Dawkins Wants to Be Rid of These Troublesome Bloggers

First we had Dawkins trying to suppress the allegations against Michael Shermer by exerting his influence behind the scenes. Then we had him try to suggest that date rape isn’t so bad. Then we had him try to suggest that people who have been plied with alcohol by others remain responsible for…something (terrible analogy) and that feminists don’t respect women if they believe it’s possible to victimize them. Then we had him try to suggest that rape of a highly intoxicated person, a crime in itself, shouldn’t be reported.

Now, in defense of another friend and colleague, he’d like to shut us down directly.

First of all, if you think Dawkins’ tantrum has nothing to do with being roundly criticized for subtweeting to the effect of “He raped you, but you were drunk. Shut up about it and accept responsiblity”, think again. Dawkins isn’t the sort to hold it in when he’s criticized.

Also, who knew that what it would take to make Dawkins go full slime pit in his terminology (Witch of the Week, Thought Police, for the clicks) was seeing credible rape allegations against his friend–allegations he clearly knew about well before the Oppenheimer article–become broad public knowledge?

Here’s the thing, though, Dawkins: You’re out of ammunition. You don’t have what it takes to shut us down or get people to stop paying attention to us. Nobody does. It’s been tried.

We were harassed for three years by people who thought they were doing what you wanted. We’ve faced DOS attacks, false copyright claims, libel-suit threats. It’s changed the composition of the network somewhat, but what we’re left with is people who aren’t going to be broken by this or don’t have a sense of self-preservation big enough to get them out of the game. Your joint statement with Ophelia notwithstanding, your recent tweets will increase the harassment again. We’ll still be here. All you can do by stirring up the hornets is regain your reputation for supporting harassment.

You can’t starve us of your attention either. You haven’t been promoting our network from the time it started. You don’t tweet our work. You don’t promote it on Facebook. You don’t count any of the blogs here among your “Secular Stars”. That’s all fine. No one has to promote us who doesn’t want to. But it leaves you with very little in the way of options to try to decrease our readership. All you can do is flail and demonstrate your impotence in this matter.

You can’t scare us with Christina Hoff Sommers. Her snarking at people on Twitter pales next to the rest of what we’ve put up with. Her endorsement of Sara Mayhew as a “truth-teller” just says she doesn’t use Google. Far more importantly, however, her schtick in cherry-picking stats that support the political positions she’s paid to support is the kind of thing that is our bread. You can’t intimidate a network of skeptics with classic pseudo-skepticism. All you can do is gain a reputation for not caring about reality.

You can’t eliminate us from the lecture circuit by refusing to appear with us. You tried that with Rebecca Watson, and she’s still around. Like her, the people here who regularly give talks are popular speakers. They’re in demand. Also, there are just too many conferences these days for you to appear at all of them to shut other people out. All you can do is build yourself more of a reputation as demanding.

You can’t shut us up by cutting off our revenue. While a few of us live partially on blogging income, most of us don’t, and our decisions reflect that. We already carry many posts ad-free because the pictures attached to the subject-matter, while important, makes advertisers unhappy. (Incidentally, much of the anti-Islamist content that detractors suggest we don’t have on this network fits this category.) We collectively decided to support that. All you can do by suggesting we shouldn’t be paid, while you continue to be for your writing, is demonstrate a double standard.

Most importantly, you can’t convince our audience we’re insincere. That’s one of the rare advantages of standing pat in the face of harassment. It does tend to convince all but the most motivated thinkers that you believe what you say. And that group of bloggers you’re trying to condemn do. We believe that people looking to join atheist or skeptic spaces shouldn’t face ignorant, sexist nonsense–even when it comes from your friend. We believe people looking to join atheist and skeptic spaces shouldn’t face harassment and rape–even when it comes from your friend. All you can do by attacking our sincerity is draw more attention to the fact that you either don’t agree with these principles or you don’t think they should apply to you and yours.

Think about it, Dawkins. Is this really what you want to do? People are watching.

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Dawkins Wants to Be Rid of These Troublesome Bloggers
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42 thoughts on “Dawkins Wants to Be Rid of These Troublesome Bloggers

  1. 2

    We believe that people looking to join atheist or skeptic spaces shouldn’t face ignorant, sexist nonsense–even when it comes from your friend. We believe people looking to join atheist and skeptic spaces shouldn’t face harassment and rape–even when it comes from your friend.

    Is that it? You mean this whole thing is about that? Not much of a feminist manifesto, is it? It’s more “don’t be an asshole” than anything, isn’t it? (Well, except for “don’t be a felon”, but who would side with a possible felony?)

    Why, any reasonable person would be happy to sign on to such a principled approach, wouldn’t they?

    ….

    No? Seriously, Richard? You’re saying “no”? You’d rather choose friendship/tribalism/in-group/whatever over the principle that humans should be treated with equal respect and most especially not be victims of a major crime?

    That’s … disappointing. Deeply disturbing, actually. Were I a woman, I would not get in an elevator with you.

  2. 3

    @1 UnknownEric the Apostate says.

    My thinking on this was converted just a couple of days ago. I, too, used to think it was just Dawkins being not clued in or having a bad day, or whatever.

    It’s not. These are his true beliefs, not mere slips of the tongue, or an ivory tower don being cloistered from the harm he’s doing.

    He’s a sexist asshole who chooses tribalism over humanist principles.

  3. 4

    Dawkins rules for women:
    If it isn’t full on physical assault: It isn’t important or sexist.
    If it is a full on physical assault: Shut up. It’s your fault. Here’s a link to an anti-feminist with all the credibility of Ken Ham to tell you why…

    He is so over. He thinks he’s a rock star, but he’s a irrelevant crank.

  4. 5

    I’ve lost so much respect for these men (Dawkins, Shermer, Harris, etc…) These were the present day thought leaders of Atheism, and now… they’re disappointing and embarrassing bumbling old people. The rest of us will keep working for equality for all and these fellas can move to the edge of the herd to get picked off by the wolves.

  5. 6

    Well, what these guys are doing doesn’t have anything to do with their age. Harris has to be somewhere near my age. Shermer has been getting away with this stuff for at least ten years by the earliest report I know of. Age hasn’t changed these guys. It’s just that our concerns are no longer being suppressed, which means that we get to see what they’ve been all along.

  6. 7

    This is just appalling behavior by Dawkins, and absolute defensive cowardice by Harris. I haven’t supported Harris in any way in a long time, but I’m not buying any of Dawkins’ books or work down the line, not even if they stay completely away from this topic and focus on where he doesn’t say something stupid (evolution).

  7. 8

    If there’s anything good that’s come from all of this, it’s that it’s really forged a community that I be proud to be a part of. Dawkins may have proven himself to be either malicious, or at best willfully blind, but it’s forced others to create an atheism/skepticism that is willing to stand up and say: “Yes, we do stand for feminism/equality and against harassment/objectification/rape.” At one time, I think too many would have been afraid to stand up against a huge name like a Dawkins. Now, we can say: “Oh well, he gets to stay behind while history passes him by” and get on with the business of doing good things.

  8. 9

    I do love how his main argument is a great example of the shill gambit – “Clearly these people are just faking outrage to make money off their blogs.” As if the exact same empty attack couldn’t be leveled at him with regards to his own career as a public intellectual.

    Thanks for sticking to your principles as a man of reason and logic, Richard.

  9. 10

    “You’ve caught the sexist monster who’s been scaring women away from atheism!”
    “Right, but it’s not a monster. It’s–”
    *Pulls off mask*
    (In unison) “OLD MAN DAWKINS?!”
    “Yeah, and I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling feminists…and your blogs.”

  10. 11

    You may not agree with her but she’s brave, & the Feedingfrenzy Thoughtpolice Bullies have got away with it for too long.

    I wonder: does he actually know that he’s childishly mangling FTB’s name here and thus has actually sunk to that level himself, or is he just cluelessly parroting shit from the pitters again?

  11. 12

    Jadehawk

    I wonder: does he actually know that he’s childishly mangling FTB’s name here and thus has actually sunk to that level himself, or is he just cluelessly parroting shit from the pitters again?

    He absolutely does, see the adendum to PZ’s post. He wants people to know who he is talking about without sending ‘clicks’ this way.

  12. 15

    or an accurate portrayal of uncharitable offense junkies who thrive on attacking people that are 90% their allies

    Is that a thing now, this “90% their ally” crap? I’ve seen it elsewhere, and screw that. If that 10% is appalling, then screw that. And how did they come up with that 90% number? If you’re a racist, you’re not 90% my ally in anything. If you’re a homophobe, you’re not 90% my ally in anything. If you’re a misogynist who is perpetuating the rape culture status quo, you are certainly not 90% my ally in anything.

  13. 16

    Harris: “Women aren’t ever in-your-face. I am, therefore no women read my stuff. Also, estrogen.”
    Various people: “That’s a pretty sexist thing to say. Got anything to back that up?”
    Harris: “It’s possible I was misquoted. Sometimes people are misquoted. Sometimes. Possible.”
    Various people: “So….?”
    Harris: “Witch hunt! Attacking! Calling me a sexist pig!”
    Dawkins: “Shall we shuns them, precioussssss? Shall we? Shuns the bloggersssss! Shuns them!”
    Various people: “Ummm….”
    Dawkins: “Blog hits! Big money! Thought Police! Offensive offended-ness! I like cheese!”
    Harris: “I know some women. They like what I write and it doesn’t matter that they’re all married to me/gave birth to me/dependent on me for a salary. It’s totes not sexist! Also estrogen!”

    Other people: “You know, I just don’t understand why women don’t speak up more, ya know?”
    Other-other people: “They’re always so angry! And emotional!”
    Feminists: *sigh*

  14. 17

    And how did they come up with that 90% number?

    interestingly, it seems to be a shrinking number; used to be 99%; then for a while it’s been 95%; now it’s 90.

    Anyway, it’s telling that these atheist dudebros weigh dictionary-atheism at 90%, and justice, fairness, and lack of abuse for everyone who’s not an atheist dudebro at 10%

  15. 18

    Bloody hell. He’s really just *not* getting it, is he?

    And yes, it’s me. The chick everyone tore a strip out of a few months ago after a very stupid and uninformed statement. Please don’t jump on me this time. I did immediately educate myself about real life behaviours of Dawkins and the other big names after that blunder….

  16. 21

    Today I decided to stop publicly identifying as an atheist. I will be identifying as a Secular Humanist. Because fuck. These. People. I am SO done. They complain about women not being more involved in atheism but it is becoming clear to me that they do so only as an excuse to trot out the exhausting tropes about how women are special vagina flowers who don’t like to think about math. When we complain, they call us shrill and bitchy. Then they say that the people who defend our right to exist in the atheist movement are just doing it for money; a claim which makes no sense at all. It is not supported by facts.
    What they want is very clear to me; they want us to go away. Fine. They can have their boys club. I don’t want it. I can continue being an atheist on my own, which I did for decades anyhow when I lived in the Bible Belt. Besides, I’ll always have FTB. But I’m done trying to change things. Screw it.

  17. 24

    Jadehawk:

    I’m sure if someone explained to him how photoshop worked…

    :snort: Oh, I hope not, imagine Dawkins attempting to demonstrate the soundness of meme theory against the tyrant feminazis with photoshop.

  18. 25

    Improbable Joe,
    So true! Aren’t these the same people who have been telling us that atheists don’t have anything in common other than a lack of belief in gods?

    Also, weren’t these the same people who said it was awful for Rebecca Watson to say she’d never buy another Dawkins book or recommend one again? She was accused of trying to start a boycott and we were told boycotts were wrong. Where are those people now?

  19. 28

    @Jackie…the saddest part is feeling like you to need to explain things that really, honestly, shouldn’t have to be explained to any human being with half a brain-cell and a modicum of empathy.

  20. 30

    @Jackie #25:

    Also, weren’t these the same people who said it was awful for Rebecca Watson to say she’d never buy another Dawkins book or recommend one again? She was accused of trying to start a boycott and we were told boycotts were wrong. Where are those people now?

    Oh, I had forgotten about that bit of obvious hypocrisy. Those people, of course, are rallying behind Dawkins, because they were never against boycotts, they were always against people criticizing the Atheist Pope. Alternately, they were against women who don’t know their proper place.

    The 90% figure is just another way of framing the dismissal of women’s concerns. “All your complaints with sexism and society are so trivial compared to the important work of putting up billboards to call Christmas dumb. You know, stuff that affects real people men.”

  21. 32

    So hypothetical:

    Dawkins is walking along, minding his own business, when he gets clunked on the head and knocked out cold. When he wakes up, his wallet is gone, as well as all of his valuables. He has to walk to a local police station since his cell phone was also stolen.

    He claims that he was knocked out and robbed. But, since he has no evidence (literally, none at all, but a bump on his head, easily explained by the fact that he had a couple of drinks before leaving the pub and could have easily tripped), the police toss him out for wasting their time. They don’t even bother calling him a cab for a ride home, and won’t let him use their phones, because he should learn a lesson for losing his things.

    He’s totally cool with that response, right?

    This makes me glad I have never purchased any of his books.

  22. 33

    Exactly, rabidtreeweasal…not only have I faced the same but about 3 years ago I joined a popular and busy board for atheists to come together as they seemed intelligent who talked about many things, and at first I overlooked their hostility to women since only a few made it clear it was universal, most sounded like they were against specific women they had bad experiences with plus some unfortunate general statements thrown in. But when they realized I was a woman I was being attacked constantly, even by those who I thought of as friendly before (and when even a mod called them on it they claimed they were being persecuted for not being politically correct) and I did not sink to their level and respond in kind but the constant hostility against me continued. I finally left, went back like 6 months later and counted over 3 rants against women in the titles alone, left again and never returned, shaking my head at how they think women won’t join them out of ignorance rather than understand just how obnoxious they are (that is, it isn’t ignorance that keeps us away, it’s self-respect).

    Of course that problem exists in many places but I hadn’t realized just how toxic it was until then, and now I tend to give atheists (unless they identify as Secular Humanists) the peery eye as much as fundies (I’m a survivor of the Bible Belt myself but now kick myself assuming atheists would be better just because they lacked a book saying how messed up we are), especially when it comes to how I expect them to view me as a messed up woman rather than a person.

  23. 36

    Peter Boghossian appears to have formally chosen a side of the Deep Rifts as well, to judge by his Twitter feed. I guess those seventeen all-male endorsements (headed by several people on the wrong side of the Deep Rifts) that he selected for his book weren’t any kind of oversight or accident after all.

    I also noticed while browsing his Twitter stream an apparently approving retweet of a commiserating comment Charles Murray (yes, “The Bell Curve” Charles Murray) made to Christina Hoff Sommers on Sep. 13. (The comment was this one. I can’t figure out how to link to the retweet rather than the original tweet.) I guess he figures bold iconoclasts like them have to stick together in the face of SJW/PC/FTBullying? *blech*

    Kind of a shame, as I thought he did have a few interesting points to make, but, as with Harris, Dawkins, Shermer, Grothe, Dalton, Jillette, and many others like them, he seems to have chosen the easy way rather than the hard way in addressing an injustice where he might be the perpetrator or beneficiary rather than an outraged victim or observer. It makes me wonder how many more maybe-sorta-kinda-suspected-proto-assholes in prominent or semi-prominent places will publicly remove all doubt as this Rifts thing continues to grind its way across the community.

  24. 37

    Stephanie, I have a comment in link-related moderation that I intended to send to Ophelia’s blog rather than yours, as it’s related to a past discussion over there. (I lost track of which window I was in.) I’ve already resubmitted it over there, so please feel free to delete or keep it, as you prefer.

  25. 38

    Sigh…I really don’t know why I’ve been on the fence about Dawkins for so long. He never inspired or influenced me with regard to atheism like he has so many others. Maybe it’s because I don’t do Twitter. At any rate, I’m done with that; done with Dawkins.

    He’s been out of control since his joint statement with Ophelia Benson. Maybe the pressure from his slymy fans has caused an escalation of assholery. It wouldn’t be the first time.

  26. 39

    You can’t intimidate a network of skeptics with classic pseudo-skepticism. All you can do is gain a reputation for not caring about reality.

    This, exactly this. Too fucking right!

  27. 40

    canonicalkoi says @16

    Dawkins: “Shall we shuns them, precioussssss? Shall we? Shuns the bloggersssss! Shuns them!”

    Thank you, I needed a laugh after his “if you want to jail a man, don’t get drunk” rape apologism. Or rape advocacy, imo.

    =8)-DX says @31

    LOL! Love it.

  28. 41

    Sam Harris has always been like this (irrationally bigoted and defensive about it), but what the hell happened to Dawkins?

    Maybe his arrogance and unwillingness to admit error is making him stupid. I remember the biology discussion over group and multilevel selection, which Dawkins really didn’t want to accept (even though they’re well-proven as successful mathematical models for making prediction), but grudgingly, eventually accepted.

    This time he’s reacting in a particularly deranged emotional fashion and lashing out with sexist bullshit which he *knows* is contrary to evidence. It’s frankly embarassing to watch. It’s not up to his own standards. It’s not up to his wife’s standards. It’s not up to his ex-wife’s standards for treatment of *animals*. Does he ever stop and think “What would Douglas Adams say about my behavior?” Why is he letting the worst aspects of his uncontrolled id run free without any rational check on it?

  29. 42

    Comments from a youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW7607YiBso) supporting Dawkins’ bad attitude. Comments posted 21.Jan.2015.

    Moonlit History5 hours ago
    I came here for lol’s, but couldn’t find any.

    I remember Pen Jillette gave a little speech about how hurt Dawkins really was from a lot of hate towards him. Pen said Dawkins would stay brave in light of the harsh criticism–this is Dawkins showing that brave image once again
    ———
    Thanny2 hours ago
    Penn was referring to the viciousness aimed at Dawkins by fellow atheists in the aftermath of the Elevatorgate fiasco. Or, rather, feminists and SJW’s who are also (at least nominally) atheists.

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