Skepchick Quickies 12.3

Yesterday I posted  a rational holiday card, which sadly is not available for shipping to the US except in bulk orders. One of our readers, however, has set up a page to gather some US orders together. Thanks Rick!


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I wish I could remember the name of the book (it may well have been “Women’s Ways of Knowing”), but it was a Feminist Theory book I read many years ago and it referred to logic as “a phallus that violates women’s minds” and equated the scientific method with rape. It was many years before I was willing to call myself a feminist again.

    For me now, I see my feminism as inseperable from my skepticism (not that I want to open up a feminism=skepticism can of worms… we all know where that leads). It’s about examining a claim, in this case claims about gender roles, and asking if it really makes sense, or has any real evidence supporting it. It works both ways. Sometimes the “feminist” side makes claims about gender roles and gender identity that are just as outlandish and unfounded in the light of reality as those of the “patriarchy.” Like so many things in our complicated lives, rationality trumps ideology every time (imo).

  2. I’ll leave the rational holiday card order page up for about a week, then I’ll place the order. I don’t know how to prove it isn’t a scam, so I won’t try. Thanks, Amanda.


  3. @fatsplenda: I agree the announcement was handled poorly, but hey, a bacteria that uses arsenic in a way that hasn’t been seen before is still really damn cool.

    Oh wait, now I see PZ’s footnote…they didn’t prove that, they just speculated. Well, shit.

  4. Well at least we can start the SciFi speculation about methane breathing arsenic eating genetically modified humans who are able to survive hostile other-planet environments. And of course they’ll come back to earth and conquer us but that’ll be in the third book of the trilogy.

  5. RE: Science is not the oppressor

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thankyouthankyouthankyou. I’m glad someone else wrote this, so I didn’t have to.

  6. @Amanda: Yeah, sad face indeed.

    I happen to have the privilege of working at JPL, and this kind of poorly-handled publicity occurs way more often even just on the projects that I am a part of, not to mention the others at JPL in which I have no role and those going on at all other NASA science centers. It’s just… frustrating. I’m there, firsthand, shouting, “No, THIS is how it is…” and nobody listens.

  7. Ditto, @im_robertb. That post especially reminded me of a long conversation I had with a self-described “radical feminist” colleague of mine about the Lancet meta-analysis on home birthing a while back. She, like many others, responded with outrage to the rather shoddy reporting and misrepresentations of the paper that were circulating on the internet.

    Linking her to the actual paper helped a lot to assuage her concerns, but she was ultimately unable to shake the feeling that medical intervention in childbirth is just another way for the patriarchy to control women’s bodies. Try as I might to sympathise with her viewpoint, the simple fact that childbirth used to be a (the?) leading cause of death for women until science got involved in the process just makes it impossible for me.

    I’m glad to have this article on hand for the next time I get involved in such a discussion. Does anyone here have any other advice for situations like these? I tend to get tarred as anti-feminist whenever I try to argue against the rather postmodern, lit-critty, alternate-means-of-knowing style of feminism that is popular in my discipline (oh, the humanities!), since pointing out and explaining logical fallacies is sometimes perceived as the equivalent of the old patriarchal “you’re being irrational”.

  8. That some men have used the phrase “you’re being irrational” and, at least partially, meant “you’re being a woman” is not a good reason for rejecting rationality as a tool of male oppression.

  9. Hi Fatsplenda,
    I’m a bored-out-of-my-mind technical writer. I’d love to come help NASA out with pressers and stuff. ;-)

    Yeah, lots of people were speculating about things like an announcement that NASA found alien life or a habitable planet, etc. I don’t think they could have kept a story like that quiet for long – Someone would leak it. My guess was something along the lines of what was announced…something cool, but not overwhelmingly awesome like ET or warp drive.

  10. @delictuscoeli It’s possible to believe that the medicalization of childbearing is a way to control the bodies of women and still be rational. Other developed countries treat childbirth in a different light and experience higher maternal and neonate health. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that radical home-birthing is the solution but doubting the necessity of constant medical intervention in pregnancy is not inherently irrational, either.

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