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02 February, 2013


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.


  1. Akin to shooting retarded fish in a small barrel.
    Lee is a mental midget, and an indoctrinated one at that.
    He seems led by his testicles to mindlessly parrot these falsehoods for the promise of I don't know what.
    Perhaps, as these toilet-slaves crave, a crumb from the demagogues currently at the top of the Animal-Farm heap.
    Four fallacies better than two.

  2. Summary: "Adam Lee asks Justin Vacula if he's stopped beating his wife yet."

  3. Whoever the hell 'Adam Lee' is, he sure likes to generalize about women. Hasn't he noticed that there are women on both sides of the divide, including minority women?

  4. "Don't accept a secular movement with a lopsided majority of white men as normal, unremarkable, or unchangeable."

    This is an ideological platitude. A majority white male in control will always be true to them. "Men are under represented nowhere", " all privilege is owned by the white male".

    No matter what has happened, or what will happen, to them these are always statements of fact. In 10 years time you could ask these people, and they will be as true to them in 10 years add they are today. Because these beliefs are ideological beliefs and not beliefs based on gathered evidence.

  5. Excellent piece Katie, sharp and incisive with equal parts wit and wisdom. I don't know who Adam Lee is but his understanding of where people such as Justin Vacula are coming from is cartoonish at best.

    It always amazes me how professed sceptics are so blind to how they suspend their scepticism when it comes to their own favoured ideologies. They are so quick to demand evidence for the beliefs of theists but reluctant to provide any of their own when it comes to their particular brand of feminism.