I've Moved!

Atheist Morality is now West Coast Atheist at Wordpress. Stop on by and feel free to comment over there!

13 February, 2013

At the top of my rss feed list, Talking Philosophy

I don't talk nearly enough about philosophy on this blog, so I'm going to promote Talking Philosophy, one of my favorite blogs I've found so far.

From excellent thought experiments to breaking down complicated moral issues, this blog has it all. In fact, I recently read a piece about women in combat positions that went further than just arguing against the "morale" argument made by those opposed to allowing women these positions and addressed the concerns over jobs that women physically might not be able to do.

If you want to know how the author, Mike LaBossiere, shuts down these arguments, offers alternative solutions and manages to do so politely and succinctly, you'll just have to give Talking Philosophy a visit! Enjoy!

12 February, 2013

Big Brothifurret teaches a lesson on twitter.

Jen McCreight succinctly explains to a twitterer how the world really works.

Should Dawkins answer for his tweet that called ivory poachers barbaric? The way his detractors have twisted the word "barbarian" and thus the entire context of the tweet is not a good enough reason to address their inanity, in my opinion, but please don't tell Jenny, im afraid of her wrath.

The tweeter in question tries to wrap his head around why Dawkins should listen to the people who are baselessly calling him a racist. Luckily, Jen McCreight steps in to clear it up: the reason this should be addressed is because Dawkins is privileged.

You heard it, folks. Arguments no longer stand on their own merit. All that matters is whether or not a person has privilege. If you have any privilege in any way, all anyone needs to do is tell you to "shut up and listen" and you've already lost, no matter how irrational their argument is. Their ad hominem attack holds more weight than a rational argument about the origin of words and the context of tweets.

Thanks for clearing that up, Big Brothifurret. Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Barbarian is Racist, we were always at war with misogynists.

08 February, 2013

Block yourself, fool.

I found this lovely apologia of the twitter campaign to suspend accounts on oolon's blog , which I found as a referring link on my stats page (thanks for the traffic, but I doubt it will get me many more hits than I already get from my humble writings).

First, the post states that the purpose of the block not he or she has created is to make the atheist feminist experience better by blocking harassers.

So they should block themselves, right? Aratina Cage included me in a tweet even though I've had no previous contact with him/her (for sake of simplicity, and because linguistically, either pronoun can be neuter because English doesn't have a neuter, I'm going to refer to Aratina as a he, and oolon asba she, because I don't know who they are and don't really give a shit to find out). Harassment.

@jlnfrancisco did the same thing, calling me insane or some such thing and then blocking me before I could respond. Harassment.

Oolon, instead of addressing my arguments on my blog, puts a link to it on her own site so she doesn't have to actually back up her statements. Being a blogger, I'm sure she knew I would see her link and be directed to her site. Harassment.

Second, her blog states that the purpose is not to suspend accounts and that is made clear by the fact that no one has said to block and report accounts, only to block. How convenient for them as it's been made clear by the multiple suspensions of accounts like @GodlessSpellChecker that the automated system of suspension includes accounts with a large number of blocks over a short amount of time.

New slymepit visitors who have joined twitter and have followed "the usual suspects" have been suspended after just a few hours of being on twitter without ever having tweeted any of these fuckheads.

It's the equivalent of swinging your fist in a crowd with your eyes closed and pretending you didn't mean to hit anyone.

This is how far these people will go to silence people (including a large number of women feminists and members of minority groups they claim to be protecting) who disagree with them. Instead of addressing the question of evidence for their claims of rampant hatred of women in skeptic communities, they seek to silence dissent. It's the YouTube DMCA creationist wars all over again, except it's coming from people who claim to be skeptics themselves. What a pathetic tragedy they portray.

Twitter won't get back to me about this issue, so I'm assuming it's not against the TOS. Which means it's a-okay to block people in large numbers on twitter, no matter how unethical it is. Looks like I'll be spending less time on twitter.

02 February, 2013


Many atheists don't feel the need to organize. Some of them join local groups but don't do much more than just meeting and making like-minded friends. One thing that came up in my local group, however, was the idea of community building to match the kind of networking structure that churches provide.

When someone moves to a new town, they will find new friends and helpful people at a church of their denomination. Because there are so many religious people who already meet in the same place once a week, church is an incredible resource for quickly learning about that community, what jobs are available, what are the best schools, childcare, etc. There are also food banks and shelters to assist the indigent.

Should atheist groups try and mimic such a network providing resources for people in need? I don't think it could hurt to try. As a liberal communitarian type of person, I already try to uphold the ideals of community building and it has nothing to do with my atheism, but if I did start tying it in with atheism, perhaps it would give people on the fence an alternative to relying on spiritual groups. Not every atheist, secularist or skeptic will agree or want to focus their activism this way, but that is also fine with me. The thing I love about freethinkers is the diversity of goals, ideas and values that we hold. No one should feel pressured at all to adopt actions or values that any one group holds, but anyone interested is invited to organize. Those are my thoughts on the subject, bug I want to know what the wider world thinks. Are there any downsides to atheist groups wanting to create a support network?


Adam Lee will only accept a "cease-fire" in the atheist community if Justin Vacula accepts his terms.
Don't make threats of rape or other violence. Don't use sexist slurs like "bitch" or "cunt" to describe anyone, but especially not women. Don't imply that a person's appearance, weight or sexual desirability has any bearing on the validity of her opinions. Don't ogle people, touch them without permission, or trespass on their personal space. Don't act as if you're entitled to other people's time or attention. Don't contact a person in any way if she's asked you to stop. Don't defend or associate with people who do any of these things.
Adam Lee, I have some terms for you to follow before we'll stop calling you a ridiculous, attention-mongering, strawman-burning, exaggerating, distorting, character-assassinating sanctimonious piece of shit:
Don't rape babies. Don't eat dog poop off the ground after a dog has puked it up. Stay away from meth. Don't use sexist slurs like "dick" "asshole" "douchebag" or "cock" to anyone, especially women. Don't imply that a person's choice in colored spandex, love of Michael Bolton or lack of shower has any bearing on the validity of her opinions. Don't fart in a closed elevator. Don't defend or associate with anyone who does any of these things. This list here is as applicable to you as yours is to Justin Vacula, but we can't have a discussion until you stop this.
Got it? Oh, I have more to address:
When women object to treatment that makes them feel uncomfortable, unequal or unwelcome, listen to them and take them seriously. 
Stop pretending that they are so wholesome that the concerns of every woman, no matter how irrational, how unsupported by evidence, or how much it differs from views held by other women, are automatically valid.  It's really patriarchal to assume we need our dearest-held beliefs to be shielded from any skepticism or criticism. If we're grown-ass adults, we should be able to take it. Stop pretending like no woman can be wrong or even that no women could possibly be using feminist claims to further their own personal vendettas or agendas. Stop treating women as if they can do no wrong.
Show your support for reasonable anti-harassment policies and free childcare at atheist conventions.  
Show how your conventions can enforce reasonable anti-harassment policies and free childcare without being intrusive or creating a huge liability for local groups to shoulder. Learn a little bit about what goes into security and childcare. Show you can create a harassment policy that doesn't make the attendees feel like they've done something wrong before they even show up to the event.  Stop arguing that one harassment policy is going to work for every convention. Provide evidence that there is more harassment at atheist conventions than the conventions of other groups. Provide evidence harassment policies lower those numbers. Provide some real numbers collected scientifically that show that the larger number of men attending conventions is due to harassment and not simply a product of the fact that there are less women atheists.
Encourage the organizers of skeptics' conferences to make a conscious effort to invite speakers of all races and genders
Stop telling skeptical women they are only disagreeing with certain aspects of certain branches of feminism because they just want to get male attention. They might want to go to your conventions, otherwise. Stop assuming we aren't networking with all races and genders.
Attend talks that address issues beyond just the traditional skeptical issues of religion and pseudoscience, talks that apply skepticism to entrenched power differences in society that disproportionately harm women and minorities.
Stop insisting that a skeptical conference centered around religion and pseudoscience should be spending its time on your pet political projects. There are already conventions for that. I suggest you check out the DNC or the RNC.

Stop assuming that minorities and women can't possibly be interested in issues such as religion and pseudoscience when they go to skeptic conventions just because they are minorities. It's really fucking condescending.
Don't accept a secular movement with a lopsided majority of white men as normal, unremarkable, or unchangeable.
Don't assume that we are. Quit propagating the lie that the skeptic movement hasn't been changing rapidly over the last several years, growing to include more and more people from every walk of life. Half of my little, brand new community group in my little college town are women. Increase outreach to conservative, rural areas where people, especially women, are afraid to "come out."
In return, we'll stop calling you sexists and misogynists.
Learn the fucking definition of those words. In return, we'll keep on doing what we're doing: promoting science, critical thinking and skepticism and fighting for the separation of church and state.