Friday, September 12, 2014

Skeptics' dirty laundry

Mark Oppenheimer has a report on some troubling trends in the skeptic/atheist movement, Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? Buzzfeed 09/11/2014.

I'm not sure how successfully the reporter struggles through the ethical issues involved in some of the reports, particularly one involving a rape accusation that the accused denies and the accuser apparently semi-retracted.

But it's a reminder that there are scientists who debunk superstition spread by Christian fundamentalists, esoterics, pseudoscientists and charlatans but who also have attitudes toward women that would fit fairly comfortably among Christian Rightists or yee-haw frat boys.

Since women are often the victims of pseudoscience and superstition, it's great to see that women including feminist activists are taking a larger role in the skeptics' movement.

Although I'm a big fan of Skeptical Inquirer and have been for two decades, I've never been especially tempted to try to make one of the skeptics' conference. One of the main reasons is that I suspected they would attract too many socially-challenged nerdy guys.

The main skeptic feminist website seems to be Skepchick. (I guess the Dixie Chicks gave a new implication to the "chick" word.)

It currently features a post relating to the Oppenheimer article by Courtney Caldwell, Five More Things Richard Dawkins Thinks You Should Be Held Criminally Responsible For When Drunk 09/12/2014. Since I'm linking it, I should add that if Oppenheimer is right about the victim of alleged sexual misconduct is explicitly saying she's not calling it "rape," then it's questionable for someone else to call it rape, as occurs in the second sentence of that post. Although the alleged abuser does come off as a major jerk in Oppenheimer's report.

Caldwell does take a memorable shot against famous atheist and major prick Richard Dawkins: "Richard Dawkins’ only use for women is when he can trot out behavior against them as proof of why religion is bad. All other acts by women should be criminalized."

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