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Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  uncrystal on Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:40 pm

Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

No. It just divided the skeptical community into a group of actual skeptics and a group of Rebecca Watson and Rebecca Watson followers. Personally, I think skeptics should be thanking RW for weeding out the non skeptics.

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing she has really damaged is her own reputation.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:04 pm

AliRadicali wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Wherefore all the push back?
Well, if you can't even ask a woman out to coffee, what can you do?
Rebecca Watson herself has responded:
Plus, a lot of you have been asking something along the lines of, "Well if we can't corner women in a hotel elevator and ask them back to our hotel rooms before we've said anything else to them, how are we ever going to get laid??" So I've decided to offer some advice in that regard.

AliRadicali wrote:
lpetrich wrote:
Atheist Dude wrote:
RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guys, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
No it isn't. She didn't want other men to do that, it seems.
Which is a preposterous demand to make IMO.
I disagree. A better approach would have been to try to have a conversation with her at the bar. Just a conversation with nothing further unless she expresses interest.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  elouise on Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:40 pm

Yes, his approach may have been tactless and insensitive in that moment .. but it wasn't the example of threat and misogyny that it was made out to be, was it. And RW certainly had no business presuming to speak on behalf of all women to all men on that issue. People do not need to be condescended to or nannied. If RW really is interested in promoting respectful treatment of other human beings, she'd do better to model it herself.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  rEvolutionist on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:00 pm

lpetrich wrote:
AliRadicali wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Wherefore all the push back?
Well, if you can't even ask a woman out to coffee, what can you do?
Rebecca Watson herself has responded:
Plus, a lot of you have been asking something along the lines of, "Well if we can't corner women in a hotel elevator and ask them back to our hotel rooms before we've said anything else to them, how are we ever going to get laid??" So I've decided to offer some advice in that regard.

I've only really loosely followed this RW and EG stuff since it happened. And I've read the quote above a number of times, but it only just hit me now how disingenuous this comment is. She's essentially poisoning the well of further conversation by describing it as "corner[ing] women". That invokes a certain type of image of the guy standing in the centre of the elevator while she is squashed into one corner and his position makes it hard or impossible for her to get out of the corner. I don't know exactly how it came down in that elevator, but is there any reason to believe this guy actually "cornered her"?

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  elouise on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:41 pm

Initially it was described by RW as a polite invitation proposed at an inappropriate place and time. RW's own description of the situation changed, became more emotive, as interest in it escalated. In her recent slate article, she has returned to describing the incident in the original way she'd described it.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  fossil on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:40 pm

AliRadicali wrote:
Well, if you can't even ask a woman out to coffee, what can you do?

http://www.theferrett.com/ferrettworks/2012/10/but-if-i-cant-buy-you-a-coffee-how-will-our-species-reproduce-how-to-hit-on-women/

"Look, if the girl is so attractive that you just have to snag this opportunity at this very moment, then so be it. But acknowledge you’re being selfish. You’re saying “She’s so pretty, I have to go bother her at this very instant on the off-hand chance that she’s into me.” And maybe she likes your looks and you’ll click. Synchronicity happens.

But think carefully, chum. The odds are good that she’s not going to respond well. And if you keep bugging women just because they happen to be within eyesight, then you send the none-too-subtle message that “A woman showing up in public means that she’s fair game.” Which means she’s not a person, but an antelope in a game preserve.

There are those who think you should never ever approach a stranger in public; I’m not one of them. But if you take the attitude of, “Hey, anything could happen, might as well take my shot,” then you are being a dick to women. What you should do is size up the situation: is this a space conducive to strangers talking to each other? Does she look involved in something else? Does her body language say she’s receptive? Would this friendly approach look threatening if she had no clue as to your intent? (Because despite your peppy smile, she does not.)

If all of those clues don’t add up, then fucking walk away. Give her the privilege of being a person, and not some slot machine for you to take your shot at."



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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  rEvolutionist on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:08 pm

That's a pretty hyperbolic description of trying to meet a member of the opposite sex.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  fossil on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:12 pm

rEvolutionist wrote:That's a pretty hyperbolic description of trying to meet a member of the opposite sex.

Your opinion =/= objectivity.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  rEvolutionist on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:22 pm

Neither does yours nor the idiot who wrote that piece. What's your point? scratch

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  KaineDamo on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:15 pm

Yeah, that advice is ridiculous. There's very rarely going to be the perfect opportunity for asking out a stranger without any awkwardness whatsoever and I refer to a previous post of mine.

It's hard for me to conceive of very many scenarios in which someone is hitting on a person they are into, that wouldn't be at least a little bit uncomfortable, or that someone in the world wouldn't find threatening, offensive, creepy, or uncomfortable.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Pitchguest on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:47 pm

DaveDodo007 wrote:
scott1328 wrote:I suppose I am like everyone else who has stood apart from the fray. The EG incident as related by RW is so innocuous it borders on the banal.

RW offered this as an example to support her case of why women seem to be under-represented in Atheist/Skeptic circles. It certainly seems plausible enough. Surely, if EG creeped RW out, then other women surely might be creeped out in similar circumstances. Then for her to go on to suggest that guys shouldn't do this, this also seems reasonable enough.

Wherefore all the push back?

It’s got nothing to do with the elevator incident as this drama blew up when Rebecca Watson acted unprofessionally when she called out Stef McGraw from the podium. She accused McGraw off ‘parroting misogynist thought.’ McGraw was in the audience and had no right of reply. It was even P Z Myers’ Pharyngula blog post about this incident (Always name names) which Richard Dawkins ‘Dear Muslima’ was written. It didn’t help that she had a go at Paula Kirby at the same meeting considering all she has done for the atheist community and especially trying to get more women involved in the meetings and speaking events.

Making it about the elevator incident is just a smokescreen to defect genuine criticism of RW as in awww the poor PUA's and their hurt fee fees. The main criticism of elevatorgate was mostly from women who said ‘he accepted no for an answer and that’s what we have been trying to get men to do for ages.’ I personally have never asked a woman out for a coffee in an elevator or a confined space and never will, so you can argue about that amongst yourselves.

This is precisely wherefore the pushback. To say it's only because of that one video, of that one line, is revisionist and a slimy attempt at damage control. Sure, some comments said she was overreacting, but that was on YouTube. But it wasn't until much later that it escalated the way it did. Before Dawkins interjected, the thing with McGraw, then PZ Myers, then afterwards it just hit the fan. In response to Dawkins' 'Dear Muslima', PZ Myers upped the ante on his rhetoric saying you should still pay attention to 'lesser crimes' (referring to the incident) and implied the man in the elevator could have been a potential rapist. Greg Laden reiterated his piece on a 'rape switch' in men. Several bloggers only got the gist of the situation and conflated the reaction she'd gotten to the original video she made, and therefore made articles defending her and claiming sexism and misogyny in the atheist/sceptic community. It was idiotic.

Meanwhile Watson has been making multiple unfounded assertions regarding misogyny and sexism in the atheist/sceptic community. Her Page 'o Hate contains comments criticising her, threatening her, etc, most of which are childish, which she says are from fellow atheists and sceptics but with almost no evidence to prove it. There are some on there that are obviously atheist, but most of the comments you can clearly make out to be atheists have legitimate concerns (which does not contain threats or harassing comments). But the others?

http://skepchick.org/page-o-hate/

Again, you be the judge.

She also claims she has face blindness (prosopagnosia) but somehow able to know that the man both attended her panel and sat in the bar with her. scratch

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  AliRadicali on Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:06 am

lpetrich wrote:
AliRadicali wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Wherefore all the push back?
Well, if you can't even ask a woman out to coffee, what can you do?
Rebecca Watson herself has responded:
Plus, a lot of you have been asking something along the lines of, "Well if we can't corner women in a hotel elevator and ask them back to our hotel rooms before we've said anything else to them, how are we ever going to get laid??" So I've decided to offer some advice in that regard.
She didn't start off describing it as being cornered, she revised the story later on to justify the mounting hysteria her minions were spouting over sexism and rape threats.
In fact, in the original telling of the elevatorgate incident, EG told RW he "found her very interesting" and would like to continue the conversation over coffee in his room. And since RW was shitfaced drunk and is unable to identify the guy in photos made in the bar prior to the "event", I don't find it implausible that she was just too drunk to recognise/remember the dude, and he had in fact been trying to talk to her/hit on her all night.
Or maybe he's entirely fictional, the construct of a mind on alcohol connecting unrelated events into a weird narrative. Or maybe it happened exactly as she originally told it, and despite the friendly manner and polite acceptance of the rebuke, RW was still uncomfortable with the guy's proposal. In which case: what's the problem? He was polite and he took no for an answer, what more do you want?


lpetrich wrote:
AliRadicali wrote:
lpetrich wrote:
Atheist Dude wrote:
RW should have told EG what she was thinking, instead of telling all men "hey guys, don't do that"

If she had a problem with EG, she should have told EG and left it at that. It's Passive aggressive BS.
No it isn't. She didn't want other men to do that, it seems.
Which is a preposterous demand to make IMO.
I disagree. A better approach would have been to try to have a conversation with her at the bar. Just a conversation with nothing further unless she expresses interest.
Which EG (in the original story) claimed to have done, lol.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  elouise on Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:24 am

KaineDamo wrote:This article, while short, I think sums up a number of issues very well.

http://musingsbysoggymog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/failing-at-feminism-how-to-guide.html
Aye, good stuff .. thanks for posting.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  KaineDamo on Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:41 am

Atheist Experience is 'trolled' twice between 9:49 and 15 minutes, Matt is called fat, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfhjDesFKaE&noredirect=1

MrRepzion is a theist youtuber who gets trolled and he recently put up this policy on his channel.



I don't buy that there's anything special or different about the trolling that Rebecca gets or that it reveals anything whatsoever about the atheist or skeptical communities.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:50 am

KaineDamo wrote:I don't buy that there's anything special or different about the trolling that Rebecca gets or that it reveals anything whatsoever about the atheist or skeptical communities.
I disagree. There's a difference between being attacked by one's enemies and being attacked by by people who are supposed to be on one's side. Attacks that go far beyond criticism, I may add.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  AliRadicali on Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:51 am

lpetrich wrote:
KaineDamo wrote:I don't buy that there's anything special or different about the trolling that Rebecca gets or that it reveals anything whatsoever about the atheist or skeptical communities.
I disagree. There's a difference between being attacked by one's enemies and being attacked by by people who are supposed to be on one's side. Attacks that go far beyond criticism, I may add.


No one's "supposed to be on her side". See, here we have the "in group-out group" thinking again.

Either she's right or she isn't. We might both be atheists, we might both profess to be skeptics, and we might even both claim to advocate gender equality, but the fact that I fundamentally disagree with her on various counts means I'm "not on her side" on this issue. And yes, that means I will "attack" her (ideas).

If there was a "skeptical" atheist spouting racial slurs I'd be just as vitriolic and combative about it. I don't like irrational policies, but I like them even less when the people touting them are doing so in the name of atheism.
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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  rEvolutionist on Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:53 am

*clap smiley* Very Happy

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Dar on Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:19 am

Who cares if she harmed 'the movement' or any such stuff. Rebecca Watson has her views and the right to express them. I don't think there is some pontifical council anywhere with rules about what you can and can't say as an atheist or a skeptic... well, most places at least.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  lpetrich on Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:30 am

In her Slate article, she stated that she had made a mistake. When someone claimed that male circumcision is just as bad as female genital mutilation, she responded by saying that it wasn't nearly as bad, and some MRA's got livid. I think that she's correct about the degree of mutilation, though it does look like she was doing a version of "Dear Muslima".

However, I haven't seen anything similar from her detractors. No "I think that she was overreacting, but please stop it with the abuse. It's much nastier than is justified, and it maker her seem like a martyr."

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Dar on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:50 am

lpetrich wrote:In her Slate article, she stated that she had made a mistake. When someone claimed that male circumcision is just as bad as female genital mutilation, she responded by saying that it wasn't nearly as bad, and some MRA's got livid. I think that she's correct about the degree of mutilation, though it does look like she was doing a version of "Dear Muslima".

However, I haven't seen anything similar from her detractors. No "I think that she was overreacting, but please stop it with the abuse. It's much nastier than is justified, and it maker her seem like a martyr."

Very much this!

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Callie on Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:41 pm

Rebecca Watson is a whiny attention whore who thrives on manufactured drama.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Dar on Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:38 am

Do we really need the ad hominen attacks? Complain about what she says and does all you want to.

There is no reason to call her a whiny attention whore. Instead, say she's whining and whoring herself out for attention. Whether I agree with that sentiment or not, at least you wouldn't needlessly be making it personal.

Judging someone as this or that is the first step in the path that leads to stereotypical thinking, bigotry, and hatred. It is the entryway to the low road, and it is something I refuse to do or respect. Indeed, if there is anything that needs advocating, its the value of not thinking that anyone who does something you don't like is stupid, bad, evil, or whatever else.

The other forum is full of people more than willing to take that low road. I'd like to think this forum is a bit better than that.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  nullnvoid on Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:54 am

Dar wrote:Do we really need the ad hominen attacks? Complain about what she says and does all you want to.

There is no reason to call her a whiny attention whore. Instead, say she's whining and whoring herself out for attention. Whether I agree with that sentiment or not, at least you wouldn't needlessly be making it personal.

Judging someone as this or that is the first step in the path that leads to stereotypical thinking, bigotry, and hatred. It is the entryway to the low road, and it is something I refuse to do or respect. Indeed, if there is anything that needs advocating, its the value of not thinking that anyone who does something you don't like is stupid, bad, evil, or whatever else.

The other forum is full of people more than willing to take that low road. I'd like to think this forum is a bit better than that.

Totally agree.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  Westprog on Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:23 am

Dar wrote:Do we really need the ad hominen attacks? Complain about what she says and does all you want to.

There is no reason to call her a whiny attention whore. Instead, say she's whining and whoring herself out for attention. Whether I agree with that sentiment or not, at least you wouldn't needlessly be making it personal.

Judging someone as this or that is the first step in the path that leads to stereotypical thinking, bigotry, and hatred. It is the entryway to the low road, and it is something I refuse to do or respect. Indeed, if there is anything that needs advocating, its the value of not thinking that anyone who does something you don't like is stupid, bad, evil, or whatever else.

The other forum is full of people more than willing to take that low road. I'd like to think this forum is a bit better than that.

Thoroughly agree. The personalisation on A+safe is what makes it such an unpleasant place. I can't see the point of having endless discussion about whether someone is looking for attention (as if that were some kind of terrible crime). If they are looking for attention, it's a way to give it to them, and if they aren't, it's unfair. In any case, concentrating on personalities is unlikely to be very productive of anything interesting or useful.

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Re: Have Rebecca Watson's recent actions damaged the skeptical community?

Post  piginthecity on Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:55 am

Agree with Dar too.

And the thing is, Callie, you're not going to convince anyone just by making an emotional assertion like that.

If you can point to a specific claim made by RW, and then say why the claim is exaggerated, referring to evidence, or a lack of it, in a logical way, and express yourself in neutral terms, then people might take some notice of you.

What you're doing is actually harmful to what you're trying to promote because it casts people who might want to be open mindedly skeptical about RW's claims as being associated with this glib overheated irrational stuff.

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