Categories: Feminism

Dawkins Overflow Thread

The comment thread on my Dawkins post has become bloated and is threatening to capsize the site, so I’m closing it and redirecting people here. Baby otter pic (via ZooBorns) is unrelated but I thought it might help everyone relax.

Rebecca Watson :Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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  • I have never in my life considered myself to be a feminist. After all, I could do anything that I wanted to do and man had always just been men. As a gay women, I'd always say "Hey, thanks anyways, just not interested" and that would usually be the end of it.

    Now, I was in search of science and facts and on this mission I met a man named James Taylor (I feel if someone feels the liberty to say stupid stuff, I have the liberty to name this stupid person by his real name). James took me to a site call "Deep Thoughts". I thought this would be good as even though an atheist, I had never been officially entered into the group.

    About a week later this guy names James Taylor said oddly, women who are raped in America are NOT the REAL problem. He then went on to tell me of this woman named Watson who thought men were pigs and had blown things out of proportion. So, naturally I went in seek of this outpouring event.

    Only there was none. Just a woman who wanted to be left alone at 4am, especially considering she just gave a talk on the subject just a few hours ago. I don't know about other gay women, but when someone is not interested, I leave them alone. That's it.

    After I heard a rather dry and humorous, yet serious video clip, I began to read the responses...wow, now the responses were the interesting part. See, they were mostly men and they mostly had this grand impression that they were all that and anyone who would dare to tell them "don't do that" was taking away their "God given right" to abuse women when and wherever they chose.

    Now, I cannot say anything of James Taylor's remark about women being raped as being so insignificant. I can not associate with him as I'm sure most wouldn't, but regardless this is an opinion of his and nothing more.

    The next day James Taylor was trying to prove his point. So , in the process, he made up a statement and attributed it to Rebecca Watson. Ah, I had him now. He intentionally lied, knowing the facts. And I told him so. I said' You can have whatever sick opinion you want, but you cannot attribute words of another to Rebecca Watson, for if she had been a bit more famous and chose to, your ass would be in court responding to charges of libel. And so that was my last discourse with this man named James Taylor.

    I found out that a majority of atheistic men are of the same opinion. I find his odd, since they of all people, are more..or should be more factual that a theist man. But somewhere in the evolutionary process, these atheist men have been left behind. And so it was on this occasion that I have become for the first time in 50 years a FEMINIST.

    I got asked questions, like "So that does that mean men must never ask out a woman again?" and such other unaffiliated remarks. 'What? I'm sorry but are you even speaking of the same situation we've been talking about? Where on earth did you get a question like that, from a woman who said she didn't want to be hit on at 4am?"

    My question to everyone is: Are all men like this? But because of their theist training will refrain. Or is this just a phenomena of the atheist man? And if so, when did it appear..and when will it leave. Because at this rate, I don't find atheist men anything but
    animalistic pigs and nothing more.

    My hypothesis: Men are so filled with the lone wolf drug testosterone and even though we have evolved so much, this particular chemical has not made an adjustment in suitable amounts for the male human species YET.. FOR THEY ARE STILL FUNCTIONING AS IF THEY ARE THE ONES TO RAPE AND PROPAGATE AND THAT IS THEIR JOB-AT LEAST TO DATE, THAT'S WHAT THEY STILL BELIEVE.

    • I know this thread is old and I doubt you will reply but I feel the need to say something because of the last two paragraphs.

      Before this incident, I believed in equal rights for men and women and felt like we were nearly there. When Dawkins opened his stupid gob, it triggered a tidal wave of kneejerk defensive behavior from thousands of people (mostly men), myself included. Why? Because it hurts to associated with insensitive behavior. It wasn't until I really looked at the underlying issues on various blogs that I learned how much work needs to be done. I became a proud feminist.

      Your last two paragraphs are fueled by anger towards men. I am loathe to dismiss that feeling entirely because it has a solid foundation in reality but I will say it goes too far. I'm sorry your personal experience has left you feeling so jaded about my half of the population but you need to realize that thinking "all men are pigs" is not only inaccurate, it plays into the straw feminist stereotype. Dividing the human species into two immalleable group feeds the patriarchy.

      Men are people and people are flawed. I am living proof that flaws can be corrected. I am a better person now than I was 8 months ago. With work, people can change. Please remember that.

  • I don't know if this has been posted already, but maybe guys would 'get it' if they replaced Rebecca in the elevator with their wife/gf?

    If some guy cornered my wife on an elevator at an ungodly hour (knowing exactly his intentions, btw - let's not be naive) I'd have a difficult time not confronting him.

    It was a threatening situation she was in. I love Dawkins but he should've thought about his statement before submitting it.

    Damn the internet!!!;)

  • If a guy I didn't know followed me into a hotel elevator, at 4 AM, and asked me to go, "have coffee" with him in his room, hell yeah I'd be creeped out!  No, he probably wasn't a predator, but he could have been.  It's the same reasoning for locking our doors at night.  It's not likely that anyone will ever try to invade our homes, but it's still possible.  And better to be safe than sorry.

  • After all this time, I must say it's good to see so many men get it.
    So many men willing to get it.
    So many men willing to be human enough to consider other people and re-evaluate their own prejudices, and maybe change their thinking a bit.
    I wonder why the other men are so terrified of doing that.
    There are some men saying, "Yes the guy was wrong, I understand she was creeped out, but but but but but..."
    Why is there a "but" if you understand how Rebecca could feel what she did?
    There are some men saying, "How do we know she's not lying?  That poor, poor guy is being discussed by strangers, which is so much worse than a woman's moment of fear in the pit of her gut as she wonders if this stranger on an elevator will totally disregard her stated wish to be left alone, AGAIN, and WORSE this time."
    That's not skepticism.  It's pure status quo, societally-mandated "all bitchez b lyin" mental gymnastics. 
    Defending the status quo.  How edgy.  How rebellious.  Such a fine example of free-thinking and questioning, like good skeptics...oh, wait.
    Religion isn't a cause of sexism.  Sexism is the default state and it permeates all of society.
    So.  One more time.  Gently.  Why are some of these men so afraid to just say, "Yeah, maybe I'll think about this"?
    It can't be as simple as pure embarrassment.  Can it?  Would people really do this level of mental gymnastics just to confirm their own world view?  Just to feel like they're not bad people?
    Gosh.  Skeptics wouldn't hold on to their own prejudices.  Would they?

  • Having not had the time to read through all of the comments... did Richard Dawkins apologise in the end? Did he respond to the letters sent to him at all? It was an incredibly belittling, callous and ill-advised set of communications on his behalf.

    I have only just had the opportunity to look at the video Rebecca made that was the catalyst for this upset. Before viewing I had thought must be quite bad to have caused such controversy, what unreasonable claims, yelling and insults must there be in the video to have caused this? As it turned out, upon viewing, everything Rebecca said was reasonable, correct and well put. I cannot understand why anyone has found any issue with it or the author.

    If after such a long time Rebecca is still reading this thread, please note another person who supports you.

  • Simply, thank you for talking about this issue. I stopped participating in the atheist community after my girlfriend and I were constantly propositioned for sex. Men would ask if they could join in or watch us.

    I'm really disappointed with Dawkins. I was surprised by his comments.

  • I don't have much to add to this discussion, but I wanted to let you know that I'm not going to let this fade into obscurity. To be sure that no one forgets, every discussion of Richard Dawkins the person will receive a link to your article (or the almost equally fantastic takedown by Phil Plait Bad Astronomy). As is only right, although I have not yet discarded a possible epiphany—many things may be forgiven of those who see and acknowledge their errors, which Mr. Dawkins may yet choose to do.

  • "You condone child abuse, thus you should be raped, tortured and killed" is in no conceivable way the same thing as "I will rape you because of your feminist remarks". You were not threatened. You were told that you are a horrible person for molesting children.

  • There have been people on this site making comments about 'female privelage,' and mocking Ms. Watson's unfortunate experience in that elevator. What they fail to see, is that this wasn't some awkward attempt at 'courtship,' where both parties would have been equal partners. No, by inviting her back to his room, it's clear that he had objectivized her sexually, and had fallen back on a long tradition of 'male privelage' in doing so. That's what many who have commented here have failed to see.

    I've only recently started to look at skeptic/ rationalist/ humanist sites, and it has rapidly dawned on me that people holding these views aren't excluded from holding unenlightened ones, as well. I would've thought that if one were a humanist, that person would also be a feminist, as well, almost by definition. Dawkin's act of purposefully comparing Ms. Watson's experience with a cultural artifact much higher up on the scale of something that is the result of a long history of cultural 'male privelage,' in an attempt to belittle it, seems to indicate that he views the actions of 'the man in the elevator' as acceptible, even trivial. This shows that he needs some education on this subject.

    Signed, a White Male Humanist

  • Hi Rebecca

    I feel that I have arrived at a party when everyone else is leaving, but I just want to add how sad it is that so few people actually listen carefully to what is being said.

    The oaf in the lift had clearly not listened to what you were saying earlier and made a clumsy pass in a confined space early in the morning.

    You made your point in the video carefully and thoughtfully.

    It should have ended there.

    Enter La Dawkins. All patrician and smug. "There, there, poor little girl in a lift." Clearly, he was NOT listening.

    Shit storm erupts. Then La Dawkins again: hasn't heard a thing. Sarcastic, completely tone deaf. "It's the same as chewing gum." "The way to escape is to press the button."

    Well, I'm a middle-aged, white, heterosexual bloke and I heard what you said. Why can't Dawkins?

    Just saying.