Battle Exhaustion: Once More Into the Breech

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in , , , | Posted on 3:14 PM


FTB is abuzz about the remarks of DJ Grothe. Just up front, I'm going to say I think he's a douche, but anyone who finds out their buddy is engaged in sex with underage prostitutes and responds to questions by talking about lowering the age of consent is no one I am going to particularly like. Just that pairing makes me nauseous, but then I've done survival sex work, some of which was done when I was 16.

I'm going to go on the record and say that no minor should be involved in sex work. The idea that using people whose ideas, brain and behaviors are forming to sate the sexual urges of people who are older and more affluent, while historical, is abhorrent.

I've been reading the storm of posts, and I'm... tired. I guess, like any newb to a community, I had high hopes of the online atheist community. I accepted that portions were going to be rotten, even flattered myself to think that they would be considered outliers. For me, feminism and atheism are inextricably linked: to be aware of the destructiveness and social control of religion is to be aware of the exploitation of gender which is so much a part of religious communities. It's not even like women are the only people exploited in religious hierarchies: the poor, people who are queer or in any way gender deviant and people who are not white also all suffer from poor treatment here in the US, and as far as I know with the Judeo-Christian religions, also abroad. I even figured there might be some consensus on those issues, because I presupposed that part of identifying as an atheist involved an exploration of the harm done by religions, including our homebrews here in the US.

I'm rather saddened, and sometimes down-right insulted to find this is not true. While there's a tendency to mention that religion is bad for women and minority groups, there's also a nasty, vocal minority in the atheist community (my local atheist group unfortunately hosts Ben Radford and the occasional scientist with interesting ideas about women) who uses a nasty mash of "I am man therefore my ideas are important" and "wommenz brains are too pink and fluffy and emotional for real thinking." For me, it is easy to move from a critique of the way religion treats women to the ways society also treats women, as mirrors of each other.

But since my cock is detachable, my critiques had better move quickly past gender, lest I be considered 'whiny'. I tend to leave when one of those assholes shows up, as dumping my drink on him, while satisfying, is only 'proof' of my wommenz brains.

I also though scientific literacy would be more common in this community. It appears to be common to the persons writing posts, and about a quarter common in the comments. I do appreciate FTB because psuedo-science is treated so derisively by regular posters and by the people writing FTB blogs. I have, however, been sort of stunned to find it in the comments. The same, Lamarkian bullshit idea that traits are directly heritable, debunked in Bio 101, pops up regularly. It tends to be paired with what I like to think of as 'magic cavemen'.

Cavemen who echo an ahistoric, ignorant and oversimplified version of history, in order to support whatever nastiness the poster has in mind. If you can't tell your caveman from a particularly douchey frat member, there are serious problems with your conception of that caveman (also history, biology, anthropology, palentology, etc.)

I guess I also thought more people had been exposed to the social sciences. I may be frustrated with my program, but there are some well-researched, well-proven concepts (better than 60 years of theory and experiments) in social science which are apparently either not known, or the idea of scientific testing on these subjects is somehow invisible to people. Hell, even google scholar has some of these things. I'm astounded that a community of persons who are interested in reason has, in many cases, not even bothered to google the concepts.

Even if the only thing someone commenting wants to do is discredit, the least they could do is read the damn studies. A lot of the studies in social science on these subjects are actually PDFs, not just the abstract.

I also, I suppose, expected some of the basic ideas in statistics to be better known. Apparently, as I have found from some commentors and even people on my friends list on social websites, statistics mean nothing. Or at least they do when I use them.

I suppose, in some way, I should expect online discussions to be craptastic, simply because anyone can make an account and say shitty, stupid, ignorant things. This particular shitstorm, as with ElevatorGate, which I spent a considerable amount of time commenting during, has just reinforced that unpleasant, annoyed and creepy feeling I get when I see the previous pop up.

Perhaps I will have the energy to deal with it at a later date, but for now, the subject exhausts me. It's not because I don't have to answers, can't prove it, don't care about it, aren't affected by it and/or don't have the time to comment on it.

It's because the commentors using those objections don't listen, don't care, lie, dismiss, don't read, are arrogant, abusive, refuse to come to any sort of consensus on even little issues.

And because they all say the same fucking thing. Every fucking time, as if reading a damn script. I have a lot of sympathy with the FTB regulars who have started responding with obscenities.

How long can you repeat the same damn thing to someone who uses your body/gender against you?

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