Comparing movement atheism and Catholicism on matters of misogyny

Silentbob posted an excellent comment on one of the last threads that I think really cuts through a lot of the pushback with regard to cleaning up our own houses. It’s not about who’s “good enough” to be part of our “exclusive club”, it’s about acknowledging problems when there’s overwhelming evidence that those problems exist, and fixing them. Given that we’ve attacked the Catholic church so often for their issues with child molestation, even though MOST PRIESTS AREN’T CHILD MOLESTERS, one would think that we would recognize the need to acknowledge the problem of antifeminism and outright misogyny even though MOST ATHEISTS AREN’T MISOGYNISTS.

The comparison my be odious, but I suggest an analogy with the paedophilia problem in the catholic church.

Atheists, of course, strongly condemn this behaviour, but are we not almost as appalled by the church’s response, which is typically to trivialise, dismiss or conceal the problem? How do we react when the church says, “Oh, but this is just a few isolated incidents! You shouldn’t condemn the whole church. Most priests aren’t paedophiles. Why make such a fuss? Focus on the good, not on the bad!”. Aren’t we especially disgusted when they resort to blaming the victim? When someone within speaks out and acknowledges the problem, don’t we praise them?

There is a misogyny problem within the atheist movement. It is well documented. Let us not trivialise, or dismiss, or sweep the problem under the carpet. Nor complain that is it isn’t representative of the atheist movement as a whole. And most of all, let us not blame the victim. We must do just what we would expect of the church – focus on the problem, highlight the problem, condemn the problem in the strongest possible terms, and set about fixing it. The people who have been doing this should not be attacked for exaggerating the problem, or for calling the movement into disrepute. They should be thanked for the courage to take a stand.

We must hold ourselves to a higher standard than we would hold those we oppose.

I’ve also elsewhere likened it to people being told they have cancer, but instead of treating it, they demand that doctors stop talking about your body being “full of cancer” when it’s really just one tumor, and really the tumor is teeny-tiny, no bigger than 0.01% of your body mass!

Can we just deal with the tumor please? Is that so hard?

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Comparing movement atheism and Catholicism on matters of misogyny

180 thoughts on “Comparing movement atheism and Catholicism on matters of misogyny

  1. 151

    1. In response to the post. There is not a mysonginst problem with the atheist movement. There might be a mysonginst problem within a small clique of people that spend a lot of time on the interwebs, but this hardly constitutes as a whole.

    2. Reading the comments from the outside looking in, it would seem that the responses are emotional about brokenmechs views about the site to the point that supporters of the site have already determined in their mind what type of person brokenmech is and it almost looks as if people are attacking his views based on personal reasons as opposed to logical ones.

    In other words. It would seem that in this comment discussion, brokenmeck could say he dislikes the color blue and many of you would find a reason to find fault with his views on the color and make judgement on his character because of his comment. However seeing that the staircase analogy seemed to fly over a few heads not sure if the color blue will make any sense.

    In fact, this comment thread is a perfect example of the staircase.

  2. 153

    The entire staircase argument boils down to the idea that harassment isn’t really harassment unless it meets specific conditions (which still go unnamed, which shows a lack of honesty this far into the conversation). I’ll accept it for the sake of argument, because what I really want to know is what brokenmech thinks counts as actual harassment and what doesn’t. SO BROKENMECH, what counts and what doesn’t, since a woman’s word isn’t a good measure?

  3. 156

    Jason Thibeault says:
    September 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm ADT
    So, because most harassment is impossible to prove without video evidence, all harassers are presumed innocent, and by extension, all women are presumed liars. The “troll argument” you’ve dismissed tells you where the problem is.

    This is a huge part of the problem. Jason, you make declarative proclamations that are complete bullshit and then want to be taken seriously. Most harrassment is proved without videotape of any kind. They are proved through eyewitness testimony otherwise there would never be a hostile work environment or sexual harassment case proved in the workplace. And all alledeged harassers are initially perceived “not guilty” which is different than innocent. There is a high bar to prove guilt. That’s the fucking law as demanded by the legislature. And then your statement that by extension , all women are presumed liars, what bullshit. What alternate reality are you from? You are making arguments with absolutely no basis in fact or law, just pure conjecture and make it up as you go along shit because you can’t get your own way.
    Lastly, how high is this treehouse you and the other A+ group are going to make? I’ m really curious how you intend to keep anyone out. You’re going to exactly what. Is someone that doesn’t share your point of view going to be shunned, not let into a con, get stared at, given the evil eye, bad thought them? These trolls as you call them are eating you up and you don’t even know it.

    Pteryxx says:
    September 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm ADT
    There’s a reason presumption of innocence is a rule specifically WITHIN CRIMINAL TRIALS. Not for personal judgement, not for codes of conduct, not for discussions, not even for criminal investigations. And certainly not for questions of consent involving other people. The target of harassment should be taken *at least* as seriously as the aggressor, more so when consent is involved as they are THE definitive authority on their own consent. The evidence of widespread bigotry, denial of consent, and silencing of victims justifies correcting for the demonstrated bias: i.e. making conscious effort to consider the victims credible.

    Wrong again.
    The presumption of innocence is absolute in any investigation. If it can’t be proved then there are no findings and it’s the end of the story. If you don’t like it change the law but we are a nation of laws and you don’t get to make shit up because your delicate sensibilities get hurt. As passionate as what you said sounds, it doesn’t mean shit in an investigation. And you are making another bullshit assertion that victims aren’t taken seriously or credible. Such crap.

  4. 158

    Entrained says:

    The presumption of innocence is absolute in any investigation. If it can’t be proved then there are no findings and it’s the end of the story. If you don’t like it change the law but we are a nation of laws and you don’t get to make shit up because your delicate sensibilities get hurt. As passionate as what you said sounds, it doesn’t mean shit in an investigation. And you are making another bullshit assertion that victims aren’t taken seriously or credible. Such crap.

    I’m sorry, but you’re the one who’s wrong. The presumption of innocence applies within the justice system. Until any case of harassment enters a court of law, you don’t have a ‘presumption of innocence’.

    One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/presumption_of_innocence

    I’ m really curious how you intend to keep anyone out. You’re going to exactly what. Is someone that doesn’t share your point of view going to be shunned, not let into a con, get stared at, given the evil eye, bad thought them? These trolls as you call them are eating you up and you don’t even know it

    A+ is opt-in.
    That means it’s completely up to you to join. If you want to, cool. If you don’t, cool. There’s no membership card. No fee to join.
    There’s no way to keep someone in or out.
    That said, if you’re someone who holds views antithetical to the advancement of racial equality, trans rights or gay rights, you’re not going to get a warm welcome in the A+ forum.

    I’m really curious why someone who’s opposed to A+ would want to even *join*.

    Also, victims of harassment *are* dismissed. You can easily search the internet for *plenty* of examples.
    Here’s one to start your search:

    A Baltimore Sun analysis of federal crime statistics showed that for the past four years, Baltimore has led the nation in the percentage of rape cases that police say are false or baseless. Many victims of sexual abuse say police interrogators ask confrontational questions and challenge their motives and veracity; as a result, many women decide not to cooperate, leading to the cases being shelved.

    The Sun’s analysis also shows that four in 10 emergency calls on sexual abuse never make it to detectives specializing in sex crimes, having been dismissed by police officers at the scene.

    Police initially defended their practices. But after reviewing the analysis, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for an audit into all such “unfounded” cases, which began earlier this month. Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III also announced the creation of a hot line for victims to share their stories of interacting with police or to request that their cases be reviewed by the audit committee. More than two dozen cases reported to the hot line will be reviewed by the committee.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-ci-unfounded-rape-conviction-20100725,0,6853467.story

  5. 159

    Lima @ 151–

    You really read all the comments? Are you sure? Did you read the one (108) where brokenmech blithely mentions that the “innocent joke” that upset his friend’s wife was a death threat?

    You know, people might make death threats in fun sometimes. But it seems to me that if your death threats are upsetting someone, the healthy reaction isn’t “she must have an emotional problem.” The healthy reaction is, “I guess death threats don’t go over too well. I’d better stop making them.” That’s the problem I saw in brokenmech’s attitude– his inability to take responsibility for his own actions. I suspect other posters saw the same thing.

  6. 160

    OK, so let’s assume people get knocked up feel harassed because they deviated from some universal, objective standard of purity reasonableness. And you can totally say that it’s their own fault because they’re sinners and sluts hypersensitive. But the only solution you have in that case, trying to reform people through abstinence-only sex-education mansplaining, doesn’t seem to work. So what do you do? Is there an actual solution to the problem which emerges from your model, and if not, why should it be preferred?

  7. 161

    @hoary. Yes I read what brokenmeck wrote, ( what is the purpose of asking “are you sure”, what type of response are you expecting from me with that comment?). Obviously I read his comments considering I made mention of the staircase. No where did I see this “death threat” you have made up in your mind, and continue to use the word over and over as if it really existed. I saw the mention of friends getting together and jokes being made and someone that perhaps was over emotional or with some other type of stress disorder go home and over react over a comment made in jest. However I saw no death threat nor do I consider it one…

    Something that many fail to grasp in this comment thread is that people are purposely creating the problems in their heads when in truth they are not there. They seem real to you because of the way you have been programmed or because of a past experience , but that does not nesseceraly mean that the death threat existed, nor in truth did I read it out to be one.

    Which goes back to my comment about the color blue. Instead of understanding the analogy brokenmeck was giving you to help you understand what he was saying more clearly, it was taken out of context and used against his character.

    There is a song called “die”. The lyric is “die mother phucker die” Would you consider that a death threat?

  8. 162

    Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says:
    September 10, 2012 at 1:48 am ADT
    Entrained says:

    The presumption of innocence is absolute in any investigation. If it can’t be proved then there are no findings and it’s the end of the story. If you don’t like it change the law but we are a nation of laws and you don’t get to make shit up because your delicate sensibilities get hurt. As passionate as what you said sounds, it doesn’t mean shit in an investigation. And you are making another bullshit assertion that victims aren’t taken seriously or credible. Such crap.

    I’m sorry, but you’re the one who’s wrong. The presumption of innocence applies within the justice system. Until any case of harassment enters a court of law, you don’t have a ‘presumption of innocence’.

    See actually you do. I’m speaking from experience and education not making shit up and interpreting what I read on the Internet.

    I’ m really curious how you intend to keep anyone out. You’re going to exactly what. Is someone that doesn’t share your point of view going to be shunned, not let into a con, get stared at, given the evil eye, bad thought them? These trolls as you call them are eating you up and you don’t even know it

    A+ is opt-in.
    That means it’s completely up to you to join. If you want to, cool. If you don’t, cool. There’s no membership card. No fee to join.
    There’s no way to keep someone in or out.
    That said, if you’re someone who holds views antithetical to the advancement of racial equality, trans rights or gay rights, you’re not going to get a warm welcome in the A+ forum.

    I’m really curious why someone who’s opposed to A+ would want to even *join*.

    Great, then what’s all the fuss. You see, this is really not about opting in at all, it’s about creating a different philosophical and behavioral approach regarding interaction by a group of folks that want life approached differently than it is now in the atheist community. Just curious what happens when someone doesn’t make the cut because their behavior doesn’t fit, ho makes the decision, and then how they are pushed away.

    Also, victims of harassment *are* dismissed. You can easily search the internet for *plenty* of examples.
    Here’s one to start your search:

    A Baltimore Sun analysis of federal crime statistics showed that for the past four years, Baltimore has led the nation in the percentage of rape cases that police say are false or baseless. Many victims of sexual abuse say police interrogators ask confrontational questions and challenge their motives and veracity; as a result, many women decide not to cooperate, leading to the cases being shelved.

    The Sun’s analysis also shows that four in 10 emergency calls on sexual abuse never make it to detectives specializing in sex crimes, having been dismissed by police officers at the

    All harassment does not come close to rising to rising to the level of sexual abuse so I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to prove with that argument.
    Just more bullshit from the uneducated but it’s entertaining to read crap like this.

    Police initially defended their practices. But after reviewing the analysis, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for an audit into all such “unfounded” cases, which began earlier this month. Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III also announced the creation of a hot line for victims to share their stories of interacting with police or to request that their cases be reviewed by the audit committee. More than two dozen cases reported to the hot line will be reviewed by the committee.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-ci-unfounded-rape-conviction-20100725,0,6853467.story

  9. 163

    @ Entrained:

    First, I highly advise using blockquotes when responding to people. You can see the format directly above the comment boxes [blockquote][/blockquote], except with pointy brackets instead of square.

    Second, you are flat out wrong in your assessment of “presumption of innocence”, unless you are using it as a call to moral action instead of a description of (most) legal systems. There are a few caveats here, which I’ll address in a moment.

    There are several distinctions to be made here, the principal two being:

    #1 – the difference between legal systems that operate under the concents of (a) de jure (presumption of guilt) or (b) Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (“The proof lies upon the one who affirms, not the one who denies.”)

    #2 – the difference between criminal and civil cases

    Considering #1: Most contemporary jurisdictions in the world have moved away from the de jure standard. In fact, it’s considered a hallmark of a “civilized” legal system. I’ve gone lazy here and am just going to quote from wikipedia, but the links provided there are accurate and do point to the relevant portions.

    The key point to take here is that the extension of presumption of innocence is almost universally limited to a criminal context.

    Emphases mine, and where the language in this summary may be unclear, I’ve included some additional information below the wall of text.

    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe says (art. 6.2): “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law”. This convention has been adopted by treaty and is binding on all Council of Europe members. Currently (and in any foreseeable expansion of the EU) every country member of the European Union is also member to the Council of Europe, so this stands for EU members as a matter of course. Nevertheless, this assertion is iterated verbatim in Article 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

    In Canada, section 11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: “Any person charged with an offence* has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal”.

    In the South African Constitution, section 35(3)(h) of the Bill of Rights states: “Every accused person** has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right to be presumed innocent, to remain silent, and not to testify during the proceedings.”

    In France, article 9 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 1789, which has force as constitutional law, begins: “Any man being presumed innocent until he has been declared guilty …”. The Code of Criminal Procedure states in its preliminary article that “any person suspected or prosecuted is presumed innocent for as long as their guilt has not been established”[13] and the jurors’ oath repeats this assertion (article 304).[19]

    Although the Constitution of the United States does not cite it explicitly, presumption of innocence is widely held to follow from the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments. See also Coffin v. United States and In re Winship.***

    In the 1988 Brazilian constitution, article 5, section LVII states that “no one shall be considered guilty before the issuing of a final and unappealable penal sentence“.

    In the Colombian constitution, Title II, Chapter 1, Article 29 states that “Every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law”.****

    The Constitution of Russia, in article 49, states that “Everyone charged with a crime shall be considered not guilty until his or her guilt has been proven in conformity with the federal law and has been established by the valid sentence of a court of law”. It also states that “The defendant shall not be obliged to prove his or her innocence” and “Any reasonable doubt shall be interpreted in favor of the defendant”.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for their defence”.

    Additional information for those juridictions listed here that aren’t quite so clear in their language from this quote can be found at the following links. Not comprehensive, but should be quite illustrative.

    * For Canada
    ** For South Africa
    *** For the U.S.
    **** For Columbia — see Page 11.

    (One fun note, in wee Scotland, you can be guilty/innocent, or the jury can return a verdict of “Not Proven”.)

    Considering #2: Agonizingly, I’m in some haste here, and this is much more the interesting area to discuss. However, since I should have run out the door 15 minutes ago, I’ll submit OJ Simpson. Acquitted at trial, taken to the cleaners in civil court. Different burden of proof/standards of evidence apply. It should be very clear that a civil action here did not use the same standard as the criminal trial. I’ll come back to this if you really care to contest the point, but I don’t recommend it, because you’re simply not correct in your assertions above.

    In conclusion, while this discussion is certainly on topic regarding accusations of rape in the context of a criminal trial, your calls for presumption of innocence have jack shit to do with most instances of sexual harassment, company policies regarding such, and/or (as Pteryxx quite rightly points out) criminal investigations (police have no obligation to assume you’re innocent while they investigate you).

    Let me stress that again, actually: Presumption of innocence may be a moral stance when regarding civil actions (such as most cases of workplace sexual harassment), but it is in no way required by law, nor is it a standard of practice, nor is it compelling on the various actors involved in such a case. You really seem to want it to be, but it’s not.

    Finally, let me apologize for the wall of text. I feel strongly about people basing arguments off of incorrect assumptions regarding legal constraints on private actors in civil cases.

  10. 165

    The whole “presumption of innocence” line of argumentation here is a facet of hyperskepticism. Yes, if we were charging this person with criminal harassment, the burden of proof is on the people wanting to put them in jail. However, if we provide no way for the harassed to actually find protection, because we’re more worried about how the person doing the shitty things might take it or what their intentions are, such that we never tell them to cut it out, then we are failing as human beings.

    There’s an underreporting problem. When people are harassed, they don’t report it because “what can be done about it?” and “who will believe me?” often have a similar answer: “nothing” and “nobody”. This is because (in a very small part) of the people gaming the system and “crying wolf” for their own gain, yes, but it is mostly because of the fact that most harassment can’t be proven because the perpetrators are smart enough to do it with plausible deniability.

    For most harassment, it’s unintentional. Like br0kenmech’s case, it’s a failure of empathy — telling someone they’ll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes, when they see that as an actual death threat, is a form of unintentional harassment. You hurt her feelings, you don’t know why, you assume the fault is the person’s. What if she has a history of having people turn on her? What if she has a grandmother who came from a war-stricken country?

    Because you have empathy, you would apologize to that person and avoid such analogies in the future. If you don’t, then you’re a callous, terrible friend.

    Likewise with sexual harassment. Let’s say you make a pass at someone from work that you find attractive. Let’s say it’s after hours, and there’s no imbalance of power. If that person doesn’t reciprocate, you back off. If they’re uninterested, you drop that line of thinking. You don’t keep mooning after the person, making repeated passes or trying to “wear them down” over time, because then every time that person sees you from then on, they think of that instead of the work they’re trying to do. The reason workplace sexual harassment is taken so seriously, so much closer to actual criminal proceedings (and yet, still isn’t, because the repercussions are so mild — being told “stop it” then being fired is a damn sight milder than being put in jail!), is because a workplace is a WORK place. You can’t work if you feel like you’re surrounded by wolves.

    Likewise with this community. You can’t be an activist and discuss your ideas around the central theme if you feel beset upon by a) people who are trying to do everything they can to push you out because you’re a girl; and b) people who minimize this and say there’s no problem with misogyny in the community because it’s just a small subset of the real community and those people aren’t “real” members. Either you own the problem, and you fix it, like workplaces have with sexual harassment policies (and we largely have with conference harassment policies), or you accept that this community will never be welcoming to women because of that subset of people and pretend like it’s women’s own fault for not being thick-skinned enough. Like the men are. Who don’t get that kind of harassment ever.

  11. 168

    Yeah, but I’m fighting for some changes to the network to prevent it from happening again. It’s a relatively simple thing to check the WordPress registered users table’s email addresses and usernames and prevent anonymous users from using those — however, it has to be added functionality. It’s not part of WordPress core.

    It’s like these assholes realized it worked on Jen McCreight so they’re going to try others. I wonder how many registered authors’ comments on blog posts right now are being spoofed and nobody realizes it, and how much fallout those spoofed comments will have in the future. And this from people who claim to be rationalists and arbiters of what moral actions are justifiable and what are anathema to the community (since they think feminism is anathema).

  12. 169

    Sally Strange @ #137: Do you mean that you found a problem with my “fucked into the ground” statement? Sorry, but I still stand by it. BTW, maybe it’s just my current mood but I read several of your comments here and you’re VERY annoying. Are you someone with good intentions? Yes. Someone I agree with most of the time? Yes. But no offense, you’re just a very annoying person. 🙂

  13. 170

    Entrained:
    Since you’re so convinced that you are correct with your interpretation of “presumption of innocence”, I’m sure you can provide some evidence that you are correct and everyone else is wrong.
    You know, with some links to reputable sources that confirm your belief.
    Oh, and I second the notion: please learn how to blockquote.

    [type the word ‘blockquote’ here]
    copy/paste the words you’re quoting here
    [/type the word ‘blockquote’ immediately after the slash]

    Use the greater than/lesser than brackets

  14. 171

    Entrained:

    Great, then what’s all the fuss. You see, this is really not about opting in at all, it’s about creating a different philosophical and behavioral approach regarding interaction by a group of folks that want life approached differently than it is now in the atheist community. Just curious what happens when someone doesn’t make the cut because their behavior doesn’t fit, ho makes the decision, and then how they are pushed away.

    There is no “make the cut”.
    People don’t get selected like a reality television show.
    If you sign up for A+, chances are you’re someone who is an atheist, and you are interested in talking about issues related to progressive social justice (such as racial or gender equality, or gay rights issues).
    I can’t imagine anyone joining A+ if they’re not interested in social justice issues. Discussing the negative effects of religion is one aspect of A+, so joining just to talk about *only* atheist issues doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, as that’s a far more narrow focus than many people seek to discuss there. Still, an individual could theoretically ignore anything not related to secularism.
    If you’re someone who doesn’t agree with A+ at all, I can’t see why you’d sign up.

    As for pushing someone out, the only way that could happen is if someone *chose* to leave.
    There’s no EJECT button at the A+ forum.
    There’s no boss that comes in and say “Get out. You’re fired.”

    Why would someone choose to leave? Those answers are varied. I imagine if someone were to join A+ and decide to comment about how they hate queers, comments by them would be met with derision by various commenters. At some point, that person might opt to leave.

    There’s just no other way they could get “kicked out”.

    Why are you having so much trouble with this?
    Do you view A+ as some sort of “Private Property” with a giant “Keep Out” or “Beware of Dog” sign out front? If so, you’re wrong. Check out the A+ forum. You can see for yourself. You can sign up if you want to join. Or you can NOT sign up if you don’t want to. That’s all there is to it.

    BTW, those in support of A+ are not the ones making the fuss.
    The people complaining about divisiveness are making the fuss.
    [the divisiveness was already present, and has been for some time, as evidenced by the pushback against women’s rights]

    The people complaining about elitism are making the fuss.
    [no,it’s not elitist to say people are tired of being made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe because of rape or death threats, and have decided to carve out of space “over there” away from the people who like doing that; nor is it elitist to say that this space is for anyone who wants to talk about socially progressive issues]

    The people complaining about automatically being labelled misogynists or assholes are making the fuss.
    [as many, many, many people have stated, NOT joining A+ does not mean someone is an asshole/misogynist. Al Stefanelli, one of the great bloggers here at FtB has stated he doesn’t want to join. He doesn’t like labels. That’s completely his decision. It doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist/asshole–he’s about as far from that as one could get–it just means he doesn’t want to join. Some of the people who don’t want to sign up to A+ are nice people. Some of the people who don’t want to sign up to A+ *are* asshole misogynists. Those labels would only apply to people who actually display those characteristics.]

    The people complaining about stealing atheism are making the fuss.
    [no one owns ‘atheism’, so it can’t be taken away. Moreover, A+ is about people who identify as atheists-hence the ‘A’ in A+- wanting to create a space away from the antagonism they’ve been faced with for so long so that they can talk about progressive social justice issues; hence the ‘+’. A+ doesn’t redefine atheism. It’s a subset of atheism with a specific focus on social issues.]

    Without all of those people making a fuss, there wouldn’t be any drama.

  15. 172

    Folks believed in those things prior to A+ and will believe those things during and after A+ . The issue of inclusiveness was started by folks trying to have a harassment free con with policies they felt would protect them from folks with bad intentions. That’s when some of the bloggers tried to make the treehouse taller. There will be a representation of the same folks classified as misogynist assholes in A+ that were in atheism. In my view nothing was gained except we moved backwards for 2 reasons in my opinion,
    We fractured ourselves philosophically. I want nothing to do with some of he bloggers who I find obnoxious and quite frankly worse than some theists I know in terms of close mindedness.
    We fractured ourselves politically. One of David Silverman’s goals was to drive the Atheist brand to make the movement politically stronger. This took us in the opposite direction of that goal.
    Entrained is now eliott1…
    Agreed that no one can hijack an idea but several vocal folks with a constituency can fracture it, regardless of good intentions.
    As to presumption of innocence, I do harassment investigations as part of m professional responsibilities and have most of my life. Every allegation is treated as an allegation and every person that has an allegation made against them has the presumption of innocence going into the investigation. Then the facts take us to a conclusion. In they said/they said situations short of eye witness corroboration, a video or a confession you will get a result of no findings. Yes, so I’m convinced along with every professional organization I deal with that performs similar investigations, but it’s not my position to try to change your mind. Believe whatever you choose but I promise you if it was you being investigated based on an allegation, and the allegation was false which occurs more than you might think and you have someone like me in front of you, you want me to go in with the presumption of innocence.
    An example, the allegation of a guy taking upskirt camera pictures at TAM 2 years ago. It was all over the blogs, some folks gave their account of what happened and folks relacted on blogs like a mob. All that was missing were pitchforks and torches. Except, the guy didn’t do anything. I saw the reports which included a variety of video they observed as well as real time observation and looking at his camera card and talked to the investigator. He did nothing. Absolutely nothing except being guilty of carrying his camera low. For that he was treated hortifically. So yes, even after allegations are made, everyone deserves the presumption of innocence for exactly this reason.

  16. 173

    Patrick is right. In a criminal court, proof is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’; in a civil court it is ‘on the balance of probability’. This is because there is something at stake for the accused person.

    Saying, ‘Look, even if you didn’t mean it that way – don’t do that, guy (or gal).

    Sally is right. Context matters. To a woman – alone in a lift, at night, with a man – the question of joining him for coffee makes her wonder which answer will prevent her from being raped.

    The context of the ‘you’ll be killed’ ‘joke’ has not been given, but I’d imagine that it was during an argument about feminism, and the man making the alleged joke is nothing but a misogynist bully.

    Women in the workplace need a safe environment. They are not there for the entertainment of men.

    Oh yes, one more thing. Would the idiots who don’t support equality and justice please google the ‘thin skull rule’? I’m not good with computers (being a girly) so can’t provide a link. Essentially, you must take your victim as you find her. Goodnight all. xxx

  17. 174

    eliot:
    I love how you misrepresent those people who were asking for conventions to HAVE harassment policies. Way to argue honestly.

    Also, since you’re asserting that presumption of innocence somehow applies to a harassment situation that hasn’t even made it to the level of a criminal investigation, would you care to cite some evidence to support your opinion?

  18. 175

    @ eliott1/entrained:

    Entrained is now eliott1…

    Ok, that’s weird.

    I also find the rambling nature of the post to be inconsistent with Entrained’s earlier responses.

    I’d hazard that this post may have been undertaken while under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicant. If I misinterpret the cause, I apologize, but the sheer number of typos and grammatical errors make me reluctant to engage.

    I may be relacting hortifically, but I’d encourage you to post a more concise argument tomorrow.

  19. 176

    One huge diference between the A+ movement and the Catholic Church, is that the Church’s abuses take place in meatspace: priests raping boys, higher-ups covering for said priests, and known officials and spokesmen saying stupid hateful shit on company time. It’s much harder for an outsider to infiltrate the Church and cause such scandal, than it is to infiltrate an A+ forum like this one and post misogynistic crap while pretending to be an atheist or skeptic. I say this, not to minimize the problem or belittle the victims, but to remind everyone of the very strong possibility that a lot of the hateful crap we’re seeing could very easily come from the enemies of atheism and progressivism; and the people who appear on the Internet to be asshole atheists could just as easily be garden-variety assholes or right-wing Christians looking for an easy “win” by using sock-puppets to try to reinforce every negative stereotype of atheists that’s out there.

    Seriously, folks, we all know the enemies of A, A+, and rational inquiry are perfectly capable of all sorts of lies and “black propaganda.” Do you really think the likes of Karl Rove would be above some easy sockpuppetry, if they thought it might cause division, demoralization and/or paralysis on our side?

    I think that tougher enforcement of basic manners on forums like this one, and greater willingness to ban the worst offenders — without wasting any more time explaining ourselves to suger-hyped children who aren’t listening anyway — would be a huge step toward purging our movement of misogyny. And when the public sees the offensive assholes purged from cyberspace, that will send a message that said assholes are not so likely to be tolerated in meatspace gatherings either.

  20. 177

    176

    if you think its only happening online you haven’t been paying attention. The fiasco surrounding harassment policies at conventions revealed lots of incidents that occurred in meatspace. I also find it laughable that you think its our “enemies” being clever when leaders in the movement are saying and doing sexist things. I have a sexism hall of shame on my website specifically because so much of this BS comes from people who are big names in the atheist/skeptic movement (DJ grothe, richard dawkins, penn jillette, the amazing atheist, thunderf00t, etc). Then there are all the things that happened at various TAM events, as though evangelicals or other anti-atheists would pay hundreds of dollars and fake being a skeptic just to make the movement look bad. It seems much more likely to me that there really is a sexism problem within atheism/skepticism.

  21. 179

    There are also plenty of people, like Hoggle and Woolly Bumblebee, who have a blog history that says they once focused on atheism and stopped when they started harassing atheists instead.

  22. 180

    skeptifem: I did not say ALL of the assholes are right-wing sockpuppets, nor did I say that all of the offenses were taking place only in cyberspace. I merely said: a) it’s possible that a lot of the hate we’re seeing is coming from, and driven by, people outside the movement; and b) curtailing the hate in cyberspace would probably make a significant difference all around. That’s not the whole solution, of course, but it’s a sizable part of one.

    Dawkins is a false flag theist plant, skeptifem!?

    He’s doing enough damage to the movement that he might as well be. When you’re as dumb and uncaring a “leader” as George W. Bush, it really doesn’t matter what side you say you’re on.

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