Dear NECSS: You Have Seriously Fucked Up

NECSS is so sorry they offended the fucking asshole who says something awful every 2.2 seconds, and hopes we can all just get along.

Well, we can’t.

Let me explain to the not-so-fine folks on the NECSS board why Richard Dawkins is such a divisive figure, and why giving him his talk back and asking him to be on a panel to discuss the issues “causing conflict both within the skeptical community and within society as a whole” is basically spitting in the faces of those of us who are trying very, very hard to end the abuses that are causing those conflicts.

Here is a brief history of Richard Dawkins being awful, pulled from my own archives, and therefore in no way comprehensive, because the man is a firehose of terrible statements and I have better things to do than spend 100% of my time trying to catalogue all his fuckery.He kicked off the opening of the Deep Rifts™ with a sneering attack on Rebecca Watson for mildly asking guys to please not corner women on elevators. Then he refused to understand why women might be a tad upset about his cavilier dismissal of our concerns.

He has a distressing habit of erasing women when he discusses abortion. (Alas, I didn’t get around to writing up his abhorrent views on fetuses with Down Syndrome, but any discussion of his views on abortion is incomplete without mentioning them.)

He decided that classifying some child sexual abuse as “mild pedophilia” was a reasonable thing to do. I mean, if Dawk wasn’t much bothered by being diddled as a child, it can’t be that big a deal.

He thinks that women who drink and get raped brought it on themselves. As if that wasn’t despicable enough, he’s also decided that only women with “clear and convincing memories” of their assault can report a rape – so those of us who get raped after being knocked out by drugs or physical force are shit out of luck, no matter what other evidence we have.

And then he tried to silence rape victims to protect a celebrity in the skeptic community.

He attacked a black Muslim kid for building a clock and taking it to school, even going so far as to descend into conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones.

He’s impervious to criticism because he’s convinced himself we’re only in it for the money and fame. (My perpetually depleted bank account can attest to the fact that there is no fame and fortune to be found in criticizing one of the most popular men in the atheist movement.)

And then there was the episode that got him briefly disinvited from the 2016 NECSS conference, wherein he retweeted a video equating feminism with radical Islam (complete with a rape “joke”), and, upon discovering that the video targeted a flesh-and-blood woman who’d been horribly harassed, decided she deserved it.

And all of that is just a tiny sampling of the endless amounts of awful that spew from Richard Dawkins’ Twitter feed on a daily basis, aside from the days when he’s recuperating from a stroke. Then he just uses audio interviews to shit all over the people who’ve already suffered due to his above-noted words siccing hordes of harassers on them. Poor dear, he’s so stressed by the fact we get upset at him for being a sexist, racist, bigoted asshole.

This is the man you’re so very sorry for briefly subjecting to consequences for his actions.

Let me tell you something, NECSS organizers and board people.

I’m sick of this shit. I am completely tired of women, minorities, and people concerned with social justice being an afterthought in this movement. I’m sick of us getting trodden underfoot in the rush to kiss the asses of the Great White Menfolk. I’m tired of watching people and orgs take a tiny step forward, and then stampede back to the status quo.

We on the social justice side of the Deep Rifts™ will change the face of atheism. We will make a secular community where women, people of color, queer folk, trans folk, disabled folk, and other underrepresented folk find safe harbor. We will defeat the harassers, the old-school sexists, the gentlemen racists, the trolls, the harassers, the assholes, the greedy, and the other assorted jackasses that make movement atheism such a terrible place right now. We will resolve this shit, and we will make a better world.

And we will remember who stood with us, who failed us, and who opposed us.

And the question orgs such as yours need to ask: what do you want to be remembered for? Helping achieve equality and justice, or being the jerks we had to overcome to get there?

Consider carefully.

And no, there is no “room for a range of reasonable opinions on these issues.” There is no discussion to be had with people like Dawkins, who regularly shit all over women and minorities within the movement whilst proclaiming themselves our hero. We’ve tried. We have tried so hard, and so long, to reason with them, and we are done. We are moving on. You can move with us, or we can leave you behind.

As for those of you in the community who had a brief moment of hope when NECSS temporarily decided to do the right thing: they offered a refund to Dawkins’ fans for the disappointment, and now they owe you one. They didn’t bother to offer it, as they should have done. That’s another way they’ve shown that we aren’t shit to them.

If you donated to NECSS or purchased a ticket as a thank you for standing up for the women, minorities, and allies in the secular community who have been harmed by Richard Dawkins, it’s time to ask for your money back. Here’s a handy contact form.

They need to give your your money back. And then they need to give up all pretense of decency, because pretending these are just reconcilable differences is shitting on everyone who isn’t wealthy, white, and generally (though not always) male in this movement. There is a rift for a fucking excellent reason. If they can’t be bothered to figure out why, they need to stay the hell on the other side of it.

Image is a sepia print of a woman in early 1900s attire gazing into the Grand Canyon. Caption reads, "I think we're gonna need a bigger rift..."

It’s okay. We can build a better movement without them.

{advertisement}
Dear NECSS: You Have Seriously Fucked Up

18 thoughts on “Dear NECSS: You Have Seriously Fucked Up

  1. rq
    2

    It was the bit about ‘reasonable opinions’. A ‘range’ of them, in fact. Who decides which opinion is reasonable?

    Poor dear, he’s so stressed by the fact we get upset at him for being a sexist, racist, bigoted asshole.

    As someone in another thread pointed out, is he admitting that he’s been triggered…? Whatever happened to growing a thicker skin?
    In any case. On FB I started a pretty story about a ray of light, but as usual, it’s got nowhere to go.

    There’s a quote from I-forget-where that goes something like, If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?
    Take a look at women and other less privileges minorities screaming all over the world: I think there’s an answer somewhere in among all the noise. And the cutting down.

    Or as the inimitable Mervyn Peake once said,

    If trees gushed blood
    When they were felled
    By meddling man,
    And crimson welled

    From every gash
    His axe can give,
    Would he forbear,
    And let them live?

    No.

  2. 4

    they offered a refund to Dawkins’ fans for the disappointment, and now they owe you one. They didn’t bother to offer it, as they should have done.

    Fuck me, you’re right. They explicitly offered a refund in their previous statement and they very conspicuously don’t do so in their most recent one. I assume that’s not a nefariously intentional slight, but it does say something about their focus and concern; about who they’re worried about offending and who they don’t really care about.

  3. 5

    I have to say, I really would like to find out what the reasonable opinions in opposition to feminism are. I’ve been looking for one for something like six years now – I’ve even spent whole weekends trawling through those link dumps they like so much – and I’m still staring blanks.

  4. 8

    I assume that’s not a nefariously intentional slight, but it does say something about their focus and concern; about who they’re worried about offending and who they don’t really care about.

    That’s something Stephanie Zvan also addressed in her open letter to CFI:

    CFI now has a harassment denialist on its board, a harassment denialist who has tied his denialism to his work at your organization. And being who he is, given the reach he has, everyone now knows this. That means you’re looking at questions like this:

    Assume that one of the CFI staff or volunteers reports being harassed or assaulted by a prominent speaker. It’s happened before. Unfortunately, it will probably happen again. An investigation is conducted, but no action is taken. The person who reported being harassed or assaulted isn’t satisfied with the outcome and speaks about the matter publicly.

    Who will trust that the outcome is just and that the decided course of action matched the facts of the case? Who will trust that they can report and have their situation decided on the facts?

    NECSS just demonstrated how they behave when a prominent speaker’s harassing behavior was completely public. How would it have gone down if Dawkins showed that video as part of a conference talk?

  5. 11

    I have one to add to your list and that would be RD’s behaviour and statements during the Tim Hunt saga. He referred to feminists as a “baying mob” and laughably used Louise Mensch as a credible source of information on the topic of Tim Hunt and feminism. Not so funny was RD’s bullying of Connie St. Louis during this time. He obsessively retweeted a Daily Mail smear job against her, whipping his followers into a frenzy of attacks on her.

  6. 12

    Co-signed as well. If there’s a plus side to any of this, it’s that this new panel is likely to be high comedy. Who will they have speak? Who would be willing to explain each controversy around him, to a hostile crowd and with Dawkins in attendance? Yet the organizers have promised balance, so they just can’t stock the panel with Dawkins supporters. Will they show that video, complete with sexual assault reference, to compensate?

    This panel will either be a dull exercise in Dawkins apologetics, or a hilariously inept attempt at balance. I’m banking on the latter.

  7. 13

    Hj Hornbeck @ 8:

    Who will they have speak?

    Oooh! OOOH! If the panel’s Tf00t, Sh3rm3r, CHS, SoA, etc. I might reconsider my girlcott JUST SO I CAN MOON THEM.

    I bet I could crowd source my ticket in like five minutes.

  8. 15

    there is no fame and fortune to be found in criticizing one of the most popular men in the atheist movement.)

    One of the most popular, famous and wealthy men in the atheist movement is accusing a few bloggers of click-whoring. It’s lese-majeste, really.

  9. rq
    16

    I realļy don’t see the humour in the panel.
    Perhaps it’s a certain privilege that I lack that blinds me to it, but I find it far from hilarious, no matter how inept.

Comments are closed.