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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

14 Responses

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  1. Deborah
    Deborah at |

    Great comment, tigtog. I’ve been following the whole mess, and feeling deeply upset and bloody pissed off on behalf of Ophelia, and Greta, and many of the other FtBloggers. I am so over the hyperskepticism of chaps who’re “just asking the question.”

    I love FtB too.

  2. Ian Milliss
    Ian Milliss at |

    Yeah I’ve been watching it via PZ whose sanity and general decency has once again been notable. What can one say except 1) they are brave women, more power to them 2)’“excessive emphasis” on a minority misbehaving makes the movement look bad’ could be called the Cardinal Pell/Catholic Church defence and obviously wrong for that reason and 3) testosterone can ooze out in a lot of weird ways and basically those boys oughta grow up.

  3. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Thanks Deborah. Chris Clarke has a typically perspicacious comment on the Blue Collar Atheist blog at FtB too:

    the more Free Thought becomes just about debunking religion, the more it becomes useless. The practice does as much good in examining your relationship to credit card companies as it does in examining your relationship to Gawd, and I tend to wonder whether people that don’t see that have Thought sufficiently Freely.

    Go read the whole comment because it’s worth it (as is Hank’s post to which it is responding), but the basic point is that once one has rejected religion, then why would one need to talk about it all the time? Once the cultural religious framework for making sense of one’s life is irrelevant, then the movement is not actually worthy of the word “movement” unless it’s critically examining other cultural frameworks to see what else is worthy of rejection, what should be kept/expanded, and what is missing that needs developing.

    So the idea that social justice advocates are hijacking skepticism with our bleeding-heart irrational agenda? Pish-tosh. We’re offering a way forward. Certainly others might disagree as to whether it’s the best way forward, but unless they’re offering a better alternative than just the current status quo minus religious observance? Then they’re not offering much inspiration, are they?

    EDIT: Forgot the link to Chris’ comment! D’oh.

  4. SunlessNick
    SunlessNick at |

    Rebecca Watson misremembering which particular gendered slur a critic had used against her over a year ago

    The fact that there are too many for her to keep straight is itself an indication that sexism is a problem.

  5. Jason
    Jason at |

    “excessive emphasis” on a minority misbehaving makes the movement look bad

    If the majority is so deficient and complacent when it comes to self-criticism and reflection that can’t police a badly behaving minority, why the hell would I want to join the movement? That “we don’t need no stinking anti-harassment policy” attitude is alarm bell number one for me to walk away from anything. Call me a coward, but I’ve turned my back on atheism/scepticism/secularism -as-a-movement for now (with the exception of my political party of choice) because of it.

    Brownmiller wrote* about how the more “official” communist movements of the 70s were apathetic towards feminism because, according to them, it would basically become a non-issue when we were all living in a communist utopia. Who needs feminism when we’re all comrades instead of men and women, eh? But that basically seems to be the vibe coming from this community too.

    * Disclaimer: I don’t have her book to hand. I’m paraphrasing heavily.

  6. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Jason, I don’t think it’s true that “the majority is so deficient and complacent when it comes to self-criticism and reflection that can’t police a badly behaving minority”. The reaction from nearly every other godless/secularist org other than JREF/TAM has been positive with respect to having policies in place against harassment – often with some sense of embarrassment that they didn’t already have them – every week more orgs are posting their policies and codes of conduct, and most prospective attendees seem quite pleased with the idea that expectations of conduct are being clearly communicated with reporting procedures and intent to keep records very much part of the package.

    The noisiest pushback has come from a bunch of people who seem to mostly not even go to meetings/cons (or at least not cons other than TAM) and who are just whining that “nobody tells me what to do”. JREF itself seems to be running round in secret circles trying to work out how to recover from DJ Grothe’s own goal here.

  7. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    p.s. the attitude similar to the one Brownmiller described was heavy in the recent past, but even in just the last few years there’s been a lot of improvement. I suspect that as per so many other socially progressive paradigm shifts, the USA is both behinder on the global curve and noisier about the debate than just about anybody else.

  8. Jason
    Jason at |

    Jason, I don’t think it’s true that “the majority is so deficient and complacent when it comes to self-criticism and reflection that can’t police a badly behaving minority”.

    Yeah, sorry, that’s a fair point. I don’t mean to belittle the efforts of people who are fighting for it, and the good will of the majority who support it.

    The chip on my shoulder comes from having been part of communities who nominally shared values of critical thinking and rationality, where a vocally sexist minority has indicated a not-vocal-but-still-pretty-sexist majority who just didn’t see the problem. Now when I see all of this happening, I lose patience very quickly.

  9. Medivh
    Medivh at |

    Jason: it’s a fair method of quickly classifying groups, if you have no time to immerse yourself into the culture of that group to make a more measured and in-depth judgement. Just don’t forget to watch out for the opposite cadre of loud voices exposing a large and largely silent group that do see the problem with sexism.

    It also helps to take a more granular view of certain groups. Calling atheism a movement implies things that aren’t true; Myers and Abbie Smith are both ostensibly ‘movement atheists’, but represent very different positions.

  10. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Borrowing some phrasing from a comment seen elsewhere which was making a slightly different point, but which I do think is very relevant when looking at online Skepticism in particular, is that the perception of DEEEEEP RIIIIIFTS!!!!! is vastly amplified by the fact that skeptics generally love to argue, and that for many of them winning the argument is the Prime Directive, especially within certain blog zeitgeists.

    Many people who go to IRL events simply are not the same people who get caught up with SIWOTI outbreaks online, or at least are people who are quite good at switching between zeitgeists, which ties into the more granular view of groups advocated by Medivh.

  11. Chris Clarke
    Chris Clarke at |

    Came by to express my appreciation for this wise and sane post, and now you’ve got me looking down at the metaphorical dirt I’m shyly kicking with a metaphorical boot toe. Thanks. And Thanks.

  12. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Shucks, Chris. Nice to see you drop by, it’s been a while!

  13. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    A hashtag designed to cast FreeThoughtBlogs as hte bad guys has now been Pharyngulated. Some of the people who thought up that hashtag idea are allegedly PR professionals. Fail.

    This one sums up the sentiment of the Horde best, methinks:

  14. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    Two things:
    * PZ has a cracker of a post addressing the Deeeep Riiiifts in a sensible and substantive fashion which focusses on the aspects which unite atheism as a political and social movement with “What kind of atheist are you?
    * Chris Clarke has had his Jeep stolen again, and this time it’s been totalled. Hank Fox has orchestrated a donation campaign to help Chris gather the funds for a replacement desert truck.

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