Atheism Plus, White Male Privilege, Guilt by Association, Schrodinger’s Rapist and Freethought Blogs

QA“Just the facts, ma’am.” – Joe Friday

I don’t know how I can state this any more clearly than I already have. But yet, I keep getting emails, messages and other communications asking me the same questions over and over, as well as insisting that I comment on some of the recent controversies, disagreements, etc., that have been popping up rather regularly on the Interwebz and various social networks.

So, I will clarify a few things, with the understanding that these are my words, regardless of whether or not any one given individual or group of individuals agrees with them, finds them offensive or chooses to no longer associate with me over them. Here are my thoughts on a few things. We’ll start with,

Atheism Plus…

For what it’s worth, I have nothing against the concept or the stated mission of Atheism Plus. In fact, I think it’s exemplary. I do have a problem with some of what I have read on their forums, and some of what I have read in the comments and in the context of some of the blogs. As an outsider, and as one who is involved in activism that is not centered around the Internet, there appears to be an increasing sense of division from what might be considered mainstream movement atheism. This is disturbing to me, personally, because the precept is actually a very good one.

There is, undeniably (to me, at least – your mileage may vary), a climate of exceptionalism and an air of superiority that is getting pervasive within the forum, and it is bordering on hubris and arrogance. I wish it would stop, because there are some very awesome people in there, and their message is getting lost in the din. Skepticism should be the prime directive of any freethinker, and simply asking a question about anything, even those subjects that are controversial, should not elicit anything other than conversation. It is my hope that those involved with Atheism + come to understand this, and embrace an environment that is more conducive to critical thinking. Again, agree or not. Your call.

As it stands now, though, the atmosphere there is not one that seems friendly, open to criticism, fair and balanced or even supportive of skepticism. It seems as if the very first thing that would happen if one disagrees with those who are currently administrating the forum is either a ban or a warning of a ban. I could be wrong, but I’ve spent a lot of time lurking there, even though I have an account, and I call it as I see it. In it’s present form, it is not a place that I feel I want to have anything to do with, mainly because I would probably end up either banned or on permanent moderation. Just my perception.

Being A White Male…

My position as a civil rights activist has been long and is well established. Particularly with regard to the belief (yes, I used the b-word) that equality for women, ethnic minorities and the LGBT communities are of paramount importance. I advocate often, loudly and proudly. I have lent and continue to lend my voice to the cause of equality, because I reason that there are no circumstances, whatsoever, where someone’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc., should be a deciding factor in anything that is not already specific to these demographics by virtue of culture, tradition or biology.

Nor do I give any credence to any form of racism, bigotry, hatred or discrimination against any human being – particularly groups that attempt to elevate their demographic above another. This is especially aimed at white supremacists or groups that exhibit or support true misogyny. Period. I have nothing but disdain for these groups, and I have commented frequently, and written often about their detriment to our societies.

With that said, I feel the need to point out that I am, in fact, mostly white and I am a male. There are those in our community who are bent on trying to get me to feel guilty about this, as if I am somehow responsible for all the horrible things that other members of my people group have perpetrated over the millennia toward minorities. I cannot help that I was born with light skin and with a penis. I will not apologize for these things, nor will I allow anyone to convince me that the concept of privilege has more to do with how someone was born than how someone behaves or perceives themselves among their fellow humans.

So, here’s two things to consider. One, I am not sorry for who or what I am. I was born with the physical attributes that I have. I am white, and that’s that. I am male, and my sexual orientation is such that I do not have a desire to change  that. If someone does, I totally and completely support them. Given my reasoning that gender and sexual orientation are very likely genetic, I believe that nobody should be deprived of being the person they were born as.

Guilt By Association…

I’ve written about this before. A lot. I have friends and acquaintances who absolutely hate each other. This has nothing to do with me. I don’t know how much clearer I can get on this, except to ask those who cannot accept the fact that I remain neutral on my associations, or that one cannot simply “not choose a side,”  to Google “Sweden.” This, I can promise, will not change. If you want nothing to do with me because I interact with someone you despise, that is your choice. I am sure I will repeat this again.

There are people who will choose to shun me in whatever way the feel necessary, based on my associations with people they do not like, or whom they feel behave in ways they perceive to be against their personal points of view. I’ve heard arguments from several people why I should sever relationships with other people, and thus far, none of those arguments have been sufficient enough for me to do so. Although some people are becoming awfully convincing.

Thus, if it angers, annoys or otherwise negatively effects someone that I post on another person’s wall, timeline or stream that happens to be considered an enemy or persona non grata; or I happen to post in a forum or on a blog that belongs to or is run by people considered to be persona non grata, this is not my problem. I cannot state more clearly that I will not be told whom I can communicate with, where I am permitted to communicate or in what fashion I am allowed to communicate in. Yes, I understand the concept of consequences, but I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with whomever I want.

As an added thought, I will inevitably use words that will piss of someone, sometime, somewhere. Of that, you can also be sure. Lecturing me about using them will generally be a waste of time.

Schrödinger’s Rapist…

Yes, I’ve been asked about this no less than twenty-eight times in the last week, via email, personal messages and texts. In answer to the question of whether or not I am willing to consider myself a potential rapist, the answer is “No.” I actually find this quite insulting, as do I find the reasoning that every male has a rape switch. This is my opinion, and I have come to it after reading several other opinions on both sides of the issue, as well as examining myself, my personality, my disdain for violence, my respect for women, etc.

If you feel otherwise, you are entitled to this – and I will support your right to perceive yourself as such. For me, and as someone who was in the military, rape would never be a consideration, under any circumstances, anywhere, anytime. In fact, I would shoot myself in the head before I would commit a rape, thereby precluding myself from being among the category of rapists.

As well, if my mere existence as a male is something that makes someone of whatever gender nervous, this is not my problem. No, really, it’s not. It’s their problem, and this is not to diminish in any way the horrors that someone who has been raped has to deal with, and will have to deal with likely for the rest of their lives – both males and females. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, not even a pedophile. But if a person is a stranger to me, or has not otherwise informed me that they have been raped, I have no way of knowing. This goes for any crime that has been committed against another human being, of which there are many. Thus, I cannot and will not go through life existing with the perception that I am a perceived danger to everyone else. If I did, I would either never leave my house, or end up crossing the street a lot.

I am not going to avoid being in the presence of people because there might be someone among the crowd who feels threatened because I am present. There are times when I find myself in a secluded space and suddenly am in the presence of another, sole, human being. Because I know that being alone in a secluded area can be uncomfortable for some people, I usually offer up a smile, a tip of my hat in passing, and move on. I most certainly will not leave the area because just my being there is going to cause another human being to be afraid that I might assault them or rape them.

My Fellow Freethought Bloggers…

No, no, no. This network is not a hive mind. It is not a group think. I don’t know how many times I can state this. Let me explain. There are almost forty writers on Freethought Blogs, and we actually disagree with each other often, and sometimes strongly. In fact, there are some people in this network who don’t talk to each other at all in our now infamous “back channel,” and there are others who don’t communicate there, at all. Whether or not any one of us stay a part of this network or move onto other projects is our choice, unless we violate privacy rules – which is something nobody should ever take issue with. I know the structure of this network, as well as the way Ed Brayton had set it up. It’s very difficult to get kicked out of here.

It is obvious that there are writers here who exert more influence in the collection of movements that make up the non-sectarian cause of secularism. However, they do not have any authority over anyone other than themselves. This is not to say that influence cannot be used nefariously. Of course it can, but that is not the point. The point here is that the comments on some of the blogs here, other blogs elsewhere and various forums reveal some very strong negative feelings toward these more influential writers, but are almost always directed toward the entire network. Hence, things like #FTBullies, etc., etc…

It was my hope that judgments regarding any of us here on Freethought Blogs would be based on the actions or writing of the individual writer, and not on the entire network. That goes for my blog, as well. Even when a group of individuals here share in an action that might be disagreeable to anyone, I would have hoped that the disagreement would still be based on the issue, even if it is spread across several writers, and still not the entire network. I hope that makes some sense. In short, if you absolutely refuse to read a blog here because you abhor the author, all I ask is that you please not discount the overall talent of writers that make up this network.

Final Thoughts…

I am what I am and that’s all that I am. Here, there, anywhere. I serve no masters, I will not be silenced and I will interact with whomever I please.

———————————————————–

Follow me on Twitter at @Stefanelli

Enhanced by Zemanta

  206 comments for “Atheism Plus, White Male Privilege, Guilt by Association, Schrodinger’s Rapist and Freethought Blogs

  1. julian
    October 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    There are those in our community who are bent on trying to get me to feel guilty about this, as if I am somehow responsible for all the horrible things that other members of my people group have perpetrated over the millennia toward minorities. I cannot help that I was born with light skin and with a penis.

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    Can you actually point to where this happened or is happening? I’m sick of seeing this meme pushed against a group of people I know damn well have done nothing of the sort. Every time I see it makes me want to re grow my hair just so I can tear it out.

    Can you point to conversations on the A+ forums where this is happening?

    In answer to the question of whether or not I am willing to consider myself a potential rapist, the answer is “No.”

    Who asked you to? Who wants you to?

    Fuck it. I don’t even care anymore. Good luck with whatever it is you do.

    • glengarry
      October 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      No need to get your testes in a twist. Is the anger that someone shares a different opinion than you a symptom of PTSD or just being a regular commenter here?

      • LeftSidePositive
        October 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        How about frustration that someone who ought to know better is repeating the same tired, illogical bullshit we usually get from the Slymepit, and hasn’t provided any evidence or citations for their assertions.

        • October 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm

          Really? You’re going there?

          OK, here’s the thing about the slime pit. I am not familiar with it from a personal level, only what has been written about it and discussed in other places. Perhaps I should investigate it, but if it is anything like how any other forum operates (and I’ve moderated and administered several on the Phpbb and Delphi systems going back ten years), there is a mix of several different personalities there, regardless of the general lean. There are even some liberals that hang out at conservative forums, and it is not uncommon at all to have atheists on Christian boards or vice verse. So, you would do good to specify that the information you are referring to is coming from *some* of the people there, regardless of whether or not you perceive it to be bullshit or otherwise. That is, unless you’ve been in communication with the entirety of the membership, in which case, I would be wrong.

          Second, your request for citations or evidence is unfounded. I offered my points of view, observations and personal thoughts. Are you trying to do a ‘no pics, didn’t happen’ thing? If so, you’re way off mark. If I were offering a dissertation, or a wiki type article, or perhaps covering these things for a news outlet, perhaps citations would be apropos. This isn’t one of those times, though.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

            How on earth can you tell me “the thing” about the Slymepit if you aren’t actually familiar with that forum? This is why many people here are frustrated with you–you’re presuming to be authoritative without doing the most basic research.

            Also, you’re committing a “horses run in the Kentucky Derby” misinterpretation–no one, unless they’re trying to willfully misinterpret someone, assumes that to mean that all horses run in the Kentucky Derby (or that all things traveling at high speeds down the track must be horses, namely the jockeys). Saying that your unsourced, confused interpretations and generalizations (NOT by any stretch “information”) is characteristic of what we hear from trolls on the Slymepit isn’t even attempting to be a claim that all Slymepitters are like that–it isn’t even making any comparisons of some slimepitters to others; rather, it is saying that what you are doing is characteristic of one of the main tendencies that we find annoying in the Slymepitters (distorting arguments, eliding, being vague, failing to cite things, strawmanning, etc., etc.).

            I’m sorry, my “request for citation or evidence is unfounded”? WHAT?!?!?! Look, dude, here is how it works: No, you are NOT entitled to your opinion. At least not in the sense that your entitlement prevents anyone from criticizing it. If you think that presenting your “point of view, observations, and personal thoughts” is in any way deserving of time and attention of a readership you had damn well better be able to substantiate them.

            By the way, the problem with “pics or it didn’t happen” is that it is used (in the sense in which you refer) in situations where it would be highly unlikely to have pictures taken at that particular moment so it’s hyperskeptical to expect them. In contrast, you are referring to discussions made on an Internet forum, where the digital evidence of people’s opinions is VERY easily linkable. Why can’t you just link to it?!

            Who the hell are you to say that you don’t need to cite anything in this case? Seriously? In order for this conversation to move forward, we need to independently assess what issues you’re referring to–you’ve already jumped all over the map with what you do and don’t mean by Schroedinger’s Rapist on this thread, and this is, to put it mildly, not enlightening. Maybe we’ll agree with your assessment of whomever you’re talking about and say, “Yeah, ze really is a douche…” but we can also assess of whom these douchey attitudes are representative. When you’re vague like this, some people consider this a blanket denouncement of a putatively mainstream A+ view, whereas people who are actually active on A+ are blinking at you bewilderedly and asking, “Where the fuck are you getting this idea that we hold you personally responsible for everything white men have ever done? Where the fuck are you getting this idea that we want you to consider yourself a potential rapist?” The conversation cannot move forward until we know what the hell you’re talking about. If you are so insistent on just providing your “point of view, observations, and personal thoughts” and not actually presenting them in a way that people can assess their merit and understand where you’re coming from, you don’t seem to be interested in actually learning anything–you just seem to want to spout off with impunity. And that means I’m going to read your blog a lot less, since you’ve made it evident that your “reasoning” is not worth my time.

          • October 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm

            Wow, I am sorry you took all that time to write that, LSP. I am familiar with forums, in general, and the only reason I used the ‘Kentucky Derby’ interpretation is because your comment warranted it. If you cannot understand that, oh, well. As far as the Slymepit goes, specifically, it appears that you are having a problem with them. This does not make anything I wrote interpretive. If anything, it was reactionary. If you think I am guilty of distorting arguments, eluding, being vague, failing to cite things and strawmanning, then is it safe to assume that I would be more welcome there then where you frequent, or here, for that matter? I am disagreeing with you. If you see that as a distortion, then that is on you. Same thing with the other aspects of your argument that you bring up. Also, with regard to the Slymepit, I have not had any problems from them. I doubt that (at least up until today) they even knew I existed. Now, I do realize that there are writers on this network who are having some issues with some members of that forum, but it seems they have taken steps to keep those individuals from their spaces.

            What really troubles me is your reference to not being entitled to my opinion. Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck through a rolling donut what university you cite, or in what context you think justifies this statement. I am a freethinker, skeptic and a student of critical thought. There exists no situation, ever, anywhere, at any time, when I am not entitled to my own opinion. You can criticize my opinions until the cows come home, LSP. That is your right, as well. Frankly, I don’t give a damn.

            As to why I don’t often use links in my writing, it’s because it is my choice not to when I am offering opinions. When I am writing a news story, or about a current event, I use links frequently. This can be proven by looking at those types of pieces on this blog, and my stand-alone blog. I don’t use links on editorials, or on brain dumps. I’ve been at this for a very, very long time, and this is how I do it. You are free to not read my blog. There are millions who exercise that right every day.

            Who the hell am I to say I don’t need to cite anything in this case? I am my the son of my parents, the father of my children and the grandfather of my grandchildren. I am not required to do anything in order for this conversation to move forward except reply to you, and then the onus falls upon you. When one of us stops replying, the conversation is over. That works in real life, too, by the way.

            You and a few others have asked where I get the idea that someone wants me to consider myself to be a potential rapist. Well, for one thing, it came up on the Atheism Plus forum. No, I am not going to link to it. Find it, yourself. Other communications came to me via private emails and messages, and because of that, you are going to have to take my word for it. Sorry, I do not print any part of personal communications.

            Oh, and as far as ‘jumping all over the map’ on Schrodinger’s Rapist, you must be referring to my replies in context to the nature of the questions I was asked, or the post I am replying to, or how and where the principle is used, or how it can or cannot be applied in the real world, etc. This is called critical thinking. Remember, you came here in reply to something I wrote that you felt it necessary to comment on. I did not invite you, but since I do not believe in moderating comments, or editing comments, I will not ask you to leave. I give that consideration to anyone who wants to comment here.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

            Holy shit, Al, that was a lot of bluster that could have been easily avoided if you’d just cited what you mean and answered Julian’s questions. Really–it shouldn’t be that hard.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

            Oh, and frankly, if you thought the issue cited on the Atheist+ forums was important enough to write a whole blog post about, I would think you’d find it important enough to link to, or even *gasp* quote. This is a basic facet of showing respect for your reader’s time and trust.

            If you don’t want to refer to any personal messages–why bring them up in the first place? Why do we have to take your word that you are interpreting them correctly? How do we know if these are overzealous A+ newbies or trolls intent on stirring something up? Are these people asking for your opinion or guidance, or are they trying to goad you into proving you’re not a “mangina” or somesuch? Is the point of this post an “I get email…” showing how hilariously wrong some random commenter can be, or is it trying to claim that this perception/position is reflective on A+ as a whole? You haven’t made that clear, and that’s why what you’re doing is nowhere near “critical thinking,” it’s just muddled ego-stroking.

          • October 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

            I think it’s amusing that you presume to tell me how to write an editorial or opinion piece, on my own blog, nonetheless. Or that you feel it necessary to give me pointers on how to properly show respect for all those who read my words, or have been reading them for the last three decades. Oh, and ego-stroking? Really? You know me so well, LSP (that was sarcasm, by the way). Frankly, you’re starting to bore me and are becoming an irritation. Feel free to hang around if you want and bother someone else.

          • October 12, 2012 at 11:51 pm

            I have always known you, Al, to be spot on in your observations.We have been friends for a long time, even though we have differing views about some things, I’ve always appreciated your ability to speak your mind in your own way and your ability to maintain friendships that transcend opinion. Hang in there my friend and know that I’m always around, even if you don’t see me often. Keep speaking your mind, and never, ever would I lay a guilt trip on you for being born male. Kudos for speaking up on this subject. I too have seen the guilt trips in the various places I frequent, this trip seems to have booked passage all over the WWW.

    • October 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Well, in under 9 seconds, I opened up the A+ forums, and typed “consider” and “rapist”, which returned the following results: http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1642&hilit=consider+rapist

      Having expended that colossal amount of time and energy, one finds buried in the depths of the OP (second ‘paragraph’) the following words: “I just started this thread to know if other men here are willing and prepared to be called potential rapists and whether they will respect a woman’s decision when she calls you a potential rapist, even though, you may not be.

      So, are you willing to be called a potential rapist?

      I know I am.”

      Someone here doesn’t actually pay attention to what it is the atheism plus people in fact talk about.

    • October 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Even if he was making it the fuck up, what does it matter? Does it negate his opinion he’s expressing? No. To be fair, I’ve heard people (not on forums; in person) accuse others of the same thing, so his story isn’t far-fetched to me at all. But even if he hadn’t actually encountered those and was fibbing, it doesn’t negate his opinion about the stance – whether or not someone has it. If you don’t have it, it’s not relevant to you and you should bugger off. Seriously.

    • M.L.
      October 29, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      This isn’t intended as plug for thunderf00t, but his blog did have this from a prominent A plusser, Jen McCraight:

      “Dear smug humanists: My critique of the atheist movement included you. Your groups are infamous for being mostly old, white men.”

      http://thunderf00tdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/mccraight-says-what-she-thinks-about-old-white-men.jpg

      This sort of vitriole is not the exception but the rule with many A plussers.

      It’s worth noting – again – that the A+ ‘movement’ isn’t exactly overflowing with ‘people of color’, and some of its most vocal defenders are “old white men”. Whether they want “old white men” to feel guiltybor merely despised or ashamed I have no idea. But for a group of people constantly self righteously lecturing others on the ways they allegdly unwittingly offend people, they’re more than a tad hypocritical. If someone really can’t understand why someone – especially someone who is either old or white or male or all three – might take offense at statements like that quoted above, they’re either not very bright or not very nice.

  2. GreenLanternsLight
    October 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Well said. This is textbook positive criticism, and things that needed saying.

    • fastlane
      October 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      There are some things in the post that are text book, as in moderately pedantic, and pretty obvious. But as has been pointed out above, there are some major problems with the post that comes across as a dialectic version of JAQing off.

  3. October 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I’d give Al the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has gotten some pretty weird and silly questions, julian. As for the Shrodinger’s Rapist thing, you might as well argue that since men commit the majority of violent crimes that we must all have a “violent crime” switch. It’s just as insulting.

    • julian
      October 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Is this a reference to Greg Laden’s piece on rape during wartime? I have’t read or heard it and your comment is so nebulous I have no idea what is your even objecting to.

      And what benefit of the doubt? I asked for examples of the behavior he’s objecting to. I didn’t insult him or question his motives. Maybe you should be worried about projecting fears on to others.

      • LeftSidePositive
        October 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        And, while I think the whole metaphor of a “switch” is so simplistic as to be completely useless, the fact is that in extreme situations human beings can be capable of things we would NEVER imagine possible (and I don’t think this phenomenon is necessarily gendered, either). This is just a “banality of evil” sociological assessment, not a you-might-be-a-total-monster-and-therefore-I’m-consumed-with-distrust-for-you!!!

        Cases in point: millions of Germans circa 1935-1945 were perfectly ordinary people, and yet they were persuaded to dehumanize a whole ethnicity and hundreds/thousands of them took jobs forcing people into ovens. The American soldiers in Mai Lai did absolutely horrific things, as did the Americans in Abu Ghraib. I could go on with examples of just about every culture ever. This isn’t because these people were particular monsters, but the fact is that none of us know for sure that we’re immune to the social forces that operate on us. We all want to believe we would have been Hugh Thompson or Sophie Scholl, but the overwhelming pattern is that most people go with the flow. Does it really make sense to be *outraged* and deeply insulted that you could be capable of atrocities under particular circumstances when, it seems, the vast majority of humanity also is?

    • October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      I think the Schroedinger’s rapist argument you’re making here is being used incorrectly. It’s not an indictment against men, it is that WOMEN, in some situations, don’t have the luxury to assume that some random stranger does not wish to her harm.

      I was violently mugged about 20 years ago (BTW I am male), and to this day, when I’m in a situation where I might be percieved as a threat, I make a point with biody language and moving away (crossein the street). I know I’m a good person who would never hurt anybody, but complete STRANGERS don’t know that, and I get that.

      • julian
        October 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        I’ve been mugged a number of times. Had my home broken into too.

        I’m from the type of neighborhood anyone with any sense would roll their windows up as they drove by. How could I blame them?

        • October 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

          Me too. I cross the street at night whether a man or a woman is coming toward me. For the woman, it’s just an understanding that as a stranger I could pose a threat. If it’s a male, my reasons are twofold. By crossing the street I show myself to be no threat to a potentially (probably) ok person and if the person isn’t Ok, I can gauge earlier any kind of suspicious moves he makes after I’ve crossed. No principles lost. Just street smart/ courteous…I’m doing everyone a favor INCLUDING myself.

          • hannanibal
            October 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

            Whenever I see a woman coming toward me at night I cross the street and shout ” PLEASE BELIEVE ME!! I DON’T WANT TO RAPE YOU!”

            If the woman looks especially vulnerable I may may follow her around reiterating the point a few more time just to be sure.

            I have reassured about 80 women in this way.

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

            Why am I doubtful of your ability to identify strawmen in my arguments? I have no idea.

      • October 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        I don’t recall mentioning that it was an indictment of men. I understand the concept behind the Schrodinger principle, and how it applies to the potentiality of someone to be a rapist, from a female point of view.

        The point of view I was specifically because of the way the Schrodinger principle is applied in the situation of Schrodinger’s Rapist. I thought I was clear on that.

        I cannot be held responsible (or should not, at least) for the perception that strangers have of me. That is a rabbit hole of which there is no escape.

        • October 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

          It is not asking you to be ‘responsible’ for their perceptions – just to consider what they may be thinking and modify your behaviour. Which given your ‘tip the hat’ comment you already do… So what’s the beef?

      • October 11, 2012 at 4:51 am

        ask yourself if you’d say the same thing about blacks or hispanics.

  4. jehk
    October 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I understand the need for the A+ forums to create and foster a safe place. The problem I have is that A+ encapsulates so many different values that it’s almost impossible for me to have 101-level knowledge on all subjects. Don’t even get me started about how 101-level knowledge is defined. This policy results in making outsiders of a lot of people.

    • LeftSidePositive
      October 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Have you tried asking in the Information and Answers forum? It was created for that very purpose, after all.

      • jehk
        October 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        That sub-forum is certainly great. That’s probably the one I read the most. However, that doesn’t address my concern. It’s more about interacting within the community when you don’t have the “101 knowledge” required to do so on all subjects. Walking around a minefield is a good analogy.

        • October 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

          However it can be very difficult to tell between honest inquiry and petulant demands to be schooled over and over on the same oft answered questions without have done, or even thinking of doing the ‘homework’yourself.

          There are some wonderful posts by Zinnia Jones and very likley Crommunist about this very phenomenon… Demands to be educated by people who refuse to do any of the research and real work on their own. It’s a demand made from the perch of privelge. There is no shame at coming into the conversation at the entry level, but when people in that conversation ask you to do some learning on your own, AND provide a place to do said learning, well then, the onus is on you to do so if you wish to play in that pool. It’s like some theoretical mathematics convention where some guy comes in demanding to be shown proof that 2+2=4 is true.

          • cynedyr
            October 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

            Demands to be educated by people who refuse to do any of the research and real work on their own.

            Really, though, the best response to all those “demands” is silence rather than ad hom. No one is forcing anyone to submit a reply. Though I do appreciate how clear the vitroil on that forum was made early-on. I might have had made the mistake of confusing your support group for an actual critical thinking-based movement.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 10, 2012 at 11:38 am

            Why is it that I consider it extremely unlikely that you actually know the differences between an ad hominem, an insult, and a fair criticism of your behavior? Let alone understanding that how your life experiences may predispose you to certain patterns of ignorance is not the same thing as dismissing anything you say a priori because of who you are!

      • cynedyr
        October 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

        I did try that and got told that they were too tired of explaining privilege to explain it again and that I was being, well, a variety of ad hom responses. Therefore I should look it up using Google and that in posting on what was then the Education board I was required to be respectful and that maybe someone would deign to answer.

        Yeah, I’m not religious for a reason. I don’t play supplicant to acolytes.

        • LeftSidePositive
          October 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

          Well, gee, I’m sorry that being a decent human being is so taxing for you. I’m sorry that you can’t seem to understand that some level of social reciprocity is expected if you want people to invest the time to interact with you. I’m sorry that you can’t just command people to educate you without expressing the most common appreciation of their effort or making any demonstration of good faith yourself. I’m sorry that you can’t see that an expectation that you show some common decency is not demand that you accept everything they say uncritically, and I’m sorry that you can’t tell the difference between basic run-of-the-mill respect and reverence, and that pretending that someone who is expecting some basic respect/decency when you want to lay claim to their time is trying to claim religious reverence is a blatant strawman.

  5. October 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Bravo, Al! Very little I can add to this well-written comment. This war within atheism amounts to dogs fighting in the mud. Lie down with dogs and you get up with fleas. We choose to remain outside this clash.

    The ugliness just won’t go away, it seems. People with tender egos, persecution complexes, or an ax to grind will do whatever they wish, which is fine, except they seem bound and determined to involve others in their personal vendettas. Personal attacks after being attacked personally leaves the high ground totally unoccupied! Responding in kind is childish at best, and completely ineffective. Overall, the level of the discussion has been declining since the dust-up began, and all those participating in this war are equally to blame, if blame is to be levied.

    I know but a few of the participants, unlike Al, but I also have no stake in the outcome of this unnecessary and unhelpful conflict. Therefore, I agree with Al completely: I will say what I please, however and whenever I please, am not ashamed of or inclined to apologize for who I am, and will associate with whomever I choose. Rather than reacting to further provocations with anger and vitriol, perhaps there should be some self-examination about why someone might be justified in disagreeing with, and perhaps even disliking, you. Have your words been civil and you actions rational?

  6. mythbri
    October 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    White, straight, middle-class woman here. I was born this way. I don’t feel a smidgen of guilt about it. What I do feel is awareness that some of these attributes, like being white, being straight, and growing up middle-class, have shaped my perception in such a way that it is easy for me not to see the struggles that people go through who do not share one or more of these attributes.

    Am I supposed to radically change who and what I am because other people have different experiences? No. But I sure as hell better not use the social privilege I have as any kind of authority to talk down to or minimize other people’s different experiences.

    Not guilt. Awareness.

    I don’t think every man has a “rape switch”. I don’t believe that there are magical circumstances that make a man go from zero to rape, so to speak.

    But since I do not possess magical powers, I cannot immediately tell the difference between a man who would kill himself before ever committing a rape, and a man who is biding his time, waiting for the opportunity. Sometimes, this crucial difference isn’t apparent until rape is actually attempted.

    So I will continue to prioritize my feelings of personal safety over the potentially hurt feelings of men I don’t know, or don’t care to know better. And by saying this, I mean only that I don’t owe anyone any attention that I don’t want to give – not that every man in the entire world should be somehow punished for being male.

    But I agree with you about judging FTBloggers based on their individual posts, instead of some caricature of evil groupthink that some people think it is.

    • mythbri
      October 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Oh, also I am physically and mentally healthy. Those, too, are forms of privilege that I possess. Awareness.

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      I am very aware of the things you pointed out. I understand if you’ve never read anything I’ve written, but those who have are aware of my awareness.

      I am not, by the way, physically or mentally healthy – and I do not view those who are with animosity. I’m happy for them.

      • mythbri
        October 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        And, um, I’m happy for you that you have a penis? Is that what you need so that you don’t “feel guilty” for having one?

        Are you saying that people who belong to less privileged groups should be happy that people who belong to more privileged groups don’t have to deal with the same crap they do?

        • richardwatkins
          October 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

          That was quite a stretch of logic, don’t you think?

        • Pitchguest
          October 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

          Your reasoning, mythbri, amounts to basically, “I don’t think men are rapists, but…” If you want to discuss it rationally, then maybe you should put aside your bias and your disposition to judge prematurely. If we really have misinterpreted ‘Schrödinger’s Rapist’, that in fact it doesn’t mean that ‘all men are potential rapists’, then maybe you shouldn’t give fuel to that particular fire by saying things like,

          But since I do not possess magical powers, I cannot immediately tell the difference between a man who would kill himself before ever committing a rape, and a man who is biding his time, waiting for the opportunity. Sometimes, this crucial difference isn’t apparent until rape is actually attempted.

          So I will continue to prioritize my feelings of personal safety over the potentially hurt feelings of men I don’t know, or don’t care to know better. And by saying this, I mean only that I don’t owe anyone any attention that I don’t want to give – not that every man in the entire world should be somehow punished for being male.

          In other words, you consider all men to be rapists — or would-be rapists — and you don’t want to risk it. You also consider your feelings to be more important than men who find the idea offensive. Have I understood you correctly? Is this the interpretation of ‘Schrödinger’s Rapist’? (By the way, still a poor choice of analogy – the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment was burlesque and was intended to parody quantum superposition, I don’t see what ‘Schrödinger’s Rapist’ intends to parody.) If it is, then it’s not a misinterpretation to say it claims all men to be rapists and/or would-be rapists?

          Also, why is it that Al’s point about those with mental problems is spun into a matter of privilege? You know full well what he meant.

          • mythbri
            October 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

            Have you read Schrodinger’s Rapist? The original article, not the commentary or summaries that it generated. The subtitle is “Or, a Guy’s Guide to Approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced.” The author’s original intent was to explain to men why cold-approaching women in certain situations might come off as threatening more than casual, fun flirtation with strangers.

            Al’s mention of some kind of “rape switch” that supposedly all men have was puzzling in conjunction with Schrodinger’s Rapist, because it appears nowhere in the original piece, nor does it have anything to do with what the piece was about. The “OMG you’re saying all men are potential rapists or are not-rapists/rapists at the same time!!!” is a distortion of the original idea.

            When I say that I prioritize my feelings of personal safety over the potential hurt feelings of men I don’t know and/or don’t care to know better, I mean exactly that. That’s what the piece is about. If a man cold-approaches me in a way that makes me feel threatened, then my feelings of personal safety come first. Less important are the feelings of confusion or hurt the man might feel when I don’t reciprocate in the way that he wants. Schrodinger’s Rapist is meant to provide context for why women feel uncomfortable and not receptive to flirtatious approaches in some situations.

            Understand now? It’s not about dismissing the feelings of men who feel offended by the idea that all men are only a switch’s flip from rape. I don’t believe that’s the case, and I’m offended by people who would believe that. I have five brothers well into adulthood, and all of them have managed to live their lives quite happily without raping anybody. I don’t believe that any of them would ever do such a thing. Schrodinger’s Rapist is about my perspective, as a woman, in not being able to tell which men are perfectly harmless and which men aren’t, and that I do not owe any attention to anyone that I don’t want to give. And indeed, since most rapes are committed by someone the victim is acquainted with, and even trusts, sometimes the difference doesn’t become apparent until a rape is attempted.

            That’s all. End of story.

  7. kraut
    October 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    “Can you actually point to where this happened or is happening? I’m sick of seeing this meme pushed against a group of people I know damn well have done nothing of the sort. Every time I see it makes me want to re grow my hair just so I can tear it out.”

    Maybe you should have followed some discussions more closely.
    I was actually called a privileged white male immigrant by some arsehole because I was willing in order to survive not to rely on my degree but clean sewer lines instead.
    Because the poster was black, with a college degree but apparently unwilling to do menial work, my willingness to do anything to not rely on government is “privilege”.

    I can only support Al in his stance, and am glad you decided to fuck off.

    • julian
      October 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Do you have a link or remember the title of that thread?

      I’ve had similar arguments before and the way your characterizing it reminds me of how people have butchered mine.

      White immigrants are often treated better than non white immigrants and nationals. A clear example of this is how police treat “suspicious” people. A white Eastern European man is more likely to be passed over in many situations than a US born black man doing more or less the same thing.

  8. Nick Gotts (formerly KG)
    October 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    As for the Shrodinger’s Rapist thing, you might as well argue that since men commit the majority of violent crimes that we must all have a “violent crime” switch. It’s just as insulting. – Jacob Fortin

    Clearly, neither you nor Al Stefanelli has the slightest idea what “Schroedinger’s Rapist” means. (Hint: It has nothing to do with any such notion as a “rape switch”.)

    • Rodney Nelson
      October 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      This is the point where I get angry. Intelligent, insightful people like Al not only don’t understand what “Schrödinger’s Rapist” actually means but don’t want to understand it. Al thinks it means each man has a rape switch. Other people think it means that all men are ready to rape impulsively. Both of these ideas are flat wrong.

      Al, if you don’t know what something means, ask about it. Don’t just make up your own, idiosyncratic definition and pontificate about it. You’ll be less likely to look like an idiot.

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Where did I correlate them? I don’t see where I stated that Schrodinger’s Rapist is in any way connected to the Rape Switch comments. Just because I put two subjects in the same paragraph or in the same group of paragraphs doesn’t mean that I am trying to state they are the same thing. Context matters.

      • CJO
        October 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

        Context matters, indeed. It’s a rhetorical trick, and it’s transparent. You’re using a concept that really does imply (in a qualified way) that all men are potential rapists as a stalking horse for your dismissal of Schrödinger’s Rapist on those grounds.

        For a smart guy, you sure do play dumb a lot.

        • October 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm

          By context, I was referring to the context SR was used in the A+ forum, with respect to the question there (and in my email, etc) of whether or not I am willing to consider myself a potential rapist. The answer is still “no.”

          • CJO
            October 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

            Oh, so “they asked me the question in these dumbass and misleading terms, I’m just answering in kind” is your excuse for doing this disservice to your readers and not trying to understand or fairly represent a nuanced argument?

            This is skepticism, folks: If it appears to deprecate your penis, it’s wrong.

          • trinioler
            October 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

            So… you’re assuming that any and every post made on the A+ forums is representative of the A+ forums, right?

            Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice logic there.

  9. October 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Al,
    It is refreshing when I hear someone on FtB express a difference of opinion. I realise you are not the only one on this site, with respect to this issue, but you are going ‘against the grain’ on many of these issues so i take my hat off to you.
    What IS a shame is that the bloggers who are bucking the line appear to be those, like yourself and Edwin Kagin, who are obviously ‘middle aged white males’. There seem to be many secular/skeptic/atheist female bloggers out there who have no time for any of this nonsense but the women on FtB all seem to speak with one voice.
    Still, your speaking out is what this site needs – even those who disagree with you should see that – to provide a bit of balance.

    Jim (np99)

  10. CJO
    October 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    In answer to the question of whether or not I am willing to consider myself a potential rapist, the answer is “No.” I actually find this quite insulting, as do I find the reasoning that every male has a rape switch.

    The “rape switch” thing is more of an empirical social science question, and needs to be treated with more nuance than as a stalking horse for a categorical rejection of SR on the absurd basis that it asks you “to consider [yourself] a potential rapist”. What it asks you to consider is that your status as a non-potential rapist is not immediately obvious to people who don’t know you; what is asks you to do is merely to be sensitive to this and possibly to modify your behavior in trivially inconveniencing ways in certain situations. But all you can do in response is whine about people trying to make you feel guilty about being born with a penis. Pissant.

    • John Brown
      October 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Not much of anything is “immediately obvious” to people who don’t know you. Walking up to you on the street, I can only make so many assumptions based on observation before the speculations just get downright debilitating. You could be a potential ax murderer. You could be a pedophile. You could be the next Oklahoma City bomber.

      Because I may be “sensitive” to these things, you should modify your behavior to accommodate my thus far unspoken fears.

      After all, to do so is only a “trivial inconvenience” on your part.

      Or, we could, you know, treat everyone with the assumption that they are adults.

      I wouldn’t walk behind anyone late at night, man or woman. You know why? Because that’s a good way to get your ass beat because of a misunderstanding. If such a thing is unavoidable, I would do obvious things to attenuate the situation…like any adult would do.

      But, other than that, I’m not going to change my behavior very much. I’m not going to wait for another elevator. I’m not going to cross the street, and I’m not going to try to guess what everyone else’s fear might be. If you’re so jumpy while walking around at night, you cross the street. I’m unable to read your mind.

      As far as whining…it seems that you’re the one that’s engaging in that tactic. You’re whining because other people take umbrage at you telling them what they should and should not do in every situation so one party can feel more “comfortable.”

      How the hell do you get off calling yourself a “skeptic?”

      • Stacy
        October 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        But, other than that, I’m not going to change my behavior very much. I’m not going to wait for another elevator. I’m not going to cross the street, and I’m not going to try to guess what everyone else’s fear might be.

        Schrodinger’s Rapist is not about getting you to change ordinary behaviors in response to someone’s nebulous fears.

        It’s a thought experiment to enable men to understand the mental calculations women make in certain situations around strange men. Men may not understand that rape is something women worry about, or the extent to which we modify our behavior in response to that worry. If some woman gets out of the elevator when you enter, you shouldn’t take it personally.

        That’s all. Al has misunderstood the point of Schrodinger’s Rapist. You should read it.

      • October 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        You’re not going to cross the street under ANY circumstance? you’re not going to wait for another elevator under ANY circumstance? What if the person is clearly frightened. That’s not your fault, but why make her situation worse to prove a point? Why are you using this as some kind of proving ground? Why take it as a personal attack against your character?
        How can you feel insulted by a stranger who has absolutely no lede on you? I mentioned earlier that I was violently mugged a number of years ago. I don’t expect perfect strangers on a deserted street to change their behavior for me, but I sure as hell appreciate it when they do… No one is demanding this change of behavior from you. Feel free to continue. But if you KNOW that it causes stress even 20% of the time?… I mean really

        • October 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

          I will cross the street if I feel threatened. I would expect someone to do so if I seem threatening to them. See how that works?

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

            Maybe someone who feels threatened thinks it might call attention to themselves to cross the street, depending on the topography of that particular place? Maybe the person feels guilty for feeling threatened, and has been shamed repeatedly for not trusting others? Maybe this person has been gaslit a lot by family and “friends”? Maybe the simple fact that a fellow human being is or seems uncomfortable, regardless of what seems to them like a rational response at the time, deserves our simple empathy?

        • glengarry
          October 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

          If someone has anxiety problems being in an area with a man, it is probably good that they get some experience being around non-rapists, so they can be conditioned to respond in a reasonable manner to normal people.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

            And how exactly do you propose they conclusively identify said “non-rapists”? How do you know, pray tell, who is “normal”? Who are you to decide what is a “reasonable” risk assessment?

    • October 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      How does this also not apply to just about every conceivable “action” that a man might do?

      I think it’s important to to remember that overwhelmingly, it’s not strangers that sexually assault women but men they know and generally trust. two thirds of all rapes are done inside their homes, so this “stranger danger” attitude i think is just destructive and sends the wrong message about where the danger actually comes from.

  11. Nepenthe
    October 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with whomever I want.

    Read “I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with people who are bigots, as long as they are not bigoted against me.”

    Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps you do have chums who, for example, strongly believe that disabled people like yourself are sapping off the government or should not expect to be able to access the public sphere and should go back to their homes where normal people don’t have to be made uncomfortable by them–maybe they give you a pass though, because you’re not useless like all those other disabled people. Perhaps some of your pals spend a great deal of time denying the concept of mental illness and tell mentally ill people that they are weak slobs and need to pull themselves together–maybe they give you a pass because you’re cool, not like those other crazy people.

    Do you associate with people like this? If not, why would you choose to associate with people who say similar things about women, or racial minorities, or sexual minorities? I can only conclude that it’s because you don’t really give a shit about those people who are not like you. Are we supposed to give you a pass because you’ve built up some street cred? Said out loud that you personally don’t believe that women or GLBT people or Black people are inferior?

    Yes, you are free to associate with assholes. Choosing to do so makes you an asshole. Congrats.

    • John Brown
      October 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      That was an amazing thing you just did there.

      You went into a field, built up an army of strawmen, and then used a flamethrower on them.

      A pyromaniac in a field of strawmen.

      Congratulations!

      • Nepenthe
        October 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

        Wanna point out the strawmen? Clearly I’m too dumb to get it, maybe you could help me out.

        • October 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

          Yeah, I’m at a loss to see these strawpersons too. All I see is a wicked-smart, spot-on analogy. Must be my non-skeptical ladybrainz. Care to help out this poor ditzy broad and spell it out for me? Using small words would be much appreciated.

          • glengarry
            October 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

            Gender baiting? No one brought up the supposed weaknesses of gender except you.

          • clydey2times
            October 10, 2012 at 8:31 am

            You just constructed one such strawperson. Who mentioned gender? Did someone say that your being female precluded you from grasping the point?

            You see, this is the kind of thing people don’t like about A+ folks. Absolute everything becomes about gender, to the point that most of your arguments are total non sequiturs.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

            Clydey:

            People’s biases can become extremely apparent even if they don’t state them explicitly. For example, have you ever heard a Republican talk about poverty? And, frankly, people’s unquestioned assumptions and worldview will bleed into what they say without them realizing it. The fact is that these posters are talking down to those of us trying to explain what Schrodinger’s Rapist means–they are failing to cite any sources, they are throwing out “strawman!” without substantiating it, and they are generally assuming that they will be considered “objective” and “informed” while acting like the feminist view is irrational and emotional. We see this a lot, so it’s really easy to spot the signs. The person on the receiving end of inequality is probably a little bit better attuned to unthinking assumptions than the person who is making them without thinking.

            Here is Crommunist discussing the same phenomenon–substitute gender for race and you might learn something.

            Moreover, YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT A STRAWMAN IS. Seriously. Don’t fucking use terms you don’t understand. A strawman is a restatement of a person’s argument posing as their actual, intended, stated argument such that it resembles it but is significantly weaker. This is NOT the same thing as analyzing the underlying assumptions behind an argument–irisvanderpluym is not saying that someone is *making* an explicitly sexist argument, or that they are arguing for sexism–ze is using some pattern recognition and stating that several commenter’s BEHAVIOR is consistent with sexist assumptions and attitudes. Just because you don’t like the implications of your argument does not mean you get to label any analysis of them a “strawman,” because people can make arguments and not be aware of all their cultural biases or conclusions of that argument.

          • Pitchguest
            October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

            For one, not using “strawperson” would be a start. Or are you one of those silly people who substitute any word containing “men” or “man”?

          • clydey2times
            October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

            So basically just make up your own subtext and assume that the person is being sexist? No one said anything about gender. She brought up gender and projected her own bias onto someone else.

            And I know what a strawman is. When someone misrepresents your argument (interpreting it as a sexist rant, for example) and ignores what is actually said, that is a strawman.

            If you have another definition in mind, I’d suggest reading up on logical fallacies.

          • Nepenthe
            October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

            Clydey2times, you realize that I’m not actually the same person as irisvanderpluym, right? That’s why her nym and mine are different. If the words are too hard, the little pictures are different too!

            So if you’re using her post as an example of a strawman I made, then… yeah.

    • hannanibal
      October 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Strawmen……Thousands of them!

    • October 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Read “I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with people who are bigots, as long as they are not bigoted against me.”

      OH!! is that what he meant??? I thought Al was saying he was going to keep on talking to his ‘hissy-fit brigade’ fellow bloggers whether the rest of us like it or not!

      Strange how we both viewed this from our opposite perspectives!

      Jim (np99)

      • Nepenthe
        October 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        I was extrapolating from the fact that he spent the rest of his post grossly distorting feminist and A+ ideas, but you’re right, the door swings both ways. If people who give a shit about social justice, or even just their own position and safety in the movement, are trivial whiners who are ruining everything, if we’re the real bigots who hate men, and White people, and straight people etc., then he ought give us no quarter.

        • October 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

          Yeah, I think we should just politely excuse ourselves and go RUIN ATHEISM somewhere else. If for no other reason than RUINING ATHEISM here is really boring. Except for the occasional Ratty lulz, of course.

    • kraut
      October 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      To help an idiot along:
      “Perhaps some of your pals spend a great deal of time denying the concept of mental illness and tell mentally ill people that they are weak slobs and need to pull themselves together–maybe they give you a pass because you’re cool, not like those other crazy people.”

      That straw is pretty thick and dry. and it started already very well:

      “I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with whomever I want.”

      Read “I strongly cherish the freedom to associate with people who are bigots, as long as they are not bigoted against me.”

      Nice you interpret what someone says informed by your own bias.
      So cool and skeptical it brings tear to my eyes to meet an arsehole like you.
      Who the fuck are you to tell anybody who they can associate with, kingshit? or queenshit? No, just one of the ordinary arsehole who are roaming those forums in droves, determined to be the thought police and are doing nothing but driving folks away who are questioning some tribal assumptions and policies.

      All I can say – fuck you. Keep what you made out of originally skeptical sites for yourself and keep masturbating in front of your fucking screen.

      • Nepenthe
        October 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Yeah, an interpretation of what someone has said in light of their other statements is not a strawman. Nor is a presentation of my own opinion of a statement.

        The argument in your other pull out quote, which seems to have gone over your head, is that while Stefanelli would not choose to associate with people who make bigoted statements about classes of people he is a member of, he does choose to associate with people who have made bigoted statements about classes of people he is not a member of. The statement you highlight is an example of such a bigoted statement, deliberately phrased so as to evoke a similar reaction as a woman might have to the statement, say, that as a woman she should expect to be sexualized when interacting in a public place. If none of the people who Stefanelli is protesting that he has the right to associate with and still be considered “neutral” had made such statements (about groups besides the mentally ill or physically disabled), then my statement would be a strawman. Notice that I leave an out; perhaps Stefanelli does associate with people who say nasty things about marginalized classes to which he belongs, in which case I take his claim about neutrality much more seriously.

        Since you don’t bother explicating your argument, I’ll respond to another interpretation of your post. If your contention is that no one ever says things like that about mentally ill or disabled people, then you are clearly living on a nice planet with which I am not familiar.

        Again, I’m not questioning Stefanelli’s “right” to associate with whomever he likes. I’m questioning his claim of moral neutrality in doing so.

        Please whinge incoherently about freeze peach next, then I’ll get bingo! … That’s probably cheating if I help it along. *sigh*

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Read: Exactly what I wrote. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Are some people I associate with assholes? Yep, sure are. Some are also not. Most fall somewhere in between. You’ve missed my entire point and replaced it with a logical fallacy. Nice going…

      Oh, by the way, I am an asshole sometimes, too. It’s not illegal.

      • Nepenthe
        October 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

        When did argument by assertion become the new standard? Did this site get taken over by high school debaters with a list of hastily read Latin terms sitting by the podium while I was getting lunch? Logical fallacies are not fucking magical incantations.

        • October 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

          Interesting turnabout. Nicely done. Still…

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

            I would just like, for once, for someone to look up from their flow sheet to isolate and explain these supposed huge errors of logic that I’m making. ‘Cause if I am in fact engaging in massively faulty logic I’d like to amend that.

  12. hannanibal
    October 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Is this scepticism!? On Freethought Blogs!?
    Wonders never cease.

  13. October 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Schroedinger’s rapist is not the idea that any given man would commit rape in the right circumstances. A few people believe that, but they are not influential. The idea is that a woman has no way of knowing whether a strange man is a rapist.

    Since you are in a wheelchair generally, this probably doesn’t greatly affect you. At least, that’s the theory of my friend who uses a chair.

    • baal
      October 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      “A few people believe that, but they are not influential.”
      How is a 3rd party to tell the difference between the ‘few people’ (who are not called out by a community) and a general sense of that community community? I’m not being specific to this post and A+ with this question. The answer to hang out long enough to find out is not realistic – that can take a really long time and require prohibitive amounts of reading.

      Stephanie Z. pointed out in a comments thread on another site that she was getting called out for deviation but those same folks didn’t call out Hovind or Ham or somesuch otherwise deviant from that forum. It was a strong point. Could the other commenters come back and say Hoving/Ham is ‘few people’ and not influential in their defense?

      I’m fond of the statement, “own your own shit” (speaking generally not to Ace of Sevens). Yet, whenever I see someone like Al say “Something is not right” the response is like Julian – it never happens and no one can ever prove it. or “well a few folks do but they are mythical or ‘bad apples’ like Richard Carrier (who is otherwise extremely logical on following basic ideas to their conclusions). The final response I see is “oh yeah, that is a person in the main of A+ but lashing out is discounted as a bad act.” There is no owning of shit. There isn’t even an understanding of what is a bad act in other contexts can also be a bad act when an in-group member does it.

      Is Al not allowed to be considered honest in his belief and that it was formed based on reasonable inquiry? Is it his (wrong wrong wrong <–that?) conclusions that make you believe he's unfounded or insincere? Would it be fair or reasonable for him (us?) to apply this hyper-skeptical and uncharitable view to you who disagree with him?

      • ischemgeek
        October 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

        How about the fact that every time people have expressed similar beliefs on the forums, they’ve been yelled down for it? Just sayin’ that juuuust might give an honest observer a clue as to the spirit of the forums. Maybe.

    • CL
      October 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      The thing, Aaron, is that it’s a ridiculous assumption to make. They are just being irrational about this. First off most rapes are committed by known persons but more importantly this stupid position can be applied to everything. This man is the schroodinger kidnapper, that man is the schroodinger hit-and-run and that other is the schroodinger serial killer.
      Normal people don’t go through our lives all the time thinking that all people are after us. Why these person’s own delusions and problems should reflect on the rest of society?

      • Stacy
        October 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

        How did you manage to get from this:

        The idea is that a woman has no way of knowing whether a strange man is a rapist

        to this:

        The thing, Aaron, is that it’s a ridiculous assumption to make….Normal people don’t go through our lives all the time thinking that all people are after us.

        Where is the assumption that “everyone is after us?”

        When you are alone, do you leave your wallet on the restaurant table when you go to pee? If not, then, by your silly logic, you’re making an “assumption.” OMG how dare you assume I, at the next table, am Schrodinger’s thief! You paranoiac, thinking all the people are after you!

        • CL
          October 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm

          How did you manage to get from this:

          The idea is that a woman has no way of knowing whether a strange man is a rapist

          to this:

          The thing, Aaron, is that it’s a ridiculous assumption to make….Normal people don’t go through our lives all the time thinking that all people are after us.

          Where is the assumption that “everyone is after us?”

          Alright I’ll concede that it was poorly expressed and I got carried away.

          You still didn’t address my claim that it’s a ridiculous, self-victimizing, arbitrary, egocentric proposition.

          I’ll also add another point, you cannot take a statistic and apply it to any particular person. If a racist can’t use a statistic to justify its position, why can a sexist?

          When you are alone, do you leave your wallet on the restaurant table when you go to pee? If not, then, by your silly logic, you’re making an “assumption.” OMG how dare you assume I, at the next table, am Schrodinger’s thief! You paranoiac, thinking all the people are after you!

          It’s not a comparable position. First off, it’s not a sexist position, I’m not saying that women are the Schrodinger theft.
          But much more importantly I’m not saying that you need to stay 10 feet away from my wallet, leave the surrounding tables and show me your hands. If I left the wallet I would really appreciate if it gets back but I’m not going to forget my personal responsibility in the fact and play victim. Then again, as I said, is not a comparable position.

          Finally I also have to say that it’s not a single instance what makes me despise FTB’s feminist’s position. Schrodinger rapist is one of the many problems I have with most of FTB and many feminists.

          • Stacy
            October 10, 2012 at 12:50 am

            You still didn’t address my claim that it’s a ridiculous, self-victimizing, arbitrary, egocentric proposition

            Yours is a ridiculous, self-victimizing, arbitrary, and egocentric claim. You haven’t supported it.

            You obviously haven’t read the essay in question.

            It’s not a comparable position. First off, it’s not a sexist position, I’m not saying that women are the Schrodinger theft.

            It’s absolutely comparable. You wouldn’t know, because you obviously haven’t read the essay.

            But much more importantly I’m not saying that you need to stay 10 feet away from my wallet, leave the surrounding tables and show me your hands.

            The essay says nothing like that. How can you spew so many words about something you haven’t even read?

            If I left the wallet I would really appreciate if it gets back but I’m not going to forget my personal responsibility in the fact and play victim. Then again, as I said, is not a comparable position.

            How interesting. So women are being paranoid and sexist if we worry about strange men, but if we take chances with one and something bad happens, we bear some personal responsibility and better not “play victim?”

            You are very confused, and you’re spouting offensive nonsense.

            Read the damn essay before you pontificate about it.

          • CL
            October 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm

            Alright conversation over.

            I’ve told you that I’ve read the essay and I’ve also told you that my position goes beyond the essay.

            I address your points and you don’t respond to any of mine, you just continue spewing more points without acknowledging any of mine. At this point we are talking past each other and is pointless to continue. Have a nice day.

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Yes, Aron, when I am in my wheelchair I probably pose no threat to anyone. Many times, though, I walk with a cane, which makes me a fairly big guy carrying a stick. Still, I keep my route and mind my business. I smile if someone makes eye contact, or greets me. Otherwise, I plod on.

  14. Ratty
    October 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Given that even though I’m an atheist I just might convert to Islam, and given that form of Islam just might be of a more vociferous kind, then I guess that makes me a potential suicide bomber.

    I shall therefore no longer make people feel uncomfortable by wearing a shoulder bag or bulky coat.

    I apologize unreservedly for all those people who felt uncomfortable because I’ve worn those things in the past.

  15. Randomfactor
    October 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    If “membership” in A+ separates me from “mainstream” atheism, sign me up.

    I fear that the “mainstream” is now in the position of the physics community–progress will only be made when the old guard passes on.

    (Too bad I’m chronologically, by gender and ethnically a part of that “old guard.”)

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      “(Too bad I’m chronologically, by gender and ethnically a part of that “old guard.”)”

      yeah… Me too… On all 3 accounts. ce la vie…

  16. October 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If you want to argue against Greg Laden’s rape switch article go for it. If you want to argue against the Schrodinger’s rapist article fine. But do your readers a favor and fact check a little so first. Especially on a controversial issue like this. The last thing we need right now is more people who don’t even have their facts straight.

    SR link was posted above by Nick Gotts.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/09/17/the-rape-switch-again/

    There’s a link to some of Laden’s stuff.

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      I was referring not to Greg’s article, but to a question posed on the Atheism+ forum, and to similar requests for comment regarding that thread received via email and private messaging.

  17. October 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    @Ratty: as the smart skeptic you are, surely you are aware that the probability of being a victim of terrorism – Islamic or otherwise – is vanishingly tiny. On the other hand, the probability of an American woman being raped is appriximately 1 in 6; for sexual harassment and assault, it is 1 in 3. (Note: rates for men are lower, but they are not zero.) Your embarassingly stupid false equivalence is duly noted – and laughed at, uproariously, at a bar in the West Village, to the point of disturbing other patrons.

    Re: A+

    In social justice, not all tactics that are divisive are effective, but all tactics that are effective are divisive. That doesn’t mean we should set our phasers to “divide,” but when a tactic is labeled as “divisive” or “radical”, there is a chance it might be one worth considering. Effective tactics are divisive because the majority is most comfortable with activism that is ineffective. -Garland Grey

    • Ratty
      October 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Iris, I can only reply to that with a ‘no comment’, because to me, you are Schrodinger’s internet stalker.

      No offense meant. Honest. really.

      • October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        Of course that’s all you can reply with, cupcake. It’s just as deranged, non-responsive and incoherent as your terrorist analogy, and, I strongly suspect, most if not all of your comments on FTB & elsewhere.

        *still chuckling*

        • Ratty
          October 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

          Please stop trying to diminish my very real and reasonable concerns about you being a potential internet stalker. A reply like the one above doesn’t help, you know.

          • October 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

            pathetic

    • glengarry
      October 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      Actually, in the US, men are more likely to be the victims of rape than women, just an interesting statistic. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/21/us-more-men-raped-than-women

      • October 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

        Shenanigans.

        The rate for women is 1 in 6 — and that’s only the women that report it.

      • julian
        October 10, 2012 at 12:55 am

        …Did you read what you just linked to?

  18. Ratty
    October 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Furthermore, I want to make it clear that I accept that I am Schrodinger’s Matt Dillahunty.

    • October 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Well Ratty, at least you’re no longer the Schroedinger’s Asshole of this thread.

      • Ratty
        October 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        Well, I may have fallen to decoherence, but you still continue to exhibit spooky action at a distance. 😛

  19. A. Noyd
    October 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    But if a person is a stranger to me, or has not otherwise informed me that they have been raped, I have no way of knowing.

    If a person is a stranger to me, or has not otherwise informed me that they intend to rape me, I have no way of knowing whether they’re a rapist. This is Schroedinger’s Rapist in a nutshell. But women don’t get the luxury of going through life existing without the perception that we are in danger. We can’t afford to ignore caution because society puts most of the consequences of rape on the victim.

    • October 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      I would not expect anyone to put their guard down, particularly women. As well, the position that the question should not be “don’t get raped,” but “don’t rape,” is something that I emphatically agree with.

      • A. Noyd
        October 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm

        You, on your own, can’t change why we women are on our guard. But you can recognize our need for caution and, if you want us to be less cautious towards you, alter your behavior to avoid doing things that will reasonably increase our level of caution. (Note the “if.”) For instance, you can avoid ignoring signals that a woman is not interested in having even a platonic conversation with you. That is the extend of the advice given in Schroedinger’s Rapist.

        If you think there’s more to it, it’s because you’re confusing SR with some other things, including a few strawmen.

        • October 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          You, on your own, can’t change why we women are on our guard. But you can recognize our need for caution and, if you want us to be less cautious towards you, alter your behavior to avoid doing things that will reasonably increase our level of caution.

          Yes, I will agree with you on that point. If I am made aware, that will change things somewhat. Many women are adept at signaling. Over two decades of marriage has proven that my wife excels at this, and that is not meant to be snarky. She’s just really good at non-verbal communication. Additionally, I have three daughters who have learned the art of non-verbal communication, and I suspect my three granddaughters will learn, likewise.

          This is where the contention is arising, I think. I cannot know if my presence is causing a problem unless I am made aware of it. Given the almost limitless circumstances that can be a prelude to any type of attack, attempting to address them all would be virtually impossible, and make existing in society very difficult. So, as long as I am behaving in a way that is non-threatening, i.e., walking down the street, perusing the racks at a department store, waiting in line somewhere, etc., there is no logical reason for me to change my behavior – because I am acting normal, with respect to how almost everyone else acts.

          If someone lets me know I am making them uncomfortable, and it is reasonable to assume there is something I can do to assuage those concerns, and I believe that an act or action is warranted or requested, then I will. This might be as simple as offering a smile, turning away or occupying myself with a game or app on my phone.

          If someone lets me know that I am making them uncomfortable, and the only way those concerns are to be assuaged is if I leave the area, or at least move some distance away, then the choice is mine as to whether or not I am willing to do this. If I am creeping someone out at the grocery store at 2am because it appears I am stalking them, I’ll likely just pick a different starting point. It doesn’t matter to me if I start at the other end of the store.

          There are exceptions. I don’t care how uncomfortable I am making someone by my presence alone, if I am waiting in line somewhere, I am not going to leave the line. If I have to be in the same space they are, say, an elevator, and I am already ON the elevator and on the way to an upper floor, and a women gets on the elevator and looks like she is worried about me, I am not going to start a conversation, but I am not going to get off the elevator, either. Same goes if an elevator door opens and there is a single woman on it, already. I am not going to wait for another ride. They will just have to deal with my presence.

          Now, given that, answer this. How is it possible to convey the importance of non-verbal communication without also conveying that the woman has the responsibility to act to avoid rape? Doesn’t this belie the “don’t rape” principle (which I agree with) and cater more to the “don’t get raped” principle?

          Sure it does, which is why there is no answer to the question. This is why the Schrodinger principle works so well in the university setting, or in a philosophical setting, and is not practical in the real world. There is no right answer to that question. There is no solution. I must, by default, be myself and those around me must, by default, be themselves.

          That is my observation. Your mileage…

          • A. Noyd
            October 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

            I have to ask: have you even read the Schroedinger’s Rapist essay? Because the way you talk about it makes it sound like you haven’t. That’s how off the mark you are.

            I cannot know if my presence is causing a problem unless I am made aware of it. Given the almost limitless circumstances that can be a prelude to any type of attack, attempting to address them all would be virtually impossible, and make existing in society very difficult.

            Schroedinger’s Rapist isn’t about watching out for preludes to attacks. It’s not about how women feel about men minding their own business. Look at the subtitle: “or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without getting maced.” It’s a tool for men who are looking to interact directly with women.

            Other people have talked about things men can do to make women in general and female rape victims in particular feel less threatened when neither the man nor the woman are interacting directly. You’re mischaracterizing their arguments, as well. However, I have neither the time nor the inclination to attempt to correct the tangle of your other misconceptions.

            I commented because I want you to realize that you’re mixing up those other arguments with SR. And I would like you to understand what “potential rapist” actually means (ie. that if a person is a stranger to me, or has not otherwise informed me that they intend to rape me, I have no way of knowing whether they’re a rapist) and the nature of the advice given in SR (the application of which is limited to a particular type of interaction).

            Now, given that, answer this. How is it possible to convey the importance of non-verbal communication without also conveying that the woman has the responsibility to act to avoid rape? Doesn’t this belie the “don’t rape” principle (which I agree with) and cater more to the “don’t get raped” principle?

            I don’t even know what you’re asking here. You seem to be inventing problems SR isn’t intended to address. SR isn’t about rape prevention; it merely acknowledges that women’s wariness around men is influenced by society’s preference for the “don’t get raped” message. At the end, the author makes a point of explicitly saying “don’t rape.” Where non-verbal communication is discussed in SR, its importance is assumed. The problem is men’s disregard, willful or otherwise, of women’s non-verbal communication. SR gives men whose disregard is not intentional descriptions of what signals to look out for and advises them on appropriate responses.

            This is why the Schrodinger principle works so well in the university setting, or in a philosophical setting, and is not practical in the real world.

            *sigh* The “Schroedinger principle” is merely that you are a black box to other people. That they can only know you by your actions. So, unless people have psychic powers outside university and philosophical settings, the principle works just fine outside them.

            Anyway, this is my last reply, even though I don’t think I succeeded at all in making you realize that your understanding of SR is way off. But others here are trying to tell you the same thing, so maybe one of them will get through.

    • Pitchguest
      October 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      @ Anoyd:

      If a person is a stranger to me, or has not otherwise informed me that they intend to rape me, I have no way of knowing whether they’re a rapist. This is Schroedinger’s Rapist in a nutshell.

      You don’t know if the stranger who approaches you have the intention of raping you or indeed might be a rapist, in other words they’re a potential rapist. So you keep saying that people haven’t read the article and yet this is, according to you, “Schrödinger’s Rapist in a nutshell.” Brilliant.

  20. jd pound
    October 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The “FTBullies” meme is shorthand for a certain clique on FTB (who also happen to be some the most prominent bloggers on the site). There’s not really a better way to refer to the clique than the name of their blog home. Obviously you’re right that it’s not a complete hivemind around here — you just proved it yourself. I can’t help but think, though, that without the FTBullies criticism this QANDA post might have gotten in you some hot water.

    Who else on FTB has written anything like (paraphrasing) “I won’t feel guilty for being a white male?” AFAIK, and CMIIW, only one blogger here has posted anything similarly against the grain of feminist philosophy, and we all know what happened there. Or try writing that in the comment section on some of the blogs here and see how fast you get banned for “mansplaining.”

    I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. I should just take your post as a sign the management here at FTB is aware of their problem and is working on it. Thanks for the post.

    • Stacy
      October 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Who else on FTB has written anything like (paraphrasing) “I won’t feel guilty for being a white male?”

      Oh, for fuck’s sake.

      • julian
        October 10, 2012 at 1:04 am

        I know. It’s like watching Romney and others proudly say they won’t apologize for being rich. I’d say lulwut but the whole thing is just to stupid I can’t even muster that.

        No one wants you t apologize for being privileged on one axis. I don’t and I can’t think of anyone who does. Maybe there are people out there demanding Whites apologize for being born white or rich people apologize for being able to afford a cruise once a month. I haven’t seen them and I’m mostly at places and forums where I’m told they’re at.

        Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough or something.

  21. chaos-engineer
    October 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Given that even though I’m an atheist I just might convert to Islam, and given that form of Islam just might be of a more vociferous kind, then I guess that makes me a potential suicide bomber.

    Well, yes. That’s why they randomly search everybody at the airport, instead of just searching the people that look like cartoon stereotypes of terrorists.

    It’s generally considered good manners to consent to a standard pre-boarding search at the airport, even if you aren’t a terrorist or a potential terrorist. That said, good manners are always optional, so feel free to whine and complain and carry-on as much as you want. The worst that will happen is that they won’t let you on the plane.

    Of course the same thing applies to the “Schrodinger’s Rapist” analogy, too. It’s considered rude to lurk in the bushes at 3AM and jump out at random people to frighten them, but it’s perfectly legal. If anyone criticizes you, just pout and say, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am. Here, there, anywhere. I serve no masters, I will not be silenced and I will interact with whomever I please.” The worst that will happen is that you’ll no longer be welcome in polite society and decent human beings will start shunning you.

  22. Stacy
    October 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Please read Schrodinger’s Rapist; you’ve misunderstood it.

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

    (Notice that it contains advice on how to approach a lone woman if you want to interact with her. It doesn’t say you should, for example, cross the street to avoid making a lone woman feel uncomfortable. “Because I know that being alone in a secluded area can be uncomfortable for some people, I usually offer up a smile, a tip of my hat in passing, and move on” that’s good!)

  23. October 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I agree that Al has gotten ‘Schrodinger’s Rapist’ a little wrong as a concept, but the original piece is an ill thought out misandristic realisation of the concept.

    Microwave has just pinged, food is ready, but my problems with it (and the bits I agree on) are here:

  24. fastlane
    October 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    My google skills suck today, or it isn’t available, but there was a really great rant about race and sex privilege by a woman on Bill Maher’s most recent show.

    *mutter* I can’t even find the list of guests to get her name. Sorry, this isn’t very helpful, but if anyone knows what I’m talking about, help out a brotha luddite. =P

  25. johnd
    October 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the post Al. I have been guilty of lumping all the FTBloggers into one pile. I will make sure I correct this in the future.

    I find your post to be refreshing and as part of the guilty by birth (middle-aged white male) class, I share your thoughts on this topic.

    I find that the A+ forums, as well as many comments on this very post, are shockingly hostile towards “class”. I keep hearing that A+ is about inclusivity, but this is certainly not true. A+ has unfortunately delivered exactly what its detractors feared… a divisive, fractious, demagogic distraction.

  26. julian
    October 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Guilty by birth?

    Ok fuck you, Al Stefanelli and fuck your commentariat. It’s pretty fucking clear none of you are actually interested in a discussion.

    “Because I know that being alone in a secluded area can be uncomfortable for some people, I usually offer up a smile, a tip of my hat in passing, and move on” that’s good!

    I call bullshit. If someone genuinely did that they wouldn’t get offended by thought experiments encouraging them to consider how and why other people might not beat ease around strangers.

    • October 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Ok fuck you, Al Stefanelli

      While I am flattered, I will have to decline, as I am already in a committed relationship.

      As far as the rest of your comment goes, you are free to call bullshit on whatever you like. Still doesn’t change anything.

    • Pitchguest
      October 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      At least you didn’t threaten to snap his neck, eh, julian?

      This is a-typical of you. So many times I’ve seen you using the guilt by association fallacy. On Justin Griffith’s blog, on Edwin Kagin’s and now Al Stefanelli’s. Because Al doesn’t want to moderate his blog, you immediately deduce that because some commenters here do not share your opinion, and in fact disagrees with your opinion, you are willing to say not just “fuck you” to Al Stefanelli in a petulant manner (as if often the case with you) but also to the so-called “commentariat.” Just because he allows us to voice our opinion doesn’t mean he agrees with it. That’s guilt by association as an ad hominem.

      How about instead of breaking your hernia each time you post, you correct your foul-mouthed language and have a bloody conversation? Or is that too much to ask in the A+theism clique?

  27. CJO
    October 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Not much of anything is “immediately obvious” to people who don’t know you.

    No shit. So your status with regard to the potential to attack someone is included, right? So far we seem to agree.

    Walking up to you on the street, I can only make so many assumptions based on observation before the speculations just get downright debilitating. You could be a potential ax murderer. You could be a pedophile. You could be the next Oklahoma City bomber.

    You are easily debilitated by counter-factuals I guess. Mostly in this context we’re worried about situations where, if the other party was inclined to violent action, they would represent a clear danger. But I understand why you have the impulse to obfuscate this obvious point with irrelevancies.

    Because I may be “sensitive” to these things, you should modify your behavior to accommodate my thus far unspoken fears.

    Are those scare quotes, or are you quoting me? Because it was the other party I was saying should be sensitive to the concerns of women who may feel vulnerable in ways that could be ameliorated by trivial concessions. I note the trivialization of fear of rape however.

    After all, to do so is only a “trivial inconvenience” on your part.

    Well, would it be or wouldn’t it be? If it’s a trivial inconvenience and my presence could reasonably be construed as threatening in the absence of complete confidence in my character and intentions, why shouldn’t I? Because nobody pushes me around, dammit? Because I’m less of a man if I defer to the other party’s concerns?

    Or, we could, you know, treat everyone with the assumption that they are adults.

    Trivializing others’ concerns is really all you’ve got, isn’t it?

    I wouldn’t walk behind anyone late at night, man or woman. You know why? Because that’s a good way to get your ass beat because of a misunderstanding.

    No other reason. Fear for your own safety: paramount. Others’ fears for their own safety: trivial, and unknowable, really, so who cares?

    If such a thing is unavoidable, I would do obvious things to attenuate the situation…like any adult would do.

    Trivialization by infantilization, noted.

    But, other than that, I’m not going to change my behavior very much. I’m not going to wait for another elevator.

    Because 30 seconds of your time is just more important, dammit! Or is this a principle thing? You won’t go one step out of your way to make another adult more comfortable than they otherwise would be, because of the extremely sacred principle of… help me out, I don’t know how to finish that sentence in any way that doesn’t sound cluelessly entitled.

    I’m not going to cross the street,

    Because…?

    and I’m not going to try to guess what everyone else’s fear might be.

    Not required. Just realize that your presence in certain situations can seem threatening and there are trivial actions you can take to make it less so.

    If you’re so jumpy while walking around at night, you cross the street. I’m unable to read your mind.

    Trivializing again, and for what? To uphold the sacred principle that John here crosses the street when he damn well feels like it. Way to take a stand, dude. I wish I had your courage.

    As far as whining…it seems that you’re the one that’s engaging in that tactic. You’re whining because other people take umbrage at you telling them what they should and should not do in every situation so one party can feel more “comfortable.”

    Ah, the rubber/glue gambit. Well played.

    But, please note the hyperbole of “in every situation” and the trivializing of others’ feelings of physical insecurity with the scare quotes around “comfortable”.

    How the hell do you get off calling yourself a “skeptic?”

    Actually I want nothing to do with you entitled assholes sitting around congratulating yourselves for the latest debunking of chupacabra while resisting with vitriol and abuse the awful tyranny of a few people who might have a less sanguine view of their own comfort and safety in all situations than you do.

    *It is true, as Stacy points out, that at its most basic, SR isn’t about any particular actions men should take as a result of appreciating its logic. But, Al has here expressed his belief that it’s “insulting” which is precisely what it is supposed to allay, and John’s “I won’t ever, under any circumstances, alter my behavior on whit to take into account any crazy woman’s “concerns” about her “safety”” schtick is really just too much not to dig in on that front.

    • jackiepaper
      October 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      ^This. Al, really. If you think rape culture makes you the real victim of those mean women and their silly concerns over being raped or assaulted, even though many of us already have been, or narrowly escaped a rape or sexual assault and we can’t forget the list of many, many women we know who have also been raped, stalked or assaulted, then you are self-centered and whiny. That you feel that giving any sense of security or understanding to women in such a culture is somehow beneath you, makes you sound so very full of yourself and without empathy for others. The claim that people are trying to make you feel guilty for being born with privilege just by stating the fact of the matter is you have it, that is truly, mind-blowingly absurd. You sound like those who complain there is no “White History” section and no “Straight Pride” parades. Poor you.

      • October 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        I do not, for one second, believe the concerns of assault by women to be silly. I cannot fathom where I stated anything that would allude to this.

        As well, I never stated that I don’t give pause to anyone’s sense of security, or that anyone is beneath me. Again, I cannot fathom where I stated anything that would allude to this.

        Finally, I never stated that I thing there should be “White History” or “Straight Pride.” And once more, I cannot fathom where I stated anything that would allude to this.

        Are you trying to slap with some sort of label? I mean, you are free to, of course, but the results would be predictable.

        • Nepenthe
          October 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm

          I cannot fathom where I stated anything that would allude to this.

          …if my mere existence as a male is something that makes someone of whatever gender nervous, this is not my problem… I cannot and will not go through life existing with the perception that I am a perceived danger to everyone else. (emphasis added)

          Fathom better now?

          Your gross misrepresention/misunderstanding of SR while making these dismissive statements and the repetition of the phrase “not my problem” and similar add to the overall air of indifference and self centeredness.

          • October 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm

            No, actually not. The term “not my problem” is not a pejorative, nor is it always used as a snark. Not my problem means just that. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, am not aware or would not make adjustments to my behavior or general location if these concerns are brought to my attention. This is what you seem to be projecting, but it is inaccurate, and I have stated nothing to that effect. If someone has a problem that I am not aware of, it is, by default, not my problem. See how that works?

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm

            The term “not my problem” is not a pejorative, nor is it always used as a snark.

            Ah, so you do understand that this phrase is often used as snark. That’s a start.

            Well, just for the record, “not my problem” is a phrase typically used when dismissing someone else’s problem because it doesn’t affect you, for example, a White person proclaiming that systemic racism is “not my problem” or a currently able-bodied person claiming that disability access is “not my problem”. It is trivially true, but the phrase carries additional connotations of apathy or hostility. Perhaps you were unaware of this, which might explain the less than enthusiastic reception of this piece among the A+ crowd.

            You seem to have confused projection with reading with an eye to subtext and color in addition to dictionary definitions. (Incidentally, the mind projection fallacy isn’t merely reading with bias and neither is psychological projection. Another non-magical word!)

          • October 9, 2012 at 9:18 pm

            Of course I understand that. Sarcasm *rarely* translates well in print. This is why I don’t often use it. I have used it a lot today in replying to some of the comments here, only because some people have made it irresistible. I wasn’t using sarcasm when I used that phrase in my post today, and figured since there was no sarcasm in context, it wouldn’t be received as such.

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm

            Yeah, it’s not sarcasm. When some douchecanoe arguing against the ADA is saying “that’s not my problem”, they’re not being sarcastic. It isn’t their problem. They really don’t give a shit about disabled people and their/our ability to participate in the public sphere or work or, like, live lives, except insofar as it minorly inconveniences them.

            I’m starting to think that you’re not really that much of an asshole and that instead you suck at rhetoric.

            ‘nother example: when you spend a paragraph explaining that you don’t like white supremacists and “true” misogynists–whatever the fuck that means–no one is impressed. It’s like saying that you can operate a microwave; that’s the minimum expected standard for a decent adult. What saying it out loud implies is that you think that this is something to be particularly proud of. Maybe you don’t actually think you deserve kudos and a special benefit of the doubt for not being a fan of the Klan, but your writing doesn’t convey that.

          • October 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

            Yeah, I’ve dealt with those people a lot. I spend a good amount of time in off-line activism. As well, I am disabled. So, yeah, I get you. The whole thing about the white supremacists and true misogynists is more of a ‘light fuse and get away’ thing. It never fails that someone comes along and says, ‘You’re like those White Supremacists.’ Kinda like LeftSidePostiive did somewhere in here. I don’t think anyone deserves kudos for being a decent human being. That should be our default position. Oh, and the ‘true misogynist’ references to those who are labeled misogynists, but don’t actually hate women. They’re just your run of the mill bigots, assholes and products of really bad parenting.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

            Al, I did not say YOU were “like a White Supremacist”–I (and, as far as I can tell, the other poster whose argument I was attempting to elucidate) was saying that your argument suffered from the same logical flaws and blind spots as an argument in favor of White History Month (and lots of people who are just run-of-the-mill privilege-blind but not even consciously racist let alone White Supremacist say stupid shit like “Why isn’t there a White History Month???”). YOU escalated the claim and put “White Supremacist” into this discussion that was actually just about privilege-blindness and insensitivity, which is a textbook strawman on your part. Furthermore, I was making a point about problematic BEHAVIOR, which you are now strawmanning into a claim about you as a PERSON. Also, I expect someone of moderate intelligence to understand that when something is being described as similar in kind, it does not necessarily mean similar in degree. This is basic.

            More importantly, this is why we expect you to cite the comments you’re discussing, because you’ve run out our trust on your ability to interpret or restate them correctly or fairly.

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

            I’m going to pull out what I think is the key and most accurate sentence of LSP’s post below:

            This gives the impression that you think you actually ARE being besieged by people trying to make you feel guilty, and your whining is every bit as ridiculous as those complaining about the absence of White History Month and Straight Pride Parades.

            The combo of your build up and your weird mischaracterization of the concept of privilege are what gives this impression. If you don’t think you deserve decent human being cookies, don’t write like you do. If you do care about rape/rape culture, write as if you’re not blowing off those issues. If you aren’t an idiot, stop playing one on TV.

            It doesn’t cut it to just say well, hey, I’m not really like that, so if I sound like I am it’s your fault for misreading me, as you did most blatantly in your response to mythbri, but also to Nick Gotts, to me initially, and to jackiepaper. Of course, you’re free to do that, but then again you’re also free to write your blog in all caps with a flashing background of dancing unicorns.

        • LeftSidePositive
          October 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

          Of course no one said you ACTUALLY advocate “White History Month” or “Straight Pride.” It’s a fucking SIMILE, which you can clearly tell because it said “like”. Are you really too dense to get this?!?! It’s saying, “I assume you can see the error in insisting on a ‘white history month’ or ‘straight pride,’ now consider the similarities in that a majority is painting itself as a besieged minority when you insist that people talking about the harms done by privilege are actually trying to make you feel personally guilty…”

          • Nepenthe
            October 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm

            Similes, metaphors and analogies are too complicated and have soft squishy words in them. I think we might need big graphics and flow charts. Logical and dispassionate people love flow charts.

          • October 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm

            I know what a simile is, and your use of it – while possibly grammatically correct – is very odd and kind of awkward.

            The commenter who used the phrases you are referring to said,

            “The claim that people are trying to make you feel guilty for being born with privilege just by stating the fact of the matter is you have it, that is truly, mind-blowingly absurd. You sound like those who complain there is no “White History” section and no “Straight Pride” parades. Poor you.”

            Of course, the problem with this statement is that I made no such claim. I was stating that there are those who would like me to perceive myself as being somehow responsible for transgressions committed by persons other than myself who also happen to be caucasion (or mostly) and male.

            There was nothing in what I wrote that could be construed as worthy of a comparison to a white supremacist or any other supremacist. To make that comparison, by use of simile or any other literary tool, is disingenuous.

            It would appear that this commenter completely missed the point, or willfully ignored it. Either way.

          • LeftSidePositive
            October 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

            And when you refer to all these unnamed, unaccountable people who want you to feel guilty for being white and male, and provide no context that this is, AT BEST, an extremely fringe view, if not a blatant strawman constructed by those deeply opposed to addressing social inequalities with regard to sex and race, you give the impression that this unrepresentative fringe view is a serious problem, and readers may very well assume you are referring to mainstream A+ positions, since you haven’t qualified or explained what exactly you’re complaining about. This gives the impression that you think you actually ARE being besieged by people trying to make you feel guilty, and your whining is every bit as ridiculous as those complaining about the absence of White History Month and Straight Pride Parades. Of course, you wouldn’t seem so whiny and self-absorbed if you’d actually communicate the scope of the problem to which you refer and actually give adequate context.

          • Glengarry
            October 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

            Al, I’ve never (at least on here) been made to feel responsible for the actions of other people of my race and gender, Though it is a common tactic here to use race and gender to dismiss the arguments of others, a sort of ad hominem. The rest of us know that an argument should stand on it’s merits, which is why we facepalm at Matt Dillahunty’s experience on A+ forums, and again on A+ the unfortunate event of a rape victim being banned for stating that ‘being murdered is worse than being raped'(should be obvious, if you disagree, tell any rape victims you know that they are better off killing themselves now), and was unbanned by the mods once it was found that she was a rape victim herself.

            Your race or gender does not make your argument invalid, it does not matter which race or gender.

    • October 11, 2012 at 1:04 am

      You are easily debilitated by counter-factuals I guess. Mostly in this context we’re worried about situations where, if the other party was inclined to violent action, they would represent a clear danger. But I understand why you have the impulse to obfuscate this obvious point with irrelevancies.

      That seems to be a problem, as you’re mightily partaking in it yourself. The reasoning that would justify SR would justify any stupid thing one might care to. With respect to what you quoted, if one were “inclined to violent action”, then explosives or axes “would represent a clear danger”. You have the impulse to point out the complete vapidity of the reasoning as applied to other cases; notably, you’ve considered it salient with respect to rape. Presumably this is restricted to the rape of women by men.

      Because it was the other party I was saying should be sensitive to the concerns of women who may feel vulnerable in ways that could be ameliorated by trivial concessions. I note the trivialization of fear of rape however.

      You mean like a trivial concession that if you are the one who has difficulty navigating through society-at-large because you feel perpetually vulnerable and afraid perhaps you should do the lifestyle adjustments – not the 3.5 billion people of the opposing sex. Just a thought.

      Newsflash, sparky! Fear != reality. That someone has a fear of x happening to them isn’t, alas, special permission to order around the entire rest of the society for failing to cater to one’s own internal affairs.

      If it’s a trivial inconvenience and my presence could reasonably be construed as threatening in the absence of complete confidence in my character and intentions, why shouldn’t I? Because nobody pushes me around, dammit? Because I’m less of a man if I defer to the other party’s concerns?

      And if black people in the south wouldn’t mind the minor inconvenience of just not drinking from this whites only water fountain… If one has the problem sharing space with others, then that’s one’s problem to master. Don’t like drinking out of a fountain a black person has? Peachy keen; you’re free not to drink out of the fountain.

      Have a problem with being around people who are just milling about their lives going on about their day? Fine. That situation can be easily resolved: one can always stay home that day.

      No other reason. Fear for your own safety: paramount. Others’ fears for their own safety: trivial, and unknowable, really, so who cares?

      Except in his statement, if one is even mildly reflective, is the solution to the problem: when he thinks he’s too close to people for his own reasons, he moves instead of expecting the rest of the world to do it for him.

      Because 30 seconds of your time is just more important, dammit!

      The same non-response can be returned to you. Why are her seconds so much more important than a man’s? Also, it’s less time of her life than the person waiting, for she gets to exit at her destination while the person waiting has to remain where he is until the elevator finishes out whatever is its cycle. Assuming it’s just one floor up, his time expended is treble hers: her travel time up => she gets off => travel time back down => he gets on => back up => he gets off.

      Talk about privilege – especially considering that on average men don’t live as long as women!

  28. Scott Reese
    October 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Since FTB is not a hive-mind collective, I now have one more of them that I can safely not worry about reading. I do so love this network and enjoy perusing the various blogs when I can, but its a lot of reading for a busy professor type. Its nice when some people make my reading list shorter and I can safely skip whole blogs again. Its been an interesting several months with this whole shin-dig. I understand that some folk don’t care for A+, but the level of determined ignorance on display when they choose to make their criticisms and the willful blindness when called out make for disappointing moments in atheism. Hello Al and, I’m sorry to say, so long.

    • Glengarry
      October 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      You really failed to the the complete irony in you post didn’t you?

    • Pitchguest
      October 10, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Since FTB is not a hive-mind collective, I now have one more of them that I can safely not worry about reading. I do so love this network and enjoy perusing the various blogs when I can, but its a lot of reading for a busy professor type. Its nice when some people make my reading list shorter and I can safely skip whole blogs again. Its been an interesting several months with this whole shin-dig. I understand that some folk don’t care for A+, but the level of determined ignorance on display when they choose to make their criticisms and the willful blindness when called out make for disappointing moments in atheism. Hello Al and, I’m sorry to say, so long.

      So let me get this straight: Al attempts to set straight the assertion that FTB is a hivemind, but in finding out that Al does not agree with everything about A+ you denounce him and thank him for limiting your reading list?

      So by trying to disprove a hivemind, he indirectly proves the mindset of a hivemind. Genius.

  29. Michael Kingsford Gray
    October 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    It’s very difficult to get kicked out of here.

    Tell that to Thunderf00t.

  30. CJO
    October 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Thunderfool sucks. Thunderfool is also a stupid asshole. Thunderfool did everything possible to get kicked out of here, and subsequently flew his stupid asshole colors proudly to remove all doubt that he deserved it.

    If he’s a martyr to a cause it’s his own stupid assholery, and why on Earth would that be a cause worth reallying around? Would just one of you fucking genius chupacabra hunters answer that for me?

    • October 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      I think the most interesting aspect of the Thunderf00t affair was that it dragged a lot of people (such as myself) over to FtB that never even knew it existed (I had heard of and very occasionally read Pharyngula, but mainly pre FtB days).

      Jim (np99)

  31. October 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Geez, I’m always late to the party. You make some good points Stefanelli, but you contradict yourself in places and miss the point a few times.

    I have nothing against the concept or the stated mission of Atheism Plus. In fact, I think it’s exemplary. I do have a problem with some of what I have read on their forums, and some of what I have read in the comments and in the context of some of the blogs.

    This reminds me of a sorta-kinda similar comment I made in another context:

    There is one thing I’d like to add, though, which I think is worth underlining and adding blinking lights to:

    atheism plus is not the same as atheismplus.com

    Let’s say the mods at that forum were complete jerks. Does that say anything about the validity of atheism plus, or the need for it within atheist culture? No. If you don’t like the way things have been handled in that safe space, set up your own. I’ll fully support you, as should most people who identify as A+. If you really do have a superior way of handling things, people will flock to your forum and everyone will benefit.

    Don’t have the time to set up your forum? Fair enough, not everyone is lucky enough to have the time for activism, nor the desire. But if you want to criticize the mods, bear in mind they’re devoting precious time to make that space the best forum they can. They face the difficult task of telling clueless and stubborn (but well meaning) newbies, from trolls that only appear clueless (but are definitely stubborn). Mistakes are inevitable, and you should recognize that and soften your critique appropriately.

    The key difference between the two comments is that I don’t leave it at “I wish it would stop.” Don’t like the tone? Change it! Can’t change it? Set up your own forum! Don’t have the time? That’s your loss. The mods over there are doing the best they can to try to live up the ideals of A+. Browbeating them for failing to do so, without offering a solution or lending a hand, is not helpful.

  32. October 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Al, just want to say that I admire you immensely and enjoy your writings. I am a white, middle class, middle aged female. I was born into a poor family; but obviously I was born white. I cannot help that either, and nor do I apologize for it. I do acknowledge that it has given me advantages others may not have had. I personally do not consider every male I meet as a ‘potential rapist’. Any person, no matter gender, race, color, or creed, is a potential rapist by instrumentation. This is not the best method by which to categorize individuals. As far as atheism + goes? I’m relatively new (less than 5 years) to being an admitted atheist, period.

  33. October 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I’m skeptical about this claim that someone ACTUALLY urged you to feel guilty just for being white and male. That is pretty standard anti-feminist anti-social justice dishonest boilerplate. If you support feminism and social justice, why are you giving a platform to dishonest boilerplate about them? Why do you treat that as a legitimate claim? Who are these mysterious people who think it’s appropriate to feel guilty about being who you are? Sounds suspicious to me.

    • richardwatkins
      October 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Rather than try to find out why he feels that way and figure out ways to help the community get their message across more tactfully, you passively label him as “anti-feminist”, “anti-social justice” and “dishonest”.

      I fail to see how this behavior benefits anyone.

      • October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        Wow, nice try at totally mischaracterizing what I said.

        No, I’m not telling Al that he’s really anti-feminist or anti-social justice. I don’t think that’s the case. If I thought so, I would say so. I do think that he’s giving a platform to dishonest boilerplate about feminism and social justice that has been generated, 100% of the time in my experience, by people who hate those two things. And I would like to know why he’s doing that. Having him explain who told him that he ought to feel guilty about being what he is–white and male–would be quite helpful, in my opinion. Do you disagree? You think that information would not be helpful?

  34. October 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I have friends and acquaintances who absolutely hate each other. This has nothing to do with me. I don’t know how much clearer I can get on this, except to ask those who cannot accept the fact that I remain neutral on my associations, or that one cannot simply “not choose a side,” to Google “Sweden.” This, I can promise, will not change. […]
    There are people who will choose to shun me in whatever way the feel necessary, based on my associations with people they do not like, or whom they feel behave in ways they perceive to be against their personal points of view.

    There’s nothing wrong with this per-se. I hung out on “Is God a Squirrel,” a blog most people here will find reprehensible. Should I be shunned for it? No; I made it pretty clear that I disagreed with the parts most people here would find reprehensible.

    You can hang out with “bad” people, so long as you either make your neutrality clear, or make it obvious you disagree with their “disagreeable” views.

    Suppose, though, that you posted to friend A’s blog. Friend B, who doesn’t like A’s views on certain things, asks if you agree with A about those contested views. You don’t answer. As the calls to clarify your views from your friends allied with B mount, and as it becomes obvious you’ll do damage to your friendship with them if you don’t clarify or take that post down… you still don’t clarify, and leave the post up.

    Suppose you belittle friend C, allied with B, when they have to withdraw due to stress. Suppose you dismiss the fears of D, allied with B, when they are presented with something they consider threatening. Suppose you reveal personal information about E, allied with B, to a forum that’s hostile to C, D, and E. You argue that last one was no big deal, without acknowledging any harm could have come from your actions.

    Is your neutrality still clear? Have you made it clear there’s mutual disagreement? Or do friends C through E have reason to think you disagree with them on those contested views?

  35. October 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I quite enjoyed your article. It is a nearly perfect summation of my reaction to many of the things that have been going on in the community.

    I say nearly perfect because of the following (and I apologize for nit picking):
    “There are people who will choose to shun me in whatever way the feel necessary…” ‘the’ should be ‘they’

    “I’ve heard arguments from several people why I should..” should probably have ‘about’ before ‘why’

    You have my permission to edit out these suggested changes (and associated context sentences) in my post if you wish.

  36. ladyvanda
    October 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I tried to comment this this afternoon, but lost the page. Oh well. I wanted to say this: Thank you, Al, for writing this piece. As a feminist militant for social justice/atheism/skepticism, I was interested in atheism+. I read the criticisms, and thought they were making stuff up. Until I wrote a few comments. Now I haven’t participated in the atheism+ forum, but much of the same people come arounds ftb too, so this is the experience I am talking about. Upon commenting, completely agreeing with the topic and expanding on it, I get blamed for my white male privilege. Of course, if I decide to uncover the shocking reality that I am a woman of mixed background, I sometimes get accused of lying. Your assumptions are not wrong as far as I’m concerned. I don’t feel like I can voice that problem to them, because there is literally a wall and I am not known online. I don’t understand the way some people (not all), rightfully point out that we can’t judge a person’s experience in so many cases, but if I voice my negative experience, I am a misogynist white male and any communication is impossible. I know they talk of bad experiences with the “slimepit”, and I get it. But when you shun a large number of people who share the same beliefs in case it’s a troll acting like a feminist, you just made the trolls win. As far as I can tell, they love it so far.
    I hope it gets resolved, and atheism+ can be open to all who are for social justice and atheism (etc.). In the meantime, I think most of us prefer staying in the broader movement and improving it inclusively.
    [Please, if someone take issue, I may not be referring to you in particular, only my personal experience.]

    • LeftSidePositive
      October 10, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Could you please provide an example of when you are treated this way?

  37. October 10, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I liked the idea of atheism+ but was a bit suspicious based on recent events. I recently went to the atheism+ forum and read the Justin thread (I was just reading about it on another blog and wanted to get the other side). One commentator raised some questions about the “facts” being presented. The following comments were about how the commentator was not being respectful. None of the points were addressed however and I assume that the commentator was banned.

    • October 10, 2012 at 5:41 am

      You think that going there with a suspicion might have led you to some pretty normal human conformational bias?

      One of the problems with ‘Skep tickles’ controversial banning (Or at least controversial because Dillahunty waded into it). Skeptickle/Speptixx clearly went there with the presumption that A+ is full of assholes who would ban hir. This turned out to be true, the banning part at least the assholes part is certainly true in Skeptickle/Skeptixx mind now.

      How about joining in without jumping straight into a dissenting argument to get the lay of the land? Then if you do dissent I doubt you’d get such a rough ride… Assuming your dissent is not obviously bigoted 🙂

      • October 10, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        #37 Confirmation bias? Where was my observation not objective? Somebody had raised some points that may have mitigated Justin’s guilt. They may or not have been a troll, however, the comment didn’t seem trollish. Even PT and ATBC will answer in detail to creationist trolls not just say they were wrong.

    • LeftSidePositive
      October 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Why can’t these damn people just LINK to what they’re complaining about?! That would let us assess whether their interpretation of the events described was actually fair. I have no way of knowing from what you wrote if the person asking for information was actually being respectful or not. I also have no way of knowing that you are familiar enough with common “dog-whistle” tropes and patterns of “Just Asking Questions” to see when they’re likely disingenuous. I also have no way to tell if this wasn’t a thread that had specific parameters of discussion and the facts of the matter were supposed to be discussed on another thread. I have no way of knowing if these facts were common knowledge and this person was failing to do zir homework and derailing/dumbing down a more complicated discussion. I further have no way of assessing your claim that none of the points were addressed, when they may have been criticized as invalid/malformed questions but I can’t tell because I can’t read it for myself.

      So, in conclusion, LINK TO YOUR EXAMPLES IF YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. Why is this so fucking hard?!

      Oh, and you ASSUME the person was banned?! Well, that’s fucking skeptical, and shows that you’re totally not trying to justify your preformed notions at all!

      • richardwatkins
        October 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

        Here’s a link:

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/alstefanelli/2012/10/09/qanda/#comment-69432

        This is why “outsiders” have trouble discussing things with A+…there’s no discussion to be had. Name-calling, labeling, aggression, hubris, etc, all hurt your cause.

        • LeftSidePositive
          October 10, 2012 at 11:28 am

          Ooooh, now that was clever! Just link to my own comment–what exactly was that supposed to show?!

          Why the hell are you complaining that “there’s no discussion to be had” when I’m asking for clear examples and explaining why a discussion is not possible without them?! Frankly I think YOU are the ones who make it impossible for any discussion to be had, because you’re steadfastly refusing to deal in any specifics even when we try to engage with you. You just expect us to take your word at your interpretation of discussions that would be extremely easily linked to.

          • richardwatkins
            October 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

            I thought I was being pretty specific and you fired back with sarcasm and exclamatory questions. The problem I see with the community is not the content, but the delivery. You’ve displayed very distinct examples of that. You can’t convince people to be nicer and more understanding when you’re “yelling” at them.

      • mattisironen
        October 11, 2012 at 4:36 am

        “LINK TO YOUR EXAMPLES IF YOU WANT ME TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.”

        Fixed that for you. See, the problem is no-one’s interested in making you take them seriously anymore. But hey, I bet you’re taken super seriously at the A+ forum and that’s all that really matters, right?

  38. Kent Clark
    October 10, 2012 at 10:34 am

    “ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!”

    Everybody says there is a problem called White Privilege. Everybody says this White Privilege problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve Asian Privilege by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this White Privilege problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this problem called Black Privilege and this Black Privilege would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a Black Privilege problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    • Dairy
      October 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Nutter

  39. Redlady1979
    October 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Fifty years ago the issue of rape was not discussed. We should all have a sense of camaraderie with everyone commenting on this blog. Everyone here is antirape, and is willing to take time out of their busy schedule to write about the topic. THAT IS A WIN! Hurray! Go team! The fact that there are differences of opinion on the minutia is NORMAL. That just shows that we are all humans and not robots. There are hundreds of millions of people around the world that don’t think or care about this issue to the extent the commenters on this blog are. That should make us all best friends, instead of enemies. Be happy! Be nice! Everyone here shares a basic value of justice and human rights. That makes this group of commenters a solid group of humans. That is enough for me 🙂

    • richardwatkins
      October 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

      This is the kind of attitude the atheist community, among others, needs more of. This made me smile. Thank you.

      • B-Lar
        October 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        Real world aint wrapped in cotton wool boyo. The sentiment is nice and all, but if you expect everyone to serve you delicious candied snacks when they are being force fed maggots then you are self deluded.

        No-one owes you civility. Everyone has different standards of respect. Whinging about being treated badly to the people who are standing shoulder to shoulder with those who are actually being treated badly makes you look like one of those guys. You know. The ones with one sad, shrivelled empathy gland between them screaming “MEMEMEMEMEME!”.

  40. cynedyr
    October 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I’m not so sure “Phaedra Starling” understood the quantum entanglement issue that Schrödinger’s Cat was meant to illustrate well enough to use his name in “Schrödinger’s Rapist”. I mean the alive/dead paradox was meant to be absurd.

    When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.

    In the context of the superimposition of 2 states is she intentionally saying that every male she encounters is simultaneously a rapist and non-rapist until an “observation” is made that can “fix” the state as one or the other? How is that not saying every male exists in the state of rapist until proven otherwise?

    • Pitchguest
      October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      I know, right? I pointed this out, too, once. Yet every time you point out the purpose of the original experiment to these people, how it’s meant to be absurd and how the author of ‘Schrödinger’s Rapist’ hasn’t really understood the concept, the excuse is made that it’s not quantum physics. One person even said it was a Shibboleth. Seriously. If it doesn’t hold the same principle as the original, then why would you allude to Schrödinger in the first place?

      Another amusing thing is that I remember a user thought I was angry that it used the name ‘Schrödinger’ and asked if I was angry that xkcd did the same thing with their comic, ‘Schrödinger’s Comic.’ The problem was that the comic beheld the principle of Schrödinger in that the last panel of the comic would be funny and not funny at the same time until you read it. Talk about shooting themselves in the foot.

      • cynedyr
        October 11, 2012 at 8:24 am

        So, basically, they want to use a name to make it sound smart then yell down people who point out they’re not using that name in an accurate context. What makes it kinda funny/sad is they don’t seem aware that they’re mocking themselves.

        Sorry, folks, you can’t rewrite history and redefine the cat joke without a bunch of other folks pointing out the absurd.

    • GayGordon: cut off my penis and lay it on a plate for the initiation ceremony
      October 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Translation: “Im a man who hasn’t been raped, ergo rape doesn’t happen”.

      you are blinded by privilege so much it hurts.

      How about next time you talk about RAPISTS you put a Trigger warning!

      You are kind of like the “white history month” dicksacks.

      • Pitchguest
        October 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

        Jesus Christ. Are you for real?

        Oh, and “dicksacks”? *shakes head disapprovingly*

      • cynedyr
        October 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

        Hence why I’m not participating on the A+ forum as I’ve seen that kind of argument presented.

  41. ysoldeangelique
    October 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    “Yes, I’ve been asked about this no less than twenty-eight times in the last week, via email, personal messages and texts. In answer to the question of whether or not I am willing to consider myself a potential rapist, the answer is “No.” I actually find this quite insulting, as do I find the reasoning that every male has a rape switch. This is my opinion, and I have come to it after reading several other opinions on both sides of the issue, as well as examining myself, my personality, my disdain for violence, my respect for women, etc.”

    Funny since the actual issue isn’t “are you willing to consider yourself a potential rapist” but instead “Women may not be ammenable to your advances.”

    I wonder how you can possible have an opinion on this when you don’t even actually understand the base issue.

  42. October 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I was stating that there are those who would like me to perceive myself as being somehow responsible for transgressions committed by persons other than myself who also happen to be caucasion (or mostly) and male.

    Seriously, who are these people? They sound awful. Why is it that only white men ever seem to encounter them?

    • Glengarry
      October 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Because white and male is the only congenital condition you will freely get criticized for here, in this safe place.

      • October 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        Yeah, well, I’ve never witnessed it. So I reckon it probably never happens. Or at least not enough to make a fuss over. You’re probably just overreacting.

        /satire

        Seriously, though, you don’t have a single concrete example of someone telling you that your intrinsic qualities–your maleness and your whiteness–should make you feel guilty?

        • M.L.
          November 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          A plussers saying that ‘privileged’ people ought not feel guilty is similar to religious zealot’s saying “hate the sin not the sinner” about gays. The rhetoric is very similar (i.e. “We’re not saying we’re better than you or that you should feel bad – all fall short of the glory of god – but if you don’t repent and admit you’re privileged you are evil”.

  43. Kim
    October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    You know Al, you shouldn’t be trying to tell us where you stand on these issues and how you see yourself. It would be better for us to tell you where you stand and how you feel. When we want you to have an opinion we will let you know. Or at least be vague or highly variable. This self awareness and expression of ideas should really be minimized.
    Until then I will complain about how many letters you’re using up. There are only so many on the internet and I’m afraid you’ll use them all up and not leave me any. And stop forcing me to read your blog.
    (Do I need to add a sarcasm tag to this?)

    • abear
      October 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Kim is right and I also would add; Al, we pretty much agree about things but the fact we don’t completely and exactly agree on everything really hurts me and makes me angry.

    • October 11, 2012 at 1:27 am

      If you promise to tell anyone, I’ve been squirreling away some stray punctuation marks for when the war of the words leaves us in a barren wasteland of unremitting guttural noises. Here’s a quick sampling: ,./+_)(*&^.

      I’ve also been secreting stray letters, which I’ve naturally boosted off of the appropriately named unlettered types…

  44. masakari2012
    October 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Great blog, Al. Seems to be in alignment with most sane people. Glad to see not all FTB bloggers are dunskies. There’s hope. I understood exactly what you meant, but as you can see: sycophants of other particular bloggers would go through such great, painful, lengths to stretch your meaning, misconstrue your intent, and/or attempt to make you say something which they could possibly paint in a negative light, so that they can try to say “gotcha”, and manufacture some kind of victory.

  45. smhll
    October 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I believe the thread on the Atheism+ forum that has everyone all a twitter is this one here:

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1642&hilit=are+you+willing+rapist

    Someone who had recently joined the forum started the thread. He went in a rather odd direction with his argumentation.

    After one gets past all the repetition of the words “potential rapist”, the discussion gets somewhat more sophisticated.

  46. skeptixx
    October 11, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Al,

    I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for your voice of reason and equanimity amidst all that’s been going on.

  47. October 12, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Yay! The only way for some of these people to become less neurotic is for them to interact with the larger community. I have a concern that you were asked by 28 people on the question of “are you willing to consider yourself a potential rapist,” otherwise known as “SR.” I personally think they have some extremist rad fem trolls on their site and their not yet aware of it.

    Those people writing you, do you feel you were being pressed to comply with that message? Or was it concerned friends who were “like, wtf, why are we being asked to think in this debilitating manner?” Or whatever. If you don’t wish to answer I understand, but I have to admit I’m curious.

    • October 12, 2012 at 1:53 am

      “…their not yet aware” should be they’re not yet aware. I need sleep. 🙂

    • Tim
      October 12, 2012 at 5:54 am

      “but I have to admit I’m curious.”

      Damn, you believe anything anymore – I thought that was Dillahunty

      • October 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        “Curious is me.” He should name his next sock account “Me.” 🙂

  48. cynedyr
    October 12, 2012 at 8:11 am

    So…leaving FtB was coincidental and not related to A+ criticism?

  49. Secular Steve
    October 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Hi Al. You should have a read of the two Facebook atheismplus groups. One is public, the other private. Both easy to join . A+ admin and a mod disagree and one considers the other to be a trouble maker and quits the cause. A+ is falling to pieces. Hooray.

  50. M.L.
    October 28, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I’m surprised nobody has pointed out the most glaring irony about “Atheism Plus”, which is how white it is.

    Another remarkable thing about A+ is how it illustrates how some aspects of the religious mindset are clearly hardwired in the human psyche and are not always manifest in religion. I see a lot of the same sort of zealotry, intolerance, self righteousness, group think and judgmental attitudes in groups like A+ (and in fact on the political left in general, especially when it comes to issues involving identity politics) that I see among religious zealots.

    They have what amounts to secular articles of faith for which there is dubious evidence that you nevertheless must accept as true and if you do not, you are not merely ‘wrong’ in their view but evil.

    When oppression and privilege are real you don’t have to make an effort to recognize them. I’m not going to say, “well, uh, I have no ill will towards non-whites or women or LGBTs, I’m not particularly wealthy; I certainly don’t feel in any way ‘privileged’ and have plenty of non-white, non-male, non-straight friends and they certainly don’t seem in any way ‘oppressed’ to me, BUT, in order to be a liberal in good standing and be liked by PZ Myers and Richard Carrier and so forth, I’ll sign on and say “Mea Culpa! Guilty as charged! I’m a privileged, misogynistic, racist, homophobe but I just can’t see it because I’m SO privileged! Guilt is the evidence if privilege and oppression unseen, the substance of isms devoutly wished for! I believe oh god! Help me my belief!”

    I’m being a tad hyperbolic here, sure, but it needed to be said.

    One element which really underscores the absurdity of some of these assertions of “white male privilege” and “oppressed people of color” is that who exactly falls into the ‘oppressed’ and ‘privileged’ categories is often irrational and arbitrary. One particular episode which really underscored this for me when I was in college, I had a teacher instructing us on who was privileged and who was oppressed. He arbitrarily picked a fair complexioned white male and olive skinned brunette female to stand up, and he had them do something akin to “the privilege walk”. He asked them a series of questions such as “if your parents graduated college take one step forward, if not, take one step back”. It was supposed to illustrate the presumptive white male had privileges he was oblivious to that the presumptive ‘Latina’ did not.

    Long story short, the white male as it turns out was Hispanic and the female was a white Greek-American. They were actually from the same town, went to the same high school and lived in the same block. They had the same standard of living and were attending the same school.Yet the Good Progressive had the guy predetermined as a privileged white male and the female as an oppressed ‘person of color’. All the prof did was unwittingly expose his own prejudices.

    But I digress…

  51. David Bartlett
    November 1, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I have seen posters on Atheism+ write “I am a privileged cis gender white male so take my opinion with a grain of salt.” I don’t care if Atheism+ thinks it is simply correcting a societal imbalance, the end result is the same. Using privilege as a beating stick people are losing their individual histories and identities, only to be placed under a large generic “identity,” such as white, male, or cis. Once this is accomplished the views of that person may be thought of as less than in the ensuing discussion, simply because of their inborn traits.

    I also find it odd that white upper middle class feminists who went to university can really argue that it is the other people on the forum who suffer from delusions of privilege. Privilege Theory is useful to a point, but take it too far and you just start placing people, and their ideas in boxes. That is exactly what I want to get away from. It should not matter what someone is, all that should matter is who someone is. Also here are my links for proof.

    A link placed in the A+ information section:
    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22
    http://radtransfem.tumblr.com/post/24818439850/first-attempt-at-a-list-of-ways-for-men-to-use

    And some quotes from it advising men on how to combat their innate privelege…

    “1.Assume you don’t have a right to be in the room or to express your opinion.”
    “2.Assume that the women in the room do have a right to be there, and that their opinions are worth hearing.”
    “3. …pay more attention to any given opinion from a woman, since her being a woman and daring to speak up is almost certainly an indicator that she’s more confident of that opinion than average.”
    “5.Consider combinations of privileges. If you’re white, some women may be silenced by your whiteness”
    “6.Consider volume. Men often actually SHOUT in discussions.”
    “12.Consider silence.”
    “14.Sometimes, just shut up. We don’t need to hear from you about everything, or right away.”

    More.
    “Several people have mentioned that the word mansplain is seen by some as offensive. I don’t get it” http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=715

    “men have more power in society than women do, therefor fearing them is entirely reasonable and not bigoted.” http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=930&start=25

    A “priveleged” man tried posting on A+, this is what he got in response:
    “With all due respect, you’re annoying the frick out of a lot of people here. At some point it’s just freakin’ polite to sit back and let the other people discuss what they feel is important. That goes tenfold if you’re used to being respected and listened to.”

    “posts about things you think are important, opinions you think we should hear, a privileged perspective you think we haven’t considered even though the reason we are here is to get away from it. A+ is not about you.”

    “I seem to ‘get’ the people and community here a little better than you do, to say the least.
    Maybe it has to do with that whole ‘Shut up and listen’ thing”

    He responded to the criticism with:
    “you make good points, maybe more tomorrow. Seriously having to re-think my entire approach to participation, not easy work.”

    The Mod Chimed in with:
    “I always find it refreshing to encounter people who accept that they may be wrong. I suspect that as long as you continue not getting defensive when someone disagrees with you (and good on you for that), you’ll be fine here. You’re on the right track.”

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2116

    • M.L.
      November 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Great post.

      Note the smug, condescending, myopic hypocrisy of the mod. The “priveleged” poster is patted on the head both for accepting that he may be wrong and for not getting defensive when someone disagrees with him, yet how many A plussers are willing to admit they might be wrong about the whole “privilege” thing or don’t get defensive when someone disgrees with them? It’s too bad the “privileged” poster acquiesced so readily. I suspect such acquiescence is part of the fun of A plussin for some of these people.

      That said, I seriously question to what extent many of the A plussers actually believe the rhetoric they spew. I get the sense that for some, it’s just a way of making a conspicuous display of one’s progressive bonafides and liberal piety. Again, I am reminded of conspicuous displays of religious piety.

      I’ve also noted the A plussers obliviousness to their own privilege. Let’s face it, they are disproportionately white, with advanced degrees from (or pursuing advanced degrees at) elite academic institutions.

      I don’t want to pick on Jen McCreight, but inasmuch as she was so central to the genesis “A+” it’s intstructive to look at this self description from her blog:

      “I just graduated from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana with a double major in Genetics and Evolution and a minor in Psychology. I’ve been doing research in an ecological genetics lab for almost three years, and in the fall I’m going to the University of Washington to get my PhD in Genome Sciences.”

      That’s privileged folks. Very uncommon in the general population; less so amongst A plussers.

      In any case, at thus juncture at least it seems the A+ ‘movement’ is losing whatever steam it had. Time will tell.

    • M.L.
      November 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      Just a quick postscript here. I saw the term “cis” up there in the list of privileged status categories and wondered wtf it was. Cis?

      Whew. I’m sorry I looked it up. This PC stuff is really getting out of control.

      So let me see if I have this right: In certain ‘progressive’ circles, it is considered proper ettiquette for non-transexual males to identify as “cis gendered” because failure to do so ‘oppresses’ transexuals by assuming non-transexuality is the norm.

      Wow. As Stan from South Park is fond of saying, that’s some fucked up shit that there.

      WTF?!

      That is just so crazy and stupid on so many levels.

      I can’t believe reasonable people actually accomodate such nuttiness. That’s not being ‘progressive’ or ‘sensitive’, it’s just fucking retarded.

      I think I need to lie down…

    • M.L.
      November 2, 2012 at 12:13 am

      PPS: Man, that A+ forum is a real lunatic asylum. The following snip gives a pretty good idea of the intolerant zealotry common there.

      They were fretting over the need for “trans inclusive language” (i.e. the horrors of using ‘oppressive’ words like “ladies and gentleman” instead of purportely ‘inclusive words’ like “folks”). One forum member naively opined:

      ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ (when used in showbiz at least) is such an ingrained and decontextualised cliché that it’s pretty much become a gender-neutral phrase.

      To which the response was:

      “NO. FUCK YOU. CHECK YOUR FUCKING CISBINARY PRIVILEGE.”

      So much for A+’s supposed ‘commitment to civilty’.

      These people are worse than creationists. Seriously.

      [Yes. I. Must. Lie. Down. Now.]

      • David Bartlett
        November 2, 2012 at 1:45 am

        You poor bastard. The first time on those forums… I still get flashbacks. If A+ ever appears to be the future for Atheism, you will find me outside a Catholic church in the morning begging for forgiveness from the Lord above!

  52. M.L.
    November 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    An interesting bit of myopic psychological projection on the part of A+ enthusiast Richard Carrier:

    “… claiming offense is a common tactic used in an attempt to silence, or shame or intimidate into silence, someone who says things you don’t like.”

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/2289

    Unfortunately, Richard is clearly oblivious to the fact that claiming offense in order to silence, shame, or intimidate is A+’s bread and butter.

    Incidentally, one of the threads they have over at A+ is devoted to criticizing white people for supposedly only liking commercial black rappers. No evidence for this very strange concern about is given, it’s merely asserted (and met with wide agreement there). It’s a lumatic asylum. Never mind that all of the participants in the discussion are themselves whites who don’t listen to commercial black rappers, which sort of makes the bizarre thread self-refuting.

    This is what “atheism plus social justice” means to them?

    In fact, the A+ forums are so bizarre that one could say that A+ itself is self-refuting. I can’t imagine any reasonable person perusing the threads there without coming away with the impression that it’s a gaggle of crazies.

    Those forums have got to be a huge embarrassment for any of the high profile skeptics who have signed on. Seriously, reading the posts there feels like eavesdropping on the inner sanctum of a cult. It’s creepy.

  53. M.L.
    November 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    This will be my last A+ post here. But again, for those suggesting A+ doesn’t encourage white guilt, take a gander at this:

    “That’s important, not just to have a voice in internal discussion (and immediate banning of whitesplaining crap) but because there’s no reason for PoC to even trust an anti-racism space here *to be a supportive or safe space* if it’s going to be primarily populated, guided, and *defended* by us same old clueless white folks. ”

    “White people need education, not because what white people need is more important, but because white people need to be decent and well informed before other people will find them pleasant to interact with here on this forum. (And I’m lasering in on this forum atm.) ”

    “one thing I did *not* appreciate wolfman marching up in here and demanding this that and the other thing – you can’t wave your magic wand and make inclusive safe space! and I was genuinely confused by his attitude until he revealed that he was white, and then I became extremely unimpressed with his ass.”

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2599&sid=fc9d2311beb4b8dbc9cdff6386af5adc

    So whites are dangerous, clueless, indecent, unpleasant, and being white is itself a reason to be “extremely unimpressed” with someone (or at lesst with their ass).

    Interestingly, this particular thread began with a white A plusser suggesting they set up a separate “safe space” for what she condescendingly referred to as “PoC” (i.e. “Peope of Color”). Sounds like they have some sort of smiley faced, politically correct apartheid in mind.

    Wow.

Leave a Reply