Skepchick Quickies 12. 20


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

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  1. “was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher, or a rapist teacher?”

    Um, there is only one correct answer: a teacher. It’s a common fallacy — a subset can’t be greater than the whole. Although, I suppose it could be equal.

    This seems odd. it’s almost like they were trying to test if people are biased against a certain group and if they are likely to fall prey to a common fallacy at the same time.

  2. Yeah, that survey question is odd. Even ignoring the set/subset thing above, if you think there are more atheists than rapists, you’d say atheist too.

  3. That Indian sanitary napkin story is cool, and he tried to get women involved in the process, and resorted to doing it himself as a last resort. It seems he is more of a feminist than most of the women around him.

    1. Uuuuh. I really, really doubt it has to do with the women being “less feminist” than this man, and rather with the fact that they have other things to worry about. “How long are we going to live, anyway?” is a pretty telling statement.

      1. I took that statement to mean that the women did not value women much, while this inventor obviously does.

        1. I didn’t read it that women don’t value women, but rather they have other things to worry about, and also their culture generally views the period as gross and taboo, so it’s not something they would naturally jump to. This isn’t, “Women hating women!” but rather a culture that just isn’t used to talking about periods. This man is awesome, of course, but I dont’ think he’s more of a feminist, or that these women hate women.

          1. I went to click “like” on this. It doesn’t seem a matter of this dude caring more, it’s that women have a whole fucking lot of shit to do.

        2. Basically: You’re viewing this issue from your eyes, and your culture. The culture these women live in are far different from what you are used to. It is not normal for them to talk about periods. It’s shameful for them. Hopefully this man can help change that, but just because they weren’t willing to talk about it doesn’t mean they don’t value women.

        3. FURTHER, because I’m clearly having issues putting my words down in one comment:D

          ““How long are we going to live, anyway?”

          Does not imply that they don’t value women. That statement explains that they live hard and short lives. It means that they don’t think they are going to live very long anyway, so why does it matter if they may eventually need a hysterectomy? By then they are near death, anyway, so instead they are going to utilize their time to worry about feeding their families.

        1. yeah, hkdharmon’s statements bother me, because they are clearly coming from a place of privilege and not at all considering that this is an entirely different culture, and that they live far shorter lives than we do, and that their lives are harder. This man is clearly opening doors for women and will hopefully make it easier for women to discuss this sort of thing, but not being willing to discuss something that is so taboo in their culture doesn’t mean they “don’t value women”.


  4. Hurrah, the Indian inventor is quite a hero in my book!

    That survey, I agree, is basically flawed. Their results are only about the opinions of people who fall for logical fallacies. I’d love to see a proper study on this, one that is not biased against people who understand set theory.

  5. So glad the inventor turned out to not be a nutter and invented something awesome! Honestly, I don’t know how I would feel if a family member of mine had a storeroom of used feminine napkins. Without a through understanding of the scientific method, that would equate to nuts-to-me. And then to decide to help his community by keeping his napkins affordable to the disadvantaged is simply awesome! Good for him!

  6. While I get why people are upset by the headlines they’ve read about the survey on how religious people view atheists, it’s worth looking at the actual study because the mainstream reporting is distorting the actual study to create sensational headlines. UBC does some really interesting research into belief and atheism, including into what makes people more likely to cling to religious beliefs, etc. I don’t quite get why people are so surprised that religious people see atheists as being more likely to be unethical, it goes hand in hand with the belief that many religious people seem to hold that they NEED the rules of their religion to act as moral people. It’s not surprising that people who grew up conforming to external rules about moral behaviour, rather than having an internal ethical compass that they rely upon to guide their behaviour, have this perspective on atheists (though, of course, it says more about those particular believers own lack of internally generated ethics and does raise some questions on just what they’re repressing because of those external rules).

    And I love the pad innovator! That takes a guy being cool and secure enough to buy you tampons when you need them to a whole other level!

  7. The Indian inventor needs to be contacted immediately by WHO for licensing arrangements to have his machine made available internationally; much of Africa, for instance, has the same problem as India (a lack of sanitary napkins hindering girls’ progress in school and women’s health).

    On top of that, it’s small enough that it can be used to provide employment for a handful of women in the village (I suspect most of the folks who make these are women, due to the taboos involved). Micro-scale businesses are precisely what these villages need to build their economies.


    One thing to note about the atheist/rapist study (credit to PZ who pointed this out when the study first started making the rounds): While being a crook was identified as being as likely an indicator of rapist and atheist tendencies, being an ‘unpleasant person’ was not–that is, when the same question was done, but with poor ethical conduct being replaced with poor personal conduct (being abrasive, offensive, rude), the rapist option was far more heavily chosen.

    This is important because of the constant “accommodationist/gnu” debate–the accommodators invariably argue that being aggressive gives atheism a bad name, but this doesn’t seem to hold up. Sure, atheists are ~evil~, but they’re not any more unpleasant to be around than believers.

    Which is weird as hell, yes, but there you have it.

  8. Here’s a link to the press release that UBC put out, if people are interested in understanding the motivation behind this research. You can also google and download the abstract for the study as a PDF, if you’re interested in a more in-depth read. The kind of research that’s being done at UBC benefits atheists because it allows us to more fully understand all kinds of things – I highly recommend people take a look at the range of research that’s being done at UBC regarding atheism and faith rather than getting offended by headlines manufactured by the mainstream media for maximum sensationalism (which also misrepresent the study).


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