Freethought Blogs/Anti #Gamergate or Cult (Part 2)

This post is the conclusion of a two part examination of cultic behaviors exhibited by groups known as Freethought Blogs (et. al.) and anti-Gamergate, using a checklist provided by the ICSA.

Checklist Item 9

The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion

FTB – Falling in with the “progressive left” the FTB contingent certainly use “shaming tactics” both against ideological enemies and to keep the “faithful” from deviance. A decent description of the general way this works can be found here.

A brilliant description of the methods used by the commenters in Pharyngula (specifically) by a person once a part of the group there can be found here. (Rank=70%)

 

AGG – Brianna Wu’s meeting with Brad Wardell caused a reaction from both the rank and file and the higher ups for consorting with the enemy. Exhibit A from Katherine Cross. (rank=75%)

Items 10-15 

Of these last few items (which primarily seem to be concerned with physical cults using physical means, the only one I’ll address as applicable is item 14.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

While I don’t think FTBs follows this pattern, it’s ugly stepchild Atheism Plus meets this criteria 100%.

AGG – Very recently a group of people known as the Honey Badger Brigade were ejected from Calgary Expo (a celebration of geek and comics culture) for what appears to be ideological differences. A statement by the HBB can be found here. (rank=100%)

Summary

While it is improper to assert that the groups examined in these posts are in fact cults, I think I’ve shown some examples of cultic behavior patterns. Reinforcing groupthink is especially egregious under the banner of “freethought” ( a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas ).

As for the Anti-gamers, it is my estimation that these folks have become the status quo in gaming media and are simply using the full might and power of their positions to resist the groundswell of fed up gamers looking to end their reign.

In a sad bit of irony, they are the ones claiming to be fighting the status quo. The gaming and mainstream media coverage of Gamergate shows that claim to be ludicrous. The expulsion of dissenting women from a geek convention hammers home the point. The antis ARE the power structure. If they truly wanted to fight the status quo, they’d join their voices with Gamergate.

In addition, their tactics are simply abhorrent.


Special thanks and credit goes out to Aneris (@Aneris23) for their outstanding writing on this subject. If you want to see more of Aneris’ writing click here.

Freethought Blogs/Anti #Gamergate or Cult (Part 1)

The modern social justice warrior (SJW) movement acts in many way like a cult. This article will examine and provide examples of cultish behavior from two groups that exhibit cultish behaviors. Keep in mind that I’m not saying advocacy for social justice is inherently cultish or that everyone who advocates these issue behaves in a cultish manner. This article will primarily deal with two loose groups which fit some of the criteria. The two groups examined are the FTB/Skepchick affiliated SJWs and the anti-gamergate cabal.

I’m going to use information from the International Cultic Studies Association and their checklist of characteristics associated with cultic groups. As the list itself states, this list is not meant to determine if a specific group IS a cult, it’s just an analytic tool.

For each checklist item, I’m going to give my (subjective) rating for each group as to how closely the group seems to embody that particular item. I will provide links to supporting evidence for these rankings where applicable. Not all checklist items will apply, but at the end of this post we’ll see how many do and to what degree.

The first checklist item:

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

FTB: The “leaders” of this group could be considered to be PZ Myers and Rebecca Watson. There are of course other people who lead the rank and file, but these two seem to be the ones who “move the needle” the most. While they aren’t deified in exactly the way the list item specifies, these people are unquestioningly defended from any and all allegations of bad behavior. (rank vs this checklist item=50%)

Example 1 – PZ Myers: A recent dissociation from PZ by the group Atheist Ireland (AI) has been defended by several people incluing a “frozen” version of one (that attempts a tu quoque defense) here.

Example 2 – Rebecca Watson: In her own tu quoque defense of PZ against AI, Ms Watson uses some rather defamatory language and assertions against Hemant Mehta following his reporting of the event on his own blog. Ron Lindsey then calls Ms Watson out on her defamatory and untrue claims about Hemant. Enter Stephanie Zvan in the comments section (comments #8 and #16 in particular but please read the entire comment section, it’s hilarious) arguing an obvious straw man by “inverting” Hement’s words  (using words he didn’t say as weaponized rhetoric.)

Anti-Gamergate (AGG): The “leaders of the AGG group are less of a tight knit cabal as FTB, but still manage to defend Anita Sarkesian and Randi Harper from any criticism. (rank= 60%)

Anita – This individual has had so many criticisms of her work and subsequent defenses of it by the group that it’s hard to pick one to demonstrate. You can start here.

Harper – She created and runs the GGautoblocker Twitter group blocking app. Some criticism of the app has been levied and true to form she’s been defended with a red herring.

Item 2 :

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

FTBs – This is a common criticism by people who once frequented the site (or various authors at the site) who came to be shunned by the bloggers there for mere disagreement. (rank=100%)

Example: EllenBeth Wachs, a former attorney and former member of Secular Women, was an ally of the FTB/Skepchick cabal until she decided to disagree on a very minor point. One can find dozens of similar anecdotes from other former “allies”.

AGG – These folks will turn on allies in a heartbeat for deviation from the groupthink. (rank=100%)

Examples: Claire Schumann and their own Brianna Wu (harshly criticized for merely meeting with an “enemy”)

Item 3 (Not applicable)

Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

Item 4:

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel…

FTBs & AGG – See above examples of punishment (ranking=80%)

Item 5

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members…

FTB & AGG – Both groups follow a doctrine known as Standpoint Theory. The belief that only women ( or the “oppressed” group have the true vision of societal structure. This is a tenet of modern feminism which both groups align with. (ranking=70%)

Item 6:

The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

FTB – In the very beginnig of the FTB push for Atheism Plus, a “third wave of atheism” Richard Carrier published an article using those exact words “us vs them”. He later apologized for those words (after much criticism) but even later went on to fully support the sentiment behind them (rather nullifying his apology IMO) (rank=100%)

AGG – I can’t find any direct references to the phrase, but looking at the treatment of Brianna Wu for merely having coffee and a discussion with the enemy (above), looks like a match to the behavior if not the actual words. (rank=75%)

Item 7:(not applicable)

The leader is not accountable to any authorities

Item 8:

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group

FTB & AGG – I’m going to (for simplicity sake) just look at one nearly universally reviled behavior – doxing. Whenever doxing is done to the in-group it’s a travesty and harassment. Whenever it’s done to the outgroup, well…

Example 1 – FTB: Stephanie Zvan pens a rather lengthy defense of doxing ( which she euphemistically calls “unmasking” – a Poe reference, ironically) using several logical fallacies (left for the reader as an exercise) (rank=95%)

Example 2 AGG: There have been members of each “side” that have reported doxing, so AGG’s score will be lower than FTB’s. Here is an article which you might find interesting on the topic, however.(rank=50%)

Since I’ve reached 1,000 words in this post, I’m going to split it into two parts with part 2 to be released sometime next week. So far we have some correlation in behaviors between cults and both FTBs and the AGGs.

Where the Power Lies

In a recent video by Sargon of Akkad, he used a title which succinctly expressed a view that I had been formulating a post about for some time. His title “Feminism Is the Establishment” is a recent truism. I wrote a post detailing some of the ministers and departmental government agencies in western societies that are exclusively concerned with women’s issues. There are almost no agencies dedicated to issues faced by men.

The president of the United States, arguably the “most powerful human on the planet” is a feminist (or feminist ally if you’re a purist).  Feminist ideology is taught in almost every public university in the western world. Feminism IS the establishment, the “status quo” if you will, of the west. No longer are the feminists actually the under-represented and dis-empowered reactionary group to mainstream society. They are mainstream society. They are an institution.

Feminism is now so entrenched in the alleys of power and education in western society that even to critically analyze its tenets is the western equivalent of blasphemy. Don’t believe me? Take as an example the recent Time magazine incident.

Time does an annual (lighthearted) poll of overused words that people might want “banned” (not actually banned, just used a lot less). In the most recent one “feminism” was included in the poll. For a few days the word feminism was actually winning the poll by as much as 50% of the votes. Feminist groups launched a campaign to have the word removed from the poll showing exactly why the word was winning in the first place: by being the authoritarian and humorless institution that is perceived as anti-fun of any kind.

“So what?”, you say. “That’s just one minor isolated incident”. Is it?

Let’s take the case of the University of Virginia/Rolling Stone article that came out last year. Even after the story began to fall apart, feminist authors and high muck-a-mucks kept pushing the story as if it were true, some even going so far as to say that it doesn’t matter if it’s not true. Even after the police’s 5 month investigation yielded no evidence to corroborate the accusations, a US Senator is still trying to use the case for political hay.

I know that’s being rather US-centric of me, so let’s look to other western nations. Not long ago it was suggested that “anti-feminist speech” be made illegal in some Nordic countries. Think about that for a second. Imagine any other political or ideological group suggested making criticism of their ideas illegal. This is literally the secular equivalent of blasphemy.

Public universities are now almost entirely under feminist control. Some professors have even instituted “Jim Crowe” style rules for their classrooms that state that women must speak first in answering questions or in open discussions. Some feminists demand that even in discussions of masculinity and male issues, women must be on the panel. Imagine men demanding a seat at a panel on femininity or “women’s issues”. A debate was recently shut down for just this reason…both speakers were male.

The US government is pushing a policy in universities which undermines due process for accused students. Due process, for crying out loud. Something so important to Americans that it is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and again in the 14th amendment to the US Constitution. This policy is supported and influenced by feminist ideology.  That is power, dear reader.

Feminism, in the west, is a formidable institution of political and social power. Feminists will often claim that women are oppressed (even in the western nations) and that sexism against men is impossible because “sexism = prejudice + power“. Even under their redefined rubric, it’s clear that sexism against men is possible because of the power held by feminism and feminists.

There are countless examples I could have included to demonstrate this point, from Emma Watson’s UN ambassadorship, to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but really all that is needed is to look around the internet or news media. Watch what happens whenever someone wants to talk about the exceedingly high rate of suicide among western men.

 

 

Darling

I was watching the “Big Questions” episode “Has Britain Become Hostile to Blokes” with Milo Yiannopoulos, Martin Daubney, Kate Smurthwaite, and Sally Peck (among others). Yes, that episode which has provided several meme generators with ample raw material. The episode where, while being interrupted from talking about issues men face, Milo uttered the now infamous and discussion ending word, “darling”. The entire sequence was typical of the way “offense” is used to shut down discussion( time stamp ~9:40).

Later on in the program, Sally Peck, a food and family columnist, gives a fairly accurate description of study results but interprets them through a biased lens and therefore comes up with the wrong answer. She is talking about “giving all options to all children” within the context that males are more likely to be victims of violence even though it is generally “male-on-male violence”.

When they’re babies, and the baby cries, the girl-child will be picked up much more quickly and held and comforted for much longer. She is taught by her close-knit team care that her feelings count, they matter and she gets a reaction whereas boys, in every study it shows they’re encouraged to play further away. They’re not picked up as quickly. They’re not comforted.

And later,

…boys emotions are not listened to and this is what causes the problems. There’s not a toxic natural masculinity…it’s not the nature. We are teaching them to do that.

Despite the fact that Sally completely dismisses biology as a potential causal factor in the violent (rough and tumble) behavior of boys, there is another unspoken assumption she is using here. Can you spot it before I reveal it later on?

There is evidence that the type of play children prefer is influenced as much by biological factors as by social ones. Even in our primate cousins, this early divergence in play styles can be seen. The biology of males and females differ and the ideologically motivated ignoring of that fact won’t make it less true. Since boys and girls differ in play styles and toy selection, should we expect that their later choices and interests suddenly coincide?

While it’s very likely true that socialization also plays a part in shaping the choices that males and females make, the current system has biology and socialization working in harmony. The proposed societal changes has socialization working against biology. I don’t want to be accused of supporting the naturalistic fallacy, so I’ll stop short of saying that because it’s rooted in biology, it’s to be preferred, but I will say that other attempts to circumvent biology have not always had great success.

Have you spotted the other problem with Sally’s statements yet?

She assumes that the treatment of girl-children is the “gold standard”. Here I will paraphrase Karen Straughan‘s breakdown of the same events depicted by Sally above.

Basically, by catering to the girl-child’s every cry and by comforting them longer, girls are taught that their issues are important. That whenever they need attention, all they need do is demand it. Whenever they want succor, it will be provided. They are taught, in short, that the world is very concerned with how they feel. They are taught to be somewhat narcissistic.

Boys on the other hand are taught to de-prioritize their own needs, and their own pain. They are taught that society doesn’t care about their suffering. In the US, many are taught this from the first few hours of life when they get a piece of themselves cut away without anesthesia. This de-prioritization of self makes perfect sense if later in that child’s life you’re going to demand that he pick up a sword or a gun and risk his life to protect others. The opposite condition with girls also makes perfect sense if your tribe or clan is to survive. Having women (who bear the children) prioritize their own needs and comfort, works to ensure that the next generation will come into being.

Additionally, wouldn’t it seem a better world if everyone was less self absorbed?  If everyone was taught to put others ahead of themselves, what kind of altruistic world would that be? It certainly wouldn’t be one where a discussion of one group’s real problems would be shut down by a casual term of endearment, darling.

 

The In Group Bias Mistake and Darwinian Gender Studies

In my opinion (granted I’m merely a layman) one of the most important studies performed in terms of explaining societal interaction is this one. You can get the full report (pdf) here. It is called “Gender Differences in Automatic In-Group Bais: Why Do Women Like Women More than Men Like Men?” by Laurie Rudman and Stephanie Goodwin. Unfortunately, I believe it’s authors (and most of academia) have drawn the wrong conclusions from it.

I think their error was one of starting position. In the first few paragraphs they reveal the ideological lens through which they will interpret their findings.

Around the world and throughout history, men have enjoyed higher status than women.

Later on in the opening :

In short men are culturally valued more than women.

It is for this reason, in my opinion, that they then misinterpret the results of their experiments. The authors lay the groundwork for realizing the truth but ultimately explain it away as an anomalous deviation from the expected.

Indeed, considerable evidence suggests that people who belong to the most socially valued groups strongly and automatically favor their own group.

The authors then go on to briefly summarize several other in-group bias experiments that provide evidence for the above quote. The authors then (again this is only my opinion folks) proceed to ignore this correlation.

However, gender groups are a proven exception to this rule,
because men are less likely than women to show automatic ingroup
bias (i.e., own gender preference).

A proven exception? Unfortunately, the authors do not actually substantiate that bold assertion in the text. Indeed, they describe this “exception” as mysterious.

These findings add mystery to the phenomenon of men’s weaker
in-group bias.

I argue that they do not add mystery. In fact they make perfect sense if one looks at the results through the lens of male disposability.

Women are inherently valuable in a society due to the biological facts of human reproduction. Women are the ones who create human life inside their bodies and thus are tied to the survival of the species. Having only a few men available hardly impacts species survivability at all since relatively few men can supply enough sperm to keep the population thriving. A group that has relatively few women, however, can die out much more easily.

These biologically evolved biases, I argue, give rise to virtually every social convention throughout history. Many much more eloquent people have written and spoken on these conventions and the mechanisms by which they arose than I could do here. One such speaker and writer is Karen Straughan. I’m sure most of my readers are aware of her, but one you may not be aware of is Paula Wright. Paula is interested in what she calls “Darwinian Gender Studies“, an evidence based examination of the gender dynamic in human societies.

Paula deviates from modern academic feminist thought in that she bases her conclusions on the data and embraces the science of evolutionary psychology. Modern feminist thought is all predicated on the dogmatic (and evidence denying) Patriarchy theory ( or the new Coke called kyriarchy), and as such is unable or unwilling to incorporate actual scientific evidence which conflicts with their paradigm.

In my opinion, Ms Wright and her ideas should be supported by all people who advocate for true gender equality. Only through incorporating all of the evidence can we truly begin to understand the ways in which the sex differences affect society. Only through understanding can we make strides to improve that society.


Follow Ms. Wright on Twitter at @sexyisntsexist

Those Joyful Bundles of Atheism (or Not)

Discourse and civil disagreement can be quite stimulating. It can help you sharpen your critical thinking skills and help reveal areas where you have weaknesses in your thinking. Recently I had an on-line discussion with my new friend “Johnthebabtist” (@icouldbegod ) over the old topic of babies as atheists. I’m not going to recount the discussion here as the interested reader (both of you) can see it in my Twitter time line. What I am going to do here is present my argument against classifying infants as atheists with the acknowledgement of John’s assistance through disagreement. Thanks, John!

While I will be using dictionaries in this post, be warned: I do not consider the dictionary to be the final arbiter of words and their definitions, Dictionaries report usage and change over time (somewhat slowly, perhaps). While this usage can be astroturfed, as some words are being intentionally changed now, we can still use the dictionary as a starting point in our discussions.

Merriam Webster still has the older definition of atheist and atheism which uses the “believes God does not exist” version as does dictionary.com. Most atheists actually reject this definition as too restrictive because it does not include those who do not hold that no gods exist, just that there is no reason to accept theistic claims. Put simply, many atheists prefer the “lack of belief in deities” definition (thanks to John for the link).

I agree with this definition for an atheist…well, mostly. First of all an atheist is a person. It says so even in the older, “strong atheist” definition in many current dictionaries. So this alone rules out rocks, trees, and other non-human flora and fauna. To be an atheist, one must be human (at least until we discover ET or AI but those are different discussions to be had).

I argue that the reason “atheist” is exclusive to humans is because (so far as we know) only humans are capable of forming beliefs or not forming them based upon an understanding of the concepts involved. This will become important later. Atheism, as defined by Webster et al is a “disbelief in the existence of deity(s)”. Even those of us who prefer the “lack of a belief” version can see this as a simple substitution of the phrase “a disbelief” for the phrase “a lack of belief”.

The old “disbelief” version carries with it an implied restriction on what categories of things can be subsumed under that definition. It has to be things capable of holding or rejecting beliefs. In our universe, the only things currently capable of holding or rejecting beliefs are humans. I argue that that implied restriction carries forward when the “lack of belief” phrase is substituted into the definition.

Further, I argue, that that capacity to hold or reject beliefs is critical for the term atheism or atheist to be free from absurd configurations and uses.

For example, a lifelong Christian or Muslim who is injured and falls into a coma or persistive vegetative state now can be argued to “lack a belief” in a deity. Does injury or disease create atheists of lifelong theists? No, this is absurd. The person now clearly lacks the capacity to hold beliefs. They lack the necessary capacity to be included in the category under the implied restriction stated in the paragraph above.

That capacity to hold or reject beliefs is critical in the distinction made to exclude flora and fauna from the category of “things that can be atheists”. It (the capacity to form or reject beliefs) does not simply disappear as a prerequisite simply because the subject under discussion is a human being. Rather it is still the bright line which divides things which can be atheists (or things that can be referred to under the term “atheism”) from things which cannot.

In summary: to be an atheist or to fall under the umbrella of atheism) one must be a human who has the capacity to hold and reject beliefs through an understanding of the subject matter. Thus, infants are not atheists any more than trees and rocks are.

Thanks again to Johnthebabtist for the lively discussion. I look forward to more stimulating conversation with you, my new friend.

 

Vulturism

The bodies of Elliot Rodgers’ victims were barely cool before the ideologues began to use the killing spree to promote their ideas or bash their opponents.  Whether it was the feminists who were quick to blame “toxic masculinity” and the Men’s Rights Movement, or the gun control lobby, the deaths of 7 people were little more than a stepping stone in their march. To humanity’s credit, there were people who “called out” these opportunists for their blatant manipulative and self serving statements.

This week, another tragedy occurred involving the killing of three people of the Islamic faith by an atheist. Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were all murdered by Craig Hicks in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The opportunists quickly jumped on this story as well.

Even before all of the information came in (and as yet it still hasn’t) many people were quick to lay the blame at their opponents feet. For some it was Hicks’ atheism; for others it was lack of gun control. Even when reports began coming in that Hicks may have been at least partly motivated by something as trivial as a parking dispute; that there were signs of prior unbalanced behavior these folks were leaping to their preferred conclusion about the cause of the massacre.

Skepticism is a process where one uses critical thinking and evidence based reason to reach conclusions about phenomena and events. A good skeptic withholds judgement until enough data exists to form a rational conclusion. A good skeptic doesn’t allow their personal biases to bypass the critical analysis part of the process.

One particular example of exactly how not to be a good skeptic was published by self described “Skepchic” Rebbecca Kay Watson yesterday. In it Ms Watson was quick to assign blame for this murder to “dehumanization” of Muslims by the much more famous atheist activists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Lawrence Krauss. Surprisingly, in a post with several links embedded, not a single one was demonstrative of this “dehumanization” of Muslims. It’s true that Dr. Dawkins and Dr. Harris routinely criticize Islam, but criticism of an idea or ideology is not inherently dehumanizing.

Ms Watson also tosses a few jabs at the Men’s Rights Movement and their “violent rhetoric“, again without links.

This piece is sheer speculation and “mudslinging” by Ms. Watson at a time when all atheists will be under greater scrutiny and criticism from the religious and main stream media. At a time when arguably all atheists should band together and decry Hicks’ actions with one loud and unified voice, some take the opportunity to throw stones at fellow atheists with whom they have a personal dispute. This is an example of performative outrage.

The message should have been ( and WAS in certain circles) : we are atheists and we strongly decry violence against anyone for their beliefs. It’s sad and frustratingly abhorrent that certain divisive elements within “movement atheism” have decided not to stand up for and with their fellow atheists, but to throw more “shit” at them.


 

Yes, I know that this post could (and probably will) be seen as “the pot calling the kettle black”, but I’m not posting on the shooting itself; I’m reacting to a divisive post by another. I’m “calling out” bad behavior as is recommended.

 

New Principles of IngSoc (PC Culture)

George Orwell wrote about a terrifying totalitarian government in his widely read 1984. Totalitarianism is merely further along the spectrum from authoritarianism, a frightening trend in social, educational, and media institutions of late. In his novel Orwell invented the three tenets of IINGSOC ( or English Socialism). Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. War is peace.

He went to describe in detail (via inner party member O’Brian) just how the three tenets were a sort of short hand outline of the entire political philosophy of INGSOC. I want to present and describe to you the three tenets of the new INGSOC, third wave feminism and PC culture.

Offense is violence.

The new mantra in colleges and even in media today seems to be that any offense perceived by a party member is paramount to actively causing harm to the offended. Where the saying among freethinkers was formerly, “You don’t have the right to not be offended“, the newspeak phrasing could be explained as, “You don’t have the right to offend”.  The offended party member will then use their offense (harm) as justification for doxing, employer harassing, and other unsavory tactics such as swatting (calling the local police and reporting an egregious crime at the offender’s location).

Yes, there should be consequences from abhorrent behavior, perhaps even social consequences (such as ignoring or harsh criticism) for beliefs and opinions, but these consequences should not be imposed for mere disagreement.

Every woman is all women.

While I use the word “woman” here, the actual principle can apply to any party deemed “marginalized” group. I’m going to use the case of women for simplicity, but you should be able to use substitution to apply this explanation to other cases.

Any criticism of one particular woman is seen as a condemnation of all women, just for being women. Criticize pop culture critics who are blatantly dishonest and brook no debate, and it is not merely a condemnation of those behaviors by that individual, it is a condemnation and offense to all women (see tenet one). In addition, this criticism is not based on the actions of the individual, it is derived from a latent hatred of all members of that demographic. This imputed hatred causes offense and further justifies retaliation.

Every man is an outlier.

Again I use “man” to represent any demographic which the party considers to be “in power” or “privileged” similar to the use of “woman” in tenet two above. This tenet refers to the propensity for the post structuralist PC brigade to equate the average or even poor man with the 1% or so who run fortune 500 companies or are powerful governmental figures. To say it another way, even the homeless man on the street “inherits” all of the privileges of the most powerful members of his demographic. This principle also works in reverse. Every man is also burdened with causing the same fear as the 3-4% of men who rape or commit murder. So every member of the “power” demographic assumes all the traits of the best and the worst even though those outliers are minute fractions of the demographic.

The “marginalized” demographic all take on the lack of privilege or marginalization of the lowest percentage of their demographic. If a woman is a head of state or a billionaire, she is still considered “marginalized” with respect to any man, even the hobo.

There are many more tenets and different formulations of them that you or I could use, but these three will suffice for now to get the point across. If you have any tenets of your own or better formulations of them, leave them in the comments section below.

Get some time.

Kinds

While watching a video on YouTube last night in which Ray Comfort’s “Evolution vs God” video was critiqued, the age old creationist canard of “kinds” was introduced by Ray. Mr Comfort then went on to “clarify” what a “kind” was by giving examples. He “described” the “feline kind” using the words “cats” and “tigers”.

This use of the elastic term, “kind” has long been used by evolution opponents to deny that “macro evolution” occurs. Whenever scientists observe a speciation event, the creationists will say, “Yeah, but it’s still the same kind”. Usually when asked to define the term, “kind”, the creationist (and Comfort is no exception) will start listing animal species that are in their view, the same “kind”. “You have the canine kind- dogs and wolves…”. Needless to say, this still retains the flexibility of the creationist to disavow almost any evidence of “macro evolution”.

I thought of a thought experiment to demonstrate to the creationist the futility of this method of “defining” a term.

Imagine a Martian (or pick your own alien species) came to earth for a visit. The alien speaks our language for this example but lacks any cultural references (in this example the alien lacks the concept of money).  When you mention the word “coin” to the alien, it has no idea what you mean so it asks you to define “coin”. Now, an honest person might say something like: “A coin is a unit of currency exchanged for something of value. Coins are small metal disks (or other thin shapes) with designs on both sides and are usually exchanged for things with only minor value”.

That would be a definition (at least a working one) for coin that would allow the alien to understand what a coin is. What would do the alien no good at all in understanding the term would be to start listing the various coins to him: “Well, there’s the penny coin and the nickel coin, the dime coin and the quarter coin.”. It’s pretty easy to see from the second “definition”, that the alien would still have no idea of what a coin actually is.

While this thought experiment might not help you in your arguments with dishonest creationists like Comfort, it may be useful if your interlocutor is actually only uninformed about evolution through the efforts of Comfort and his ilk.