Thunderf00t

MISOGYNIST!!!

Sexism, always funnier on Diplomatic Cruisers!

 

BIGOT, RACIST, MISOGYNY, it all constitutes an equally satisfying intellectual argument.

      I’ve been around on the internets a LONNNG time, and its been my experience that the more people use terms like MISOGYNIST, RACIST, BIGOT and FEMINAZI, the less valid their arguments are likely to be.  It’s kinda obvious in many ways, a good argument stands on its merits, not on how many times you can call someone a misogynist, and if you had a worthwhile argument, why not just present it, like so:

“Sexual Harassment at Conferences”.  –Lets nail some colors to the mast!

 

!!!!Accurate assessment of a problem is the first step towards moving towards an appropriate solution!!!!

    Now first let me say from a strategically point of view sexual harassment at conferences really is a non-issue (and if reading that has just pushed some buttons, I want you to calmly unplug those emotions and put them in a box, then take a deep breath, relax and read the rest of this reasoned argument)… breathing calmly yet? good!, then we can continue….

…… indeed to a large degree the conference scene is mostly redundant.  A large conference is a couple of thousand people.  In terms of viewership, a mediocre channel such as mine would pull in several tens of thousands of views for a video.  Then of course many of these lectures are repeated from conference to conference, and virtually all of them are available online.  Put simply if your primary focus is on the conference scene, then in the internet age, it’s probably misplaced.  Further it’s my personal experience that sexual harassment affects only a very significant minority of attendees.  Indeed I personally know prominent women who went to TAM last year who said from a harassment point of view, it was the cleanest TAM yet (battle fought and game won?).  So the full scope of the problem is a minority of a  minority.  As such do you really think this is the priority target where you will get best bang for your buck in terms of focusing hard won resources, or focusing the attention of the online community?
Now this is not to say that conferences are obsolete (they clearly still have functional roles to play), or that sexual harassment isn’t a bad thing. Sure it exists, I’ve seen it, although it seems to me that such acts overwhelming happen in the bars outside the conference.  I’ve seen some of this first hand, and was happy to help try to resolve the matter in an appropriate and mature fashion.  My personal estimate would be, of the things that aren’t just people being social clutzs, something like 1 guy in 100-1000 (and maybe the odd girl too!) causes almost all of the problems.  My straw poll estimate from half a dozen such meetings is that the ‘harassment’ that goes on in the bars at such meetings is little different from that you would find in practically any other bar in the country.

Further a female friend of mine who repeatedly attends many such events has informed me that the most recent TAM was the best ever in this fashion.

*THIS REALLY ISN’T A BIG PROBLEM*

Straight shooter…. I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em…. and this is my strategic assessment of the extent of the problem.

… and such problems can of course be dealt with quickly and discretely without spoiling the fun for everyone else (the modus operandi of most nightclubs).

So why the 50% drop in female attendance at TAM?

    Well like most things its likely to be a mix of factors, but I can tell you there is a reason why nightclubs typically advertise themselves with a little subtext in the bottom left hand corner saying ‘management reserves the right to refuse admission’ and do not advertise themselves as:

There’s a reason why nightclubs don’t advertise themselves like this

Because

1) The level of the warning suggests the issue is far more problematic than it is in reality.  I’ve heard talks at such conferences (from prominent activists in the community) that literally suggest that to merely turn up at such talks will get you rape threats etc etc.  (let me be honest, repeatedly publicizing rape threats from a troll simply shows a crass lack of personal judgment and an immaturity at dealing with the interwebs, rather than a secular community ridden with men looking to rape women at conferences).  Put simply the environment is widely being unrealistically portrayed as more hostile than it actually is.  If your goal is to encourage women to attend such events, highlighting troll comments as representative of the conduct at such conferences is both willfully reckless and counterproductive to such a cause.  Indeed it’s kind of self evident.  If these threats had even the remotest air of credibility, the ONLY appropriate course of action is to simply report the matter to the FBI and take it to its logical conclusion, and then drag their legally beaten carcass around the walls of Troy… you get the idea.  (and yeah, it’s what I would have done in the blink of an eye had I found such threats credible).

Left ‘Copyrighted’ Amy Roth ‘logic’, Right, Why Amy Roth should spend more time thinking and less worrying about copyright.

-Put simply, YES talking about sexual harassment can sometimes be a bigger problem than sexual harassment.

2) The VAST majority of people at these conferences are civil, honest, respectable folks.  Giving people a list of things they are and are not allowed to do in the bars in the evenings gives the impression that this is not a conference for grown-ups but an expensive and repressive day/night care where your every action will be vigilantly vetted for dis-approval by the conference organizers.  Put simply this sort of thing is a killjoy for the civil, honest respectable majority.  If I want to chew on some womans leg in a bar, I don’t want to have to consult the conference handbook to see if this classes as acceptable behavior!

The screaming ones always taste better!

    It’s a bar….boys AND girls and have fun in bars!  Sure sometime people misjudge situations, and sure there will be a few bad apples (who usually, and quite rightly, get their actions addressed at some point).  But like I say, IT’S A BAR!! and those are the rules of engagement in bars, as the old saying goes, if you are gonna eat tuna, you gotta expect some bones!

    Look, I’m no libertarian, but I frankly find the idea that a conference should be dictating to me what I am and am not allowed to do in a bar outside the conference as approaching the “WTF is wrong with you???” line.  Nor do I particularly care for the McCarthyism argument which would typically be advanced at this point of ‘only communists would oppose such rules’/ ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’.

    In summary, is there ‘harassment’ at conference?  I’ve not really seen anything at conferences themselves, although in the bars elsewhere, yeah sure it goes on (although arguably not that different from any other bar in the country). –From half a dozen conferences, this alone gives a ball park figure of the extent of the problem.

    As for the actionable items, I see writing down policies then policing them as essentially unfit for intended purpose and an inefficient deployment of resources.  For the conference itself, this would seem an exercise in redundancy (you might as well have rules against theft, it would be exactly as valid, and likely see exactly the same usage (or does the lack of a theft policy suggest conferences tolerate kleptomania? Or is the absence of evidence for theft being endemic not evidence of absence?)). Put simply, typically the less bureaucratic paper work associated with these conferences the better for EVERYONE.  Less legal fees in getting them written, less overhead in getting everyone running the conference to know what the guidelines are and in getting the attendees to read them all (no point in having guidelines if no one knows what they are!)

In terms of enforcement ‘Management reserves the right to refuse admission’ is perfectly fit for purpose for enforcing the policy of ‘don’t be a jerk’.

 

…and as for what happens in the bars elsewhere I really don’t see as falling within the remit of the conference organizers.

 

That does not however mean that nothing can be done.  I would go for the application of ‘soft power’.  Even if it’s not the direct concern of the conference, most of these things can (and should) be effectively addressed in a quiet, mature and social way, in a way that is eminently more fit for purpose (the more so if cooler heads prevail), but that’s a story for another day.

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642 Responses to “MISOGYNIST!!!”

  1. julian says:

    and thunderf00t continues his dramatic unwillingness to think before he talks about social issues.

    I’m not going to call you a misogynist. I’m going to call you a patronizing twit. Because, as just about any video you make that isn’t about science shows, you are.

    Put simply if your primary focus is on the conference scene, then in the internet age, it’s probably misplaced. blahblahblah

    Your entire first paragraph has nothing to do with anything. Why? Because the discussion is about sexual harassment at conferences. If you think it beneath your notice please shut the fuck up. Seriously if this isn’t a conversation that interest you, don’t comment.

    Especially if your comment is going to be

    ” Put simply the environment is widely being unrealistically portrayed as more hostile than it actually is.”

    and your previous comment was

    “I’ve heard talks at such conferences (from prominent activists in the community) that literally suggest that to merely turn up at such talks will get you rape threats”

    I would have hoped when typing that you’d realize rape threats (however you may feel about their likelihood of being born out) are something most people don’t want to receive. And that expecting them for speaking sets the hostility of a community fairly high.

    Much like rape and death threats for speaking out against this or that unjust piece of religious privilege sets the hostility level fairly high in religious communities.

    The VAST majority of people at these conferences are civil, honest, respectable folks.

    Unless you are willing to make the same appraisal of every conference (religious, political, whatever) you’re going to have to take that back. You have no way of know anything about the “vast majority of people at these conferences.” You do not know them, their views or what they have done or are capable of.

    You know they identify as atheists and skeptics. That’s about it.

    Look, I’m no libertarian, but I frankly find the idea that a conference should be dictating to me what I am and am not allowed to do in a bar outside the conference as approaching the “WTF is wrong with you???” line.

    This is childish.

    If you are reported for harassing behavior conference staff is perfectly right to limit your interaction with others. If you have a history of groping others, making them incredibly ill at ease or otherwise harassing other attendees and making them uncomfortable you have no right to be here.

    Put simply, typically the less bureaucratic paper work associated with these conferences the better for EVERYONE.

    I can haz proof?

    Less legal fees in getting them written

    *snort*

    Even if it’s not the direct concern of the conference, most of these things can (and should) be effectively addressed in a quiet, mature and social way, in a way that is eminently more fit for purpose (the more so if cooler heads prevail)

    suffer in silence.

    • Matt says:

      There is a lot wrong with what julian is saying up there.

      Primary is the issue he has with the claim that most people are civil, honest, respectable people. At this point, if you are requesting proof of such a claim, you are just trying to pick a fight. Most of the population ARE civil. Kinda why murder, rape and such is not rampant. Assuming everyone is likely to be otherwise until they or someone else prove they aren’t is, well, just asinine.

      The point here, from what I understood, is he is making a case there shouldn’t need to be specific rules set up protecting people when they are already protected by the laws of the nation and state from the illegal aspects, when they would be redundant to the unspoken but still enforced rule of “don’t be a dick”, when they create a false impression of insecurity that harms turn out for females and when they wouldn’t stop the jackasses who are really causing the problems in the first place.

      This isn’t saying women being harassed should shut up and take it and this isn’t saying women have no problems on the issue. Don’t be disingenuous julian. This is just saying that when you go to the bar at a gathering spot, you will run into people who might be forward. Hell, you may even find out and out jerks. Not specifically making a list of behaviors to not do doesn’t mean they are accepted (he makes a point about the being a jerk gets you kicked rule). And not adding these extra rules because of all negative effects they have, and the uselessness of them in the first place, is not sexist.

      • julian says:

        Most of the population ARE civil.

        Which is the bullying of gay and trans children is common, right?

        Seriously, it’s ridiculous to argue the a population joined together by so flimsy a thing as a disbelief in gods is dominated by kind, civil, respectable people. How do you know that? How can you possibly know that?

        This isn’t saying women being harassed should shut up and take it and this isn’t saying women have no problems on the issue.

        Except that he does state more than once that these are non issues not worth very much time or resources. He even explicitly states this should not be resolved in public.

        And besides, if you’re arguing that sharing stories of harassment gives a false impression of the problem and that over blowing the problem is a far worse problem than the prevalence of sexual harassment, you are by default saying “Shut up. Sharing your stories is not helping.”

        is he is making a case there shouldn’t need to be specific rules set up protecting people when they are already protected by the laws of the nation and state from the illegal aspects

        Much of sexual harassment isn’t illegal and that which is is nearly impossible to prove in court. Not to mention most officers don’t care if someone pinched your bottom.

        • Jon H says:

          “eriously, it’s ridiculous to argue the a population joined together by so flimsy a thing as a disbelief in gods is dominated by kind, civil, respectable people. ”

          You are a fundamentalist Christian, aren’t you?

          Because you’re clearly working from their playbook. OMG! Secularists have no guiding religious authority to provide their morals! Clearly they must be wanton barbarians, likely to engage in all kinds of crime at the drop of a hat.

          Admit it. Are you King James Only? Do you allow women to wear pants, or do you insist on skirts?

          • Forbidden Snowflake says:

            Yes, not believing that secularists are better people than the attendees of, say, a medical conference (which would most probably have a SH policy), makes julian a Fundamentalist Christian. That makes perfect sense.

        • Matt says:

          Which is the bullying of gay and trans children is common, right?

          Seriously, it’s ridiculous to argue the a population joined together by so flimsy a thing as a disbelief in gods is dominated by kind, civil, respectable people. How do you know that? How can you possibly know that?

          I’m not saying people joined together by a common disbelief in god means they are civil. I am saying the people untied together as part of a nation generally are, if only by virtue of necessity of that fact, else the nation implodes in on itself. You will always find asshats. Hell, even sects of asshats relating to areas of their asshattery. Yes there is bigotry in this world concerning gender(an irony about your protest about people united through lack of faith though, given that religious reasoning is the primary defense of why most people are bigots about gender/sexual orientation). There are a hell of a lot of people who aren’t though. I don’t go to the store and run into instances of people being asshats constantly. In fact, it seems an exception to the norm to run into such a jerk. May be because I am not in a very religious community though but I would wager most people just worry about themselves and act civil to others for the sake of getting by without conflict. But you present it as though every person you see is some horrible person held back from being jerks by the yoke of whatever rules are in place, and lacking those, show themselves as scum. You know, unless they actively show they are not, and even then I doubt you would believe them. That is just….damn. Horrible world view. Before you start, confirmation bias doesn’t support the world view, merely would explain why you’d have it. There will always be jerks, but that is the price of society itself, and no amount of added rules protecting against every specific instance of them is going to make them all go away.

          Except that he does state more than once that these are non issues not worth very much time or resources. He even explicitly states this should not be resolved in public.
          And besides, if you’re arguing that sharing stories of harassment gives a false impression of the problem and that over blowing the problem is a far worse problem than the prevalence of sexual harassment, you are by default saying “Shut up. Sharing your stories is not helping.”

          Except, he is referring, as far as I gathered here, to a specific idea of policing the bar and con with new rules, not that the sharing and dealing with the issue itself is a bad thing.
          From what I see, here is the path of logic

          someone was harassed–>they raised complaint to get more rules/policing in the bar and con–> people (tfoot here too)pointed out the uselessness of it, and the negative effects of it—> you claiming they promote and encourage sexist behavior.

          Sometimes doing something is worse then nothing. He gave reasons here why the proposed idea is a bad one.

          This isn’t concerning sexual harassment in the large, this isn’t saying what women go through is not wrong. This is saying that putting up a damn list of new worthless rules and procedure and trying to enforce them is a bad thing. It is bad because it doesn’t stop the jerks from being jerk. Its bad because it treats people like they are children incapable of acting like adults without being told how to be. It is bad because it makes anyone looking at the sign think “Oh, if they have to make rules specifically about it, it HAS to be a big problem”. It is bad because it means people have to worry about how others will interpret their actions when joking with friends, and most likely wont go if they can’t relax and be goofs. It is bad because it assumes women in bars need more, and special, protection. It is bad because it is utterly redundant with the general rule “the management can just kick you out for being a jerk” already in place.

          This isn’t saying “shut up, your stories aren’t helping” this at best is saying “shut up, your new proposed rules don’t fix a damn thing and only do more harm, and that falling back on the defense about it being sexist doesn’t change the fact it still DOESN’T ACTUALLY CHANGE ANYTHING.

          Much of sexual harassment isn’t illegal and that which is is nearly impossible to prove in court. Not to mention most officers don’t care if someone pinched your bottom.

          An unfortunate truth and I do understand that. I am curious though, how exactly are we suppose to enforce the new rules and stuff if it is already so hard to prove things? Or what, in a boisterous setting like that, what is or is not unwanted attention? I assume the management will use their discretion about these things, yes? And how is it going to be any different then the rule already in place that pretty much specify if you are an asshat, you will be removed?

          • blazeurhari says:

            Everything you say is so elegant and reasonable Matt. Keep it up.

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            There are aspects of this I agree with, including that people are, by and large, good people, but there are also parts that I think you’re missing the point.

            There will always be jerks, but that is the price of society itself, and no amount of added rules protecting against every specific instance of them is going to make them all go away.

            Perfection fallacy. Just because we can’t stop all jerks from being jerks doesn’t mean we should stop attempting to do just that and significantly cut down on the number of jerks.

            This is saying that putting up a damn list of new worthless rules and procedure and trying to enforce them is a bad thing.

            Do you know what a sexual harassment policy is? That’s not sarcasm, it’s a legit question, because it’s not what you seem to think. It’s not a list of rules and regulations that one must memorize and follow. It’s a statement that certain things constitute sexual harassment and if you experience it, this is how to notify the conference organizers so they can take certain outlined steps.

            As to them being worthless, it’s no more useless than any other law intended to dissuade negative behavior.

            It is bad because it doesn’t stop the jerks from being jerk. Its bad because it treats people like they are children incapable of acting like adults without being told how to be. It is bad because it makes anyone looking at the sign think “Oh, if they have to make rules specifically about it, it HAS to be a big problem”. It is bad because it means people have to worry about how others will interpret their actions when joking with friends, and most likely wont go if they can’t relax and be goofs. It is bad because it assumes women in bars need more, and special, protection. It is bad because it is utterly redundant with the general rule “the management can just kick you out for being a jerk” already in place.

            Except that that’s not happening. People are not being kicked out by management when they’re being jerks. They’re being invited to speak at the conference despite creeping people out time and time again. I hate to break it to you, but some people *are* incapable of acting like adults, especially when it comes to being told that they can’t have something that they want.

            Also, are you trying to argue that your right to “relax and be [a] goof” trumps the right of somebody that you’re talking to not to feel like you’re only interested in having sex with them? Or their right to not want to be touched without their permission? Or their right to not be trapped in a corner talking to somebody they don’t want to talk to? Your right to say and do whatever you want despite how the person you’re interacting with feels? Because I don’t think that is your right. I don’t even think you think that’s your right, but that’s how what you just said came across.

            Also, this “if there’s a sexual harassment policy, people won’t come because they’ll assume there’s a problem” is absurd. You know what other places have sexual harassment policies? Universities, which don’t seem to be losing women since adopting them. Most American corporations, which also seem to have quite a number of female applicants. Sexual harassment policies are a feature, one that tells people that if they’re the subject of harassment, there is a system in place to address it.

            I am curious though, how exactly are we suppose to enforce the new rules and stuff if it is already so hard to prove things? Or what, in a boisterous setting like that, what is or is not unwanted attention? I assume the management will use their discretion about these things, yes? And how is it going to be any different then the rule already in place that pretty much specify if you are an asshat, you will be removed?

            All good questions.

            To the first one, we’re going to enforce it by giving both parties the benefit of the doubt. I’ll give an example in a moment.

            What constitutes harassment in a boisterous setting like that is whatever the person complaining about it says made them feel uncomfortable. As you and thunderf00t have pointed out, most people are decent, civil, and kind and we shouldn’t expect a rash of fake claims for the purpose of…I couldn’t even tell you.

            It’s different from the current “don’t be a jerk” policy because there is no current “don’t be a jerk” policy. If somebody is being a jerk, what do I do to about that? Do they document it? Will I even be believed? Does somebody higher up the chain know, or does whoever I talk to get to deal with it themselves?

            All a sexual harassment policy is is the answers to those questions. So, for example, somebody gropes you inappropriately at a club event during a convention. They may have done it by accident, or they may have taken their cues from Japanese subway perverts to give themselves cover, but you know you didn’t like it. With no policy in place, what do you do? Who do you go to? Can anyone on staff help you? Do they even know what to do?

            However, with an established sexual harassment policy in place, you can look it up and see that, for example, staff with yellow armbands have direct control over sexual harassment issues, or there’s a room in the hotel where you can go and report what happened and expect that you’ll be believed. You know this, because it’s laid out for you. Then, when you make your report, you know they’re writing it down, as well as the name of the person who just groped you, or their description if you don’t know it. They’re going to check it against their records for similar incidents. If there aren’t any, they’ll send somebody out to talk to the person and let them know that they did something that made somebody else feel uncomfortable and whether it was intentional or not, please be careful to not do that again. If there are multiple recorded incidents of this person doing the same thing, management has every right to kick them out.

            It’s really that simple. This is not morality policing or creating a list of rules that *must be obeyed*. It’s about establishing a system for dealing with people who make others uncomfortable in a way that both gives the person being made to feel that way some sense that something is being done and provides leeway for mistakes and social awkwardness with a direction for growth. That’s it. Nothing more.

        • jacklewis says:

          “Which is the bullying of gay and trans children is common, right?”
          Pretty sure this article is not about children and even less sure how that is supposed to refute the somewhat dubious assertion that most of the population is civil in the first place.

          “and thunderf00t continues his dramatic unwillingness to think before he talks about social issues.”
          Ok so you were probably willing just not really able.

          I’m still waiting for some evidence by the outraged mass that DJ Grothe’s theory that a few vocal feminists blowing the issue of sexual harassment (a simple fact) might have affected the female attendance of TAM (maybe, maybe not). I’ve seen a lot of the typical shoot the messager, bs but nothing to actually refute it. And of course the usual players made it all about them, mixing together blog/youtube harassment in the mix to thicken a pretty weak sauce.

      • skepticalmath says:

        Kinda why murder, rape and such is not rampant.

        Care to define rampant? ‘Cause I’m not sure you realize just how prevalent rape actually is.

        • julian says:

          and murder, theft, robbery, assault, extortion…

          the list goes on.

          • Jon H says:

            Does TAM have a lot of street gangs, drug dealers and ex-cons attending?

            Are you under the impression that crime is *entirely random* or something?

          • The rate of violent crime has been going *down* for the last 20 years, Julian. And that includes rape. That’s what crime statistics are saying, anyway. Care to dispute that point?

          • julian says:

            Ha!

            Oh lord…

            Murder, theft, especially money crimes like extortion, rape and assault are also committed by the middle class.

            We peasants don’t have a monopoly on crime.

        • Jon H says:

          Rape statistics based on large populations don’t really say much about the prevalence of rape among a few thousand people with broadly similar characteristics spending a weekend together at a conference, especially when the gathering isn’t Spring Break, a porn expo, or a biker rally.

        • AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says:

          Oh I dunno,

          This Dood seems to think not too much:
          http://voxday.blogspot.ca/2012/06/oh-relax-and-enjoy-it-kate.html

          Even without taking any such defensive measures, the national rate of forcible rape is only 24.7 per 100,000 population, one-third lower than it was in 1990. This means that in a population of 308 million, Kate’s chances of being raped in any given year are less than one in 12,000 and declining. This cannot be reasonably described as a “rape culture”.

    • Swampfoot (no relation) says:

      It is terribly disappointing to see this posting from t-foot. I absolutely LOVED his anti-creationist videos.

      He also has done some fabulous videos pointing out fallacies and general foolishness of Libertarians, so I am not as of yet ready to write him off. We need all the anti-Libertarians we can get.

      He needs to be able to see this problem from a non-privileged perspective, but I don’t know how to bring someone to that view. Calling out and ridiculing his fallacies is a necessary first step.

      • jacklewis says:

        “Calling out and ridiculing his fallacies is a necessary first step.”
        It might have been if you would have attempted it…

        • Swampfoot (no relation) says:

          I don’t see how I could have done a better job of calling out than many others already have. T-f00t has gotten slammed by far more articulate writers than me, and deservedly so.

          Fwiw, thunderf00t, you’re so very wrong on this post. Please take these criticisms to heart.

    • real horrorshow says:

      If you think it beneath your notice please shut the fuck up. Seriously if this isn’t a conversation that interest you, don’t comment.

      It’s Thunderf00t’s blog you fool. You’re the one who’s commenting. You don’t get to set the agenda on someone else’s blog.

      I know you’re a loyal member of PeeZus’s baboon troupe, but this is a different bit of the site. Not the place where you and the privileged in-group get to shout down all who disagree with you.

    • tracy says:

      Second what julian said, most specifically the “patronizing twit” it. I’ve been a follower of yours for years. What a shame to find that you’re tone deaf when it comes to your privilege, just like Dawkins. Asshole white males who “don’t see the problem” ARE a huge part of the problem.

  2. dogeared, spotted and foxed says:

    Yay, anecdotes! I’m a woman who went to a conference and had a really good time. I also had a few not-so-great moments and one “seriously dude, WTF!” moment. All of this within the corridors and not at the bar.

    At the time, there was no policy at all. No one to speak with, no one had my back. I got lucky and found some people later at the bar who let me vent and kept the wtf guy away from me. In the meantime I missed two talks that I wanted to see because I didn’t want to run into wtf dude.

    Policies are a good thing. Knowing that someone has your back is a good thing. Taking action and keeping records on who is preventing paying attendees from seeing the talks they paid for is a good thing.

    I like conferences, especially chattering away afterward with some like-minded stranger. That’s really the best part. Which is why I wont go to any conference which doesn’t offer a clearly defined harassment policy which has clear guidelines for enforcement, decent record keeping and someone who has my back if things go weird. It’s not really that much to ask.

    • Christian S. says:

      Yup, good call. If T-Foot (someone I normally support, but in this case he’s kind of a Husky-in-a-cold-room) thinks that harassment isn’t worth talking about, then surely he wouldn’t object to some simple anti-harassment rules. That’s all it would take! Just some layer of official accountability to stop the really creepy people from getting away with keeping people like you away from good talks with their creepiness.

      • dogeared, spotted and foxed says:

        Exactly. I’m not asking for much and most of the cons I’m interested in already have it. The ones that don’t, I avoid. Which really isn’t that big a deal because there are so many which have a working policy in place.

  3. GMM says:

    “Put simply, YES talking about sexual harassment can sometimes be a bigger problem than sexual harassment.”

    Yes, totally. When I was harassed on the job and just ignored it, the harassers kept pushing more and more until their behavior was so bad I couldn’t ignore it anymore and finally had to say something. And when I talked about being harassed to HR, I lost my job.

    And you have a female friend who doesn’t think it’s a big deal? Cool. So when was she appointed spokesperson for the whole female half of the species? Got any more cliches you want to add?

    And it only happens to trivial little wimmen…I mean a small minority, so who gives a shit.\\

    If that post was a parody of clueless entitled males who think they know better than those “emotional” women, I apologize. If you are actually serious, you seriously need to get your head out of your ass.

    • Dave Littler says:

      I think you’re being a bit intellectually dishonest, pretending not to understand what he was saying here.

      He’s not saying that it’s ALWAYS a bigger problem, or even that most of the time it is. He’s saying SOMETIMES. There are instances in which it’s possible to blow it up out of proportion and make a stink where none needs to exist. Do you honestly think that he or any reasonably empathetic person would disagree that the two incidents you cite are examples of cases where the sexual harassment IS a bigger problem than talking about it?

      Strawmanning Thunderfoot’s arguments like this isn’t going to add anything worthwhile to the discussion. This is obviously an issue you care passionately about, and that’s a good and laudable thing, but demonizing people for holding slightly differing approaches to the topic isn’t the best or most rational way to approach these things.

      • latsot says:

        But then you have the issue of who gets to decide what to talk about and what not to. The problem is that there is obvious potential for conflict of interest between the conference organisers and the attendees, especially if it’s true that women are put off conferences by harassment reports. For example, creative redefining of what’s considered harassment could make the conference look more attractive without reducing any actual risk. I’m not saying any particular skeptical or atheist (or other) conference would necessarily do that, but it is surely a temptation.

        By contrast, if incidents are properly recorded and presented in an appropriate way, then *everyone knows* the extent of the problem, what incidents have taken place, how they were dealt with and so on. Potential harassers know what is considered harassment (even if they are socially inept rather than actively sinister) and what the consequences were, so might consider their behaviour more carefully. Attendees will know what to expect when they report incidents and will be encouraged to do so rather than suffering in silence. And everyone will have a more realistic basis on which to estimate risk and spot hyperbole.

        If this isn’t worth a little bit of bureaucracy then I don’t know what is. Especially since a harassment policy doesn’t have to be a big document. It just needs to spell out the boundaries of what is considered harassment and the kinds of response to be expected when committing or reporting an incident. We still have to trust that incidents will be dealt with fairly and appropriately, but if summaries of incident reports are published honestly and openly, at least we have a relatively objective basis for trust.

        I know there are ways policies and there enforcement can go wrong and I’m in no way suggesting a harassment policy as a magic bullet in this case, but used properly, policies can benefit everyone and don’t have to be much of an overhead (in terms of either bureaucracy or spoiling people’s fun).

      • LeftSidePositive says:

        So why is he bringing up this hypothetical NOW, when an actual event is underway? Sorry, but I don’t buy it. When something is ACTUALLY GOING ON and actually being discussed, when someone swans in about “taking the high ground” and “you know this is just dividing our movement” and “well sometimes this can be blown out of proportion,” it’s pretty damn clear that the someone thinks THIS TIME is being blown out of proportion–think about it: if I called the fire dept. and said I saw smoke next door, and they said that in general smoke coming out of windows can sometimes be misinterpreted and often times these things get blown out of proportion, you know damn well their abstractions are used as a proxy to reflect on my particular incident, because why the fuck else would they bring it up when a particular issue was going on?!

  4. KiwiInOz says:

    Oh dear. Man the barricades. You may have just triggered the Charge of the Entitlement Brigade.

    • Christian S. says:

      This *does* always seem to open a can of worms, doesn’t it? And it may very well be a tempest in a teapot, granted. However, is anyone actually asking for special treatment?

    • doubtthat says:

      I know, like, all these stupid entitled womyn (they don’t even want the word MAN in their noun, lol) are going to show up an be all, “blah blah blah, shopping, and also could we please attend a conference that provides a clear process in the event that someone is behaving inappropriately?”

      So stuck up. I mean, what’s more important, broadening the base of the skeptical movement to make it more politically potent in the years to come, or us bros having a captive audience to try out the lines Mystery taught us in the last DvD box set? It’s so obvious–stupid womyn.

      • KiwiInOz says:

        I was actually referring to the menz who jump on their white steeds to come and save the poor wyminz, telling everyone what they should think and feel about this issue.

        But now that you mention it – it’s not all about you!

      • KiwiInOz says:

        PS. What, or whom is this Mystery, and why would I want their box set of DVDs?

        Fucking assumptions. How do they work?!

  5. MichaelD says:

    Umm… a few thoughts.

    1) TAM is not the be all and end all of the conference scene there are lots of other conferences. So I’m not sure why you focus on it so much when this is as much about the other coferences.

    2) I don’t know of any of the propossed harassment policies affecting bars outside the conference (unless it was a private pub event). Can you provide a source for this idea?

    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Conference_anti-harassment/Policy

    Is one of the sample policies being suggested for example. I can’t help but come away with the idea that you haven’t followed what is actually being proposed that well.

    • debatablescientist says:

      Mmmm, we might have to revamp that kind of policy for some of these conferences, though. I know several of the talks at the last Skepticon had somewhat of a sexual bent at times, including the condoms being offered at one point. (Someone blew one up at one point and began bouncing it around as a balloon. X3;) I know there was plenty of talk about sex in an FSM invocation as well. So yeah, the wording might have to be changed for us sex-positive liberal people that often attend such cons.

      That said, I don’t see a problem with telling people to respect one another’s wishes, and having a proper policy in place.

  6. 'Tis Himself says:

    Ignore it and it’ll go away doesn’t work on too many problems. But your concern is noted, Thunderfoot.

    • julian says:

      ‘Tis Himself

      I understand you’ve worked for large companies and likely have some knowledge about legal fees surrounding the construction and implementation of an anti-harassment policy. Would you happen to know what sort of costs a low key conference would be looking at?

      • psanity says:

        Ballpark figure? Zero.

      • The concerns for a conference are rather different than those for an employer. A conference really only needs to lift the policy from another conference and spend a few minutes explaining it to staff. It’s also important to keep in mind the reason corporations spend so much money on preventing harassment is it would be more expensive to do nothing.

        • Johnathan says:

          They already have a policy.

          In the case of TAM, there is no alleged instance of a REPORTED incident going unaddressed.

          In the case of SkepticamOhio, where the Skepchcick Elyse was handed a “Let’s Be Friends” card from two swingers, they too already had a harassment policy. The swingers handed over the card, and then left, so there was no opportunity to do anything at the time. When the furor erupted, the conference folks contacted the swingers and addressed the matter. I don’t think the swingers were banned, but would that punishment fit the “crime?”

          The folks here saying “all we want is a policy” either don’t know there are policies, or are being deliberately disingenuous.

          The real dividing line on opinion here is between those who think getting handed a swinger card is some sort of monumental tragedy, and those that don’t think it’s all that big of deal.

          I fall in the latter category — frankly — I am all for policies against “harassment.” I am, however, not willing to consider every offensive or inappropriate overture or ill-advised communication to be “harassment,” sexual or otherwise.

          My response to people being handed swinger cards is: throw them away and tell the people who hand them to you that you’re not interested. My response to the people who are approached by drunk guys at a conference is to grow a backbone and say, “dude, you’re drunk and I’m not interested, leave me alone, if you please.”

          If the people won’t leave you alone and you’re at a hotel, go to the concierge and report it. If someone is badgering you or looming over you or won’t leave you alone, the hotel management will come over and give the guy a talking to, and if he doesn’t comply then the cops are very responsive to calls from hotels.

          • They have a nominal policy that just says they can throw people out for being disruptive. It gives no indication who to make reports to and no guidelines for what staff needs to do. The problem isn’t that they been ignoring harassment. The problem is that it’s been dealt with in a haphazard, inconsistent manner and no one knows what exactly they are supposed to do.

  7. sacha says:

    wow. A coherent, rational, level-headed post in regards to misogyny/TAM on FfTB.

    I’m impressed.

    and yes, I’m a woman, and yes I’ve been to more than one TAM.

    The tsunami is on the way, but I have a feeling you will be just fine, Thunderf00t. You have had to deal with far worse.

    cheers

    • julian says:

      remember, per sacha rape threats no longer constitute harassment or something others should be concerned over.

      Alqhuist, sorry but all your complaints amount to nothing.

      • Pam Ellis says:

        Seriously? This is your reply?
        Straw-manning the previous poster?

      • Dave Littler says:

        Seriously, man, what does a strawman argument like this actually stand to add to the discussion? No rational person is going to look at a deliberate mischaracterization like this as something praiseworthy or persuasive.

        All you do is make the discussion uglier, more heated and more pointless to take part in.

        Mellow, my friend. We do ourselves, our peers and even our perceived adversaries more good through honesty than we do through this behaviour.

  8. jamespetts says:

    Nice post, Phil.

    Talking up a threat, then saying “Only we can keep you safe from the danger” is often characteristic of entities, individual, corporate and governmental, and usually requires that you surrender some liberty of some sort – civil, freedom of thought or expression, etc. The demand for surrender can be explicit, implicit, and is usually a carrot AND stick approach.

    This is what I see happening here.

    BTW – I’m the fellow Brit chemist that you ran into at random in Yellowstone last year. Hope you’re well, and maybe we’ll meet again in another NP sometime?

    • julian says:

      what liberty is being surrendered?

    • jamespetts says:

      Oh, and I forgot to say that this blog is going onto my bookmark list immediately, next to Chris Rodda, Justin Griffiths (if he doesn’t cave) and a select couple of other FTB blogs. Personally I think you’d be better off at SB, but I’ll read you wherever you are.

      BTW – are you going to be blogging about your academic work too?

  9. Rob says:

    KiwiInOz says:

    Oh dear. Man the barricades. You may have just triggered the Charge of the Entitlement Brigade.

    Yes damn those uppity wimin failing to smile prettily and simper as men leer at their boobs, invade their personal space and repeatedly make unwanted comments/propositions.

    For crying out loud any workplace or conference worth its salt has a clear and no bullshit policy that sets guidelines on behaviour norms including issues of harassment (sexual or otherwise). If you are a ‘good guy’ such a policy will never bother you. If it does – maybe you need to check your attitude.

    Don’t buy a ticket back anytime soon…

    • KiwiInOz says:

      Don’t fall off that conclusion you’ve so quickly jumped onto. You might find that reality doesn’t correspond with your fantasy.

      • Horace says:

        Would it be possible to develop a policy that kept women safe from harrasement at conferences without starting a debate about rape culture/sexism/objectification of women ?

        Most people (slimepitters included) agree that women should feel safe at conferences. Work out a specific procedure for this problem without a lengthy debate about the underlying social problems (which we will never agree on)

        • Sethra says:

          Here you go, Horace.

          This harassment policy can be tailored to specific conventions and it’s gender-neutral.

          There, that was easy.

        • michaeld says:

          Or to complement Sethra here’s another one we could adapt. http://www.open-sf.org/conduct.html

        • Justicar says:

          You do realize the term ‘slimepit’ is a derisive term about Abbie Smith and her vagina, right? I realize I’m not the socially plugged in faggot who really ‘gets it’ (whatever the it might be), but I find it particularly interesting that the protectors of women the world over (the ones who whiteknight like crazy at bad werds said in the presence of a lady) revel in this term. So, cunt is bad. Bitch is bad. But if you can say it in other words (e.g., she’s a real slimepit) it’s somehow different? If so, might I know the rules that are in play among the FfTBullies club so that I use approved terms to say mean things about people I dislike? A list, I daresay, might be tremendously useful.

          The slimepitters (aka the cunts) of whom I’m one would greatly appreciate your efforts in resolving the problem with respect to choosing between acceptable gender-based insults and the unacceptable ones.

          You can even be a dick about it. This one, I’m told, is an acceptable term. =^_^=

          Stay classy.

          • sacha says:

            Perhaps there should be a policy in place that specifies which terms are appropriate, and which are not.

          • Justicar says:

            Yes, by all means. Let’s make a list of approved words to make sure that we reinforce people’s absolute right not to be offended by hearing things they don’t like.

            Let’s make sure to put goddamn on it so that the conservative Christians don’t have to hear a term they find personally demeaning and offensive despite the fact that most people don’t share their hypersensitivity. It’s just what the world needs.

            And let’s also make sure that it accounts for the vast difference in usage throughout the world. So, fanny has to be on it because in England it means something totally different than it does in the states. We want to make sure this list is airtight and is inviting to the whole world to promote diversity. Right?

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            sacha says:

            Perhaps there should be a policy in place that specifies which terms are appropriate, and which are not.

            (Smirk!)
            There is. And Thunderf00t ‘gets it’.
            It is called adult common sense.
            Not the fabricated evidence-free content-free fear-mongering infantilising nonsense, that is an insult to women as independent agents, that metaphorically spews from many of the unthinking reactionary robotic dogmatic acolytes of the FTB blogs Pharyngula, Butterflies & Wheels, Greta Christina’s Blog, LousyCanuck and so on, and so on.
            They all read from the same very limited script, as were devised by MAD magazine as a parody of incredibly lazy criticism.

          • amblebury says:

            Justicar, The Slimepit has never been a reference to anyone’s vagina*. That’s just a product of your typically fetid imagination.
            -

            It could be renamed though. Hoggleton?
            -

            *If you insist, proof reqd.

          • Justicar says:

            amblebury, well, so long as I have your word that no one means it that way, then it must be the true that no one means it that way, right?

            So long as one is clever about one’s insults, I’m glad to see you assent to the proposition that one can escape any pushback by blaming the victim for not interpreting the insult the right way.

            After all, FfTBullies have established that you alone are the arbiters of words must and always mean. =P

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Justicar:

            After all, FfTBullies have established that you alone are the arbiters of words must and always mean.

            NO! I won’t be having that!
            *I* am, and remain the heavyweight champion arbiter of werdz.
            Float like a Bee, sting like a Flutterby.

          • theophontes (坏蛋) says:

            You do realize the term ‘slimepit’ is a derisive term about Abbie Smith and her vagina, right?

            I would be fascinated to know who, other than yourself, has adopted this way of looking at the term.

          • John Morales says:

            You do realize the term ‘slimepit’ is a derisive term about Abbie Smith and her vagina, right?

            o.O

            Revealing, if risibly outré spin.

          • Justicar says:

            Spoonerisms, MKG? For moi? *swoons*

            theophantes, sorry, following recent events here on FfTB, I’m toeing the line with respect to not naming names.

            Meta (because that’s never retarded as a header)

            Once you’re informed that the term has said meaning and you continue to use it, you’re saying it’s okay. I’m just using baboon logic here. Like with cunt, twat or trannie (as described on Natalie Screed’s blog). For instance, just food for thought, ERV is an identity Abbie has for herself. It’s a moniker. People rather frequently refer to ERV’s slimepit. That is, they refer to Abbie Smith’s slimepit.

            What is it that a woman has which is pit-like and slimy-esque? Right, a blog. Oh. Um. Wait.

            People do use it to stand in for cunt; your privilege prevents you from noticing because that stupid bitch has been othered and it’s all Fair Game.

            It’s just unreasonable that anyone would ever invent a not-clever-other-name for a woman’s vagina. Right?

            To suggest otherwise is outre spin.

            Words: defined to mean what the baboons demand they must mean.

          • John Morales says:

            Words: defined to mean what the baboons demand they must mean.

            The irony is palpable.

          • Rinus says:

            Oh, it’s really easy. For instance:

            The Courtiers Reply is absolutely brilliant. It can’t be argued with and utterly destroys the position of the religious who claim a lack of expertise invalidates your arguments. Then there’s privilege, which is the only exception, in that merely mentioning it forces people to hand over their ally-card and shuts down every line of argument.

            Then there’s rape threats, jokes, whatnot. Always evil and the brave people of FTB will ban you immediately if you dare to mock such a horrible, horrible experience. Same goes for gendered slurs. On the other hand, Josh (your official spokesperson) can freely express his desire that people disfigure, injure or kill themselves. Expressing a desire to kill those who disagree with you is fine, too. It’s different, see. You don’t? Well fuck you. With a rusty knife.

            Also important: the relationship between speaker and attendee is such that a speaker is basically harassing someone the second they make even an innocent comment. The speaker wields all the power, see. Not of course when RW decides to call out McGraw. Exception to the rule because RW was just educating her. Making the world a better place.

            Then of course there is the vile treatment of Ophelia. Someone, somewhere, threatened to undergo a gender reassignment surgery and kick her in the cunt. Totally serious, you guys. You don’t treat another human being that way. Unless it’s Abbie, of course. It’;s totally fine to dehumanize her to the point where treating her with anything but contempt makes you a Bad Person. You’re allowed to like her. Or respect her. Or see her anything other than what she is: an inhuman rape-enabling, ‘ass grabbing’ (courtesy of Greg ‘I yell at airplanes because chemtrails’ Laden, skeptic extraordinaire and proud owner of the world’s prettiest tinfoil hat.

            We’re witnessing the funeral of FTB here. The deranged ranting of Laden, the megalomaniacal screams of P.Z., accompanied of course, by Ophelia, playing the world’s smallest violin. also, whatshername, Stef or something something.

            /popcorn

          • John Morales says:

            Then there’s rape threats, jokes, whatnot. Always evil and the brave people of FTB will ban you immediately if you dare to mock such a horrible, horrible experience. Same goes for gendered slurs.

            I dare you to prove your contention; or do you care not to be banned from here?

            /popcorn

            Cowardly loudmouth.

          • Rinus says:

            > I dare you to prove your contention; or do you care not to be banned from here?

            Dare? What are you, twelve?

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Rinus says:

            Dare? What are you, twelve?

            From the available evidence, I should say not.
            Not physiognomically, I’d judge.
            The evidence is clearly against Morales being physiognomically retarded.

          • John Morales says:

            Dare? What are you, twelve?

            It suffices, for you, O chicken.

            (You made a bullshit claim, I dared you to substantiate it, you now bluster inanely at the prospect)

            Not physiognomically, I’d judge.

            <snicker>

            Ain’t just my face that’s older than twelve. :)

          • Rinus says:

            Didn’t P.Z. quite recently add a disclaimer saying as much to one of his posts? I really think you get my point, and are being intentionally thick, just for the sake of… whatever it is you get out of this.

            If you genuinely feel your absurdly literal-minded interpretation was the take-home message of my post, well, alright, but I really don’t think this’ll lead anywhere worth going. I’m really not quite sure how to handle people who dare me to make a rape threat in order to prove a nonsensical point.

          • John Morales says:

            I’m really not quite sure how to handle people who dare me to make a rape threat in order to prove a nonsensical point.

            It was your nonsensical point that I’m asking you to prove. :)

          • theophontes says:

            slimy-esque?

            diarrhea?

          • A. R says:

            Um, CITATION FUCKING NEEDED. Remember that bit about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence? Well show us yours. Now.

          • Jon H says:

            John Morales wrote:

            “or do you care not to be banned from here? … Cowardly loudmouth.”

            People who rely so desperately on banning “wrong-thinking” people in order to maintain their ideological bubble really have no standing to call anyone else cowards.

  10. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says:

    /popcorn

  11. Ben F says:

    So what you really mean is, only a small minority of people are harassed, so it’s not a big enough problem to expend resources on dealing with. What a strange coincidence that, of this “minority of a minority”, you just happen to not be in the target group.

    It seems to me that you’re saying that you haven’t seen it happen, so it must not be a big problem. Well, it’s a good thing we have you here to tell the women that they’re not experiencing this, that Thunderf00t has surveyed the land, and finds the scene quite to his liking. (Isn’t it Ken Ham who says of evolution, “Were you there?”)

    As one commenter said before, this is the perfect example of how a person can be completely clueless about something that really is a big problem. Of course this is how you feel. Not only are you not hurt by harassment, but you benefit from (with much pretense of “levity”) using your platform here taking the voice and attention away from the marginalized persons who are. That way you don’t have to expend those valuable resources of yours on fixing it.

    You have the comfort and security to write this post because it affects a “minority of a minority” and that happens to be not you. Think deeper.

  12. Man, it is lucky that I am such a fan of these Deep Rifts™.

  13. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

    After your cascade of failure on Youtube over Islam, Thunderfoot, I’m not surprised you’ve already decided to jump on a current topic with a totally ignorant opinion. Only thing I’m wondering is if you do this shit for the attention, the views, or if you’re really just that clueless.

  14. Maude says:

    It’s strange… There seems to be no communication between both sides of the issue. I think women who have claimed to have had problems in this regard have been pretty tame, what I read in their posts is: “hey, there’s this issue that we should address, but it’s not a “law enforcement” degree issue.” We can improve things without going fascist (or McCarthyist) about it, and I think that’s what PZ, Jen et al. advocate. I haven’t heard anyone saying that the majority of atheist men sexually harrass women.
    I think many people believe that some women are having problems with being hit on. I think if women had such problems with being hit on, they’d have problems with being woman; I realized in the last few years that many men don’t realize how much women get hit on everyday. Maybe some of them have a problem with it. I think most women don’t. There are 2 issues here. First, for example, many competent, young and attractive women get labeled as possible f*ck before anything else, with the added bonus of not possibly be intelligent. This enforces a confinement of competent women in their fields regardless of their abilities. This happens to me regularly, however, no, I am not traumatized by it. Nobody’s saying this is martyrdom. I’m still white, in a rich country, and my life is still pretty darn good. But it’s sad how often I hear people telling me how surprised they are by my intelligence because I’m also attractive… and I take it as a compliment.
    Now yes, boohoo for me. The reverse coin of this is that women who are put in the “unf*ckable” category are not any more relevant under this point of view. Just nothing.
    The other may be actual harassment. We should remember this started with people wondering why there were so few women in atheist/skeptic conferences. Some women answered to that. And those who felt harassed (not raped, not assaulted), before anyone had any information about it, were completely dismissed. They were making stuff up, they were the actual real reason why women don’t go to conferences, they were even boasting about their sexual harassment exploits with famous atheists via harassment claims.
    That’s what it’s about. Nobody’s saying all men are horrible, nobody’s saying we should start a gestapo of harassment. It’s all good, and we’re trying to have a good and thriving community, and whenever a problem arises, we can address it accordingly. As simple as that.

    • TonyInBatavia says:

      Thunderf00t said: “…relax and read the rest of this reasoned argument…”

      Thanks, Maude, for actually delivering on what Thunderf00t failed to deliver. And thanks for delivering it without all of his snotty superiority and condescension.

    • Sethra says:

      It’s strange… There seems to be no communication between both sides of the issue.

      There has been a great deal of communication. From one side, patient explanation and proposal of standard harassment guidelines and why they’re necessary. From the other, vehement rejection that there’s any problem, rejection of any sort of harassment guidelines, and an awful lot of posts claiming that women make things up to ruin men or because they hate men.

      I think if women had such problems with being hit on, they’d have problems with being woman

      This seems like quite a leap. Why do you assume that women must hate being women if they don’t enjoy being constantly hit on? The corollary would be that men must hate being men if they’re not willing to constantly hit on women…and I’m sure that’d be a huge shock to men who aren’t cis and hetero with a particular level of sex drive. Also, how do you define “hit on”? Are we talking general flirting or random strangers yelling what they’d like to do with your breasts as you walk down a hallway?

      The other may be actual harassment.

      I think you’re confused as to what actually constitutes harassment. Here’s a short and hardly exclusive list:

      Harassment: cornering someone and refusing to let them walk away while you invade their space or make graphic sexual suggestions without making sure that other person is a receptive audience.
      Harassment: rubbing your groin up against another person without their consent.
      Harassment: grabbing someone else’s body parts without their consent.
      Harassment: ignoring repeated requests to leave someone alone.
      Harassment: flashing a complete stranger.
      Harassment: acting in a threatening fashion if another person rejects your advances.

      Hope that helps you figure out that the ugly chicks aren’t just whining to get more attention.

      • Maude says:

        Communication implies that both sides are responding to each other. As I have written, I think many people who have raised the problem of harassment are quite balanced and civil in their statements. The way they are portrayed is anything but that.

        As for your second problem, I was referring to people who think the women who are harassed are complaining about receiving a compliment from a man. I have not read of any woman who raised the problem of being politely complimented, but I guess I rarely read comments.

        The women (and men) who are denouncing harassment are correct and my comment was raising the red herring often portrayed on the other side. I think you may have misread the sarcasm in my comment. Sorry if I wasn’t clear, but I think there is room for a real conversation, and right now, I think that people who are saying it isn’t a big deal and dismissing those claims are strawmanning legitimate questions.

    • jacklewis says:

      This is how it actually started:

      http://www.skepticalabyss.com/?p=19

      Now let’s bow to the great RW!

  15. throwaway says:

    What a conclusion-jumping mess of twaddle.

  16. alex says:

    Thanks thunderfoot, its good to see posts bringing some sanity to this issue. Hopefully we’ll see more of this on freethoughtblogs to bring the discussion back to reasonable ground.

    • Concentratedwater, OM says:

      Hehe. Let me know when that happens, because I’m sat here waiting for a delivery of pork wings.

  17. Gabby says:

    I agree with some of what you’ve posted here and sincerely hope that you’ll turn out to be a freethought blogger that doesn’t feel panicked and threatened by the fact that I don’t agree 100%.

  18. Feminists do this on purpose of course. They need a lack of female participation in atheist conferences as proof of “sexism in the atheist community” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Since female participation was massively on the rise they had to scare women away with excessive rhetoric about rampant harrassment and how atheist conferences are “not a save place for women” (knowing that most people don’t speak Feminist and think of mass rape orgies when they hear this).

    Thanks Thunderf00t for being the voice of reason here!

    • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

      Since female participation was massively on the rise they had to scare women away with excessive rhetoric about rampant harrassment

      Do you think women hadn’t seriously considered that they might get sexually harassed at a convention until someone suggested an anti-harassment policy? Exactly how stupid do you think women are?

      • So people like Watson claiming these things doesn’t change any woman’s mind? How stupid exactly do YOU think women are?

        • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

          So people like Watson claiming these things doesn’t change any woman’s mind? How stupid exactly do YOU think women are?

          Ah, I see where this is going.

          “You think black people need affirmative action because they can’t get jobs on their own! YOU’RE THE REAL RACISTS!”

          I’m not gonna play that game.

          • Thanks for gracefully admitting defeat, Waahmbulance dude. It was an honour pwning you.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Thanks for gracefully admitting defeat, Waahmbulance dude. It was an honour pwning you.

            First, you don’t “win” by idiotically throwing someone’s question back in their face.

            Second, I’m glad you shitheels are admitting that all you care about is “winning” against us “evil feminists”, and not about actual people that you’re hurting with your sexist bullshit.

            Third, read Sethra’s link, and then Google up a few more, unless you think any source that doesn’t agree with you is more Ebil Feminist Propaganda, which your ridiculous conspiracy theories indicate you will.

          • 1. I didn’t throw back your question at you. I pointed out that “considering possible harrassment” includes listening to what feminists say about how save a place is.

            2. Sexist bullshit = not agreeing with you?

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            1. I didn’t throw back your question at you. I pointed out that “considering possible harrassment” includes listening to what feminists say about how save a place is.

            Rebecca’s actual quote:

            “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space…”

            She was talking about how she felt about the community, not TAM, and all her comment means is “I don’t feel any safer in the freethought community than I do in any other community, because harassment can, and does, happen in any setting.”

            Every woman I’ve talked to so far has read the quote, in context, and understood her point just fine.

            2. Sexist bullshit = not agreeing with you?

            Saying feminists want to drive women away from conferences, otherwise they won’t be able to complain about “sexism in the atheist community” is sexist. It not only implies these problems aren’t real, it explicitly states that it is intentionally constructed by feminists.

            Saying women don’t already know about the problem of harassment, and can’t think for themselves even after hearing Rebecca Watson say something, is sexist as well.

            Disagreeing with me is fine and dandy.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Also, since I quoted you her actual words, can you find me an instance where Rebecca Watson has tried to tell women that TAM isn’t a safe place? Has she tried to talk any women out of going to TAM? Has she done anything other than talk about her own experiences, how they make her feel, and how they inform her actions? Because I haven’t seen her do that once.

          • The problem is that you are inventing stuff and then claim I said it. For instance, I never said that “women don’t already know about the problem of harassment” or that they “can’t think for themselves”.

            Disagreeing with feminists is not sexist, since not all women are feminists. In fact, most aren’t.

            “can you find me an instance where Rebecca Watson has tried to tell women that TAM isn’t a safe place?”

            Sure. The quote you delivered: “I thought it [TAM] was a safe space. [...] it is not a safe space…”. Sounds to me as if she is saying that TAM isn’t a save place…

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            The problem is that you are inventing stuff and then claim I said it. For instance, I never said that “women don’t already know about the problem of harassment” or that they “can’t think for themselves”.

            Lemme break this down for you. You said:

            They need a lack of female participation in atheist conferences as proof of “sexism in the atheist community” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Since female participation was massively on the rise they had to scare women away with excessive rhetoric about rampant harrassment and how atheist conferences are “not a save place for women” (knowing that most people don’t speak Feminist and think of mass rape orgies when they hear this).

            That means your thought process is this:

            1. Women don’t think about harassment being a problem, so they go to atheist cons in droves
            2. Feminists make up shit about “rampant harassment” to scare women away
            3. Women stop going to atheist cons

            First, no one has shown evidence of anyone saying harassment is rampant; they’re saying it’s present. I trust you see the difference?

            Second, women do think about harassment all the time. Being told that women can be harassed at atheist conventions just like they can be harassed anywhere else is not going to dissuade them from going. What dissuaded some women in the case of TAM is that TAM did not have an anti-harassment policy and they were concerned that, if they were harassed, they would have no means of reporting it to staff under a recognizable policy.

            Disagreeing with feminists is not sexist, since not all women are feminists. In fact, most aren’t.

            True, some feminists are men, but most of them are women. Doesn’t change the fact that “feminists are lying about/making up/exaggerating a problem” is just a variant of the way women’s issues are diminished.

            “can you find me an instance where Rebecca Watson has tried to tell women that TAM isn’t a safe place?”

            Sure. The quote you delivered: “I thought it [TAM] was a safe space. [...] it is not a safe space…”. Sounds to me as if she is saying that TAM isn’t a save place…

            Oh for the love of…she was talking about not feeling like THE FREETHOUGHT COMMUNITY was a safe place!

            Let me quote again what you excised from my original quote:

            “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space…”

            Truncating a direct quote and changing it to insert your own interpretation is intellectually dishonest.

          • Sethra says:

            Sounds to me as if she is saying that TAM isn’t a save place…

            Let’s try the entire quote:

            “I thought it was a safe space,” Watson said of the freethought community. “The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is that it is not a safe space and we have a lot of growing to do. The good news is there are a lot of people within the community who are interested in making it better and getting rid of our prejudices.”

            It’s an interview from 9/2011, and thanks for demonstrating you’re too lazy to fact-check material before posting it.

          • Sethra says:

            @ RahXephon:

            Nicely said and apologies for duplicating the correct quote.

          • “What dissuaded some women in the case of TAM is that TAM did not have an anti-harassment policy and they were concerned that, if they were harassed, they would have no means of reporting it to staff under a recognizable policy.”

            Unlikely. TAM didn’t have an anti-harassment policy and then abolished it, so why should the number of female attendees DECREASE?

            “True, some feminists are men, but most of them are women.”

            That, too. But my main point is that many WOMEN are not feminists, not that some feminists aren’t women.

            “Doesn’t change the fact that “feminists are lying about/making up/exaggerating a problem” is just a variant of the way women’s issues are diminished.”

            So that means that any disagreement with a feminist is misogyny?

            About me mixing up TAM and the freethought community: I don’t manipulate quotes on purpose. I just didn’t read that quote properly enough. I just wanted to quickly delete the “Watson said bla bla” stuff between the actual quotes. (It would be quite silly to overtly change a quote on purpose when the original quote is introduced by someone else and you are answering a direct question about THAT quote to THAT person, right?) It doesn’t really change anything about my argument since TAM is surely a part of the freethought community. The important part is that “not a save place” will not be understood by most people as feminists define it (basically as an other word for “the universe”), and feminists know that. It is a willful deception for propaganda purposes.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Unlikely. TAM didn’t have an anti-harassment policy and then abolished it, so why should the number of female attendees DECREASE?

            How can one abolish something one doesn’t have? This quote does not make any sense.

            That, too. But my main point is that many WOMEN are not feminists, not that some feminists aren’t women.

            Many women don’t call themselves feminists because anti-feminists have done such a bang-up job making people believe the word means things it doesn’t mean. Feminism doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean you think all men are rapists. It doesn’t mean you can’t shave your legs, or that you can’t have sex, or any of the other ridiculous things that have been thrown out over the years.

            (PS. Even if someone says one of those things and calls themselves a feminist, doesn’t mean their one viewpoint changes the meaning of the movement.)

            So that means that any disagreement with a feminist is misogyny?

            No. If that’s what I was getting at, I would’ve said “Any disagreement with a feminist is misogyny.” Did I say that? No.

            What I did say was that there is a tactic, often deployed against women, in which people say that women make things up, exaggerate, or lie about problems to get attention, which is exactly what you’re doing to feminists.

            I just wanted to quickly delete the “Watson said bla bla” stuff between the actual quotes.

            You mean the context. You wanted to quickly delete the context and then just happened to replace it with your own. Sure.

            It doesn’t really change anything about my argument since TAM is surely a part of the freethought community.

            It’s a “part” of the freethought community in the sense that freethinkers attend it, but TAM is utterly fucking irrelevant to the lives of nearly all freethinkers, because nearly all of them don’t attend.

            The freethought community is not just one convention, or conventions in general. It’s the national, state, and local groups, the pub crawls, the parties, the book clubs, the Facebook groups, the blogs, etc.

            The important part is that “not a save place” will not be understood by most people as feminists define it (basically as an other word for “the universe”), and feminists know that. It is a willful deception for propaganda purposes.

            If I say something is not a safe space, it means that it’s a space…that isn’t safe for me. That’s ALL REBECCA SAID, and based on the comments in reply to her, most people understand that.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Not only do I post this in the wrong place initially, but then for some reason ALL of my tags fail to show up. This commenting system is garbage.

          • “”Unlikely. TAM didn’t have an anti-harassment policy and then abolished it, so why should the number of female attendees DECREASE?”

            How can one abolish something one doesn’t have? This quote does not make any sense.”

            Hmm. I think it makes sense, but let me restate it. The claim that TAM lost female attendees because of a lack of an anti-harassment policy would only make sense if they did have such a policy in the year before and then abolished it. In this case a DECREASE of the number of female attendees would be understandable. But if they didn’t have such a policy before and didn’t change the policy then how could it lead to a DECREASE?

            “What I did say was that there is a tactic, often deployed against women, in which people say that women make things up, exaggerate, or lie about problems to get attention, which is exactly what you’re doing to feminists.”

            The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s surely not a soley feminist strategy. But people do that all the time, and it must be allowed to point this out when it happens.

            “You mean the context. You wanted to quickly delete the context and then just happened to replace it with your own. Sure.”

            No, really not. But I understand that it creates that impression, so please believe me that I’m quite embarrassed by my mistake. Again: I didn’t introduce the quote, it is of no importance for my argumentation. YOU posted it hear, and then YOU asked me a question about it. Of course I didn’t change the context on purpose. First of all because I don’t do stuff like that, period (believe that or not; probably not, I guess…), and second of all because obviously you’d call me out on it immediately, as you did. It is YOUR quote after all, so of course YOU’d catch me on that.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Hmm. I think it makes sense, but let me restate it. The claim that TAM lost female attendees because of a lack of an anti-harassment policy would only make sense if they did have such a policy in the year before and then abolished it. In this case a DECREASE of the number of female attendees would be understandable. But if they didn’t have such a policy before and didn’t change the policy then how could it lead to a DECREASE?

            Consider this possibility: anti-harassment policies are non-controversial and nearly ubiquitous. It’s not a stretch that most people, men and women, thought TAM had a harassment policy already. When they found out they didn’t, and then saw DJ, part of the TAM leadership, get into an extended argument which included things like saying “The last TAM had zero incidences of sexual harassment, because we don’t have a policy and thus don’t write this shit down“, what do you think THAT told women? That TAM doesn’t have a policy and that the TAM leadership won’t take them seriously if they are sexually harassed.

            The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s surely not a soley feminist strategy. But people do that all the time, and it must be allowed to point this out when it happens

            So, if feminists complain about something they’re just making noise, it’s not because a real problem exists.

            No, really not. But I understand that it creates that impression, so please believe me that I’m quite embarrassed by my mistake.

            I believe you. So, does that mean you acknowledge that Rebecca wasn’t saying these things about TAM specifically, making much of this outrage about what she said superfluous?

          • “When they found out they didn’t, and then saw DJ, part of the TAM leadership, get into an extended argument which included things like saying “The last TAM had zero incidences of sexual harassment, because we don’t have a policy and thus don’t write this shit down“, what do you think THAT told women? That TAM doesn’t have a policy and that the TAM leadership won’t take them seriously if they are sexually harassed.”

            But the timing doesn’t fit: DJ started the argument when and because there already was a massive drop in the female attendance number. Only then did he claim that there had been no such incident and the debate about the harrassment policy or lack thereof started.

            “So, if feminists complain about something they’re just making noise, it’s not because a real problem exists.”

            It’s at least (as with any other group) a possibility and it shouldn’t be taboo to consider it. I actually think that the problem does exist, but is massively blown out of proportion by some to promote their ideology. I mean the two most scandalized incidents are a guy attempting an clumsy, but harmless move on Rebecca Watson and a drunken guy misbehaving and being kicked out without delay or discussion.

            “I believe you.”

            Thanks.

            “So, does that mean you acknowledge that Rebecca wasn’t saying these things about TAM specifically,”

            Yes.

            “making much of this outrage about what she said superfluous?”

            She still said it, just not about TAM specifically, but about freethinkers in general. I wouldn’t expect the overall effect to be very different.

          • Slither says:

            It’s not a stretch that most people, men and women, thought TAM had a harassment policy already. When they found out they didn’t, and then saw DJ, part of the TAM leadership, get into an extended argument…

            Ahem. TAM DID have an anti-harassment policy that DJ put in last year: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/1354-with-tam-right-around-the-corner-some-important-announcements.html/

            Now, I’ll assume that you are honestly mistaken about this, and have simply been mislead by the anti-DJ crowd. However, what does it say about said crowd that they mislead people into thinking that DJ is against anti-harassment policies, etc, when, in fact, he put one in place himself! In fact, he put one in a year before SkepChick’s own conference had such a policy!

            RahXephon, I think you should re-consider what sources of information you rely on.

        • Sethra says:

          Most women are quite familiar with the fact that we get harassed on a daily basis, but thanks for thinking we’re too stupid to realise it unless someone points it out.

          • For the sake of argument let’s assume you are correct. Then why should sexual harrassment drive women away from atheist conferences? Women still go to all the other places where they are harrassed, right?

            No, the feminists were creating the impression that sexual harrassment (and more: “not a save place” sounds very severe to most people) is an especially big problem for atheist conferences. Understandably, many women reacted accordingly.

          • Sethra says:

            For the sake of argument let’s assume you are correct. Then why should sexual harrassment drive women away from atheist conferences? Women still go to all the other places where they are harrassed, right?

            So…you’re saying that women are stupid for saying that they don’t want to pay large sums of money to get harassed at conferences when they get harassed in their hometowns for free? Why would you expect a woman to pay $$$ for the privilege of having a lousy weekend? That’s not terribly logical or rational, is it?

            No, the feminists were creating the impression that sexual harrassment (and more: “not a save place” sounds very severe to most people) is an especially big problem for atheist conferences. Understandably, many women reacted accordingly.

            Read as: “Women are stupid lemmings and can’t be expected to think for themselves, poor little dears. Someone else needs to do it for them.”

            No thanks. I don’t think I’ll allow other people to tell me what my life experiences are or how I should react to them.

          • So assuming that women take into consideration what other people say about something is declaring them “lemmings” that “can’t be expected to think for themselves”. Your desperation is showing…

          • Sethra says:

            So assuming that women take into consideration what other people say about something is declaring them “lemmings” that “can’t be expected to think for themselves”. Your desperation is showing…

            You think it’s ‘desperation’ to point out that you seem to think women are too stupid to know what they face in daily life unless someone else tells them what’s going on?

            I do not think that word means what you think it means, but by all means, continue to demonstrate your lack of reasoning ability.

          • We are not talking about “daily life”, but TAM. A person (regardless if male or female) who has never attended TAM will NOT know what to expect there and listen to people who already attended TAM before deciding whether to actually attend or not. Pointing this out is not equivalent of calling that person stupid – quite the contrary, actually.

            You are bashing a strawman and you know it. And THAT shows your desperation.

          • Sethra says:

            We are not talking about “daily life”, but TAM.

            Please establish why TAM is exempt from anything applicable to daily life when it is populated by people who presumably have daily lives and who bring their daily life attitudes with them.

          • Simple: when giving long talks about “misogyny and sexims in the atheist community”, when pointing out that skeptics and freethought conferences are “not a save place for women” and so on the impression that the problem is especially severe there is created.

            People who have never attended such a conference will have no way of checking these claims for themselves and will give them some weight in their decision-making process.

    • sacha says:

      “Every woman I’ve talked to so far has read the quote, in context, and understood her point just fine.”

      well now you have encountered a woman who has attended more than one TAM and disagrees.

      “No, the feminists were creating the impression that sexual harrassment (and more: “not a save place” sounds very severe to most people) is an especially big problem for atheist conferences. Understandably, many women reacted accordingly.”

      indeed that I agree with. Where do you baboons get that he thinks women are stupid? Do you just pull things out of a hat to try and use against someone who disagrees? You could set an entire city on fire with the amount of straw you use. Pathetic.

      Rebecca Watson also said this:

      “Over the past several years, I’ve been groped, grabbed, touched in other nonconsensual ways, told I can expect to be raped, told I’m a whore, a slut, a bitch, a prude, a dyke, a cunt, a twat, told I should watch my back at conferences, told I’m too ugly to be raped, told I don’t have a say in my own treatment because I’ve posed for sexy photos, told I should get a better headshot because that one doesn’t convey how sexy I am in person, told I deserve to be raped – by skeptics and atheists. All by skeptics and atheists. Constantly.”

      Do you honestly believe that women never exaggerate, lie, or create drama?

    • BinJabreel says:

      Hahaha!!

      So only 18 posts before we got to, “This is a feminist conspiracy to destroy the atheist movement.”

      I’m going to start keeping track of how long it takes to come to this.

      • Galileo was killed by an elevator says:

        BinJabreel says:
        Hahaha!!

        So only 18 posts before we got to, “This is a feminist conspiracy to destroy the atheist movement.”

        Well, if you spend enough time wading through this nonsense, and have a capacity to be honest, then there is more evidence for this than the Elevator Guy.

        As quite a number of people have pointed out, this is the misandrist blog industry. This is not activism, this is a business model. After years of churning out variations on this same theme, it finally went viral – thanks in large part to the Naked Emperor, PZ Barnum – and the eternal payday had arrived. How else do otherwise banal non-thinkers like Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Zwan et al. manage to milk at the teat of the atheist/skeptic community? Certainly not from doing anything that involves skepticism. GC I believe even quit her day job.

        So yeah, this is a sideshow carnival selling snake oil. It does require a high degree of collusion to keep the derangement semi-plausible for the chumps that occupy the bottom rung of the food chain at FTB, Shepchick and the wider populist atheist/skeptic demographic – the hoi poloi (or as they try to say with a straight face, “the fearless commentariat”) of the general readership – and to exploit them financially. Face it – who do you think pays for the endless conference circuit booze ups? Certainly not any of the carnival barkers like Watson.

      • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

        BinJabreel: So only 18 posts before we got to, “This is a feminist conspiracy to destroy the atheist movement.”

        Where did I say, or even allude to a feminist conspiracy? What is with you baboons and reading comprehension?

        I quoted Rebecca Watson clearly stating that harassment and misogyny happen “constantly” in the skeptic community.* She has stated this on more than one occasion and if one listens to the podcast The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe, they would know that.

        That is in direct conflict with those that are saying that high profile (mostly female) skeptics are not responsible for other women feeling that TAM would be an unsafe place for them.
        As much as you want to comment that RW and others are only saying that it happens (although rarely) and that we should be better than the rest of society.

        There is pervasive, rampant sexism against women in our community… uh no, it’s rare… the geek/atheist culture is pretty dammed sexist… wait… no one is saying that… actually the attendees at TAM are better than the average…

        Here is a perfect example:

        PZ flips back and forth from sentence to sentence in the same blog post:

        ” I see where Thunderf00t gets his name: he puts his foot in it hard. And that’s unfortunate, because before building up his credibility in in his new digs here at freethoughtblogs, he’s launched into an embarrassingly clueless defense of his privilege…”

        irony overload

        “This has never been about TAM, either. The argument encompasses meetings, but also the larger geek and atheist culture, which turns out to be pretty damned sexist.

        “Until this year, when DJ Grothe screwed up bigtime. He announced that the attendance of women was down this year, and blamed it on individuals and blogs who had actively promoted the improvements in the conference. Then, *denying that sexual harassment ever occurred at TAM (it has, as has been amply demonstrated) and dragging his feet over doing anything to continue the formerly good policies made it clear: he’s not interested in supporting women’s issues after all.”

        note: DJ never said that sexual harassment has never occurred at TAM. He said that no reports have been made in the last two years, when he has been president of the JREF. There is a form that attendees are requested to fill out at the end of each TAM. There are very clear questions like “What were you most happy with?” “What are you unhappy with?” “What can we do to make it an even better experience?”
        There is plenty of room to comment on anything that one wishes, and it is completely anonymous. He said that no one mentioned anything in regards to misogyny, sexual harassment, not feeling safe, implementing a policy, or even that there were a few men who made them uncomfortable, and they would like to see behaviour like that addressed. nothing. not one person mentioned it at all, and no one made a formal (or informal) complaint regarding sexual harassment or misogyny to him, or to anyone from the JREF.

        That is a hell of a lot different than denying it exists, and where the fuck does he conclude that DJ isn’t interested in supporting women’s issues? I can see where DJ may not be interested in making “women’s issues” (I despise that term. The “women’s issues” that the baboons refer to, are certainly not issues for all women. I would prefer to speak for myself, thank you.)the primary focus of TAM.

        “rather than dealing with a common problem in this culture, they’ve decided to pretend the problem doesn’t exist. As Thunderf00t has.”

        “Nobody has said anything different, and in actual fact we’ve said that TAM tends to be better than your average crowd of random human beings. But here’s the thing. The instances of harassment are rare and usually…”

        (my emphasis)

        “here is an attitude that women are there not as colleagues and respected partners in the goals of the movement, but as eye candy and sex toys, so please please please don’t you dare suppress my right to hit on women all I want!”

        what?? We never ever said, nor implied any such thing. How disingenuous it is to even pretend that is what we are saying.

        and yet again, why are the women who disagree with the baboons invisible? How is that claim of PZ’s even remotely plausible when there are women who are vocal and on the side of the rational (non-baboons).

        Once again, reading comprehension skills are almost non-existent within the baboon community.

        make up your mind, PeeZus (and the rest of you) who can’t decide which story is the truth, or does the disconnect have to do with which version supports your comments at that moment?

        nibbling a women’s leg who gave her consent is not recognizing that women are human beings

        It is certainly clear that according to the baboons, a woman who gives consent to something like that is not capable of making her own decisions! This is why we need a nanny policy in place! Those women do not understand how they are oppressing all other women, including themselves, and therefore the baboons need to have a policy which clearly explains in detail what is harassment, so those other women know that they are being victimized, and can educate themselves about what is appropriate behaviour for men, and realise that they are perpetuating the world dominationcontrol of The Privileged Patriarchy, and keeping their fellow women shackled and oppressed.

        Funny how the new feminists seem to be so weak and fragile and so easily intimidated and offended, and the gender traitors seem so confident, strong, and fully capable of taking care of themselves without a “policy” to make them feel safer.

        The baboons need some third world problems to deal with.

        *Just by listening to RW speak from many different podiums, podcasts, YouTube videos, interviews, and in person, it is quite obvious she is a narcisistic drama queen who only uses skepticism when it suits her agenda and seems quite willing to say or do just about anything to stay in the spotlight, but hey, even skeptics can be fooled by unethical performers.

        • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

          my apologies for not closing the bold tags before the end of that comment. It was not my intention to have that much text in bold.

  19. BarfSimpson says:

    Oh dear. Are you aware of what it is that you have stepped into here? FTB is the Westboro Baptist Church of the loopy left stereotype that matches the description Ann Coulter gives it. The folks here are, like creationists, are close to impossible to parody. (hi Ophelia ‘parallel logic’ Benson!).

    Buddy, two tips -

    * don’t expect these baboons to actually read what you say before they shove a porcupine up your ass whilst declaring it to be “non-sexist free speech”

    * start screencapping what you may refer to inside FTB itself. This is a non-stop historical revisionism zone – reality is whatever they want it to be today.

    Good luck. FTB is a brand – it is now tainted beyond repair. I question your wisdom at signing up.

    • ericatkinson says:

      Too right. The mighty marxist overlord P “Zed” Myers will declare an Fatwa against any sort of dissenting views appearing in the “Freedom from Thought” blogs.
      Beware.

  20. skepticalmath says:

    thunderf001 – this post is such a mess, I don’t know where to start. But I’ll give it a try:

    (1) Strawman. Nobody in this entire discussion has asked for conferences to attempt to regulate behavior in bars near the conference. No one. So most of your argument is simply irrelevant to the point, and completely misrepresenting your opposition. Maybe if you provided, y’know, links to people proposing the things you claim are being proposed, we might take you more seriously.

    (2) Legal fees. You claim that avoiding harassment policies will reduce overhead for organizations. Are you kidding me? Have you ever had to run this kind of event? Sure, they could also not buy insurance. That would save tons of money! Honestly, writing up a basic harassment policy costs virtually nothing, and on purely pragmatic grounds helps organizations with legal issues if something does, actually, occur.

    (3) Strawman #2, or possibly another misunderstanding of what harassment policies actually are. You seem to think having a harassment policy in place involves the conference “policing” attendees. What it actually means is that, in the case of someone being harassed, there is a set procedure regarding who it is reported to, and how it is taken care of. It isn’t about conference staff wandering the hallways, it is about making sure that harassment reports are taken seriously. You’re a scientist, look up the fucking research. Women are more likely not to report even serious harassment and rape than report it, and they are far more likely not to be believed than believed. That’s what a harassment policy is about: showing people that the conference understands that the science shows that harassment largely occurs unacknowledged.

    (4) Seriously, you think not having a harassment policy is better, because a harassment policy advertises the problems? Yeah, ’cause ignoring it has worked out so fucking well.

    (5) TAM. Like so many people jumping on this, you seem to think it is all about TAM. Now, Grothe sure did a good job making that seem the case, but in fact most of the discussion was NOT ABOUT TAM. Seriously. Do your research, damn it, and be informed. In fact, until Grothe screwed up royally with his reaction, most of the conversation explicitly acknowledged that TAM was particularly good as far as these conferences go.

    Finally, seriously man. Try to apply that scientific genius to something else. And, at least, do the fucking research on a topic before writing. OR at least read up on a conversation before joining a side. TL;DR: when have of what you say is a straw argument…..

    • michaeld says:

      I’m honestly getting pretty tired of all the time wasted deconstructing the same straw arguments over and over again. At the very least if we’re going to argue it would be nice if it was at least over the actual position.

    • davros says:

      @skepticalmath – yes!

      One further point, with ‘this really isn’t a big problem’ thunderfoot totally misses the point. If its not a big problem, then get a harassment policy online, run a bit of training for the team, and get on the front foot talking about how you want everyone to feel welcome and safe at your conference. Unfortunately, DJ and the TAM defenders league are too busy over-reacting and blaming everyone to do anything but make the problem worse.

      Seriously, thunderfoot, is this the sort of attitude you want to be associated with?

      Feminists do this on purpose of course. They need a lack of female participation in atheist conferences as proof of “sexism in the atheist community” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Since female participation was massively on the rise they had to scare women away with excessive rhetoric about rampant harrassment and how atheist conferences are “not a save place for women” (knowing that most people don’t speak Feminist and think of mass rape orgies when they hear this).

      Thanks Thunderf00t for being the voice of reason here!

      • Brandi says:

        I can’t wrap my head around why women would want to chase other women away from these conferences? We want to be a bigger part and we want to be taken more seriously. It would be nice to have a good ratio of male to female, and I just don’t know what you think we would achieve by driving people away?

        • Justicar says:

          Yeah, I can’t wrap my head around why people who are putatively aligned because of one arbitrary trait would ever work to run off others who have that same arbitrary trait. That just never, ever happens does it?

          Why would men want to run off other men? Why would Christians want to run off other Christians? Why would gays want to run off other gays?

          Since these things don’t happen like ever, it’s just a complete mystery why anyone could possibly for a moment think that a dear sweet woman would ever do anything that would create an impediment to any other woman doing something. I’m just stumped – struck dumb.

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            Do you also think the moon landing is a hoax? This is a nutty conspiracy theory at best. Women are trying to run off other women because…it sometimes happens? Feminists hate all things? The angle of the shots demonstrates there must have been somebody on the grassy knoll?

            What possible motivation are you ascribing to feminists to try and lower attendance? What is there to gain by that?

            There is no reason on Earth that feminists would not want people to attend conventions. They want people to attend conventions very much, and even feel comfortable being there.

          • Justicar says:

            Kaoru, I’m uncertain as to the nature of your line of questioning here, but I’ll do my best to oblige the questions so gently tendered by an intellect as agile as yours:

            Moon landing hoax: no. You see, there’s documentary evidence which is cobbled together and bound up by something slightly more extant than someone’s recollections of a drunken night on the town – the recitation of such conversation between said drunk person and another being trivially recounted, but the drunk person’s ability to ‘name names’ (or point to the other person in a photograph) being entirely impossible. Why? The invocation of a rare brain defect which makes identifying people by sight difficult, which apparently was not operative between the time she ‘remembers’ seeing said other person in the bar before the elevator and mayhaps the conference beforehand, but was operative with respect to being able to identify him at any time after leaving the elevator.

            Others are, of course, free to believe anything they’d like; I require a slight bit of evidence to accept a claim as true. Call me skeptical if you’d like.

            Women, no less than men, have status, goals, desires and prejudices. These are entirely sufficient (though not exhaustively so) to provide a plausible explanation for the tension that arises between and among people who superficially can easily be thought to have no particular reason to be in opposition.

            Except that here it’s just ruled out. Curious that well-known and all-too-common-and-really-for-reals-explanations for poor behavior are categorically excluded as even thinkable given the self-styling of the lot of people here as ‘skeptics’.

            Is it operative in this particular instance? I don’t know. But that’s an entirely different matter than my responding to the person who is so bewildered that s/he isn’t even capable of looking to rather obvious and entirely plausible explanations for the hypothetical proposition countenanced by the lucubration on which I took a moment to respond.

            What is there to gain for feminists? Who said this has to be about gain for ‘feminists’. As it happens, the activities of individuals who belong to a self-identified label need not be in the service of others who fly the same flag. Turns out that individual people can be entirely petty and exploit others for their own personal gain.

            Oh wait. No. That’s just not possible – it’s Rebecca Fucking Watson, out from whose asshole sun shines.

            You are conflating individual people with ‘feminists’ writ large and group-ish. I rather deal with discrete people and particular actions. I realize this concept is entirely novel in some parts of the world.

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            You see, there’s documentary evidence which is cobbled together and bound up by something slightly more extant than someone’s recollections of a drunken night on the town…

            So your argument in regards to sexual harassment is “pics or it didn’t happen”? How much evidence would satisfy you? How many witnesses are required to even consider the possibility that somebody was inappropriate, albeit potentially by accident? If the person wasn’t intending to push bounderies, isn’t it a good thing for somebody to be able to tell them so they don’t do it again? We’re not talking about kicking people out of the convention on a single report, you realize.

            What is there to gain for feminists? Who said this has to be about gain for ‘feminists’. As it happens, the activities of individuals who belong to a self-identified label need not be in the service of others who fly the same flag. Turns out that individual people can be entirely petty and exploit others for their own personal gain.

            Well, to answer your first question, NoNiceNameFound @18 said this has to be about gain for “feminists”. They were quoted about two comments above yours. “Feminists do this on purpose of course. They need a lack of female participation in atheist conferences as proof of ‘sexism in the atheist community’”. I was replying to that quote in this part of the thread.

            As to the other part of this, so they’re doing it for “personal gain”? Ok, what are they personally gaining? What is the objective?

            Oh wait. No. That’s just not possible – it’s Rebecca Fucking Watson, out from whose asshole sun shines.

            Are you saying that a sexual harassment policy is a bad idea because Rebecca Watson likes it and too many people like her? If not, what does this have to do with the subject?

            You are conflating individual people with ‘feminists’ writ large and group-ish. I rather deal with discrete people and particular actions. I realize this concept is entirely novel in some parts of the world.

            I didn’t conflate anything. NoNiceNameFound conflated them by stating that feminists are dedicated to reducing female attendance at cons for some unnamed nefarious purpose, presumably to complain about low female attendance so they can then go back to working on raising female attendance. You’re right, “feminism” can’t be some monolithic group because nobody has yet informed me of this diabolical plan to lower female attendance at cons by putting in a system to deal with people being assholes.

          • Justicar says:

            Kaoru:

            “So your argument in regards to sexual harassment is “pics or it didn’t happen”?”

            I fail to see where I’ve made such an argument. Of course, if pictures do exist they would count as evidence. So, that would be lovely indeed, but only a blatant retard would argue (or think anyone else capable of turning on a computer and getting on the internet would argue) that pictures are the sole arbiter of the transpiring of some event.

            “How much evidence would satisfy you?”
            That’s an improper question. The correct question is ‘what evidence do you have to support your positive assertion that _____’. See, unlike the self-styled skeptics here, I actually require evidence. What evidence is required depends on the claim that is being made. Now, it is true that this is not always favorable to legitimate victims given that it’s possible to have something happen to one and one being nevertheless unable to demonstrate that said thing happened. But we all regularly take this in our stride: better to let a guilty one go free than to imprison an innocent person and all.

            And that’s the price of being a skeptic – one might well have to reject a claim that is true because it cannot be substantiated. For instance, religious apologists are entirely correct that all of their arguments could fail and god could nevertheless still exist. That isn’t the question though. That a god might still exist does nothing to change the fact that believing it to be true in face of insufficient is by definition irrational.

            “How many witnesses are required to even consider the possibility that somebody was inappropriate, albeit potentially by accident?”

            I’ll cross that bridge when it happens that someone’s firsthand account of something untoward that happened to them at TAM is rejected even in the presence of supporting witnesses. As it happens, that instance has not to my knowledge yet occurred and need not decide it now. But one should be on notice that eye witness/personal testimony are the least reliable in terms of evidence. So, to that extent, anything I’m asked to believe on the say-so of some random people had better be fairly mild.

            “If the person wasn’t intending to push bounderies, isn’t it a good thing for somebody to be able to tell them so they don’t do it again? ”

            This has what to do with anything I’ve said? Someone hits on me, and I don’t like it, I’m entirely capable of saying no. If I feel uncomfortable, I am entirely capable of saying thank you no. This doesn’t require anyone else’s belief for me to be able to decline an offer. Indeed, I have never asked anyone to believe that it’s ever happened. And I wouldn’t expect anyone to take my word for it if I did make such asseveration.

            Now, if I file a complaint because it keeps happening and the powers that be give it to file 13, then there’s at least a paper trail I can point to say that I filed a complaint which was not to my satisfaction remedied. And, of course, I would produce upon request my copy of said written and sworn to complaint.

            Have anything like that to wave in my face?

            “We’re not talking about kicking people out of the convention on a single report, you realize.”

            You might not be. You aren’t the universe of people.

            “Well, to answer your first question, NoNiceNameFound @18 said this has to be about gain for “feminists”.”

            I’ll translate:

            Okay, accepting in arguendo that the proposition was actually made, on what grounds is there any reason to think that someone who is styled as being a member of a group must act to that group’s betterment? People are rather prone to exploiting others for their own personal gain. We even have tens of thousands of people in prison for doing exactly that. Money, fame, power are all powerful factors not to be ignored, which was my point in the first case.

            “As to the other part of this, so they’re doing it for “personal gain”? Ok, what are they personally gaining? What is the objective?”

            Reread my reply to you. I already said that I don’t know, or even know if that is operative here. It’s right there. In words. Plainly put so even the hard of thinking can follow along. It is, as I noted, an entirely separate matter than the post to which I replied. I need not know *that* it is happening here to respond to the ‘I just can’t think of any reason that this could possibly ever happen’ kind of non-reasoning that I did respond to. I hope I won’t have to iterate this point to you a third time.

            “Are you saying that a sexual harassment policy is a bad idea because Rebecca Watson likes it and too many people like her?”

            Did I say that? I fail to see anywhere that I have written any such thing.

            ” If not, what does this have to do with the subject?”
            Again, reread my post – I quite plainly spell out exactly that to which I was responding. Oops – guess I did have to iterate it a third time.

            “I didn’t conflate anything. NoNiceNameFound conflated them by stating that feminists are dedicated to reducing female attendance at cons for some unnamed nefarious purpose, presumably to complain about low female attendance so they can then go back to working on raising female attendance. ”

            No, I responded to what you actually wrote.

            “You’re right, “feminism” can’t be some monolithic group because nobody has yet informed me of this diabolical plan to lower female attendance at cons by putting in a system to deal with people being assholes.”

            Again, you’re conflating ‘feminists’ with a person who styles herself as one. I have made this distinction several times. Why you refuse to notice the several times I’ve distinguished a particular person from a group even though that particular person is a member of that group is nothing more than a refusal to credit my making that distinction overtly and explicitly.

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            I fail to see where I’ve made such an argument.

            I am entirely unsurprised by this. By claiming that your reason for believing in the moon landing is because of documentary evidence in this context, you are claiming that documentary evidence is required to take seriously any accusation of sexual harassment.

            …better to let a guilty one go free than to imprison an innocent person and all.

            Did you take a class in melodrama? Nobody is talking about “imprisoning” anybody. They’re talking about putting a system in place so that accusations of sexual harassment can be investigated by con staff and a paper trail of what steps have been taken exists. In your version of skepticism, is it common to not investigate claims at all?

            Someone hits on me, and I don’t like it, I’m entirely capable of saying no. If I feel uncomfortable, I am entirely capable of saying thank you no.

            Just World Fallacy. Not everybody is you and not everybody is comfortable just saying “no thank you.” Situations are not nearly as simplistic as you make them out to be and sometimes an authority figure is required. In a perfect world, yes, people could just say no and that would be the end of it. It doesn’t always work out that way and there should be a system in place if it does.

            Also, we’re not talking about hitting on people. We’re talking about groping people, cornering them, persistently bothering them, insulting them for not responding positively to advances, showing off nude or suggestive photos of yourself to strangers without their permission, and a host of other things that go beyond just trying you luck with somebody.

            Now, if I file a complaint because it keeps happening and the powers that be give it to file 13, then there’s at least a paper trail I can point to say that I filed a complaint which was not to my satisfaction remedied. And, of course, I would produce upon request my copy of said written and sworn to complaint.

            Wow. That kinda sounds like an aspect of a sexual harassment policy. The only difference is with an established policy in place, it’s published (the policy, not the complaint) so you know who you should speak to to file said written complaint, how to go about it, what types of actions merit it, and what steps will be taken.

            You might not be. You aren’t the universe of people.

            Can you point to a specific instance of somebody who has asked that people be kicked out immediately upon receiving a complaint against them?

            Money, fame, power are all powerful factors not to be ignored, which was my point in the first case.

            So who is trying to get money, fame, or power out of installing sexual harassment policies? Is there a person who is getting rich off of these policies? Is Rebecca Watson going to be High Overlady of Sexual Harassment and kick out anybody who disagrees with her on trumped up charges? Raising the specter of potential abuse for vague and undefined “personal gain” is more conspiracy theory nonsense.

            I already said that I don’t know, or even know if that is operative here.

            So why bring it up at all? If you have no idea what gain a person could get, why bother saying that some people are doing this for “personal gain”? You *do* need to know why somebody would want to do this in order to respond to somebody saying that there’s no motive. Lack of motive is a really good reason to dismiss conspiracy theories like the one @18.

            Did I say that? I fail to see anywhere that I have written any such thing.

            My mistake. I thought you were trying to make a point by randomly saying, “Oh wait. No. That’s just not possible – it’s Rebecca Fucking Watson, out from whose asshole sun shines.” I should have assumed you were spewing random vitriol.

            Again, you’re conflating ‘feminists’ with a person who styles herself as one. I have made this distinction several times. Why you refuse to notice the several times I’ve distinguished a particular person from a group even though that particular person is a member of that group is nothing more than a refusal to credit my making that distinction overtly and explicitly.

            All of which is meaningless and has nothing to do with sexual harassment policies. Again. And more about how much you don’t like Rebecca Watson. Got that last part, but again, it’s absolutely meaningless.

  21. Rabidtreeweasel says:

    *sigh*

    Explaining this is making me tired. Anyone else?

    Congratulations, you have officially joined the ranks of those who don’t bloody get it. Being in such a privileged position as to not see a problem does not mean a problem doesn’t exist.

    In fact you know what? I’m done. Educate your own self. Google Feminism 101. Please. Do so now. Sooner would be preferable to later.

  22. LOL! I knew a post like this was coming when TF got a blog here, but I had no idea he’d throw down the glove so early.

    Grab your helmets and hunker down!

  23. BarfSimpson says:

    Rabidtreeweasel says: June 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

    *sigh*

    Explaining this is making me tired. Anyone else?

    Congratulations, you have officially joined the ranks of those who don’t bloody get it.

    Ooh. TF, you’ve been given the FTB blackbelt blow-of-death. You have 90 seconds to make it to your local emergency ward.

  24. ericatkinson says:

    Thanks Thunderf00t. I love it when someone makes the fembots angry. There is great wailing and gnashing of teeth over at Pharyngula. Please stick to you guns.

    BYW I love your videos. Keep up the good work.

  25. Colin J says:

    What a monumentally clueless post.

  26. Willow says:

    This is true, honestly, if you have boobs and you leave the house (or even not, once the UPS guy asked if I was single), you are going to deal with issues. I feel way safer at TAM than walking down the strip in Vegas. But ALL THE WARNINGS and women dropping out. Why are they dropping out? Because they are being raped or what?

    Part of me remembers this…
    http://media.nola.com/tpphotos/photo/9043794-large.jpg

    If someone had said to me “You come to TAM it would be fun to rape you, I wouldn’t say ‘you win, I will stay home until it is safe’”

    No, you go. And you report the jerk that emailed you and make sure he doesn’t go. Or you hold your head up high because it really DOES mean so much to you. If weirdos with emails (that can be traced) can keep two of the biggest names in skepticism (that just happen to be women) and PZ (for some reason, support and such, plus he sells enough books and has enough people that read his blog that he doesn’t need the publicity) from attending…how is this anything like any “rights” movement?

    I feel mostly for Rebecca and Ophelia. They have not the clout yet of PZ. They have careers, but if you go to TAM, you get to sell your book. You got on the TAM dvd. A lot of people buy the dvd. The college where I work has a copy in their resource center. The books are bought by libraries and people that see the dvd. You got an audience that didn’t find you on the internet (usually you have to be looking for someone to find them). As a career move, missing TAM is not great. Especially if you want more speaking gigs (they often pay, and travel is also fun and a great way to get people to visit the blog that might not have heard of you. Europe skeptic conferences are wonderful, and sales of books always go UP after a conference to say nothing of those you sell at a conference).

    Stepping out as a MAJOR speaker after people have been buying tickets? That either says you don’t consider yourself a major speaker (as in “how will this hurt their ticket sales?” and “No one knows me enough to have bought a ticket especially to hear and meet me.”) or you are “screw you, I know the internet sites are up and the posters printed, I don’t care that this is costing you money.” or you are so DEDICATED to whatever principle (or so deathly afraid of an email) that you are willing to give up book sales (of a message that is important to you, right?) and the change to be on the dvd (lots of them sold, be seen in Japan and Outer Mongolia), and perhaps be on a nice youtube of your talk (they put them up). These conferences are important, expensive to put on, and increased book sales and your name and message getting out to new people for years via the dvd is nothing to sneeze at.

    To me, reading the skepchick recap of TAM9 (It was GREAT) makes me even more sad that so many women will miss a TAM with such a great line up of women speakers. (So far one down and Rebecca not with SGU, of the two I would say Ophelia has probably lost the most). If any more women speakers drop out, it will be a further suppression of what they have to say and share. TAM is that opportunity.

    • eigenperson says:

      If someone had said to me “You come to TAM it would be fun to rape you, I wouldn’t say ‘you win, I will stay home until it is safe’”

      No, you go. And you report the jerk that emailed you and make sure he doesn’t go.

      Congratulations — you’re a fighter.

      Not everyone is.

      Not everyone is willing to have to fight to get creepy guys banned every time they want to go to a conference.

      Also, people like Ophelia took note of what happened to Rebecca Watson when she said “Guys, don’t do that.” Sometimes, your attempt to be proactive (even in the tiniest possible way like saying “Guys, don’t do that”) turns into a firestorm in which 30% or so of the community turns against you because they thought what the creepy guy did wasn’t quite creepy enough to justify your proactive response.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        Once again this false-hood that has become myth has to be corrected.
        The “shitstorm” was NOT about Rebecca saying “Guys don’t do that”.
        It was about her disgusting and unprofessional treatment of one of the young female attendees, Stef McGraw.
        This nonsense about it being caused by the “Guys Don’t Do That” video is irritating, but it is useful in sorting the unskeptical robots from the true skeptics, who do some minimal research before making such basic errors.

        Oh, and TF, goo luck in your new nest of vipers. You are going to need it to battle the anti-skeptical types who infest the badly-named “Free Thought Blogs”.

        • eigenperson says:

          Since when did it become disgusting and unprofessional to engage in a public discussion?

          Perhaps I should criticize your disgusting and unprofessional behavior. After all, you responded to my blog comment in a hostile manner. You called me an unskeptical robot — is that really any worse than what Rebecca Watson called McGraw (ignorant of feminism)?

          • eigenperson says:

            I meant, of course, “Is that really any better than….”

            I also must make another point. While several bloggers at the beginning of the whole fracas (most notably ERV) did in fact address the Watson-McGraw interaction, a much larger number of bloggers and commenters such as Dawkins were focused on Watson’s “Guys, don’t do that” video.

          • Justicar says:

            I’d hate to pass an eigenperson while s/he seems to be sitting still (in a sanitary revised past), but “(ignorant of feminism)?” was coupled with ‘parroting of misogynist’ thinking, while simultaneously squeezing in the lucky Miss McGraw between rapists and physical abusers of other sorts (IIRC).

            Indeed, wasn’t it the discussion of the rapey rapey stuff that ‘reminded’ Watson to mention McGraw in the first place? If only a video existed people could watch . . .

            It is true that some people object to the authoritarian ‘guys, don’t do that’ (myself among them) because it’s one person pretending to lecture 3.5 billion people about how they are to address 3.5 billion other people. This is an arrogation of stupendous import on Watson’s part. And the only time I publicly said anything was when women who thanked her to stop pretending to speak for them over their opinions otherwise were being shouted down.

            And any other women who objected to Watson on other issues were trivialized as being insignificant to the point of not needing to address them on their own merits. Like, say, this handwaving of Abbie Smith.

            She’s not exactly a nobody you know. Unlike Watson, Smith actually does shit related to science (science indeed!) instead of pretending to lecture others on what science is all about. Abbie does science. Watson pretends to give ‘lectures’ about science by quoting scientists to people.

            You don’t get to have it both ways over here. Either Abbie is a nobody or she’s not. Given her traffic, she’s not someone who can be trivialized as not warranting an honorable mention – despite the party line that the cunt (sorry, the slimepit owner) needs to be marginalized for she can have nothing important to say. After all, she didn’t respond appropriately to PZ mansplaining to her how True Women really are supposed to feel after a rape, stalking, things of that type. It was completely irrelevant that she’s a woman who’s survived a for really reals show up in your house stalker type guy. No. What mattered was that she wouldn’t back down to being told by PZ that he knows better than she how she’s supposed to feel about it – here, Abbie, go read Schroedinger’s Rapist; this is how women really think, you silly bitch.

            And aside from her traffic, one should take a care to look at the reason she has it. In one moment, Smith did more to protect victimized people than Watson’s whining and complaining has ever done. See Judy Mikovits for reference; the number of disabled/poor/ethnic/women being fleeced by Mikovits is staggering. But that crazy bat just won’t follow script! So, fuck her – into the ground even, right?

          • Utakata says:

            That’s because you and Abbie are trolls, lol. Get over yourselves. It’s the bed you guys make, L2sleep in it.

          • Justicar says:

            Utakata, I’d be delighted and honored to sleep in a bed with Abbie. We could totally do that while watching Oprah and having mani/pedis – Miranda can even join the slumber party. Just us girls and all.

          • Utakata says:

            O.O!!

    • Brandi says:

      I agree with the other reply, not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars to be sexually harassed, when they can do that so much cheaper at home or online.

      The other problem is that if there is no harassment policy then reporting people can be virtually useless. Have you seen the reaction towards pretty tame statements made online? It’s hard to miss some of them. If they mention something about a guy or a few guys, many guys feel *they* are being attacked and go on the defense. That seems to be the case a lot.
      Also, if you don’t name names – you are lying/ridiculous/overreacting/femanazi etc.
      If you do name names you risk a lawsuit if the incident didn’t take place in the open or on camera.

      The main thing being asked for is an anti-harassment policy. We just want to know that there is *something* we can do if something happens. Then the staff can handle it, rather than it going to the internet court a month later.
      I can’t imagine why anyone would be against basic anti-harassment policies, unless they really need the ability to harass people.

      • KiwiInOz says:

        As Slither identifies upthread – TAM DOES have an harassment policy. One that predates another female oriented conference.

        • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

          How terribly inconvenient for the liars[1] who insist black & blue that they don’t exist!
          ______________
          [1] In this category I place those who utter falsehoods through laziness, trusting other liars, studied & willful ignorance, fraudsters and scam-artists and outright liars of course. I exclude those whose mental capacity is inadequate to grasp the simple fact.

  27. RyGuy says:

    I think a lot of what TF is saying boils down to much of American society needing to pull that gigantic cactus out of it’s ass.

    Don’t cry wolf when you see a stray cat run across the street. People are going to say and do things you do not like throughout your entire life. Life isn’t fair…. get a helmet!

    There are of course many real threats out there, no one disputes that. There are also endless non-threats. Things that may be offensive to you. But in this age of narcissism people need to relearn how to tell them apart…. or at least stop crying wolf out of a need for attention. A real threat needs immediate action by the authorities.

    If it’s NOT a real threat but it offends you then deal with it by:
    A) Confronting it
    B) Ignoring it
    C) Removing yourself from it

    Don’t try and moderate society to conform to your own self indulgence.

    • Sethra says:

      Don’t try and moderate society to conform to your own self indulgence.

      Precisely, which is why harassment policies exist: to address and handle people who attempt to force society to conform with their petty self indulgence.

    • Brandi says:

      So, homosexuals should just shut up and deal? Current society doesn’t accept them and thus they should just ignore it or remove themselves from society because we don’t change society for the better?

      • Jack Thornsby says:

        Actually going by his post, It would more likely be conservatives who are offended by the non-threat of homosexuality who should remove the cactus from their ass.

        He does make a distinction between threat and non-threat.

  28. Randy says:

    I am very disappointed with this website. That several people are missing the point is baffling to me. That some of you are too afraid to tell someone to bugger off baffles me. How everyone seems to think humans are on the verge of killing & raping ourselves into extinction if a law were abolished baffles me. I can honestly say that i expected better here.

    Its not reporting sexual harassment that’s the issue, its the behavior that its an epidemic that needs interior defense against. Acting like the convention is about to rape every woman in the building if they are told ‘not to be a dick’ is nothing short of retarded, and paints humanity in a bad light. yes rape & murder are in high numbers but when compared to the total population of the species? Not so much. Rape would be epidemic levels if our population was maybe 30% larger than the rates that rape occurs. As it stands that is not the case.

    If sexual harassment, actual harassment mind you not just people being asked out, is so damn high then why not do something about it instead of talking about it & posting signs that make the issue seem worse.

    I was hoping to get some sleep tonight but i guess i should look more into this, and so help me if i find that its only that whiny elevator harassment thing from last year that started all of this my vengeance will be petty & irritating indeed!

  29. Willow says:

    Also, as the daughter of someone in law enforcement, and having down volunteer work at Planned parenthood (and still doing so) where are all these statistics that women are not believed when they say they are harassed or raped? I know that within the past 8 years new regulations (for hospitals and law enforcement) have been very strong and women are getting to talk to WOMEN police officers (that have special training with rape victims and with stalking issues) that hospitals only let female professionals use the “rape kit” and that a family member of friend is always present as well as a therapist to explain what is going to happen before. The woman can be admitted if needed, or is found a “safe place” (many of the Planned parenthood facilities have a list of homes with trained volunteers for rape victims to stay at). Oddly the worst thing for a rape victim to do it just tell friends who often say “Oh they won’t believe you, you have no proof.” Trained professionals and volunteers, who deal with rape far too frequently, actually have a pretty good handle on WHAT to say, and how to really start to help the healing. The women doctor at Planned Parenthood here that deals with rape, stalkers and violence against women, is so dedicated and she believes women that talk to her. The “police” and leaders of skeptic conferences probably will also. This whole “don’t report it, no one believes women” is a bad fallacy.

    • angrybeard says:

      I am no stranger to debates over rape & its legal & societal hangups. But in 2 years of that i have yet to understand why the ‘no one will believe you’ bit is so common. I fail to see how someone can be influenced by that & how they don’t know that its ok to report a crime. I it a throwback from when we couldn’t prove it as easily? I honestly want to know, figured you would be a better target for asking than most as you have experience in the realm.

      • As a rape survivor I can tell you why I didn’t report. But it is just one of many reasons that a victim of rape chooses not to. I, personally, didn’t report because I had no idea that it was rape at the time that it happened. I was given way too much liquor by a man I ‘hardly knew and he raped me while I was blacked out.

        If you read this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics#Under_reporting

        You’ll see this line:

        The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting rapes are the belief that it is a personal or private matter, and that they fear reprisal from the assailant.

        Often times rape victims are traumatized and don’t want to have to rehash the incident over and over and over, which is what happens when you report it to the police. You have to tell what happened to you. And if you do tell it, you’d better remember everything in photographic detail or they may not believe you.

        Or perhaps the rapist is someone close to the victim and the victim will be hurt or raped again if they report.

        There are many reasons people do not report. And they’re valid fears. It’s important that we make this society safer for the victims so that they don’t fear reporting.

        • angrybeard says:

          1. I went there first and i decided that answer was nto good enough. Part because i find it to be shit and part because it raises another question.
          1A. How is it so common for women in the world to think that the police wont protect them?
          2. I still don’t buy the ‘be graphically detailed with it or we wont help’ story. Maybe in the 40s & the 50s but not today. Not when we have adjusted the system to accommodate the trauma factor. Thats why i was asking Willow seeing as she is/was part of that system & might be able to get me the straight answer google has yet to yield.
          3. the partner bit i get because its the most common form of rape.

          • Sethra says:

            Women must be at fault somehow because angrybeard refuses to recognise a societal problem.

            The Metropolitan police are urging scores of women from north London who have been raped or sexually abused to come forward if they feel their cases were not taken seriously, after arresting another detective in its flagship sex crime unit Sapphire for allegedly falsifying documents.

            The arrest stems from one of three investigations into failings in the unit, which could have left rapists at large.

            The detective constable – who has not been named – was arrested on Friday on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. Colleagues raised allegations that he had altered crime documents by inserting statements from the Crown Prosecution Service and senior officers to indicate that no charges were to be brought in rape and sexual abuse cases when no such decision had been made.

          • Jack Thornsby says:

            @sethra

            Ah yes, one cop who was found to be perverting justice is clearly the norm and not an anomaly, it is clear from what you quoted that the police have no interest in actually finding the rapists at large, or they would be asking women to come forward and would have arrested the police constable responsible for perverting the course of justice.

        • angrybeard says:

          Did i say women were at fault? No, i asked why this was happening because all my google searches turned up were unhelpful articles & far-radical feminist blogs.

          Thanks for trying to turn me into a villain. This is one blog i wont be back to.

    • Also, as the daughter of someone in law enforcement, and having down volunteer work at Planned parenthood (and still doing so) where are all these statistics that women are not believed when they say they are harassed or raped?

      Read this and the links it cites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics#Under_reporting

      A 2007 government report in England says “Estimates from research suggest that between 75 and 95 percent of rape crimes are never reported to the police.”

    • eigenperson says:

      The police may be more likely to believe allegations of rape than your average person. But that matters little, because so few rapes are ever even reported.

      Why?

      Well, after you take the extremely difficult and courageous step of telling your best friend exactly what happened that night, only to find out that he/she doesn’t really believe you (or worse, tells you that you are to blame), do you think you are going to have the fortitude to then take the even more difficult step of repeating the story that even your best friend wouldn’t believe to the police?

    • Brandi says:

      The statistics from RAINN say that 97% of rapists don’t spend a day in jail. It’s not a fallacy.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        The statistics from RAINN say that 97% of rapists don’t spend a day in jail. It’s not a fallacy.

        I agree. Such so-call statistics are not a fallacy.
        They are outright fraud.
        Consider that, (in the USA, for instance), most of unreported rapes occur in male prisons! (~27%, depending on definition of rape)
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_rape_in_the_United_States
        Yes: male rapes.
        Not female rapes.
        These rapists spend their time in jail.
        Whilst continuing to rape.
        This is not a joke.
        In other countries, it is suspected to be a higher rape-rate.
        And one which feminists would do well to take into account in their often sweeping over-generalisations.

        But mere facts have never stopped the acolytes of dogma from fabricating evidence to fit their hysterical conclusions.

        Thunderf00t got it correct from the word “go”.
        Conratters to him.
        I hope that he has the insight to ignore the content-free ad hominems that will flood in.

        • Kaoru Negisa says:

          Oh, they’re fraud? So you can point to methodological problems with the accumulation of the data or its analysis to demonstrate why this is the case?

          The statistics you cited have nothing to do with the 97% stat that RAINN published at all. First: 3% of rapists do go to jail, so that partially accounts for why rapes happen in jail. That 27% number can be a fraction of the earlier fraction.

          Also, prison rapists aren’t necessarily there because they were rapists on the outside. It’s a crime of convenience.

          None of which matters because it has nothing to do with rape conviction statistics outside of prison. Nor does that men get raped too have anything to do with this discussion. Yes, men get raped too, but at significantly lower rates than women. Men do not have to consider whether what they’re doing puts them at risk for rape on a regular basis, women do. Should we care about men being sexually harassed and raped? Yes. Which is why a sexual harassment policy can be gender neutral.

          However, nothing that you said actually addresses the issue, nor does it have anything to do with why you think RAINN’s statistics are flawed.

  30. Mother Monster, Destroyer of Morals says:

    My personal estimate would be, of the things that aren’t just people being social clutzs, something like 1 guy in 100-1000 (and maybe the odd girl too!) causes almost all of the problems. My straw poll estimate from half a dozen such meetings is that the ‘harassment’ that goes on in the bars at such meetings is little different from that you would find in practically any other bar in the country.

    Further a female friend of mine who repeatedly attends many such events has informed me that the most recent TAM was the best ever in this fashion

    Now that’s how a skeptic determines the extent of a problem!

    …What?

  31. mandrellian says:

    Jesus wept. Second post in and you’ve declared yourself an ignorant troll with no appreciation of the issue you purport to have superior knowledge of.

    For the love of Cthuhlu, stick to wallopping creationists – your social commentary is embarrassing.

    • W says:

      Ad hominem.

      • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

        Calling someone a troll? Not actually an ad-hom!

        Ad-homs apply to arguments. Allow me to demonstrate.

        Not an ad-hom: “You are stupid.”

        An Ad-hom: “You are stupid, and therefore you are wrong/I am right.”

        I hope we’ve all learned something today.

        • BarfSimpson says:

          yes, that baboons at the zoo are always good value because of, not despite, their repetitious behavior. You can define ad hominem however you please. But as Frank Schaeffer once said, the village does not reorganize itself around the village idiot (paraphrased from memory). keep on giving babooney!

    • msironen says:

      Jesus wept. Second post in and you’ve declared yourself an ignorant troll with no appreciation of the issue you purport to have superior knowledge of.

      For the love of Cthuhlu, stick to wallopping creationists – your social commentary is embarrassing.

      I know! FTB was supposed to get that more much AWESOME with the addition of AronRa and Thunderfoot but apparently at least Thunderfoot didn’t get the memo / enemylist and still thinks creationists are the enemy instead of misogynists :/

      I guess we can still keep him around, as some sort of token science guy, if he learns to keep his non-Free opinions to himself, though?

      • Justicar says:

        Amen. He’s ‘free’ to ‘think’ what he thinks so long as he keeps what you disagree with to himself. Freethoughtblogs* is awesome!

        *some restrictions on both freedom and thought apply, and are vigorously enforced by the baboon narrative commissar.

  32. Lee says:

    I think the post would have been better if you put this line first “In terms of enforcement ‘Management reserves the right to refuse admission’ is perfectly fit for purpose for enforcing the policy of ‘don’t be a jerk’.”
    We all go to these conferences to have fun, and sometimes this fun can get a little out of hand. If that happens we need to warn the offending parties and if necessary kick them out. If we fail to act, the women will feel uncomfortable. When women feel uncomfortable, they leave, then I stop having fun. We don’t need to talk it to death, we just need to make it clear that jerks won’t be tolerated.

    • Jessie says:

      I had a high opinion of you, ThunderfOOt. I’m sorry to see you contribute something like this to the discussion.

  33. echidna says:

    Thunderf00t,

    Thunderf00t, your argument is all over the place. The overwhelming impression I get is that you think the whole issue of harassment at conferences is a not worth bothering with. So? Then don’t bother with it.

    It’s part of planning to make sure that there are ways of dealing with things that go wrong or preventing them in the first place. Suggesting that infrequent events need not be planned for is foolhardy. It’s not necessary to have experienced harassment to present a reasoned argument; just read any comment by psanity for an example of a well-reasoned argument about harassment policies.

    Why did you post on a topic that you are so disinterested in?

  34. So shorter Thunderf00t, it’s OK if cons are run badly because no one cares about them. We shouldn’t worry about sexual harassment because not a lot of people are doing it and rape threats are no big deal if they aren’t carried out. So if these things happen to you, you shouldn’t publicly complain, because then you are causing problems. Does that cover it?

    • TonyInBatavia says:

      You missed the part where he gets tens of thousands of views on his YouTube channel. Outside of that, I think you covered it.

  35. Jon H says:

    Starting the countdown to Thunderf00t leaving FTB.

    • Concentratedwater, OM says:

      And Lo, did Jon H declare that Thunderf00t, son of Ibrahim, mate of Ruth, father of Ahmael and Pharaes, should Depart his abode, and from thence go to a Place far away, and rot and wrestle with his thoughts which Displeaseth Jon H. And the Lord saw that it was Done, and that it was Good. Amen.

  36. 0verlord says:

    Thunderf00t: I have to wonder if this idiocy doesn’t remind you of the good old days.

    I think you make a lot of good points. People should be asking themselves questions like: Is it really a good idea to advertise TAM as a dangerous place where women will be harassed constantly (especially since this has not been shown to be the case)? Is this perhaps overreacting to something that isn’t really a problem? Instead it seems already you’re getting the usual flurry of mindless drivel such as, “OMG U R SO CLUELESS AND PRIVILEGED!” The only thing I’m surprised to see is that people are finally coming out of the woodwork against this nonsense.

    We’ll just see how long your irreverence is tolerated here, though I admit I’m not too optimistic. Respect.

    • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

      Is it really a good idea to advertise TAM as a dangerous place where women will be harassed constantly (especially since this has not been shown to be the case)?

      Show me a single instance where someone has said that TAM is a “dangerous place where women will be harassed constantly”? I’m not talking about how you choose to interpret something Rebecca Watson says. I want actual evidence that someone, somewhere, has made this hyperbolic claim about TAM.

      • BarfSimpson says:

        RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement’s Hospital says:
        June 25, 2012 at 3:53 am – Show me a single instance where someone has said that TAM is a “dangerous place where women will be harassed constantly”?

        Excellent point. Nazi Germany was safe – for the “ingroup”. Parallel logic you see. I think I get your point. Actually, no I don’t. I have no fucking idea. One day it is, one day it isn’t – must be more epistemically relativist Benson poop rubbing off that no one has any chance to understand.

      • 0verlord says:

        This isn’t Pharyngula. You don’t get to dictate what is and is not valid evidence. Then again, it seems to me that you already know the most damning evidence of all. Otherwise, why would you attempt to dissuade me from presenting it?

        Venture with me into the twilight zone

        Over the past several years, I’ve been groped, grabbed, touched in other nonconsensual ways, told I can expect to be raped, told I’m a whore, a slut, a bitch, a prude, a dyke, a cunt, a twat, told I should watch my back at conferences, told I’m too ugly to be raped, told I don’t have a say in my own treatment because I’ve posed for sexy photos, told I should get a better headshot because that one doesn’t convey how sexy I am in person, told I deserve to be raped – by skeptics and atheists. All by skeptics and atheists. Constantly.

        This [TAM] is quite obviously not a safe space for me or for other women who want to be free of the gendered slurs and sexual threats and come-ons we experience in our day-to-day lives. But apparently, DJ thinks I am lying about that, since apparently my feeling that the freethought community is not a safe space is “misinformation.”

        • 0verlord says:

          I actually meant to link to this twilight zone, not the other one. My mistake.

        • michaeld says:

          Except this references to the this in the quote from USA today which refers to the atheist skeptical community on a whole not TAM specifically as DJ put it.

        • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

          This [TAM] is quite obviously not a safe space for me or for other women who want to be free of the gendered slurs and sexual threats and come-ons we experience in our day-to-day lives.

          “This” does not refer to TAM. You altered the quote, in pretty much exactly the same way someone else did upthread. That’s why I specified that I’m not interested in altered quotes that support your interpretations.

          Right before the part you quoted and disingenuously altered, Rebecca’s quote from USA Today was quoted by DJ Grothe, and guess what both of them were talking about, and thus what that “This” refers to? THE FREETHOUGHT COMMUNITY. NOT. TAM.

          Jesus, you suck at this.

          • 0verlord says:

            Don’t accuse me of being disingenuous because I mistook the subject of the post (Why I Won’t Be At TAM This Year) for the subject of the quote (which is, as you allege, the freethought community as a whole).

            Even granting my mistake, your objection is still weak. It isn’t unreasonable to infer from “the freethought community is unsafe” to “TAM is unsafe.”

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Don’t accuse me of being disingenuous because I mistook the subject of the post (Why I Won’t Be At TAM This Year) for the subject of the quote (which is, as you allege, the freethought community as a whole).

            Altering a direct quote to change the context is not an example of honesty.

            Also, you’ve changed the topic. I asked for examples of people saying TAM is a “dangerous place where women will be constantly harassed”.

            What was quoted was Rebecca saying that she initially believed the freethought community to be different from mainstream society – a place she could feel safe from harassment in. The lesson she learned is that the freethought community is not safer than mainstream society, not that it is more dangerous than normal.

          • 0verlord says:

            Altering a direct quote to change the context is not an example of honesty.

            Admitting to a mistake and correcting it, however, is. For future reference, free-form attacks on someone’s character is usually considered bad form, especially when it distracts from the argument. Then again, I am at Free From Thought Blogs, where it seems to be standard operating procedure, so do carry on. Please take note of my concern. What do I do with this porcupine, again?

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Admitting to a mistake and correcting it, however, is.

            You’re right, it is. Thank you very much for your honesty, overlord.

            Please take note of my concern. What do I do with this porcupine, again?

            “Your concern is noted” is not a phrase I use, nor is anything to do with porcupines just because I post at Pharyngula. If I can engage with you honestly, do you think you can do the same without assuming that I’m going to say things like that?

          • 0verlord says:

            If I can engage with you honestly, do you think you can do the same without assuming that I’m going to say things like that?

            I can and I will. Please recognize that I am not a liar even if I do make mistakes. To be honest, I fully recognize how my addition to the quote can be done in a dishonest way, but I did not see any need to go on the defensive, thus my response. To be clear, my intention was to clarify an ambiguous pronoun with what I mistakenly thought to be the subject. I was wrong, not dishonest.

            Thanks RahXephon, much appreciated.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Thanks, overlord, I’m glad we cleared that up.

            Now, there was one thing I wanted to address:

            It isn’t unreasonable to infer from “the freethought community is unsafe” to “TAM is unsafe.”

            I keep reading assertions like this and I think it’s another issue where people are misunderstanding Rebecca. She’s not saying, in that quote, that “the freethought community” is objectively not a safe space, but that she doesn’t feel safe in it. It’s not a safe space for her, in other words.

            I think it offends some men because they think she’s saying that they sexually harass people, and it probably offends a few women who have spoken up and said that they go to things like TAM and they do feel safe. I, and I think Rebecca too, recognize that most men at these events don’t sexually harass people, and most people won’t be sexually harassed, so for the latter it may be a “safe space”. For Rebecca, it’s not, though. It’s her opinion, based on her experiences.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            For a comparison, at first I thought the “freethought community” would be really accepting of LGBT issues and causes, and for the most part they are, but I have met a few anti-gay and anti-trans atheists, and their comments are as repugnant as any Christian’s. After that, I can say that the freethought community is not the safe space for LGBT people that I thought it was, but all that means is that the community is not immune from issues that plague society at large, not that it’s unusually homophobic or something like that.

            I hope this analogy helps.

          • Justicar says:

            Rah wrote: “She’s not saying, in that quote, that “the freethought community” is objectively not a safe space, but that she doesn’t feel safe in it. It’s not a safe space for her, in other words.”

            Call me dense, but whether one is safe or not is an objective statement of actual facts. To say that x is not safe is a statement about the objective properties of x. Why is there a conflation (always in Watson’s favor within certain quarters I hasten to note) of her saying x is y with some reinvention that she only feels that x is y on a personal, internal level? (for that matter, when did someone’s ‘feeling’ about the objective world replace the facts of the actual world? I don’t afford this luxury to the properly religious, why should I to the religious-like?) People, for a trivial case, attend fright shows to feel fear, but are aware that they are in fact at all times safe with respect to the activity/event itself.

            To say that x is unsafe is to say that it has a property that in and of itself renders x as an entirely credible proximate cause of actual harm. No one, such as I’m aware (and if you have evidence otherwise, I’d be happy to be corrected) has been willfully injured (that is say not someone tripping over something, or spilling a hot beverage or whatever) at TAM (which was contra-your convenient reading otherwise the named event in the post linked to). It is unusual, to put it mildly, to rebuke someone for taking x to be the actual particular thing in question in a post written with the explicit purpose to explain why that x is not on the menu, which then cites as a proximate consideration the safety of that x.

            I know, I know, it’s all the rave of late to deride people like myself for ‘hyper’-skepticism (notably that what these self-styled skeptics are unpersuaded by is properly owed skepticism, but gore their oxen and one is just being unreasonable in expecting evidence), but these distinctions aren’t trivial. Moreover, Watson has a BS in communications – is one to presume that after being graduated with a (at least in title) science degree in how to communicate what one is thinking she is nevertheless incompetent?

            Take my favorite example: spiders. Those fuckers petrify me. They creep me out. When I see one in my house, I get flush and have to capture and relocate it. But no one has been harmed or killed by a spider where I live in at least 100 years. My fear of these harmless spiders is not congruent with the reality of their actually being harmless to me. I cannot therefore honestly say that there is any danger *despite* the fact that I feel there is. The ‘safety’ of the situation is entirely not concordant with my feelings.

            Yet when Watson makes a claim about safety, you read it as her only saying she feels unsafe (despite all evidence to the contrary that people aren’t actually injured, attacked, raped, beaten or whatever). Why is it that you think your interpretation of what she has in fact written supersedes anyone else’s interpreting what she’s written as being exactly what she in fact wrote?

            Is there some kind of special code that exists such that a claim about the factual affairs actually at issue are to be taken as not-literal?

            If so, what parts of this manual are meant to be taken literally and which are meant to be taken as metaphor, allegory, or apocrypha or whatever? And, more importantly, how do you reliably know which is which?

        • 0verlord says:

          I understand what you’re saying, and I think I can reluctantly agree with you. In fact, I hope you’re right.

          Still, even if it was not what she intended to convey, that message (that TAM and other atheist conferences are unsafe for women, not just that Rebecca Watson felt unsafe) is the message that was received and it is the one being repeated.

          Is it really surprising that I and others would misunderstand what Watson said in that article? Is it that surprising that there are so many misunderstandings in general, especially when so many people won’t shitcan the rhetoric and actually figure out what other people are thinking and why?

          I really have to cut this short and get to bed, but hopefully that makes sense and there’s a point in there somewhere… Cheers.

          • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

            Still, even if it was not what she intended to convey, that message (that TAM and other atheist conferences are unsafe for women, not just that Rebecca Watson felt unsafe) is the message that was received and it is the one being repeated.

            Received and repeated by who?

            The only people I’ve seen who have misinterpreted Rebecca’s words about the freethought community aren’t women (at least that I’m aware), and the only people I see who keep repeating the original misinterpretation are the people who read the original post, misinterpreted it in the way I detailed, and have since repeated their misinterpretation.

            Is it really surprising that I and others would misunderstand what Watson said in that article?

            It’s only surprising if I weren’t used to people jumping to the worst possible conclusion when reading the writings of feminist women in general, not just Rebecca. Ever since feminists came around and said “You know, I wouldn’t mind being able to vote, and maybe have the choice of getting a job that doesn’t involve me staying at home and having children”, people have misinterpreted, willfully or otherwise, what they were saying.

          • 0verlord says:

            The way I see it, it keeps getting repeated over and over by PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, and Greta Christina and received by their audiences who go on to repeat it themselves.

            Look, I really don’t mean this badly, and perhaps this was obvious from the get go, but I’ve already pretty much made up my mind on this whole issue a long time ago. I know this is completely hypocritical and stupid of me, but it’s the truth. My patience on this is subject just worn far too thin, and I think I would be wasting your time by leading you to believe that I’m really all that receptive to the “other side” (for lack of better phrase) at this point in time. I don’t want to do that.

            That’s why I’m taking the coward’s way out and bowing out as gracefully as I can. There are plenty of others far more patient and better equipped to meet your challenges, but it will not be me.

            Cheers.

    • Forbidden Snowflake says:

      People should be asking themselves questions like: Is it really a good idea to advertise TAM as a dangerous place where women will be harassed constantly (especially since this has not been shown to be the case)?

      Also, by having laws against crimes countries are just advertising themselves as dangerous places where crime happens, and they are also attempting to dictate aspects of their citizens’ behavior, which is communism and/or McCarthyism. They should just drop this whole “law enforcement” concept, most people are good and decent anyway, right?

  37. Brandi says:

    Wow, good thing your one female friend said it’s not a problem.
    If one person of my sex said it, then it must be true.
    Wait, what if a bunch of other attendees who also have vaginas don’t agree? Kid of blows that idea out of the water.

    I am really surprised at your opinion on this. Too bad, was really looking forward to your blog.

    • eigenperson says:

      You know, it’s interesting how one’s friends so often agree with one.

      Like Pauline Kael, I can’t imagine how Nixon (or Bush) got elected, since no one I know voted for him. And thunderf00t can’t imagine how anyone could possibly see harassment as a significant problem, because no one he knows does. And the creationists can’t imagine how half the country could possibly believe in evolution, because no one they know does.

  38. most of these things can (and should) be effectively addressed in a quiet, mature and social way

    The most important point here being “quiet”.

    • Dave Littler says:

      Bang on.

      I get the feeling that there’s a lot of people on various sides of this argument that care more about being loud than being constructive and care more about being seen to be outraged about the other side’s (often imagined or strawmanned) sins than finding common ground.

      If we could all just quiet down and try to be civil rather than turning this topic into the arena sport that it’s become, I can’t help but feel that we’d be a lot closer to a resolution where everyone could be happy.

    • That’s also ignoring there were attempts to address this behind the scenes and concerns went public when those failed.

  39. Toxic Ambrosia says:

    It seems pretty simple to me. A conference organizer is not responsible for superintending the conduct of the general public anymore than a carnival is responsible for the behavior of its attendees. When the general public is gathered, it’s the responsibility of law enforcement to handle complaints about alleged violations. I assume it was a requirement that security be present at the conference. If someone has threatened you, and there are witnesses, your proper course of action is to approach security with your witnesses and alert them to the individual who has threatened you and ask that the police be called to file a civil complaint. Security can either keep the suspect in their sight, or they can opt to detain them. But be careful, because you can’t lodge a complaint for bigoted, racist, or misogynistic speech unless you can prove that it implies a direct physical threat to your person. If someone threatened to rape you, and you have witnesses, then the same threat of bodily harm applies. If it’s just your sensitivities that have been assaulted, I’m afraid there’s no recourse. However, a complaint can also be filed for slanderous or libelous speech that detrimentally misrepresents your character, if you really want to go that far.

  40. Enjoy your stay here in wacky land, Thunderfoot. You can expect a lot of vapid and baseless responses like “you just don’t get it” and “you’re privileged.” These will be directed your way once the derelicts here run out of arguments, which, as you’ve probably noticed, takes only about a minute or two.

    Most of all, be on the look out for people who insist that you look up the dictionary definition of feminism. That’s right. They’ll actually tell you to look up feminism in the dictionary, because they really think that’s enough to refute any criticism you may have.

    You’re in for some real fun, TF.

    • 0verlord says:

      Not to mention those who actually believe that — if you’re not a woman hating pig, that is — you’ll come to agree with them after reading “Feminism 101.” I became a Christian after reading the Bible so who knows, it could happen? (Just kidding.)

      • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

        Unlikely. TAM didn’t have an anti-harassment policy and then abolished it, so why should the number of female attendees DECREASE?

        How can one abolish something one doesn’t have? This quote does not make any sense.

        That, too. But my main point is that many WOMEN are not feminists, not that some feminists aren’t women.

        Many women don’t call themselves feminists because anti-feminists have done such a bang-up job making people believe the word means things it doesn’t mean. Feminism doesn’t mean you hate men. It doesn’t mean you think all men are rapists. It doesn’t mean you can’t shave your legs, or that you can’t have sex, or any of the other ridiculous things that have been thrown out over the years.

        (PS. Even if someone says one of those things and calls themselves a feminist, doesn’t mean their one viewpoint changes the meaning of the movement.)

        So that means that any disagreement with a feminist is misogyny?

        No. If that’s what I was getting at, I would’ve said “Any disagreement with a feminist is misogyny.” Did I say that? No.

        What I did say was that there is a tactic, often deployed against women, in which people say that women make things up, exaggerate, or lie about problems to get attention, which is exactly what you’re doing to feminists.

        I just wanted to quickly delete the “Watson said bla bla” stuff between the actual quotes.

        You mean the context. You wanted to quickly delete the context and then just happened to replace it with your own. Sure.

        It doesn’t really change anything about my argument since TAM is surely a part of the freethought community.

        It’s a “part” of the freethought community in the sense that freethinkers attend it, but TAM is utterly fucking irrelevant to the lives of nearly all freethinkers, because nearly all of them don’t attend.

        The freethought community is not just one convention, or conventions in general. It’s the national, state, and local groups, the pub crawls, the parties, the book clubs, the Facebook groups, the blogs, etc.

        The important part is that “not a save place” will not be understood by most people as feminists define it (basically as an other word for “the universe”), and feminists know that. It is a willful deception for propaganda purposes.

        If I say something is not a safe space, it means that it’s a space…that isn’t safe for me. That’s ALL REBECCA SAID, and based on the comments in reply to her, most people understand that.

        • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

          This reply is to someone upthread, I clicked the wrong reply link.

          This is why I despise nested comments.

          • Dave Littler says:

            I do find it a bit surreal that FTB’s nested commenting system is so grossly inferior to that that, for example, LiveJournal has been using for more than a decade. It’s not like there isn’t a good model of how this can be done right.

      • Rabidtreeweasel says:

        Oh little lamb, no. It’s that doing research on a topic before joining an ongoing discussion serves to keep one from sounding like a disingenuous ass whilst disagreeing.

  41. Ali Reza says:

    One wonders how these would-be crusaders against injustice crowing about mild, sometimes imagined inconvenience of women will feel when the world’s environmental shit hits the fan and they realize they completely pissed away their lives on non-issues.

      • Ali Reza says:

        A TV Tropes article doesn’t negate the fact that time and other resources are limited and thus that economization is inevitable.

        If you’re going to be extraordinarily smug about how much good you’re doing for society (the norm for Free from Thought Blog’s extreme left contingent), you’d better prioritize.

        • michaeld says:

          Ok if you’d like I could turn it back on you? Why is it important to argue against these people shouldn’t you be putting more time into global warming deniers? They’re a much bigger problem. Aren’t you afraid in a few years time that you’ll regret argueing with us here when you could have been doing spending that energy on something that helps our environment.

          As the article points out there’s no reason to say that people can’t talk about the problems of harassment in peoples lives and work on larger issues in the world. Although this has dominated a lot of recent discussion it is far from the sum out put of peoples advocacy and work over say the last year.

          • Ali Reza says:

            Ok if you’d like I could turn it back on you?

            No. Read what I said again:

            IF you’re going to be extraordinarily smug about how much good you’re doing for society (the norm for Free from Thought Blog’s extreme left contingent)”

            I am not extraordinarily smug about all the good I do for society, though I will note that computing units for Folding@Home and climateprediction.net here, which requires no intervention on my part, easily does more for society than what you wanks think you are doing. I’m not part of FfTB’s extreme left faction either. There isn’t any onus on me.

            Why is it important to argue against these people shouldn’t you be putting more time into global warming deniers? They’re a much bigger problem.

            I had a huge spat with a couple of climate change deniers yesterday.

            They’re too stupid to get it of course, I just wanted to shut them up.

            Aren’t you afraid in a few years time that you’ll regret argueing with us here when you could have been doing spending that energy on something that helps our environment.

            No, because I find the consequences of climate change etc. amusing.

            For one thing, they’ll wipe the smirk clean off the face of the sanctimonious first world left wing when they realize how useless they’ve been over the years.

            As the article points out there’s no reason to say that people can’t talk about the problems of harassment in peoples lives and work on larger issues in the world.

            Maybe but when you devote so much time to mild inconvenience (“harassment”) I have doubts that you’re working on “the larger issues in the world” at all.

            Although this has dominated a lot of recent discussion it is far from the sum out put of peoples advocacy and work over say the last year.

            In the “atheist community”, the rule appears to be: the pettier, the better.

            It’s like FOX News: a big fake histrionic outrage factory.

    • Brandi says:

      Gee whiz, could it be because anything they experience is brushed off as a non-issue?

  42. ibyea says:

    Thundefoot
    Sexual harassment is not a problem despite the fact that there have been multiple reports of it and it is driving women away from these conferecens? This uproar wouldn’t have happened if all the JREF did was to acknowledge the problem and promise to solve it to the best of their abilities. And who cares if it “just happens to a minority”? We should make people of all stripes feel welcomed and safe, even if the would make 0.1% of attendants. It’s called being a good host, you know.

  43. Gretchen says:

    Man. You know, I would love to see a new blog added to FtB that not only took a perspective on this sexual harassment at skeptical conference thing, but took a different one from the position of TAM-is-a-hotbed-of-pervs-and-libertarians (and hey, they’re the same thing anyway)-and-no-female-in-her-right-mind-would-go type of position that is so predominant. But I have to say, this will not do. Here’s why:

    1. “Racist”/”misogynist” are not the same as “feminazi.” The former two are types of bigotry. The latter is a word Rush Limbaugh made up to compare feminists to Nazis.

    2. Conferences are not like Youtube views. Conferences happen at a specific time that usually covers no more than a couple of days, and are attended by a load of people who traveled by car or plane many miles, rented a hotel room, and use what they learned and experienced at that conference to shape their thinking over who knows how much time and how many blog posts, papers, and conversations. Youtube views are a tabulation of how many people stopped scratching their nuts long enough to click a link.

    3. Sexual harassment happens to only a few people at a conference? Really? You’re kidding me. Of course it only happens to a few people each time. That doesn’t make it a non-problem for everybody else who is in the same group that gets harassed, any more than the black population in a town should be happy and smiley because they’re not the ones who had an effigy hung in the tree in their front yard.

    4. Maybe you misconstrued, but nobody to my knowledge has suggested that TAM or any other conference advertise that sexual harassment is “endemic here such that we really need a policy here to police it.” Also, it’s pretty silly to suggest that conferences should have a sexual harassment policy because such harassment has become “endemic.” Once is enough, really, or even the possibility of it happening is enough. Should hotels refrain from posting instructions on how to vacate the premises in the event of a fire if they’ve never had a fire?

    5. If you want to chew on a woman’s leg in a bar, and don’t know whether such conduct would be permissible under conference guidelines…you are an idiot. Either you’re planning to do it to a woman without her consent, in which case you should be escorted off the premises immediately and probably arrested, or you’re planning to do it with her consent, in which cause it’s no more of an issue than kissing her with her consent, which also doesn’t require consulting any manual of conduct.

    In short– if you don’t know what you’re talking about, the best idea is to stop talking. So my suggestion to you is…even if your intentions are the best in the world, and I won’t suggest that they are otherwise…stop talking. At least until you do some more reading.

    • RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says:

      You know, I would love to see a new blog added to FtB that not only took a perspective on this sexual harassment at skeptical conference thing, but took a different one from the position of TAM-is-a-hotbed-of-pervs-and-libertarians (and hey, they’re the same thing anyway)-and-no-female-in-her-right-mind-would-go type of position that is so predominant.

      I don’t feel like retyping the reply I lost in yet another hiccup of this shitbrick of a commenting system, so all I’ll say is that this quote is not an accurate representation of what anyone on the “pro-harassment-policy” side has said. Nobody has said TAM is a “hotbed of pervs”; they’ve said that they’ve experienced sexual harassment at TAM, like they’ve experienced sexual harassment lots of other places, because just like how TAM isn’t incredibly dangerous for women, it’s also not a special safer-than-normal-society place either.

      • Gretchen says:

        Somebody didn’t make it to point #3.

        • Arty Morty says:

          Wow, Thunderf00t! Your second post at FTB and you’ve already drawn a crowd! And what a great crowd of thoughtful commenters it is.

          There’s Ali Reza, who says sexual harassment is a “mild, sometimes imagined inconvenience of women” (#41)

          And there’s ericatkinson, who complains about “fembots” (#24)

          Also: jokes about jacking off to images of female FTB bloggers in burqas having a wet t-shirt contest. In a post about sexual harassment, no less! (Ali Reza and BarfSimpson, somewhere up there…) Such lulz!!

          Plus a mountain of conspiracy theories, like, for example, these:

          “Feminists do this on purpose of course. They need a lack of female participation in atheist conferences as proof of ‘sexism in the atheist community’ ” (NoNiceNameFound, #18)

          “FTB is the Westboro Baptist Church of the loopy left stereotype that matches the description Ann Coulter gives it. [...] start screencapping what you may refer to inside FTB itself. This is a non-stop historical revisionism zone – reality is whatever they want it to be today.” (BarfSimpson, #19)

          “Talking up a threat, then saying “Only we can keep you safe from the danger” is often characteristic of entities, individual, corporate and governmental, and usually requires that you surrender some liberty of some sort – civil, freedom of thought or expression, etc. The demand for surrender can be explicit, implicit, and is usually a carrot AND stick approach.” (um, surrender of liberty? what?!) (jamespetts, #8)

          All that from just your second blog post! I can’t wait to see what other quality commenters you’re going to draw here at FTB/thunderf00t!

          • Arty Morty says:

            ARRGh these indented comments are the worst! This was meant to be posted at the bottom of the thread. No idea what it’s doing up here in reply to Gretchen.

          • Ali Reza says:

            There’s Ali Reza, who says sexual harassment is a “mild, sometimes imagined inconvenience of women” (#41)

            Being asked for coffee (in an elevator no less) is “mild inconvenience”.

            That stuff like this is the issue of the day for people like you bespeaks of no one’s privilege but your own.

          • BarfSimpson says:

            Arty Morty says: June 25, 2012 at 7:01 am Wow, Thunderf00t! Your second post at FTB and you’ve already drawn a crowd! And what a great crowd of thoughtful commenters it is.

            For the most part. Then there’s you. Shopping list of mined quotes, stripped of context, that a child has overheard from the grownups. This is the reality of much of FTB – finding little chunks of nothing and then howling in outrage. It’s like muslims and mohammed cartoons. I really would like you to explain, in a coherent and supportable manner, what is actually wrong with these comments? As is, you *do* sound like a child that has stayed up past his bed time and is eavesdropping on grownup talk he doesn’t understand and shouldn’t be hearing anyway.

  44. bluentx says:

    “Who the hell is Thunderf00t?”

    Ooo, oooo… Can I try!?

    “Who the hell is Thunderf00t?”

    A clueless, privileged git.

    • 0verlord says:

      Oh look, another case-in-point of the mindless drivel that passes as thoughtful discourse on Free From Thought Blogs.

    • Ali Reza says:

      A clueless, privileged git.

      “He has a penis. He CAN’T be right.”

      Free from Thought Blogs: where critical theory-driven ad hominem attacks become core elements of Rationality™ and Logic™.

      • BarfSimpson says:

        Ali Reza says: June 25, 2012 at 5:00 am - Free from Thought Blogs: where critical theory-driven ad hominem attacks become core elements of Rationality™ and Logic™.

        Actually, you flatter them. It’s more like Islamist clerics that hurl hadiths at each other and call it “discussion”. Everything that is not predefined and static is “innovation”, therefore heresy. I want an FTB wet burqa contest.

        • Ali Reza says:

          Actually, you flatter them. It’s more like Islamist clerics that hurl hadiths at each other and call it “discussion”. Everything that is not predefined and static is “innovation”, therefore heresy. I want an FTB wet burqa contest.

          Mmm, yeah, super sexy.

          Like if you came.

          Share if you’re about to come.

  45. davidparnell says:

    So I have a few questions that anyone that can is free to answer.

    1) TF has been criticized for providing not much other than anecdotal evidence for his view that “sexual harassment at conferences really is a non-issue…”. My question is this, what evidence do you, those who disagree with his assessment, have that isn’t also anecdotal

    2) What was being done to address this problem before?

    3) Even if these conferences are hosts to social parasites, wouldn’t it be better for more people (not just women) who aren’t pieces of shit and who don’t harass to go to them and thus populate them with a better crowd?

    • michaeld says:

      1) I’ll let someone else deal with cause I’m tired and lazy and its the most complicated.

      2) nothing that I know of.

      3) Assumes that more people are the kind of people you want. Getting more people in and of itself doesn’t mean you decrease the number of trouble makers.

      Also assumes that this conversation was turning people off of events. There isn’t actually any evidence that this discussion was turning people off TAM aside from people getting fed up with DJ. Bad economy, WIS conference and the reason rally could all have conspired to lead fewer women to have the time and resources to attend TAM.

      Another potential problem lets say this conversation does hurt conference attendance this year. The resulting changes to conference policies could greatly improve conference attendance in later years as well as the overall appeal.

    • michaeld says:

      Ok to be a bit more generous with 2.

      Sexual harassment was to some extent being policed and handled by people in the conferences. But from the stories I’ve seen it was more of a halphazard process without clear guidelines. Mostly the change that people want is for there to be a clear policy letting people know what is expected and a commitment of good faith to oppose it.

    • Brandi says:

      1.) Not everything is a science experiment or a problem to solve. This issue deals with people talking about their personal experiences, ones that happened to suck. There is a difference , to a lot of people anyways, between “my friend said this, so I understand now” and “this is what happened to me, can someone understand?”.

      2.) I believe some conventions and other big gatherings have harassment policies. I am pretty sure most of these women just want a basic policy, so they can feel safe.

  46. AndrewV69 says:

    [Troll Alert]

    Only two cries of Your concern is noted?

    For the uninitiated this is a cry frequently found on the baboon board. I will not get into what it denotes, except that you may observe it yourself.

    I am sure some of you are wondering WTH if not before, then certainly at this point.

    Well I did not either till late last year, I finally decided to see what the fuss was about over this Franc Hoggle guy and found among other things this glossary, from which I have extracted a sample, and which you may find useful in updating your playbook:

    http://greylining.com/glossary/

    Myers’ Law – In its simplest form the law states a baboon has no capacity to either receive or transmit information without corrupting that information. In practical terms this equates to there being no realistic relation between what you communicate to a baboon and what that baboon actually hears. This communication loses even more of its original meaning in the event that baboon then communicates a response back to you. Further, when information enters the baboon echo chamber it loses all relation to reality altogether in a very short time via baboon to baboon retransmission. See cunt kick.

    [/Troll Alert]

  47. Tom Foss says:

    It’s always so enlightening to see a skeptic scientist do so little research on a topic as to not even know the basics of the conversation (e.g., we have only DJ’s word about TAM attendance figures, and no data to suggest the trend; we have zero evidence that discussions of sexism online are the cause of the drop in female attendance, etc.), and then stack up a bunch of anecdotes and declare them data.

    This was seriously disappointing, Thunderf00t.

  48. Who Knows? says:

    Pretty fucked up first real post here. I’m very disappointed.

  49. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says:

    …what the fuck?

    I was told you were smart.

    • Utakata says:

      Yeah…even this dipshit agrees with you on this one. :(

    • real horrorshow says:

      Yet his opinion differs from yours. What shall we conclude from this?

      • Utakata says:

        We should conclude that peep’s have a right to their opinions no matter how ludicrous those opinions are. As those who have every right expose their opinions for all its stupidity if need be. /shrug

        • real horrorshow says:

          We should conclude that peep’s have a right to their opinions no matter how ludicrous those opinions are.

          And where you, to your chagrin, don’t have the power to shout them down.

          • Utakata says:

            Well…I can agree with that, since I don’t. However, I can and will and have my protest made known about it. But you are free to disagree. As I am free to disagree with you.

  50. Otrame says:

    Thunderf00t

    Do you see who is supporting your post. Do you really want that? I am hoping you don’t. I think you may not realize how miserable being harassed makes a woman. Not being flirted with. Not being asked out, being harassed.

    This most recent blow up was caused by an incredibly thoughtless set of remarks by a smart guy. But the fact that it did blow up should tell you something. The unhappiness is real. Women are finally saying “You know what? Fuck this.”

    I don’t think you are a misogynist (I sure hope not), but I think your post shows, quite frankly, that you have not been listening to the people this sort of crap happens to.

    And as I said above, be sure to listen to the people who are praising you, as well. Are people like them who you want to be?

    • BarfSimpson says:

      Otrame says: June 25, 2012 at 5:52 am -

      Thunderf00t

      Do you see who is supporting your post. Do you really want that? I am hoping you don’t.

      Thank you Senator McCarthy.

  51. Bleatmop says:

    The irony here is that TF has experience harassment and lots of it but doesn’t seem to think its an issue when it happens to someone else. I remember seeing lots of films about his ire about his docs being dropped and the threats that he has received and he seemed to want it to stop. I remember him even trying to contact WLC to get him to stop a random internet person from flagging his videos. All those are worthy of his attention, but I guess rape threats and other sexual harassment/assaults that happen at a conference are not only beneath his notice, but they are actually not to be talked about. So sayeth the mighty TF, so it will be done. Or at least in his mind.

    • That’s what I was thinking. He sure talked a lot about alleged death threats from Ali and others. He acted like they were a big deal, even though no one ever firebombed his house or tried to shoot him at a conference. Could it be that attempts at intimidation are in themselves problematic, or is that only when they happen to him?

      • BarfSimpson says:

        Ace of Sevens says June 25, 2012 at 6:16 am: Could it be that attempts at intimidation are in themselves problematic, or is that only when they happen to him?

        jebus. When are any one of you clowns going to provide any evidence? All we have is terrified whisperings from superstitious villagers that see fleeting shadows out of the corner of their eyes. Grothe, without prompting from this baboon jungle, attempted to get some perspective and quantify reality by trying to collate data. What happened? He got crucified and branded with the same old “he’s blaming the victim” gibberish. Watson OTOH, unloads her latest load of post facto embellishments that she can’t attend a conference without getting mauled by lechers – nonsense about events in the distant past that, even if real, can never be verified? And you folks consider yourselves skeptics?

        Superstitious villagers… Demons making noises outside of the light of the campfire. Yes, keep the children terrified. It works wonders for theists.

  52. Traveler says:

    Thunderfoot, I’m sure your contribution here will make targets of future harassment and assault feel TOTALLY safe and supported, if they even choose to report incidents after reading this powerful piece! I know that being told to “relax” by my betters always makes me feel valued and respected!

    But the real clincher for me was how you explained that in “A BAR” people have to expect to be treated like meat! Thems the rules of engagement, sweetcheeks and sweetchucks! I’ve never had someone spell it out for me so eloquently before! Now I’m completely convinced that those stupid *ladies* who complained about being physically cornered are just too hysterical to know how to keep from spoiling the fun. (And spoiling it with reality – the nerve!) Not like us cool kids.

    Finally, as an aside, I think taking a dump in your new front yard is a great way to introduce yourself to the neighborhood.

    /sarcasm

  53. UnkleJustin says:

    You always entertain me Thunderfoot..Even when you are full of shit!! And you help me to become smarter too. Thanks for being you and for sharing.

  54. A Chick says:

    Wow. Way to stick that big thunderous f00t of yours in your mouth on your first actual blog post.

  55. Gnumann, Tyhpos is my motor says:

        I’ve been around on the internets a LONNNG time, and its been my experience that the more people use terms like MISOGYNIST, RACIST, BIGOT and FEMINAZI

    I’ve been around the world for a longer time, and I’ve learnt from volumes of peer-reviewed research that the argument-from-anecdote is usually wrong. Furthermore, the need to use false equivalence to immunise the text from the most likely is knowingly wrong.

    So, the question is, now that we’ve established that you most likely knew you were wrong or are wrong through negligence: Why did you write this text?
    Why did you valliantly set forth on your horse with your great big shining lance against strawmen and lose?

    I know you didn’t set up all the straw-men yourself, but that’s no excuse for losing against them.

    • thunderf00t says:

      I thought I made this idiot-proof, but let me try again.

      “!!!!Accurate assessment of a problem is the first step towards moving towards an appropriate solution!!!!”

      In the absence of an accurate assessment, anecdote is the best you can do, and yes, its better than (not equivalent to as you seem to thing) nothing. And sure I know a lot of people at these conference and this seems to be a realistic assessment of the extent of the problem.

      The bizarre thing is you seem intent on NOT trying to accurately assess the extent of the problem. If you merely want to classify it as an unknown then you have just waived the right to claim there is a problem. If you have different and better anecdotal information to bring to the table that suggest my assessment is wrong, THEN BRING IT! (plus an admission that anecdotal information is NOT equal to no information).

      • Gnumann, Tyhpos is my motor says:

        Why should I bother to do your homework? I’m one of these terrible feminists that occationally use the word “misogynist” to describe actions and ideas that don’t subscribe to the simple idea that women are people and should be treated as such.

        Neither have I come with any claims about the prevalence of harassment at TAM. You know why?
        The prevalence doesn’t matter. What matters is that we have documented a number of episodes. Furthermore we have documented that the current leadership finds it more important to minimise the episodes rather than you know – actually do something about it.

        Women know to expect(those who have the nerve to expect equal treatment as other humans at least) a certain base level of misogyny at any level of society. What matters is how great the support is, for either party.

        Now: let me introduce you to a ground rule of any human decency:
        When one or more humans express a basic concern about their own social and bodily integrity – you can never ever dismiss this concern by one fucking anecdote.

        This also dobles as a scientific rule. Apply Occham to your text and see what shrivelled little remains that’s there. I’m sure you’ll not be impressed.

        • Jon H says:

          “When one or more humans express a basic concern about their own social and bodily integrity – you can never ever dismiss this concern by one fucking anecdote.”

          What if their concern is that they’ve been abducted by aliens and given an implant?

          • Gnumann, Tyhpos is my motor says:

            “I got this friend who’s never been abducted by aliens and implanted, so that can’t possibly have happened to you” – you see that working?

      • Utakata says:

        No, it’s not idiot proof when known trolls and bigots are agreeing with you. Not even in the slightest. You may want to do something about that.

        • charles says:

          Your inability to present the better anecdotal evidence requested by Thunderf00t is noted.

        • real horrorshow says:

          No, it’s not idiot proof when known trolls and bigots are agreeing with you. Not even in the slightest. You may want to do something about that.

          Utakata you are a known bigot and troll. And what does your suggestion amount to? That TF stop having his own thoughts and adopt your opinions instead. Well yay for Freethought™

          • Utakata says:

            @charles

            I actually prefer to provide real evidence when I must, not stuff that can be further misinterpreted by those with an agenda. Your point though?

            @real horrorshow

            Lol, I see you don’t know me from squat. But /hugs anyway! <3

          • real horrorshow says:

            Utakata says:
            @real horrorshow

            Lol, I see you don’t know me from squat. But /hugs anyway! <3

            There’s a difference between you and ‘squat’? Yeah hugs Justine.

          • Utakata says:

            Don’t you start, it was bad enough I got that wrong. It’s Justin…J.u.s.t.i.n. Remember that and remember it well.

        • Spence says:

          Guilt by association fallacy? You may want to do something about that.

          • Utakata says:

            What, we’re talking about ad hominems here? Lol!

            *Pokes CommanderTuvok*

            Hey this person wants to talk about ad hominems.

          • Utakata says:

            Um…I don’t think you are realizing what you are posting in. There’s a shit storm happening here…where even where the OP is not playing classy. So there’s advice I give to all *tone trolls, such as yourself…if you don’t like it, don’t come here. /shrug

            *source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Tone%20troll

          • Spence says:

            Utakata,

            I am quite familiar with the details of this debate, but thanks anyway.

            Secondly, I did not criticise your tone. I pointed out a logical fallacy that you made, guilt by association. Guilt by association is not a criticism of tone, it is a formal reasoning error. It happens to be an error in the category of argumentum ad hominem, which is often *mistakenly* used to criticise tone by people who do not understand logic.

            It is possible to create a sound and valid argument irrespective of tone. You failed in doing this.

            I don’t think we can make much progress here if you aren’t familiar with the basics of good reasoning.

  56. Daz says:

    tl;td?

    Those uppity wimmin don’t matter. Let’s all concentrate on what Thunderfoot wants to concentrate on.

    • Brandi says:

      Hey! My friend is a lady, and she says she doesn’t even mind when guys talk to her chest! So it’s not a big deal!

    • Ali Reza says:

      Daz is one of the most unimpressive, whiny people on all FfTB.

      Just look at how rookie-level the math entries on his blog are:

      http://theedixieflatline.wordpress.com/tag/maths/

      It’s been my experience generally speaking that the people who actually have talent in the skeptical movement are averse to the drama machine (thunderf00t, while somewhat hit and miss, is a successful chemist) and those with the least talent are all in.

      Daz is a great example of this pattern.

      • Daz says:

        Ali Reza

        Point 1: It’s supposed to be rookie level. It doesn’t fucking claim to be anything but.

        Point 2:Ad hominem much?

        • Ali Reza says:

          Point 1: It’s supposed to be rookie level. It doesn’t fucking claim to be anything but.

          I’ve seen you and countless other people puff up your chests about how great your knowledge is.

          As someone who just co-evolved game theoretic strategies with PSO to see whether they’d attain equilibrium for shits and giggles, I’d like it to be registered now that I’m not impressed by red letter A retards like you.

          Point 2:Ad hominem much?

          Not really. What I said wasn’t an argument. It was just an assertion that you are an unimpressive, dime-a-dozen bozo.

          • Daz says:

            I’ve seen you and countless other people puff up your chests about how great your knowledge is.

            [citation fucking well needed]

            And what does my admittedly shallow lack of knowledge of matters scientific and mathematical, or TF’s greater knowlegde of same, have to do with the discussion of matters of sexual harassment and the like?

            Not really. What I said wasn’t an argument. It was just an assertion that you are an unimpressive, dime-a-dozen bozo.

            No, what you did was attempt show that, because I’m not well versed in maths, even though I never said I was, my voice is not worth listening to on a totally unrelated subject.

            Unless, of course, you were merely trolling, and weren’t even considering the subject in hand; just wanted to fire off a cheap shot for the fun of it?

          • Ali Reza says:

            And what does my admittedly shallow lack of knowledge of matters scientific and mathematical, or TF’s greater knowlegde of same, have to do with the discussion of matters of sexual harassment and the like?

            Nothing. It has to do with how you don’t belong in the movement.

            No, what you did was attempt show that, because I’m not well versed in maths, even though I never said I was, my voice is not worth listening to on a totally unrelated subject.

            Well, if you think you ought to be listened to, burden of proof is on you.

            So far you’ve just taken potshots at thunderf00t no less cheap than those I’ve taken at you.

            Unimpressive as usual.

          • Arty Morty says:

            Daz, if it makes you feel any better, he also thinks a lot of other people are bad at math:

            most of the prominent women in the skeptical / atheist movement generally have few talents outsides drama-mongering and are scientifically illiterate, innumerate, etc.

          • Daz says:

            Nothing. It has to do with how you don’t belong in the movement.

            Oh I see. You’re a snob. It all makes sense now.

            Have you considered that you don’t need a PhD to be an atheist? Possibly you might consider that people without letters after their names might also be interested in civil rights.

            Sorry sir. Won’t bother you again sir. I know my place.

          • Ali Reza says:

            Daz, if it makes you feel any better, he also thinks a lot of other people are bad at math:

            And what I said is right.

            Only in the skeptical community can you rise to eminence for being able to summarize entry-level Wikipedia articles.

          • Daz says:

            when did I rise to eminence?

          • Ali Reza says:

            Sorry sir. Won’t bother you again sir. I know my place.

            This is the backlash you get for trying to rub everyone else’s noses in your stupid drama.

          • Za-zen says:

            I can’t and won’t answer for TF.

            But firstly your are operating under the premise that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Look at it kind of like arguing whether jesus wanted to take upskirts of mary magdelene or not (though when you think about it he’d have had to be there for quite a long time, so it would have had to be a consensual upskirt).

            But i’ll flip your argument. Just because you think there is an issue worth talking about (lets say jesus upskirt fetish and whether it was appropriate behaviour), why should the rest of us.

        • Ali Reza says:

          when did I rise to eminence?

          You didn’t, fortunately.

          I have other … individuals in mind.

        • Daz says:

          Ali, I write a blog, yes. I don’t claim it’s an ‘eminent’ blog. I don’t claim to be a Great Leader™ of the atheist movement. I write opinion pieces for the most part, some of which have attracted, I’m proud to say, a small amount of praise; but I don’t claim that it’s anything more than me shouting opinions at the world. It does, however, add minutely to a collective voice which proclaims that atheists—all atheists, not just those with doctorates—aren’t going to politely shut up and give religion the respect it thinks it deserves.

          I repeat: all atheists. Atheism is not a scientific matter, to be discussed only by scientists. It is a matter for all who are atheists, be they plumber, brain-surgeon or baggage handler. And as such, those who aren’t scientists have an equal right to a view on what social issues the atheist movement should be addressing.

          You, on the other hand, appear to have the idea that only those in certain careers or with certain letters after their names should have that voice. Tell me, why should I view you any differently than I view a religious person who wants me to shut up and keep my place like a good little working class sheep?

          • Ali Reza says:

            You, on the other hand, appear to have the idea that only those in certain careers or with certain letters after their names should have that voice.

            I don’t have those letters either. That’s not the point. The point is that the movement has way too many loud-mouthed bozos full of unwarranted certitude who think their petty drama deserves everyone’s full and undivided attention. You are one of them.

            Tell me, why should I view you any differently than I view a religious person who wants me to shut up and keep my place like a good little working class sheep?

            Ah yes, yet another person who came to atheism for political rather than epistemic reasons, then demands that Rationality™ and Logic™ fit those political views.

          • Daz says:

            Ah yes, yet another person who came to atheism for political rather than epistemic reasons, then demands that Rationality™ and Logic™ fit those political views.

            I was raised faithless. I came to active atheism because I saw injustice perpetrated by religion.

            What is irrational about women not wanting to be sexually harassed?

          • Ali Reza says:

            I was raised faithless. I came to active atheism because I saw injustice perpetrated by religion.

            So you came to active atheism for political rather than epistemic reasons. Figures.

            What is irrational about women not wanting to be sexually harassed?

            Nothing, given a certain utility function.

            What is irrational about trying to keep overblown drama out of the skeptical movement?

          • Daz says:

            So you came to active atheism for political rather than epistemic reasons. Figures.

            So you think it’s merely a philosophical debate; that the effect of religion on society is of secondary importance?

            What is irrational about trying to keep overblown drama out of the skeptical movement?

            And what gives you the magical right to decide for the rest of us what constitutes ‘overblown’?

          • Ali Reza says:

            So you think it’s merely a philosophical debate; that the effect of religion on society is of secondary importance?

            Yeah.

            In fact there are a good many things worse for society than religion.

            And what gives you the magical right to decide for the rest of us what constitutes ‘overblown’?

            Your future guilt in not having spent your time on substantially more important issues, perhaps.

          • Daz says:

            In fact there are a good many things worse for society than religion.

            Your future guilt in not having spent your time on substantially more important issues, perhaps.

            I’ll choose which societal ills I wish to address, thanks. ‘Fucking savage’ I may be (thank you for that), but I’m still allowed to express myself on whatever the hell I see fit. It’s called free speech.

            Maybe you’d like to address this objection to TF also? He’s quite famous within the movement, you know, for spending a large amount of time on those same issues. And, oh, didn’t you also claim to be part of the same movement?

          • Ali Reza says:

            Ahahahaha, you spend most of your time as a toady on blogs where free speech is reviled, at least in spirit, then come running to its defense all of a sudden.

            Maybe you’d like to address this objection to TF also? He’s quite famous within the movement, you know, for spending a large amount of time on those same issues.

            Yeah. thunderf00t exaggerates the dangers of religion. What did you expect from me?

          • Daz says:

            Ahahahaha, you spend most of your time as a toady on blogs where free speech is reviled, at least in spirit, then come running to its defense all of a sudden.

            Please point to these blogs, giving specific instances of free speech being curtailed. I ask because there are several multi-hundred comment threads which would appear to show that those with opposing views are being left very much free to express those views.

            While you’re at it, please point to the blogs I spend a lot of time on. And while you’re at that you could point to the instances of me “puffing up my chest about how great my knowledge is” in the comments of those blogs, which you alluded to earlier.

            Yeah. thunderf00t exaggerates the dangers of religion. What did you expect from me?

            Then why the fuck are you bothering to attempt to ‘correct’ the attitudes of those in a movement you care little about?

          • Notung says:

            I think Daz was very unfair to Thunderf00t, and I think Ali Reza is being very unfair to Daz.

            Daz’s initial comment was ridiculous, but he’s been quite rational in his replies to Ali Reza IMO.

          • Za-zen says:

            Yeah, but that’s the problem Daz’s original comment to TF is what passes for a substantial argument on the crazy blogs, and any attemp to challenge it warrants a ban hammer.

          • John Morales says:

            Yeah, but that’s the problem Daz’s original comment to TF is what passes for a substantial argument on the crazy blogs, and any attemp to challenge it warrants a ban hammer.

            So, does the fact that no ban-hammering has occurred imply no warrant has been met or that no warrant enforcement is in place?

            (Care to try to challenge Daz’s original comment?)

          • Daz says:

            Oddly enough, my initial comment wasn’t intended to be much more than the shot piece of snark that it probably comes across as.

            Insubstantial, though? I thought the substance was clearly, if pithily, stated:

            TF is, at base, saying that the particular issues he is interested in, are the only issues we should address. All else, to use a word he seems to like, is ‘trivial’?

            If by ‘these crazy blogs’ you mean all of FTB, I can think of at least one where my snark would have got me a warning. Comment policies are individual to each blog.

          • Daz says:

            (Care to try to challenge Daz’s original comment?)

            Link

          • Za-zen says:

            John [who without fail says] moreorless [nothing]
            My apologies that i did not qualify who the “crazy blogs” are, but quite obviously they are the ones that ban anyone who disagrees with the “wiminz r in chainz because of ze menz u r so evil coz u dont get it” tripe that passes for argument

          • Za-zen says:

            Daz. Just what is your argument, i didn’t see one in your first post.

          • Daz says:

            What part of “Let’s all concentrate on what Thunderfoot wants to concentrate on.” was ambiguous? See also my comment at #12 in this subthread.

            Or, to be very plain: If TF doesn’t agree that those problems are worthy of addressing, then all he has to do is not address them. He doesn’t get to tell everybody else, though, what they should be addressing.

          • Za-zen says:

            Damn missed the stack so this is also posted above.

            I can’t and won’t answer for TF.

            But firstly your are operating under the premise that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Look at it kind of like arguing whether jesus wanted to take upskirts of mary magdelene or not (though when you think about it he’d have had to be there for quite a long time, so it would have had to be a consensual upskirt).

            But i’ll flip your argument. Just because you think there is an issue worth talking about (lets say jesus upskirt fetish and whether it was appropriate behaviour), why should the rest of us.

          • Daz says:

            ["Damn missed the stack so this is also posted above."

            Yeah, I bloody hate nested comments on busy threads.]

            But i’ll flip your argument. Just because you think there is an issue worth talking about (lets say jesus upskirt fetish and whether it was appropriate behaviour), why should the rest of us.

            Who said you had to? There’s thousands of threads out there which aren’t talking about such issues. Some of them are even on the same blogs. Personally, if I see a post about something I don’t want to talk about, I don’t read it/talk about it.

            It would be good if more people addressed such issues, but you’re not being forced to.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        That is a low blow, as well as being irrelevant to one’s skeptical skills.
        One does not need to be a scientist to be a skeptic. Indeed, my 99 year-old photographer Aunt qualifies, with little math ability above advanced arithmetic.
        I, as a professional life-long mathematician, take mild umbrage at your dismissal of one who appears to be both educating ximself[1] and others in any subject is a worthy goal, especially given xer disclaimers of didactic quality.

        ____________
        [1] Ah, it is sad that one simply *has* to tread on fragile precious eggshells, it seems, when employing any gendered[2] adjective or pronoun to a commenter on FTB.
        [2] This is, of course, the common but entirely incorrect term for this distinction. It should be “sex-indicative”.
        “gendered” used to simply be an adjectival form of “Genre”, or category; devoid of male/female sex connotations, despite the impression that romance languages may promote.

        • Ali Reza says:

          That is a low blow

          That’s all these people understand. There’s no point in trying to conduct a principled debate with them.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            I’m judging that if one begins with that premise, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, exactly like those about whom you complain so bitterly.

        • Ali Reza says:

          I’m judging that if one begins with that premise

          No, I tried. And these people rewarded me by acting like the proverbial pigeon who shits on the chessboard then yells CHECKMATE!

          They’re fucking savages. Don’t forget that.

  57. A. R says:

    Should have stuck with creationists Thunderfoot. If this is anything like what is to come from this blog in the future, you have no place here on Freethought Blogs in my view. Perhaps the slimepit will take you.

    • KiwiInOz says:

      Yeah Thunderf00t. Apply the sceptical lens to other people’s beliefs, not ours. Ours are above question.

      • Brandi says:

        How is taking one of your friend’s opinion on something being skeptical?
        He’s not being skeptical, that is the problem.

        • Ali Reza says:

          I forgot that True™ Skepticism™ requires commitment to a certain political value system (presumably yours), rather than epistemic scruples.

        • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

          He’s not being skeptical, that is the problem.

          I’m very skeptical of that claim.
          Have you considered angling for the JREF $1m challenge for mind-reading?
          I would be prepared to stump-up for security guards, should you feel the need, as JREF is apparently a rapist’s paradise.
          BTW: This offer is serious.
          One only needs inspect my pedigree regarding wagers.

          • Justicar says:

            That’s hardly a bet that if lost would break the bank, MKG. Anyone on the internet here can afford to buy a Pez Dispenser* for the frightened to carry around so that they’ll be safe at TAM.

            *lucky rabbit’s foot would be just as useful. So would a shirt with a target painted on it. But some people just need that talisman to ward off the violence that never there happens.

      • A. R says:

        Perhaps he should re-examine his Islamophobia. Is that a rational position? (And don’t give me any bullshit about 9/11, every religion has fundies who do shit like that.)

        • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

          A. R says:

          …every religion has fundies who do shit like that.

          I trust that you can direct me to (even anecdotal) evidence that the Jainists indulge in such “shit”, as you so lucidly and politely express it?

          If you can not, are you willing to withdraw?

          (For I have, above, done the same in the face of a lack of evidence for my needlessly extreme claim.)

          • A. R says:

            Ah, very well, perhaps I was rather broad in my statement. In that case, I do hope you will permit me to revise to “most religions.” I believe you would find it hard to find many modern religions without violent fundamentalists however. Thus the assertion that Islam in some fashion stands alone in that field is patently ludicrous. (Oh, and I apologize for my rather coarse language; you see, I often find it best to speak on terms with those you are arguing against.)

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Spoken like a Gentle-person.
            Polite admission of fault is the very mark of a true Skeptic.

  58. John says:

    Thunderfoot

    Whilst I have sympathy for your point of view, I think your post is simply adding fuel to the fire.

    I have to agree with what you said at the start of your youtube video on this issue that you are being tactically dumb in raising this issue again.

    Whilst I agree with some of what you said, I don’t think a simple harassment policy is necessarily a bad thing. Your example of a night club is not a good analogy, women going to a night club know what sort of behaviour to expect from that sort of establishment and also the nightclub employs bouncers to evict people who’s behaviour is unacceptable. At least at the conventions I have been to, the hotel bars used by the conventioneers have not had bouncers on call and the attendees may not be used to the bar environment.

    Some simple rules, like these, taken from the code of conduct from a convention for polyamorous people surely would not go amiss:

    “No” means no: “Maybe” also means no. In fact, anything but “yes” means no.

    If someone asks you to leave them alone, please do so immediately. No one should be put under any pressure to join in with anything they don’t want to. This includes being touched in any way.

    Hugs and touches can be great, but not everybody wants them. A useful phrase is ‘Would you like a hug?’

    If you’re getting unwanted attention from someone, speak with one of the facilitators, and we will politely tell them to stop. We’re happy to do so even if you haven’t asked them to stop since that’s not always easy to do.

    • Rabidtreeweasel says:

      There’s also the strawman that sexual harassment=getting hit on. Some sexual advances are unwanted, and that is a form of sexual harassment. There is also being denigrated because of ones gender or orientation. There is emotional/physical abuse. His claim that he just doesn’t see harassment so it just doesn’t exist is a comment on the blinders he has on rather than the actual state of things. One look at this thread should be enough to show there’s a problem.
      Or would that be too anecdotal for TD?

      • Rabidtreeweasel says:

        *tf not TD

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        Some sexual advances are unwanted, and that is a form of sexual harassment.

        ONLY if repeated.
        If it constituted harassment from the get-go, we are expecting mind-reading skills that even Darren Brown does not possess in order to establish culpability!
        One strike and you are out?
        That might apply in the infant playground, but not with interactions between supposed independent adults.

        • Jon H says:

          “If it constituted harassment from the get-go, we are expecting mind-reading skills that even Darren Brown does not possess in order to establish culpability!
          One strike and you are out?”

          Or maybe attractive attendees could be given bracelets or hand-stamps on entry, and only attendees so bedecked would be allowed to hit on anyone.

          (Perhaps conferences should just adopt a “NO FATTIES” rule.)

  59. LeftSidePositive says:

    Thunderf00t–all I can say is that this is an incredibly disappointing post. Badly thought-out, dismissive, insensitive to the experiences of those not like you, and generally failing to be skeptical of our toxic cultural norms that make these dismissive attitudes possible. Really. An epic, epic fail.

    Since other people have already described in detail how epically this post has failed (but thanks, again, Thunderf00t, for telling me that my being harassed is trivial. Thank you for prioritizing the movement more than my safety. I really appreciate that!), so I won’t go into it more. However, since you seem to have some *major* knowledge deficits about what has already been said at length about this topic and can’t seem to conceptualize this from any viewpoint but your own, might I suggest you try talking to Crommunist and understanding from him how he learned about these issues? It might help to learn from someone who had a lot of your same blind spots before, and you could hopefully better appreciate how he came to recognize the importance of these issues.

  60. Brandi says:

    -If most people are asking for an anti-harassment policy, then what is the big deal? Those policies exist in so many places, it would be incredibly easy to create or find one that suits a convention. It would help to stop some of this madness, if people actually followed them. That would probably make more women comfortable and they would feel better about spending hundreds of dollars to attend and event.

    -I think *some* of you need to relax and realize it’s not about you. Unless you relish your ability to harass women without consequence, this should be a non-issue. When we speak of rapists or sexists, we aren’t talking about all men or even the majority of men. It’s a pretty small minority who acts like that, so why is the majority going on the defensive?
    I think if some people stood back and looked at it objectively, without feeling defensive, you might have a slightly different picture.

    • shockna says:

      Brandi:

      The defensive attitude is mostly a misunderstanding. It has to do with just how effective popular culture has been at branding feminism as an extreme or negative philosophy. This tends to color one’s perspective of feminists as a whole, and that pre-existing influence, combined with some of the more condescending and excessively sarcastic word choice that many feminists use, has the effect of making judgments appear much, much more sweeping than they really are.

  61. shockna says:

    Thunderf00t:

    I do tend to think that the prevalence of harassment is overblown (Due to bad experiences sticking out in ones mind more than good ones), but I must disagree with your assertion that having a policy is a bad thing. “Don’t be a dick” is plenty good enough to meet a harassment policy, to be sure, but having a codified means of dealing with specific instances of dickery is hardly a bad thing.

    Also, I don’t recall anyone arguing that it should extend to the bars outside of conventions; I can understand where you extrapolate that from, but it’s misguided. Most of the specific stories I’ve heard do deal specifically with events at the conferences themselves.

    I’m not going to paint you as a misogynistic demon like some of the more extreme people here are, but I would recommend reading a bit more before making a knee-jerk reaction as this appears to be (I’d like to say I would know; I had the same reaction when first seeing this conversation, before doing more reading on it).

  62. Matt says:

    The main argument here seems to be
    “If there are rules about conduct in general, and about people not being asshats, why do we need to make a new rule?”

    This is valid though. There are already rules about conduct, about not tolerating people making an ass of themselves and not harassing/harming other people. Sexual harassment is covered in that I should hope. I kinda doubt the ones keeping an eye on things are going “well, that woman being boxed into the corner isn’t being technically harmed yet, so we wont step in.”

    Unlike what a lot of posters are presenting, this really doesn’t seem dismissive of women’s plight here, so much as assuming a catch-all rule is more effective and less fear-inducing then specific rules about individual behaviors. And I got to agree.

    If you have a rule that says
    if you are a jerk or making things unpleasant for other people, you can be kicked at our discretion
    That leaves enough room to take care of any individual problem. It covers aggressive people complained about. It covers people looking like they are being predatorial. It covers bar fights.

    The more specific you make the rules concerning harassment, the more you take away from the openness of the first rule to be interpreted.

    I will grant teaching coordinators and the people in charge about harassment is a great idea. Never been against that and should hope they are trained about a number of things, that included. I will grant that aspects designed to keep everyone safe is smart. Such as no lighting things on fire, or more practically, having halls well lit with people occasionally monitoring them. I just don’t see reworking the rules with sexual harassment specifically in mind as that good idea when you have something in place that takes care of it and beyond. It wouldn’t make the people in charge any more effective in stopping it, and in some cases it might even tie their hands up when having to enforce things that are misunderstandings (such as leg chewing).

    Maybe it is just me, but it really seems just redundant in a lot of ways, kinda harmful in others and not fixing or changing much in the end.

    Those of you railing on tfoot on this as though he is dismissive of women’s problems in bars and at cons come off as either missing this point, or being intentionally disingenuous about the matter.

    • Rabidtreeweasel says:

      Except those codes of conduct haven’t solved the problem so demanding we rely on them and the good will of others (and also unicorns and fairy princesses who regulate good behavior with pixie dust) is actually very dismissive.

      The implementation of anti harassment policy doesn’t keep women away. It is in fact an encouraging trend which says, “Here at least you can report specific instances, know they’ll be reported, and look we care about your safety.” If they then adhere to these standards, and are open and honest about their reporting, more women are likely to attend in the future.

      The only negative is that this is bringing the raging, frothing boors to the surface. They don’t like these policies so they yell, they get touchy, and in their death keel they make it sound as ic their right to woo and bed women rests solely upon the privilege to call them cunt and grope their asses in public spaces.

      So I for one am glad we’re doing this. It’s the right thing to do, and the more they moan about how unfair it is they only get one prep instead of the whole box the easier it is to see them coming. The more they are shouted down, incidentally, the safer the women they are denigrating will start to feel.

      • Rabidtreeweasel says:

        Ahem one oreo, not one prep. F* this mobile.

      • Ali Reza says:

        Myself, I have a pretty low libido owing to medication and genetic factors. I can’t speak for others but I have no interest in harassing or for that matter even talking to most of the women I come across in life.

        I just don’t want my nose to be dragged into the self-important, sanctimonious three-ring drama circus wing of the skeptical movement.

        k?

        • Rabidtreeweasel says:

          Um. Okay. Then I guess don’t take part in the conversation if you don’t feel like taking part.
          But as long as you’re here;
          Sexual harassment isn’t only, or even mainly, using sexual acts to harass someone or coercement. It also pertains to harassing someone because of their sex through use of emotional or physical abuse.

          • Ali Reza says:

            But as long as you’re here;
            Sexual harassment isn’t only, or even mainly, using sexual acts to harass someone or coercement. It also pertains to harassing someone because of their sex through use of emotional or physical abuse.

            Then be aware that I go after self-obsessed dramamongers in an equal opportunity fashion.

      • Matt says:

        You’re being pretty disingenuous about why people are opposing this. Aside from painting them as boors upset they can’t bed women, you haven’t done much more. and I prefer the term “common decency” rather then “pixie dust” but I guess that merely means you think people are only held in check by whatever rules are implemented that expressly detail how to act?

        Now, someone has replied to a previous post of mine and actually made a far better explanation. It seems a lot of this proposed changes includes framework for handling complaints, having people expressly looking for it and people prepared to handle it. That is fine. I still think a catch all rule about behavior that is open to interpretation is the better way to go, especially if people monitoring things are using their own discretion to determine things in either case. As for reporting and keeping records of behavior, I can see the value of implementing that, and of reminding people it is there, but again I am of the mind a more open and inclusive description would be better.

        To put it another way, I do think there should be people there watching things to keep them from getting out of hand and there should be people who take and record reports on bad behavior. I think people should be encouraged to report things if they find them in need of change. I just think that can be done with far less specific rules. Don’t need to specify against sexual harassment when it falls under the tent of harassment in general. Which falls under the “don’t be a dick” rules already in place.

        Reporting, monitors, encouragement to report without worry of disbelief…these are all great, and I was assuming some were at least implemented already, if only to deal with fights, people making scenes, and yes, harassment of both sexual and non-sexual kinds. However; I still don’t see why specifics are needed when a more broad term covers more ground?

        Also, you said the current rules weren’t enough, and yet I am curious about how common sexual harassment is at TAM. Since no amount of rules will stop that fully, would the changes proposed already being in place have stopped it, I wonder?

    • sacha says:

      “The more specific you make the rules concerning harassment, the more you take away from the openness of the first rule to be interpreted. “

      just in case that sentence was invisible to some of you, I’ve posted it again. This is why I am against a “policy”

      “There are already rules about conduct, about not tolerating people making an ass of themselves and not harassing/harming other people. Sexual harassment is covered in that I should hope.”

      of course harassment is already covered.

      “I just don’t see reworking the rules with sexual harassment specifically in mind as that good idea when you have something in place that takes care of it and beyond. It wouldn’t make the people in charge any more effective in stopping it, and in some cases it might even tie their hands up when having to enforce things that are misunderstandings (such as leg chewing). “

      one’s view of harassment can be far different than another’s.

      No policy is needed, it will just breed more people being uncomfortable and much more unease across the board. If you feel harassed, call the police. What the fuck is so difficult? And don’t tell me that women are afraid to report someone harassing them. I don’t buy it. If you believe that, why would they be less afraid to report it to a conference organizer? Wouldn’t that be far more difficult?

      It is insulting to women to insinuate that they are unable to take care without a policy. When did feminists become victims? The lunatic fringe hijacked feminism a long time ago. Prior to that it was all about self empowerment. I can make my own decisions as to what is harassment and what is not. I don’t need the baboons to decide for me.
      I don’t need a nanny policy. I’m a grown woman.

      • Rabidtreeweasel says:

        It isn’t getting reported because the policies in place don’t account for reports being made. It is not always a police issue. It is a code of conduct, not a reiteration of the law. Having policies on the books to deal with specific problems doesn’t negate other rules. It also doesn’t reduce anyones ability to take care of themselves. If you don’t feel the need to report inappropriate behavior then don’t avail yourself of that resource.

        You don’t need it until you do. That’s why codes like the ones being proposed exist. They are contingency plans.

        • Matt says:

          If that is the case, why not just have the similar infrastructure proposed (people to report to, reports monitored, people keeping an eye on things), without the specification that it is about sexual harassment? Have the people who are taking the reports and monitoring aware of sexual harassment, as well as other forms of harassment and disruption as well. Have them trained how to deal with them all rather then specific people meant for one section of harassment (someone mentioned they have those with yellow arm-bands to differentiate who to talk with). Does that not cover the same results without an expression of “we have such a problem we needed to specifically include this as a subset of rules and management.”

          The first thing that comes to mind when I hear a country has a law against bestiality is simple. “Wow, it was such a problem they had to make a rule against it specifically?” I went ahead and asked my sister her take on this, given my lacking the proper equipment to have a suitable unbiased opinion, and she agreed that, yes, her initial thought was “how bad is it for women they need to add in an entire layer of protection specifically for this?”

          I can see plenty of reason to add a report system if there is not a functional one. I can see reason to make sure the people in charger know how to handle a variety of situations. The mentality here though, just seems like it is going about it for the wrong reasons. If there is a need for the new infrastructure to keep all people safe and secure, then argue it on that merit. Concentrating on it being a female problem alone and for defense of that gender we should implement these changes…

          I don’t know, maybe I just see the tying together of the two things as redundant, if the first proposition is such a wholesale improvement as many propose it is. Why does it need to specify sexual harassment and work around that as the core if a system to report any sort of disturbance or harassment would cover the same ground and not be as limited in scope? Why have a select team of people monitoring for sexual harassment when you can have everyone monitoring capable of covering all bases?

  63. Daz says:

    This is … erm … ‘interesting’. The accompanying video for TF’s You Tube audience:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPfX2tMoPic

    Starts off with a brief preamble, launches into a long “Dear Muslima…”, and finishes with a Catholic-esque “Everybody else does it”. And along the way manages to use variants of the word “trivial” three times in three minutes.

    Classy. Not.

  64. Notung says:

    It’s kinda obvious in many ways, a good argument stands on its merits, not on how many times you can call someone a misogynist, and if you had a worthwhile argument, why not just present it?

    Obvious yes, but I feel it needs to be there in bold letters right above ‘post a comment’ on every FTB article.

    Great first post Thunderf00t, and brave!

  65. The Devil's Towelboy says:

    Just a curious note – the absence of Myers, Benson, Zwwwan, Greta, Mac-Crate et al. from commentary here or in Justin Griffith’s “slimepit” post.

    Funny huh? None of them are ever comfortable commenting anywhere they can’t tamper with others’ comments, or rigidly blacklist what they have no intelligent response to.

    • echidna says:

      You think it would be better form for them to post dissenting comments here? I think not.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        That sums it up in a nutshell:
        “Better form”?
        Style over substance.
        Paint over rust.

      • The Devil's Towelboy says:

        echidna says:v June 25, 2012 at 9:47 am
        “You think it would be better form for them to post dissenting comments here? I think not.”

        Oh, I hardly look forward to their whining anywhere. But Myers and Benson in particular exhibit how ultimately hollow they are by hiding in their caves. Both stopped venturing from the safety of their FfTB IronCurtains not long after EG – they repeatedly displayed they lack both the wit and the intellect to be able to support their nonsense in environments they don’t have dictatorial control over. The embarrassment got too much real quick.

    • Daz says:

      The Devil’s Towelboy, you might have checked the time before posing this snark.

      • The Devil's Towelboy says:

        yes daz, the little hand is the one for the hour. NFI what your cleverness is supposed to imply, but I’m sure it’s awesome.

        • Daz says:

          That most of them, being US residents, are probably still in bed?

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            US exceptionalism & parochialism rears it’s ugly rear so soon?
            There are a few countries, even a democracy that is bigger than the mighty Republic of the United States of America, you do know?

          • Daz says:

            Michael, I was replying (from my home in the UK) to a comment about specific people who mostly live on a specific continent. I realise I should maybe have said “North America,” but my point still stands: the time-difference means that North Americans will likely be still in bed.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Daz, you have my most sincere apologies, take that for granted, as I do not often proffer such voluntary humility.
            (No smiley faces are needed. In fact I consider them to a partial insult to those with whom I am not familiar.)

            My contrition is made increasing manifest by my somewhat pugnacious attitude to others when it comes to these seemingly trivial “Western-Woes”.
            I now have arrived at the conclusion that your sole intent in posting that remark was both benign, and within hospital principles, (in the medieval sense).

            Once again: my apologies are warranted.

          • Daz says:

            Michael. No worries. We all make mistakes.

    • Bruce Gorton says:

      You might also want to check the slime pit post.

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2012/06/23/i-suppose-i-look-at-the-slimepit-differently/

      Ophelia is the eighth comment.

      Fucking bullshitter.

  66. Deen says:

    Thunderfoot, in your video you mention that you want the community to be united and focus on its priorities, and not get distracted by trivialities. The problem is, different people have different priorities. And that’s perfectly fine. If your priority isn’t sexual harassment in general or at atheist/skeptic conferences in general, and you want to focus on creationism or religious oppression, no problem, go right ahead. But you don’t get to tell other people that their priorities are mere trivialities, simply because they aren’t *your* priorities.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

      If your priority isn’t sexual harassment in general…

      Q: What the intercourse does this have to do with scammishy spoon-bending, psychic frauds, or Bigfoot? (Ala JREF in particular, the Skeptical movement in general, and rational logic in toto.)

      A: Nothing whatsoever at all. Not in any way shape nor form.

      But you don’t get to tell other people that their priorities are mere trivialities, simply because they aren’t *your* priorities.

      But you *do*, eh?

      The sheer hypocrisy coupled to logical fallacies that I see emanating from from so-called “Free-Thinkers” is truly jaw-droppingly stunning.

      • John Morales says:

        Q: What the intercourse does this have to do with scammishy spoon-bending, psychic frauds, or Bigfoot? (Ala JREF in particular, the Skeptical movement in general, and rational logic in toto.)

        A: Nothing whatsoever at all. Not in any way shape nor form.

        You exclude social justice issues from skeptical consideration, then.

        cf. So-Called “Litmus Tests”: Skepticism and Social Justice

        • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

          You exclude social justice issues from skeptical consideration, then.

          Another failed mind-reading attempt.
          No. I exclude social justice issues from dogmatic adherence.
          There *is* a difference, you surely know?

          • John Morales says:

            Well, then.

            Since you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration, you cannot properly claim “Nothing whatsoever at all. Not in any way shape nor form”, unless you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.

            Do you?

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            John Morales says: June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

            Well, then.
            Since you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration, you cannot properly claim “Nothing whatsoever at all. Not in any way shape nor form”, unless you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.
            Do you?

            I must be as thick as a brick, but I truly do not understand what question you are seemingly implying.
            I tried very hard to understand.
            I’m afraid that “Do you?” is not adequate for my tiny mind to comprehend.
            You should know that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and all that entails.
            I’m confident that you are conversant with this syndrome.
            Could you please rephrase your question such that it is “Aspie-friendly”?

          • John Morales says:

            I must be as thick as a brick, but I truly do not understand what question you are seemingly implying.
            I tried very hard to understand.
            I’m afraid that “Do you?” is not adequate for my tiny mind to comprehend.

            I’ve seen worse.

            Anyway, perhaps this helps: “Since you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration, you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration, unless you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.
            Do you?”

            (you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration) implies (you don’t exclude such from skeptical consideration) unless (you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue).

            The “Do you?” is an enquiry as to whether you do deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Morales:

            The “Do you?” is an enquiry as to whether you do deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.

            But this is till a statement, not a question.
            Could you please pose it as a context-free unambiguous question for me, please?
            I understand that to a neurotypical this may come across as pedantic nonsense, but from the point of view of one who has Asperger’s.
            Surely you know how to cogently respond to “Aspies”?
            You might have seen the TV series “Big Bang Theory”?
            Treat me as though I am the character “Sheldon”. (Not the actor playing Sheldon)
            Please place your enquiry as a clear question to which “Sheldon” might adequately respond.
            I am confident that you are ‘up to’ such a non-demanding task!

          • John Morales says:
            The “Do you?” is an enquiry as to whether you do deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue.

            But this is till a statement, not a question.
            Could you please pose it as a context-free unambiguous question for me, please?

            Do you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue?

            [1] I understand that to a neurotypical this may come across as pedantic nonsense, but from the point of view of one who has Asperger’s.
            [2] Surely you know how to cogently respond to “Aspies”?

            1. Why do you imagine I’m neurotypical?

            2. I’m not an essentialist; I understand the syndrome exhibits in different ways and to different degrees.

            You might have seen the TV series “Big Bang Theory”?

            Actors playing out what scriptwriter imagine are oddball geniuses?

            Nope.

            Treat me as though I am the character “Sheldon”. (Not the actor playing Sheldon)

            Your plea is in vain; I treat you like any other, and your comments are what I have to go by.

            Live with it.

            Please place your enquiry as a clear question to which “Sheldon” might adequately respond.

            I take it the character (not the actor) redundantly repeats requests, too?

            I am confident that you are ‘up to’ such a non-demanding task!

            Your subtlety at sarcasm is only exceeded by your despairing flailing at evasiveness, and to equal effect.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            John Morales asked of me:

            Do you deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue?

            Answer: No.

            I was offended by the remainder of his exceptionally toxic diatribe (that which was coherent to me at least), as being most offensive toward those with Asperger’s Syndrome specifically, and the mentally different in general.

            I am guessing that had I presented as female, or even gender indeterminate, John would not have been willing to pull such a low stunt and get away with such implied defamation based on involuntary characteristics without being hounded out by the horde.
            But that remains my guess.

            Others must judge.
            What say thee, Thunderf00t?

        • Notung says:

          John Morales-

          My opinion is that ‘we ought to have a harassment policy’ is yes, outside the purview of skepticism. It’s a normative or prescriptive claim. I happen to believe it, but I don’t claim that I get there ‘through skepticism’.

          Now – I see harassment policies at skeptic conferences as being a bit like harassment policies at video game (or whatever) conferences. As people, we want to have them, so that the conferences are a success, and people worried about harassment feel safer, etc. But it would be a mistake to think that ‘we ought to have a harassment policy’ is part of video game enjoyment.

          I see it as an issue of logistics, politics, or ethics – not of skepticism per se. That isn’t to say that there aren’t premises in the argument that skepticism might cover, but I doubt a skeptic will approach the question very differently from, say, a video game conference organiser who happens to believe in ghosts.

          • John Morales says:

            My opinion is that ‘we ought to have a harassment policy’ is yes, outside the purview of skepticism.

            Moreso than organising and running a conference?

            It’s a normative or prescriptive claim. I happen to believe it, but I don’t claim that I get there ‘through skepticism’.

            It’s not the belief, but its basis. If you don’t get there through skepticism, clearly you haven’t weighed the substantive pros and cons in the light of reality (the very definition of skepticism), and you should be skeptical of this purported belief.

            But it would be a mistake to think that ‘we ought to have a harassment policy’ is part of video game enjoyment.

            It would be, if anyone thought that.

            I see it as an issue of logistics, politics, or ethics – not of skepticism per se.

            Ahem: “skeptic conferences” aren’t “an issue of logistics, politics, or ethics – not of skepticism”?

          • Notung says:

            Moreso than organising and running a conference?

            Well, it’s part of conference organisation. The conference is about skepticism, but that’s the only connection, I think.

            It’s not the belief, but its basis. If you don’t get there through skepticism, clearly you haven’t weighed the substantive pros and cons in the light of reality (the very definition of skepticism), and you should be skeptical of this purported belief.

            I said this myself when I talked about a premise of the argument possibly being open to skeptical inquiry.

            It would be, if anyone thought that.

            I was just trying to illustrate that the fact that the conference is about skepticism doesn’t mean that prescriptive logistical considerations are necessarily skeptical issues. Perhaps you agree with that, then.

            Ahem: “skeptic conferences” aren’t “an issue of logistics, politics, or ethics – not of skepticism”?

            You left off the crucial ‘per se’, but yes, that’s what I wrote!

          • John Morales says:

            The conference is about skepticism, but that’s the only connection, I think.

            And such a policy is about running the conference, no?

            I said this myself when I talked about a premise of the argument possibly being open to skeptical inquiry.

            Either your belief has withstood the challenge of skeptical scrutiny, or it has not — and you claimed it has not.

            I was just trying to illustrate that the fact that the conference is about skepticism doesn’t mean that prescriptive logistical considerations are necessarily skeptical issues. Perhaps you agree with that, then.

            Back to the start then: The conference is about skepticism, prescriptive logistical considerations are about the conference.

            (If one has a conference, is it then not best to have a decent conference?)

            You left off the crucial ‘per se’, but yes, that’s what I wrote!

            And you write as if harassment policies at skeptic conferences were the sole issue relating to social justice.

            (Aren’t you at all skeptical of claims that the societal status quo is satisfactory in terms of equity for its members?

            Are you convinced no policy is better than a halfway decent policy?)

          • Notung says:

            John, you misread me I think. I said right at the beginning that we ought to have a harassment policy. I’m not arguing whether we should or should not have one (I believe we should), I’m arguing whether or not the prescriptive claim (that I believe) is part of skepticism. I don’t think it is, just as it isn’t part of video game enjoyment. I see it as an issue of conference organisation – and in my opinion good conference organisation involves having a harassment policy, especially if people have expressed that they would like there to be one.

          • John Morales says:

            John, you misread me I think. I said right at the beginning that we ought to have a harassment policy. I’m not arguing whether we should or should not have one (I believe we should), I’m arguing whether or not the prescriptive claim (that I believe) is part of skepticism.

            Fine, it’s needed by skeptics’ conferences but it’s not part of skepticism per se.

            (So, who are you disputing?)

            I see it as an issue of conference organisation – and in my opinion good conference organisation involves having a harassment policy, especially if people have expressed that they would like there to be one.

            Which is precisely what FTB bloggers have claimed. :)

          • Notung says:

            John – I clicked the wrong reply link. See my comment at #68 for my response.

          • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

            John Morales: “…If you don’t get there through skepticism, clearly you haven’t weighed the substantive pros and cons in the light of reality (the very definition of skepticism)…”

            It what alternate reality is that the definition of scepticism?

            You do not want to use skepticism to solve this:

            sceptic

            Pronunciation: /ˈskɛptɪk/
            ( archaic & North American skeptic)
            noun

            1a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions.

            Origin:

            late 16th century (in sceptic (sense 2 of the noun)): from French sceptique, or via Latin from Greek skeptikos, from skepsis ‘inquiry, doubt’

            http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/sceptic

            If we looked at misogyny and sexual harassment in the sceptic community through a sceptical lens, it would not be an issue because it would not be believed.
            Scepticism is all about evidence and proof.

            Since there is no proof (excluding perhaps hate mail sent to a vocal and well known skeptic or two. Outspoken people in the public eye get hate mail no matter what community they associate with)of any of the claims made in regards to TAM, the entire subject would be in the category of “dismissed as nonsense, until scientific evidence to the contrary presents itself”.

            One cannot view this issue through the lens of skepticism without being thought of as a misogynist. This is why it is not a sceptic issue, but a conference issue, with the same anecdotes to consider as any other conference.
            You cannot have it both ways. Either you believe there is widespread misogyny and sexual harassment of women at TAM regardless of the evidence, meaning you come to that conclusion without scepticism as the basis, or you use science and scepticism to determine the validity of these claims, and the only conclusion is that misogyny and sexual harassment of women at TAM does not exist.

          • John Morales says:
            John Morales: “…If you don’t get there through skepticism, clearly you haven’t weighed the substantive pros and cons in the light of reality (the very definition of skepticism)…”

            It what alternate reality is that the definition of scepticism?

            Dunno about alternate realities, but in this one, weighing the substantive pros and cons of some proposition in the light of reality before apportioning it due belief is the definition of scepticism.

            You cannot have it both ways. Either you believe there is widespread misogyny and sexual harassment of women at TAM regardless of the evidence, meaning you come to that conclusion without scepticism as the basis, or you use science and scepticism to determine the validity of these claims, and the only conclusion is that misogyny and sexual harassment of women at TAM does not exist.

            It’s not whether it’s either widespread or it is not widespread, it’s whether however much exists should be addressed.

            (What is the upper bound of what constitutes too few cases to merit as simple a thing as an anti-harassment policy?)

          • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

            John Morales: “It’s not whether it’s either widespread or it is not widespread, it’s whether however much exists should be addressed.

            (What is the upper bound of what constitutes too few cases to merit as simple a thing as an anti-harassment policy?)”

            I wonder if you might be interested in taking a class or two in reading comprehension. Perhaps you will then stop confusing it with reacting to something that isn’t there.

            You may want to go back and take notes while reading my comment, that may help.

            I never mentioned widespread or not widespread misogyny, nor did I mention anything about how much misogyny exists, or how to address that.

            All I commented on was using scepticism as a way to determine if misogyny at TAM exists at all.

          • John Morales says:

            I never mentioned widespread or not widespread misogyny

            Your comment is there for anyone to read, you know. :)

          • KiwiInOz says:

            Behold. A slimepitter agreeing that there should be an harassment policy. I’m expecting a split in the space-time continuum anytime now.

            One minute. I also agree that there should be an harassment policy at conferences, and I occasionally post little sallies at the slimepit. Expect rapid universal heat death in 10, 9, 8, …

            Actually, we needed a policy against drunk students throwing up in taxis, for the last conference I organised in Australia. That was a real and present danger.

        • John Morales says:

          Well, then.

          Since you don’t deny that sexual harassment is a social justice issue and you don’t exclude exclude social justice issues from skeptical consideration, you have contradicted your original claim that it has “Nothing whatsoever at all. Not in any way shape nor form” to do with skepticism any less than other issues skeptics consider, such as spoon-bending, psychic frauds, or Bigfoot.

          (In light of this, do you retract your original contention?)

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            Yes, I admit that you are technically correct, and I hereby withdraw my previous (technical) absolutist certitude.

      • Deen says:

        Please tell me where I told Thunderfoot what his priorities should be?

      • Who Knows? says:

        But you don’t get to tell other people that their priorities are mere trivialities, simply because they aren’t *your* priorities.

        But you *do*, eh?

        The sheer hypocrisy coupled to logical fallacies that I see emanating from from so-called “Free-Thinkers” is truly jaw-droppingly stunning.

        Actually, Michael Kingsford Gray, that’s not what the OP was saying at all. Even I, one just a notch above moron, could understand that.

        • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

          Well, I would have heartily thanked you for your explanation and clarification, but am unable, as I did not spot anything of the sort.
          Nay all I spotted was what I took to be a thinly veiled insult.
          Are you able to carefully explain it me in a subsequent post, please?

    • msironen says:

      If your priority isn’t sexual harassment in general or at atheist/skeptic conferences in general, and you want to focus on creationism or religious oppression, no problem, go right ahead.

      Either you haven’t been around these part much (at all), or you’re being rather disingenuous.

      The FreeThink Bureau has clearly announced that if in fact those aren’t your priorities you are, at the very least, complicit in trying to hide and marginalize The Problem and probably actively engaged in silencing and oppressing the valiant folk trying to expose and combat The Problem. Now then, what possible reason could you have for doing that? Well the only obvious one is that you have some vested interested in perpetuating The Problem, ie. you’re a harasser yourself.

      So not only is it NOT fine to have those priorities; not having them doesn’t ONLY mean you’re an enemy, it also a clear sign of a moral failure and possibly criminal activity.

      • John Morales says:
        If your priority isn’t sexual harassment in general or at atheist/skeptic conferences in general, and you want to focus on creationism or religious oppression, no problem, go right ahead.

        Either you haven’t been around these part much (at all), or you’re being rather disingenuous.

        The FreeThink Bureau has clearly announced that if in fact those aren’t your priorities you are, at the very least, complicit in trying to hide and marginalize The Problem and probably actively engaged in silencing and oppressing the valiant folk trying to expose and combat The Problem.

        <rolleyes>

        In what sense is “no problem, go right ahead” a clear announcement that “you are, at the very least, complicit in trying to hide and marginalize The Problem and probably actively engaged in silencing and oppressing the valiant folk trying to expose and combat The Problem.”?

        (Man, you are bad at spin!)

        • The Devil's Towelboy says:

          John Morales says: June 25, 2012 at 10:58 am (Man, you are bad at spin!)

          Not really – thought that was a well worded overview of the absurdity. I guess even baboons have a % population that are retarded by baboon standards. So you must be it huh? (Tip: If you can’t keep up with the smart kids, it’s probably best to say nothing at all.)

          • John Morales says:

            (Tip: If you can’t keep up with the smart kids, it’s probably best to say nothing at all.)

            It probably is. :)

      • Deen says:

        The FreeThink Bureau has clearly announced…

        Considering there isn’t such a thing as a “FreeThink Bureau”, I couldn’t care less what they “announced”. As to the gist of your argument, there is a big difference between asking people to acknowledge the existence of a problem, and asking them to make it their own personal priority to solve it, which as far as I can tell, nobody is doing.

  67. atav1st says:

    It is so deeply sad to see the skeptic community lacerate itself over such a non-topic.
    Yes, sexual harrassment is still a problem (even if you take a sensible definition of sexual harrassment, which excludes “politely asking women if they want to come to your room for a coffee” and the likes…)in our society, but I can hardly believe that it is more of a problem at TAM than at any other convention or place where many people meet. That is also why I don’t understand why it warrants so much more fearmongering than it does in any other place.

    • John Morales says:

      It is so deeply sad to see the skeptic community lacerate itself over such a non-topic.

      If it’s a non-topic, whence its ardor?

    • Deen says:

      but I can hardly believe that it is more of a problem at TAM than at any other convention or place where many people meet

      Surely you don’t think that “not worse than anywhere else” is the target we should set for ourselves?

      • BarfSimpson says:

        Deen says: June 25, 2012 at 11:30 am Surely you don’t think that “not worse than anywhere else” is the target we should set for ourselves?

        And this is where evidence or STFU comes in. It has yet to be shown that it is worse. All we have is poisonous rumour, anecdote, endless post facto embellishments from Watson, and Ophelia Benson emptying manure trucks on all of us with Nazi and KKK “parallel logic”.

        Of course to apply such a skeptical expectation is in itself harrassment

        What a toxic little closed loop feedback system. Welcome to freefromthoughtblogs.

        • L says:

          Try taking some reading comprehension classes. The point is that surely we’re not aiming for “average” (which is where we’re presumed to be) but excellence. Not that we are worse. To my knowledge, no one but clueless people such as yourself are assuming that’s what’s being argued.

          • BarfSimpson says:

            L says: June 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm Try taking some reading comprehension classes.

            oh, touche. “Welcome to freefromthoughtblogs”.

            The point is that surely we’re not aiming for “average” (which is where we’re presumed to be) but excellence. Not that we are worse. To my knowledge, no one but clueless people such as yourself are assuming that’s what’s being argued.

            And my point still stands – evidence or STFU

            The accusations are both sweeping and relentless. To date we have had nothing other than anonymous blog comment bombers and unpublished emails.

            And what of Ophelia Benson’s threats?

            After frothing up a psychodrama accusing everyone from JREF, to DJ Grothe, to ERV and then specific individuals, the threat was shown to not even be a threat – just a particularly idiotic FTB groupie; railway sleeper stupid even by bottom of the barrel baboon standards.

            Will there be an apology for this bogus hysteria exercise? Or a retraction? haha, jolly joke… The dung that has been flung has stuck – as originally intended. Situation normal, well has been poisoned. “Welcome to freefromthoughtblogs”.

            Evidence you twerp. Evidence. Or stop claiming to be skeptics or Freethinkers and just admit to what you actually are – a Mansonesque personality cult that will swallow whatever nonsense the alpha baboons feed you.

        • Matt Penfold says:

          The claim is not that it is worse in atheist/sceptic community but that it exists and is a problem.

          The idea is not that we should be no worse than average, but that we should be far far better. Indeed, that we should become a model in how to minimize the problem of sexism in the community. Unfortunately too many people, like yourself and the author here, not only do not share that aim but actively seek to undermine it.

          • BarfSimpson says:

            Matt Penfold says: June 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm Unfortunately too many people, like yourself and the author here, not only do not share that aim but actively seek to undermine it.

            Unfortunately, all that is being undermined here is the godless and skeptic community.

            This is nihilism – continuous smearing and disregard for any substantiating evidence, complemented by zero constructive input other than to hang Grothe or Jillete or whoever the latest lynch mob target is (now TF, going by some comments here).

            Who needs xtians to drag godlessness through the sewer when you have freefromthoughtblogs?

          • Matt Penfold says:

            Yeah, because not treating women like they are people too is just so good for the community.

            How is it good for any community to have half the intentional members treated like shit ?

          • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

            Matt Penfold: “Yeah, because not treating women like they are people too is just so good for the community.

            How is it good for any community to have half the intentional members treated like shit ?”

            That took a lot of straw. You now need to replenish your straw mountain before you feel the need to comment again.

            See – apparently misogyny is rampant!

            Comments like Matt’s above won’t deter new women from attending TAM, no, of course not.

            It is all the evil mens’ fault for their concern, nothing at all that the baboons say, nor any actions they take. You are a misogynist just for *thinking* that!

          • real horrorshow says:

            Matt Penfold says:
            June 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm

            How is it good for any community to have half the intentional members treated like shit ?

            So half of the intentional members – I’m guessing you mean the women of this planet – are being ‘treated like shit’?

            An exceptional claim. Of course, here on a sceptics website, you have come armed with the corresponding exceptional evidence. So, who is it, in the sceptic ‘community’ that is doing this?

            Three and a half billion women being ‘treated like shit’ must leave some trace. (And what busy boys those misogynists must be besides!)

            But that’s not what you intended was it? That wasn’t a statement of fact. It was just sound and fury signifying nothing.

  68. Notung says:

    (So, who are you disputing?)

    I thought you were saying something like that when you said:

    “You exclude social justice issues from skeptical consideration, then.”

    Perhaps I misunderstood your point – apologies if so.

    Which is precisely what FTB bloggers have claimed.

    Yes, I agree with them on that point.

  69. Tyrant of Skepsis says:

    Thunderf00t,

    I wasn’t familiar with your work so far, so this is my first impression. Congratulations for that nice crowd you have so effectively recruited from the slimepits of the internet with your “late to the conversation, uninformed, privileged, but let me explain to you nonetheless where you went wrong and how you should have talked about things all along, and better yet, have shut up”. I personally have seen enough, can’t stomach it no more, and am out of here again permanently.

  70. Thunderf00t, you just impressed the hell out of me. Excellent points about the differing social behaviour expectations in drinking establishments compared to other places.

    I was a bit worried when you moved your blog to this domain, but I see now that there was nothing to worry about. :)

    • John Morales says:

      Some are easily impressed.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        Mr. Morales:
        I note the employment of the passive tense.
        I also not that the passive tense is often employed for reasons of late plausible deniability, and also for charientism.
        John, do you have specific reason for employing the passive tense?
        Yes or No is the sole answer that I expect at this juncture.

    • Utakata says:

      You know when known trolls are impressed…this really isn’t a good sign for the blog.

      • real horrorshow says:

        But here, outside your privileged baboon comfort zone, you are the troll. Uncomfortable ain’t it?

      • I’m not a known troll. A troll participates just to get a rise out of people. I’m a known speaker of uncomfortable facts and questions. That’s not trolling. I participate to share my views, ask questions, and discuss (or debate) issues.

        But that’s all too complex for you to understand, I’m sure. That must be why you’ve grunted out such simpleton’s logic of ‘she likes TF = TF must be bad’.

        • Utakata says:

          Hey, you where certainly trying to give a rise out of Blag Hag when you posted there a few times. You can be all nice and all logical now, but your reputation proceeds you I’m afraid. Sorry.

          But hey also, I never did claim Tf00t was bad, just wrong here. Very wrong. Better people agree. But everyone has their blindspot though. Ask Chris Mooney and Abbie Smith. /shrug

          • Anything I’ve posted on Blag Hag, came with at least one point I was trying to convey. Perhaps you are not looking past the packaging. I’m not very polite, but my points stand on their own, whether made politely or not.

  71. Vijen says:

    Yo Thunderfoot! More power to your elbow.

    Life is an ineluctable dialectic. You create your own enemies!

  72. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says:

    Well, off to such a great start Tfoot.

    You have two choices here:

    You can read this link about privilege, and then wander over to this site to gain some of that education you claim to value so much about a topic you’re clearly ignorant on.

    Or,

    You can take this internet shovel and keep digging.

    Your choice.

    • JT says:

      Hey look, it’s false dichotomy guy. Welcome aboard!

    • Badger3k says:

      Or you can read these Bible quotes and learn why you are wrong. Same argument. Simply pointing to someone’s blog or website doesn’t mean anything, nor does it make it true. Why should anyone think that the feminism 101 website is the be-all and end-all of thinking on the subject?

      Is there some form of Pascal’s Wager with radfem sites? Is it better to be a radfem or be a misogynist?

  73. Bruce Gorton says:

    Because for some reason, this actually needs summarizing – here is the whole argument as I read it.

    Atheist conventions should have the same stock standard sexual harassment policies as every other public gathering, and people who will enforce them on the odd occasion that someone does something creepy.

    This is necessary because every now and then someone does something creepy, and creeped out people don’t enjoy conferences as much as non-creeped out people.

    This is somehow translated into: “The feminists are saying every guy going to an atheist convention is out to sexually harass the women because they think this will make their penises happy.”

    And thus we end up with a fight, where one side thinks people with scissors are going to come and snip their pee-pees off, and is thus doing their best to convince the other side that maybe someone should.

    Which means people who really don’t disagree all that much, end up digging trenches and communicating in mustard gas because *gasp* feminism, and a distorted idea of what is being argued about.

    This is a bit like how the whole elevatorgate thing blew up – Rebecca Watson calls something creepy behaviour that she would rather people didn’t do (btw: she didn’t even say it was sexual harassment) and that gets blown up into some sort of weird fatwa against people propositioning others in general.

    This is despite Rebecca Watson making it clear the issue was that the guy didn’t approach her in the correct setting, AKA the bar.

    And we end up with good skeptics on both sides of the fence viewing each other as creeps, when really the whole argument has nothing to do with the original issue.

    The pro-policy side isn’t anti sex or talking about policing behaviour outside the conference halls. It is all about how conferences can make things less hostile by dealing with that one guy who puts off ten women.

    Elevatorgate is a separate thing, and is more about basic good manners than anything else.

    The anti-policy side, isn’t pro harassment and really what its issue with all of this actually is, is kind of mystifying. I mean the arguments being put forward just don’t always quite line up to what they are responding to.

    I am not going to go into insults in comments threads being objectionable because frankly every argument that I used to use to defend Phyrangula on that is being used to defend ERV. I still see those arguments as valid.

    I know it sounds like treachery to say it, but the constant references to “The slimepit” are nothing more than shit-stirring.

    The whole thing looks more like an excuse to argue and throw each other under different respective busses at this point, than an actual controversy.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

      NO! Just NO!
      This whole vital to-and-fro is (when distilled) almost entirely about long-term honesty and integrity versus short-term parasitic power-games.
      Real Adults versus Infantile Tyrants.

      Infantile Tyrants who actively seek to wreck concord for their own short-term narcissistic and childish power-games, by wielding such offensive-infantile-make-believe-weapons as “magic words that must not be uttered”, and curses upon the and to mine dungeon be cast!
      Unbelievably immature.

      Yet, through the artifice of schoolyard bullying, they retain their slim grasp on power over their puerile acolytes, whilst we adults watch on, shaking our heads with dismay that these 40+ bodies have 13- minds encapsulated therein.

      I fear for anyone who cannot clearly discern their fraudulent and silly power-plays for what they are: a schoolyard sand-pit squabble over who gets to play “King of the Castle”.

      The pity is, for we adults, that these sociopathic baboons may never grow up and take responsibility for their actions.
      But at least it corrals them into an identifiable isolation tank.

      • Kaoru Negisa says:

        What power play? Are you completely bonkers? Some people want to control you for what? The pure pleasure of knowing you’re in control?

        When did you get the idea that your essential liberty was based solely on your ability to be an asshole to anyone you want without consequence? The big problem with this whole thing is that you guys seem to think that because it’s a rare occurrence, it doesn’t matter if it happens. Sexual harassment just isn’t a problem at all, even on the rare occasions you seem to acknowledge actually occur, because it “could be” innocent or flirting or OMG THEY’RE OPPRESSING ME.

        Lighten up. Not every attempt to get you to be less of a dick is an assault on your freedom. You can, in fact, be a dick as much as you like, even with a harassment policy in place. You just can’t get away with it as easily.

        • real horrorshow says:

          When did you get the idea that your essential liberty was based solely on your ability to be an asshole to anyone you want without consequence?

          When did you get the idea that anyone wanted that? No one has asked for that. No one wants that, outside of your fevered imagination. And you accuse others of having persecution mania!

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            Then there is a disconnect here, because sexual harassment policies do absolutely nothing other than prevent people from being assholes with no consequences. They do not force behavior police, they don’t prevent people from flirting, they don’t prevent people from trying to have sex.

            All a sexual harassment policy does is outline what sort of behavior constitutes harassment so that people don’t run screaming at everything, and inform people of what they should do/what will be done if they experience harassment. That is it. That is all. That is what’s being asked for here. Not a twelve page list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Not a “No Men Allowed” sign on certain rooms. Just a policy so that I know that if somebody is an asshole to me, I can go someplace, it’ll get written down, and that person will be informed that they were an asshole. If a lot of people say this person was an asshole to them, they’ll suffer some sort of consequences.

            So, to reiterate, a sexual harassment policy does absolutely nothing other than prevent people from being assholes without consequences (via the mechanism outlined above). If you’re against people being able to be assholes without consequences, then I would hope that you support a harassment policy. Up until this point I had thought that your opposition to such a policy had to mean that you support people being able to be assholes without consequences since, as I’ve mentioned, that’s all a harassment policy prevents, but I’m willing to admit that you may have misunderstood what was being asked for, and it might not have been communicated to you properly.

            So, does this make things clearer?

        • real horrorshow says:

          Kaoru Negisa says:
          June 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm
          I’m willing to admit that you may have misunderstood what was being asked for, and it might not have been communicated to you properly.

          You’re so cute when you’re being patronising. But it’s an improvement on the shrieking fit you began with so, let it slide.

          I, and lots of other people who disagree with the Peezus party-line, have no problem with people behaving decently. In fact that’s the point: Let’s have decent behaviour when we’re talking about decent behaviour.

          When people claim to be sceptics, then throw away all concept of reasoned argument or the need for evidence as soon as a pet issue crops up. When people respond to disagreement with a torrent of abuse. When people doctor comment threads and ban people so they can’t reply. Most of all, when people cynically manipulate an issue to inflate their egos & gain attention. Then I come out fighting, and – as you see – I’m not alone.

          • Kaoru Negisa says:

            I wasn’t being patronizing. I was being sincere, since you genuinely seem to be arguing against a system to prevent people from being able to get away with harassment. You then said that people were not making that argument, so I was clarifying the pro-policy position so that we’re on the same page.

            When people claim to be sceptics, then throw away all concept of reasoned argument or the need for evidence as soon as a pet issue crops up. When people respond to disagreement with a torrent of abuse. When people doctor comment threads and ban people so they can’t reply. Most of all, when people cynically manipulate an issue to inflate their egos & gain attention. Then I come out fighting, and – as you see – I’m not alone.

            Ok, you’re not alone, but what does this have to do with installing a sexual harassment policy at conventions that makes it clearer who to report to and has a system in place for how to handle it? What are you disagreeing with in this case? Are you saying that you’re against sexual harassment policies because people are mean to you on the internet? Or they ban you and your friends from comment threads? Or they don’t meet your qualifications of skepticism?

            If you have no problem with a system put in place so that people know who they can report sexual harassment to and what steps will be taken, then what are you arguing against here other than FtB? And if it’s the latter, why would you argue with them on something that you claim that you agree with? Because it’s on FtB?

        • real horrorshow says:

          Kaoru Negisa says:
          June 26, 2012 at 1:58 am
          I wasn’t being patronizing. I was being sincere

          When you tell someone that the only reason they can be disagreeing with you is that they don’t understand the issue. So you will, generously, explain it to them, that’s being patronising.

          since you genuinely seem to be arguing against a system to prevent people from being able to get away with harassment.

          No, what I was arguing against was

          When did you get the idea that your essential liberty was based solely on your ability to be an asshole to anyone you want without consequence?

          Because rant rather than debate is part of the problem, both with this specific issue and with FTB in general.

          Ok, you’re not alone, but what does this have to do with installing a sexual harassment policy at conventions

          Firstly, in spite of repeated requests, it has yet to be shown that there is a particular problem with sexual harassment at sceptic conferences. Some people on FTB, are keen to make it seem that there is a problem, because that gives them publicity and a chance to throw their weight around.

          Secondly, to the extent that sexual harassment does exist in society at large – and of course it does – it is not a sceptical issue. I mean this in two ways:

          One, because it is not an issue to which scepticism can be very usefully applied. Ethics and mores are not arrived at primarily by reasoning. There is no lab test for good manners.

          Two, because the attempts to make harassment a sceptical issue are part of a wider attempt by some attention-seeking egotists to hijack the sceptic ‘movement’ for their own purposes.

          Irrationality, ranting, censorship, the promotion of in-group/out-group attitudes. That’s what this is really about. People wanting to turn the sceptic ‘movement’ into their own personality cult where there is no useful discussion, only hit-counts, book sales and conference freebies.

      • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

        You monologue like a cartoon villain.

  74. [...] brings me to Thunderf00t’s post on the issue. Before I get into my analysis, I wanted to call attention to his rhetorical strategy here. [...]

  75. Denis Robert says:

    Oooh, a mature, reasoned argument about sexism and harassment at conferences; I’m not surprised you’re today’s cannon fodder, TF. Don’t you know you have to be either 100% behind Skepchick/PZ on this, or you’re automatically one of the MRAs?

    • Tyrant al-Kalām says:

      You wish it were that simple. I can dislike him just fine solely based on what he writes here, without first having to get the OK from those terrible feminist authorities (TM) you mention.

  76. Gregory in Seattle says:

    To summarize what seems to be Thunderf00t’s position: “I doesn’t happen to me, so it doesn’t matter.”

  77. Mike says:

    Hrm.
    1. Doesn’t reference or link to any of the months of blog entries on the topic directly
    2. Doesn’t actually address the real requests or concerns made by the other side in them

    some, although not all, examples:
    1. Reasserting the bald assumption that talk about sexual harassment is what drove away women.(this has not been demonstrated. It could just have just as easily been they didn’t enjoy the conference or maybe joined the JREF forum and got disgusted.)
    2. Claiming that having a harassment policy makes everyone think harassment must be a problem. (every professional environment I work in and event I go to has a harassment policy. Perhaps having one and then creating a many month discussion in which a number of female speakers decide to not go will give people the impression that harassment is a problem?)
    3. Claiming you have heard some talks by some people who make it sound like.. (which talks by what people? If they are any I’m aware of you could link to a youtube video and use some quotes to substantiate.)
    4. Using the borg collective to address a concern (well I know people without a penis who found X so that must be true for you too)

    I’m having a hard time understanding what motivated you to blog (your first real entry no less!) for pages on this topic so late in the game when you both claim not to care and so clearly have nothing new to add the conversation.

    • You forgot the part where he’s far better equipped to estimate how much harassment in going on than any woman who has experienced it, because he’s more rational.

  78. skeptifem says:

    This is one big “…and what is there to know about feminism anyway?” post, the exact same shit that is so annoying about creationists and other weird denialists. Feminists actually *study* things like sexual harassment and have relevant data on the subject.

    I’m never coming back here again. Part of skepticism is admitting when you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about, and this post is nothing but willfully ignorant ranting, paragraph after paragraph.

    • Za-zen says:

      “feminists study things…… Like sexual harassment”

      Is that like fortune tellers studying tea leaves?

      • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

        No it’s like sociologists studying sexual harassment. There are causal links and shit.

    • JT says:

      Aww, what a big loss. I’m all torn up about it. I know it’s a bit harder for you and the other Pharyngulites when you can’t hear the sound of your own voices echoing off the walls. It must be a bit disorienting for you here, what with all these strange opinions that aren’t even like your own. Poor, poor widdle baby.

    • Spence says:

      Another part of skepticism is allowing your own views and biases to be put under scrutiny. If you’re unwilling to do this by objectively exploring views that contradict your own, then you are not a skeptic by any reasonable definition of the word.

  79. msironen says:

    Oh what an epic takedown/response by PZ! Little did I know that Thunderfoot doesn’t actually realize that you need other people’s consent to do things to their bodies and on top of that won’t hear of a handbook either! What I didn’t catch is where exactly is Thunderfoot serving his assault/harassment sentences which by now must number in dozens?

    The Commentariat of course couldn’t wait to pass holy judgement. Many concerns were voices over the current and future level of blogs on FTB; the specters of no less than David Mabus and John Kwok were raised due to the inclusion of all manner of sexist dudebros like Chris Hallquist and Justin Griffith. The most dire conclusion of the hour is that Thunderfoot, with his misogynism now laid bare to the world, has proven the creationists right (the details are in the process of being filled in).

    The Ministry of FreeTruth will convene hearings on the matter in the coming days. In the meanwhile, continue reporting any and all misogynist trolls to the proper authorities.

    • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

      Is that how you interpret skeptical people chiding someone for not being skeptical enough in about practical ethical issues?

  80. jamessweet says:

    If I want to chew on some womans leg in a bar, I don’t want to have to consult the conference handbook to see if this classes as acceptable behavior!

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said again and again: I am forced to assume here that the people raising these objections have just never actually worked anywhere that had a strong anti-harassment policy. Because in practice, none of this shit is that big of a deal.

    Trust me, thunderf00t, if you chew someone’s leg, and you are not being a douche and making people feel needlessly uncomfortable, nobody is going to report you and it’s not going to be an issue. In the incredibly unlikely event that the person whose leg you are chewing on was just pretending to be cool with it so she could report you later in some kind of bizarre vindictive scenario, the worse that would happen is you’d be asked not to chew on that person’s leg.

    When harassment is not taking place, anti-harassment policies are just not that big of a deal. I have never seen it happen that somebody’s perfectly innocent fun is spoiled by an anti-harassment policy. It just doesn’t happen, because if everybody is truly having fun, nobody is going to report a problem. OTOH, if somebody is not having fun, is being made to feel deeply uncomfortable, it’s important for them to have some recourse.

    Make any sense???

    • Jon H says:

      “Trust me, thunderf00t, if you chew someone’s leg, and you are not being a douche and making people feel needlessly uncomfortable, nobody is going to report you and it’s not going to be an issue. ”

      What if someone else observes you chewing on the leg, leaps to the conclusion that the you are likely to chew on other women without consent, becomes uncomfortable, and reports you?

      The way people are going around casually tossing about accusations of “gaslighting” and other paranoia, I’m not sure something like this wouldn’t happen.

      • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

        The authorities would find the person who’s leg was being chewed on, and ask “were you okay with that?” and she would say “yeah, it was just a bit of fun.” And the authorities would take that note and consider the situation closed. What the fuck else would you think would happen?

  81. Garnetstar says:

    And I’m done.

    I won’t be back here again.

  82. Rainer says:

    @Thunderfoot: Do your own thing and get out of here.

    PZ Meyers and the rest are no different from christian freaks – at least when it concerns “sexual harassment”. Must be some american thing.

    • AllYourFailBelongToUS says:

      Please don’t use American as an insult. Just because our religious and our politicians are nuts does not mean we are all bug nutty. I am an American and I happen to agree with TF mostly on this issue. Americans just like Europeans or Africans are a diverse group of people and stereotypes are bad! (although often true :( ( )

      • Rainer says:

        I’ll give you that my perspective is filtered by media etc. I grew up in Pennsylvania (4-10 years) and it took me a pretty long time to identify fully as European. So I started with a very positive view of the USA. But …

        … the concentration of extreme positions in the USA as compared to Europe is frightening – especially on topics concerning sex. Europe just doesn’t get what it’s all about.

  83. AllYourFailBelongToUS says:

    ok Ok OK…I don’t like to argue about this issue because it offends so many people. But I feel compelled after reading many of the comments to add my voice to the din.
    Now before I’m eviscerated and held up as the anti Dawkins (pun intended). I feel the need to lay out a few things:
    1. I am a Man and there for have no idea how a Woman feels about anything.
    2. I am a Man that fact does not make me a misogynist. But I do recognize that there are differences between men and women. I think it is dangerous and damaging not to.
    3. I have never been to an atheist or secularist conference. But I have been to tons of IT/MIS/Tech related ones and they are 80% men 10% women who want to be there and 10% women who wish they were anywhere else on earth (personal subjective reality only no need to argue to strongly about this one).
    4. I could not care less who or what you are if you have harassed someone you are wrong!
    5. I hate when coworkers or even friends put a hand on my shoulder or hug me or any of that kind of stuff. I get very annoyed by it and yes I suck it up and except that social mammals do such things. But there is a line and kick the person who crosses it.
    6. Misogyny is wrong and Feminism is wrong we should all be humanists! (Release the hate mail kraken!)
    7. Harassment laws have been written with such vague language as to be meaningless (Please don’t hit me!).
    Now that I have established my line in the sand. Let’s move on to what I have to say on this. If you’re still reading I’m mildly impressed and I thank you for your time.
    I think that the basic complaint is not really about sexual harassment as I understand it but more about basic human rights. I think we are all discussing this in the wrong context. Shouldn’t the real discussion be about why we are not all treating each other with respect and kindness? Most of the examples of the bad behavior that people seem to have experienced were more or less broken down to

    1. Bar time fun that past the point of fun for someone.
    2. General unsocial and unacceptable behavior towards others.
    So in the case of the first one, GET OVER IT. When you combine people with alcohol you get bad behavior. That’s just how that works. When you then add to it a large number of men competing for a small number for women you are bound to have problems. I’m not sure that you can ever avoid this kind of thing happening at least at some level. That all said No it is not right or ok. But it is something that happens and we all know it does. The offending individual should have their behavior pointed out. No one should have to deal with these stupid problems but stupid problems are part of life. The best advice I have for anyone who is uncomfortable in a bar or bar type social situation is find some friends and use the herd to help protect you. If it rises above the level of the casual annoying and unwanted well we have laws for that.
    The second case is not as clear to me. Again we all should be looking out for one another and the golden rule always applies. But if you are running an even you do have some responsibilities to your guests. Just as if you were hosting a pool party you would tell the guy with the banana hammock to get some pants on. I would expect an event organizer to have a stated policy about conduct and I would expect us all to act like adults. But beyond that I think that we should all be self policing. The bad apples will be quickly identified and usually rejected.
    Now before the hate mail start. The arguments that I am making are assuming that most of the unwanted behavior is verbal in nature and that the physical contact does not rise to the level of assault of any kind.
    Anyway thats my opinion I welcome you to flame on about how I’m wrong (No thats not a gay joke). (Save the world kill political correctness)

    • JT says:

      You do know that PZ and his mob will try to burn you at the stake for this?

    • Antiochus Epiphanes says:

      I am a Man and there for have no idea how a Woman feels about anything.

      If you be quiet and listen, that thunderous noise you’ll hear is them trying to tell you.

      • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

        …But only if they are ‘the right ones’, chosen by the saintly fiat of PZ Myers.
        Apparently those who must not be listened to include: Abbie Smith, Stef McGraw, Paula Kirby, etc…
        Don’t listen to them!

    • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

      How is harassment language vaguely worded? If someone is being made uncomfortable or feels unsafe because of someone else’s actions then it’s harassment. It is up to the discretion of the victim. Unless you feel that making women feel uncomfortable or unsafe is some inalienable right that men have, a harassment policy should be no imposition.

      And don’t be so melodramatic, this is an internet discussion, no one is seriously going to hit you for saying something shitty. They’re going to say “that thing you said was shitty” and if that’s too much for you, maybe you should say fewer shitty things.

      • real horrorshow says:

        If someone is being made uncomfortable or feels unsafe because of someone else’s actions then it’s harassment. It is up to the discretion of the victim.

        So, if I say that you are making me ‘uncomfortable’ you are, therefore, guilty of harassment? That is a logical fallacy, and a bloody dangerous one!

        • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

          So you think the women at the conferences will just lie about being made uncomfortable by people?

        • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

          Also you seem to have no idea what logical fallacy means.

          • real horrorshow says:

            Khantron, the alien that only loves says:
            June 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm
            So you think the women at the conferences will just lie about being made uncomfortable by people?

            I did not specify women, but let it pass. Do you think that no-one will ever lie or exaggerate or mis-interpret?

            If you create a situation where accusation = guilt, then you have the Salem witch trials as your model. If that’s what you’re proposing, then organise your own conference and don’t invite me.

            Khantron, the alien that only loves says:
            June 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm
            Also you seem to have no idea what logical fallacy means.

            Actually I do. Your proposal is an example of both petitio principii in that you assume that which you wish to prove, i.e. the guilt of the accused, and onus probandi in that you shift the burden of proof onto the accused.

          • Kalliope says:

            Decent people don’t like making others uncomfortable. If they are informed that that is what they are doing, they will want to stop, even if they don’t understand why the other person is uncomfortable.

            Not caring about how you affect other people is generally regarded as a bad thing, regardless of the context.

          • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

            Yes, that is why except in the most egregious cases, the conference organizers will take note of the incident and instruct the person who committed the harassment to leave the person who felt harassed alone.

            Anti-harassment policies first priority isn’t about punishing harassers, it is about restoring the comfort of people made uncomfortable by the actions of others. And informing people that they have recourse in the event they are made uncomfortable or feel unsafe because of another person’s actions.

  84. KarlVonMox says:

    There are always wailing accusations that critics of the PZ/Benson/Watson show are employing strawmen by saying that they want to regulate peoples behavior at bars, or saying that they claim “hitting on”/demonstrating sexual interest is sexual harrassment….when this is exactly what they are doing.

    Consider the claim that “hitting on” a woman automatically relegates her some sort of subhuman status. The claim that showing interest in any way ONE TIME that happens to be unwanted is now to be condemned. The claim that thinking about women sexually and demonstrating this makes you a mysoginist (as is implied by PZs most recent thread). One only needs to take a stroll over to PZ’s threads to see clear examples of this being communicated – they don’t realize that they are advocating some sort of puritanical sexual repression that resembles something monotheists have.

  85. anonatheist says:

    Hey Thunderfoot, are you trying to get banned from ftb as quickly as possible? But anyway I think women deserve more credit than that. I don’t belief that many were actually scared away by blogposts about sexual harassment. And the ones that were are not a loose. The community is better off without them. We don’t need people sitting in the corner crying and whining about how evil the world is. We need people that are willing to stand up for their rights and fight for them – people like Jessica Ahlquist.

  86. At this point I don’t even need to read a post to know if it’s wrong, I just have to look through the comments to see who agrees with it and just how much praise they put upon it.

    I’m also noticing something interesting. Some of those people who agree with Thunderf00t are urging him to leave FTB. I guess it’s difficult to demonize FTB as “FfTB” and to call it an echo chamber when there is a range of opinions. They shouldn’t worry their precious little heads though, they can still use “Pharwrongula” and other such witticisms.

    • real horrorshow says:

      Tabby Lavalamp says:
      June 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm
      At this point I don’t even need to read a post to know if it’s wrong

      And we have a winner! Find me a riper and more juicy example of baboon-think than this. I challenge you.

      If you want a glaring example of why the influence of PZ Myers and his kind on the ‘sceptical community’ must be fought to the bitter end, here it is.

  87. jehk says:

    I am a Man and there for have no idea how a Woman feels about anything.

    Are you so incapable of empathizing with a women that you cannot understand how she feels or would feel about anything?

    • real horrorshow says:

      Doesn’t bode well for his life either!

      • real horrorshow says:

        Oopsie. Should have been sex life, of course. Though, the notion that being man makes you totally incapable of empathising with women bodes ill for life in general.

  88. CommanderTuvok says:

    Just a little bit of advice for PZ’s baboon bullies over here trolling and squeaking as per usual – you can fuck off.

    I know this is yet another direct hit to your delusion that you are the voice of this movement, yet we have sensible folk such as ThunderF00t willing and prepared to stand up to your illogical nonsense.

    Let’s hear it for ThunderF00t.

    BTW, if you nip over to Phawrongula, you will see the usual bullies and morons stating the same strawpeople, logical fallacies and delusions of grandeur. Fuck ‘em. Sensible and intelligent people laugh at them these days. The days of FfTB controlling FTB are over.

  89. CommanderTuvok says:

    They shouldn’t worry their precious little heads though, they can still use “Pharwrongula” and other such witticisms.

    Don’t worry, precious, we can still use “baboons”.

    I have no trouble differentiating the morons from the proper skeptics. Thanks for concern, though. Now fuck off back to PZ Barnum’s.

  90. Marnie says:

    So the premise of this is, sexual harassment is rare by your measure so we shouldn’t be talking about it.

    Well, public threats of death for drawing mohammed are pretty rare. People being offended by the 10 commandments in courts or nativity scenes on public grounds are rare. In fact, both were publicly displayed for decades without any issue being made. Atheists are a minority group who are often told they are making a big deal of nothing and that everyone else is happy with the way things are, even some atheists and so we should all just simmer down and not worry so much. And for many of us who don’t want government endorsing religion or who don’t think individuals should feel threatened for drawing mohammed, we do have other, more pressing issues as well, but that doesn’t make those issues irrelevant and if someone comes by and tells us we’re distracting people from more pressing problems like war or famine or global warming, we rightfully respond that we can be concerned with all of those matters simultaneously.

    But let’s be clear here, the issue you have is with people discussing cases of harassment and concerns about how harassment is handled, but what is driving the continued strife and the ongoing conversation is not a few people saying “this happened to me and it made me uncomfortable” it’s the people who come by and tell those individuals that they should be punched, raped, and killed. It’s the people who talk about what sluts the women talking are or how ugly and undeserving of harassment they are. It’s the people who think that a woman who expresses discomfort with certain higher risk situations, has somehow oppressed all men and is an irrational harpy that are a problem.

    This whole thing started because a woman made a passing comment about some inappropriate behavior. It is not the people against harassment that blew this out of proportion it’s the people who cannot even stomach to be told that their behavior might make others uncomfortable who blew this out of proportion.

  91. mouth mixture says:

    So the premise of this is, sexual harassment is rare by your measure so we shouldn’t be talking about it.

    No.

  92. This: https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/

    …should be required reading before posting on this subject. And, my friend, if you’ve already read it and still stand by your post, I really don’t know what else to say.

    It’s rare that we’re going to disagree, but this is definitely one of those times.

    • Masakari2012 says:

      That article supports a position which is sexist. There is virtually no differences between the genders except physical differences. Comparing dogs and lizards is not the same as comparing men and women who are both human. That article advocates a “shut up and don’t question us” mentality, and can be used by women making false claims to silence any opposition.

      Thunderf00t is right. And because Thunderf00t is well known, you get to call him your friend, but if it had been any other person on the internet, you would have called him an ignorant ass for having an opinion on this topic which is different from yours.

      • CommanderTuvok says:

        Yes, it’s amazing that Matt “facts don’t matter” Dillahunty issues a straw man as an argument.

        You can see the effect the Baboons have had on what used to be very sharp and rational minds.

        Sad to see, because I used to rate Matt highly.

      • M. A. Melby says:

        “There is virtually no differences between the genders except physical differences.”

        For the love of god.

        *open weeping*

        You know that joke that Stephen Colbert makes about “not seeing race”?

        Seriously people – the whole point here is that someone (anyone) sees things from their specific perspective. Defining someone else’s experiences FOR them is rude beyond reason.

        Pretending that stuff doesn’t matter – that none of us are a product of our culture – that if we don’t live it and see it that same as someone else than it doesn’t exist – is not the solution.

        Sexism and racism and classism exist – there are real differences as well as perceived difference between people and it affects on we react to others, how we perceive ourselves, and how we socially function.

        That fact that you probably wrote that with a straight face is exactly why some people are angry. It’s just painfully naive and completely dismissive of not just other people’s everyday experience but a great deal of academic work.

        • Masakari2012 says:

          Not when us people of “reason” present “reasonable” explanations that goes against someone else’s religious perspective. This sounds like dogma to me: allowing people to get away with their “perspectives” and accepting it as truth, because a group of people said so.

          The rest of your post is garbage which assumes that I hold a different position to sexism and racism, but to elaborate on perceived issues, some people have been known to wrongfully perceive issues as sexist or racist, usually the nuts who go too far on one end of the spectrum.

          • M. A. Melby says:

            This is a social issue about perspective. Perspective is not one’s own reality – it’s the context that you bring based on your experiences. We all have one.

            Acknowledging perspective is acknowledging that neither you nor the person you are discussing a topic with have the same experiences and therefor have different perspectives on a topic. A perspective is not a separate set of truths – it is the culmination of an enormous amount of evidence that is unique and many times non-transferable.

            So, if I say – this is my experience and this is how I feel about the subject – you do not say “you’re wrong” because you have no basis of judgment. That doesn’t mean I can say the moon is made out of cheese – just like you can’t say that the difference between women and men is only physical because evidence says otherwise. You aren’t allowed your own reality. However, you are allowed your own perspective without one being projected upon you – nobody should call you a liar for describing your observations, your emotions, or your personal experiences for no other reason than the person you are talking to would prefer to reject that information.

    • Johnathan says:

      That article is not particularly persuasive of any issue of consequence to what T-f00t was talking about.

      Interestingly, the article suggests that the reason little old ladies get pulled over by police less than young men is because of “privilege.” That’s a very poor example to use, since it may well be that little old ladies don’t get pulled over as much because that demographic doesn’t commit as many violations. That isn’t privilege.

      The article beats around the bush a little bit, twice telegraphing that it will tell us what we, the privileged ones, are expected to do because of our privilege. The article is a bit dishonest, because it says that all we’re supposed to do is “listen” to what the underpriviliged have to say. Then, however, the next paragraph suggests that we must obey, and not merely listen. When someone says that the title to our book ought not be called what we want to call it, we have to not only listen, but we have to obey them, and change the title.

      I also think the idea of privilege is oversimplified. Women aren’t necessarily underprivileged. White women are privileged because of their whiteness, right? Straight women because of their straightness? Gay white men who aren’t open about it are privileged, too, right? If everyone thinks they’re straight, then they get the benefit of the privilege?

      Anyway, the lizard/dog analogy is interesting, but beside the point. In the real world, the lizard has every ability to control her environment to make it acceptable to her. There is no reason for a woman, for example, to put up with unwanted overtures. All that she need do is say “I’m not interested, go away.” What we’re talking about in these instances, however, is a movement to make it improper even to make the overture or initial communication, without having first determined that it is welcomed.

      This is not a desire to compensate for someone else’s privilege. This is a demand for an outdated privilege, to be put on a pedestal.

      • Masakari2012 says:

        That article sounds like dogma, doesn’t it? It’s no wonder why this is the type of atmosphere Greta, Greg, Ophelia, Stephanie, and PZ have created, if this article is “required reading”.

    • Za-zen says:

      Matt that is horrible it is one long case of “i presuppose therefore ……” i guess its a fantastic article in the same way the bible is to christians, if you accept the bs to begin with it sure makes a whole lot of sense.

    • BarfSimpson says:

      Matt Dillahunty says: June 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      This: https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/

      …should be required reading before posting on this subject.

      Amusing. I have that article specifically bookmarked from ages ago. Very useful to use as an example when trying to explain “sophistry” to someone.

  93. Walton says:

    I hate to pile on, but this is a really awful post, Thunderf00t. I don’t think any of us men are entitled to decree, from our positions of privilege, that harassment is somehow not a real problem. When women are coming forward with actual experiences of having been harassed at conferences, this is pretty good evidence that a problem exists.

    And as for…

    If I want to chew on some womans leg in a bar, I don’t want to have to consult the conference handbook to see if this classes as acceptable behavior!

    That’s just bizarre.

    • Johnathan says:

      He didn’t say that sexual harassment wasn’t a problem.

      He said that it wasn’t as big a problem at atheist and skeptic events as the Skepchicks, et al, are making out to be. That’s not the same thing as saying harassment isn’t a problem.

      Moreover, what are the reports we’re getting? Elevators at 4am? Swingers handing out “Let’s Be Friends” cards? A drunk British guy getting too friendly?

      Seriously — those things are not a big deal, and if that means my privilege is showing, so be it. I would hate to be the quivering mass of nerves that found that nonsense to be so disturbing we have to upset the world to address it.

  94. jehk says:

    Blarg. Replies not working with my browser. Awkward.

  95. Damn it, replies don’t stack. That was to JT…

  96. PaulB says:

    Everyone who wrote something on this page, myself included, is an asshole. I’ve never before witnessed such a wretched hive of angry, rude, bitter, self-absorbed bastards.

    For what it’s worth, irrespective of the actual harrasment threat level, the percieved level is clearly enough to worry people. Would it really be such a terrrible imposition to have a defined framework in place so that unwanted attention can be dealt with appropriately and maturely, and that women (and men, to a probably lesser extent, but still) can feel safer at these events?

    • Johnathan says:

      No. They already had policies on the topic. There was no allegation that reported sexual harassment went unaddressed.

      What more is wanted or needed? (other than genuflecting, apologizing, and a litany of “there there, poor baby’s”)

      • real horrorshow says:

        PaulB says:
        June 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm
        Everyone who wrote something on this page, myself included, is an asshole.

        There such a thing as trying to be even-handed. And there’s this, which is just bloody silly. You may have been conditioned to believe that you must smash yourself in the bollocks – in pre-emptive penance – before opening your vile, privileged, male mouth, but it isn’t actually true. Just talk okay?

        I’ve never before witnessed such a wretched hive of angry, rude, bitter, self-absorbed bastards.

        Here, on FTB, you haven’t? That’s impressive in a bizarre sort of way.

  97. [...] “this,” I mean Thunderf00t’s first post at FreeThoughtBlogs: Now first let me say from a strategically point of view sexual harassment at conferences really is [...]

  98. MyLegMYCHOICE says:

    For those of you who cannot see (by looking the photo) that this is nothing more than HARMLESS FUN BETWEEN 2 CONSENTING ADULTS ==> I can assure you, with 100% CERTAINTY that:
    a) THIS WOMAN WAS ENJOYING HERSELF and
    b) this was nothing more than HARMLESS HORSEPLAY BETWEEN FRIENDS, and
    c) this non-event occurred IN A BAR
    d) *AFTER* THE CONFERENCE
    e) was COMPLETELY CONSENSUAL , and
    f) this same woman IS smart enough to know whether or not she’s having fun or not without anyone’s puritanical meddling, and
    e) I know that the “Tasty Leg” lady in the photo thinks that some of you do not understand the difference between harassment and FUN and need to bone up on the subject. (That’s called a joke, another form of harmless fun.)
    HOW DO I KNOW THIS WITH 100% CERTAINTY?
    ===> I am the woman in the photo and I had a BLAST that night!
    Yes, that’s my leg and YES, that’s me, smiling and laughing (which should have clues you in).
    So, lighten up on Thunderf00t. ALL of his attention that night was invited and thoroughly enjoyed.
    If you have a problem with two adults flirting then I neither accept nor respect your opinion regarding this.
    Also, it’s just plain none of your business. Meddle elsewhere. You are looking foolish in this!
    Sincerely, Laura J. Brown Linder.
    PS I’m on facebook as LauraJane FreedMinds InfoShare. I still have two intact legs.

    • Johnathan says:

      You are just brainwashed by the paternalistic system of ingrained privilege to the point where you don’t even know the difference. You don’t know that you were being harassed, because you, like the lizard in the “dog/lizard” article Mr. Dillahunty posted, you were raised — steeped, if you will – in a world of male privilege. You don’t know any different, so you think that harassment is “fun.”

      Thunderf00t, of course, took advantage of his male privilege to gain access to your defenseless, underprivileged leg. He took a bite, and a healthy bite he did take. Although unaware of it, you’ve been sexually harassed — nay! sexually assaulted!

      Being raised in the paternalistic, privileged world that oppresses you with its penises, you are unable to formulate any really notion of what you do and don’t enjoy. Your best bet is to email the Skepchicks, and they’ll tell you what is proper for you, an underprivileged woman, to enjoy and not to enjoy.

      • sacha - Gender Traitors International says:

        hahaha! well done, Johnathan.

        As I previously mentioned, A nanny policy is insulting. I’m a grown woman who can decide what is unwelcome behaviour and what is not. I also can take care of myself, and if I were to be harassed *anywhere*, I would go to the local authorities, not to a representative of a conference in charge of dealing with women playing the victim card.

        A policy should be up to the individual, not decided by the baboons, and bullied into being accepted by the JREF. Go to the police if you feel threatened, otherwise, stfu.

        • As I previously mentioned, A nanny policy is insulting. I’m a grown woman who can decide what is unwelcome behaviour and what is not. I also can take care of myself, and if I were to be harassed *anywhere*, I would go to the local authorities, not to a representative of a conference in charge of dealing with women playing the victim card.

          Really???

          So you don’t need a nanny, but if someone gets out of line, then forget working with the group of adults you evidently felt common cause enough with to visit their event – go straight to the governmental-sanctioned authorities for help and make a criminal case out of it!

          Nice. :D

          • BarfSimpson says:

            StealthBadger: Can you walk and chew gum at the same time too? When the Naked Emperor post the graphic of the logical fallacy wallchart, he really posted it so because it was a bingo card for you folks to work through. I guess it can even be seen as a FAQ for pharyngudrone acceptable posting practices.

  99. CommanderTuvok says:

    TF:

    I thought I made this idiot-proof, but let me try again.

    Never understimate the idiocy of the Free (From) Thought Blogs morons. The baboons over at Pharyngula are squawking as per usual. “But what about the poor wimmez” is the cry. “If you disagree with us you are a horrible, evil sexist, and probably a racist, too“. Meh.

    That’s essentially all they have got. They are pathetic losers, and I’m happy to see more and more people calling them out over their hypocrisy and double standards. It’s time to denounce the filth that is bullying and harrassing members of the atheist/skeptic communities.

    #Baboonbullies

  100. CommanderTuvok says:

    With regard to that photograph – I can think of one worse.

    It involves Queen Bee (Rebecca Watson), a man’s chest, and some graffiti. Ah, but it was just adult fun!

    That’s the thing – people do not want to be valued and seen as little children with no minds of their own – which is what PZ and his ilk want to enforce.

  101. MyLegMYCHOICE says:

    To the All-Too-Often Hyper-Politically-Correct-KillJoys:
    For those of you who cannot see (by looking the photo) that this is nothing more than
    HARMLESS FUN BETWEEN 2 CONSENTING ADULTS
    ==> I can assure you, with 100% CERTAINTY that:
    a) THIS WOMAN WAS ENJOYING HERSELF and
    b) this was nothing more than HARMLESS HORSEPLAY BETWEEN FRIENDS, and
    c) this (non-event) occurred IN A BAR
    d) *AFTER* THE CONFERENCE
    e) was COMPLETELY CONSENSUAL , and
    f) this same woman IS smart enough to know whether or not she’s having fun or not without anyone’s puritanical meddling, and
    e) I know that the “Tasty Leg” lady in the photo thinks that some of you do not understand the difference between harassment and FUN and need to bone up on the subject. (That’s called a joke, another form of harmless fun.)
    HOW DO I KNOW THIS WITH 100% CERTAINTY?
    ===> I am the woman in the photo and I had a BLAST that night!
    Yes, that’s my leg and YES, that’s me, smiling and laughing (which should have clues you in).
    So, lighten up on Thunderf00t. ALL of his attention that night was invited and thoroughly enjoyed.
    If you have a problem with two adults flirting then I neither accept nor respect your opinion regarding this.
    Also, it’s just plain none of your business. Meddle elsewhere. You are looking foolish in this!
    Sincerely, Laura J. Brown Linder.
    PS I’m on facebook as LauraJane FreedMinds InfoShare. I still have two intact legs.

    • MyLegMYCHOICE, granted I haven’t read every comment, but I don’t recall seeing anyone say anything about consensual activities. The look on your face is clearly one of someone enjoying yourself.
      Thunderf00t bringing it up in the first place is a pretty big strawman, and your post is just filling that strawman with hay.

  102. Utakata says:

    So the first thing Thunderfoot does is make a post catering to bigots and trolls, lol. I thought at least he was a bit above that…but apparently not. /sigh

    • mouth mixture says:

      So the first thing Thunderfoot does is make a post catering to bigots and trolls, lol. I thought at least he was a bit above that…but apparently not.

      Shouldn’t you be out there assigning female names to males like you did to Justin (or as you prefer call him, “Justine”)?

      You are a bigot and a troll. Oh, and a hipocrite too.

      • real horrorshow says:

        Ah, remember, Utakata only did that three times and then said it was (titter titter) a mistake. So that’s alright.

      • Utakata says:

        Hey, I am trying to brush up on my spelling! But you’ve got me on that one: I suck at names, lol! 3 times too…pretty embarrassing I’d say. I think I apologized for it as real horrorshow noted below. But scandalous indeed!

        …oh yeah, how do you spell tu quoque again?

  103. Question for you, Thunderf00t. Going back to a certain video of yours (A house divided against itself), does this post of yours fall under unnecessary criticism of other atheists, or are you here saying that the people who want a sexual harassment policy are the ones creating the division?

    An answer would be very helpful in understanding your position.

  104. Skepcheck says:

    Congratulations on a bold post Sir. I’m afraid your efforts to idiot-proof have been and will continue to be be in vain. On a more positive note PZ Barnum has got his knickers in a proper twist and the shrieking from the Pharyngulite herde over there is reaching fever-pitch. I know it’s rude to point and laugh, but just take a look. They are priceless.

  105. Marcus Ranum says:

    Well, you’ve established yourself lots of “room for improvement.”

  106. CommanderTuvok says:

    Utakata, Pteryxx, skeptifem, rorschach, Brownian, Josh, Official SpokesBrah, Daz, Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform, SC (Salty Current), OM, life is like a pitbull with lipstick, and all the other Pharungyula usual suspects…

    are seriously butthurt.

    Head over to the Pharyngula thread to catch their latest squeals and whelps.

    • Utakata says:

      Lol, don’t lump me in with those guys…I only post at Pharyngular once month or so. And Azkyroth and conscious razor don’t even like me. :(

  107. A Hermit says:

    !!!!Accurate assessment of a problem is the first step towards moving towards an appropriate solution!!!!

    And anyone who is actually listening to what folks like Zvan and Benson and Watson are actually saying, (ie that conferences like TAM are generally safe and positive, but that occasional incidents still occur) should be able to see that the proposed solution (ie cons like TAM should have a clear, public policy for reporting, recording and handling such incidents) is perfectly reasonable and not the END OF ALL FUN AS WE KNOW IT!

    I honestly don’t know what the fuss is about; here is a problem; it may not be the biggest problem in the world, but it is a problem. Here is simple solution. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps. Surely the rational thing to do is adopt the helpful solution instead of whinging endlessly on and on about the supposed need for some undetermined quantity of sufficiently robust forensic evidence (we need to see the DNA before we’ll believe there was a man in the elevator with Rebecca Watson!!!11!!1!!) before we need to take the “wimmemfolk’s” concerns seriously…

    • Justicar says:

      You are confused. Failing to take Rebecca Watson seriously doesn’t imply that women generally shouldn’t be taken seriously. You might have failed to notice, but Watson is not the aggregate of all women. If by requiring ‘DNA evidence’, you mean ‘being able to pick the guy out of a photograph of like upwards of eight people’ in response to the ‘always name names’ crowd, then yes, it’s DNA we want. Note, claiming that she could in the elevator recognize him from the bar and the conference forecloses (rather should if logic or even rationality for that matter means one jot to you) her later excuse that she’s not good with faces because of an extremely rare non-genetic brain defect that inhibits one’s abilities to recognize faces and consequently can’t be expected to identify the man.

      So, either she’s adequate enough to remember faces to give the EG story credence (thus making her claim about not being able to pick him out a picture for brain defect reasons highly dubious at best), or she’s sufficiently impaired by said brain defect that she can’t identify people by their faces thereby making the EG story highly suspect. Pick your poison.

      Here’s a helpful solution: instead of waiting for years to say ‘I knew it all along because it’s happened to me’, how about if people start reporting shit when it happens? Name names and all that. Otherwise, it’s a dick/bitch move to gripe and complain that everyone else in the world is just as cowardly as you are, and does exactly what you do: nothing.

      After legitimate, independently verifiable firsthand accounts are being dismissed for no reason, there’s room to complain about the staff not doing enough. Secondhand reports are meaningless. Running to the internet to do a video on youtube to whine that someone spoke to you without your consent is meaningless.

      If the problem is happening, and the policy isn’t being enforced when legit complaints are coming in, where in the world are all the people who are being thrown to the side?

      As for not controlling consenting behavior, some women have expressed being entirely comfortable in general with being asked out/in at bars, elevators, other geometrically oriented rooms. Indeed, some have said they’re even into that kind of thing. So, to make sure they’re able to enjoy that, naturally, no men may ask any women, ever, to their hotel room (for coffee, nightcap or sex) in an elevator.

      I don’t know, chief, I have no objections to being asked out (or in) in an elevator. Does it follow that no men may ever ask me because some whiny dipshits wouldn’t appreciate it?

      Perfectly consensual encounter that is to be prohibited by the ‘don’t do that’ crowd. Explain that away (consulting the baboon narrative department won’t help author a response on the merits; rather, the appropriate move to cry troll, misogynist, slimepit and insist on a ban).

      Go . . .

  108. jasonmartin99 says:

    So, consent only matters if the person is still around to complain about it?

  109. doubtthat says:

    1) Behave professionally at skeptical conferences.
    2) Conferences adopt clear sexual harassment policies and make those rules easily accessible.

    If that’s too much to handle, I don’t think the “movement” will miss you.

    JREF can either do that voluntarily, now–with little expense–or they can do it later, after a lawsuit. Their choice.

  110. Teresa says:

    I’m just really confused as to why people are so anrgy at the thought that a woman might be able to file a complaint with conference organizers if she is harrassed.

    How does a coherant policy detailing a process for taking, recording, and addressing complaints “take away your freedom?”

    Nothing that any feminist has ever said has made me feel like I should not go to an atheist/skeptic/freethought conference…but the RESPONSE to what some feminists have said pretty much convinces me that it’s not a good idea to go.

  111. Stue Never says:

    PZ’s “Dear Muslima” regarding MGM(i.e. trivializing something because something else is worse, which would be FGM).

    PZ writes:

    “However, FGM is a much more serious problem that causes great pain, destroys most of the capacity for sexual response, and is a tool used to control and oppress women. There is no comparison between FGM and circumcision, and it is annoying to see boys intruding on a thread about a serious political and social issue to insist that everyone look at their little boo-boo.

    Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.”

    I thought you folks were against that kind of trivialization, or is that only when it comes to feminist issues?

    • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

      That was in the context of people coming into a thread about FGM and derailing it with talk about MGM.

      • BarfSimpson says:

        Khantron, the alien that only loves says: June 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm That was in the context of people coming into a thread about FGM and derailing it with talk about MGM.

        Funny. “Context” – another one of those variables that only seem important “when it comes to feminist issues?”

      • Stue Never says:

        That was in the context of people coming into a thread about FGM and derailing it with talk about MGM.

        Then that context sounds even worse than PZ just being a hypocrite by having his own “Dear Muslima”.

        Are you saying he trivializes serious issues because of how “annoying” some of his commenters are when he otherwise wouldn’t?
        If some his commenters kept harping on and on about pro-gun laws or assisted-suicide, would he suddenly stop caring about those issues and trivialize them as well?

        I don’t know how anyone can be as reactionary and puerile as you are suggesting PZ is.

        • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

          All discussions of FGM being derailed by insistence that MGM be discussed. His response was, “stop derailing threads with something less damaging.” Then he made a thread for MGM where, he came out against it. He didn’t say that it was a non-issue, he said that it shouldn’t be used to distract from FGM.

          • Michael Kingsford Gray says:

            PZ wrote a post trivialising MGM childishly titled:
            For the boys with boo-boos

            Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial. [...]

  112. JT says:

    Parental consent is not enough for a circumcision but it’s more than ample for an abortion? Look, I’m pro-choice but I don’t think the insistence on consent is a good argument against circumcision—it leads to contradictions like this. A good argument against circumcision is that it’s harmful to most children with no benefits. Now, to be honest, I haven’t really looked into it, and so I’m willing to be persuaded by the science on this. Is there a consensus that male infant circumcision is harmful to children and that there are no benefits? Otherwise, there are dozens of instances where parents are required to give consent about what is done or not done to their children.

  113. Oddball says:

    What TF says:

    There are times when making rules against certain things, in this case harassment, make those things seem like a much bigger problem than they really are and we all are lessened by the results.

    What people hear:

    I hate women.

    • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

      I seem to hear, there shouldn’t be rules against harassment. That strikes me as problematic.

      • BarfSimpson says:

        Khantron, the alien that only loves says: June 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm I seem to hear, there shouldn’t be rules against harassment. That strikes me as problematic.

        See the comment upstream about “Myers’ Law” -

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/thunderf00t/2012/06/25/misogynist/#comment-276

        • Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

          There are times when making rules against certain things, in this case harassment, make those things seem like a much bigger problem than they really are and we all are lessened by the results.

          Making rules against harassment makes things seem like a bigger problem which lessens results.

          If you say that making a rule against harassment lessens results then doesn’t that mean that a rule against it shouldn’t be made? If I thought the results of a particular rule were a net negative I would be against it.

  114. Randy says:

    Tf00t, you are either brave or foolish.

    But thanks for standing up to the nonsense.

  115. Willow says:

    Rebecca not going and Ophelia shooting herself in her career foot, yep let’s keep that message they have (which is a good one) suppressed. I saw a religious site that I follow have a blog reply that was something like this “Look atheist conferences are dangerous for women. Two of their leaders can’t go.” They claim they are sending out invitations to Rebecca and Ophelia to attend their conferences (though not sadly to speak). The comment I read was “At least we keep our women safe. Atheists don’t understand God’s place for women. A woman is only safe when men know their God given role to protect them.” And so, score one for the religious. I hope they use their invitations (it takes place in Dallas ladies), and see what real “protection” is like. (there is a dress code, but it’s for your own safety I’m sure)Thanks for giving the “other side” some great ammo girls! “It’s unsafe for us.” That’s because you do not understand “God’s place” for you and men don’t understand how the little ladies need to be protected as they are just a talking rib.

  116. DaveDodo007 says:

    Fuck me ThunderfOOt you certainly like jumping in at the deep end:-)Hope you can swim. I’m glad you are Blogging though but as I have never attended any atheists conferences I can’t comment so I’ll give this one a miss. I look forward to some science posts in the future.

  117. Wtfbits says:

    My hypothesis (not a theory, so don’t ask for peer reviewed studies) is that this argument is simply a fight for status/power in the skeptic community. 

    Some observations:

    1) In this matter, there is a strong correlation (Yes, I know it doesn’t imply causation) between attractiveness of the women and the side that they are on. This is easy to verify if you compare Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Stephanie Zvan, Watson on one side and Abbie, Miranda C. H, Sara Mayhew, Paula Kirby on the other. This explains their prudishness as anything sexual in the environment is going reduce the amount of attention they get. It is the same subconscious instinct to suppress sex that you see in religion. 
    Notice how when Watson was younger & less unattractive (physically), she was happy to be a tool of the patriarchy objectifying herself. 

    2) There is also a strong correlation between status based on achievements  and the side in this fight. Dawkins, is of course a world famous scientist, Abbie is a woman who actually does science, Paula Kirby is published in the Washington Post, Coyne is also a well known scientist. As such, these people draw attention & status in the movement by virtue of their ideas and work. On the other side, you have…bloggers. Outside of the FTB community no one really knows much about them. Not only that, they have NO ORIGINAL ideas to share. All they do is pick greater minds & repackage the wisdom they extract. But it seems that they do not even understand what they are repackaging and selling. With no original ideas and not being as interesting as the people on the other side, they seek attention the way children do – falling down and crying even though they were not hurt, pretending to be stung by a bee and crying, accusing other kids of being mean etc. Classic examples are the elevator where nothing happened & the non-existent “threats”. It would be justified to say that the actors in these scenarios are perpetuating the unjust stereotype of women being drama queens. 

    3) And then you have the no-status bunch or losers whose subconscious strategy is to curry favor with what is the dominant ideology in their environment i.e. FTB. I refer, of course, to Lousy Canuck & Laden. A more pathetic or groveling attitude divorced from reality I have yet to see in the skeptic community. PZ is an interesting case. I’m not quite sure yet where & how he fits in. I suspect he’s a case of ideology over critical thought. 

    4) The level of narcissism and ego is inversely correlated. If you look at comments by the anti-Dawkins side you will find a whole lot of praise for each other (I call this giving each other blowjobs). You will also find a strong delusion that they are the courageous warriors & humanitarians fighting hard to make the world a better place. Note how they throw around words like “awesome”, “amazing”, “brilliant” when referring to each others’ blog posts. On the other hand if Dawkins refers to someone as being “brilliant”, you can be sure he is talking about a scientist who did a ground-breaking experiment. With FTB bloggers, you don’t know if the brilliant & amazing blogger has a new post about kittens or has some new word prefixed with the label Schroedinger. Reminds you of Chopra, doesn’t it?

    5) These are subconscious instincts not conspiracies. Since the anti -Dawkins side does not have much to contribute to actual science & skepticism, their push is towards feminism & social etiquette which is a subjective matter on which anyone can opine. Here they can claim expertise & authority & hence get status. Much like the clergy. 

  118. oolon says:

    Don’t leave FtB thunderf00t, I loved the post – so radically free of any concern on how PZ, RW would take it or if anyone would mark you as on the side of the ‘slimepit’. I might not agree with you but it was certainly an example of free thought and I have not laughed like that when reading a post at FtBs at the shear un-PCness of the views. Straight from your own experiences and not pandering to anyone – I’m bookmarking this blog!

  119. vaiyt says:

    Congratulations for putting the Thunderf00t in your mouth with your second post!

    The images alone made me cringe. “Shout bigot”? “Stay in the kitchen”? Really? Are you really Thunderf00t, or did they grab a random youtube commenter by mistake?

  120. This is hilarious.

    I really don’t know if TF00t has quite understood the tone of FtB. Not that I disagree with him, and it should make for interesting reading for once – a cat amongst the pigeons – but, boy, is he going to get shit for this.

    I made one small opinion piece about Ophelia Benson’s withdrawal from TAM, and my page-views go through the roof.

    TF00t? That emotional box you alluded to at the beginning of your post is going to be crushed to a bloody mess.

    Lol.

    Welcome to FtB. It’s nice to have someone shake it up a bit. Too many self-congratulatory sycophants here for my liking.

  121. doubtthat says:

    Fair enough. I was referring more specifically to the “PZ doesn’t let us talk about anything bad that happens to men” and relating whining. I, too, was just using the circumcision thing as an example.

    Bringing up men’s issues on threads dedicated to women’s issues (or in this case, pan-human issues that make sleaze bags self-conscious, or something) does a disservice both to the men’s issues and the topic under discussion. It’s just whining.

  122. danishd says:

    Welcome to FreeThoughtBlogs, ThunderFoot! (I’ve been a fan of your stuff on Youtube for a quite a while). And a great second post, bringing a bit of reality back to this “mountain out of a mole hill” topic currently popular. Hope you will feel at home here and that you, PZ and the FreeThoughtBlogs in general will prosper from the amazing traffic (you must have set a FreeThoughtBlogs record with “most comments to a second post ever”!). :)

  123. Heather says:

    Basically it’s not a big deal because you’re not the one getting harassed, right? Or maybe it’s not a big deal because you think that women being harassed is just normal and therefore we should have learned to deal with it by now. Lucky you’ve hidden yourself behind the unfalsifiable hypothesis that everyone who says misogynist is illogical and wrong! Now you can ignore all the arguments that disagree with you. Ignorant ass.

  124. Smhlle says:

    If TAM is about the same size from year to year, but had nearly 40% female registration last year, and only 18% female registration this year, then presumably many women who attended last year didn’t chose to attend this year. It seems likely that their decisions were more influenced by personal experience, and, of course financial and logistical factors, than by whatever they might have read on the internet, no matter how hot the thread was.

  125. Stevarious says:

    Should I be surprised that yet another discussion about harassment of women has been derailed into talking about circumcision?

    You know, as a man with a son, I have pretty strong feelings about circumcision. It’s an important and nuanced topic, worthy of discussion.

    That doesn’t change the fact that circumcision has FUCK-ALL to do with a discussion about harassment of women at conventions. And the fact that these discussions about harassment of women are constantly derailed – every fucking time – by menz who want to talk about their poor hacked-apart penises, or men who want to talk about their feelings, or men who want to talk about – well, anything else – makes it pretty fucking clear that not only do you not want to talk about or address issues related to the harassment of women, but that YOU DON’T WANT ANYONE ELSE TALKING ABOUT IT OR ADDRESSING IT EITHER – EVER.

    What would it be like if every single conversation about circumcision or child support disparity or discrimination in law enforcement was derailed into a conversation about women’s bodily functions? And not just every once in a while, or half of them. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    “Circumcision has no real health benefits, and it decreases sensitivity by 85%-” “Whoah whoah whoah, yeah, sure, penises got it rough – but what about women who are abused by their husbands?”
    “In Florida, 85% of men get their custody applications rejected without a hearing, even when-” “Hang on, tiger. Over 5,000 women in Florida were forced into prostitution last year because of the recession, and you want to talk about some piddling custody debates?”
    “Minority males are 85% more likely to be convicted of drug offenses for the same-” “Hold up. Isn’t the fact that you’re talking about it making it worse? You’re just giving the racists more ammo when you admit that minorities get more convictions. It’s better to just be quiet about it.”

    This simply doesn’t happen when people try to have conversations about issues that primarily affect men (well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the last one, as it’s perceived as more of a race issue than a gender issue).

    But every time someone tries to discuss issues that primarily affect women on the internet, somebody (who is nearly always male) shows up to talk about circumcision, or insist that the gender wage gap is fake, or whatever he needs to bring up to derail the conversation. EVERY. TIME. And why? His goal isn’t actually to raise awareness of these issues (though that might be his stated goal, even to himself). He just doesn’t want anybody talking about problems that predominantly affect women.
    How many hundreds of times is this pattern going to repeat? And how many times hundreds of times does this pattern have to repeat before you get your answer to ‘why are people so upset about harassment, it’s such a minor issue, it’s not worth getting this upset about is it?’

  126. M. A. Melby says:

    I didn’t realize this was ThunderfOOt’s blog when I started reading it – but found myself reading it in his voice in my head – and then when I saw his picture it was confirmed that it was him. The tone is very characteristic.

    This is a subject you probably shouldn’t have waded into – simply because you are projecting as a self-identified authority on the issue when you are not – at all.

    Also, please, if you are going to call out someone on saying something actually unfair and incendiary – just do it. Don’t be vague or you’re going to piss a lot of people off.

    Yeah, I know that everyone who has every said anything on the internet of substance ever has gotten threats from trolls. To assume that is ALL that is going on here is making a huge assumption and boarders on calling them (as a group) hysterical, naive and over-sensitive.

    This is also something you should not be vague about. You really don’t know what types of threats people have gotten. You also completely over-estimate the powers of law enforcement to deal with them. I have no idea if you understand the irony of telling people to deal with such thing “quietly”, with as little legalese as possible and then pointing them to law enforcement. *face palm*

    When the people that SHOULD have your back, know you, and are part of a group you identify with – if THEY do not treat it seriously and want you to be quite about it; how do you think law enforcement reacts? What do you think they can actually do? Do you even have the slightest clue what types of threats are legally actionable and which are not? Have you heard of the burden of proof?

    Look – I am sure you have gotten threats and perceived threats. Projecting your experiences on others – that I suspect you barely know if at all – is really uncool. Your experiences with that issue are fundamentally different than many others.

    You know, I don’t know much about the issue either. I have never attended TAM. I’ve attended other conventions and I know people who run conventions. I have a small clue here, but I don’t pretend to speak with authority on this specific issue with TAM and I don’t pretend to.

    I also know what it is like to be sexual harassed, deal with unwanted touching, and feeling incredible social pressure not to complain.

    Do you?

    In one instance, on an internet forum, someone threaten to kill my child and it was framed within a joke. The person who said it was banned from that little corner of the internet and it caused a huge stir. Even when the decision to ban him was NOT EVEN MINE, I was socially dog-piled, several people I thought were friends turned on me, and eventually I just left.

    So yeah, I know enough to realize that your post is part of the problem and not the solution. I suppose you think that anecdote is simply not evidence and that sort of thing is bizarre – fine. However, at least consider that it is a real fear.

    The woman you are biting the leg of – what do you think the social consequences would be if she said “no”? If she ruined everyone’s fun by simply telling you, “Don’t do that.” Well, I can think of a blogger that might be able to give you an idea of what MIGHT happen.

    An anti-harassment policy does not need to limit personal behavior in the ways you seem to think it will – it simply establishes the etiquette of consent. It also limits the liability of the organization if something goes wrong – not the other way around. Nobody is going to stop the orgy you have planned – no worries.

  127. Khantron, the alien that only loves says:

    Also it’s a diplomatic corvette, not cruisers.

  128. [...] know, videoblogger thunderf00t has recently joined the Freethought Blogs network — and has weighed in on the conversation about sexual harassment at conferences. Saying, essentially and among many [...]

  129. [...] don’t know whether to say thank you or fuck you to ThunderfOOt for the inspiration to finish the article when I got stuck right at this moment. [...]

  130. AndrewV69 says:

    @Michael Kingsford Gray says:

    I was offended by the remainder of his exceptionally toxic diatribe (that which was coherent to me at least), as being most offensive toward those with Asperger’s Syndrome specifically, and the mentally different in general.

    I am guessing that had I presented as female, or even gender indeterminate, John would not have been willing to pull such a low stunt and get away with such implied defamation based on involuntary characteristics without being hounded out by the horde.
    But that remains my guess.

    Others must judge.
    What say thee, Thunderf00t?

    It matters not, in vain you invoke Zeus for Apollo nor should you Thor, ere would Guanyin’s quality be strained, for John, bloody John, has slain them all.

    John Morales says:

    Your plea is in vain; I treat you like any other, and your comments are what I have to go by.

    Live with it.

    Oh! John du Foutre,

    I venture to praise Socrates, pity Thrasymachus and scorn Damocles, be that so noted, though the raven crow, nevermore.

  131. Matt says:

    Hey Thunderfoot, I don’t completely agree with your views on this matter but I do sympathise with them somewhat. I really don’t think ‘Freethought’blogs is the right place for you. To be successful here you need to abandon all individual and objective thinking and join the hivemind… start using terms like ‘mansplainin’, look on anyone who advocates men’s rights as a misogynist, and accept PZ Myers as He Who Must Not Be Criticised. Oh, and hate on Richard Dawkins for thinking the plight of mutilated Muslim women is more important than the plight of a twentysomething girl who was propositioned, said no, and nothing happened.

  132. M. A. Melby says:

    If I had time I would wade through this whole pile of crap and count how many times someone has blamed women for talking about their own issues and their own experiences – as if there is something wrong with that.

    How dare women bring this up? They make such a big issue of it all!! Nope – no responsibility on anyone else’s part at all. Nobody else is making a big issue of it, right?

    Oh yeah, and while your at it, criticize women for NOT making a big enough deal out of being harassed as well as criticizing them for making a big deal about it.

    Frickin’ priceless.

    Look for the umpteenth time – as a woman who has never gone to TAM – people discussing harassment at TAM and other conferences is not going to deter me from going. If I didn’t go to things because I knew I might be harassed, I wouldn’t go anywhere. What would deter me from going (besides money, child care responsibilities, time constraints) would be a general pervasive sexist dismissive attitude – which is something a great number of women in male dominated fields (like me) know extremely well.

    If you want to know why female registration is down for TAM, why don’t you ASK women to talk about their reasons instead of telling them to shut up about it?

    This isn’t rocket science. I suppose if it was, it would be more comfortable for everyone.

  133. Mark says:

    > “Look, I’m no libertarian, but I frankly find the idea that a conference should be dictating to me what I am and am not allowed to do in a bar outside the conference as approaching the “WTF is wrong with you???” line.”

    I see a lot of hate about libertarians on skeptic boards and blogs, and its seem as though this quote is implying that libertarianism endorses sexual harassment in some way. When I google “define: libertarian”, that’s not at all what I see. The way I’ve always seen it applied in general use is to mean, “belief in the right to act freely, as long as you’re not impinge on others’ rights to act freely.”

    Is there some sort of blog-specific variety of the word being used here in lingo?

  134. I see the comments thread here has gotten totally derailed and is no longer even talking about Thunderf00t’s article. But I like to stay on track, so I’ve blogged about this myself: On Sexual Harassment, where I do maintain a comments policy that requires relevance, among other things (so be advised). Spoiler: I find Thunderf00t is right about some things, and wrong about others.

  135. M. A. Melby says:

    This reminds me of when I was a camp councilor and some of the kids would stay up talking a bit right before they went to bed and sometimes someone would yell SHUT UP and then YOU SHUT UP and the ones telling the relatively quiet campers to SHUT UP would keep me up all night.

  136. george.w says:

    Good to get this out of the way in one of your first posts; I have enjoyed your videos about creationism for a long time. On sexual harassment issues, not so much.

    In my whole life I’ve never had to worry about being sexually assaulted. Women, on the other hand, always seem to be watching their backs and noticing the exits – all the time. Why do you suppose that is? I think it’s a clue; nobody expends that much effort, so consistently, unless there’s a reason. And it won’t hurt our precious manhood to listen and try to understand what it is.

  137. Greg Laden says:

    I really, really know what I’m talking about and you don’t. So, I’d like to enlighten you. Let me begin my argument by saying that the very words you use, indeed that fact that you ever use commonly accepted and defined terms, to make your point demonstrates to me that your argument is false. Now, for my next trick I will make a statement designed to devalue all of the effort you’ve put into making your arguments in such a way that has no substance but also is somewhat insulting to you, and while you are reacting to that I’ll throw in a long winded sentence about how you really need to stop being a whingy irrational biddy and just calm down because unless you have only the most stoic reaction to me just pushing your button just now, you can’t possibly understand my reasoned and rational argument.

    OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’ll give you a vacuous argument based mainly on my own experiences which are utterly irrelevant and expect you to believe it!

    Note: The above template is Trademarked. Do not use without permission.

  138. M. A. Melby says:

    It also reminds me of the 3 a.m. fights I used to have with my husband where we would forget what the fight was actually about, because it had long ago became a fight about how he was being a jerk.

    I mean, unless there is an actual provision of a harassment policy being discussed – this is a big bunch of nothing.

  139. Aerik says:

    Holy shit, Mason. There aren’t enough characters within the comment limits to describe all the things that is wrong with this.

    You are one super-privileged dudebro.

    I hope your ass gets kicked out of here promptly.

    • The Devil's Towelboy says:

      Aerik says: June 26, 2012 at 4:00 am “Holy shit, Mason. There aren’t enough characters within the comment limits to describe all the things that is wrong with this.”

      I believe the “I’m dismissing you as you deserve without needing to explain why” card is patented by Greta Christina. You should remove before you get a DMCA takedown notice.

  140. John D says:

    Well damn, Thunderf00t, you’ve unleashed a storm. I had a good long conversation over at Pharyngula about how I hate how this issue divides us and how I think people on the feminist side are often a bit too vitriolic in their criticism. I’m not saying they are wrong, but it’s a landmine many of us don’t want to step on because any disagreement warrants a full on barrage of insults. It hinders open discussion, IMO.

    This notion was generally not well received, as I expected, but after a while I got a few more level-headed posters who weren’t jerks when they responded, and I managed to get some better perspective on their issues with your post here, so I’d like to offer some constructive criticism.

    1. Having followed you for as long as I have I know the “Kitchen” poster was intended as a lighthearted joke on your part, but given how emotionally charged this issue is it probably should have been obvious that it wouldn’t be well received. Honestly I’ve made jokes like this around my mother before, meaning no harm, and she didn’t take it well. It’s not really a good way to start off a serious conversation about an issue of sexism. I think you should apologize, even if the offense was not intended.

    2. Of course many labeled you as a misogynist for this post. I don’t think that, but one person said this and I can at least understand where they are coming from:

    “If many many women find a particular issue to be important and then a man comes by and condesplains that the issue is in fact NOT important plus why can’t he hit on women, that is considering them inferior.”

    You may not think what you said was meant to be condescending, but I can see why it could be taken that way. You may not get why this is a bigger deal for many women than it is for you, but you should get that you don’t get it. Kind of like this:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/155500/stan-gets-it

    I think you need to respond to the criticism people are giving you over this, and you need to respond soon, but when you do make sure you think it out and word it really well.

  141. M. A. Melby says:

    And…the number one reason that I didn’t tell anyone in authority or speak publicly about the times I have been harassed with unwanted touching at an organized event:

    Because I knew that people would either blow it out of proportion or minimize it, they would take sides and create a polarizing social division, and regardless of how serious the incident was or how I personally handled it – I would be blamed for the reaction of everyone else.

    TaDa!

  142. A Hermit says:

    And Justicar comes back with a collection of distortions and non-sequiturs too long and diverse and ridiculous to be answered in a single comment.

    Your self serving remarks didn’t actually address the point I was making; whether because you are too stupid to understand it or too dishonest to acknowledge it or too lazy to bother making the effort I don’t know, and I don’t care, you’ve so completely missed the point it’s obvious that trying to explain it to you would be a waste of time and effort.

    Go read Richard Carrier’s excellent comment on the issue if you’re interested in learning something; he’s made the point much better than I could ever hope to.

  143. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says:

    @agesilaus #173:

    Except, where are those discussions? Where are the discussions about improving services for male abuse victims, given that women are as or more likely to initiate domestic violence than are men? Where are the discussions of the increasing decline in male academic performance? Where is the exasperation at the lack of male teachers in the elementary school ranks (geez, do you think this lack of role models has anything to do with the decline in male academic performance)? Where are the discussions of society’s treatment of men as expendable (it is a sobering thing to be required to register for the draft in order to get a college loan)?

    They are in quite a number of places, not least NSWATM? (No, Seriously. What about teh Menz?) PZ is under no obligation to post on anything that doesn’t interest him. The larger community of FtB including PZ does post on these issues, but clearly how to improve services to men survivors of intimate violence doesn’t catch their eyes as often as topics that are closer to their science-y/atheist/skeptical homes.

    But you know what I’ve noticed? Paul Krugman never talks about these issues either – what is with that guy? They gave him a Nobel prize and he never talks about men victims of domestic violence? How can that be?

    Discussions of gendered academic performance happen on FtB all the time. Where were you the last time it was brought up? And if you’re concerned about the lack of men teachers in elementary school, then you should be overjoyed at any discussions about busting down barriers built of gendered stereotyping and gender role inculcation. Those are also had frequently. Drop by and learn something. If you have an original thought, you can even teach others.

    But here’s a major-a$$ clue for you: When talking about breaking down barriers for women, we are simultaneously breaking down barriers for men. No one is saying women should be able to do masculine things but men shouldn’t be able to feminine things except for the people who seem to be agreeing with you.

    Maybe that should cause you to rethink which side of the action you are (and should be) on.

  144. karmakin says:

    People who are wondering “Why aren’t men’s issues talked about more?” need to learn some internet history. Things don’t happen in a vacuum, of course. The reality is that the “MRA” movement has salted that earth, much like I don’t expect any discussion of animal welfare to go well because of the actions of PETA.

    The reason for this is that “men’s issues” are often used as an INSTEAD argument and not as a AS WELL argument. Because of this, generally speaking these issues are seen as being disruptive. For what it’s worth I agree that generally speaking these issues ALL come down to restrictive gender roles, which are something that most feminists would like to pull back altogether, so ideally we should all be on the same page. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

  145. sw says:

    My opinion on this is somewhere between Thunderfoot’s and PZ’s, so it’s nice to have both on a single website!

  146. Spence says:

    I think an interesting point has been made in this post, which has largely been lost by both sides who quickly revert to polemical positions.

    Quite often political advocates with a narrow mindset will demand action, but fail to provide any meaningful cost/benefit analysis. A false dichotomy is created: this is a *serious* problem, therefore we *must* take this action. This line of reasoning is actually closely linked to Pascal’s wager. A certain course of action is demanded and any criticism of that action is rejected due to the seriousness of the problem. Yet in practice there are many possible courses of action, and each has a different cost / benefit associated with it; and “no action” may indeed be the most pragmatic way forward, even if the problem is serious. This needs to be properly assessed.

    I think I would express the cost / benefits differently (in particularly, time drain rather than legal costs are probably a bigger factor) but I think Thunderf00t’s first attempt is generally a fair assessment and I do not see anyone in the comments providing a convincing response to what is in the post. (Most angry responses in the comments are addressing the polemics of the debate, not Thunderf00t’s actual points).

    The biggest cost of this is probably the damage done to skepticism because groups want to impose their narrow political advocacy on to the movement, when such advocacy is value-driven rather than evidence-driven. It should be no surprise to a skeptic that different people have different views on value judgements, but there ya go.

    None of this matters though. The responses will be the usual polemics, lots of assertion without evidence (“check your privilege”, you don’t “get it”, etc. etc.)

  147. aestheticsbear says:

    Having liked TF’s videos on science for years, I’m left slightly stunned and very disappointed after reading this blog post.

    From beginning to end, it’s an incredibly patronizing piece. TF takes the complaints of others, and rather than present any argument against them, declares them invalid purely on the basis that his perspective supercedes theirs.

    If someone did this about science in a youtube video, TF would tear it to pieces. So why does he do it about social issues?

    I hope TF thinks this post through and clarifies his position without any future orbital bombardments from the USS Entitlement.

  148. deswaski says:

    I don;t know why Thunderf00t had to make a Youtube video and leave out the background and include rebecca watson. If you want to challenge the sexism from the irrational radfems here, do it here or make a new YouTube channel so you and whoever else can play in the slimepit together. Too many pseudo skeptics and rafems. No wonder the numbers are dropping at TAM. Get back to science or your fans will drop too.

  149. Thank you Thunderf00t for, as usual, being a clear voice of reason in the smogfest we live in.

    Well said, and as a woman I endorse your argument.

    Best wishes,

    Kitty

  150. Michael Kingsford Gray says:

    Trance Gemini says:

    Why are these figures not added to the rape statistics?

    I asked that very question above, but it garnered no coherent response.
    The male prison-rapes plus the male military rapes are never counted as ‘real’ rapes in the prevailing feminist party-line dogma.
    I think that we both know the reason for this shameful FRAUD.
    (Yes: fraud)

  151. Michael Kingsford Gray says:

    Argh! What a fuck-up of a comment system we have here!
    My reply to the latest comment appears mid-way through the list.
    Turning off nested comments in the middle of a post is perhaps not the wisest of moves.

  152. I apologize for spamming but I’d like to have the voice of the Freethinking Woman heard for a change, so here I go. (I’ll understand if you don’t post this):

    The Freethinking Woman

  153. pipenta says:

    I have often enjoyed your videos.

    But you are so wrong here, so far out of line, that it shocks me.

  154. codelette says:

    My first forays into these blogs were when lousycanuck wrote about Mallorie Nasrallah.
    He mentioned that she was a Syndrome of Stokholm sufferer just because she didn’t agree
    with the “liberal” feminists that cry sexism every 3 nanoseconds. They mess with me too much,
    as I used my “woman of color” fatality card. Lol! Good times, I love playing privilege Olympics.

    Regarding this topic, I have to quote a strong woman that once said: “I don’t blame men, because
    I don’t fear them.”

  155. Thank you!! Finally a voice of reason. This is exactly bang on, and if one disagrees with what thunderf00t has so correctly and rationally explained here, then they are looking for reasons to validate an irrational idea. Enough with the propaganda to put women off attending atheist events and conferences. These ridiculous claims are doing so much harm and do nothing to bring the community together. As a woman I am fed-up with these women who propagate the idea that these events are somehow rife with horny men looking only for one thing, and who are incapable of taking ‘no’ for an answer. Are we trying to help women, or scare them with these ridiculous assertions?

  156. ischemgeek says:

    And, for people who are not women: I only talk about women because they’re the subset most studied. I understand that trans* people are often victims of sexual harrassment as well, and I believe the problem for trans* people is likely to be even more prevalent than that for women, owing to the socially acceptable nature of bigotry against trans* people, but I admit I don’t have a link to stats for that, so I’m pulling it out my behind. If someone has stats that either confirm or prove false my hypothesis (since I’m about to eat and go to work, I don’t have time to look it up atm), I’d appreciate the opportunity to learn. :)

    For that matter, I understand that men can be sexually harrassed, too, and I’ve looked: what I’ve found seems to suggest that sexual harrassment of men accounts for about 16% of sexual harrassment complaints. If I assume that report ratios are about the same for men as for women (a big assumption here, but I think safer than assuming anything else), it means that between about 3-6% of men experience sexual harrassment on a daily basis.

    So men would benefit from sexual harrassment policies, too. It’s not exclusively a women and trans* people thing. When I said everyone benefits, I meant it.

  157. JT says:

    I don’t think we’re allowed to talk about bad things that happen to men. I think that’s a rule they made up over at Pharynglua.

  158. ischemgeek says:

    My OP is still in Moderation **** (not sure what gets picked up by the language filters), I think, but this was more an afterthought about it.

    Further, nobody I’ve spoken to says you’re not allowed to talk about bad things that happen to men. Just don’t expect a good reception if we’re talking about sexism against women and you come in trying to derail with “But men are victims of sexism too!!”

    Yes, we know. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

    An analogous situation would be if you’re talking about how athiests are discriminated against in society at large and a Christian says, “But Christians get stereotyped in unfavorable ways too!!”

    I think it’s safe to say the derail wouldn’t be appreciated.

  159. jehk says:

    No, you’re allowed. The time to bring up bad things that happen to men isn’t necessarily the same time we’re talking about bad things that happen to women.

    Way too many times I’ve read posts like: Bad happens to men too!

    The response is often: Ok. So? That’s not the issue being discussed at this moment in time.

  160. Kinda like how Myers would never have the nerve to attack Muslims like he does the easy Catholic targets?

    Or perhaps the rule is when the post is about something women, don’t make the comments all about the men? There is a reason that “But what about teh menz?!?” is a thing.

    I would bet you actual money that if Myers did a post about male circumcision (a horrible practice that should be ended), you wouldn’t see the comments fill up with women trying to change the subject to female genital mutilation. There might be some, but nowhere near the amount that happens when it’s the other way around.

  161. doubtthat says:

    As a man I find this type of wallowing in self-pity unbecoming. Grow a pair, as they say.

    Notice that solving problems more directly affecting women and trans-gendered folk does not preclude working on issues largely affecting men at other times–unless the issue is your ability to maintain an undeserved place of privilege.

  162. Just don’t expect a good reception if we’re talking about sexism against women and you come in trying to derail with “But men are victims of sexism too!!”

    There’s another even better way to address it: “a good sexual harassment policy is gender-neutral, first and foremost.”

  163. Johnathan says:

    Often, the conversations about sexism or sexist comments about women includes an allegation that women get it worse than men. If that door is opened, then it is certainly relevant to examine just how bad men get it.

  164. jasonmartin99 says:

    Male circumcision isn’t a horrible practice just because PZ says so. I’m a circumcised male and very happy to be so. Who the hell are you to tell me it’s wrong and should be banned? You need to listen to the menz, just listen.

  165. Myers does talk about Muslims. Go to his blog and do a search for Islam. There are plenty of articles.

  166. jasonmartin99 wrote…

    Male circumcision isn’t a horrible practice just because PZ says so. I’m a circumcised male and very happy to be so. Who the hell are you to tell me it’s wrong and should be banned? You need to listen to the menz, just listen.

    Oh, how cute. You’re trying to be sarcastic!

    Except that I came to the conclusion by listening to men, as I hadn’t really given it much thought before. Even beyond that and you’re honestly a circumcised man who is happy to be so, that’s great, but that’s an informed decision that you should be able to make for yourself and I would never try to talk a man (or even a boy old enough to understand what he’s doing) out of a circumcision. It’s different when that’s thrust on an infant who has no say in the matter.

    See how that worked? I listened to men before I came to a conclusion. I didn’t try to change the subject to female genital mutilation, and I didn’t bring up my own aesthetic preferences.

  167. taco says:

    but male circumsicion is horrible becouse you did not get a choice…

  168. jasonmartin99 says:

    No, you don’t get it, and talking to a small sample of a couple of your friends doesn’t change a thing. You need to stop talking and listen. Get out of your left-wing feminist circles a bit more and listen to men who haven’t been made to feel ashamed of their gender. See what those circumcised men are saying. Just listen.

  169. jasonmartin99 – if I try to start womansplaining to you why you are wrong in a subject concerning men, your sarcasm wouldn’t be just wild flailing.

  170. JT says:

    Saying that something which concerns men only (male circumcision) is a horrible practice and should be abolished is not womansplaning? Stop talking and listen. I am a circumcised male and I don’t like being told by a woman that What was done to a part of my anatomy is horrible and should be abolished. I strongly disagree, and who the hell are you to tell me I’m wrong? You need to listen.

  171. PaulB says:

    You are happy with what was done to your body – that’s great, but that in no way means that that happiness is universal, or that mutilating an infant’s anatomy for (mostly) aesthetic and historical reasons is a good idea. As an adult, do what you like to your body – it’s you modifying your body in whichever way you please – by all means. But don’t start doing it to people with no say in the matter.

    The same broad argument goes for FGM too. Adults can do what they like, but only to themselves (correction – they could get qualified professionals to help), when it comes to body modifications. Other people’s bodies – especially people who cannot have a say in the matter – are right out.

    By way of analogy – would you give your child a tattoo?

  172. Oh, hi JT. So you’re doing it now as well? As I explained before, I came to my conclusion by shutting up and listening to men, and I’m not telling them there is anything wrong with a grown man getting a circumcision. The issue is doing it to babies. If babies want to tell me there’s nothing wrong with it, I will shut up and listen.

  173. The issue is doing it to babies. If babies want to tell me there’s nothing wrong with it, I will shut up and listen.

    And in case JT doesn’t get it, babies in possession of a penis do not have to live with JT’s penis, and JT does not have to live with theirs. BTW, I’m totally on board with the idea of circumcision requiring informed consent, but that topic has nothing to do with sexual harassment.

    Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure that a sexual harassment policy that was given equal weight with other security policies (along with enforcement!) would go a long way. Also again, sexual harassment goes many ways – the couple trying to pressure a singleton into a tryst, same sex, opposite sex, shaming someone by appearance/dress, taking advantage of someone while drunk… just think of all the problems that could be addressed.

  174. JT says:

    I think I’d have been a lot more pissed off at my mother if she’d decided to abort me than for having cut off some of my foreskin. Either way, I wouldn’t have been asked for my consent.

  175. I think I’d have been a lot more pissed off at my mother if she’d decided to abort me than for having cut off some of my foreskin. Either way, I wouldn’t have been asked for my consent.

    Point of fact: you wouldn’t have been anything but dead had you been aborted. You most certainly wouldn’t have been angry.

  176. JT says:

    Oh, I see. So consent only matters if the person is still around to complain about it afterwards?

  177. doubtthat says:

    Well played, sir. The elegant web of your silvery rhetoric has trapped us all.

    For who could possibly be capable of distinguishing the rights of a child from those of a pre-sentient bundle of cells? Truly, you have won a glorious victory on the internets. Huzzah!

  178. JT says:

    I posted on this already but it got posted up above for some reason. Anyway, I’ll say it again. I think your insistence on consent leads to perfectly valid contradictions like the one I mentioned. By the way, I’m pro choice, but I dont think that th