I just read an interesting article over at thunderf00t's blog on Atheism+ and the divisive and polarizing tactics they're now using to gain support for their splinter movement. The conflict that began with Elevatorgate has now overtly become "us vs them", with battle lines drawn by righteous feminists and vilification and exclusion of any who voice the slightest dissent. The "Four Horsemen" of atheism have been recast as the perpetually evil "old white patriarchs", an identifiable group which according to feminist agitprop should be dismissed out of hand. If a powerful, educated old white man said it, you can be sure it's garbage, right? Why? Because we say so! We're just trying to be inclusive!
The tone of the article was one of bemusement, which only tells me thunderf00t has not descended remotely as far down the rabbit-hole as he needs to to get a clear picture of what exactly is going on in his community. I know that someone posted my video on female hypoagency by way of explanation, and I've picked up a lot of new subscribers from the atheist/skeptic/rationalist community as a result of his attention. At the same time, he seems hopeful that all of this brouhaha will reach some impervious barrier of rationality, at which point, Atheism+ will fizzle, and I find I can't share his optimism.
He writes in conclusion:
I expect that they will now start trying to weasel their way out of this by any and all means necessary as long as the conclusion is ‘no, it’s okay for ME to attend mere atheist conferences, its just everyone else who should shun and marginalize these mere inferior atheists’
I'm sorry to break it to you, thunderf00t, but I don't foresee any "weaselling out" occurring anytime soon--only more "weaselling in". My prediction is that the conflict in your community will escalate, with the Skepchicks and other feminist "atheists", and Atheists+ pushing their dogmatic agenda ever harder in every single arena, and continuing to pit the men in the community against each other. Give it a few more months, and American Atheist will have a shiny new "plus" sign on their letterhead.
It's amazing how closely this collective aggression and irrationality mirrors what's known in the pick-up artist community as the "shit test". A shit test is basically an irrational, manufactured conflict, attack or complaint on the part of a female partner against her male partner. This is not a "real" complaint, though it may be based on actual annoyances (like leaving the toilet seat up), and though usually interpreted by a man as a sincere concern or upset on the part of the woman, the underlying goal of the shit test is to compel the man into setting reasonable boundaries and maintaining his autonomy--that is, a demand to have the man put his foot down and not be bullied. This has been posited as a subconscious psychological strategy on the part of women to test the mettle of their mates--"if he can't stand up to ME when I'm bullying him, then how's he going to fend off those sabre-toothed tigers?"
The more the man tries to appease the shit-testing woman, the more she will escalate the conflict. The only way to pass the shit test is to put one's foot down. A relationship where a man is easily bullied (by anyone) is one in which a woman will feel more insecure, not less. The more insecure she feels, the bigger and more overt the shit tests will become.
And the horrible thing about shit tests is that they are a subconscious behavior--the woman sincerely believes that what's bothering her is that her man keeps leaving the toilet seat up, and not that she needs reassurance that he's an adequate protector and therefore worthy of respect.
I mean, look at how the conflict in the atheist/skeptic community began--with Elevatorgate. For those not in the know, Elevatorgate was what ensued after a man politely asked Rebecca Watson up to his hotel room for coffee, and then politely took "no" for an answer. It culminated with a call from feminists to boycot Richard Dawkins' books, when he had the temerity to call bullshit on the whole debacle.
You now have Surly Amy, in a recent interview with Amanda Marcotte, explaining what a sexual harassment policy at TAM should look like. At one point, she claims that no one is saying people can't hook up at conferences, and describes "the appropriate way to hook up"--basically, to introduce yourself, to flirt a little, talk a little, and invite someone to have sex with you if they wish. What she's describing as "the appropriate way" is exactly what sparked Elevatorgate--a polite invitation. So what the hell was Elevatorgate all about, then? A months-long screaming match among atheists over a man who behaved appropriately?
Surly Amy goes on to say that the kind of inappropriate behavior she wants covered by the sexual harassment policy is, for example, walking up to someone and starting to have sex with them without asking. So basically, the sexual harassment policy at TAM must include the phrase, "No raping, please"? Seriously?
This entire fiasco is a classic irrational, manufactured complaint on the part of feminist "atheists". And though it may seem as if it's the "no-bullshit" response of rationals like Justin Vacula, integralmath, Richard Dawkins and you, thunderf00t, that is what's causing this splinter-group to escalate the conflict, it's actually the appeasement and supplication of men like PZ Myers that's driving the female psychology underlying this collective shit test to a fever pitch. Validation of the insecurity that lies at the heart of this conflict only generates more of the same.
Meanwhile, true to the tactics of the shit-testing woman, the Skepchicks' own conferences now include a panel discussion of how the male brain is a female brain that's been "damaged by testosterone" and that men are "defective women". Rebecca Watson's platform as a skeptic speaker has transmogrified from actual discussion of atheism/skepticism into a sermon railing against the misogyny in the atheist/skeptic community, an airing of grievances concerning the "thousands of rape threats" she's received from "hundreds of atheists", described in detail but never backed up with screencaps. Demands for evidence of the existence of these threats, and, further, evidence that if they exist they come from within the atheist community, are met with accusations of misogyny and rape apologia.
The women driving all of this are supported and validated in their efforts by supplicating men, men desperate to tell them, "We're the good men, we're not like those bad men over there. We understand why you're so terrified of this HUGE problem of sexual harassment and misogyny in our community, and it's all down to male badness. But not me, because I'm a good man, not like those guys over there, the bad ones..."
They're doing the equivalent of telling a child that the monster in the closet is real, and it's particularly interested in eating small children, and they aren't even doing it to protect the women in the atheist/skeptic community from that monster. They're doing it to distinguish themselves from the "defective male" rabble in the group--you know, the thunderf00ts and the Justin Vaculas--and they'll happily cast you all as monsters just for the opportunity to portray themselves as monster-slayers. They're quite prepared to burn the entire house to the ground to do it, even though the closet monster doesn't exist, and even though they aren't even conscious of why they're behaving in this way.
The people behind this schism are not behaving or thinking rationally. Look at this hypocrisy from FTB over one of hundreds of comments I've made over the last two years concerning domestic violence:
I used to live under a young couple with a baby. I’d listen as she followed him from room to room upstairs, stomping, slamming things, throwing things, screaming. After about an hour, he’d eventually hit her, and everything would go quiet. An hour after that, they’d be out with the baby in the stroller, looking perfectly content with each other.
Here is the response from FTB (complete with photo of man's head exploding) to such a comment made by an "enemy":
So, if you’re annoyed at a woman, that justifies hitting her? In fact, you should hit her early in your annoyance, lest you beat the living shit out of her later when you’re reallymad? Of course, the fault will be hers for annoying you, not yours for having the physicality of a grown man but an infant’s mastery of your emotions.And here, from the comments:
I wonder if she has ever say gone out to lunch with that couple? If she has, I wondered if she noticed that the wife cowered like a fucking sheep when her husband spoke. I wonder if she just so happened to notice that the poor woman’s husband spoke for her, talked down to her, criticized her, all while she sat there and took it. Did she react when he made a swift movement? Does she carefully and painfully choose her words to avoid his wrath?Okayyyy.... so a woman chasing her boyfriend from room to room, screaming insults and profanity, throwing heavy objects at him (in front of their infant, no less) while refusing to allow him to exit the situation is a clear sign that she's living in terror of him. Huh.
But it was the response to THIS comment that really told me who we're dealing with:
Normally I would say that violence towards women is never justified, however, I did see my dad hit my mom twice. He stayed and put up with her because of me, and every few years she would get in one of these moods where she would ride his ass and tell him what a loser he was for not making enough money, losing his hair, or whatever, put her finger in his face, scream at him, shove him, etc. This would go on nightly for weeks until he would beg her to stop because he was about to snap, which only encouraged her. She got off on it. He would try to go for a walk to get away from her before he lost it, and she would grab him and keep on and on, until he would start shaking and crying uncontrollably, and then he would snap. He said he would literally see red, then have no memory of what happened. I have snapped like this once after having been bullied for years and years, and I couldn’t remember, either. He felt cornered and tried to do the right thing and take a walk, but she wouldn’t let him. I can’t fault him for that. If anyone deserved a backhanding, it would have been her.
Go ahead and tell me I’m evil. I can take it. I think violence against women is deplorable, and I wouldn’t put up with it myself, and would tell anyone who is in an abusive relationship to get out. But I can also understand why someone would snap if they were incessantly poked and prodded and then reacted accordingly.
Wow, an almost identical (if more embellished) situation to the one I described, so you'd expect a TON of exploding heads, right? Oh wait, but that comment came from a "friendly", and is therefore "different":
Your mother was the one being abusive. Men are victims of domestic violence too, not as often, but it still happens. I do not know often women act like this in the US or around the world, but reported domestic violence case statistics say that men are more likely to be a the abuser.
I don’t think it was right of your father to hit her, because I don’t think that hurting anyone is okay. But I think he was justified to fight back.
That kind of situation is not what GWW is advocating though. And even if that’s -all- she was advocating I’d still encourage her to change her stance and encourage the men to get help instead of hurting the women they are with.
Um, wow. And this guy's mom didn't even throw anything at his dad, but somehow the commenters at FTB are prepared to accept that she was the abusive one! Couldn't they tell she was terrorized and cowed, living in such fear of his wrath that she barely spoke without permission?
And if we're to apply the same rules here as were applied to me, relating a situation you've observed means you advocate for it. This must be the case, since me attempting to have a frank, meaningful, grown-up discussion of the complexities of domestic violence--you know, how it goes down in the real world among real people, as opposed to how it goes down in Feminist Theory--is the same as me advocating beating women.
Therefore I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you, about how absolutely no heads exploded over this guy's domestic violence apologia! Look, here's another understanding comment:
Your mother was the abuser in this situation. Hitting her was probably not the *best* solution, but I certainly am not going to fault your father for it in this case.I can't believe these three commenters at FTB are advocating for men being allowed to beat their wives! Where are the bits of brain and skull all over the place from everyone's heads exploding? Nary a fragment to be seen, which means they must not only be excusing violence against women, but actively supporting and encouraging it! Where is the outrage? If there's no outrage, that's exactly the same as endorsement!
So from what I gather, what is considered an abhorrent thought when it comes from an enemy is permissible and even apt when voiced by a friendly. For a community that supposedly prides itself on empiricism, universality, evidence and logic, rather than hyperbole, emotionality, and kneejerking, that's really all you need to know to understand how far gone these people are.
I'm sorry, thunderf00t, but your community is in huge trouble. There will be no retreats, tactical or otherwise, not at the American Atheist convention or anywhere else. Only an ever-widening circle of conversion into this new religion where the devil has been usurped by Patriarchy, and god by "women's feelings".
They are the "us" and you and any other rational person who attacks arguments rather than the people speaking them... you are the "them".
And as long as there are men--and yes, I mean men, not just people, but men--in your community who are prepared to preen as heroes by validating and reinforcing the irrational beliefs and closet monster fears of a few hysterical (yes, I said it, hysterical) women, the conflict will only continue to escalate until the entire house goes up in flames.
I'd advise you to call the fire department if I thought for a second that it would help.