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tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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46 Responses

  1. TomSims
    TomSims September 11, 2013 at 7:29 am |


    Very interesting subject. I’ve read a lot on line about rape and sexual harassment in the atheist movement. I wonder why that is? I wonder why there is an “Atheist Movement.” I wonder why so much on line is a movement of some kind. I like to think of myself as a free thinker, but there most likely is a “Free Thinkers ” movement out there somewhere. And speaking of movements, I now find it necessary to make a bowel movement. Thank you and have a nice day.

    1. XtinaS
      XtinaS September 11, 2013 at 10:51 am |

      …this must be spam.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune September 11, 2013 at 10:57 am |

      I’ve read a lot on line about rape and sexual harassment in the atheist movement. I wonder why that is?

      Because they have the vertebrae to talk about it as of late? Also, because like every other religious/anti-religious movement, its leaders spout misogyny like a neverending douchefountain?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune September 11, 2013 at 10:59 am |

        And hell, let me add not-remotely-related-to-anything-religious movements to that. Scum and smoke rise to the top.

    3. Donna L
      Donna L September 11, 2013 at 11:54 am |

      Tom, you told me way more than I ever needed or wanted to know about your activities.

      1. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan September 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

        I thought the comment was the bowel movement…

      2. TomSims
        TomSims September 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

        Well, I was possessed by the Ghost of Andy Rooney.

    4. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve September 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

      speaking of movements, I now find it necessary to make a bowel movement. Thank you and have a nice day.

      I pray that you will post soon after as most of your posts tend to be made when you are full of it.

  2. Ms. Kristen J.
    Ms. Kristen J. September 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

    Good grief. I had no idea of the level of harassment/sexual assault in the organized skeptic community. I had heard from someone years ago that it was not a safe place for women when I mentioned being curious about their conferences. The linked to suicide note was heartbreaking.

    What struck me as unintentionally ironic about Rape Apologist over in that thread is how someone who I presume is invested in the idea of reason and evidence so thoroughly fails to use either of those things when critiquing something he disagrees with.

    His long list of “questions” about the initial rape claim are easily answered by 101-level reading about how rapes are prosecuted – if at all, and the different ways in which individual people react to being raped – including potentially RTS. But instead of thinking carefully and rationally about the subject, he defaults into *she must be lying.* And in sharing with everyone his genius deduction that *she must be lying* wraps himself in the myth of his superior reasoning/knowledge as firmly as I have seen others wrap themselves in their religion.

    1. Kungfulola
      Kungfulola September 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm |

      This is why I don’t believe for a second that douchebaggery can be pinned on religiosity. It is within the capacity of all humans to be self-serving, intellectually lazy, and disingenuous. Religion just provides a more elaborate display case for these qualities.

      1. miga
        miga September 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |

        Agreed. Douchebag knows no color, creed, or continent. Douchebag is forever (cue bond song knock-off)

      2. DannyChameleon
        DannyChameleon September 14, 2013 at 8:31 am |

        This is why I don’t believe for a second that douchebaggery can be pinned on religiosity.

        I used to believe that. I think it is a very easy belief to fall into. If one is raised religious, it is especially easy to believe it is responsible for all of the ills of society.

    2. shfree
      shfree September 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm |

      Honestly, I can’t bring myself to look at all that shit, it is just too infuriating the last time I went. I think it is because so many of them are focused on debating every. last. thing., that all matters have to be divorced from emotion because pure reason IS superior, (and coincidentally men seem to get to determine what pure reason IS) that lived experience gets to be dismissed as trivial to the large, theoretical discussion. Because that is the most important thing, the large, theoretical discussion. Well, unless a man’s reputation is on the line, then screw the large theoretical debate, they must go over her account with a fucking fine toothed comb, because they must debate. every. last. thing. And gaaaaaaah.

      It reminds me of when I got into it with a classmate about logic vs. rhetoric in a philosophy class. I think it took him thirty seconds to hit Godwin.

      1. victoria
        victoria September 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm |

        …that all matters have to be divorced from emotion because pure reason IS superior, (and coincidentally men seem to get to determine what pure reason IS) that lived experience gets to be dismissed as trivial to the large, theoretical discussion.

        Funny how reason and logic are held to be superior over emotion and intuition, and also happen to be socially coded as “masculine” traits.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L September 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

          Yeah, well, when a lot of men claim that men aren’t emotional, they seem to forget that anger is an emotion too.

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen September 12, 2013 at 11:16 am |

          Bingo. This is why I am slightly skeptical of the claim made above that atheism/the atheist movement is never ever causative of sexism. Because when an implicit or seeming foundational principle* of a movement riddled with sexism just so happens to perfectly mirror an already-existent sexist social hierarchy that privileges A over B because A is deemed masculine and B feminine? I doubt you can so easily separate that from the dynamics of the movement itself. (It also treads a bit close to the No True Scotsman line for my comfort.)

          *(The principle in question being, roughly, not that rationality and logic are good or necessary, but that they are definitively better than anything irr-/non-rational, illogical, emotional, lived experience, etc.)

        3. EG
          EG September 12, 2013 at 11:47 am |

          atheism/the atheist movement

          The principles you cite may be foundational to the current atheist movement as it constructs itself, but no, they are not foundational to atheism. The only principle of atheism is not believing in any gods.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune September 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

          Yeah, there’s a difference between atheism and the atheist movement, and the difference is the happy support of isms vs EG’s single principle. It’s also 99% of why Val, a lifelong atheist, breaks out in hives of contact embarrassment whenever anyone mentions movement atheism around her, and she’s not the only atheist I know who does that by a long shot.

        5. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen September 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

          Er, I get that. I worded my post badly – I should have written out ‘atheism as constructed by the current movement’ – because I do see, in the way it gets informally defined there, a strong dose of “there is no god and belief in god is irrational and the irrational is totally bad! And if you’re an atheist you have to agree with this because it’s Logic!” Or in other words what I see being called just “atheism” in the current movement is less simply “belief in no god” than something more akin to “belief in no god Because such belief is irrational and just emotional and therefore is to be avoided, since only Logic can deliver anything of value.” Which does reflect the tendency to devalue things like emotion, but yeah of course isn’t part of the strict definition of atheism as such. Which all got condensed into a ‘/’ in my brief time to write a comment. I should have waited to be more clear.

        6. Willemina
          Willemina September 13, 2013 at 3:07 am |

          “there is no god and belief in god is irrational and the irrational is totally bad! And if you’re an atheist you have to agree with this because it’s Logic!”

          The jump-across-the-table-frothing-at-the-mouth kind of basis for membership is what drove me out of the whole movement or community thing. That aspect of Atheism isn’t limited to the apologists for various social -isms and it’s pretty downright frightening at times. I got tired of being relabeled as “really an agnostic,” or “weak atheist,” I don’t believe and that’s good enough for me.

          I also get pissed that emotion still gets thrown in to “irrational.” We have feelings for a reason, and not all of them are so suspect as to undermine an entire chain of action.

        7. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 13, 2013 at 3:39 am |

          Willemina – back in the day when I was agnostic-almost-atheist that sort of thing put me right off, too. I subscribed briefly to the Australian Sceptics’ magazine, but dropped it pretty fast. It seemed just too mean-spirited.

          It also seems the AssholeAtheists™ have a problem with anyone finding comfort or happiness in anythingotherthanatheism. Because that’s weak and sheep-like and irrational and probably girly, too.

          Gah, I’d better stop ranting there or it’ll turn into a wall o’ text and get offensive.

        8. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help September 13, 2013 at 3:42 am |

          Forgot to add – what the “I iz totes rational” crew forget is that we can’t function without emotions. We can’t make even trivial decisions without them.

          Plus, of course, it’s sheerest hypocrisy, because as pointed out upthread, emotions coded as masculine are GOOD and RATIONAL; it’s the ones with girl cooties that aren’t.

        9. Alara Rogers
          Alara Rogers September 13, 2013 at 11:09 am |

          Word, Donna. The whole “men are logical and rational, except that men are justified in killing people when they get really mad and also in fucking people when they really want to regardless of how the other person feels because men get overwhelmed by anger and lust and everyone should just accommodate this” makes me see red. You cannot have it both ways.

          Fortunately for me I can play that game. I am probably considerably more disconnected from emotion than the average human man; I’m a genius with Aspergers who idolized Mr. Spock as a child and I *still* define most of my own emotional states as fluxes of chemicals that are inherently meaningless, and I can out-rationalize most people on this planet. So when I get into debates with these people, I am more than willing to pull the “You’re only saying such ignorant, irrational things because you don’t understand SCIENCE” shit on *them.* And I’m actually better at it than they are because, unlike them, I actually *do* understand science. For instance, I understand that evolutionary theory of human psychology doesn’t actually say the majority of the things that so-called proponents say it says (when you try to argue a point about human behavior based on a. human behavior selected from a specific culture b. human behavior selected from a specific time period c. human behavior as it’s interpreted by people with an obvious bias d. human behavior as opposed to primate behavior when the evidence suggests that the primates in question are biologically similar enough to human that there is no particularly good reason to assume the strategy adopted by the primates wouldn’t have worked for humans, you’re inherently doing bad science because you’re cutting out most of the useful data points.)

          Of course, it’s probably pointless because no matter how well you can out-argue the trolls, they just come back with the *exact* same argument you shot down and no acknowledgement that you’ve cut their argument to bits. But I like to think that, by debating trolls with cold, calm rationality and actual facts, I’m providing ammunition to others on my side and swaying the opinion of non-trolls who might have been kind of leaning toward the troll perspective because they’d never really been exposed to a rational argument expressing why that perspective is stupid.

          Also, it’s fun. I suppose I can sometimes be something of a reverse troll; they enjoy coming into other people’s spaces and stirring shit up, I enjoy stirring *them* up when they invade my spaces.

          (I’ve been known to take it to some devil’s advocate level of extremes, I admit. One time I argued against Steven Pinker’s argument that men do art in order to woo women, and therefore women don’t have an evolutionary imperative to create art, by using that idea to argue that men *have* no inherent artistic sense or talent and are just driven by the desire to get laid, and only women actually have a true aesthetic appreciation of art, therefore women who choose to create art are purer artists driven solely by the love of the work, as opposed to men who just want sex out of it. It was bullshit and I admitted as I was making the argument that it was bullshit; it was a reductio ad absurdum of Pinker’s argument where I basically said “if you accept Pinker’s argument you also have to accept that only women can be true artists or appreciators of art,” and I was making it clear that my point was to take down Pinker and not to seriously argue that men are incapable of artistic appreciation… but yeah, it was kind of an extreme and sort of trollish in itself. :-))

          Oddly enough, men who think they are hyperrationalists don’t like it when you sneer at them, use your superior knowledge of a scientific subject and greater rhetorical ability to club their argument over the head, and call them hysterical, irrational and ignorant. I wonder why not? :-)

      2. AnthroBabe
        AnthroBabe September 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

        Trigger warnings about being a transgender person and harsh criticism.

        Bingo deux! These men can be so full of themselves and their “superior” intellectual abilities (look at me, not succumbing to religion!) that they forget that their actions and words hurt people. I know from 1st hand interaction. My group discussed (on Facebook, yes I know) Chelsea Manning’s situation. Flying Spaghetti Monster, but they were fucking clueless, ignorant, and downright sexist assholes about her desire to be called a woman. Chelsea doing this for a publicity stunt? Check. Taxpaying men not wanting “their” money going for her hormones? Check. This was deemed an elective thing and not “life threatening” (this one got me the most)? Check. I wrote a comment about how anyone who was a transgender person would NOT be comfortable with the group. I believe I

  3. karak
    karak September 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm |

    I don’t know this Jason Thibeault guy at all, but looking through his blog shows me that he seems to be a great skeptical ally of all kinds.

    It makes me weirdly happy to see skeptic and what seems to be a white male skeptic, totally being a fucking awesome ally. Especially because I’m not atheist, skeptic, or agnostic and this reminds me that people don’t have to be clones of me to be a great ally.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen September 12, 2013 at 11:16 am |


      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve September 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

        I am at least two of those things (male and atheist,) but I too was impressed with his blog. I don’t trust the ‘atheist movement’ because I don’t put too much faith in any large organizations. However, I think it’s good that people in this so-called movement like PZ Myers and Mr. Thibeault are adding their voices to the female skeptics who’ve been saying things like this for years, as I do know quite a few women who do really get value out of being part of this movement (to the extent of attending skeptic/atheist events and gatherings.)

  4. anna
    anna September 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

    So is there going to be an index of rape apologist claims? That would be great.

    (Why don’t I make one? Don’t have the time or the expertise.)

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