Thursday, April 18, 2013

The FtBullies dogma

I know I’m not the first to ask this, but what constitutes an FtBully?  A Twitter user who shall remain stupid answered that question for me:

A dogmatic radical feminist clique claiming to represent atheism

Thanks, @Freshverbal, definition we can work with!  Providing we can pin down what that dogma actually says, where it’s written down and who actually says they subscribe to it. 

I asked about this, but sadly @Freshverbal didn’t answer. Fortunately, @OfeelyaBenson did answer. Here it is:

According to @OfeelyaBenson, if you’ve ever been accused of being an FtBully you adhere to these commandments, issued by PZ in poorly photoshopped form.

You know, I have my doubts. But my question remains: where can I find this supposed dogma and who are the members of the alleged clique who subscribe to it?

Or could it be possible that there is no dogma and that ‘FtBullies’ is a meaningless term, that there’s no conspiracy and that nobody is trying to force anyone to treat women as unquestionably superior to men?

I’ve been accused dozens of times of being an FtBully. If that’s a dogmatic definition I’d love to know what dogma it is that I subscribe to. I doubt anyone will enlighten me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to have a nargument. Yes, a nargument.

I had a nargument this morning. A nargument is an argument I had without even knowing it. Someone had an agenda, attributed to me views and affiliations I do not have and went right ahead and had the argument regardless of my responses. It was a thing of beauty. Check out my interactions on Twitter with @ofeelaBenson. That’s a nargument right there.

People like Ofeelyabenson (oh, it’s not offensive, it’s srsly a perfectly legitimate parody) think they know in advance how the argument will go. And when their targets deviate from the script by virtue of not being complete idiots, people like Ofeelyabenson  just go ahead and pretend the argument went as they imagined it would and that they won.

And then they start taunting you because they think they’ve won and they think that winning means it’s OK to be abusive.

It was a nargument, Ofeelyabenson. You were having an argument with yourself, not with me. And you know what? I still quite obviously won.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fantastic

Ophelia blogs about a scheme to convince everyone that abortion is wrong by giving little foetus dolls to high school students.

Many students pulled the dolls apart, tearing the heads off and using them as rubber balls or sticking them on pencil tops. Others threw dolls and doll parts at the “popcorn” ceilings so they became stuck. Dolls were used to plug toilets. Several students covered the dolls in hand sanitizer and lit them on fire. One or more male students removed the dolls’ heads, inverted the bodies to make them resemble penises, and hung them on the outside of their pants’ zippers.

Pure, gleeful brilliance.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

You’re not allowed to get your tits out because Western

Because we’re from the arbitrarily-defined West, we’re not allowed to tell people from the arbitrarily-defined not-West what to do.

That would seem reasonable if people weren’t doing horrible things to each other everywhere.

I think we get to decide that horrible treatment of people trumps culture every time.

You know what I’m talking about here, it’s this: http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/04/its-not-western/

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The unhappy plight of Felch Grogan/Franc Hoggle/Victor Ivanoff

groganFor no particular reason other than to document his accelerating plunge into madness. Posting a small portion of the hatred, insanity and insane hatred spewed by Ivanoff on Twitter seemed like a good idea last night. This is the kind of behaviour lots of people have to put up with all the time.  It’s water off my back, but I get very little of it and I can stop getting this kind of abuse any time I want. Many others are not so lucky.

In the cold light of day it seems rather sad. The man clearly has severe problems.  But I promised, so here goes.  I’m making no attempt to paste in my part of the conversation.  I’m not hiding what I said, you can look it up on Twitter if you want.  It’s just that I’m busy, it’s a hassle and doesn’t really add anything.  I wasn’t abusive toward him and didn’t deserve the abuse (I wonder what I’d have had to said to deserve it?) But don’t take my word for it, by all means look it up.

Some of these tweets are included because they are abusive, some because they make no sort of sense at all. Others, both.

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot listen you urinal licking toilet slave. Enough with the accusations. How about some evidence?@danielwaddell17@nataliereed84

Felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot I answered your question 4 times you fucking retard =>greylining.com/2011/06/27/par… #IAmRetarded

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot and you never answered mine. What's with "thee"? Subnenius / Psychick youth monkey-see-monkey-doer?

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot Here dingbat. It's a bit over the top. But sums up urinal licking toilet slavesis.gd/kQQOdc bet you have vegan beard

Felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot *whoosh* it goes way over your head. You poor petal. It's no fun playing with the slow kids @Eshto@ourdailytrain@justinvacula

Felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot You have no idea because you're a fucking urinal licking retard

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot Sexism is suspending skepticism because, y'know, they're chicks, they're pure and good and never lie #losers#toiletslaves

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot You drink kool-aid. If you were genuinely skeptical, you would seek evidence. You don't. You practice #faith and #belief

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot find one piece of evidence from the pudgy pink thing's page of hate that proves atheists are doing it. You won't #cults #snakeoil

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot it's what you drink - it's your communion with the holy yoni. You submit and grovel. And piss on all our communities

@latsot you have no interest in evidence. You drive the smears with blind faith. You are a #toiletslave

felch grogan @felch_grogan

@latsot bit.ly/10KQ1if"overwhelming evidence" according to Becky.You losers swallow it.Uncritically,unskeptically.You smear us all.

So there you go, What an unpleasant and crazy human being. This is only a small sample of nonsensical abuse. There’s lots, lots more on me being a toilet slave and licking urinals. I don’t know whether this is a particular theme of his or he reserves it for me. It’s hard to know which is more creepy.

It doesn’t bother me in the slightest but - as I said – I can turn it off anytime I like. This man is running around loose, preying on people who can’t.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Horribleness and bigotry

This is vile, even though nobody was hurt directly.

Camp Quest Oklahoma is a secular summer camp for kids which teaches them about science and humanist values such as fairness and tolerance.

Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ is a restaurant which did a deal to donate 10% of their customers’ bills one night to Camp Quest if they mentioned the organisation or brought in the promotional flier.  This flier:

z2g3Ulq

Note that the flier explicitly states what Camp Quest is about.  Oklahoma Joe’s knew perfectly well what they were supporting.  They were happy to take the promotion that came from this deal and the customers attracted to their restaurant because of it.

But at the very last moment they reneged on the deal and refused to give the money to Camp Quest, stating that the Christian values of the organisation were not compatible with the humanist ones of Camp Quest.  Look at the flier again: Oklahoma Joe’s – and, apparently, Christianity – is against the scientific education of children in a safe and fun environment.

Its Christian values did allow it to take their customers’ money, though. But not to give it to the charity as they’d promised. Of course, the restaurant claimed that the Camp Quest representatives didn’t fully disclose their beliefs (as though they had something to hide).  This is patently false, as the flier shows.  Camp Quest does not indoctrinate children with atheism and is perfectly open about its purpose and values.

Oklahoma Joe’s has review pages at Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Urban Spoon if you want to let potential customers know what kind of people run the place.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

NonStampCollector’s final shot across the bows

NonStampCollector is leaving FreeThoughtBlogs. He anticipates what various idiots are bound to say and explains that he wasn’t forced out for failing to groupthink or by any imaginary surveillance or censorship.  He’s very explicit about that. He says he has seen exactly none of the behaviour people routinely imagine to take place on the FtB backchannel. He says that the FtB management is exactly what it says it is and that he’s never been instructed to toe any line at all.

He also describes in detail the backlash he received when he joined FtB. He was accused of agreeing with the supposed groupthink, treated with childish pique and abused for things he didn’t say. His critics didn’t seem to care what he actually wrote on the subject of sexism (absolutely nothing, actually). They didn’t seem to care that Rebecca Watson is not connected with FtB in any way. They didn't seem to care that FACTS.

And this is what I consistently see from the anti-FtB/anti-feminism people. They suspend their critical faculties to enable them to agree with what they want to be true. As we know, this is the EXACT OPPOSITE of skepticism. And yet here we are, this is what lots of people who say they’re skeptics are doing.

NSC makes another good point. The people who criticise FtB because groupthink don’t seem to know who actually blogs there or what they say. They seem to think they don’t need that information because everyone knows that PZ controls what everyone says. Again, not skeptical.

I was pleased when NSC signed up with FtB because I thought we’d get even more brilliance out of him. It turned out that it wasn’t a good fit: he seems like someone who prefers to take his time and pick his battles, which is not a very bloggy thing. His videos clearly take a lot of time and effort and he doesn’t seem comfortable with publishing instant opinions.

Sounds fair enough to me. Hopefully anti-ftb people can for once exhibit some decorum and not shriek about groupthink and censorship. Of course, I’m quite wrong to hope that.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Well that’s a good point

Improbable Joe comments here on this post at B&W:

Looking back on when this all started, I remember a whole lot of people saying things along the lines of “I personally would NEVER harass anyone, or do any creepy things… but I absolutely reject the notion of someone telling me what I can and can’t do.

The this is the issue of harassment policies at conferences, which people like Thunderf00t found so objectionable. 

As Joe points out, with hindsight this attitude is even more bullshit than it seemed at the time because so many of the people said this sort of thing have done nothing but harass people and do creepy things since.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Compare and contrast

Here is Thunderf00t and PZ.  I know, I know, you don’t have time to watch both.

So pick 2 minutes at random from each talk and tell me what was said in each of those 2 minute blocks.  Don’t dress it up, don’t cherry pick, just tell me what each block says.

Thunderf00t: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=95LG9crl3yo

PZ: http://www.youtube.com/embed/nBDJZaOuuNY

and let’s see what message we get from each 2 minutes.

I’m gonna Greta you all the way up NSFW

First, there’s this. Greta supports Amina Tyler, who posted this picture:

amina

The writing translates as “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.As a result of posting this picture, Amina – with the collusion of the police – has been kidnapped by her family and locked away.  She’s been threatened with flogging and death and it’s been claimed that Tuscan society will implode because it might “give ideas to other women”.

Let’s hope it does. Let’s hope it gives other women the idea that they alone own their body.

Greta’s comment is powerful in its brevity:.

Greta in support of Amina

Our bodies are ours, even if we have the temerity to be women.

Second, Greta wonders what religion actually gives us.  She turns that question around and asks what I’ve long thought to be a more useful one: “what do people need?”

We know that everything religion provides can be got elsewhere.  A sense of community, a feeling of belonging, a sounding board for ideas, doubts and concerns, a structure that sometimes encourages people do good stuff.  None of this requires religion. 

Greta’s point is that the only thing religion uniquely brings to the party is insistence on belief in made-up things.

And third, read her book. Or give yourself an even bigger treat and get the audiobook. Greta reads it herself and it’s really good.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Special lady computer

This is not an April Fool’s joke. It’s a special tablet for women.

epad-femme

It has a nice pink background and great big icons that launch pre-loaded apps about yoga, weight loss, shopping and cooking. As if this wasn’t made-up sounding enough, it was heavily marketed as a Valentine’s Day present from men to women. Apparently it’s romantic to make it easier for women to keep themselves attractive for us males and on top of the housework.

I’m surprised it doesn’t have a proxy so the user can only look at approved sites. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Why do we allow the Burzynski fraud to continue?

Isn’t it weird that burzynski’s ‘clinic’ is still operating? That he’s still charging vulnerable people huge sums of money for supposed treatments that are plainly not supported by evidence?  That he’s still mumbling about trials that never happened, cures that never worked and theory that holds no realistic promise of cure?

I don’t know how he’s allowed to get away with it.  It’s not as though the criticism hasn’t been prolific and sustained. It’s not as though he isn’t bang to rights, caught red-handed in the act of committing and out-and-out fraud.  And yet he’s allowed to continue.

Exploiting vulnerable people is the most horrible of human traits but Burzynski literally has a license to do it.  What will it take to stop him?