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HEYO it’s the Sundaylies with Whiplash, Radio Astronomy and Art, Grace Hopper, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Cake, Mammoths and Male Privilege

Hello weekend warriors and friends near and far!

It’s the best moment of the week on this here Skepchick network. It’s when I take a GIANT leaf blower and blow alllllll of the best posts of the week into a giant pile and then we all run and jump into them. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee.

I love Sundays. SO laaaaaaazy and leafy.

Big shout-out to all the weird religions out there who forced the shutdown of schools and work so people could worship what they believe and not do jack-shit on Sundays. I believe that today I will worship a mimosa and maybe a vegan BBQ sandwich. Gotta rest up and recharge so we can be ready for the start of the work-week so we can slowly infiltrate the patriarchy and start a REVOLUTION. But for now, sit back, adjust your sunhat and read some of the best writing on these here intertubes this week!

First off, for the Sunday Funnies, here is a fantabulous comic I spotted by Unearthed Comics.

The artist is Sara Zimmerman and she even has a science comic book! What? I know, awesome right!

Be sure to check out her site with recent posts and her many other cool comic offerings!

unearthed

 

 

Now on to your regularly scheduled Sunday Skepchick Network Recap!

Mad Art Lab

Mad Art Cast has a new episode out. It’s about that movie Whiplash and how much we hated most of it! Why? Let some artists and a jazz trained musician explain.

Busting myths about Radio Astronomy with my art AND Noisy Astronomer! That there featured image up above is the art I made to go with that story. Go forth and read!

Learn a thing or two about Grace Hopper and the Democratization of Computer Programing WITH a comic to go along with it!

Queereka

Identity versus perception. Ser wants to know how your self-identity versus people’s perception of you plays out in your life!

We Have More To Worry About Than Not Getting Cake, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  Trav provides some examples of things LGBT people have to worry about other than not being served cake.

School of Doubt

Peter Nonacs argues in favour of UCLA’s new requirement that all students satisfy a ‘diversity’ requirement in their coursework.

J.D. Fisher tackles the problem of ‘explicit’ instruction methodologies (such as lecture), which paradoxically seem to produce better results in the research literature while still being held up as the barrier to progress in education.
Giliell wonders how language teachers should approach polycentric languages like Spanish that have multiple standards. What is really best for students’ needs?

Grounded Parents

Erich reviews a children’s book all about prehistoric creatures. The book, “Mammoth is Mopey,” is being crowdfunded and is still looking for contributors. If you’re a cool aunt/uncle, this would make a great gift!
Chris is raising a child in a poly relationship and talks about the privilege of monogamy and the blind spots of skeptics/social justice types with regards to this issue.
Steph takes on the topic of Male Privilege and gives examples of the kinds of situations that women frequently face that men might not think about.

 

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Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics. She is the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+. Tip Jar is here.

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57 Comments

  1. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is wrong about a lot, and her quotation sounded offensive, but I think what she really meant is that the worst that the Christian community can do LEGALLY is not serve people cake. Of course, even that reading of it isn’t true, since people can be fired for being gay, which is worse than not getting cake. It was a clumsy quotation and isn’t good even in the best interpretation, but just wanted to mention that I think the worst interpretation isn’t actually what she meant.

    1. All we have to go on are the words she actually said. Your interpretation requires us to introduce information about her intent that is, as of now, unknown. A literal interpretation does not require us to divine her intentions. If she meant something else, she should issue a clarification statement.

      So it’s not really about a best or worst interpretation. It’s about taking her at her word or trying to excuse her words by adding in imagined intentions.

      1. I’m really not introducing anything new into her words. It’s just how you interpret the words that she actually used, together with a little common sense.

        She said, “the worst the Christian community can do to gay people is not serve them cake.” She did not say, “the worst the Christian community does to gay people is not serve them cake.” The question is what work is that word “can” doing? And how does one answer this question together with the common sense that of course she knows that in some sense Christian people can and do do all kinds of awful things to gay people?

        My answer to it is that the word “can” means “can legally” because otherwise she’s saying something clearly untrue. This is a meaning of the word “can” that people use ALL THE TIME. Has someone ever said to you, “You can’t go over 65mph on this road.” to a friend, or something similar? Did you think that person meant that your car literally would not go over 65mph on that road? We could think of thousands of examples like this. (“You can’t fire someone for being black because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964” … yes you can, just not legally. “Companies can’t just dump toxic waste in municipal water supplies” … yes they can, just not legally. etc.) So it’s really not such a stretch for me to assume she meant something similar. You’re making a different assumption, but it’s by no means the one implied by her words, unless you also think that someone who says you can’t go above 65mph literally means that your car will not move faster than 65mph.

        1. Yes, except they can fire you for being gay in 29 states (and for being transgender in 34), legally.

          In that case she would be simply wrong, a charitable interpretation would be she didn’t know that, her history of downplaying threats outside of Islam leads me to not be so charitable with my interpretation.

          I think she was playing the Oppression Olympics to strengthen her case, she’s within her rights to do so but the erasure makes me a bit queasy. And I’m not even the one being erased.

          1. I agree! Notice that in my original comment, I wrote, “Of course, even that reading of it isn’t true, since people can be fired for being gay, which is worse than not getting cake”

        2. Dude, this is a bunch of horseshit.

          I’m really not introducing anything new into her words. It’s just how you interpret the words that she actually used, together with a little common sense.

          “I’m not introducing anything new into her words” followed by two entire paragraphs explaining how we have to introduce the word “legally” into her comments to make sense of them.

          My answer to it is that the word “can” means “can legally” because otherwise she’s saying something clearly untrue.

          That’s not a reason to change her words, dude. People say untrue things all the time. She was trying to score rhetorical points.

          And, even if I were to grant you this absurd line of “reasoning,” she is then comparing apples to oranges. Compare legal frameworks in the US to legal frameworks elsewhere. Don’t compare legal frameworks in the US to extreme acts of violence and pretend that you’re comparing the same thing.

          1. Will —
            My point is that the word “can” is used ALL THE TIME to mean “can legally.” This isn’t some esoteric addition. It’s simply common usage. If you’re some kind of hyperliteralist who doesn’t think that the word “can” ever has a meaning of “can legally,” then you probably struggle to make it through a typical day.

            I don’t think that you struggle to make it through a typical day, so I don’t think you’re actually a hyperliteralist with this comprehension deficit that you’re implying you have. So I can only conclude that you just enjoy picking fights.

            You can fight by yourself from here on. I think I’ve made my point and anyone reading this can decide for her/himself whether what each of us is saying is reasonable.

          2. “Don’t compare legal frameworks in the US to extreme acts of violence and pretend that you’re comparing the same thing.”

            I agree that it’s a shitty comparison, but in the Islamic State, which some people (notably, those trying to bring about a caliphate) think is a country, it is legal to throw gay people from the roofs of buildings. And it’s not legal to do so in the US.

            I think there’s lots of negative stuff that one can say about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I’ve said lots of negative stuff about her. And I think that her comment here, even with the best possible interpretation, is highly problematic!

          3. My point is that the word “can” is used ALL THE TIME to mean “can legally.” This isn’t some esoteric addition. It’s simply common usage.

            Citation needed. Give me some examples.

            If you’re some kind of hyperliteralist who doesn’t think that the word “can” ever has a meaning of “can legally,” then you probably struggle to make it through a typical day.

            I’m a “hyperliteralist” because I am taking her words at face value and not reading into them some meaning that I genuinely have no way of knowing if that’s what she meant? And for expecting her to be precise in her claims?

            I don’t think that you struggle to make it through a typical day, so I don’t think you’re actually a hyperliteralist with this comprehension deficit that you’re implying you have. So I can only conclude that you just enjoy picking fights.

            Yes, that must be it. It’s not that I might have a valid, honestly-arrived-at opinion and that you and I disagree about the value of reading into people’s words. It must be that I want to pick a fight.

            You can fight by yourself from here on. I think I’ve made my point and anyone reading this can decide for her/himself whether what each of us is saying is reasonable.

            Haha, okay, flounce away then!

            Oh, wait……..there’s another comment……..

            I agree that it’s a shitty comparison, but in the Islamic State, which some people (notably, those trying to bring about a caliphate) think is a country, it is legal to throw gay people from the roofs of buildings. And it’s not legal to do so in the US.

            If you agree that it is a shitty comparison, why do you go to such great lengths to defend it?

            I think there’s lots of negative stuff that one can say about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and I’ve said lots of negative stuff about her. And I think that her comment here, even with the best possible interpretation, is highly problematic!

            Okay, so why are we having this conversation? Why are you insisting that I read her with “the best possible interpretation” (i.e., your interpretation) even though it would still be highly problematic?

          4. “Citation needed. Give me some examples.”

            Examples already given. See above. A few more, from Time:
            http://time.com/3674416/super-bowl-nfl-copyright-ads/
            and CNN:
            http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/05/technology/fcc-net-neutrality-cases/
            and EW:
            http://www.ew.com/gallery/profane-TV-characters
            and a version of the highway example I gave:
            http://townhall.com/watchdog/ohio/2015/03/25/cant-drive-75-ohio-n7434
            and I could do this all day. But really, please just read this time.

            “I’m a “hyperliteralist” because I am taking her words at face value and not reading into them some meaning that I genuinely have no way of knowing if that’s what she meant?”
            Do you honestly think it’s conceivable that she meant that Christians in this country are literally incapable of doing anything worse to gay people than not serving them cake? Like, what could she possibly think would happen to a Christian if s/he tried to do something worse than not giving a gay person cake — her/his arms would fall off?
            Come on, the alternative suggestion I made is the only reasonable interpretation. It might not be what she meant, but it’s far more reasonable than what you seem to think.

            “If you agree that it is a shitty comparison, why do you go to such great lengths to defend it?”

            I didn’t defend it! I said, in my first post, that “even that reading of it isn’t true, since people can be fired for being gay, which is worse than not getting cake. It was a clumsy quotation and isn’t good even in the best interpretation.” That’s not a defense!

            “Okay, so why are we having this conversation?”

            Because I think it’s good to proceed from the most reasonable interpretation of facts. Ali is bad enough when one considers exactly what she means — we needn’t reach for an interpretation of her words that’s almost certainly not what she meant in order to critique her.

          5. This is getting tedious.

            @donbloc – Why are we having a semantics argument about whether Will is allowed to be skeptical of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s intentions?

            You have proffered the explanation that you feel best represents what she meant by adding an implied “legally” into her statement and have given examples of how language uses the word “can” in that way. Fair enough, it is a reasonable interpretation, one which you conclude still makes her wrong.

            Where I have an issue however is in your assertion of what Will’s interpretation must be. By saying that his interpretation adds an implicit “literally” you are setting up a dichotomy that doesn’t exist. Since “literally” makes her statement nonsensical (as you pointed out). You seem to be saying that Will a) thinks that AHA is nonsensical (something I’m not getting from him), b) that Will sees nothing wrong with this nonsensical interpretation (which would mean Will has trouble parsing reality, something I don’t think you believe), or c) that Will is using that interpretation to make Ms. Hirsi Ali seem nonsensical (while he has said he’s not inclined toward charity I don’t see him as hostile toward Ms. Ali either).

            There are of course other ways to take Will’s insistence on that interpretation (which he never insisted on I might add) just as there plenty of other words that could be implicit in her statement, all of which greatly change the meaning.

            “The worst the Christian community can technically do to gay people is not serve them cake.” – This would be wrong. While the test case was about cake it speaks to the larger idea of not withholding goods and services that are available to the general public thus creating a de facto “protected class” in this narrow situation.

            “The worst the Christian community can sarcastically do to gay people is not serve them cake.” – Also not true. While it would be more of a ironic hipster joke along the lines of “neener, neener, neener, no cake for you” I know plenty of people who could be far more sarcastic.

            “The worst the Christian community can really do to gay people is not serve them cake.” – Not true, but also much closer to her actual words than either legally or literally. There are far worse things done to the LGBTQ community in this country on a daily basis and, while they are not usually as extreme as what is happening in Islamic nations, they are not to be dismissed, bring it all back to the “dear Muslima” interpretation.

            There is a better less convoluted explanation than any of these. Maybe, just maybe, Will was interpreting her words in the exact way that she said them, not adding any extra words.

            “The worst the Christian community can do to gay people is not serve them cake.” – It is a bit ambiguous and comes across as dismissive. Since Will is not inclined to give Ms. Ali a favorable interpretation (for reasons given elsewhere) he believed what she said without spinning it.

            No wonder we humans can’t agree on interpretations of ancient documents, we can’t even parse shit that was said last week without adding layers of our own baggage. Yeesh.

          6. I thought you were done with the thread? =P

            There is a big difference between the examples you gave and AHA’s speech. Those examples contextualize their statements by explaining they are talking about the law. I do not have to infer intent behind those uses of “can” or “can’t” because the articles explicitly discuss legality. AHA did not do that, so your attempt to add “legally” into her discussion is based not on the content of her speech, but on your own interpretation, which I do not share.

            Do you honestly think it’s conceivable that she meant that Christians in this country are literally incapable of doing anything worse to gay people than not serving them cake?

            No, absolutely not. Which is why I think it’s fucking absurd that you’re accusing me of being a hyperliteralist because that’s not how I took her statement at all.

            In the context of her speech, her comparison to the violence inflicted upon queer people in the Middle East, I took her statement to mean the worst harm Christians can inflict upon queer people in the US is to not serve them cake. That does not require me to interpret “can” in some sort of Bill-Clintonesque fashion, because she is making a direct comparison. As I have already said, if she was trying to compare legal framework to extreme violence, I reject that way of comparing the violences inflicted upon queer lives–and, in fact, I reject the comparison at all because I am not interested in oppression olympics. Structural, symbolic, direct, and cultural violence are wrong. Period.

            Come on, the alternative suggestion I made is the only reasonable interpretation. It might not be what she meant, but it’s far more reasonable than what you seem to think.

            Think really hard about these two sentences and what you are saying here. You are arguing with me that there is only one possible interpretation of what AHA meant in her statement–your interpretation–and then you proceed to admit that it might not be what she meant. How can you possibly make those arguments in tandem?

            The difference between the arguments we are making is that I don’t actually think your interpretation is unreasonable. I just think it’s incorrect, and I am explaining that the reason I think it is incorrect is because you are introducing too many unknown variables (e.g., her intent) into the fray. My interpretation does not require that and is actually more parsimonious.

            I didn’t defend it!

            You are defending AHA’s words from what you perceive of as an “unreasonable” interpretation. You are insisting that I read her words in the only way you have deemed to be acceptable. You are simultaneously arguing that my understanding of her words is unreasonable but also that under your interpretation it was still unreasonable, but rather than focusing on the terribly shitty things she said under either of our interpretations, you have made this entire thing about how *I* am unreasonable and *I* am looking to pick a fight.

            Forgive me if you don’t come across as someone who is interested in criticizing AHA when all you’ve really done here is criticize me for not seeing her words in the only framework which you have deemed acceptable.

            Because I think it’s good to proceed from the most reasonable interpretation of facts. Ali is bad enough when one considers exactly what she means — we needn’t reach for an interpretation of her words that’s almost certainly not what she meant in order to critique her.

            I’m only going to say this one more time. I’m not reaching for an interpretation. I took her words at face value in context. You are the one who is reaching for an interpretation and arguing that it is “almost certainly” what she meant, but you have no way of knowing that short of her issuing a clarification. You are insisting that I take up all of these unfounded claims you are making, but I am the one who has refused to introduce extraneous information to interpret her words.

            And yes to everything mrmisconception said.

    2. I’m sorry, Ms. Ali is a published author and world famous, in demand public speaker. I assume that when she says something she means it. So I assume when she says something dismissive, mocking and insulting then she meant to be dismissive, mocking and insulting. Taking her words at face value is me being generous.

      And I’m certain it’s not insulting at all to queer Muslims around the world to be used as props in her little morality play.

      1. I assume that she meant more for the people who claim to fight for social justice, but then…really drop the ball wrt: radical Islam. In fact, going so far as to defend the most radical elements. I mean, here on Skepchick, I remember Olivia defending a Holocaust denier in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings. (Not just you, Olivia: SJ bloggers all over the internets were looking for a reason the killers were right and the French government was wrong.)

        tl;dr: The topic of radical Islam tends to leave a lot of us jaded.

  2. We have far more to go on than just Ayaan Hirsi Ali words. There is her history and previous statements, non of which leads me to think she is offensive. An offensive person will have a pattern of behaviour showing their true colours.

    Everyone screws up, everyone, let see if similar things happen in the future, or if its a one off.

    1. I wouldn’t say that this small portion of her larger speech was out of character for her.

      While she is impassioned and quite often right her drive to thwart Islam can lead to radical statements on her part. Her Time.com piece in which she seems to suggest we thought-police immigrants comes to mind.

      Her goal is to end Islam and sometimes she can tend to throw other considerations (like LGBTQ rights, and basic humanity) under the bus. It makes her human and certainly not above criticism, not that you would know it is some circles.

        1. It is a bit much. Though I could see the Wyandot taking issue with the idea that Dearborn is ‘Muslim land’. (Though some of the more conservative sects of Islam are indeed irredentists of the most extreme sort, that any land that ever belonged to a Muslim is perpetually Muslim land.)

          I will say that some Somalis in MN are joining ISIS. Though the Somali community leaders are trying their best to discourage it.

  3. What do you object to? The fact that as a young woman she lied to escape a forced marriage? Which, by the way, she has never denied, even to all her political colleagues. Since that lie to obtain citizenship she has educated and bettered herself.

    Everyone has skeletons in the cupboard! You, me, everyone, at some point you have to think what are the statute of limitation on dirt? I this day and age every mistake you make is forever.

    You can find dirt if you look hard enough, indeed digging up dirt on politicians is high on any opposition agenda.

    1. I’m talking about more than just the lie she told but also the things she did while involved with the Dutch government. Here’s a more recent and in-depth article about her history.

      This isn’t about digging up dirt against politicians, nor is it about pretending she has more or fewer skeletons in her closet so to speak (my skeletons, whatever they are, sure as shit do not involve perjury and defending the actions of mass-murdering terrorists). It is about demonstrating a “pattern of behaviors,” as you called it, that I say do not inspire me to read positive intentions into her words. I will take them at face value and reject any attempts to excuse away the shitty things she’s said based on some imagined good intention on her part. Her history does not inspire me to give her the benefit of the doubt.

        1. Did you just make this about anti-semitism? That is like a half step away from godwinning this entire thread. Will made a valid point about a topic from the post with a relevant link. If you want to play “games” I will go in change your user name to Jon Hitler on every one of your comments.

          Hey did you guys read any of those other cool links up there? Like the ones about art and science? I recommend them too.

        2. I have no idea what this has to do with anything. I’m not playing games. I am simply saying that AHA’s history does not inspire me to read good intentions into her terrible comments.

        3. The link names Max Blumenthal (the author of the post Will linked) as one of the top 10 anti-Semites of 2013.

          It’s poisoning the well at the very least and it’s completely irrelevant as to whether Ms. Hirsi Ali should be given the benefit of the doubt about words she actually spoke.

          I’ve noticed that anti-Semitism is a hot-button for Jon so I’m hoping this was a knee-jerk reaction rather then a suggestion that because an author was called an anti-Semite by a right-wing newspaper (because he used what they deemed inappropriate titles for chapters in his book) that the facts he’s reporting becomes irrelevant.

        4. Actually, I don’t feel that he’s anti-Semitic. I was more pointing out that “Give me six lines written by an innocent man, and I can find something to hang him.”

          I do feel, however, that Blumenthal’s one of the white liberals who takes a romantic but condescending, Noble Savage view of Islam. The ones who try to shut me up if I mention that Ayatollah Khamenei has given David Duke a forum on Iranian state television. Or if I talk about West Papua. Some have even told me the Kurds are ‘privileged. (Number of Arab states: 21 Number of Kurdish states: 0) Now, as someone who is anti-David Duke and pro-indigenous rights…

          In recent years, the radical Islamists and their white allies have been doing this shit in the name of ‘indigenous rights’, and as an old-school anti-imperialist, I feel defamed.

          You’re also gaslighting, Will. And I think that article includes a bit of implication that Theo van Gogh deserved to be murdered? So, victim-blaming?

          1. Oh, and I want you all to be aware that I actually linked to David Duke’s time on Press TV above, though I did go through Do Not Link.

            So, I was not well-poisoning. (That’s another thing gaslighters do, Will. Mention fallacies that are completely irrelevant.)

            And why is Blumenthal pissed off about American Sniper. Could one person answer that? I hear all this talk about how the movie is racist, but no substantive examples of this bias.

          2. First off Jon, I was the one who mentioned poisoning the well. You appeared to be linking the article on Blumenthal to discredit his criticism of Ms. Hirsi Ali. I’m glad that’s not what you were doing, it’s one thing to disagree with someone’s viewpoint without impugning their work.

            Also, I’m not seeing how Will is gaslighting anyone, you want to tell us what you were referring to?

          3. I genuinely have no fucking idea what you’re on about.

            I haven’t gaslighted anyone. Give a specific example or an apology.

          4. Blumenthal, in the article you linked to, was saying she ‘was never Muslim’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but without evidence of that, wouldn’t that be a form of gaslighting?

            It certainly reminds me of when Gamergaters say Anita Sarkeesian doesn’t ‘really’ play video games.

          5. No, Blumenthal was suggesting that her upbringing was far less fundamental then she had said not that she was never a Muslim.

            Even if you see that as gaslighting it would be Blumenthal that is gaslighting, not Will. He was pointing to that article because someone asked what previous actions he objected to.

  4. Ok i’v read the article:
    Regarding the ‘Dutch lie’ this appears to be a rehash, non of the facts are in dispute (both documented in her book ‘Infidel’, and in the wikipedia) I can’t find anything new. So what things are you referring to, re “things she did while involved with the Dutch Government”.

    Re – skeletons we may take a broad approach and include things we said or wrote and later regretted. It could also include things that in the light of hindsight could have been better phrased or thought through. In these days everything we say or do can be recorded for eternity, statistically we are going to get things wrong.

    re- pattern of behaviour, what pattern? she fully admitted all her deceit to the Dutch government prior to her becoming a politician. Her story about her running away from her husband and the subsequent meetings that followed don’t differ from the wiki nor ‘Infidel’.

    The 70% statistic is too recent and I haven’t looked into it, so we will have to see what transpires with that.

    Anyhow hear is an opinion of her speech, do you think it would change your mind? http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/04/06/ayaan-hirsi-alis-powerful-speech-against-islamic-extremism/

    extract – “Only through a completely uncharitable interpretation of her words would anyone think she doesn’t care about LGBT people or that she was minimizing their experiences. She was talking about a religion and culture that she knows very well and trying to get the audience to experience that faith through her eyes.”

    1. Will is simply stating (in my estimation, I don’t speak for Will) that he is not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt because of her past actions. He is taking her words as they stand unless she further clarifies and I would tend to agree with that position.

      AHA has a tendency to be hyperbolic to paint Islam in the worst possible light, understandable if her back story is as she claims (something else that is in dispute) but also a good reason to not give her too much leeway.

      As to the article you linked to, perhaps you missed the earlier post on that very article (HERE, you should read it). Hemant is inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt, going so far as to give a tacit endorsement to Atheist Ireland (and Michael Nugent) for cutting ties with PZ Myers because he was less inclined to be so charitable (among other things).

      There are some in the atheist movement who say we should follow AHA’s lead when it comes to Islam because she has been there and has been effected by the problems inherent in that religion, those same people seem to be thirsty for an ex-Muslim to give us insight because in our part of the world ex-Muslim atheists (which it is not clear AHA even is) are not in abundance.

      There are other who point out that what she wants to do in the name of combating Islam amounts to a war against an entire religion and all of its adherents regardless of the harm they are personally doing. Perhaps that is not her intent but given the severity of that path (and the results of others who have traveled it) I personally have no issue with using caution. Listen to her, sure, but blindly following may not be a wise idea.

      I will take her at her word until she clarifies, after all a “Dear Muslima” statement from her is far from the worst misstep she has made. I admire her but not to the point where I will overlook the problems I see in her positions, after all to do so would be as bad as blind faith.

      1. Will is simply stating (in my estimation, I don’t speak for Will) that he is not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt because of her past actions. He is taking her words as they stand unless she further clarifies and I would tend to agree with that position.

        Yep, exactly.

      2. I am simply trying to find out what ‘Will’ finds objectionable about Ayaan. He previously stated, Quote “I’m talking about more than just the lie she told but also the things she did while involved with the Dutch government.” The link ddi not add to things already on public record.
        My question is, why that should colour his perception of her stance on gay rights (something she openly supports, for the West and is advocating for in islamic nations). We both agree that the “eating cake” reference is not the best.
        My point was that even thought “eating cake” was poorly thought through, that does not distract from her philosophy that gay rights are and should be supported.

        Please clarify for me Will, but do you think Ayaan is anti Gay because of this ‘slip up’ (perceived or real) or do you conceded it just a poor turn of phrase?

        1. When did Will say (or imply) that she was anti-gay?

          Ms. Ali’s statement was dismissive of LGBTQ struggles in the US in much the same way that Dawkin’s “dear Muslima” statement was.

          That does not mean that she is anti-gay (she is most definitely advocating for gays under Muslim rule) and Will never said she was.

          It does not mean she is indifferent to the struggles of the LGBTQ community in the US, just that we (another ambiguous part of her statement, who is WE?) should stop spending resources on fighting it while gays are being persecuted by the far worse threat of Islam.

          As to what Will finds offensive, I’m not sure why it is relevant since the ONLY thing he has said is that he is not inclined to give her a lenient interpretation. But, if you really need reasons I would think that 1) her lying to get into The Netherlands (regardless of motive, we are talking about a pattern), 2) the way she handled leaving The Netherlands, 3) her work with The American Enterprise Institute, 4) her stating that Anders Breivik “had no other choice but to use violence” because of Europe’s refusal to deal with Islam, and there are more but we are defending Will’s ability to interpret her words so I’m guessing we’ve establish enough of a pattern.

          Now, none of this should brand Ms. Hirsi Ali as persona non grata any more than the tragedy that follows her should install her as a martyr. But all Will is saying is this history is enough to keep him from giving her words a more charitable interpretation. That is all, really, that is all that he has said.

          Again, I do not speak for Will, but I find it interesting that I keep having to defend his decision to take someone at their word simply because that person is deemed above reproach.

          1. The implication is well documented. The point of contention began with me stating that “we have far more than just her words” (in that speech) to go on regarding the intent behind the speech, because pervious posts had made statements along the lines of “I assume that when she says something she means it.” (and similar).

            However I stated that if someone truly has something to say about something they say on more than one occasion, i.e. a pattern of behaviour shows intent with far more certainty than a one off. This was all In the context of gay rights.

            ‘Will’ then posted these comments and links – “Her history does not inspire me to think positively about her.” and “I’m talking about more than just the lie she told but also the things she did while involved with the Dutch government.”
            Will has yet to show what relevance this has to the original “serve them cake”. I presume he means she has a flawed character which justifies the “shitty things she said” He clarifies his point with “Her history does not inspire me to give her the benefit of the doubt.”

            So it seems the link is well established i.e. Ayaan’s history puts her true intentions (with respect to Gay rights) in doubt.

            My quote of “Please clarify for me Will, but do you think Ayaan is anti Gay because of this ‘slip up’ (perceived or real) or do you conceded it just a poor turn of phrase?” IS A QUESTION!

            Will has not explicitly stated that Ayaan is anti Gay, but he has most certainly implied it with the no “benefit of doubt” quote.

          2. Nope, he was asked what behavior makes him not inclined to not give her the benefit of the doubt. That was when the link was given, to establish a pattern of missteps not to further her current statement.

            He said that her statement was dismissive of the dangers to the LGBTQ community in the US to make a shitty rhetorical point. At no point did he imply that she was anti-gay, only that she was making a shitty rhetorical point to further her cause.

            He did not imply that she was anti-gay, all that is inference on your part. And for what? Taking her words as given? What is this reverence that we must give to Ms. Hirsi Ali, I don’t get it. She is not above reproach and shouldn’t be, no one should be.

            There seems to be a pattern when it comes to holding atheists and skeptics to their word. If you dare point out the shitty (or questionable) things that Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Ali, Tyson, Penn, Maher, etc., etc. have said you are at the very least expected to give a detailed account as to how you could believe that they believe the shitty or wrong thing they just said. You are not allowed by some to take people at their word without giving them a favorable spin without justification.

            We aren’t supposed to have dogma and gods and all that stuff but we sure do act like it sometimes.

  5. I sorry ‘mrmisconception’ but you are wrong.
    The point about Ayaan quote being dismissive to the dangers of the LDBTQ is NOT in dispute! What IS in dispute is the linking her past behaviour to her intentions. There can only be a few possibilities, Ayaan meant to disrespect the LDBTQ, or the quote was poorly thought through, right?
    So given Ayaan’s history what do you think is the more reasonable?

    Please follow the sequence of events below:

    I stated (in reference too her “serve cake statement”) – We have far more to go on than just Ayaan Hirsi Ali words. There is her history and previous statements, non of which leads me to think she is offensive. An offensive person will have a pattern of behaviour showing their true colours.
    Everyone screws up, everyone, let see if similar things happen in the future, or if its a one off.

    Will replied – Her history does not inspire me to think positively about her.

    I replied – What do you object to? ………snip.

    Will replied – I’m talking about more than just the lie she told but also the things she did while involved with the Dutch government…….snip……It is about demonstrating a “pattern of behaviors,” as you called it, that I say do not inspire me to read positive intentions into her words….snip…I will take them at face value and reject any attempts to excuse away the shitty things she’s said based on some imagined good intention on her part. Her history does not inspire me to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    I replied – Ok i’v read the article….. Paraphrasing > nothing was presented that explains what exactly Will objects to about Ayaan and why this should colour his judgement of her.

    Will has yet to explain what he finds in Ayaan history “that does not inspire him to give her the benefit of the doubt”.

    And the benefit of the doubt follows from my initial point about having “more than just the words to go on” and “pattern of behaviour” with respect to her stance on gay rights.

    Your point about dogma is appropriate and in this case members of Skepchick are also not above reproach.

    1. I’m not sure why you are insisting that he meant what he has specifically said he did not mean (which is clarification, something we haven’t gotten from AHA), but that’s fine.

      If you feel that is what he meant then that’s what he meant to you, me pointing out what he actually said hasn’t changed your opinion to this point so I don’t see it will change with further repetition.

      1. In keeping with the theme of the thread, I will assume it is because they refuse to take others’ words at face value and instead choose to read whatever they want to into them.

        1. I directly said she wasn’t anti-gay and that she was making a shitty rhetorical point. A direct answer to your question.

          Will agreed with what I wrote. A tacit answer to your question.

          Your question has been answered, you just haven’t excepted the answer.

    2. The point about Ayaan quote being dismissive to the dangers of the LDBTQ is NOT in dispute! What IS in dispute is the linking her past behaviour to her intentions.

      I think I have identified the problem, it’s misattribution.

      Her past behaviors are not being linked to her intentions but rather to our willingness to give her a favorable reading.

      I hope that clears things up.

      1. But will, if you and 4tune8chance don’t keep this thread going, I may never be able to decide whether Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves the benefit of the doubt when I consider her incredibly boneheaded remarks!

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