One of the things I miss about academia is the spectacle of alleged savants fighting like a couple of sandbox toddlers. Thanks to the Internet, such crass entertainments are available whenever I miss working with geeks. Consider the recent Richard Dawkins Elevatordämmerung.
Our protagonist in this non-event: a self-declared “Skepchick.” The woman, Rebecca Watson, is also a feminist. She had given a sermon to a group of “skeptics” on their moral failures as sexists who notice she is a girl when she is at skepticism conferences. This sort of behavior apparently “sexualizes” her as a unique individual, makes her uncomfortable, and generally scares away women skeptics everywhere. This is a common sentiment among shy women who participate in nerdy sausage festivals such as the skepticism movement. It’s less common that said women also publish semi-nude photographs of themselves in pin-up calendars dedicated to the same nerdy sausage festival.
Skepchick took video umbrage with the fact that one of her atheistic colleagues awkwardly asked her back to his room for a cup of coffee after her homily on sexism. He made his pathetic offer while in an elevator with her after a 4AM bar closeout, which suggests that he is probably as socially inept as she is. Princess Skepchick expected more chivalry from a bar populated with convention-going atheist nerds. I can empathize with such sentiments, much as I can empathize with people who visit Muslim countries and miss bacon.
Some other lady member of the skepticism movement pointed out that Skepchick was being kind of a ninny, and an Internet catfight ensued. Then Professor Dawkins weighed in on the subject. It was a fairly incoherent ejaculation posted in some blog’s comments section, the sort of thing you type into the Internet machine when confronted with a bunch of bird-brained arguments over the sinfulness of propositioning girls in elevators. The good Professor Dawkins blathered something about mutilated Muslim clitorises and suggested everyone get over it and find something better to discuss. Why should anybody care?
Apparently a lot of people care. Dozens of “skeptical movement” white knights leaped to the fair maiden’s defense, denouncing Dawkins as a no-good skunk who probably kicks puppies. Feminist harridans blasted Dawkins as an evil man-pig. Dawkins tried to fight back, but his rhetorical skills were not up to the task of arguing with fellow atheists. The New Statesman figures Dawkins is kaput unless he repents and begs forgiveness.
The Skepchick has called for the head of Richard Dawkins. She dropped the big one, informing him that he is the most loathsome of creatures: the privileged old white man. Being something of a skeptic myself, I find it hard not to notice that young Anglosphere women are easily the most privileged people in the known universe. They’re so privileged that even pie-faced, cabbage-brained ones such Rebecca Watson may be able to ruin a world-famous author’s reputation. Dawkins helped found the shabby movement which gives her the adoration of nerdy dudes who respect her intellect but still wouldn’t mind seeing her topless. Because she has a hoo-ha and can use scary words such as “sexism,” some people accord her moral power comparable to that of Pope Urban VII. What was Dawkins’s blasphemy—that the world doesn’t revolve around some creepy attention-whoring nerd girl’s mild social discomforts? Apparently it does.
I don’t think much of Dawkins. His ideas on evolution are laughable and mostly popularize those of William Hamilton. He is a decent essayist, and his hatred of religion makes him popular with certain kinds of over-emotional atheists, but otherwise, he’s the type of smug bigot who gives unbelievers a bad name. I find his searing hatred of religious people to be childish and disgusting. The fact that Dawkins is being undermined by fellow hater-atheists is delicately ironic. I suppose the more advanced religions kill their gods after all; atheism’s true believers are no different.
The “skepticism movement” originated with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, featuring guys such as Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, and the Amazing Randi, to promote scientific inquiry into crazy ideas. It focused on dreary but necessary expert debunking of popular nonsense such as homeopathy or the concept of aliens crossing interstellar space’s vastness to anally probe fat waitresses in Peoria. While the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry still does its thing, the movement it hatched appears to have degenerated into a social club where groups of people drink beer and kvetch about creationists. It’s like a church social for atheists.
Despite their self-proclaimed skepticism, they don’t seem to be skeptical about much of anything. If it wasn’t obvious already, this incident demonstrates that they are not hardheaded skeptics bringing the light of reason to the ignorant masses. They’re merely another identity movement for propping up the upper-middle-class booboisie’s self-esteem. They’re such easy marks, they have meetings where they are hectored by saucy-photograph-publishing blockheads about sexual objectification and sexism in the skepticism movement—with zero skeptical comments.
Anyone who sits through any feminist lecture—unless required by employment contract or law to acquiesce to this indignity—without asking a few hard questions hasn’t a skeptical bone in their entire meatsack. Anyone who sits through a lecture on the evil, nasty sexualization of women given by a creep who publishes saucy pin-up photographs of herself is a drooling retard who would swallow anything. Such persons are at least as credulous as yokels who listen uncomplainingly to cosmology seminars given at the Creation Museum. But unlike feminists, creationists don’t have the majesty of the law and upper-middle-class social opprobrium forcing people to listen to them, making the “skeptical movement” both uncritical and cowardly.
Worthy of skeptical attention is the Skepchick idea that there are fewer lady skeptics than man skeptics because man skeptics are too sexist. Rather than enduring critical analysis, such ideas are embraced with gaping credulity. The fact that such lectures are considered serious fodder for a “skepticism convention” demonstrates they are not very sexist as a group. It also implies there is some secret reserve of women interested in skepticism movements who hold off on joining because of sexism. I don’t believe this any more than I believe sexism is what keeps women from becoming inventors. Am I supposed to believe that of all God’s creatures, there is no such thing as sexual dimorphism in human beings? Maybe most women aren’t interested in a bunch of nerds kvetching about credulous religious people because they’re too busy checking their horoscopes. Maybe most women don’t like being around atheist geeks with poor social skills. And even though men and women are exactly the same, women have special concerns you absolutely must respect and obey, or you’re an evil, nasty, sexist rapebot.
The idea that Miz Skepchick doesn’t want to be “sexualized” is laughably insane. She sells semi-nude calendars featuring herself and the other Skepchicks. If she doesn’t enjoy male attention in her shabby subculture, why does she do this? Obviously, she enjoys the immense sexual power she has over this tribe of sexually deprived nerdlings. Her main complaint seems to be that her girlie powers of “sexualization” have unpleasant consequences, one of which is the fact that men whom she does not find attractive might awkwardly hit on her in an elevator.
Welcome to my world, Miz Skepchick. I’m not even subculturally famous, but girls I do not find attractive hit on me all the time. Yes, it is often disagreeable, but I don’t deny the ego trip. I also don’t think human biology should be reformed to mitigate the mild dismay I experience when some humanoid wildebeest makes cow eyes and sits too close to me in the coffee shop. I don’t think women need to be hectored into making sure I feel 100% comfortable at all times merely because women occasionally ruin men’s lives with false rape claims, stalking behaviors, legal theft of a man’s assets, and occasional murders. Skepchick is trying to ruin Dawkins’s life right now…for what?
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be skeptical of such claims. You do, however, need to be a vertebrate and actually skeptical. As far as I can tell, everyone in the current “skeptical movement” is a gullible jellyfish.
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