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Richard Dawkins, Lindy West, and the Cartoon Video of Great Hatefulness

Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?
Is Richard Dawkins using his bully pulpit to bully feminists?

Almost three years ago, a feminist activist committed what many not-so-impartial observers apparently see as an unpardonable sin: she was less than polite to a small squad of Men’s Rights activists at a demonstration in Toronto. At least one of these gentlemen caught her outburst on video, and uploaded it to YouTube.

You know the rest: the video went viral, and the activist, a red-headed woman known as Chanty Binx (or “Big Red,” to the douchebag army), found herself suddenly transformed into “The Posterchild of Everything Wrong with Feminism,” as one of her haters put it. Her face has become ubiquitous in antifeminist memes, and she’s endured nearly three years of harassment.

Earlier this month, antifeminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad — who makes his living pandering to some of the internet’s worst lady haters — posted an animated video by another antifeminist YouTuber in which an angry Islamist and an angry feminist sing a song explaining that they pretty much believe all the same things. (For some reason, this nonsensical theory is something that a lot of antifeminists have convinced themselves is true.)

The angry Islamist in the video is a familiar racist stereotype, complete with “funny” accent. [Correction: He’s evidently supposed to be a parody of this guy, known as Dawah Man, a legitimately terrible person you wouldn’t think atheists would have to strawman in order to criticize..]

The angry feminist, meanwhile, isn’t a generic figure; she’s an especially crude caricature of Binx, spouting nonsense that neither Binx nor any other feminist actually believes: the video ends with her encouraging the Islamist to rape her, because it’s not really rape if a Muslim does it, dontchaknow.

It’s a vicious, hateful little cartoon made worse by the fact that these words are being put in the mouth of a real woman who’s been the target of a vast harassment campaign for years.

Yesterday, Richard Dawkins, apparently seeing this horrendous video as a clever takedown of some brand of feminism that he must think actually exists, shared it with his 1.3 million Twitter followers:

Dawkins-tweet

Dawkins, a well-respected scientist-turned-embarrassing-atheist-ideologue, has become notorious for his endless Twitter gaffes. But this is plainly worse than, say, his famously pathetic lament about airport security “dundridges” taking his jar of honey; his Tweet contributed to the demonization of a real woman who’s already the target of harassment and threats.

The awesome Lindy West pointed this out to him in a series of Tweets and linked to one of my posts cataloging some of the abuse Binx got after the video of her went viral.

In a series of eloquent and angry Tweets, she made clear to Dawkins how and why he was misusing his huge platform and contributing to an atmosphere of hate online. Dawkins, alternately indignant and defensive, ultimately took down the offending Tweet, but not before making other Tweets that were nearly as bad. Dawkins can’t even do the right thing without being a dick about it.

Let’s watch Lindy at work:

 

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest like literally what is wrong with you @RichardDawkins RETWEETS 47 LIKES 337 Lamentation Smythethank god it's overMargaret PlessAllison ElaineRachyAlice Pinegabs ❁GORILLA SUITNINA 5:19 PM - 26 Jan 2016 Reply Retweet Liked More Tweet text Reply to @thelindywest @RichardDawkins Who's in these photos? Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Jan 26 the complete ideological horror show aside, that is a caricature of an actual real woman and you are feeding her harassment @RichardDawkins

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I didn't know that. Who is the real woman? 1 retweet 5 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 5 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Here: https://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 55 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 55 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It would serve you well to research the people & movements whose support you accept & whose propaganda you disseminate. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago One might even argue that it's a basic responsibility concomitant with wielding such a large and powerful platform. @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 114 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 114 More View other replies Show more Zoë “Shitpost” Quinn ‏@UnburntWitch 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest @RichardDawkins oh good he's promoting a guy who built a career off of stalking and harassing me and my family 19 retweets 86 likes Reply Retweet 19 Like 86 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Richard, this is not a thought experiment for us. It's not an ideological pissing match. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago It is a constant, violent, unprovoked, psychologically damaging barrier to full engagement with the world. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 21 retweets 83 likes Reply Retweet 21 Liked 83 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago You make yourself complicit in that system by validating and amplifying the voices of our harassers. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins 22 retweets 100 likes Reply Retweet 22 Liked 100 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Please stop, or at least do so with full knowledge of the scope, history, and implications of your actions. @UnburntWitch @RichardDawkins

After what was apparently an unsatisfactory response from Dawkins — I couldn’t find his Tweet, if there was one — West repeated and expanded upon her basic points. [EDIT: The unsastisfactory respose, West tells me, was that Dawkins posted a link to one of the videos of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.]

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest If this is your response, please go on record, explicitly, that you believe women you dislike deserve rape & death threats. @RichardDawkins

Well, that got his attention:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest What the hell are you talking about. When have I ever said any such thing? 7 retweets 34 likes Reply Retweet 7 Like 34 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Did you read the link that I sent? Posting this video implies an endorsement of her abuse (and will definitely amplify it). @RichardDawkins 9 retweets 71 likes Reply Retweet 9 Liked 71 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest No. What link? Somebody told me who she was. I was about to delete my original tweet. Then I looked up the Toronto vid . . .

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago I sent you a series of tweets. Feel free to read them in my TL. Here is the link again: https://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/2013/04/15/canadian-feminist-activist-receives-death-threats-and-other-abuse-after-being-targeted-by-mens-rights-activists/ … @RichardDawkins View summary 16 retweets 67 likes Reply Retweet 16 Liked 67 More View other replies Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Then you looked up the Toronto vid and...felt like that woman deserved what she got? That's exactlly what I'm talking about. @RichardDawkins 7 retweets 77 likes Reply Retweet 7 Liked 77 More View other replies Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @thelindywest I think she deserves nothing more than ridicule. I would never shriek "Fuckface" at her. But I would laugh at her. Ridicule.

So there you have it: when informed that a tweet of his will almost certainly worsen the vicious harassment faced by a young woman whose only “crime” was being rude to a couple of MRAs in public, Richard Dawkins, a one-time winner of  the American Humanist Association’s Humanist of the Year Award, replies by saying that “she deserves nothing more than ridicule.”

West replied:

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest Please don't insult me by pretending you don't comprehend the gravity and scope of this conversation and your complicity. @RichardDawkins

Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago Great. Good job. If you leave those links up you are fomenting further abuse, and that's a choice you should own. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins then decided to suggest that perhaps Binx was, you know, crazy:

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago @FulcrumAmber @thelindywest Perhaps mentally ill, to be charitable. Anyway it's disgraceful that she's apparently received violent threats. 1 retweet 8 likes Reply Retweet 1 Like 8 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago First of all, mentally ill people are fully capable of holding and expressing valid, well-considered, justified opinions. @RichardDawkins 48 retweets 214 likes Reply Retweet 48 Like 214 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago 2nd of all, you know nothing of this woman's mental state but her anger. Armchair diagnoses are presumptuous and insulting. @RichardDawkins 37 retweets 159 likes Reply Retweet 37 Like 159 More Lindy West ‏@thelindywest 7h7 hours ago And thirdly, it's exactly this spectrum of misogyny--dismissiveness to outright abuse--that feminists are angry about. @RichardDawkins

Dawkins ultimately agreed to take down his Tweet linking to the execrable video. But he offered no apology. And he went on to suggest that just maybe Binx had … threatened herself.

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 7h7 hours ago Having learned that the woman in the joke song is a real person who has been disgracefully threatened with violence, I'm deleting my tweets. 65 retweets 436 likes Reply Retweet 65 Like 436 More Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 5h5 hours ago Maybe I'm naive. Can't believe anyone's as nasty as her. Nor that anyone would threaten her. Nor that anyone'd lie about being threatened.

User Actions Follow Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins Richard Dawkins Retweeted Boltzmann Is this really true? How depressing. But it would explain a lot. Richard Dawkins added, Boltzmann @NameIsBoltzmann @RichardDawkins People lie about being threatened all the time these days. Some have gotten caught threatening themselves.

We’ve seen this, er, argument before.

sharkethics

Does Dawkins have any conception of just how much abuse women like Chanty Binx get? If she were sending herself all the threatening and harassing messages she gets, she wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep.

And I wonder if Dawkins thinks she drew the caricature of herself that was used in the video he retweeted.

Thoughtful as ever, Dawkins made sure to remind his 1.3 million followers that Binx still deserved all the mockery they could deliver. Just not the death threats please!

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins 8h8 hours ago @YourSluttyGF Yes, she deserves abundant mockery, the more the merrier. But she doesn't deserve violent threats. Nobody does.Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins @cleanpulse @YourSluttyGF I don't feel the smallest bit guilty. She deserves mockery. But if there's a risk of inspiring violence, NO NO NO!And he begged his readers to think about the real victims here — those people, like him, who might have to curtail their mockery somewhat because their terrible, terrible fans might be inspired to hurt someone.

Richard DawkinsVerified account ‏@RichardDawkins PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't EVER threaten anyone with violence. We should be free to use comedy/ridicule without fear it may inspire violence

RIP, Richard Dawkins’ comedy career.

Is Dawkins actually unaware that by punching down at a woman who’s already been the target of a three year harassment campaign he almost certainly is contributing to the threats he claims to deplore? It’s hard for me to believe that he could be so naive. But the alternative explanation — that he knows full well that he’s encouraging the harassers — is even more disquieting.

One good thing has come out of this ugly episode today: The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has un-invited Dawkins from its event this year. A post on the group’s website today explains:

The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.

We will issue a full refund to any NECSS attendee who wishes to cancel their registration due to this announcement.

The NECSS Team

Good for them. The atheist movement needs to stand up to the haters and harassers in its midst, including those like Dawkins, who may not directly harass or threaten but who use their huge platforms to amplify and embolden this hatred and harassment.

It would be nice if Dawkins were to actually learn something — a little humanity, a little humility? — from this incident, but when it comes to the subject of feminism Dawkins seems incapable of taking in new information, much less learning anything from it.

EDITED TO ADD: And now, as if to prov what I just said in that previous paragraph, Dawkins is now second-guessing his decision to take down his tweet linking to the video, because GamerGaters are telling him that Chanty and I made up the evidence of the abuse she got.

dawktakeback

NOTE: Lindy West has a book coming out soon. Pre-order it below!

CORRECTION: I added  a bit noting that the Islamist in the cartoon video is supposed to be a parody of a real person.

EDIT: I added a line about Dawkins tweeting a link to a video of Chanty Binx at the Toronto demonstration.

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LG.
LG.
6 years ago

Marinerachel –

No, as in “men shouldn’t have foreskins because they resemble labia.”

Marinerachel
Marinerachel
6 years ago

Well, that’s just fucking silly.

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Beta:

1) I’ll concede the capitalization. Far from the worst typo/grammatical error I’ve seen in this comments section. I fear your pedantry may be put to better use in correcting someone else.

I dislike passive-aggressive uses of “someone else.” If you have something to say about a particular person, say it.

That and the masturbation joke have put me into a grumpy mood now, so apologies if I’m snippy.

2) It’s two ellipses and a full stop, obviously.

In a good mood again now.

3) I think you’ll find it is grammatically sound. Would this be okay: “This school is known for its high grades” – or would you complain that it’s the pupils who get the grades and not the school?

A school is a group of teachers and of pupils. Those teachers can be known for coaxing high grades out of students, and those students can be known for being smart and working hard. Those are human beings. The idea of the school – that is, its name, iconography, motto and so on – has nothing to do with those high marks.

However, that’s beside the point. Let me be more direct. This is not an issue of grammar. The original post to which I was replying was trying to make the following insinuation:

“Christians and Muslims get offended a lot. So do feminists. Therefore, feminism can be said to be similar to Christianity and Islam. Christianity and Islam are both fallacious, because there is no God. Therefore feminism is fallacious.”

It is disingenuous to pretend that this is not what the initial post was insinuating. My response, therefore, was to remind its now-flounced poster that there is a huge distinction between Christians and Christianity, between Muslims and Islam, and between feminists and feminism. The behaviour of an idea’s adherents does not reflect upon that idea; and likewise an idea cannot suffer or be offended.

4) I can honestly say I’ve never been offended by a cartoon. I’ve rolled my eyes at things that I consider stupid, but I don’t think that’s the same thing. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever been offended by anything in my whole adult life. It’s a weird concept to me, if something is said through a given medium, I’ll either agree or not agree, if I disagree I’ll either attempt to reason or ignore. I genuinely don’t get where the taking of offence happens. I disagree strongly with what has been said in this blog post, but I am not offended in anyway.

It’s always seemed to me that when someone takes offence, it’s because they don’t have a proper argument. If you did have a good counter argument, you would just use that instead.

The set of arguments that can be refuted is much smaller than the set of arguments; and the set of arguments is much smaller than the set of all things that can be said.

Let me give you an example: it is a belief held by many Christians that everyone who is not a Christian is condemned to eternal torture; they also believe that this condemnation is made by an utterly-just and loving deity. Therefore, many Christians sincerely believe that you and I deserve eternal torture.

This cannot be refuted, since it rests upon different axioms from those that you and I hold. It’s not even an argument, since it’s not intended to invite reply. It’s simply an assertion: “Hey EJ, you deserve eternal torture.” The only acceptable response is “fuck you.” This is what it means to be offended.

Now, just because I’m offended doesn’t mean I have the right to stop them believing that, or saying it among themselves. It doesn’t even mean that they should give a shit about it. It certainly doesn’t mean that Christians are inherently bad people. However, my offence is a genuine and sincerely-held response and I will not be told not to feel it.

We can also be offended on the behalf of others. For example, Pope Sidious Benedict XVI said that child abuse was because of the tolerance of gay people. If you weren’t offended by this statement then I have to ask: why not?

If you believe that Pope Sidious Benedict XVI intended his statement to be replied to, or that he based it upon the same logical axioms that you hold, then I have to ask: why?

Orion
Orion
6 years ago

Man, just when I start to miss the Den, EJ delivers the best part of the Den straight to my mammoth.

dhag85
6 years ago

Steven Novella has made a blog post explaining the thought process behind de-inviting Dawkins to the conference:

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/necss-and-richard-dawkins/

It’s got some ableism and both sides-ism in there, sadly, and it doesn’t take into account the fact that Dawkins has since doubled down and gone way way way off into gamergate land. But on the whole it’s an ok explanation.

LindsayIrene
6 years ago

Ugh, the whole I’m-superior-because-I-don’t-get-offended thing* needs to jump off a bridge. Some shit should offend decent human beings.

* Which is, I think, related to the if-you-show-emotion-you-automatically-lose-the-argument thing.

EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

@Orion:
I think that’s a compliment, so thank you? My favourite part of the Den was Bobby Devrie discussing Lovecraft scholarship.

arash
arash
6 years ago

Ugh, the whole I’m-superior-because-I-don’t-get-offended thing* needs to jump off a bridge. Some shit should offend decent human beings.

it’s what i call emotional oppression, simply because someone doesn’t feel like you(maybe he/she is incapable of such feelings), she/he is not a “decent human beings”

* Which is, I think, related to the if-you-show-emotion-you-automatically-lose-the-argument thing.

showing emotions does not automatically makes you a lose an argument
but on the other hand being offended doesn’t prove anybody’s argument

LG.
LG.
6 years ago

Lindsayirene –

God, yes. I’ve been trying to explain this to a couple (white male, natch) friends this week who just don’t get it. The “don’t grt upset” standard inherently privileges people who, you know, aren’t the ones getting shit on by the thing in question.

Oooh, look at you being all unaffected by discussion of the thing that doesn’t affect you. Wow! You must be a magical logic wizard of impartiality!

arash
arash
6 years ago

White guy science is all about considering all phenomena in a vacuum/sterile laboratory setting/through a mathematical model. Those are the ways to get to the Objective Truth. It’s easy to disprove feminism (and in fact everything women or poor people say) starting from first principles using white guy science, I’ve even done it myself as an exercise.

really and truly WTF?!
you are utterly ignorant of scientific method
white, black, yellow and red person can use same methods and get similar result
have you heard of “external and internal validity”?! i don’t think so
epidemiological method concentrate on studying a phenomenon in “real life” and not “in a vacuum/sterile laboratory setting/through ”
anyway not every rational theory should or can be scientific, i just hope that you don’t consider rationality as a “white” way of thinking

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

@arash
That was a joke.

There are people (traditionally white men, hence “white guy science”) who discredit issues that don’t directly affect them by looking at them through clinical lenses – trying to fix a social issue like one would solve a math problem, if you will.
When people say things like “Tell me one law women have to obey that men don’t” or “Criminality among african-americans is higher than white americans, thus I conclude that black people are violent”, they are missing huge chunks of the puzzle, and yet they act as if their reasoning was impecable.
And given that people who do that are people who don’t personally suffer from those issues, this is especially infuriating.

loquora
6 years ago

@arash

That quote you use doesn’t say “scientific method”. Argue against what they have presented, not what you wish they had presented. Or are you not actually interested in logic and rational argument at all?

Edit: Rosa made a much more eloquent point about it. But I can’t stand when someone gets on their high horse about being more logical about something as they tear down straw men or arguments no one has made.

guest
guest
6 years ago

@Arash A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea that science is done not only by people, but by groups of people–science is a social activity. And since it’s a social activity, it’s prone to the kind of error and ignorance any kind of social activity is prone to–ignoring or misunderstanding relevant information, asking the wrong questions, not even realising there are questions to be asked. Science can be a useful tool, but like any tool it can be misused or just be the wrong tool for the job.

Additionally (and I know this from personal experience because this is one of the things I write/speak about), a lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea that the kind of science based on experimentation is more a craft than anything else, and thus requires and is constrained by the tacit knowledge required of any craft–and this tacit knowledge comes out of the background and experience of the performers of that craft. So it will inevitably be affected by who does it, hence ‘white guy science’.

Lady Mondegreen
6 years ago

@EJ

Speaking as a liberal, there’s cartoons that offended me (for example Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon which suggested that Ayan Kurdi would have become a rapist had he grown up)

I don’t want to derail, but that cartoon absolutely did not suggest that. It pointed out that xenophobes think that way.

.

As for anyone arguing that the video in the present case was “just a cartoon” and nobody should be offended, etc. etc.–look: the problem is not the stupid video (which is a blatant strawman.) The problem is that the video caricatures a real person, who is still being subjected to harassment THREE YEARS after the event that brought her to the notice of the MRM. Yes, a college age young woman losing her temper at an event featuring a pedo-tolerant MRA was threatened with violence, and continued to receive shit, for three years. Because that’s how the “Men’s Rights Movement” rolls.

And Richard Dawkins is fine with that. He’s on record saying Chanty Binx (a nobody, compared to him) is a “vile human being” who deserves “nothing but” mockery and ridicule*.

That’s what is offensive.

* But no threats, please–that might make us atheists look bad.

GardenGallivant
GardenGallivant
6 years ago

@Mater Beta Have you never had something stolen or had children taunt to insult and wound? If so, you have been offended. The first is a criminal offense while the second is a personal offense. If the insults hurt then you have felt offense just as the loss of a possession can hurt or leave the victim feeling invaded and offended. To be offended is to be hurt, wounded, upset, or annoyed depending on the degree of the offense.

People who are offended by actions against others are sympathetic to the real or perceived insult to the other. The commenters coming here defending Dawkins are offended by David’s post or the comments here. These new commenters are coming in on their high horse, believing themselves superior in understanding and intending to school the frequent posters here. They are white knighting for Dawkins, defending his tweet or his right to tweet no matter how offensive.

Dawkins did write an offensive comment just as he has in the past.

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

I don’t want to derail, but that cartoon absolutely did not suggest that. It pointed out that xenophobes think that way.

Thanks for the correction, Lady Mondegreen.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

@GardenGallivant

The commenters coming here defending Dawkins are offended by David’s post or the comments here

A million times this.
Also, even if they claim that they’re only here to defend truth, or logic, or atheism or whatever and not Dawkins, they are doing it because those subjects are deeply personal for them, and they feel this post and the commenters are speaking out against those things.
None goes to a blog they don’t frequent to argue with its audience if they didn’t have an emotional reaction to it.

Unless they’re called Hal, I guess
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/2001/images/1/18/Hal9000.jpg

@loquora
Me neither. I’ve developed a sort of “allergic reaction” to people talking about logic or rationality in their statements – as if that alone would make their opinions true.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Master Beta,
Congratulations for being above “taking offense!” You must be very proud of having enough privilege to do that. It’s quite an accomplishment! I bow down to your superior manlogics.

Now, I trust you have gone to the MRAs and explained to them about how they’re irrational for being offended by Binx, and for that matter, women in general. I’m sure you’ve gone to their blogs and fora and told them that their spittle flecked rage and constant state of taking offense doesn’t win any kind of argument. Right? Right?

Arash,
Science isn’t just data floating in a vacuum. The data has to be interpreted by humans and humans are fallible and biased. A scientist using the scientific method does not automatically become objective and unbiased simply because they know how to use the scientific method and scientific research does not become unbiased and objective simply because it conducted using the scientific method. Too many privileged white men in STEM, such as Richard Dawkins believe that their opinions are automatically objective and unbiased simply because they are familiar with the scientific method, can do math or know how to code. It just is not true. Everyone’s perceptions are colored by their own experiences. This includes cishet white men in science who have been socialized for their entire lives to see themselves as the default human.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Also, there has been plenty of research using the scientific method that shows that misogyny, racism, and all manner of other bigotries exist and affect people’s perceptions. There has also been plenty of research showing that being marginalized is a significant stressor and has a negative impacts on people’s lives and health.

It’s actually not at all scientific or rational to claim that a victim of a harassment campaign should just get over it because feelings are irrational. Feelings may be irrational, but we all have them and nobody is so superior that they can escape the negative psychological effects of trauma, harassment, sexual assault, marginalization or poverty.

sparkalipoo
sparkalipoo
6 years ago

@LindsayIrene

Thank you for saying this, it always annoys me when people go “well I’m not offended by this, so this person must be over reacting, it’s not really offensive” because I feel like, finding something offensive or not depends a lot depends a lot on personal experiences and what privileges you have or don’t have. I also really hate it when people when people use me having emotions against me or argue that people shouldn’t be affected by social pressure because I feel like at that point their saying that humans shouldn’t act like humans. Also, on the rationality thing, their was a case where a guy damaged his hippocampus so he couldn’t process emotions and it basically made him completely unable to function.

re: Dawkins having a ghost writer: I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t think it’s likely that he has a ghostwriter, for any writer, when they go to get it published, they have an editor suggested changes. Also, and this could be my personal bias, I haven’t read his books but the title The God Delusion strikes me as kind of an asshole title–I know a couple of antitheists and it sounds a little too similar to something they might say about religious people

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
6 years ago

Arash,
Science isn’t just data floating in a vacuum. The data has to be interpreted by humans and humans are fallible and biased. A scientist using the scientific method does not automatically become objective and unbiased simply because they know how to use the scientific method and scientific research does not become unbiased and objective simply because it conducted using the scientific method. Too many privileged white men in STEM, such as Richard Dawkins believe that their opinions are automatically objective and unbiased simply because they are familiar with the scientific method, can do math or know how to code. It just is not true. Everyone’s perceptions are colored by their own experiences. This includes cishet white men in science who have been socialized for their entire lives to see themselves as the default human.

http://45.media.tumblr.com/8642075103c54ee6eae9bb3808377121/tumblr_noenylQkFh1s8njeuo1_500.gif

richardbillericay
richardbillericay
6 years ago

“Also, your logic that you shouldn’t mock this person for their very mock-able behavior because of what you think some one else might do as a result is one of the most dystopian things I’ve heard for a long time.”

What I find distopian is that a regular person can be plucked from obscurity and made the scapegoat for an entire movement just by annoying someone suitably vindictive, and that anyone thinks they can provide a rational justification of this.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
6 years ago

Since I’ve been watching Steven Universe, and I’ve been dying to use this gif, and EJ already did this then, WWTH, have this pearl:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/MetalAmaya_photo/200.gif

Alan Robertshaw
6 years ago

Wow, some really interesting posts here. All the issues have been covered very well so I’ll just chip in a few bullet points.

Intervention

Yup, it’s complex. And perhaps a lot depends on whether we’re talking about state level intervention or personal .

This two did intersect in an interesting way when Charles Saatchi tried to strangle his wife in public. Ed Milliband was asked about it in a TV interveiw and he stated that he would definitely have intervened, but he did this at the end of an interview where he’d just been arguing against helping the victims of Asaad on the grounds it was none of our business. He did get quite flustered on trying to reconcile his conflicting arguments.

I can really see WWTHs point that we may want to be sceptical about motives, but there’s a danger there. It might be ok to do that at state level. But one of my friends is desperate to escape from her job in child protection exactly because they face so much criticism on those grounds. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t as it were.

Objectively I can see the points. If a dopey white family don’t give their kids vaccines it’s up to them, so why do we intervene where a family think their child is a witch or possessed by demons?

I can see how it’s bruising though to constantly be accused of racist motives.

Taking offence

I must confess I am one of those people who claims not to. For me, *personally* I go by the ‘if it’s true then it’s not offensive and if it’s false then it’s irrelevant’ thing, but I very much appreciate that’s not for everyone; I do enjoy a lot of privileges .

It may because I grew up in the Mary Whitehouse era, when ‘it’s offensive!’ was used as a justification for banning everything from punk music to gay guys holding hands.

So for example, I don’t even find the MRA stuff written about here offensive. I can see why other people do, especially those it’s targeted against. But I think the big issue with the MRA stuff that goes beyond the absurd is not that it is offensive but that it is *dangerous*.

I think in a lot of cases the appropriate response is not to feel offended but to feel *threatened*.

But like I say, how I may feel is purely relevant to me, how other people feel is entirely their own prerogative and I would never criticise someone for feeling offended.

(Caveat: whilst I think anyone is entitled to be offended by anything they choose, that doesn’t give the right for anyone to act on their offence. If someone is offended by the thought of gay people marrying then that’s fine, but they shouldn’t be allowed to impose that view on anyone else)

TinyAntsGoingToEatMe
TinyAntsGoingToEatMe
6 years ago

@Rosa

Steven Universe is the fucking best.

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