Thoughts provoked by a conversation with a rat in a cage

So after an offhand and mostly sarcastic comment I posted on twitter, I got a response from Aratina Cage (@aratina). This surprised me, having been put on the block bot long ago and I believe he is one of the admins for it. What surprised me even more was that we proceeded to have an actual conversation afterwards, it was civil enough and a couple of valid points were made. It was also suggested that I (apparently along with everyone else) have the wrong idea about A+ based on a few vocal assholes. So that being said, I figure I’ll put to paper my main disagreements with A+ as I perceive it, and Aratina or anyone else is welcome to come along and correct me.

Without further ado:

1. The with us or against us attitude – Although it was mentioned this was just Carrier’s usual bloviating, I don’t just refer to the outright stating of this by a few individuals, but the idea, such as AronRa so ignorantly put it recently, that if you’re not a feminist/SJW/A+ you’re a sexist by definiton (or racist or whatever).

2. Misunderstanding of privilege – privilege is only applicable to groups for understanding and studying why a group has certain advantages over another, it is absolutely useless when applied to individuals. Secondly, the inability to recognize where it actually is, such as when the FOUNDER of atheism plus saw a homeless man masturbating in the street, and then complained on twitter about how he was sexually oppressing her with his white male privilege.

3. Redefining words to suit your own use – A woman can be sexist and a black man can be racist. In the current power structure of the western world, it is extremely difficult for either to be an oppressor. Learn and use the real definitions of words before using them in a serious debate. Attempting doublespeak by purposely misusing language confuses your point, muddles your speech, and makes it impossible to reach common ground, even if I might agree with you. the A+ definitions of “sexism” and “racism” bear as much relation to the meaning of the word as Deepak Chopra’s use of the word “Quantum”.

4. A+ is NOT a Substitute for legitimate psychiatric care – “Triggering” does not mean something that offends you or makes you upset. You insult every person with PTSD, when you say “this makes me feel triggered” No it doesn’t, it makes you upset, which is a normal human reaction. If you claim to have gotten PTSD from twitter, you are a lying, manipulative useless sack of human garbage. Triggering results in an anxiety attack, or a violent outburst, or crying in the corner for hours, and if you have any of these real symptoms, YOU NEED PSYCHIATRIC HELP!. Hanging out in a “safe space” will make it worse, talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

5. Coddling weakness, instead of empowerment and promoting strength – I fight for equal rights by attempting to secure the option for every human being to be able to have all the rights that I have, provided they want to accept the accompanying responsibilities. I want everyone to come up to my level and enjoy the hell out of it. The idea of “everyone should have as shitty a life as I think I have” does not sit well with me, especially coming from a white college educated north american. Lookup the song “Holiday in Cambodia” by the Dead Kennedys if you want a perfect distillation of what I mean here.

6. Refusal to admit there are different types of feminism/humanism/routes to social justice – SWRFS, and TERFS. I think we can all agree these are shitty people. But like it or not, they’re feminists. There are as many flavors of feminism are there are christianity, and although I share some beliefs with many of them, I won’t call myself a feminist because of that for the same reason I don’t call myself a christian just because I think “thou shalt not steal” is a good idea.

7. Dogma and unquestionable beliefs – “Feminism is not up for debate” Yes it is. Everything is up for debate. The existence of cheese is up for debate. Gravity is up for debate, if you want to debate it. It will be a short debate, but we can have it. There are no sacred cows, nothing is unquestioningly accepted or above reconsideration. Things are especially up for debate when you base them on soft sciences, with no data and what amounts to made up conclusions, and abso-fucking-lutely up for debate when you make up numbers and I have the legitimate ones, backed up by studies ad not pulled from someone’s ass.

8. First-world-centric – I am not a wealthy man by north american standards, but I have enough time and money that I can dedicate some of both to helping people less fortunate than myself. I send money to 3 charities who focus on ending poverty (and I’ve researched it and made sure they are secular, sustainable operations that build futures for communities and not just dump bags or rice on them and leave, or worse, bags of bibles.) and when I can, I volunteer at a few local community events that I believe are helping people out. If you are not starving or homeless, and no one in your family is going to be sold for a couple goats, than I don’t give a fuck how shitty you’re feeling. You don’t need my help, I’m sure you have your own problems, but they are certainly not worth my time.

9. Creating the illusion of safety vs actual safety. If you are at a conference and feel harassed by an individual or group, and then you are later informed that you are being watched by security guards and video surveillance as a precaution, you don’t get to fucking complain. Resources that are meant to keep a thousand people safe and orderly are now focused on you. Whether or not you feel safe or not is irrelevant if you are the safest person in the room. Also “Safe Spaces” such as A+ wants do not exist, and attempting to tell people they do or create one, only sets them up for a harsher reality check down the road.

10. Failure to understand the dangers of the world, and purposefully sabotaging good advice for the sake of idealism. – I want to live in a world where I am obsolete. I want to teach martial arts as an arena sport and for exercise only because it will have no practical use in the real world. I want to live in a world where a woman can walk down a dark alleyway at night and leave unaccosted, and drink till she passes out on the floor of a frat house with a bunch of drunken dudebros and wake up with her virtue intact. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. And whenever some ignorant idealist opens their mouth to say “teach men not to rape” or “stop victim blaming” when I deliver not only good, but rock solid, professional and rigorously researched advice that might one day save your life, I want to fucking scream. I’m not suggesting you stop educating, but not only is the “don’t victim blame” line a blatant lie, but it actually puts in danger women who take it too seriously.

11. Richard Carrier – The guy is a fucking douchebag, seriously. He may be smart, but so was Gregory House, and you wouldn’t want him as your spokseperson. Either fire your “intellectual artillery”, send him packing on a deliberate tour de force somewhere that the public won’t see him, or make it clear to everyone that he does not represent the group, as he seems pretty damn sure that he does.

12. Wanting everything given, unwillingness to earn any of it. A person whom I will not name, who was prominent on social justice twitter circles, once mentioned how if the word weren’t prejudiced, she could have been an author instead of working at burger king. This sums up the attitude very nicely I think. Most authors have to work fast food or some shitty service job untill their first big book, many keep a part time day job even after being published. You aren’t an author because you are a shtty writer and a whiny little turd who is unwilling to put in the effort required. Here’s the lesson for all of you; STEP UP EARN IT IF YOU WANT IT! Don’t beg, don’t whine, don’t lament, because you won’t get an ounce of sympathy from me.

13. Look mommy I’m an ostritch – Blocking everyone who disagrees, uses language you don’t like, or just that someone else felt did one of those things. Such cowardice beggars belief. I do not even know how to possibly relate, work with or even communicate to someone like that. A group that as aduls, are too scared to make a decision that amounts to two clicks, and instead rely on a dedicated team of people to do it for them, is the definition of privilege.

I will note that these are the main problematic beliefs that are almost uniformly espoused by A+ types whenever I meet them (there are others, but none that are so unanimously parroted). Perhaps I am simply talking to the wrong A+ers in which case, if there are any who are not using the block bot, I would love to have a conversation with them, I promise not to say “cunt” and I’ll even try to leave out the F-bomb. I got a funny feeling though this just isn’t going to happen. But as I tell theists, I’ll believe in god when I meet him.

-Shadow

PS – Commenting here is unmoderated, though if you can’t deal with that, you probably shouldn’t respond to me anyhow.

42 thoughts on “Thoughts provoked by a conversation with a rat in a cage

  1. Chemical Serenity

    My main problem with A+ is the problem I’ve had since I initially heard about it.

    We pour time and energy into secular organizations dedicated to the separation of church and state. It makes sense to do this; for atheists to survive, and I do mean literally survive without being sent to rot in some oubliette somewhere, we require a secular state that recognizes that all religious views must be honored even if those views are “none of the above”.

    Given that we invest so much time and energy to separate religious views from politics in the public sphere, why the hell would I immediately want to turn around and inseparably conflate my religious and political views in the personal sphere?

    That’s before the dogma, the purity monitoring, the relentless ingroup/outgroup categorization, the demagoguery and of course Carrier’s explicit dehumanization of ‘the other” (you know, we CHUDs who don’t buy into the A+ paradigm). All that’s just icing on the cake to something that’s already, fundamentally, a bad idea.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I made an entirely separate post out that a little while back, in essence, we’ve been faced with the “Stalin and Mao were atheists” since the beginning of the movement and after years and years of fighting to say “Atheism isn’t politics, it’s just the lack of belief in gods”, they attach politics to it. However I believe Atheism and A+ to be completely separate at this point, so I did not address that in this post, but that is a very valid point.

      Reply
  2. jet_lagg

    I’m a long time fan of Carrier’s (Proving History should be required reading IMO, it’s seriously that good), and was only familiar with A+ through him. Given his description of it, I was on board and considered myself a member (I was already an Atheist and a Humanist and a Skeptic, so why not?) . I recently made an account at the A+ forums to argue a point that wasn’t in line with what most forum members believed. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn I was almost immediately banned. This surprised me, and I started googling to see if this was an anomaly. Again, it won’t surprise you to learn that I immediately started running into a lot of documentation on A+’s bullshit (which IMO could be summarized as an almost complete failure to live up to the values of their third pillar, skepticism).

    I am curious to know about your exact problem with Carrier though. I think your comparison to House is spot on. They’re both really smart, really sarcastic assholes. But, then again, I liked House. Is that the sole problem? If it is, what’s wrong with being a douche?

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I should make it clear that all “deliberate tour de force” sarcasm aside, I have no issue with Carrier’s work in academia and writing in general, that which I’m familiar with is all of the highest quality, and I find him decent in the debates I’ve seen. However he come across, especially when talking about A+, as attempting to be Christopher Hitchens with all of the asshole and none of the charm. I’d happily co-author a book with him, provided we did not have to be in the same room at any point.

      Secondly he is obviously an ideologue, and a smart ideologue who’s completely blind to the faults of his ideology does not endear anyone to their movement, as it makes it seem like a cult.

      In short, as a spokesperson he would make me want to join the opposing side even if I agreed with him on everything.

      Reply
  3. DrMantisTobbogan

    I think that a lot of the insanity of the A+ers is really a misdirected response to bigoted trolls. The prominent figures in A+ such as Rebecca Watson and Richard Carrier probably do actually get comments and messages from legitimate bigots who are opposed to equality for women and minorities. Some of these comments are extremely vile, threatening, and upsetting to receive. They feel under siege from a group of terrible people who are threatening them and saying horrible things. When they are faced with criticism from actual members of the skeptic community who support equal rights but disagree with specific tactics or claims made by the A+ers, they conflate this with the truly objectionable attacks that they face from the trolls. They then lash out at the critics, using them as a proxy for the trolls who are ACTUAL rape apologists and racists who are harassing them. I am not saying that it is right, or acceptable in any way, but I think that this is the dynamic at play.

    Reply
    1. periscopedepth

      I disagree that the more popular and famous members like Carrier and Watson are merely using the critics as surrogates for the “real trolls”. Their actions are intentionally designed propaganda techniques. Carrier of all people (a history expert) knows how these techniques work. Watson (IMO) is not a true believer in anything that doesn’t benefit Watson.

      Reply
    2. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I will make a couple of points in reply to this, as I believe Carrier and Watson are in two separate leagues. Carrier is simply an ideologue who is blind to criticism of his movement, and most likely cherry picks the trollish comments instead of dealing with legitimate criticism so that he go home at the end of the day feeling like he is 100% right and has no real opposition.

      Rebecca Watson was all for atheism plus, until it became evident that supporting it would result in a loss of t-shirt sales and speaking gigs, at which point she distanced herself from it as much as possible. Now a charitable person might say she was simply not speaking out against her blogosphere friends at the start and then moved away once it became evident how toxic it is, but given her slimy profiteering practices in general, I’m pretty sure her only motivation is putting cash into her pocket. I actually think there is a more than off chance that when she finally loses all traction in atheism, she will pull a Brett Keane and turn full “christian” because they’re more likely to send money. I would like to note in spite of all that, people who send her threats of violence are disgusting and out of line, but she deserves everything else she gets.

      Lastly, I would like to note that a troll and a legit misogynist are not the same thing. Someone who legitimately believes that women belong in the kitchen and gays should burn is a horrible person, but by engaging them, you may be able to change, if not their mind, than someone like them who may be watching. On the other hand, a troll might already agree with you, but they’re just saying otherwise to provoke a reaction, and this is an important distinction.

      Reply
  4. oolon

    1. As Aron Ra said in that very post Greta and others have said if you are doing SJ they don’t care. No us vs them, sorry!
    2. LOL’icity! Doubly stupid point – first of all many from the pit like the idiot PG, @FreshVerbal etc cite individuals such as homeless poor white guys as reasons why privilege doesn’t even exist. A+ points out its a statistical thing applied to a group as you say. I would congratulate you on being a rare “other sider” who gets it. But then you make up a fantasy about Jen McCreight that cites a *single* person! (Maybe you can find where she claimed this person was oppressing her? *hint* you can’t as you made it up!)
    3. A+ didn’t redefine it this way. Power + prejudice has been around since the 70′s, fuckwit!
    4. Melody Henlsey has been diagnosed with PTSD by a *psychiatrist*, but of course all the licensed medical professionals on this blog and the Slymepit know better. Also you don’t think her trauma in earlier life also had something to do with it? Twitter could be the straw that broke the camels back, but of course that doesn’t make for such a good simplistic sound bite for your circle jerk to chant.
    5. Jesus this is pathetic, if people are strong, great! More power to them… For example I am extremely unlikely to get PTSD from any amount of abuse online or offline. Does this make me an uber mensch? No. A+ recognises that peoples mental health is not a measure of their worth and works to treat everyone with respect. Exploiting someone’s weakness in that way would be akin to me exploiting your physical weakness in an IRL argument and punching you in the face and claiming victory. People are worthy of respect and any mental health issues they may have are irrelevant, exploiting those is bullying assholery in the same way as a punch in the face.
    6. Errr I think you’ll find we agree TERFs/SWERFs exist and we use that nomenclature. The “F” stands for feminist, so yeah, there are shitty feminists. Not an A+ belief, your fantasy.
    7. Feminism is not up for debate, it literally means working for equality between men and women. That is not up for debate. That the world is over 6000 years is not up for debate, it is over 6000 years old. I could continue. In your “everything is up for debate” world there would be no progress as everyone would be stuck on pointless debates. This is not an A+ problem but really how science progresses, on a base of assumption. Feel free to throw out the axiomatic assumptions of science, feel free to waste your time getting no where.
    8. You are on the internet spending time spreading your personal philosophy on a blog post … You seem rather “first world centric” to me and your assertion this is not “worth [your] time” is refuted by this blog post.
    9. Haha, you don’t understand what A+ means by safe spaces. Read this then try again (http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Safe_space)
    10. Bullshit and dis-proven by actual research that shows the campaign to focus rape prevention on rapists actually works. Let alone the fact that feminists never tell women not to take preventative measures. Only that focussing only and primarily on that is victim blaming.
    11. Carrier speaks for himself. You seem to have a very authoritarian view of the world, no one elected Richard to be king of A+. He hasn’t even been on the forum and was recently eviscerated by a number of members/mods for his rape post. Wrong again… surprise.
    12. No idea what you are whining about here. But there is some irony to be mined.
    13. Vast majority of A+ ppl don’t use the block bot. Vast majority of its users are not A+ people. Doh, and a fail to finish on!

    LMAO that you think your straw-fest is universally espoused by A+ people. Truly deluded.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I ask for Aratina and I get oolon, It’s like ordering a fillet mingon (or let’s face it, a hamburger) and instead receiving a burned piece of goatshit, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers eh? Well I guess when the big league trolls show up, you get to pretend you’re somebody. I have no such illusions, nor do I suspect in the least that you would listen to anything I have to say, however, I will respond purely as in intellectual exercise.

      Firstly, I wrote this in the spirit of critique and based solely on what I my own perceptions are, and I wrote it in response to a conversation on twitter. Now lets be charitable and assume that perhaps A+ simply has a shitty public image and what I’ve seen is not representative of them, but this is the side of it that I’ve seen. That being said, let us address your counter-points.

      1. Right, and the point you missed is that not “doing SJ” does not make you a sexist/racist/whatever else.

      2. It cites a single person because that is a single example. I have been unable to find a storify with the complete series of tweets, which seem to be memory-holed from her feed, but here is a link to part of that series of tweets. (I might add, I do not agree with all the commentary in this post, but it’s the only detailing of those tweets I could find, and incomplete at that.) Link . If A+ actually believes as you say, then whence cometh the phrase “check your privilege”, which to my knowledge, has always been directed at an individual and not a group.

      3. The fact that someone has used it incorrectly in the past, does not make it anymore correct today. Christians have been claiming “natural selection” means something entirely different than it actually does since Darwin’s time. The’re still wrong too. Lastly even if there are more than one definition of any given word, the one in common usage is assumed unless otherwise specified. Several definitions of sexism, one of which suggests it especially applies to women, but none of which exclude the possibility of it occurring to men, most of which are gender neutral. The same for racism.

      4. I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, and if Hensley’s psychiatrist told her that she actually got it from twitter, then I will apologize forthwith, before writing a letter to their professional ethics association. If however the psychiatrist told her she got it from previous trauma and it was exacerbated by social media, then she has no business stating that she got it from twitter, other than rank exploitation, does she?

      5. You missed the point entirely. Before you continue, here is a link to an an article about enabling I urge you to read the whole thing, especially from the third paragraph down. I understand everyone has their own problems and weakness, but there is a difference between supporting them and attempting to elevate them to your level and cope with the real world, or just enabling them to wallow and drag you down with them.

      Another note on this, if you would care to come and hit me in the face, I will gladly face you in a charity match of the discipline of your choice. (I prefer boxing, BJJ or muay thai but take your pick.) We will broadcast it online and donate the proceeds to the charity of your choice. I guarentee you taking a beating will do far more good for your cause than all your bloviating ever will.

      6. See PZ myers et al on “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too”. That kind of feminism I’m 100% behind. Unfortunately it’s not the only kind. Since you seem to think feminism is axiomatic (you’re completely wrong by the way, but you made the point, not I.), which kind is axiomatic?

      7. Also see the above post where you agreed there is more than one type of feminism, which one is axiomatic? Sex positive or negative? Trans inclusive or exclusive? and so on. Axiomatic means a self evident truth. However the fact that the earth is not 6000 years old? Not axiomatic, not even close. It’s supported by a huge body of evidence, and is not at all in fact, self evident. Learn words before you spew them forth please.

      8. The effort required to write a blog post in somewhat minimal, in case you didn’t notice, it’s definitely worth enough time to type a few words.

      9. After reading that link, I will admit my definition was not quite the same, however see back to #5, it’s just more enabling, and according to your own link, exclusionary and almost impossible to maintain.

      10. And you accuse me of strawmanning? I said nothing against education, what I said was is that there is nothing wrong with giving advice on how people can avoid dangers and defend themselves accordingly. Even if you educate everyone on consent, there will always be psychopaths and people who don’t care. Imagine a minefield, the world is working to ban landmines, but until they are all gone, we still tell kids not to play in mined areas, dont we? Or is that victim blaming too.

      11. He seems to speak for everyone, and I don’t see a great many people refuting that. This post is after all, based on my experiences, I don’t have all day to search the web for every bit of information. If more people think he is not the right speaker for their movement, they really out to say so.

      12. The fact that you have no idea about this speaks volumes about both your and your movement.

      13. Let’s be charitable and take your word for this. I still haven’t met any of them, as yet the only people to respond are block bot admins.

      That about settles it, I know I’ve been rather charitable considering how oolon has behaved on other blogs, but this is more an intellectual exercise for the benefit of myself and anyone reading than anything else, have a nice day.

      Reply
  5. Freshverbal

    Actually I think Watson is a true believer in the kind of narrative taught in “gender/women’s studies” she just seems to take the “by any means necessary” approach. She genuinely believes that white men are oppressing women and people of colour both systemically and individually.

    If one believes that crap whilst taking a radical “by any means necessary” approach, it stands to reason that one wouldn’t distinguish between legitimate critics, trolls and actual bigots. They are all in opposition to what you see as an epidemic of sexism and racism. A state of emergency no less.

    No matter what one thinks of Aronra’s recent speech I think there is no doubt about his sincerity. In which case why not treat legitimate critics the same as one would treat critics of women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery and segregation.

    If opposing ideological feminism is opposing justice, equality and equal rights; not only for women but people of colour then by hook or by crook. By conflating the best criticism with the worst bigotry, by boycotts, by shunning, by doxxing, by false allegations, by any means necessary.

    I do think Watson is a dishonest, shameless publicly hungry hack who uses her “activism” to pay the bills and get perks but that doesn’t mean she’s not a true believer.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      AonRa has always struck me as honest to a fault, I don’t think for a second that he is anything but sincere, even if he doesn’t have all his facts straight, and is just misguided in his approach. I agree that a sufficiently zealous ideologue might actually see all criticism, even that which is perfectly legitimate, as “heresy” if you will. And while it’s possible that Watson turned from doing nude calendars to “asking for coffee in an elevator is a RAEP EMERGENCY!” because of an ideological shift, I suspect it’s more likely because redfem t-shirts sell better than nudie calendars featuring porcine internet web show hosts. There is only one person who knows for sure, and to be frank and honest, I don’t care one way or the other. When I see a pile of shit in my path, I just step over it, I don’t stop to determine which animal excreted it.

      Reply
  6. jet_lagg

    “Hitchens with all of the asshole and none of the charm”

    Agh. That made me laugh. Thank you :) And now a moment in remembrance of Hitchens. He was always my favorite. I imagine, if I could meet Oscar Wilde in person, he would be much like Hitchens.

    Anyway, points well taken. I personally believe Carrier is in a position similar to the one I was in. I actively read his blog, and in the comment section there seem to be no real arguments against A+ or documentation of their offenses. I imagine he’s too busy to spend time on the subreddit/forums, so it’s possible he’s simply unaware of just how toxic the culture has become. Or maybe I’m just being optimistic.

    Regardless, my new project is to document some of the most grievous cases of A+ nastiness and send it his way.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      According to oolon and some others, he doesn’t even represent them anyhow. If that really is the case, please let him know and get back to doing what he’s good at.

      Reply
  7. Freshverbal

    The point that Oolon and the rest of the social justice clowns conveniently skip over when dealing with my critique of their usage of “privilege” is that I’m not saying it doesn’t exist.

    What I am saying is that the way it is applied to individuals based on their racial or gender identity is in most cases simplistic, wrong & down right racist/sexist.

    This is another thing social justice warriors proclaim as axiomatic which quite clearly is open to debate. If more black people go to jail and there are less female billionaires that this must be because the sexist and racist construction of society and the white men who control it.

    Not only does this demonise white men and create a nebulous unfalsifiable cause for all injustice; it also fails to take into account the individual complexities of each and every one of us.

    In a prime example of confirmation bias it completely dismisses the evidence of choices, culture, beliefs and biological sex in determining why one chose to commit a crime of chose a less well paid job with more flexible hours.

    It is insulting to my land owning, Oxford educated friends from Africa and insulting to the multitude of white working class or homeless men who struggle to survive.

    When university educated idiots tell a labourer, bin man or taxi driver to check his privilege because he is a white man, I say check your bigotry.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I agree, privilege does exist, but it is useless to apply on an individual basis, unless you want to say that Barack Obama is an underprivileged person.

      Reply
  8. Freshverbal

    A classic example of circular reasoning is whenever I present this critique of intersectional/privilege theory and mention how it demonises white men they scoff.

    “Oh poor white menz” “White men can’t be discriminated against because they are privileged”

    Is that not the mirror image of the Christian who says god is moral -but when confronted with the genocide and slavery in the Bible says- that was moral because god commanded it.

    Reply
  9. Kent

    On the subject of education vs. victim blaming…I’ve thought for a long time that we all need to accept that we live in a broken, imperfect, and often dangerous world, because we are an imperfect and deeply flawed species. Yes, it would be great for there to never be any reason for a woman (or anyone else) to fear for their own safety and do whatever the heck they want. However, we don’t live in that world, and most likely never will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to improve the world we live in, but we also need to admit to ourselves that our ideal world will always be just that, an ideal. We can educate about consent, shriek “DON’T RAPE!” at the top of our lungs, enact all sorts of laws…but there will ALWAYS be sick and criminal people who won’t care. Education about consent will not fix their broken minds, and it’s sheer folly (or just stupidity) to think that it will fix everything. (And yet I sometimes see people apparently embracing that exact notion.) Enacting compulsory screening for potential sexual predators, and subsequent institutionalization/treatment, is a bit too dictatorial for many.

    And in the meantime, it is always important for us as human beings to take responsibility for our own safety. As I said, the sick and criminal will always be with us, and we have to be wary.

    I will agree that there is far too much victim-blaming, but at the same time we have to admit that as imperfect beings, we sometimes make foolish decisions that imperil our own safety and others’, and we have to take responsibility and learn from them. A young lady goes to a frat party, gets blotto pass-out drunk, and gets assaulted. She behaved foolishly, but the assault is the fault of the assaulter, naturally. But she needs to realize that getting blotto pass-out drunk is a bad idea in general; while she may not be sexually assaulted, she could fall and hurt herself, drive drunk, lose a valued possession, hurt someone else, say something foolish that costs her friends, etc. She may also have a potential drinking problem and be on the road to addiction. I do feel that it’s the fault of the rapist, not the drunk girl…but to turn around and say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her going to frat parties and getting blotto pass-out drunk is to overlook the fact that there are hundreds of good reasons to not do so. And a young lady who habitually goes to frat parties and gets blotto pass-out drunk may need some help in addressing potentially self-destructive behavior.

    I’ve been told to my face that telling any woman to take any sort of responsibility for her own safety and behavior is victim-blaming and that I’m evil and sexist. Women, they’ve told me, should be able to go get pass-out drunk, go jogging at night in a bad neighborhood, walk through dark alleys, and do other things that even I would flinch at doing (and I’m a big burly guy), and it is the responsibility of society to make sure they’re safe and unmolested. I’ve seen arguments that this infantilizes women…not sure I agree, but I can see where they’re coming from. I’ve seen others argue that this is an argument for privilege for women, that it places them on a pedestal and attempts to set them up as a protected class for no other reason than biology. Again, not sure I agree, but I can see where they’re coming from.

    And I’ve heard and read things by some who seem to promote the idea that the PERFECT WORLD is attainable and that it CAN happen and MUST happen…and that women are somehow entitled to live in such a world. If you ask me, nobody’s entitled to perfection….but at the same time, it’s our responsibility to try to better the world while remembering that ultimately, perfection is unattainable.

    At one point I got fed up with a young lady who talked as if she felt it was society’s duty to create a perfectly safe world for her to inhabit, and I told her that she needed to go to another planet and populate it with robots programmed to never bother her, and that was the only way it could happen.

    There is no perfect world. There is no perfect and ultimate safety. “Safe spaces” are illusions. There’s only the amount of danger we’re prepared to live with and deal with. We are an imperfect species, sometimes sick and broken, and any world we create will be imperfect.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      Well said, the another planet part may have been a bit snide, but I’m generally a snide son of a bitch in general so I can appreciate it. People need to understand that there is always a balance between personal responsibility and societal responsibility, and one will always bear some responsibility for one’s own actions.

      Reply
  10. Aratina Cage

    Sorry, I kept forgetting to post a comment here. It’s a long list, most of it doesn’t seem to be disagreeable. But this:

    If you are not starving or homeless, and no one in your family is going to be sold for a couple goats, than I don’t give a fuck how shitty you’re feeling.

    Really? Seems pretty heartless.

    This:

    “Safe Spaces” such as A+ wants do not exist, and attempting to tell people they do or create one, only sets them up for a harsher reality check down the road.

    Is obviously not true. Sure, they can be a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare, but they do exist. Even if they do only put troubles off for the time being, that is better than nothing for a lot of people who don’t get that anywhere else in their lives (not even at home sometimes!).

    Women aren’t as uninformed as you’re making them out to be in 10.

    Lots of people at the atheismplus.com forum would agree with you in 11.

    12 is unrealistic. Some people are discriminated against and do have their choices limited by that.

    13 is just “haters gonna hate” material. You don’t like blocking? Don’t do it. Simple.

    Reply
  11. Aratina Cage

    we’ve been faced with the “Stalin and Mao were atheists” since the beginning

    It would help, you know, if people who hate Atheism+ or the Block Bot or FTB or whatever/whoever didn’t go around likening other atheists to Stalin, Mao, and any other evil dictator they could think of.

    Reply
  12. Aratina Cage

    I ask for Aratina and I get oolon, It’s like ordering a fillet mingon (or let’s face it, a hamburger) and instead receiving a burned piece of goatshit, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers eh?

    Hey now, that was just mean. DBAD.

    Reply
  13. Aratina Cage

    I do think Watson is a dishonest, shameless publicly hungry hack who uses her “activism” to pay the bills and get perks but that doesn’t mean she’s not a true believer.

    Jesus! What do you have against making money in the current world economy?

    Reply
  14. Aratina Cage

    Yes, it would be great for there to never be any reason for a woman (or anyone else) to fear for their own safety and do whatever the heck they want. However, we don’t live in that world, and most likely never will.

    What about this: you stop policing women on how the can behave (what they can wear, when they can go places, etc.) and let’s see if rapes actually do climb. What happens if they don’t? What if the rape rate stays the same? Would you finally accept that your ideas about women’s safety were bullshit?

    “Safe spaces” are illusions.

    No, they actually aren’t. Try not to make things up like that.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I will try yo respond to all your points in one response, to save time and make formatting easier. Here goes: (Aratina in Bold)

      “Sorry, I kept forgetting to post a comment here. It’s a long list, most of it doesn’t seem to be disagreeable. But this:

      If you are not starving or homeless, and no one in your family is going to be sold for a couple goats, than I don’t give a fuck how shitty you’re feeling.
      Really? Seems pretty heartless.”

      My heart goes out to people who’s suffering goes beyond how they feel. As long as there are people who are actually starving, or being enslaved or being beaten, then I don’t give two shits or a flying fuck about how someone made you feel uncomfortable, especially if you are living in the developed world. You can call it heartless, I call it not being a useless wimp.

      “Safe Spaces” such as A+ wants do not exist, and attempting to tell people they do or create one, only sets them up for a harsher reality check down the road.
      Is obviously not true. Sure, they can be a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare, but they do exist. Even if they do only put troubles off for the time being, that is better than nothing for a lot of people who don’t get that anywhere else in their lives (not even at home sometimes!).

      Read my above link to enabling. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” principle. You can provide a nice safe space for everyone to bury their heads in the sand until everyone has to actually leave their screen and go outside or actually interact with a person, at which point you’ve done nothing but wast time, while I will actually teach people how to deal with the real world. I understand we will likely never be able to reconcile these radically different approaches, but picture a support group that meets on weekends for survivors of X. Do you go into the group on Saturday and they just tell you to never leave? or do they teach you to try and deal with your problem and adapt?

      10 will be answered with another response below.

      Skipping 11 since we seem to agree on Carrier.

      12 is unrealistic. Some people are discriminated against and do have their choices limited by that.

      No it isn’t, not everyone gets the same opportunities, sometimes it has nothing to do with discrimination, and sometimes it does, neither stops you from TRYING instead of WHINING. I appreciate that some people try and fail, I’ve done it enough times myself, I have no sympathy for those who never try.

      13 is just “haters gonna hate” material. You don’t like blocking? Don’t do it. Simple.

      Hate has nothing to do with it, I simply have no use for cowards. I block some people as well, but never for disagreement and never because someone else thought they should be blocked.


      we’ve been faced with the “Stalin and Mao were atheists” since the beginning
      It would help, you know, if people who hate Atheism+ or the Block Bot or FTB or whatever/whoever didn’t go around likening other atheists to Stalin, Mao, and any other evil dictator they could think of.

      You missed the point entirely here. CHRISTIANS and other atheist critics, often confalte atheism with Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin, because they were all atheists. Atheists have been fighting for decades to quash the mainstream myth that atheism entails any sort of proposition other than “There is no god(s)/I do not believe in god(s)/there is insufficient evidence for a god. If people go around saying “Atheists are also socialists” or any such thing, then we now have to start that fight all over again.


      I ask for Aratina and I get oolon, It’s like ordering a fillet mingon (or let’s face it, a hamburger) and instead receiving a burned piece of goatshit, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers eh?
      Hey now, that was just mean. DBAD.

      Well this was a backhanded compliment, but lets face it, whether you’re buddies or not, oolon is a piece of shit. Even if he occasionally stumbles onto a valid point, he’s done so much trolling, assholery and just outright evil shit that he deserves whatever he gets. For the record you could do a lot better than him as far as friends go, but that is of course, your choice to make.

      I do think Watson is a dishonest, shameless publicly hungry hack who uses her “activism” to pay the bills and get perks but that doesn’t mean she’s not a true believer.
      Jesus! What do you have against making money in the current world economy?

      That wasn’t me, but for the record I have nothing against making money, but I do have an objection against being a lying piece of shit who manufactures drama and claims the victimhood of others to relieve them of their cash under the illusion of actually doing something about it and instead getting drunk at the bar or violating convention rules to sell merch for free for 4 years running and then get pissy when you finally get called on it, I have the same problem with Joel Osteen and had it with Pat Robertson.

      Yes, it would be great for there to never be any reason for a woman (or anyone else) to fear for their own safety and do whatever the heck they want. However, we don’t live in that world, and most likely never will.
      What about this: you stop policing women on how the can behave (what they can wear, when they can go places, etc.) and let’s see if rapes actually do climb. What happens if they don’t? What if the rape rate stays the same? Would you finally accept that your ideas about women’s safety were bullshit?

      Unfortunately the evidence already proves you wrong here, see I don’t “police” anything. What I do is look at statistics and studies, you know actual sciencey skeptic stuff, and I look for what the evidence of past rapes say. So for example, when it turns out that nearly half of all adult rapes occur when the victim is drunk and about 75% when either one or both parties are drunk, I will suggest you be careful who you get drunk with and where, or at the very least, make sure you don’t get drunk to where your awareness drops to nothing. I’m not actually telling anyone to do anything, merely dispensing facts. If someone chooses to ignore those facts that’s fine, it was never my job to be a rape guardian anyhow, merely to present information.

      If I tell you that there is someone in the red house down the street who wants to do you harm, and you decide to go into the red house, I will not stop or “police” you, all I’m doing is informing you of the relevant facts, and with rape it’s the same. For the record, there has never been any real research done on clothing, and this is why I never mention it when I’m doing a blog or a class.

      Well that’s about it there, thanks for responding.

      Reply
  15. Chris

    Power + Prejudice is not what the word racism means, it never has been and it never will be. Your attempt to redefine the language has not worked.

    Reply
  16. David Jones

    You’re missing the point that Tina and Billingham are deliberate trolls. If the blockbot was for the purpose they claim when signing people up, they’d add individuals to the blocklists, perhaps with a comment, and leave it there.

    In fact they carry on @ing blocked people. That’s because they’re not content with the blocking. They want to insult, to troll, to provoke, over and over again. It’s deliberate and it’s their real purpose.

    Add that to the abuse they hurl, frequently, and I think it’s clear what they’re really about.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I don’t think Aratina is a troll, I’ve had a few conversations with him and he’s made some reasonable points, even if a lot of them are incorrect, I think he’s just overzealous for a cause. Oolon on the other hand is a blatant troll, not only spouting bizarre and nonsensical bullshit left and right, but actively antagonizing people he has blocked.

      Reply
  17. David Jones

    I’m afraid you’re wrong. Tina is a troll. for example he ‘reported’ me via the BB for blocking then unblocking lousy canuck, and again for mentioning i’d reported the BB to Twitter for TOS violations.

    He just slyly puts on a front sometimes. It’s strategic.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I don’t know if that makes him a troll so much as just a small child getting mad when his hand is caught in the cookie jar, but I get what you mean.

      Reply
  18. Aratina Cage

    My heart goes out to people who’s suffering goes beyond how they feel. As long as there are people who are actually starving, or being enslaved or being beaten, then I don’t give two shits or a flying fuck about how someone made you feel uncomfortable, especially if you are living in the developed world. You can call it heartless, I call it not being a useless wimp.

    This beliefs you are expressing don’t seem like ones that too many people should have. I suppose it is fine for you to hold them, though, since such an extreme position is offset by the wide majority of humanity. Oh, and I guess you don’t care about any laws against atheism, then, since those hardly entail being enslaved, beaten, or starved.

    Read my above link to enabling. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” principle. You can provide a nice safe space for everyone to bury their heads in the sand until everyone has to actually leave their screen and go outside or actually interact with a person, at which point you’ve done nothing but wast time, while I will actually teach people how to deal with the real world. I understand we will likely never be able to reconcile these radically different approaches, but picture a support group that meets on weekends for survivors of X. Do you go into the group on Saturday and they just tell you to never leave? or do they teach you to try and deal with your problem and adapt?

    Does the concept of a safe haven mean nothing to you? Even the most heroic warriors need a place to rest and relax at. You really probably shouldn’t knock it until you’ve thought it through more.

    No it isn’t, not everyone gets the same opportunities, sometimes it has nothing to do with discrimination, and sometimes it does, neither stops you from TRYING instead of WHINING. I appreciate that some people try and fail, I’ve done it enough times myself, I have no sympathy for those who never try.

    Weren’t you just mocking the ostrich with her head in the sand? So why turn to denialism like this?

    Hate has nothing to do with it, I simply have no use for cowards. I block some people as well, but never for disagreement and never because someone else thought they should be blocked.

    You don’t hate it, but you’re going to let everyone know how much you dislike it… OK then?

    You missed the point entirely here. CHRISTIANS and other atheist critics, often confalte atheism with Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin, because they were all atheists. Atheists have been fighting for decades to quash the mainstream myth that atheism entails any sort of proposition other than “There is no god(s)/I do not believe in god(s)/there is insufficient evidence for a god. If people go around saying “Atheists are also socialists” or any such thing, then we now have to start that fight all over again.

    I think it is our responsibility, then, to not go around mudslinging our fellow atheists by disparagingly comparing them to dictators, tyrants, murderers, etc., who actually were atheists.

    Well this was a backhanded compliment, but lets face it, whether you’re buddies or not, oolon is a piece of shit. Even if he occasionally stumbles onto a valid point, he’s done so much trolling, assholery and just outright evil shit that he deserves whatever he gets. For the record you could do a lot better than him as far as friends go, but that is of course, your choice to make.

    You’re serious? He’s a really great guy, actually. We didn’t start off on the right foot, either, but once we got to know each other, we realized that neither of us were so bad. I quite like him now. :3

    That wasn’t me, but for the record I have nothing against making money, but I do have an objection against being a lying piece of shit who manufactures drama and claims the victimhood of others to relieve them of their cash under the illusion of actually doing something about it and instead getting drunk at the bar or violating convention rules to sell merch for free for 4 years running and then get pissy when you finally get called on it, I have the same problem with Joel Osteen and had it with Pat Robertson.

    People have to make money, though, to survive. Fraud isn’t OK, of course, but getting bills paid by being entertaining or making a big scene isn’t fraud. I don’t really care if you don’t like it (and by your own standards, you should just suck it up and get on with your life anyway about all of it since they aren’t starving, being beaten, or enslaved).

    Unfortunately the evidence already proves you wrong here, see I don’t “police” anything. What I do is look at statistics and studies, you know actual sciencey skeptic stuff, and I look for what the evidence of past rapes say. So for example, when it turns out that nearly half of all adult rapes occur when the victim is drunk and about 75% when either one or both parties are drunk, I will suggest you be careful who you get drunk with and where, or at the very least, make sure you don’t get drunk to where your awareness drops to nothing. I’m not actually telling anyone to do anything, merely dispensing facts. If someone chooses to ignore those facts that’s fine, it was never my job to be a rape guardian anyhow, merely to present information.

    OK. But as a thought experiment, suggesting people do things like that (telling them what to do when and where) and then not seeing a change in rape stats would prove wrong.

    If I tell you that there is someone in the red house down the street who wants to do you harm, and you decide to go into the red house, I will not stop or “police” you, all I’m doing is informing you of the relevant facts, and with rape it’s the same. For the record, there has never been any real research done on clothing, and this is why I never mention it when I’m doing a blog or a class.

    That isn’t a good analogy because rapists aren’t easily distinguishable like a red house on a street would be. A better one would be you telling them not to go into the house drunk, and my point is that if they go into the house sober and still get harmed at the same rate as when they go drunk, then your awareness campaign turns out to be shoddy.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      Second Verse, same as the first. Aratina in Bold My original replies in italics

      My heart goes out to people who’s suffering goes beyond how they feel. As long as there are people who are actually starving, or being enslaved or being beaten, then I don’t give two shits or a flying fuck about how someone made you feel uncomfortable, especially if you are living in the developed world. You can call it heartless, I call it not being a useless wimp.

      This beliefs you are expressing don’t seem like ones that too many people should have. I suppose it is fine for you to hold them, though, since such an extreme position is offset by the wide majority of humanity. Oh, and I guess you don’t care about any laws against atheism, then, since those hardly entail being enslaved, beaten, or starved.

      Apparently you are unfamiliar with countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, where atheism (or simply converting to a religion other than Islam) is punishable by death. I know I technically didn’t include death under my previous list, but it’s still a pretty important on, so I’ll amend it now. Also I can’t speak for the rest of humanity, but this whole atheismplus “we all need to legislate good feels bro” doesn’t seem to be going over to well as a whole.

      Read my above link to enabling. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” principle. You can provide a nice safe space for everyone to bury their heads in the sand until everyone has to actually leave their screen and go outside or actually interact with a person, at which point you’ve done nothing but wast time, while I will actually teach people how to deal with the real world. I understand we will likely never be able to reconcile these radically different approaches, but picture a support group that meets on weekends for survivors of X. Do you go into the group on Saturday and they just tell you to never leave? or do they teach you to try and deal with your problem and adapt?

      Does the concept of a safe haven mean nothing to you? Even the most heroic warriors need a place to rest and relax at. You really probably shouldn’t knock it until you’ve thought it through more.

      There is a difference between a place where you can take a break from things, and a place that encourages you to flee from them at every opportunity. This is a fairly in depth subject and I’ll try to do a little more research and make a longer post on it in the future, as of now my research is limited to a few psychology papers I read on google scholar and pubmed, wikipedia and one psychiatrist I spoke too (which I suspect is still more research than atheismplus as a collective whole has done, but still). I’ll withhold further comment till I’ve done more research.

      No it isn’t, not everyone gets the same opportunities, sometimes it has nothing to do with discrimination, and sometimes it does, neither stops you from TRYING instead of WHINING. I appreciate that some people try and fail, I’ve done it enough times myself, I have no sympathy for those who never try.

      Weren’t you just mocking the ostrich with her head in the sand? So why turn to denialism like this?

      I don’t see how denialism can be involved when we are basically dealing with a matter of my own opinion here. I said I personally have no use for people who are unwilling to try to achieve things without expecting them to be handed to them. I also said that I can sympathize with those who fail because that happens, and that not everyone gets the same opportunities. Let me give you a more concrete example.

      Person A: An atheist, works for a company for 25 years, makes junior vice president. Is continuously turned down for a senior VP position, because the president doesn’t like atheists and refuses to appoint them to senior management, despite being the most qualified person. However his country’s laws do not have any redress for this. He complains about this situation.

      Person B: Same position as person a in a different company, also an atheist, but continuously falls short of performance standards, and is never promoted because someone else is always more qualified. Despite his company president not having any such prejudice, he complains that there ought to be more atheist VPs, and uses that as an excuse for not being promoted.

      Person C: Also an atheist, never bothers to apply for a corporate job because they think they think they assume they will be discriminated against.

      Person A has my sympathy and person B will receive my encouragement to do better, because they may simply not realize that the problem is with them and not the company. I have no use for person C, to try and fail is noble, to give up because one faces difficulties is the way of the coward.

      Hate has nothing to do with it, I simply have no use for cowards. I block some people as well, but never for disagreement and never because someone else thought they should be blocked.

      You don’t hate it, but you’re going to let everyone know how much you dislike it… OK then?

      I do not use hate as a synonym for dislike. Hated is a great deal stronger, like the difference between “like” and “love”. When I see someone who strangles their daughter to death because she refuses to wear a hijab, I feel hatred, when I hear that a man has murdered 30 people in a school shooting, I feel hatred, when I see a teenage girl throw a buck full of puppies into a river, I feel hatred, When I see a man rule a country with an iron fist for decades and live in luxury while his countrymen starve, I feel hatred. these things will cause me to take any and all actions against them which I possibly can, which fall within the scope of the law. When I see some whiners whining on the internet, I feel mild dislike, and the only effort Ill put out is to write some commentary on the internet. If you want to use dislike and hatred interchangeably, then sure, I’m a hater, but when I use the term hate, it refers to something entirely different than what I feel for A+.

      You missed the point entirely here. CHRISTIANS and other atheist critics, often confalte atheism with Pol Pot, Mao and Stalin, because they were all atheists. Atheists have been fighting for decades to quash the mainstream myth that atheism entails any sort of proposition other than “There is no god(s)/I do not believe in god(s)/there is insufficient evidence for a god. If people go around saying “Atheists are also socialists” or any such thing, then we now have to start that fight all over again.

      I think it is our responsibility, then, to not go around mudslinging our fellow atheists by disparagingly comparing them to dictators, tyrants, murderers, etc., who actually were atheists.

      I agree, we certainly shouldn’t go about comparing our critics to someone like Marc Lepine, should we? And also, we shouldn’t go about conflating atheism with other causes, no matter how noble, because otherwise people will get the impression that Atheism means something other than a lack of belief in god(s).

      Well this was a backhanded compliment, but lets face it, whether you’re buddies or not, oolon is a piece of shit. Even if he occasionally stumbles onto a valid point, he’s done so much trolling, assholery and just outright evil shit that he deserves whatever he gets. For the record you could do a lot better than him as far as friends go, but that is of course, your choice to make.

      You’re serious? He’s a really great guy, actually. We didn’t start off on the right foot, either, but once we got to know each other, we realized that neither of us were so bad. I quite like him now. :3

      (Godwin) I’m sure Goebbels thought Hitler was swell too. (/Godwin)

      That wasn’t me, but for the record I have nothing against making money, but I do have an objection against being a lying piece of shit who manufactures drama and claims the victimhood of others to relieve them of their cash under the illusion of actually doing something about it and instead getting drunk at the bar or violating convention rules to sell merch for free for 4 years running and then get pissy when you finally get called on itb>, I have the same problem with Joel Osteen and had it with Pat Robertson.

      People have to make money, though, to survive. Fraud isn’t OK, of course, but getting bills paid by being entertaining or making a big scene isn’t fraud. I don’t really care if you don’t like it (and by your own standards, you should just suck it up and get on with your life anyway about all of it since they aren’t starving, being beaten, or enslaved).

      If you want to view Rebecca Watson the same way as one views Jenny McCarthy, then I’m all for it, just don’t go around skipping your children’s shots. Also, let’s add swindling to the above list of things which don’t sit well with me, and that aside, there are a lot of things which I think are worth a few words on the internet, which are not causes worth donating my time or money too or against otherwise.

      Unfortunately the evidence already proves you wrong here, see I don’t “police” anything. What I do is look at statistics and studies, you know actual sciencey skeptic stuff, and I look for what the evidence of past rapes say. So for example, when it turns out that nearly half of all adult rapes occur when the victim is drunk and about 75% when either one or both parties are drunk, I will suggest you be careful who you get drunk with and where, or at the very least, make sure you don’t get drunk to where your awareness drops to nothing. I’m not actually telling anyone to do anything, merely dispensing facts. If someone chooses to ignore those facts that’s fine, it was never my job to be a rape guardian anyhow, merely to present information.

      OK. But as a thought experiment, suggesting people do things like that (telling them what to do when and where) and then not seeing a change in rape stats would prove wrong.

      And as a thought experiment, if you dropped a ball and it didn’t fall, gravity isn’t true. As a thought experiment, imagine a deity, and god exists. Unfortunately the data from the real world is already in, and whether you like it or not, drunkenness is a risk factor for rape (the most significant controllable one). If you want to run a real world experiment (good luck finding volunteers) to prove me wrong, feel free. If you have new numbers (most data I use is from 2002-2009) which shows that most rapes are now taking place while both parties are sober, then I will amend both my opinions and classes accordingly.

      If I tell you that there is someone in the red house down the street who wants to do you harm, and you decide to go into the red house, I will not stop or “police” you, all I’m doing is informing you of the relevant facts, and with rape it’s the same. For the record, there has never been any real research done on clothing, and this is why I never mention it when I’m doing a blog or a class.

      That isn’t a good analogy because rapists aren’t easily distinguishable like a red house on a street would be. A better one would be you telling them not to go into the house drunk, and my point is that if they go into the house sober and still get harmed at the same rate as when they go drunk, then your awareness campaign turns out to be shoddy.

      A frat party is as identifiable as a red house. And the red house is just a metaphor, replace red house with (RISK FACTOR) and it works just as well. You are correct, if as more rapes occurred while both parties were sober as they do while drunk, then my campaign would be shoddy, since however it turns out that a significant majority of them occur while either the victim or rapist is drunk (and most often when both are), it means that you are in this case, objectively wrong. Not only is inebriation a risk factor, it’s the single most significant one, other than gender (approx. 91% of rapes occur to women) which is not something one can control. Unless you want to argue that the drunk part is just a co-incidence of course, in which case I suppose we should just go on letting women get raped until we educate away all the rapists, since we can’t understand risk factors at all.

      Reply
  19. Keith

    Atheism plus is just a forum for a feminist clique born out of atheist conventions and a particular blogs readerships. Just like any other heavily moderated forum, it has a small active membership of people who post in high volumes. They clearly have little or no interest in reaching out to a broad spectrum of people. Challenging people’s perceptions of societal realities is likely to make them angry and defensive. Atheism plus is simply not interested in dealing with this. Instead they just want a “safe place” where a small minority of people with a certain perspective on social justice can hang out, without being bothered by anyone else. That’s completely fine, but means that it’s a very narrow “movement”.

    I’m an atheist “plus” I care about social justice and all their other dot points, in my own way, and yet I don’t agree with at least half of the nonsense posted on that forum. I especially dislike the way they talk about Dawkins and other popular figures. How figures are idolised and then torn apart routinely. I also dislike their pejorative use of the “privilege” concept and how quickly and frequently they exclude and ban people. But most of all, I can’t stand all the petty, ridiculous drama, of the “internet atheist blogosphere”, that Atheism plus is right at the centre of. The amount of posts there that are just straight up whining about internet bloggers and personalities is ridiculous.

    If you’re an atheist actually interested in social justice, then I think Atheism Plus is just a complete waste of your time. You’d be much better off joining a proper campaign run by an NGO or other established activist group or even political party that has the ability to actually achieve something, instead of wasting time on a forum filled with the petty dramas of a very narrow feminist sub-group of the atheist convention/atheist blogosphere sub-group, which wasn’t even that big to start with.

    These internet dramas have a way of sucking you in, the same way I imagine that soap operas suck in their large audiences. I have absolutely no idea why I read so much about “elevator gate”. It is one of the stupidest and most pointless controversies that I have ever come across. I will never get those hours of my life back, and yes, ironically, I’m now wasting even more of my time writing this post. And yet I feel compelled to do so, having been well and truly sucked in to the drama.

    Do not join Atheism plus if you expect it to achieve anything for social justice, or if you are looking for intelligent debate about controversial issues. Especially don’t join if you have unpopular or controversial opinions. It is simply not that kind of movement.

    If you want to join, take a look around their forum first. If you basically agree with everything that the high posting members say, and think you would enjoy chatting with like minded people, then it might be for you. There’s nothing wrong with this, just don’t expect it to be something it’s not.

    Reply
  20. Aratina Cage

    Don’t you think trolling can be for a good cause? When Oolon trolls, he is usually doing it for a good cause as far as I can tell. And as far as metaburbia is concerned, if he would shut the fuck up about us and stop meddling in our affairs then we would shut the fuck up about him and stop recording his meddlesome behavior.

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      Trolling accomplishes nothing except making one’s side look bad. Making fun of something is different than trolling, and really you shouldn’t make fun unless you actually have a sense of humor, or you just come across as an asshole. Also for the record, reporting an application to twitter that violates the API’s terms of service isn’t wrong if it actually violates the TOS. The only time I’ve ever heard the term “meddling” prior to this is in a movie when the villain does something wrong and someone interferes with their evil plans. So far it seems to be the same here.

      Reply
  21. Aratina Cage

    I guess we don’t agree on trolling (you ironically agree with PZ on this point, then). I think it can be a force for good, especially against people trying to cause or sustain harm to others.

    As for meddling, it sure is meddling to try to get an app that Twitter vetted suspended by reporting it for made up shit. I’m not going to stop recording all of metaburbia’s futile false-flagging or his near constant whining.

    Reply
  22. Aratina Cage

    So what about rapes in the military? All done under the influence? What about rapes of foreign women on military bases in foreign countries? What about rapes of women in countries that force most women to wear burkas or even less extreme accessories? Do you think your ideas about what women should do to prevent themselves from being raped hold across the board?

    Reply
  23. Aratina Cage

    BTW, Keith, several respectable people have made it clear that they agree with the concept of atheism+ as originally expressed but do not want it or themselves to be associated with the Atheismplus .com forum. You might want to try looking at the entry for it on rationalwiki first before dismissing it entirely. As for me, I didn’t think atheism+ as a concept was necessary since we should not be (and were not) cultivating a kind of atheism that is morality-free in the first place (after all, us atheists know that morality is something we create among ourselves and not something that exists independently of humankind). The plus sign itself is kind of gimmicky and faddish, but it’s widespread enough in USA society to carry immediate semantic weight, so one can’t totally knock it.

    Reply
  24. Aratina Cage

    I’d like to see what you think about the Google definition of “hater” then? Enter “define:hater” into a Google search bar/box.

    Reply
  25. Aratina Cage

    Ooh, and what about rapes of men by other men? Does alcohol factor into those? Does dress? Does anything? Is there any common factor between them all?

    Reply
    1. shadowofadoubt Post author

      I am going to respond to all of your posts in one post, if you would do the same, especially when replying to a single post, it would keep things simpler. As before Aratina in Bold.

      I guess we don’t agree on trolling (you ironically agree with PZ on this point, then). I think it can be a force for good, especially against people trying to cause or sustain harm to others.

      As for meddling, it sure is meddling to try to get an app that Twitter vetted suspended by reporting it for made up shit. I’m not going to stop recording all of metaburbia’s futile false-flagging or his near constant whining.

      For the record, ideas stand on their own merit, not the merit of the person saying them. I’m sure there are lots of things I agree with PZ on, probably much bigger than trolling (such as the existence of a god for example.). Also, there is a saying (which is probably old by now, and dated in the age of digital clocks.) which goes “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

      I agree that trolling people who deserve it can certainly be fun, and there is nothing wrong with annoying your enemy in and of itself. The destruction of one’s credibility as a result, however, may cause one problems down the road, doubly so if it turns out the person you are trolling is right.

      As for the bot, if you’re conforming to twitter’s conditions, then nothing bad will come of it, if you aren’t, it will get suspended again. Feel free to keep recording him, if you’re in the right, then it will serve you well, if you’re in the wrong, it will serve him well. I really don’t care at this point as having been on it for months now, there is not a single person I miss communicating with.

      So what about rapes in the military? All done under the influence? What about rapes of foreign women on military bases in foreign countries? What about rapes of women in countries that force most women to wear burkas or even less extreme accessories? Do you think your ideas about what women should do to prevent themselves from being raped hold across the board?

      Ooh, and what about rapes of men by other men? Does alcohol factor into those? Does dress? Does anything? Is there any common factor between them all?

      I put two posts together since they are similar. First, I never said “all” of anything, meerly that there are discernible risk factors, and intoxication runs at over 60%. I will also note, that it should have been obvious from the context and the data I cited, but I was referring to adult rapes in north america. When you incorporate child rape for example, it changes things considerably, again if you add prison rape. So let me make myself doubly clear, I am referring to data pertaining to rape in north america, excluding prison rape. It does hold true for men raping other men, outside of prison. I never claimed this was universally true. Therefore if you fall outside those parameters, then the advice doesn’t hold. Since I teach self defense in Canada and America, and I don’t often address people living in those countries even on the internet, it’s completely irrelevant to the conversation, and I don’t add every possible disclaimer or I would rightly be called an idiot. Jumping off a 30 foot ledge is a bad idea, unless you’re on the moon. If I tell someone not to jump from a 30 foot ledge, I don’t preface it with “unless you are on the moon”, though if that is necessary when talking with you I will endeavor to do so.

      I do not know if the data I used most recently includes military rape or not, it would be interesting to see that, but given the way the military is with data which embarrasses them, I doubt any will be forthcoming.

      BTW, Keith, several respectable people have made it clear that they agree with the concept of atheism+ as originally expressed but do not want it or themselves to be associated with the Atheismplus .com forum. You might want to try looking at the entry for it on rationalwiki first before dismissing it entirely. As for me, I didn’t think atheism+ as a concept was necessary since we should not be (and were not) cultivating a kind of atheism that is morality-free in the first place (after all, us atheists know that morality is something we create among ourselves and not something that exists independently of humankind). The plus sign itself is kind of gimmicky and faddish, but it’s widespread enough in USA society to carry immediate semantic weight, so one can’t totally knock it.

      Not directed at me, but since it’s on my blog and you actually made a good point here I’ll address it. You are 100% correct in that morality is not something that exists independently of humankind. The problem only arises when one suggests that all atheists agree or should agree on your definition of morality. You can be a conservative atheist or a liberal atheist or anywhere in the middle. You can be a feminist atheist, an MRA atheist or anything in the middle. I’m all for groups in support of a cause that happen to be atheists, as long as they don’t claim to speak for atheism in general.

      I’d like to see what you think about the Google definition of “hater” then? Enter “define:hater” into a Google search bar/box.

      As I mentioned before if you choose to use that definition, than I do indeed qualify. It’s an imprecise and i my opinion, incorrect use of the language, but like I said feel free to use it. By that same definition I also hate the following: Justin Bieber, drying off with a damp towel, blue cheese, the smell of farts, turning on the radio when a song I like is just ending, running out of skips on Pandora, poodles, wonderbread, stubbing my pinky toe and breaking it, turtles which are not teen aged ninjas, wine, the color “mauve”, the word “mauve”, chess, people who would rather play chess than Go, the Atari Phantom, youtube’s new interface, youtube’s old interface, having to use random password parameters that are completely different at every site, (Who decided it must be between 6-8 characters long with a number and a symbol?), parrots who will not speak to me, house centipedes, overly screamo metal music, country music in general, the fact that wal-mart closes at midnight here and I got hungry at 12:15, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

      Since we’ve now made the word basically useless as a descriptor, I’ll go back to using it the way I did before thanks but if it makes you feel a little better to be debating with a “hater” instead of someone who disagrees with you, feel free to have at it.

      Reply
  26. Kent

    “What about this: you stop policing women on how the can behave (what they can wear, when they can go places, etc.) and let’s see if rapes actually do climb.”

    Hm, you respond to a comment about how this will likely always be a broken, dangerous world by accusing me of policing women’s behavior? That’s a serious jump. I’d say a total straw-man argument. I’m not policing anyone, and not trying to. How can you say such a thing?

    At any rate, this has raised a thought in my mind of how the judgments we make of someone’s actions can often hinge on the outcome. A woman gets drunk and is raped; we say it’s not her fault she got drunk. Fine. But if she gets drunk and then drives drunk and kills a child, we say she’s a horrible person for getting drunk. A man isn’t watching where he’s going on the subway platform and is mugged; it’s not his fault for not paying attention. But if he’s not watching where he’s going and accidentally knocks someone onto the tracks and they get killed, it’s definitely his fault for not paying attention. Where’s the line drawn? Can a woman who drives drunk say it’s OK for her to go out and get blotto drunk because rape and therefore should not be penalized for any other result of her decision?

    I’m not saying that if a woman gets drunk and is raped, it’s 100% her fault. Never said that, and if you read that into my comments, that’s only your own filter showing. Being raped is 100% the fault of the rapist but it’s still unwise for her to go out and get drunk because there’s hundreds of different things that could happen when she gets drunk, of which rape is only one. The focus on rape-and-only-rape puzzles me, as so many situations people present could have other outcomes for which the woman (or anyone else involved, for that matter) could be viewed as responsible. Drunk driving, drunk-dialed obscene calls, drunkenly falling down the stairs, drunkenly blurting out a secret that hurts a friend, alcohol poisoning, etc. etc. etc. There’s tons of reasons to encourage people in general to drink in moderation. And that spreads to other scenarios; tons of good reasons not to walk down dark alleys other than rape. Tons of good reasons not to go jogging in a bad neighborhood at night other than rape. Etc. But yet any suggestion that anyone should take even the slightest iota of responsibility for their own safety (and especially when drinking, the safety of others) flies out the window because rape.

    Speaking as someone who’s had friends and relatives involved in accidents involving drunk drivers (both as perps and as victims) and once witness with his own eyes a drunk driver plow into a telephone pole (she survived, barely), the notion that women (or any other group of people) should be given carte blanche to go out and get plastered as often as they want with not even the slightest encouragement to think about their own safety, or the safety of others, is at best poorly thought out, and at worst reprehensible and blind.

    “Would you finally accept that your ideas about women’s safety were bullshit?”

    I don’t know. I have a feeling that what my ideas actually are, and what you assume they are, could very possibly be two entirely different things.

    “No, they actually aren’t. Try not to make things up like that.”

    I’m not making up a thing. It’s my sincere belief that anything we think of as “safe” is always an illusion, only how much danger we are prepared to make peace with. Sure, we can assume we’re safe with a certain group or some certain people…but we can never, ever truly know what’s going on in their minds. The vast majority of rapes and assaults attest to what I say, as the majority are committed by someone known to the victim, and in quite a few cases someone whom the victim has some sort of close relationship to. (There’s solid stats at the RAINN website.) I can envision only a few examples of totally safe space…one being a place where you are surrounded by people who can all read each other’s minds and/or control each other, or being dead and in a coffin. Other than that, any time we are with others and open ourselves to others, we open ourselves to danger, as so much about everyone else is unknowable to all of us. We can tell ourselves this person is safe and on our side…but that has had tragic results in the past. I don’t know what’s truly going on in your head, any more than you can know what’s going on in mine, or anyone else.

    Reply
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