related. You’re confused.

Obviously the people in group X are the only ones who can decide whether other people are their allies or not. If you’re not in group X you don’t get to dictate to the group who they should support. How the fuck is this even difficult to understand.

EDIT: Food is ready! 🙂

arash
arash
5 years ago

@Nathan Hevenstone

If you’re not a woman, you will never understand what it’s like to be a woman.

I’m a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. I will only ever know what it’s like to be a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied man. As a result, I listen to people who are not on that spectrum when it comes to issues that affect them, because they are experts in their experiences, and I am not an expert in their experiences.

So when it comes to what women go through, I defer to women.

You should consider doing the same.

i can’t disagree less with you, but here our feminist fellowes are not talking about “what a woman experiences” but who can determine who is a feminist or not.alas they think they have some sort of entitlement.

Aw crap, I forgot to mention the inevitable suicide “jokes”.

but joking aside, i like tormenting people minds when they are alive:D
@weirwoodtreehugger

That’s right. You’re not an expert on everything.

the problem is being a member of an ideological/sexual/ethnical group doesn’t automatically makes you an expert(which is what you’re suggesting)
if you’re looking for an expert, the knowledge and not mere experience alone, determines who is an expert.

And you still haven’t answered me. What makes you qualified to decide who is or isn’t anti-feminist? I’m asking for evidence. If you don’t give it to me, I’ll know you hate the scientific method.

as i told EJ the only qualification that is needed in this case is that my argument to be logical and sound.
if you think my argument about who deserves to be called feminist or not, is illogical, then yes there is a fair chance that i’m wrong
but if you insist on attacking my supposed “credibility” in this matter, then that’s just ad hominem fallacy

LindsayIrene
5 years ago

comment image

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Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

don’t try.it’s easy to find:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sex-and-race-discrimination-in-academia-starts-even-before-grad-school/
but having a “bias problem” is very different than “having no say” in a discipline.
it’s harder for people of color/women to have a voice in academia, but it’s not impossible and already they have some voices.this is not 15th century!

and the concept itself has effects in some disciplines and not all, physics laws wouldn’t be any different if the scientists were black or white / man or woman.

I work in a pretty hard science – there are surprisingly squishy portions of it, but … well, let’s say that the distinction between hard and soft science is more about sexism and tribalism than it is about anything objective.

One of my co-workers is an absolutely brilliant Nigerian woman. She’s working on stuff that regularly blows minds. She gets a lot of respect within our group, what with being one of the sharpest tacks in our junk drawer. (the fact that she’s also witty and fun helps a lot too).

Outside of our group is an entirely different story. Success in science relies on the presentation of ideas. The ideas have to be rock solid, certainly, but the presentation part can’t be ignored. Without successful presentations, your career goes nowhere, no matter how good your work is.

Presentation is in conference talks and dissertations, and in white papers and submissions. White papers and journal submissions are easier, obviously, but many editors look at the author names and where the paper is from, first thing. This colours their perspective of the work in the same way that male or female/foreign or indigenous sounding names affect resume acceptance. And talks or dissertations are subject to a full range of issues.

Saying “sure, there’s bias, but it’s not like they have no say” is … I’m not sure what it’s saying. What’s your conclusion to that? What’s the “therefore”? Therefore we shouldn’t worry about feminism in science? Therefore we shouldn’t call out harmful statements from prominent scientists when we encounter them? What’s your conclusion?

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

if you think my argument about who deserves to be called feminist or not, is illogical, then yes there is a fair chance that i’m wrong

Your argument was that there are objective standards as to who is a feminist and who isn’t, based on an agreed upon definition of what feminism means. Then you go on to declare anyone a feminist who claims to agree with the goals of feminism, as defined by this definiton. You also seem to stretch this to someone who sometimes claims to agree with feminism, and who sometimes says stupid shit like “feminists want muslim women to be executed”.

This is so obviously fucked, I barely know where to begin. You’re not “tormenting [my] mind”, you’re tormenting logic.

arash
arash
5 years ago

@dhag85

This has nothing to do with “group bias” at all. It’s not even related. You’re confused.

Obviously the people in group X are the only ones who can decide whether other people are their allies or not. If you’re not in group X you don’t get to dictate to the group who they should support. How the fuck is this even difficult to understand.

the group bias against me:D and not determining who is a feminist or not.
actually you are who confuse feminism with a club or something!
feminism has a set of core values, if a person believes in them then he/she is a feminist.if you think that women are inferior to men, you are not feminist no matter how many feminist(just for the sake of argument) say that you’re a feminist.

or if somebody claims he/she is a muslim and then proceeds to say that Quran isn’t the word of god, he/she is not a muslim no matter how many muslims(again just for the sake of argument) say that he/she is a muslim.

these black swine examples show how absurd your argument is.

WeirwoodTreeHugger
WeirwoodTreeHugger
5 years ago

I remember reading an account from a mathematician who is a trans man. After doing a talk at a conference, he overheard some people talking about how much smarter than his sister he is.

He doesn’t have a mathematician sister. His “sister” was him, back when he was presenting as female.

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

or if somebody claims he/she is a muslim and then proceeds to say that Quran isn’t the word of god, he/she is not a muslim no matter how many muslims(again just for the sake of argument) say that he/she is a muslim.

Bullshit right there.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

these black swine examples show how absurd your argument is.

What the fuck did you just say?

katz
5 years ago

or if somebody claims he/she is a muslim and then proceeds to say that Quran isn’t the word of god, he/she is not a muslim no matter how many muslims(again just for the sake of argument) say that he/she is a muslim.

So is there, like, a committee who decides who’s part of what group? Or do we all have to come to you personally to find out?

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

Feminism has a set of core values, if a person believes in them then he/she is a feminist.if you think that women are inferior to men, you are not feminist no matter how many feminist(just for the sake of argument) say that you’re a feminist.

Sure, okay. But saying “I believe men and women are equal” doesn’t make you a feminist until it informs your behaviour. Richard Dawkins can say “I’m a feminist!” until he’s blue in the face, but if it doesn’t inform how he behaves, his belief is meaningless. He might as well be an antifeminist, or apathist (i like that term, though I’m not sure if it works here).

Likewise, a Muslim might say that the Quran isn’t the word of god, but if that Muslim prays appropriately, or has behaviours consistent with Muslim belief, then that person is still a Muslim.

I guess it comes back to that saying of “Intent isn’t magic.” Dawkins might believe that women and men should be treated equally, but if his actions aren’t bourne out from those beliefs (by willful ignorance, maliciousness, or just-not-getting-it), then he is not a feminist.

Ontologies are hard to construct!

arash
arash
5 years ago

@Scildfreja

Saying “sure, there’s bias, but it’s not like they have no say” is … I’m not sure what it’s saying. What’s your conclusion to that? What’s the “therefore”? Therefore we shouldn’t worry about feminism in science? Therefore we shouldn’t call out harmful statements from prominent scientists when we encounter them? What’s your conclusion?

i’m just against the “white man science” concept.
sure there is bias and discrimination and it should be eradicated,even the slightest.
but when you are mildly sick and somebodies shouts “oh she is dying” and i say “no she isn’t” doesn’t mean i don’t think you are sick and need help.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Arash’s conviction that he gets to be the arbiter of who is pro and anti-feminist reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s quote.

Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

When looking for the quote, I saw another one that also fits the topic well.

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom

arash
arash
5 years ago

@EJ (The Other One)

What the fuck did you just say?

calm down!:D i meant black swan :))

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

I remember reading an account from a mathematician who is a trans man. After doing a talk at a conference, he overheard some people talking about how much smarter than his sister he is.

He doesn’t have a mathematician sister. His “sister” was him, back when he was presenting as female.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/9278bce557972f9bb73de96708768514/tumblr_mzd3p9qKGs1qlitzvo1_500.gif

This, so much this. And then this again.

Saying “Science has some bias in it” is like saying “The ocean has some water in it”. It’s made of bias. And yes, I mean that with its full implications – it is composed of an enormous aggregation of biases.

Math is a tool, and does not work independently of the brain. Human perception is required to use it, and human perception is biased.

THIS is why more women and PoC are needed in the STEM fields. Science is based on the eradication of bias through the introduction of conflicting opinions. Bias within the population will bias the conclusion.

THIS is what is meant by the saying that science is a heterosexual white male enterprise, and needs an overhaul to include feminist thought.

The face of science for all humanity must look like all humanity, or its conclusions will be wrong.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
5 years ago

@Brony

The previous comments about dogpiling were unrelated to the topic of a group “needing to own” the bigotry expressed by some of its members; therefore, your comments to @littleknown were unrelated to what I was talking about so I didn’t take them into account. I was talking about WHTM specifically and the dogpiling of established commenters or new commenters who aren’t overt trolls.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

i’m just against the “white man science” concept.
sure there is bias and discrimination and it should be eradicated,even the slightest.
but when you are mildly sick and somebodies shouts “oh she is dying” and i say “no she isn’t” doesn’t mean i don’t think you are sick and need help.

Pardon me if I go a bit Socratic on this. I’m really curious about your answers. I’ll reply to your answers as snappily as possible.

How does science eradicate bias?

Tessa
Tessa
5 years ago

arash

but when you are mildly sick and somebodies shouts “oh she is dying” and i say “no she isn’t” doesn’t mean i don’t think you are sick and need help.

But you also shouldn’t be surprised if people say “How do you know? Are you a doctor? Who made you arbiter of who’s dying? How’d you even get into my home??”

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

The mildly sick thing is a funny analogy considering how big of a problem sexism is in medicine. It’s a problem in research because both animal and human research is usually done with male subjects. It’s a problem in patient care because doctors take female pain less seriously than male pain. If Arash was a doctor, I bet you anything he would be dismissive of the symptoms female patients self report.

Women die of heart attacks because their symptoms present differently than in men and doctors often dismiss those symptoms as mild illness or a mental health issue.

arash
arash
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger

Arash’s conviction that he gets to be the arbiter of who is pro and anti-feminist reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s quote.

When looking for the quote, I saw another one that also fits the topic well.

i just claimed to be “one” of those who can determine that matter and you denied me this not even knowing if i’m a woman/feminist or not.
@dhag85

Bullshit right there.

so the words of founder of the religion and it’s holy book are not enough to know who is a muslim or not, wondering how shocked muhammad would be if he knew that.
@Scildfreja

Likewise, a Muslim might say that the Quran isn’t the word of god, but if that Muslim prays appropriately, or has behaviours consistent with Muslim belief, then that person is still a Muslim

even if muhammad and Quran clearly say that it is the word of god and denial means you are not muslim?!

The face of science for all humanity must look like all humanity, or its conclusions will be wrong.

not all of them, come on

katz
5 years ago

feminism has a set of core values, if a person believes in them then he/she is a feminist.

But who decides what those core values are? Who judges whether a person really believes them or not? Your definition requires us to literally be psychic.

Tovius
Tovius
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger
There have also been studies that show that doctors take the pain of black people less seriously than white people, so we can throw racial biases into the bag too.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048546

dhag85
dhag85
5 years ago

so the words of founder of the religion and it’s holy book are not enough to know who is a muslim or not, wondering how shocked muhammad would be if he knew that.

Yeah, because all Christians definitely agree that the Bible is the word of God, who created the flat Earth in 6 literal 24 hour days and is totally cool with slavery. Those who don’t believe that would never be called Christians by anyone.

…wait.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

even if muhammad and Quran clearly say that it is the word of god and denial means you are not muslim?!

Yes. Almost as if religious people are capable of thinking “just cause it’s written in an old book doesn’t mean it’s true” too, just like atheists. In that case, the difference is in the debate of how much truth is in the book.

The face of science for all humanity must look like all humanity, or its conclusions will be wrong.

not all of them, come on

I reply to this by re-asking the question I asked earlier: How does science eradicate bias? Please, that’s the important thing here. I feel that your answer to this question will shed a lot of light on where our differences are coming from.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

i just claimed to be “one” of those who can determine that matter and you denied me this not even knowing if i’m a woman/feminist or not.

Are you a feminist? If so, what are those core feminist principles you believe in. What makes someone a feminist? What makes someone an anti-feminist? Do you think that meme that Dawkins retweeted which suggests that feminists are in league with groups like Daesh or the Taliban is anti-feminist? If not, why not? If so, why do you think Dawkins doesn’t deserve to be called an anti-feminist when he’s posting anti-feminist memes?

I also have a bonus question that has nothing to do with feminism. I sometimes joke that I’m a neurosurgeon because when I was in college I had a lab assignment for my cognitive neuroscience class that consisted of performing neurosurgery on rats. But maybe it shouldn’t have been a joke. Maybe I do get to call myself a neurosurgeon. Technically it’s true. What do you think?

katz
5 years ago

Fun fact about Islam: It has 1.6 billion adherents all over the world who practice widely different traditions. In Kazakhstan, people typically drink alcohol and don’t pray. They don’t generally follow food observances or rules about uncleanness and female Kazakhs usually aren’t veiled. Some of them celebrate Muslim holidays by toasting Muhammad.

Yet they almost all consider themselves Muslims and would be indignant if you called them “bad Muslims.” Because it turns out there’s no Pope of Islam who governs what’s the right or wrong way to follow this religion.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
5 years ago

but please don’t kill yourself over this disappointment, i’m here to stay, later your suicide would be a little more justified.

Yeah, that sounds like the sort of statement that can actually get you kicked out of the comment section.

the concept is not new, group bias is well known in humans and animals.but actually i didn’t expect it here and that surprised me, my bad.

And you are so above it all, aren’t you? A beacon of critical thinking, whose alliance will never be sworn to any disputing parties.

You, indeed, are the right person to be the judge of absolutely everything.

if you think my argument about who deserves to be called feminist or not, is illogical, then yes there is a fair chance that i’m wrong

What even is your argument? “Dawkins isn’t the most misogynistic person in the word so he isn’t a misogynist”? Or do you think that if Dawkins claims to be for equality we will automatically consider him a feminist? Because, uh, no.

as i told EJ the only qualification that is needed in this case is that my argument to be logical and sound.

Making a logically sound argument is the easiest thing ever. Here, just watch.
1-All things that fly are birds
2-Bats fly
-Therefore, bats are birds.
My conclusion is absolutely sound based on my prepositions, but guess what is wrong?
If your premise isn’t valid, logic alone won’t save it – you go back to the drawing board.

but if you insist on attacking my supposed “credibility” in this matter, then that’s just ad hominem fallacy

That’s not what ad hominem is. Ad hominem would be someone saying your opinion isn’t valid because you drink your coffee with sugar – questioning your information on the subject is totally valid, and you have yet to demonstrate any knowledge.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

In fairness, people who drink their coffee with sugar are utterly without virtue and cannot be trusted.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
5 years ago

@arash, I have to be out of the house for a few hours. If you answer I will reply when I am back. I hope that you do!

Nathan Hevenstone
5 years ago

@EJ

In fairness, people who drink their coffee with sugar are utterly without virtue and cannot be trusted.

But… but… I drink coffee for the caffeine, not the flavor (it’s just bitter to me, and yes, I’ve had lots of different kinds of coffee… I have a friend who was determined to find a coffee I’d like drinking black… he’s yet to find one). I use creamer and sugar, and I’m proud of it… 😀 😛

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
5 years ago

@EJ(TOO) and Nathan Hevenstone
I have to say I can’t stand coffee unless it has sugar in it, and only then I’ll just drink it if I really have to.
I survive on a diet of tea, coconut water and sunshine 😀

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ WWTH

Maybe I do get to call myself a neurosurgeon

When I was a kid one of my teachers had “Space Traveller” as his occupation on his passport. Whenever the Customs people questioned this, he’d take a step sideways.

Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ Tessa

I don’t think you were rambling; and even if you were I love the “stream of consciousness” posts that sometimes crop up here; they’re often the most interestIng.

As to the topic at hand, you know, I think you may have identified that I do have a bit of a subconscious bias about ‘offended’.

I think that’s down to the times I grew up in. The “I’m offended and that’s good enough” argument cropped up so many times. But the people saying that had the power to act on it.

This meant having to traipse all over the country just to find somewhere the Sex Pistols were allowed to play or to watch “Life of Brian”. I remember my mum being mortified when my favourite comic was banded (“The seven penny nightmare” as the press dubbed it) and the guy in the newsagents said he totally agreed and treated my mum like she was buying her kid snuff movies or something.

Yeah, so it’s maybe because I was conditioned to see “being offended” as the perview of people in power insisting the world conform to their narrow views that I have a bit of an aversion to the concept. Hmm, interesting.

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