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Wed Oct 24, 2012, 02:41 PM

It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too

I spoke out about sexual harassment among atheists and scientists. Then came the rape threats.



Rebecca Watson. Photo by Larry Auerbach.

By Rebecca Watson|Posted Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, at 10:18 AM ET

I’m a skeptic. Not the kind that believes the 9/11 attacks were the product of a grand Jewish conspiracy—we hate those guys. “Stop stealing the word ‘skeptic,’ ” we tell them, but they don’t listen to us because they assume we’re just part of the grand Jewish conspiracy too.

No, I’m the kind of skeptic who enjoys exposés of psychics and homeopaths and other charlatans who fool the public either through self-delusion or for fun and profit. It’s not just me—I’m part of a growing community (some would even call it a movement) consisting of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who value science and critical thinking. We’re represented by organizations such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which was established in 1976 and has included fellows like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Bill Nye.

I learned about the skeptics back in college, when I worked in a magic store and performed gigs on the side. I was a huge fan of James “The Amazing” Randi, a magician who offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove they have paranormal abilities. (There’s a huge overlap between magicians and skeptics, both of whom are interested in the ways we fool ourselves.)

When I first started finding a large audience on my skepticism website, on my podcast, and on YouTube, I wasn’t terribly bothered by the occasional rape threat, sexist slur, or insult about my looks. There was something downright amusing about a creationist calling me a cunt while praying that I’d find the love of Jesus. The threats were coming from outside of my community. Outside of my safe space.

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/10/sexism_in_the_skeptic_community_i_spoke_out_then_came_the_rape_threats.html

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Reply It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too (Original post)
rug Oct 2012 OP
cbayer Oct 2012 #1
skepticscott Oct 2012 #8
okasha Oct 2012 #87
cbayer Oct 2012 #88
Goblinmonger Oct 2012 #2
intaglio Oct 2012 #3
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #4
rug Oct 2012 #5
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #7
rug Oct 2012 #14
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #17
rug Oct 2012 #19
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #20
rug Oct 2012 #21
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #22
rug Oct 2012 #23
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #24
rug Oct 2012 #25
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #26
rug Oct 2012 #28
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #30
rug Oct 2012 #32
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #43
rug Oct 2012 #46
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #49
rug Oct 2012 #52
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #60
rug Oct 2012 #62
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #65
rug Oct 2012 #72
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #77
rug Oct 2012 #79
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #83
skepticscott Oct 2012 #29
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #31
rug Oct 2012 #34
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #35
rug Oct 2012 #38
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #41
rug Oct 2012 #47
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #48
rug Oct 2012 #53
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #58
rug Oct 2012 #61
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #66
rug Oct 2012 #68
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #70
rug Oct 2012 #74
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #80
rug Oct 2012 #33
skepticscott Oct 2012 #36
rug Oct 2012 #37
skepticscott Oct 2012 #40
rug Oct 2012 #45
skepticscott Oct 2012 #57
rug Oct 2012 #64
skepticscott Oct 2012 #76
rug Oct 2012 #82
skepticscott Oct 2012 #84
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #67
skepticscott Oct 2012 #71
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #73
skepticscott Oct 2012 #69
rug Oct 2012 #75
skepticscott Oct 2012 #78
rug Oct 2012 #81
skepticscott Oct 2012 #85
Laochtine Oct 2012 #6
skepticscott Oct 2012 #9
Goblinmonger Oct 2012 #11
Laochtine Oct 2012 #13
Goblinmonger Oct 2012 #16
Laochtine Oct 2012 #18
skepticscott Oct 2012 #27
Laochtine Oct 2012 #39
skepticscott Oct 2012 #42
Laochtine Oct 2012 #50
skepticscott Oct 2012 #54
Goblinmonger Oct 2012 #10
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #12
Laochtine Oct 2012 #15
DonCoquixote Oct 2012 #44
Laochtine Oct 2012 #51
onager Oct 2012 #55
beam me up scottie Oct 2012 #56
rug Oct 2012 #59
cbayer Oct 2012 #63
tama Oct 2012 #86
Odin2005 Oct 2012 #89
cbayer Oct 2012 #90
rug Oct 2012 #91

Response to rug (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:03 PM

1. Prepare for the onslaught of total denial from those with privilege.

Ignoring and denying this issue is becoming an increasingly serious problem.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:45 PM

8. Please cite for us

Some of your examples of "total denial" of this issue by people on this board.

And spare us your concern trolling, while you're at it..

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Response to cbayer (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 02:27 PM

87. This is becoming remarkably reminiscent of Tailhook.

First response: It didn't happen.

Second response: It happens all the time. Get over it.

Third response: Something like it may have happened, once, but the silly woman's exaggerating. There was no intent to offend her.

Fourth response: Uh, yes it does happen, but my friends and I don't do it. We're good to our women.

Fifth response: Oh, shit. We may have to give up some of our patriarchal privilege if we don't want the women to abandon us.

Sixth response: Oh, double shit. Where'd all the girls go?

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Response to okasha (Reply #87)

Thu Oct 25, 2012, 02:31 PM

88. Agree, it's an often repeated pattern which I had hoped we had moved beyond.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:06 PM

2. Yes, there are atheists that are sexist pigs.

They exist. Their atheism does not make them sexist.

And the atheist community is working toward making gatherings more safe and accommodating to all that want to be there. Personally, I doubt that it will ever be solved since there will always be sexist pigs that are atheists. But I think things RIGHT NOW are better than the RCC and will continue to get better though never perfect.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:09 PM

3. Having watched this and been supportive of Ms Watson

since this started ... she's right.

P Z Myers on Pharyngula has been pretty outspoken in her support, whereas I no longer subscribe to Thunderf00t's You Tube account precisely because of his attitude and actions.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:15 PM

4. I had no idea skeptics were so organized.

Do we have a union? Official id cards? Where's the instruction manual?

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:18 PM

5. Here you go.

We’re represented by organizations such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which was established in 1976 and has included fellows like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, and Bill Nye.


http://www.csicop.org/

There are others you may prefer.

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Response to rug (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 03:45 PM

7. Actually I'm not represented by any group.

That's the beauty of being a free thinker.

It must suck to be a card carrying member of a religion that requires complete adherence.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:08 PM

14. Frankly, being bound by stereotypical thinking is not actually free.

Quite the reverse in fact.

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Response to rug (Reply #14)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 04:24 PM

17. You mean like catholicism?

I am not represented by any organization and have no belief system.

Try again.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #17)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:18 PM

19. No, I mean like this:

"It must suck to be a card carrying member of a religion that requires complete adherence."

You may have no belief syatem but you have some weird beliefs.

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Response to rug (Reply #19)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:22 PM

20. That's not a belief, it's an opinion.

One that's shared by lapsed catholics everywhere.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #20)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:25 PM

21. Excuse me. You have some weird opinions.

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Response to rug (Reply #21)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:26 PM

22. That's your opinion.

Glad we cleared that up.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #22)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:34 PM

23. No, it's an observation.

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Response to rug (Reply #23)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:42 PM

24. Make up your mind.

You just called it an opinion.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #24)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:45 PM

25. Pay attention. You called my observation an opinion.

You called your own beliefs opinions.

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Response to rug (Reply #25)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:52 PM

26. Right, my bad. My opinions are observations too.

Take that !

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #26)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:55 PM

28. Yes, I can see how lucid and clear-eyed they are.

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Response to rug (Reply #28)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:07 PM

30. They're almost as impressive as your spelling skills.

You may have no belief syatem but you have some weird beliefs.


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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #30)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:12 PM

32. They are far better than my typing skills.

Nevertheless, the point stands.

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Response to rug (Reply #32)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:35 PM

43. Okay, right. Your opinions are observations and mine are not.

Got it.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #43)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:43 PM

46. I"d say that's essentially correct.

I find the data supporting your opinions to be highly unreliable.

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Response to rug (Reply #46)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 08:00 PM

49. Just can't bear to look in the mirror, eh?

My god the denial is staggering.

Many catholics leave the church because they just can't toe the line.

It's nothing to be ashamed of, I personally think it's admirable.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #49)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:04 PM

52. Who's talking about Catholics.

I'm talking about the stunning ignorance of this statement:

It must suck to be a card carrying member of a religion that requires complete adherence.


Clearly your "opinions" have have gone through some weird filtering. I find it hard to believe a person who claims to think freely could have formed a opinion so skewed as to be a caricature.

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Response to rug (Reply #52)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:24 PM

60. I was.

You appear to be confused, perhaps a priest could clear it up for you.

Tell him that you're pro-marriage equality and want to change the dogma, I'm sure he'll be very understanding.

Hey, what can they do, burn you at the stake?

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #60)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:30 PM

62. Well, good for you. Now show me where in the article that's a topic.

And you're lapsing into ad hominems again. Please try some free thinking rather than personal attacks and tired stereotypes about priests. You may find it refreshing. Unless of, course, your intent is to disrupt a thread with a flamewar about an extraneous topic, complete with lame personal insults.

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Response to rug (Reply #62)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:33 PM

65. Blatant hypocrisy is a valid topic.

And it couldn't be more obvious.

How's that glass house holding up?



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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #65)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:41 PM

72. That's why there's that little button up there, "Post a thread in this forum".

It's blue.

Now as to this topic, since you bring it up, this article dramatically shows the blatant hypocrisy of those who identify as skeptics, atheists, and, oh my, free thinkers, while simultaneously engaging in despicable behavior.

Shall we talk about that?

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Response to rug (Reply #72)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:46 PM

77. I prefer to talk about the hypocrisy of the moral majority.

Your church wrote the book on it.

Literally.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #77)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:47 PM

79. I'm sure you do.

It is characteristic of hypocrites to discuss the fault of others rather than their own.

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Response to rug (Reply #79)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:59 PM

83. Sorry, you can't stereotype people whose only common trait is non-belief in superstition.

The catholic church, otoh, requires its followers to be stereotypical misogynists.

Like I said, they wrote the book on it.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #26)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:57 PM

29. Just be sure not to ask ruggie

to voice his unequivocal support for gay marriage...then you'll really see what being bound by stereotypical thinking and religious indoctrination looks like.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #29)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:10 PM

31. I did not know that.

Why am I not surprised...

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #31)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:14 PM

34. You still don't know that.

Keep blowing your dog whistle to your playground.

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Response to rug (Reply #34)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:16 PM

35. So tell me.

Do you support marriage equality or not?

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #35)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:27 PM

38. See below.

Now I'll ask you the same question I asked scottie, tell me - succinctly - what that has to do with this thread, other than stirring shit. Or are you simply continuing your play now that you have a playmate?

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Response to rug (Reply #38)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:33 PM

41. Your support of marriage equality (or lack of it) affects people I know and love.

It's a valid question.


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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #41)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:44 PM

47. It is but it's entirely extraneous to this thread.

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Response to rug (Reply #47)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:54 PM

48. Disagree.

Your comments regarding belief systems and religious stereotypes make it impossible to ignore the big fat anti-gay rights religious elephant in the room.

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