I've Moved!

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

04 April, 2013

This May Seem Drastic, But I'm Leaving Blogger.

I tried importing comments to Disqus and Blogger just doesn't play nice. I've long hated Blogger's comment section, it's strange nesting of replies, the fact that it's java script and won't allow direct replies on mobile devices and the inability to allow hot links in comments. Importing to Disqus kept failing, so, impatient as I am, I've decided to move back to WordPress.

I will keep this blog up for posterity, but the posts and comments seem to have imported over to the new site in mere minutes with no problems at all. Please update your blogrolls and rss feeds and tell your friends!

I am proud to present:

West Coast Atheist, by Tkmlac

Hope to see you all there!


I've decided I'm going to attempt to convert the comment section to Disqus. I don't know what results I'll get when I try to import all the comments into the Disqus system. Could be bad, could be good. I can only wait and see and hope that all our comments and replies remain intact. If not, I'll go from there and figure out what to do next. Here goes.

02 April, 2013

Thirty-Two Days Left To Raise Ninety-Eight Dollars!

If you feel so obliged, hop on over to my Tour de Cure page to donate to my fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. I'm just under $100 from my goal of raising $500. You will get the opportunity to see me in a YouTube video trying to rap one of my favorite songs if I reach my goal.

I'll be riding the ten-mile course on May 4th! I'm riding in honor of my dad who has had type-2 diabetes since I was ten years old.

More on Civility.

I'm really liking what I'm seeing at Ellen Beth Wach's blog. People are being met on a level of discourse and reasonableness I have rarely seen in the FtB forums. With each new comment, I'm afraid the other shoe will drop and someone will start in with the "die in a fire, you misogynist, cis-gendered white male!" but so far, both sides are being met rationally when they disagree on points.

This is the kind of conversations we should have been having all along. People are willing to admit mistakes, clarify their position, are encouraged to back up their arguments. It's really great to see and I really hope it lasts. Ellen Beth seems to be really making an effort to shed the poisonous attack-style call-out culture that many (including myself at times) have participated in.

I'd like to see parties make some formal apologies with some specifics, but I'm not completely holding my breath. I would even accept a general, "I apologize for any way that I've contributed to the break-down of rational discourse, call-out culture, ridicule or personal attacks on people who don't share the same views as me on certain issues. From here on out, I will try my best to cool my head and address disagreements with conflict resolution in mind." In fact, consider that my apology.

Also, if some of us slip back into old behavior (which I know I do), I'd like that to be pointed out with reasonable politeness, too, and not treated as the nail in the coffin on someone's character. We should be encouraging people to change their behaviors and admit mistakes, not slamming them every time they blunder.

That's not to say that we should be afraid of what we say. Sometimes friendly jabs are warranted, but they should never be used as arguments against the other person's position. Some could do well to grow a bit thicker skin while others could learn to better clarify the intent of their humor.

I really related to this that was just put out by the American Humanist Association.

01 April, 2013

A New Leaf? Updated


Cool! She answered me and approved my comment. I'm still a little careful about what I'm saying because she felt I was "veering into derailment territory," which was not my intention at all. It's actually really, really refreshing to see someone open up to discussion on the topic of civility in comments. Baby steps. I hope Michael Nugent is watching! I know he's trying to create a place for common ground right now, too. It's all so fragile right now, but if we get some people opening up dialogue without fear of being slammed, maybe we can finally have some peace.

Original post: posted at 2:30

EllenBeth Wachs put a post up about her experience being hammered by the commenters on FtB. I've tried to comment, but my comments keep getting lost in moderation, so I'm going to copy and paste it here, for posterity. I don't know why I'm being moderated and other people aren't, so it's hard for me to see this as genuine if she's purposely restricting what I can say, but I'll go ahead and give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is something wrong with Wordpress.

Here's my comment:
I was trying not to have to use my old wordpress account to comment, but it seems that avoiding such has lost my comment to the ether. I had a bad feeling about it (wordpress is weird like that, hence why I don’t use it anymore), so I’ll just copy/pasta it here. My comment sought to clarify some things that you may have, in the past, felt were attacks on women. I hope to hear your thoughts.

Original comment:


The very treatment you received has been what most in the slymepit and on twitter have been complaining about. It started with Steph McGraw being called out unprofessionally by Rebecca Watson at a conference as we all know. This same treatment you describe is the similar to the attacks on Sara Mayhew, which iirc, you supported Hensley and Roth for doing. I’m not here to bash you for that, just pointing out that you could be seen as an active participant. I want to clarify for you some positions that the “anit-ftb slymepitter” (as we are all now known, whether we’ve been to the slymepit or not) crowd has taken.

Some in the slymepit make really crude jokes and photoshops. You’re right, it’s not valid criticism but I don’t think those that participate in it believe it is.The photoshoppers were mainly doing it to push buttons because the concentration on what words one can and can’t use was so ridiculous and so against the idea of free speech that is ingrained in our culture. They were pushing the envelope, so to speak, just to show they could. Does that make it right or wrong? I don’t think there’s an easy answer. What it was was a protest against ideologues who wanted to shut down and silence any debate about it. You’re going to feel about it how you’re going to feel and that’s okay, I’m just trying to provide a perspective you might not have considered, before I move on to my next point.

Rape threats and name-calling on twitter is not okay. The slymepit never said it was. What we know from being on the internet is that there are some vicious douchebags out there who have no problem backing up their arguments with “I should give you my dick. You’d like it, you dirty whore.” I get it from Creationists all the damn time. I don’t consider them valid threats. Most of us there would probably agree that the best tactic we’ve found for addressing these trolls is to block, report for spam and ignore them. This was the point that was being made when we started getting told we were “rape apologists” and being banned from continuing discussion further. There was no difference between the way the trolls were being treated and the way people with honest opinions and arguments were being treated. I hope you’ll take another look at what they’ve done to Justin Vacula for an excellent example.

The very existence of these trolls and photoshoppers was an excuse to disregard anyone with any criticism against your friends. Rebecca Watson’s Evo Psych talk was not sound and had a lot of room for improvement, but the criticism she received was treated as woman-hating misogyny. How can we, as women, expect to advance in fields of science when our work is defended no matter how bad it is just because we are women? That is a problem a lot of women atheist feminists have had to deal with lately and they have been called “chill-girls” and “sister-punishers” for it.

You are absolutely right to think, “Who else could they be wrong about.” I really hope you consider what I’ve written here. I’ve written it in good faith, to try and clarify what the “Great Rift” has been about for “our side,” because neither side seems to be able to agree with what we’re arguing about and many have noticed there are feminists on both sides of the rift saying very similar things but getting very different results. Thank you for your consideration.