miss_s_b: (Mood: Destructive)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Much of the furore surrounding Richard Dawkins' asshattery this weekend has involved accusations of sexism. Now, yes, his basic premise involved a startling lack of empathy for the woman he was denigrating, and he used a huge number of logical fallacies in his attack on her quite reasonable statement. But I think that accusing him of sexism based on this is possibly a leap too far. I think Dawkins would have behaved in exactly the same way - derailing, using straw men, invoking whataboutery - had he disagreed with a statement made by a man.

Dawkins does not specifically target women whom he disagrees with. He sees everyone as an intellectual inferior, male or female, black or white, wherever they fall on the queer spectrum, and whether or not they are ablebodied.

And to be fair to Dawkins, he probably has some justification. A lot of people are intellectually inferior to him. Where he gets it wrong, IMHO, is to use this as a starting premise. This person disagrees with me, they must be wrong is very rarely a good place to entrench oneself. I'm not saying I have never done it, but I do recommend this person disagrees with me. I wonder if they have just cause to do so? *examine evidence* * evaluate evidence* *come to conclusion* as a much less fraught way to proceed in a debate.

Just sayin'.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:02 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: (eyebrow)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
Since Dawkins used until recently to be a professor of public understanding of science, "This person disagrees with me, they must be wrong" sets a particularly bad example.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
pseudomonas: Elephant with some legs. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudomonas
I think he spends too much time trolling and being trolled. I suspect this is toxic to one's grace and humanity.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The question is: how many people disagree with Dawkins, and how many, as a result, find him wrong?

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: John Byers Disapproves (Disapproving Byers)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam

And whether sexist or not, acting like a pompous ass (for WHATEVER reason) isn't a very productive way of arguing a point, nor is it particularly conducive to his cause.

And he's obviously intelligent enough to know that, which makes me wonder what the heck he was thinking sticking his foot in it like that in the first place...

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
Yeah "he's not sexist because he's an arse to everyone" doesn't sit right with me personally. I've met plenty of sexist people who can be arseholes to people who aren't women. They just have many levels of gittishness.

Just my opinion. I am a lot less tolerant of this type of behaviour from blokes now than I used to be.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: Sarcastic Pee Wee Herman (peeweeblah)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
Yea I'm not convinced either, but it's not like I was really a fan to start with. *shrugs*

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
Me either. I nearly got into him once because yay! science! But shrieking that people are idiots and creationists everytime you disagree with his stance is...ahem..not very scientific.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
I'm glad PZ handed his arse back to him. Most people were defending him simply because he's Richard Dawkins.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: david bowie (bowiesmoke)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
You'd think a group calling themselves skeptics would not be prone to such "hero-worship" stuff.

Go figure.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
The internet has taught me never to be surprised. :(

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
innerbrat: (opinion)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
"But I'm not sexist..." is never an excuse for acting sexist. ESPECIALLY if it's succeeded by "...I hate everyone."

And "he would have acted the same way were she a man" is a feeble excuse when she was talkig specifically about her experience as an identifiable woman.

What he said ws disgustingly sexist and even more racist and he deserves to be called up on propogating misogyny and islamophobia.

I'm really not interested in whether people are themselves sexist or racist, as if that's some sort of internal quality like being gay, or good at maths. I do care about pulling out acts and saying "that's sexist, you ass", and that applies very strongly in this case.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: Sarcastic Pee Wee Herman (peeweeblah)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
Well that makes sense, and gives me a bit of relief. From the post I thought maybe you were letting him off the hook entirely (which seemed a tad out of character for you), but I guess I misunderstood your point.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
innerbrat: (opinion)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
It's true, I agree with that point. I just didn't think I got that point from the post - my bad.

It's the Ill Doctrine "how to tell people they sound racist" thing. But still, people do it, and people also use 'but I'm not racist' as an excuse.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
Racism and Sexism are learnt behaviours. Telling someone they have acted sexist is not saying they are inherently so. It's telling them "Hey, you acted like an arse and you hurt someone. Own up to your behaviour and listen."

And if they carry on it's not my job to educate them, especially when several people have tried doing so in a calm way and had it thrown back in their faces.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: Mister Flibble is Very Cross (Rimmer)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
He actually pulled that "IT'S YOUR JOB TO EDUCATE ME. AND DON'T USE THE WORD 'FUCK' WHILE DOING IT" thing, I saw it somewhere in that morass of comments on Pharyngula's blog (I'd go find it but it would probably require a team of Sherpas at this point).

It made me a sad panda.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
YES. ><

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
telegramsam: Sarcastic Pee Wee Herman (peeweeblah)
From: [personal profile] telegramsam
Now I'm just waiting for him to pop up going 'SUPRISE, IT WAS ALL A ~SOCIAL EXPERIMENT~!!1!' and his Derailing for Dummies performance shall be complete.

Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neohippie.livejournal.com
Another problem with treating everyone like they're dumbasses is that it makes it hard to win people over to your side. If you start right off with being a jerk to someone, they usually get defensive rather than listening to anything you have to say.

This is something I have to remember a lot, as a person who finds herself looking into making a career of science education (if America ever starts having JOBS again). Even if someone IS stupid and ignorant, if I actually want to teach them something, being an asshole to them never works.

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