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Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:31 pm

Feminism seems to be one of the major focuses of A+theism, or at least its advocates. Incidentally, it's something that, to me, defies logic and evidence, and is thus a rationally unjustifiable position for any skeptic to hold, which is why it irks me so much that Feminism has hijacked atheism the way it has. I've already hijacked other threads to discuss this, but really, it needs its own place, so here it is.

Oh and before I get branded as a misogynist, i wan't to clarify that I'm not against women, I'm agains't feminism. I'd describe myself as an egalitarian when it comes to gender equality, as someone who sees injustices on both sides of the gender divide that reallly need addressing, and as someone who thinks it's high time we rationally reevaluate gender roles in the context of not just of absolute equality, but with a pragmatic goal of creating a sustainable, functioning modern-day society.

Now of course "Feminism" is a huge topic to cover, but I thought I'd get the ball rolling by addressing one of the major flaws I perceive in their analysis of human psychology: Projection.

If you're a guy, you've probably heard a woman tell you at some point (or if you're a woman, you may have told a guy this) "You just can't understand, you're not a woman." Which is fine, our ability to understand one another IS limited by gender differences. But it works both ways, doesn't it? So when Feminists make elaborate theories regarding widespread male subjugation of women "because that's what men want", why doesn't anyone ask these ladies how they know how men think? Why hasn't anyone sent them to the JREF to claim the $1M for mindreading prowess?
I'd argue that these women aren't just involved with guesswork and unskeptical revisionist history, they're projecting female psychology onto men to make their theories work. Like the Christian who uses atheists' lack of moral guidelines to argue that atheists must be horrible brutes, the feminists are projecting the uglier parts of their thinking onto the unwitting men past and present.

To elaborate my point, I think it makes sense to go back to the setting human brains evolved to cope with, the harsh struggle to survive on the Pleistocene African plains. In this setting women were extremely valuable to the propagation of the species, men were a lot more expendable. The logical result of this is that conservatism, an emphasis on safety and comfort is promoted for women, whereas pragmatism, risk taking and providing is encouraged in men, who can only pass on their genes if their mate manages to survive.
So logically, the human tribes organised in such a way that the women were together most of the time, taking care of one another and raising children, while the men went out to hunt prey and fight off competition. We see similar bahaviours in various other mammal species. And in this paradigm, what are beneficial traits for the sexes?
For women, it was important to be cooperative and supportive of the other women and mothers and children. Sharing and caring within such a group would greatly improve the survival chance of all those women (thus their offspring), so these are valuable traits. Women identify and emphasise way more with other women than men do with other men, and women tend to have a much stronger sense of group identity. Furthermore, due to the risks involved in unknown men (violence, rape, unwanted pregnancy) women historically had a good motive to distrust men. Hence the in group-out group, Us-against-Them mentality.

Contrast this with men. In order for a man to succeed in evolution, he needs to pass on his genes and he needs to give his mate and offspring the best opportunity at survival he can. He doesn't actually have to survive. Men succeed in the evolutionary arms race if they are willing to put their mate's wellbeing and comfort over their own, if they are willing to sacrifice themselves to serve women's needs. And how does one attract a mate? Feminists would have us believe that this was done by clubbing women over the head and dragging them back to the cave. I think this is incredibly simplistic and naive. I have to assume that women, as they do today, have always been able to be choosy, to have men compete for their attention. Even in a pool of club-wielding man-apes, the attractive women had a choice, and thus agency to influence how she would be treated once she had decided to favour one of the lucky men with her affections.
Thus men were wired to see each other as rivals and competitors, and women's wellbeing (if only to get in her proverbial pants) as the ultimate goal.
Given this dynamic, and given men's role throughout history as providers and protectors, I really don't understand how anyone can find "Patriarchy", a system intended to oppress women, plausible. Yes, men historically have denied women agency. Well guess what, back then, that agency got you killed.

Now I recognise that we no longer live in the stone age and that it's possible/preferable to have women get educated, participate in the workforce, vote, etc. However, it would really make my day if women did this with some sense of humility and an effort to adapt themselves, rather than stamping their feet and gnashing their teeth at everything that isn't specifically designed to suit their tastes and needs. If these feminists want women to be treated as agents rather than objects, they need to start accepting "deal with it" as an answer, rather than expecting men to leap to attention and change everything around to suit their feminine needs.

Agency has its perks; freedom and power, but it should also have its costs: responsibility, accountability, overcoming problems by yourself, being tough, etc. It seems to me, feminists want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the freedom and power of being an agent, but the safety and protection of an object, and that just doesn't compute.


Last edited by AliRadicali on Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Feminism...

Post  Atheist Dude on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:47 pm

If anyone(including my kids) tells me to "deal with it" I'll go out of my way to make sure that they're sorry they said it.

It's a dismissive term, it's like someone saying "whatever"

That term is considered "fighting words" with some guys I know.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:10 pm

Atheist Dude wrote:If anyone(including my kids) tells me to "deal with it" I'll go out of my way to make sure that they're sorry they said it.

It's a dismissive term, it's like someone saying "whatever"

That term is considered "fighting words" with some guys I know.
I realise it is dismissive, that's the whole point. Whether it's offensive, IMO depends on context and tone. For clarity's sake, the way I intended those words was this: When you say "deal with it" you're saying the problem being presented isn't insurmountable by the person bringing up the problem. You're saying "instead of pestering me or other people to solve your problem for you, do it yourself."


Again, I understand that "deal with it" can be used in an inappropriate manner, when the problem being brought up shouldn't be dismissed in an offhand manner. However, I think this is one instance where using the phrase is highly justifiable.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  Atheist Dude on Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:28 pm

I went through the whole "where do I stand" on feminism back in the 90's. To make a long story short, I believe in equality for everyone, in all respects.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  Skep tickle on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:05 pm

I used to consider myself a feminist, but thanks to A+safe I will no longer use that term. They've poisoned it. Like AtheistDude, I'm for fairness for all.

Oh, and I'm an educated self-confident competent woman who works in a women's health center with women as patients and mostly other women as coworkers. I guess I've bought into the patriarchy, eh. Rolling Eyes

Here was the last straw for me at A+safe regarding feminism:

I can't find it readily now (because I can't search for my posts at A+safe, since I was banned, and a search for "feminists" brings up too many results), but I had the exchange described below with a couple of people in one of the moderation forum threads at A+safe.

Someone asked "Can you say [whatever the example was] here?" and a regular replied, including the comment that one thing you definitely couldn't say was "Feminists are inherently inferior to" [non-feminists? men? some other term? I forget].

So I said okay, I get that...then asked whether, then, one was permitted say that any group/type of people "was inherently inferior to" another group/type of people. I asked, what basis would one have to judge one group as inherently inferior to another, without specifying a quality that was being measured and found lacking?

I know better now, but at the time I was startled that no-one jumped in to say "any statement of that form would be a ridiculous, judgmental thing to say!"

Someone actually tried to interpret what xe thought I was trying to "incoherently" say, but xe was wrong.

Someone offered "people who laugh at rape jokes are inherently inferior to people who don't laugh at rape jokes" as a statement that xe thought would be okay (but allowed as how xe wasn't a mod, so it wasn't xis decision). I countered that it would be far more useful and accurate to say, instead, "I believe that people who laugh at rape jokes are less aware of the harm such jokes can cause". No-one leaped to my side of the discussion...imagine that...and the topic changed.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  scott1328 on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:23 pm

I prefer the definition of Feminism espoused by the Godless Bitches:

the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

And I recommend their pod cast. They were initially in favor of A+, but since the Dillahunty debacle they have not had a podcast.

I know that Jen Peeples and Tracie Harris have expressed disgust at the affair and both seem to have written off the forum, or perhaps never cared for it to begin with. Beth Presswood, Dillahunty's wife has expressed no opinion the matter since the debacle.

Perhaps their brand of feminism is more aligned with egalitarianism?

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Re: Feminism...

Post  uncrystal on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:59 pm

Feminism seems to be one of the major focuses of A+theism, or at least its advocates. Incidentally, it's something that, to me, defies logic and evidence, and is thus a rationally unjustifiable position for any skeptic to hold, which is why it irks me so much that Feminism has hijacked atheism the way it has.
They are, by in large, feminists who are also coincidentally nonbelievers. Feminism+ would be a more apt title (I believe I stole this from a youtube comment).

I think A+ just happens to be the "new toy" right now. Everyone is talking about it, but I don't see it having real teeth. I've said this before, but I see it more as weeding out the non skeptical atheists. I can't see why that would be a negative.

(Warning: tangent) In Who Stole Feminism (great book btw) Christina Hoff Sommers talks about a feminist conference she attended where there was so much "in fighting" and women accusing other women of oppressing them that they would further divide into groups of "disabled women" "Jewish women" "black women" "Jewish lesbians" etc. She also relays a story from a woman whose lesbian support group split into white lesbians and black lesbians because of in fighting and then further into black lesbians with black partners and black lesbians with white partners. THAT is what A+ reminds me of.. people who not only can't find common ground with with those who don't share their exact lived experiences, but can't even stand to be around "others".

Like the Christian who uses atheists lack of moral guidelines to argue that atheists must be horrible brutes, the feminists are projecting the uglier parts of their thinking onto the unwitting men past and present.
Perhaps this isn't a response to your exact point, but I see more than a few parallel between the feminist interpretation of patriarchy and a god. It's this unknowable, unseeable, untestable answer to nearly everything. They can't "describe" oppression exactly, but they know it when they feel it.. kinda like the wind.

Agency has its perks; freedom and power, but it should also have its costs: responsibility, accountability, overcoming problems by yourself, being tough, etc. It seems to me, feminists want to have their cake and eat it too. They want the freedom and power of being an agent, but the safety and protection of an object, and that just doesn't compute.

Yes.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  uncrystal on Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:08 pm

scott1328 wrote:I prefer the definition of Feminism espoused by the Godless Bitches:

the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

And I recommend their pod cast. They were initially in favor of A+, but since the Dillahunty debacle they have not had a podcast.

I know that Jen Peeples and Tracie Harris have expressed disgust at the affair and both seem to have written off the forum, or perhaps never cared for it to begin with. Beth Presswood, Dillahunty's wife has expressed no opinion the matter since the debacle.

Perhaps their brand of feminism is more aligned with egalitarianism?

That's actually the dictionary definition of feminism. If that was how feminism actually manifested itself I'd be all gungho.

I don't listen to Godless Bitches, but Tracie is especially good on The Atheist Experience.

I have a hard time believing Matt is still onboard with A+, but to my knowledge he hasn't said otherwise. The way he was treated when he was "curious", after they found out he was Matt, and especially after the cool down of it all was horrible.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Atheist Dude on Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:17 pm

Skep tickle wrote:I used to consider myself a feminist, but thanks to A+safe I will no longer use that term. They've poisoned it. Like AtheistDude, I'm for fairness for all.

Is the core group(mods and regular poster's) at the A+ safe forum, feminists or more into promoting bi/trans/lesbian...... issues?

They seem to get most upset about trans gender issues, but what the hell do I know, I hadn't even heard of some of the sexual id issues before reading them there.

p.s. Nice to meet you Skep tickle.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  KaineDamo on Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:56 pm

The conversations here are so much smoother, and much better reasoned, without the mod intervention at a+safe.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  piginthecity on Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:40 pm

I think the ACA people are wise to keep schtum on this issue. After all, they are a flesh-and-blood group, so they can ignore internet drama if they like, and they already have a platform online.

I do wonder, if the schism continues like this, whether their membership of Freethoughtblogs will come under question from either side, as FTB seems to be drifting in a partisan direction on this.

In my case, I like to think that I'm highly sympathetic to feminism in terms of its equality agenda. It's certainly the case that many social metrics in the western world at the moment paint a picture of a far from equal society. I'm interested in helping to change this. I admit that I'm sexist - in the sense that i make assumptions about people, including gender, and that my assumptions about gender are indeed influenced by a society that can accurately be described as a patriarchy. I accept that language is loaded to both reflect and reinforce gender stereotyping and am in favour of deliberately help it to evolve in a more neutral direction.

Looking internally at the skeptical movement, I accept that at the moment it is, to some extent a boy's club. It would be much better if it were more diverse. I believe any individual woman who says that she personally is alienated from it and I believe her as to the reasons why if she is speaking for herself. There is clearly some work us boys can do in addressing these reasons, and we are remiss if we do not.

Two main problems I have are, firstly that I don't accept that 'Identity Politics' is the way forward. This can broadly be defined as politics which is firstly concerned with identifying a demographic divide to be on one side or the other of, then using that as a lens through which to view the entirety of politics.

The second problem is to do with discourse. I've admitted that I can be personally be sexist or reflect sexism in the wider society. Now, in principle, I don't mind this being pointed out. Challenge is good and if i'd never been challenged I'd probably be a totally sexist pig. I admit there's a level of pain (my side), some of which is constructive but there are some limits to observe.

1) If someone is genuinely offended by my sexism individually, then they can let me know in strong terms. The upshot will be that either I'll apologise, or decide that I'll simply avoid that person, or be more careful, because I'll have them down as thin-skinned.

2) If someone isn't offended, and just pointing out my sexism by way of 'conversation' or as an example, or as a topic we can discuss as skeptics together, then this is perfectly fine too. Their tone should indicate that this is so and that no apology or retraction is required, it's just conversation.

3) If someone isn't offended personally, but feels that they should object in strong terms on behalf of some (usually hypothetical) person or group and ask me to retract or apologise on their behalf, then I can't take this seriously. This is because the model of what is 'offensive' in this person's head is too subjective. Also this person is focussing on my conversation at a meta-level, not on the conversation I want to have, which is a dishonest way of responding and also a claim of higher status (justified in the case of true offence but not in this case). Also, the impression is given that the individual has 'trained themselves' to act offended or claim offence in certain cases, but this is not necessarily rooted in any actual emotion which I should respect.

4) This whole thing is complicated by the factor that some people find some topics or viewpoints inherently distressing, so even raising an issue can be said to be offensive. I have to say I take a somewhat uncompromising line against this. If we're skeptics we have to be able to chew anything over.



Last edited by piginthecity on Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:55 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : minor change)

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Dar on Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:16 am

I also like the brand of feminism promoted by the Godless Bitches and the Non-Prophets. I'm quite eager to hear if they will say anything about Atheism Plus after having promoted it so much.

I know its not really reasonable, but I felt betrayed by the Godless Bitches, the Non-Prophets, and the ACA crowd in general after my bad experience over at the so called 'safe space' forum. I realize they had likely simply failed to due their due diligence or were simply passing along the ideas without realizing what the realities were. Even so, it hurt. I very rarely get excited and active in things like this. When people I've followed for years, admire, and trust vouched for atheismplus.com, and I go there on their word, and I get treated like shit before anyone there could possibly know my position or history on anything... well, it hurt.

Now, I don't care if the Godless Bitches call it feminism. After my experience with Atheism Plus, I want nothing to do with feminism.

I am for human equality. I don't care if you are male, female, or don't identify with either of those genders. I don't care if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or have some other sexual orientation. I don't care if you are black, white, hispanic, asian, or some other ethnicity. All humans deserve to be treated with respect. All humans deserve equal rights. I no longer believe that the word 'feminism' is compatible with this position. I certainly do not believe that the people at atheismplus.com behave in a manner consistent with this position.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  uncrystal on Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:21 am

Looking internally at the skeptical movement, I accept that at the moment it is, to some extent a boy's club. It would be much better if it were more diverse. I believe any individual woman who says that she personally is alienated from it and I believe her as to the reasons why if she is speaking for herself. There is clearly some work us boys can do in addressing these reasons, and we are remiss if we do not.
"A boy's club" tends to have negative connotation. Atheist organizations aren't sexist simply because men are more likely to be nonbelievers than women just like they aren't racist simply because whites are more likely to be nonbelievers than most minorities. I'm not sure of the exact breakdown of attendees or speakers at conferences, but in"fairness" men should be over represented because men are over represented in atheism. Diversity is great, but the reality is that people who identify as atheists are largely white males. Maybe push for actual diversity before you push for the appearance of diversity? (note: I'm not accusing you specifically of anything).

I don't know the personal situation of every woman who says she's alienated, but there is a distinction between women literally being unwelcome and women feeling unwelcome because women are in the minority.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  scott1328 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:49 am

Dar wrote:I know its not really reasonable, but I felt betrayed by the Godless Bitches, the Non-Prophets, and the ACA crowd in general after my bad experience over at the so called 'safe space' forum. I realize they had likely simply failed to due their due diligence or were simply passing along the ideas without realizing what the realities were. Even so, it hurt. I very rarely get excited and active in things like this. When people I've followed for years, admire, and trust vouched for atheismplus.com, and I go there on their word, and I get treated like shit before anyone there could possibly know my position or history on anything... well, it hurt.

To be fair, the ACA has never officially come out in support of Atheism+, although most of their most visible members have. The only way I have heard any of them discuss Atheism+ is as a label that an individual or an organization can adopt that signals to others their commitment to atheism as well as social justice issues. But I totally understand your feeling of betrayal and disappointment (I have them too), but the blame lies solely on the bad behaviour of the moderators at the safe-space and their rabid attack dogs.

In fact I believe that the ACA is a model for what Atheism+ should have been. They are active in the real world. They produce pod casts, and their television show is very popular (and award winning in the Austin area). They have community social events such as their pub crawl, bat cruise, after-show meet-ups, lecture series. They do charity work in the Austin area (atheists helping the homeless), the participate in Austin pride area.

Now then, compare what the ACA does in the real world with what Atheism+ has accomplished or has even talked about accomplishing. Transcribing videos (with iffy copyright considerations), and ???


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Re: Feminism...

Post  piginthecity on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:24 am

Yep, I'm with Scott on this one regards ACA.

In the early days of A+ it may well be some ACA people saw it in a positive light, because maybe there was some work to do on the diversity issue. Then A+ became this 'malice palace' and the ACA people don't seem to be saying anything anymore. I can totally understand them not wanting to come out against A+, because they calculate that so long as there's one person in there who is honestly working towards inclusivity, they don't want to be seen to oppose. Also, they are probably too busy to lurk there enough to really understand what has happened.

I have to say to Dar, that, yes, your sense of betrayal is unreasonable. Tracie and Jen have never told you to check your privilege. They got involved to some extent (to the best of my knowledge), and tried to steer the thing in the right direction and failed. They are not responsible for your experience. Everybody is responsible for what they do as an individual, not for a 'them' based on who they may have associated with, especially if that association may have been very loose.

I think we've got to be really clear (and I'm not aiming this bit at Dar - but to everyone) that, now that the wider skeptical community has largely rejected A+ as an embarrassing irrelevance, and it seems it's clear that it will wither on the vine, we have got to be careful not to start a counter-witch-hunt. It's very important that women skeptics (existing or new) are not put under pressure to distance themselves from feminism just to make us feel more comfortable. In fact, I think it should be made clear that feminists are welcome in the skeptical community, and that issues such as patriarchy theory can be discussed along with everything else. What we've learned from the debacle is, i hope, not that some issues are too toxic to be discussed, but rather that any issue can be discussed from a skeptical perspective so long as it is not made the basis for divisive identity politics.


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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:06 am

A lot of good points being made in this thread. I actually agree with most of the things said in piginthecity's post, my biggest point of disagreement being that although I tend to agree with the idea of not categorising people into groups, as this is devisive, I feel it's something that has to occur when we're talking about gender equality. And it's something that needs to be addressed objectively, rather than in a kneejerk, emotional way. You mention how difficult it is to even talk about these subjects and about sexism, and I concur, the topic is an absolute minefield of preconceptions and political correctnesss. Everyone is inherently sexist to a certain extent. Culture is sexist. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are taught to treat men and women differently, and that is essentially what sexism is: seeing distinctions based on sex. And it's not always all bad either.

But the problem is the one-sided approach, the double standard, where certain types of sexism are deemed totally fine and socially acceptable, and others are deemed vile and misogynistic. If you say men are more prone to crime and violence, that's deemed fair since the crime and incarceration statistics back that up. If you say women are generally more fickle and unfaithful, since they apply for the majority of divorces, instigate a great deal more(I.E. cause the man to file a diverce for behaving outrageously), and the most common reason for filing for divorce among women is "dissatisfaction", you're a misogynistic, oppressive patriarch trying to put women under the boot.

uncrystal wrote:
Looking internally at the skeptical movement, I accept that at the moment it is, to some extent a boy's club. It would be much better if it were more diverse. I believe any individual woman who says that she personally is alienated from it and I believe her as to the reasons why if she is speaking for herself. There is clearly some work us boys can do in addressing these reasons, and we are remiss if we do not.
"A boy's club" tends to have negative connotation. Atheist organizations aren't sexist simply because men are more likely to be nonbelievers than women just like they aren't racist simply because whites are more likely to be nonbelievers than most minorities. I'm not sure of the exact breakdown of attendees or speakers at conferences, but in"fairness" men should be over represented because men are over represented in atheism. Diversity is great, but the reality is that people who identify as atheists are largely white males. Maybe push for actual diversity before you push for the appearance of diversity? (note: I'm not accusing you specifically of anything).

I don't know the personal situation of every woman who says she's alienated, but there is a distinction between women literally being unwelcome and women feeling unwelcome because women are in the minority.
This.

The feminists in A+ take the fact that there are less women and minorities in atheism as proof of "patriarchy" within the atheist movement. But correlation is not causation, and I see many more plausible explanations than a gender oppression one. One of the most glaring reasons is the fact that atheism has a strong link with education, thus most atheists will be middle class and fairly highly educated, which correlates to being white.
There's also a potential biological/psychological reason: men are generally more contentious, outspoken and combative about their beliefs. Women tend to be more compromising and conciliatory, so I think it's worth considering that there might be a lot of atheist women who just don't identify themselves with that label to avoid upsetting friends, family and community, especially in the overtly religious areas. I'm not saying women are incapable of "coming out" under potentially hostile circumstances, obviously not, but I do think women are less likely to.


Lastly I want to say with regards to the ACA and the mess they got themselves in by initially supporting A+, that I'm really sorry about it. I greatly value the ACA, and their shows were what led me to be a lot more interested in- and outspoken about- my atheism. I think the ACA is a great model for how secular/atheist social justice initiatives should operate which is why I don't understand why they tried to reinvent the wheel with A+, and why they haven't distanced themselves (more) from it after it blew up in their face. I can somewhat understand not wanting to alienate the A+ believers, but at the same time I think the ACA should bear some of the responsibility for the monster it has helped create by dealing with it rather than dodging the issue. I think if anyone, the ACA might have the respect and authority to make the people in A+theism realise the errors of their ways..... or if not, at least to show the entire atheist community A+'s true colours.
We criticise mainstream religion for not rejecting and condemning the radical churches. We tell them to clean their own house before preaching to other people. Unless we want the atheist community to be seen as hypocrites, we should do the same and make it clear that A+theism does not represent atheism.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  captainmjs on Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:34 am

AliRadicali

The feminists in A+ take the fact that there are less women and minorities in atheism as proof of "patriarchy" within the atheist movement.

I've seen this demographic argument made before but never by actual so-called proponents of Atheism+. It would be nice if you would give actual citations of this argument to back up your assertion because obviously the refutation of this claim is correct but all I've ever seen argued by feminists in Atheism+ is that they do not feel welcome. Granted this is purely subjective but it isn't something that is actually being offered as "proof" of anything.

I can somewhat understand not wanting to alienate the A+ believers, but at the same time I think the ACA should bear some of the responsibility for the monster it has helped create by dealing with it rather than dodging the issue. I think if anyone, the ACA might have the respect and authority to make the people in A+theism realise the errors of their ways..... or if not, at least to show the entire atheist community A+'s true colours.

Would be nice if you would point out what these "monstrous" true colors are so that they can stop dodging the issue.

We criticise mainstream religion for not rejecting and condemning the radical churches. We tell them to clean their own house before preaching to other people. Unless we want the atheist community to be seen as hypocrites, we should do the same and make it clear that A+theism does not represent atheism.

Atheism+ is not a fucking religion or a fucking church. There is no "leadership" of Atheism+ and the community of like 2000 give or take (if that number is even close to accurate) has many opinions on the issues and does not necessarily agree on them all to any extent. They are only "united" on the issues we agree on and even those are not held to strictly by all members. There is no dogma and no one is claiming that Atheism+ is what atheism really is they are only saying that a more tolerant world based on reason and compassion is a better world to live in. Atheism is just a lack of belief in gods, always has been, always will be.

You really kicked that straw man's ass though.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:39 am

captainmjs wrote:
AliRadicali
The feminists in A+ take the fact that there are less women and minorities in atheism as proof of "patriarchy" within the atheist movement.

I've seen this demographic argument made before but never by actual so-called proponents of Atheism+. It would be nice if you would give actual citations of this argument to back up your assertion because obviously the refutation of this claim is correct but all I've ever seen argued by feminists in Atheism+ is that they do not feel welcome. Granted this is purely subjective but it isn't something that is actually being offered as "proof" of anything.
It's an argument that they rarely make explicitly. The form is usually:
"1. There aren't a lot of minorities in the atheist movement
2. I, as a "minority" (typically white middle class woman) feel uncomfortable when people do X/Y/Z
3. therefore the reason why there aren't enough minorities must be because of all the people doing XYZ all the time!"

Examples:
"An atheist movement cannot be inclusive of atheist women… and also be inclusive of people who publicly call women ugly, fat, sluts, whores, cunts, and worse; who persistently harass them; who deliberately invade their privacy and make their personal information public; and/or who routinely threaten them with grisly violence, rape, and death."
"When we look purely at the numbers game… what will get us more numbers? Let me give you a hint: There are a whole lot of women in the world, and a whole lot people of color, and a whole lot of poor and working class people. And there are a whole lot of middle class white men in the world who care about women and people of color and poor people: who have them/ us as friends, colleagues, romantic partners, family members, and who give a damn about making their/ our world a little less toxic. Aiming for the “everyone we’re currently not reaching” demographic — as opposed to the “handful of whiny entitled douchebags who don’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t like them” demographic — is pretty much a no-brainer."
http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/08/21/why-atheism-plus-is-good-for-atheism/

Again, they're usually circumspect about making this argument, because it's such a terrible argument to make, but their justification for this witchhunt against misogyny in atheism is essentially the fact that there aren't that many women in the atheist movement, and that somehow must be because women are unwelcome there. It can't possibly be something external to the atheist movement, say, inherent gender differences, education levels or culture.




I can somewhat understand not wanting to alienate the A+ believers, but at the same time I think the ACA should bear some of the responsibility for the monster it has helped create by dealing with it rather than dodging the issue. I think if anyone, the ACA might have the respect and authority to make the people in A+theism realise the errors of their ways..... or if not, at least to show the entire atheist community A+'s true colours.

Would be nice if you would point out what these "monstrous" true colors are so that they can stop dodging the issue.
Well, being profoundly unskeptical, divisive, unreasonable toward- and unwilling to debate with- critics, not to mention vehemently against free speech, are all pretty bad features for a group of self-professing skeptics.
The underlying radfem theories regarding gender parity are IMO laughable, but just try bringing it up with these "critical thinkers".

We criticise mainstream religion for not rejecting and condemning the radical churches. We tell them to clean their own house before preaching to other people. Unless we want the atheist community to be seen as hypocrites, we should do the same and make it clear that A+theism does not represent atheism.

Atheism+ is not a fucking religion or a fucking church. There is no "leadership" of Atheism+ and the community of like 2000 give or take (if that number is even close to accurate) has many opinions on the issues and does not necessarily agree on them all to any extent. They are only "united" on the issues we agree on and even those are not held to strictly by all members. There is no dogma and no one is claiming that Atheism+ is what atheism really is they are only saying that a more tolerant world based on reason and compassion is a better world to live in. Atheism is just a lack of belief in gods, always has been, always will be.

You really kicked that straw man's ass though.
Except that A+ chastises the rest of the atheist movement for not being on board with this "new wave of atheism". It frequently paints the rest of atheism as "stuffy old white men who don't care about social justice".

And yes, there is fucking dogma. If you don't believe me, feel free to try to raise a critical point regarding ANY A+ ideology or policy in the A+ forum and just see how quick the mods and forumites will dogpile on you and accuse you of trolling.

You cannot be an A+theist if you (publicly) disagree with feminist theory (partiarchy, male privilege, etc.). But feel free to try, I dare you. I double dare you.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  captainmjs on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:04 am

AliRadicali

It's an argument that they rarely make explicitly.

No it's an argument "they" never make explicitly because it's irrational, whoever "they" might be referring to.[/quote]

Examples:

"An atheist movement cannot be inclusive of atheist women… and also be inclusive of people who publicly call women ugly, fat, sluts, whores, cunts, and worse; who persistently harass them; who deliberately invade their privacy and make their personal information public; and/or who routinely threaten them with grisly violence, rape, and death."

"When we look purely at the numbers game… what will get us more numbers? Let me give you a hint: There are a whole lot of women in the world, and a whole lot people of color, and a whole lot of poor and working class people. And there are a whole lot of middle class white men in the world who care about women and people of color and poor people: who have them/ us as friends, colleagues, romantic partners, family members, and who give a damn about making their/ our world a little less toxic. Aiming for the “everyone we’re currently not reaching” demographic — as opposed to the “handful of whiny entitled douchebags who don’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t like them” demographic — is pretty much a no-brainer."[/quote]

Well at least you did attempt to give an example it wasn't specifically regarding the argument it was framed as more of a sentiment than anything but most of Greta's writings are phrased that way. A sentiment is not a fact but you present it as though you have debunked some grand argument.

And yes, there is fucking dogma. If you don't believe me, feel free to try to raise a critical point regarding ANY A+ ideology or policy in the A+ forum and just see how quick the mods and forumites will dogpile on you and accuse you of trolling.

I used to post there all the time and still do every now and then and I don't always agree with them. I once somewhat agreed with the head of a Voice for Men on some ridiculous video he made and I never got banned. But I know plenty of people have so I'll grant you that they are somewhat intolerant of bullshit and that the "safe place" description of their forum is unfriendly toward dissenting viewpoints. A "forum policy" is not a dogma it's a policy on how they run their forum not their lives.

You cannot be an A+theist if you (publicly) disagree with feminist theory (partiarchy, male privilege, etc.). But feel free to try, I dare you. I double dare you.

I'm not a feminist mostly because I don't like the word "feminism" but I do agree at the very least with the textbook definition of equality of the sexes. Just like I'm not an anti-theist because I don't like that word but I do agree that religion should be opposed and is dangerous to society and is also the biggest proponent of the patriarchy which is the extent to which I think the patriarchy needs to be opposed.


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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:00 am

captainmjs wrote:
AliRadicali

It's an argument that they rarely make explicitly.

No it's an argument "they" never make explicitly because it's irrational, whoever "they" might be referring to.
It's not my fault that Greta Christina, Jen McRight, Rebecca Watson and the rest prefer to talk in singular examples and then translate that into generalities. I think they've made it more than abundantly clear that they think the lack of women (and other minorities, but let's stick with women for the moment) is a problem, and that their explanation for that disparity is some inherent flaw within the atheist community. Whether it's "being an old boys club", being "full of misogynists, bigots, homophobes etc.", tolerating language which might offend women, the theme is always the same: the atheist movement isn't diverse enough, and the reason for the lack of diversity is a problem with the atheist community, namely intolerance and bigotry.
You know, stuff like this:
"I don’t feel safe as a woman in this community(referring to the atheist/skeptic community) – and I feel less safe than I do as a woman in science, or a woman in gaming, or hell, as a woman walking down the fucking sidewalk. People shat themselves with rage at the suggestion that cons should have anti-sexual harassment policies.(note: such policies had already been in place for a year, the reaction was to the demand for MORE policies) DJ Grothe, president of JREF, blamed those evil feminist bloggers for TAM’s female attendance problem instead of trying to fix what’s scaring women away (and then blocked me on Twitter and unfriended me on Facebook for good measure)(note: under DJ's leadership, the proportion of female speakers at TAM doubled. His comment was a response to the drop in female attendance after the elevatorgate rape hysteria, where he suggested that all this talk of rape might be scaring away women) "

But if I'm barking up the wrong tree, instead of accusing me of strawmanning, can YOU explain why A+ keeps bringing up the lack of women in atheism, why they keep talking about misogyny and bigotry within the community?

Examples:
"An atheist movement cannot be inclusive of atheist women… and also be inclusive of people who publicly call women ugly, fat, sluts, whores, cunts, and worse; who persistently harass them; who deliberately invade their privacy and make their personal information public; and/or who routinely threaten them with grisly violence, rape, and death."

"When we look purely at the numbers game… what will get us more numbers? Let me give you a hint: There are a whole lot of women in the world, and a whole lot people of color, and a whole lot of poor and working class people. And there are a whole lot of middle class white men in the world who care about women and people of color and poor people: who have them/ us as friends, colleagues, romantic partners, family members, and who give a damn about making their/ our world a little less toxic. Aiming for the “everyone we’re currently not reaching” demographic — as opposed to the “handful of whiny entitled douchebags who don’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t like them” demographic — is pretty much a no-brainer."

Well at least you did attempt to give an example it wasn't specifically regarding the argument it was framed as more of a sentiment than anything but most of Greta's writings are phrased that way. A sentiment is not a fact but you present it as though you have debunked some grand argument.

Well I'm sorry if the people who founded A+ aren't the brightest little lightbulbs in the shed. I'm sorry it's so difficult to find them actually making a decent syllogism. Maybe, since you're taking such lengths to defend them, YOU could perhaps present the argument in a non-strawman form? Again, reading A+ writings, all i see is an accusation of misogyny leveled at the community and given as an excuse why women don't want to join:

"I was exactly what a Boy’s Club wanted. I was a young, not-hideous woman who passionately supported their cause. I made them look diverse without them having to address their minority-repelling privilege. They liked that I joked about sex and boobs not because it was empowering for me, but because they saw it as a pass to oggle and objectify. But the Boy’s Club rescinds its invitation once they realize you’re a rabble-rousing feminist. I was welcome at TAM when I was talking about a boob joke, but now I’m persona non grata for caring about sexual harassment."
http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/


And yes, there is fucking dogma. If you don't believe me, feel free to try to raise a critical point regarding ANY A+ ideology or policy in the A+ forum and just see how quick the mods and forumites will dogpile on you and accuse you of trolling.

I used to post there all the time and still do every now and then and I don't always agree with them. I once somewhat agreed with the head of a Voice for Men on some ridiculous video he made and I never got banned. But I know plenty of people have so I'll grant you that they are somewhat intolerant of bullshit and that the "safe place" description of their forum is unfriendly toward dissenting viewpoints. A "forum policy" is not a dogma it's a policy on how they run their forum not their lives.
1. an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.
2.
a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.
3.
prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
4.
a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. Synonyms: conviction, certainty.
If people aren't allowed to disagree with an idea to remain within the group, if certain things are unqueestionable, then that's dogma. Sorry.

You cannot be an A+theist if you (publicly) disagree with feminist theory (partiarchy, male privilege, etc.). But feel free to try, I dare you. I double dare you.

I'm not a feminist mostly because I don't like the word "feminism" but I do agree at the very least with the textbook definition of equality of the sexes. Just like I'm not an anti-theist because I don't like that word but I do agree that religion should be opposed and is dangerous to society and is also the biggest proponent of the patriarchy which is the extent to which I think the patriarchy needs to be opposed.
Do you believe that human society is a construct designed (intentionally or otherwise) to serve men at the expense of women? If not, you're not a feminist. And again, i'd love for you to actually try to get them to debate this over there. I'd try myself, but I'm banned for asking questions and not falling to my knees in a groveling, sniveling mass when the rest of the forum decided I was wrong and "just didn't get it", and suggested I shut up and lurk until I could toe the party line.


There's a reason even eminently reasonable people like Matt Dillahunty aren't welcome there.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  captainmjs on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:28 am

AliRadicali

But if I'm barking up the wrong tree, instead of accusing me of strawmanning, can YOU explain why A+ keeps bringing up the lack of women in atheism, why they keep talking about misogyny and bigotry within the community?

No you're correct on that assertion they do bring it up and they do believe that it's an issue in the so-called atheist community that is seen as hostile to women. I personally think they are just reacting to a lot of hateful internet trolling but I think some of their claims are probably legitimate. The term "rape hysteria" is obscene but clearly you stoop to that level and claim that atheism plus is where the bigotry is. Absurd.

Well I'm sorry if the people who founded A+ aren't the brightest little lightbulbs in the shed. (People who don't agree with me are all idiots how quaint you must win a lot of people over with that bullshit.) I'm sorry it's so difficult to find them actually making a decent syllogism. Maybe, since you're taking such lengths to defend them, YOU could perhaps present the argument in a non-strawman form?

Yes the whole point is that it is not an argument it is a sentiment based on personal experience and feeling which is obviously not intended to be a rational "if then" kind of argument. So it would be kind of pointless to present an argument that its clearly irrational in the first place so that you can refute it once again.

If people aren't allowed to disagree with an idea to remain within the group, if certain things are unqueestionable, then that's dogma. Sorry.

A misrepresentation of the forum at best.

Do you believe that human society is a construct designed (intentionally or otherwise) to serve men at the expense of women? If not, you're not a feminist.

Didn't say I was a feminist. Not a particularly reliable definition of the so-called "patriarchy" either. They've had plenty of threads and discussions of the patriarchy on the site and plenty of people disagreed to some extent.

And again, i'd love for you to actually try to get them to debate this over there. I'd try myself, but I'm banned for asking questions and not falling to my knees in a groveling, sniveling mass when the rest of the forum decided I was wrong and "just didn't get it", and suggested I shut up and lurk until I could toe the party line.

Its kind of interesting that my first few posts were on a thread about gender neutral pronouns and how I didn't get it and didn't understand the discussion but rather than being banned they simply engaged in a rational and thoughtful discussion with me on the subject. So clearly I question your experience. What forum name did you post under, the same one?

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Dar on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:35 am

I have absolutely no problem with feminists and or those who feel marginalized getting together and forming an atheist support group. I simply wish they would have made it clear that was their intent. The home page and FAQ and promotion have been lies.

It's like seeing a hardware store storefront, walking in, asking where the hammers are, and getting jumped on for bringing up hammers in a club for people who have been assaulted by hammers.

Had atheismplus.com advertised itself accurately, I never would have checked it out.

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Re: Feminism...

Post  Atheist Dude on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:57 am

Dar wrote:I have absolutely no problem with feminists and or those who feel marginalized getting together and forming an atheist support group. I simply wish they would have made it clear that was their intent. The home page and FAQ and promotion have been lies.

It's like seeing a hardware store storefront, walking in, asking where the hammers are, and getting jumped on for bringing up hammers in a club for people who have been assaulted by hammers.

Had atheismplus.com advertised itself accurately, I never would have checked it out.

I have the same impression of the forum as Dar.
The forum seems to be more of a support group for those "on the inside" than an open forum for those interested in and wanting to discuss and debate social justice issues.

If they want a support group, great, call it a support group. Don't call it a debate/discussion forum, that's only misleading people.
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Re: Feminism...

Post  AliRadicali on Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:32 pm

^ Indeed. I was also suckered in by the idea that these people might actually be interested in debating their ideas/policies. I had a suspicion that they weren't having read a thing or two about them, but what skeptic would I be if I didn't investigate and look for their side of the story? What kind of person would blindly accept one side's explanation without at least looking to see what the other side had to say?

captainmjs wrote:
AliRadicali

But if I'm barking up the wrong tree, instead of accusing me of strawmanning, can YOU explain why A+ keeps bringing up the lack of women in atheism, why they keep talking about misogyny and bigotry within the community?

No you're correct on that assertion they do bring it up and they do believe that it's an issue in the so-called atheist community that is seen as hostile to women. I personally think they are just reacting to a lot of hateful internet trolling but I think some of their claims are probably legitimate. The term "rape hysteria" is obscene but clearly you stoop to that level and claim that atheism plus is where the bigotry is. Absurd.
Why is it obscene to use the term "rape hysteria", when what they're doing is creating and inflating a sense of fear in women over the possibility/prospect of rape(at atheist conventions)??? I'm sorry, but so far there have been 0, count 'em, ZERO cases of rape, sexual abuse, etc. reported to law enforcement or convention management. Or maybe they're just part of the partiarchal cabal?

hysteria: an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping,



Well I'm sorry if the people who founded A+ aren't the brightest little lightbulbs in the shed. (People who don't agree with me are all idiots how quaint you must win a lot of people over with that bullshit.) I'm sorry it's so difficult to find them actually making a decent syllogism. Maybe, since you're taking such lengths to defend them, YOU could perhaps present the argument in a non-strawman form?

Yes the whole point is that it is not an argument it is a sentiment based on personal experience and feeling which is obviously not intended to be a rational "if then" kind of argument. So it would be kind of pointless to present an argument that its clearly irrational in the first place so that you can refute it once again.
If it's a sentiment that isn't/cannot be backed up by evidence, the skeptical thing to do is to, well, treat it with skepticism. Personal experience is not solid evidence. We don't accept peronal testimony as proof of god, and while I recognise that god has a bigger burden of proof than widespread sexism and misogyny at atheist conventions, but when the only people testifying that they're suffering this abuse are the people who already agree with RW, I think it's time to be a little EXTRA skeptical.

And the reason I'm chiding the A+ people for being dumb isn't to justify my argument (which would be fallacious), it's a conclusion from the fact that THEY can't justify THEIR argument (yet seem to think it's fine to rely on testimonial evidence and feelings). It wouldn't be that hard to poll attendees, pass out questionnaires, etc. to actually figure out how much of a problem sexism at conventions is 9or is perceived to be), but the "skepchicks" feel just fine making assertions and then playing the victim when less and less people take their increasingly desperate wolf-crying seriously.

If people aren't allowed to disagree with an idea to remain within the group, if certain things are unqueestionable, then that's dogma. Sorry.
A misrepresentation of the forum at best.
The word dogma isn't necessarily bad. You could say that believing the state has a responsibility to care for people is "liberal dogma". Are you denying that there are rules that one MUST adhere to in order to remain a member in good standing? Are you denying that disagreeing on certain key tenets will get you banned?

I'm not saying there is no possibility of discussion, I'm saying the discussion has been artificially been neutered to stay within certain arbitrary, invisible bounds (set by the mods' and other members' tolerance of you at that time). Every time the dicussion strays into uncomfortable territories, the result is the entire A+ gang pouncing on the unfortunate naysayer and forcing him to humbly submit to their mercy or leave the forum.


Do you believe that human society is a construct designed (intentionally or otherwise) to serve men at the expense of women? If not, you're not a feminist.

Didn't say I was a feminist. Not a particularly reliable definition of the so-called "patriarchy" either. They've had plenty of threads and discussions of the patriarchy on the site and plenty of people disagreed to some extent.
I hope you bring that up next time you're there. I'd love to read their response to you rejecting feminism. And I'm sure they have much more convoluted definitions of patriarchy, probably with plenty of sociology jargon. Unfortunately, very light on empirical evidence or falsifiability.


And again, i'd love for you to actually try to get them to debate this over there. I'd try myself, but I'm banned for asking questions and not falling to my knees in a groveling, sniveling mass when the rest of the forum decided I was wrong and "just didn't get it", and suggested I shut up and lurk until I could toe the party line.

Its kind of interesting that my first few posts were on a thread about gender neutral pronouns and how I didn't get it and didn't understand the discussion but rather than being banned they simply engaged in a rational and thoughtful discussion with me on the subject. So clearly I question your experience. What forum name did you post under, the same one?
My first post was on the name of the movement and the anti free-speech policies, explaining where I stood, what I personally disliked about the concept, things I'd like to get more information about and issues I'd like to discuss/debate.
Of course, the majority of replies were snarky/rude oneliners telling me to GTFO if I didn't like it. The few people who bothred to actually respond weren't able to address any of my concerns in a meaningful fashion so i was branded a troll and dismissed.
http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=294&start=25#p37053
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Re: Feminism...

Post  Pitchguest on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:36 pm

In my opinion, the dedication to feminism is unnecessary conflation. You don't have to be an atheist to be a feminist, and by making a group that conflates atheism with feminism, you are essentially removing other people to participate in something they support but perhaps not unduly with their other beliefs (theism). Especially since it's supposed to signify a "third wave of atheism." Well, if they wanted to make a group specific to their needs, they could have named it more unambiguously, like Feminist Atheists or Social Justice Atheists (to name a few examples), which would at least make it clear from the get-go instead of assuming an all-inclusive "third wave of atheism" to which you get labelled several implications if you don't fall in lockstep straight away. (Which could have something to do with how the group came about in the first place, with the seemingly ageist presumptuous accusation that atheists are nothing but old, privileged white men with no aversion towards sexism, racism and homophobia.) It also seems to take precedence over other social justice issues, in that it's more vocally expressed, which is another valid criticism in my point. You don't want to let on when other social justice issues are at stake as well.

Schrödinger's Rapist is an obvious example of where they let on -- drone on -- about their supposed slights, though they don't see how this hurts their cause of making men feel at home in their "safe place" too. Obviously being blasted with the supposition that whenever you approach a woman you're a potential rapist, because (according to Starling) in their eyes they just don't know, will hurt some men. Which is not just insulting to me, but insulting to, I think, many feminists, who doesn't like the idea of treating women as perpetual or would-be victims. In my view, and in theirs too, I imagine, it's not real feminism. Feminism is, according to the definition, the advocacy of equal rights for women to men. In summary, attempting to achieve the same opportunities -- and in so doing get the same hardships -- as a man, in terms of employment and education. The same wages incurred in that of a man. A feminist would rightly not wish for any kind of special treatment, or wish to be treated as a victim because of their status as a woman, or having been victimised (rape survivor, sexual harassment, etc) use that to their advantage. I just have more respect for women to think of them in that way, and as I happen to agree with the main tenets of feminism (equal rights) the same principles apply to feminists as well.

If I were in charge, I'd scrap Atheism Plus -- acknowledging that it was a bad idea from a bad idea, albeit with admirable goals in mind, name it something else and start from scratch.

I would make sure to screen admins and moderators on any future sites and forums to ensure they're not illequipped for the task, with itchy trigger fingers and an urge to control the narrative with moderation if a new member should feel like asking questions. Right now the current form lacks that sense of balance.

And no, I wouldn't make the main focus to be about feminism. Atheism is the lack of a belief in a god or gods. There is no need for a conflation.

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