Here is part seven in my ongoing series where I ask the men who are leaders in our community to speak out against the hate that has been directed at many of the vocal women in atheism, secularism and skepticism.

Today, I bring you words of wisdom and a video featuring Matt Dillahunty, President of the Atheist Community of Austin and host of The Atheist Experience.

Matt speaks to the idea that discussing sexism and harassment can be a difficult task especially when there are some ‘thugs’ who refuse to engage in honest discussions. These ‘thugs’ are trying to silence people and we as a community need to stand together to stop them. He also brings attention to the fact that there are also a lot of really good people out there who just ‘don’t get it’ and we should focus on helping those people to understand the issues.

Matt’s comments after the jump.

From Matt:

I’ve tried to discuss the subjects of sexism, harrassment and what we can do about them in a way that is reasonable, informative and productive. Having made a conscious effort to kill off my assumptions (I spoke about this at the SSA Leadership conference. Video below.) and to investigate the subjects honestly, I’ve tried to take what I’ve learned, phrase it in a way that is accessible and share it. It has proven to be a very frustrating mission, with mixed results. There’s a lot of misinformation and miscommunication but I think it’s something we can and must fix, because there are a lot of good people who are simply confused.

Unfortunately, there’s also a vocal contingent of extremely hateful people who aren’t willing to honestly engage in the discussion and they’ve been venting – if not simply trolling. When there’s an expressed concern, or a proposed solution to a concern, they frequently respond with cartoonish arguments loaded with fallacies but the more disturbing responses simply include hateful threats of rape and violence.

These individuals are beneath contempt. They’re not just misinformed or mistaken, they’re malicious little thugs who are lashing out in response to the fear that someone might actually expect them to treat another human being with respect. They aren’t decent people disagreeing, they’re part of the problem. We don’t have to exclude them from these conversations; they’ve excluded themselves.

When someone expresses a concern that something is making them feel unwelcome, we need to address it. Period. We need to seriously consider their complaint, make every effort to understand it and then decide what sort of action can and should be taken to alleviate it.

Read that last sentence again – what that means is, “let’s discuss this and figure out what, if anything, we’re going to do about it”. That’s all. It’s not an assertion that we need to flip the world upside-down to accommodate everyone’s concerns…and yet, that’s how some people portray this in order to give the illusion that their hateful attacks originate from firm footing.

When you hear a complaint that someone has raised, you might think that they’re expressing an irrational, emotional, over-reaction to the situation. You might even be correct – but it doesn’t matter, and here’s why:

You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.
You don’t get to decide what someone else finds uncomfortable, unwelcoming, disconcerting, stressful, harrassing, troubling or painful.

You aren’t the world: everyone isn’t exactly like you.

We’re trying to build a safe and welcoming community. We’re trying to sponsor safe and welcoming events. We’re doing a pretty good job and we’re getting better at it, but we need every decent person to participate. We need to make sure that people who express their concerns are treated with respect and compassion and that we make reasonable efforts to either alleviate their concerns or clarify why we can’t or won’t.

The thugs who are responding with threats of violence and rape are attempting to silence people. Whether the threats are literal or figurative, it’s harassment and bullying in an attempt to silence current and future objections. That must not happen. We, as a community, need to support those who are speaking up and encourage others to do the same.

~Matt Dillahunty

Thank you so much for standing with us, Matt and for speaking up to help make our community better.

Prior posts in this series can be found by clicking the links below.

Speaking out against hate directed at women: David Silverman

Speaking out against hate directed at women: Dale McGowan

Speaking out against hate directed at women: Ronald A Lindsay

Speaking out against hate directed at women: Nick Lee

Speaking out against hate directed at women: Barry Karr

Speaking out against hate directed at women: David Niose

More to come.

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and writes about vegan food. She is the founder and president of the Los Angeles Women's Atheist and Agnostic Group: LAWAAG. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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71 Comments

  1. Profile photo of captaintripps
    August 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm —

    This has to be the best one yet. Forceful, expansive without being overlong, and touches explicitly on every issue brought up in the last year. Kudos Matt!

  2. Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
    August 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm —

    Heh, sorry for the troll you guys! He has since been deleted. I thought I had banned him ages ago but somehow he slipped through the cracks.

  3. Profile photo of mrmisconception
    August 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm —

    What? Who came in? What did I miss?

    Anyway, I have a bit of a man crush right now.

  4. Profile photo of Bjarte Foshaug
    August 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm —

    Standing ovation.

  5. Profile photo of katesears
    August 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm —

    Oh, definitely the best one yet. Some of the others, while still very valuable, have been a little … vague. This one kicks arse – well written, forceful and succinct. Thank you sir!

  6. Profile photo of muxika1
    August 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm —

    What a perfect word: Thug. Great post by Matt, from a very rational point of view. I look forward to reading the rest.

  7. Profile photo of Handbasketexpress
    August 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm —

    W00t for Matt! …& Marilove. Some of you commenters are nothing short of daylight beautiful to me.

  8. Profile photo of Ophelia Benson
    August 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm —

    Matt totally stole “thugs” from me!

    Just kidding. It is what I call them, but it’s also the obvious word for them, because it’s what they arrrrrre.

  9. Profile photo of jinxybunny
    August 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm —

    This is my favorite of them all.

  10. Profile photo of eckslibris
    August 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm —

    Thanks Matt! This is inspiring, and as an added bonus you are showing that our state of Texas has good in it as well as crazy!

  11. Profile photo of real horrorshow
    August 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm —

    “You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.
    You don’t get to decide what someone else finds uncomfortable, unwelcoming, disconcerting, stressful, harrassing, troubling or painful.”
    What happened to “no-one has the right to not be offended”? Where are we going with this, in terms of sceptical thinking? ‘You may not state X – even if X is a demonstrable fact – because I find X offensive’? Fuck that.

    • Profile photo of KRS
      August 2, 2012 at 1:53 am —

      “Read that last sentence again – what that means is,’let’s discuss this and figure out what, if anything, we’re going to do about it’. That’s all. It’s not an assertion that we need to flip the world upside-down to accommodate everyone’s concerns…and yet, that’s how some people portray this in order to give the illusion that their hateful attacks originate from firm footing.”

      And we have an example of this phenomenon right here.

      • Profile photo of real horrorshow
        August 2, 2012 at 7:30 am —

        Which last sentence please? Mine, Dillahunty’s? I don’t see where he qualifies the statement I quoted.
        Also, I’m a person trying to follow the debate, not an ‘example’ of a ‘phenomenon’ of ‘hateful attacks’.

        • Profile photo of magicthighs
          August 2, 2012 at 10:11 am —

          You’re just a person trying to follow the debate? That might have worked if you’d used a different nym.

          • Profile photo of real horrorshow
            August 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

            You don’t like my name? In “A Clockwork Orange”, the nadsat slang used by Alex and the Droogs is largely based on Russian. Horrorshow = khorosho, meaning “good”.

          • Profile photo of magicthighs
            August 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

            Yes, I’m aware of the origin, and that’s not what I was alluding to. What I meant was, you’re a regular poster on the slime pit, and exactly the kind of person Matt Dillahunty was talking about.

        • Profile photo of marilove
          August 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm —

          Read it again. Sloooowly. And carefully. Out loud, if you must.

        • Profile photo of KRS
          August 3, 2012 at 4:56 am —

          The first paragraph of my comment was a direct quote from Dillahaunty’s statement. I didn’t realize that there was a reference to the previous paragraph there. Here’s the “last sentence” he was talking about: ” We need to seriously consider their complaint, make every effort to understand it and then decide what sort of action can and should be taken to alleviate it.”

          So he’s not saying that rules should be changed so that nobody ever feels uncomfortable under any circumstances. He admits that it’s possible that sometimes no action should be taken. However, he thinks that people shouldn’t decide not to take action without analyzing the situation and considering things from the complainer’s point of view. Some complaints may be unreasonable, but we shouldn’t immediately dismiss a complaint as unreasonable just because the behavior complained about wouldn’t make *us* uncomfortable. At least, that’s how I read Dillahaunty’s argument.

          • Profile photo of KRS
            August 3, 2012 at 5:09 am

            And I wrote that last comment before I read further down the thread and found out that realhorrorshow had been banned.

    • Profile photo of Matt Dillahunty
      August 2, 2012 at 9:18 am —

      This isn’t about rights, and that’s what most of the thugs don’t understand. I don’t have a right to not be offended, but I do have the right not to invite people that offend me to my party.

      Conventions and community events are OUR party.

      • Profile photo of real horrorshow
        August 2, 2012 at 10:28 am —

        “I do have the right not to invite people that offend me to my party.

        Conventions and community events are OUR party.”

        Is atheism/scepticism nothing more than those who agree gathering to express agreement? What is the point of that? I think that scepticism is the opposite of that. Substitute ‘church’ for ‘party’.

        • Profile photo of Matt Dillahunty
          August 2, 2012 at 11:16 am —

          “Is atheism/scepticism nothing more than those who agree gathering to express agreement?”

          This isn’t about what atheism or skepticism are about, it’s about what sort of community we’re going to have.

          • Profile photo of real horrorshow
            August 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

            Ah, so we’re going to have a community of those who agree expressing agreement first. And secondarily this is going to be an atheist/sceptic community.
            Does this mean that there are going to be community rules about what people are allowed to express scepticism towards? After all, if the principle function of the community is to ensure that no-one is offended, then a lot of topics are going to be out of bounds for scepticism. Aren’t they?

          • Profile photo of mrmisconception
            August 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

            What exactly are you trying to get at @real horrorshow?

            Are you trying to say that all opinions need to be addressed equally or we aren’t being sufficiently skeptical, because if it is I’m not sure what you think a community is.

            All that is being asked of skeptics is that they treat other human beings like human beings. That’s it, full stop.

            You (rhetorical you) are welcomed to disagree but threats of rape, murder, and other forms of violence simply aren’t cricket. Argue all you like, insult the intelligence of your debate partner, use every logical fallacy there is, be belligerent, mean, and nasty just don’t threaten your fellow humans over a disagreement.

            If some in the community feel they can’t live up to that very small goal they are welcomed to leave, there are plenty of religious organizations they can join.

          • Profile photo of real horrorshow
            August 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm

            @mrmisconception.
            Is that all that is being asked? What if I express my disagreement by wearing a t-shirt you don’t like? Should I be forced to change my shirt? Or be thrown out of an event?

            If we are going to operate on the principle of:
            “You don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive.” And offence is to be acted on punitively. How is a non-mind-reader going to avoid sanction?

            The threats of rape and violence you mention. Who has made these threats and to whom? Have the police been informed? If not, why not?

          • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
            August 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

            Note: I’ve banned “real horroshow” in part for this: “The threats of rape and violence you mention. Who has made these threats and to whom? Have the police been informed? If not, why not?”

            At this point in the game, it must have taken them quite a bit of effort to avoid seeing all the well-documented rape threats and to avoid 10 seconds of Googling in this case, just to try to troll a little longer. Bonus banning points for the subtle victim blaming.

          • Profile photo of mrmisconception
            August 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

            Well yes actually that is what is being asked, well that and the suggestion that if meetings and fund-raisers wish to be welcoming that they make it be known what is not allowed. You know, so the not mind readers can’t snark about not being able to read minds.

            As for what you wear, I don’t give a fuck what you wear but the organizers of an event have the ability and the right to decide if it offends them and kick you out. Or are you once again deciding that any rules makes it not sufficiently skeptical? Because I’ve got to tell you that you are starting to sound like you have taken more than your nym from Burgess’ dystopian meh.

          • Profile photo of mrmisconception
            August 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm

            @Rebecca, I’m glad because I was going to add that to my reply and forgot.

            No need now, anyone who would revel in identifying unironically with A Clockwork Orange deserves to be shown to be full of cal.

    • Profile photo of Matt Dillahunty
      August 2, 2012 at 9:18 am —

      This isn’t about rights, and that’s what most of the thugs don’t understand. I don’t have a right to not be offended, but I do have the right not to invite people that offend me to my party.

      Conventions and community events are OUR party.

      • Profile photo of Improbable Joe
        August 2, 2012 at 10:20 am —

        I have an absolute right to be offended by double posts… :)

        Great job on spelling out the issue, Matt!

      • Profile photo of Timothy Clark
        February 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm —

        Thank you Matt. I watched your videos on your personal youtube addressing this problem and I am so glad that you are addressing it. So many men in the atheist community do nothing but spew hate. Thank you for speaking out. I’ve not been engaged in the atheist community for a long time due to the rampant sexism I witnessed and I regret to say that it wasn’t until viewing TF’s anti-feminist video that I knew enough was enough and that the atheist community needed to change it’s way of thinking regarding sexism.

  12. Profile photo of delphi_ote
    August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm —

    I’m having a very hard time putting into words how amazing I find Matt’s advice. He did a fantastic job. As great as it’s been to have prominent voices speak out (and really, it has been great) we’ve been missing an explicit call to action. Finally, someone had the courage and presence of mind to put it in writing. Thank you, Matt and Amy for making our community better. I think this piece is going to move dialogue in the right direction.

    That said, there’s ONE other idea that I think we need to work harder to get out there. Matt’s idea to look inside is the start, but it’s not enough to just get your own house in order. It’s not enough to say, “Well, I’M not being a jerk, so I’m just going to go have fun at TAM.” We’re a community, and we need to start acting like one. That means we should be looking out for each other. We should speak up when we see one member of our community mistreating others. We should find the courage to move this strong rhetoric off of the message boards and into the real world, where it really matters.

    • Profile photo of eamc
      August 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm —

      Matt – can we get Jeff Dee and the others to write something…?

  13. Profile photo of Will
    August 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm —

    Bravo! This is great.

  14. Profile photo of Daniel Rudolph
    August 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm —

    You seem to be misparsing that. “People don’t have the right not to be offended” means that people don’t have a right not to be exposed to things they find offensive, not that they don’t have a right to take offense.

    • Profile photo of real horrorshow
      August 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm —

      It doesn’t particularly matter Daniel, what matters is how their response is treated. If the response to “I am offended” is a Stephen Fry style “So, fucking what?” then we have a healthy, sceptical community. If the response is: “Oh no, we must re-draft our community rules so that this offensive word/act/thought/person is excluded henceforth.” Then we don’t have a sceptic community, we have the Church of the True Believer.

      • Profile photo of mrmisconception
        August 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm —

        Yes, I see how asking people to not threaten rape hurts the sensibilities of those who would like to threaten rape.

        In the words you yourself appropriated “So fucking what?”

  15. Profile photo of Glow-Orb
    August 2, 2012 at 1:31 am —

    Hooray! Matt has been an ally for a long time. It’s nice to see him here!

  16. Profile photo of OurSally
    August 2, 2012 at 2:56 am —

    There is hope for Texas after all.

  17. Profile photo of maudell
    August 2, 2012 at 3:53 am —

    I think Matt has a good point about the conversation with people who “don’t get it”. There’s a lot of misinformation out there from people writing “Rebecca Watson said it should be against the law for a man to speak to a woman” or such bullshit. I was one of those people who didn’t understand the issues at some points and commenters insulted me instead of engaging in dialogue. It’s not a perfect system – I do the same sometimes – but we should remember that not everyone who’s raising questions about sexism is an ahole.
    Anyway, Matt Dillahunty is great. Good one.

    • Profile photo of patrickg
      August 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm —

      @maudell: After reading your comment, I wanted to add that I consider this series an excellent resource to point people to who might be legitimately confused or misinformed. I’m not particularly diplomatic myself, so a simple link accompanied with ‘Here’s what prominent male atheists are saying’ is a real time saver. :)

  18. Profile photo of eamc
    August 2, 2012 at 5:29 am —

    This IS great – and also wonderful that Matt addresses the confused.

    Thanks so much Matt.

    It’s my hope that we can make the community more welcoming not everyone. We are creating a discourse and a community with hopefully open doors….not a gladiatorial slaying floor.

  19. Profile photo of Otoki
    August 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm —

    This is fucking awesome. A lot of great points made.

  20. Profile photo of patrickg
    August 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm —

    I LOVE this series, and I really appreciate that you link to the old ones in each new post. Saves a lot of time in dark corners of the interwebs, because I can just point to ‘here’s 4, no, 5, no 6, no SEVEN prominent male atheists who think you’re just an asshat’.

    So yeah, nothing truly substantive here, just thanks to you for the series, and thanks to those contributing. Keep ‘em coming!

  21. Profile photo of StayAtHomeSci
    August 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm —

    Wonderfully said, Matt. I am so grateful for this series of posts for getting to see statements from allies like Matt and the rest. Thank you for putting these together.

  22. Profile photo of Haley Moore
    August 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm —

    Whoa, Matt is awesome! And Texan? Howdy!

    Re: People who think their free speech is being curtailed when someone reacts badly to them, I’ve found this works well as a Quip of Last Resort:

    “I’m not saying you can’t have this conversation; I’m saying you can’t have it with me, right now.”

    Not the most polite way to end a conversation, but when you need a social fire escape to pull, it works pretty well.

  23. Profile photo of Joel Hartman
    August 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm —

    It’ll be interesting to see how the homophobia that happens in this community will be dealt with. If at all.

    • Profile photo of Will
      August 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm —

      Homophobia does not seem to be a huge problem within the community from what I’ve seen. A lot of the language from queer liberation movements (“coming out” for example) has even been appropriated by skeptical and atheist people.

      The times that homophobia does creep up, I find the response is usually quite respectful and apologetic. I think because the main groups that target the queer community are religious groups that we tend to get a lot more support from the SHA (I have to start writing that, I’m tired of always writing out skeptical/humanist/atheist) community.

      One area that this is still problematic is with cisnormativity and transphobia, though that’s also something I find people are generally more responsive to than feminism.

  24. Profile photo of Joel Hartman
    August 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm —

    Hmm. Well, I’ve certainly dealt with a great deal of homophobia myself. Plenty of self-proclaimed skeptical people have debated the validity of marriage equally, claiming that gay people are essentially disease factories and allowing marriage would encourage more of that. When I’ve voiced my objections, I’m often told to shutup and hear them out.

    Maybe it’s just my problem.

    • Profile photo of mrmisconception
      August 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm —

      I’m having a hard time asking this question without making it sound like the no true Scotsman fallacy, but what type of skeptics are you talking about?

      I mean just because one is skeptical about ghosts, God, or ESP doesn’t mean you are willing, or even able, to examine all claims. Especially if it is something that you believe falls outside of the skeptical realm as many do about such subjects as GLBT rights, feminism, or economic equality just to name a few.

      There are others who mistakenly believe that being a cynic is the same as being a skeptic. Just doubting everything is not skeptical, Bill Maher for example is not a skeptic; though he is skeptical about religion he buys into the ideas of altmed and anti-vaxxers with little reflection.

      But if you go to r/atheist with your complaints of homophobia in the community I don’t think there would be many that accuse you of making it up, that in and of itself is telling.

      Sorry about rambling, hang in there.

      • Profile photo of Mark_A_Siefert
        August 3, 2012 at 1:59 am —

        “Especially if it is something that you believe falls outside of the skeptical realm as many do about such subjects as GLBT rights, feminism, or economic equality just to name a few.”

        Excuse me, but WHY should these issues fall outside of the skeptical realm? When last I looked misogyny. heterosexism, transphobia, and classism all have divine, supernatural justification among many prominent religions. Why shouldn’t we apply our critical thinking skills to our culture. economics, and politics as much as we do to faith healers and psychics?

        • Profile photo of Will
          August 3, 2012 at 2:49 am —

          Mrmisconception was referring to the seemingly large subgroup of people who call themselves skeptics who don’t think we should examine social issues in skepticism. As kind of evidenced in the latest installment of this series, where a “cease fire” was encouraged so we could get back to the “real enemies like Sylvia Brown, homeopathy, and power balance bracelets.” Like, don’t change your minds, just keep it to yourself and throw your insults at bigfoot.

          I’m pretty sure mrmisconception would agree that we most definitely should be thinking skeptically and critically about social issues. ;)

          • Profile photo of mrmisconception
            August 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

            Will, that was my fault. I changed lanes without signaling. :)

            @Mark_A_Siefert – Will is exactly right, I was talking about the people who have decided that these issues are outside of skepticism.

            As you have pointed out, these ideas often come from places that skepticism rightly fights against placing them squarely in the targets of skepticism. I would add pseudo-scientific (e.g. Evolutionary psychology) to divine and supernatural.

            I was trying too hard to say they weren’t real skeptics to notice that might come across wrong. Sorry about that.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      August 3, 2012 at 12:23 pm —

      I’ve never encountered anyone like this being taken seriously by the community.

      It might just be particularly group you interact most with? Are you experiencing this mostly online or in “meatspace”?

      I know these people exist, but I don’t think they are all that common. It’s not a typical view of most atheists/skeptics and in general, it’s not a view that is respected.

      Doesn’t mean these people don’t exist, just that they are a very small minority, and I wouldn’t classify them as a vocal minority, either.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        August 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm —

        I forgot to include one more thing:

        Homophobia and sexism are closely linked.

        We need to remember that.

        There are plenty of of homophobic undertones with the MRA crowd, for instance.

  25. Profile photo of Joel Hartman
    August 2, 2012 at 5:18 pm —

    I’ve also been told not to be so open about my homosexuality quite frequently.

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      August 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm —

      We have an entire blog on this network dedicated to skeptics and nonbelievers who are interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues called Queereka. The link is at the top of every page but here it is for your convenience: http://queereka.com/ . You may find some interesting articles and a welcoming community there. Also, Greta Christina’s blog and Natalie Reed’s blog on the FtB network actively and openly address these issues. :)

    • Profile photo of Will
      August 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm —

      That’s straight up fucked up and you should not be subjected to that. At all.

      I am not in any way trying to diminish your experiences or to say that homophobia doesn’t exist within our communities. It is possible that, as someone who blogs on a queer blog and doesn’t spend much time around self-identified skeptics in real life, that I just don’t see it as often because people tend not to direct it towards us there (and on the rare occasion that they do, we kick their ass to the curb).

      I highly suggest to you that you get away from those people. They sound like ignorant bigots and you certainly shouldn’t have to be subjected to that kind of hate.

      Also, feel free to come on over to Queereka and talk with us there! It’s a safe space and you’re always welcome to come share your experiences there.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      August 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm —

      You know, I’ve seen a bit of this. “Well, maybe if you gays weren’t so FLAMBOYANT!” That kind of stuff, right? It can sometimes be pretty subtle.

      I see what you’re saying. Especially when you consider how many MRA atheists/skeptics there are. Lots of homophobic undertones – because as I already mentioned, homophobia and sexism are closely linked.

      And that’s another thing. If we work on lessening the sexism in our society, we’ll also lessen the homophobia. There is NO WAY we are going to get rid of one without getting rid of the other.

  26. Profile photo of Joel Hartman
    August 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm —

    Ah, my mistake. Sorry for bringing it up. :)

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      August 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm —

      No need to apologize. Just wanted to help you find some good people. :)

    • Profile photo of marilove
      August 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm —

      Please don’t apologize. This is a good, needed discussion, imo :)

      I’m glad you brought it up.

      • Profile photo of Joel Hartman
        August 5, 2012 at 9:06 am —

        Well, I mean I’m sorry for bringing it up here. Apparently there’s a separate place to discuss these sort of things. Which I find disappointing, because I think there’s some common ground with issues of homophobia and sexism.

        • Profile photo of Buzz Parsec
          August 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm —

          Joel, welcome to Skepchick. Please don’t go away. While there may be specific topics and posts in Queereka that you find to be more in your particular interest, or which you find more comfortable to discuss there, I think any discussion of interest to the general skeptical community is welcome and appropriate in this blog.

          The current set of posts particularly relates to misogyny, one of the issues that brought this all into focus recently is anti-harassment policies at events and organizations, which, when done right, should and do apply equally to harassment of women, of LGBTQ people, of racial and ethnic minorities, of people with various physical or mental abilities and any other people attacked or made to feel unwelcome on any basis other than their behavior.

          (Did I cover everything? In the last bit I’m trying to preserve the right of the community to exclude people who act in an exclusionary way.)

          There have been recent posts here about other forms of harassment and also the need to make the skeptical community more inclusive, both in general and towards specific groups. (Too lazy today to list them, but if you use the “Site Search” box in the upper left and look for “inclusion”, “outreach”, “harassment”, “racism”, and similar terms, you can find dozens of posts for each.) This is a big problem and is discussed here frequently and I’m sure these topics will come up again in the near future, and I hope you will include yourself in the conversation.

          tl;dr: I don’t think mentioning homophobia is derailing this thread.

          • Profile photo of Joel Hartman
            August 5, 2012 at 3:51 pm

            I didn’t mean for this to derail any conversation. It’s pretty clear that this isn’t the appropriate place for this sort of discussion, and I don’t particularly feel comfortable continuing, so I’ll take it elsewhere.

            Please forgive me.

  27. Profile photo of victoriadashtwenty
    August 3, 2012 at 1:33 am —

    I’m really happy to read this. Matt has done a good job, not just responding to the people that have crossed the line but also the people that are engaging in polite discourse but happen to be wrong.

    I really don’t understand what’s so controversial about this blog or what Rebecca said. Literally, I will read pages of ad hominem attacks and still not be sure what the author’s actual disagreement is, except that presumably Rebecca shouldn’t have made that statement.

    • Profile photo of mrmisconception
      August 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm —

      A lot of the leaders of the “I hate Rebecca” fan clubs didn’t like her for what ever reason before the elevator incident and simply used it as a reason to unleash.

      Then there were the MRA contingent that had never heard of her before then and jumped in with both feet.

      And the fans of Dawkins that could not believe that someone would tell their savior that he was *gasp* wrong.

      Most of them have personal axes to grind pure and simple.

  28. Profile photo of forestine1
    August 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm —

    This is a great series. Thank you for doing this!

  29. Profile photo of ufischer
    August 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm —

    “I’m having a hard time asking this question without making it sound like the no true Scotsman fallacy, but what type of skeptics are you talking about?”

    I suspect the trolls and bullies are, in fact neither true scotsmen, nor true skeptics. One of the hallmarks of the Religious Right’s whining about religious freedom is their attempt to defend their right to continue bullying the rest of us into going along with their public prayer ceremonies. There is no non-religious justification for discriminating on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or physical limitations. Bible thumpers are another matter, though. :)

    Well said, Matt. Great idea putting up this series, Amy.

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