Sep
12

The Selfish Dick




Posted at 10:22 by Cerberus


Perhaps the Pope of Atheism jokes would be a little more obviously inaccurate if you weren’t recycling their most monstrous arguments.

Gene Whittell, The Times that is not the Motherfucking New York Times, but Rather the Stuffy British What-ho Kind of Times:
The World According to Richard Dawkins

Technically, this is the raw source, but for ease of access and correct identification of He-Who-We-Will-Be-Skewering, it’s more:

Richard “Why Do You Insist on Making Lovers of Popular Biology Cry?” Dawkins, Proudly Slapped onto his own Website in Full:
Still the World According to Richard Dawkins

Oh, this one hurts a bit.

See, back in the day, when I was just a wee pup of a Cerberus, I really fucking loved Richard Dawkins. Cause, see, way back when, my two strongest passions were biology and writing. So when I first stumbled on the Selfish Gene, an actually well-written biology book that was accessible, informative, interesting, and not the usual watered-down mess or unnecessarily dry and esoteric tome, it was like finding the Holy Grail. It still to this day remains a favored non-fiction book, and certainly near the top of my favorite biology-specific non-fiction books.

Now of course, he’s become way more famous as an atheist (he was the author of The God Delusion) and certainly he had his place in making me an even more god-forsaken heathen than I already was (Hail Satan!). Well, him and Iron Maiden, but heck, I’m willing to throw him a small little bone before I throw him on the sacrificial altar with the goat head accent piece.

So why is he receiving the special dagger reserved only for wingnuts, if he was someone I once respected?

Well, the key is in the past tense there, because see, Richard Dawkins is quickly trying to make a new type of name for himself. A name as a complete reprehensible fuck. I mean, let’s be frank, he always was a bit of a pompous asshole, but these days, he’s been doing his part alongside the various Ayn Rand fetishists to prove that just lacking conservative religion doesn’t make one any less prone to bending at the knees before the holy cross of Stupid Fucking Arguments.

Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):

  • You kids today, with your newfangled morals, calling child molestation rape just because it involves the rape of children. Why back in my day, we all accepted rape and harassment as our daily bread and we liked it just fine. It never did none of us no damage, not until those uppity feminazis started getting people to talk about things. Also, P.S. the only time I’ll defend religion is to defend the poor Catholic Church who are being pilloried by “modern morals” over such a little thing like raping children for the better part of a century (likely much much longer) while covering it up. Honestly, I don’t see the big deal.

Sigh…

Have you ever had one of those days where you just start blinking and you’re not sure if you’ll ever be able to stop?

So yeah, I guess, it is rather silly of me to be surprised or hurt seeing as how Dawkins has spent the last couple of years, at the very least, kicking wee young scientist Cerberus in the gender dysphoric pre-grown genitals. I mean, after arguing that the existence of Islamic misogyny means that American feminists need to be shut up when they make innocuous comments about receiving creepy propositions, demanding people be thrown off tours he’s been a part of entirely because they have criticized him in the past (specifically where his various minions have been sending death threats and constant harassment towards them and they spoke out about that), and channeling his inner Jonah Goldberg, well… let’s just say, maybe my statue of limitations on giving a shit might have passed by a bit.

So let’s sharpen up the ceremonial knives and see just how low my opinion of him can sink.

It feels a bit creepy to be counting pictures in Richard Dawkins’ downstairs loo, but evidence is evidence. Most of the pictures are actually awards, but it’s the number that counts: 21 honorary doctorates and international prizes, framed and hung along with a certificate from the 2008 Crufts dog show.

Oh right, it’s a puff piece at heart, an advertisement for his latest book, so it begins with the loud slobbering sounds and head bobbing motion that usually punctuates such pieces. So sorry for all the silver fox/arctic fox lovers out there, if we skip some of the more explicit ball-tonguing motions and just fast-forward to the money shots.

He hasn’t won a Nobel prize himself, but, as we sit at the Jurassic slab in glorious sunshine, he generously argues that several of his peers deserve one for books on science far less widely read than his own.

I think one of the things I always used to admire about Dawkins was the way he avoided getting stuck up his own ass. Such a humble man.

This is important, because one scientist whom Dawkins commends to the Nobel committee is Steven Pinker of Harvard University.

Oh yes, let’s give a Nobel prize to the fucker who helped spawn an entire “scientific field” based around sending “just so” stories of how 1950s gender relations are actually because of mammoth-hunting cartoon depictions of our ancestors and generally pissing off every person who actually gives a fuck about genuine biological and anthropological investigation into how our brains work and how that shapes the social evolution of societies. Great idea, Dawkins. Next we can give the Nobel Prize for Economics to the inventor of the fucking Laffer Curve.

Fucking maroon.

Dawkins is fascinated by the way today’s transgressions might have been viewed differently not long ago.

Oh, sentences like this in mango purees like this never end well.

For instance, as a junior academic he went to the University of California at Berkeley for two years in the late Sixties, which gave him a ringside seat at the Summer of Love. He relates one vivid memory in his new memoir, An Appetite for Wonder:

“I was walking along Telegraph Avenue, axis of Berkeley’s beads-incense-and-marijuana culture. A young man was walking ahead of me, dressed in the insignia of the flower-power generation. Every time a young woman passed him, walking in the opposite direction, he would reach out and tweak one of her breasts. Far from slapping him, or crying, ‘Harassment!’, she would simply walk on by as if nothing had happened… Today I find this almost impossible to believe.”

Seriously? What fucking planet are you from?

We don’t fucking live in some big-eyed anime universe where the response of a misplaced boob-grab is an over-the-top battle-cry and a “comedic” smackdown with a giant hammer that ends in someone being rocketed up into space on the back of a mushroom cloud. The usual, unfortunate, response to harassment then and now is defeated acceptance. A fight, flight, or freeze reaction that accompanies most violations of boundaries, especially in public spaces. And with many women, especially, hammered home with the message that raising a fuss in public is a bad thing for themselves personally if they are harassed, quiet acceptance or avoidance strategies are sadly more common than beatdowns.

That’s certainly not to say that things aren’t better now. Cause, they are, like a ton. There actually has been a great deal of growing awareness of the problem of harassment and rape (including public molestation), largely born out of those same “flower-child” girls standing up against a culture where even the “leftist” boys felt entitled to women as property. Those feminists built on the framework of previous feminists working to identify these problems and really bring it to the mainstream awareness we’re starting to have now. And that language and awareness allows those so attacked much more freedom in reporting it, having social support when they do, and even very occasionally feeling safe enough to put the public shame on the perpetrator where it belongs instead of the victim “raising a fuss” over “nothing”.

He says he’s pleased how things have changed on the harassment front in the past 40 years.

Don’t get your hopes up. It’s not for the reasons you think.

But on other occasions when that shifting moral zeitgeist rears its head – as boys, including him, are molested or beaten at his various boarding schools, for instance – he fails to be outraged.

See. It’s more about class. Of course, it’s a better change that lower class unwashed hippie hooligans have a comical cartoonish end to their low-brow public sexual assault shenanigans, because such liberties are only to be extended to one’s social betters, the rich. See, highbrow, full of class aristocratic school officials can rape and beat all the children they want owing to their in-born higher station. Because they have the decency and manners to do it at fancy boarding schools instead of the middle of the street like common ruffians.

Apparently, rape is, quite literally, the privilege of the aristocrats.

One master at his public school, Oundle, he writes, “was prone to fall in love with the prettier boys. He never, as far as we knew, went any further than to put an arm around them in class and make suggestive remarks, but nowadays that would probably be enough to land him in terrible trouble with the police – and tabloid-inflamed vigilantes.”

Well… yeah. Duh. What he was doing was sexual harassment and nowadays we don’t just laugh it off because it’s happening to the faggier students who probably deserved it for not being busted-nosed jocks. Nor do we tolerate bullying by teachers. And we certainly don’t tolerate letting child molesters or those who are constantly joking about “falling in love” with the kids keep watch over them, especially in an environment where they are living at the school.

Most people who aren’t Catholic Cardinals maintain this is a good change.

Is he guilty of rationalising bad stuff just because it’s past?

Yes.

Nostalgia goggles, they are a killer.

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”

Anybody else feel suddenly unclean?

Wow, so yeah, this. Fuck this. I mean, I get part of the argument. People of one time are raised in a culture even more twisted than our own and thus there was even less realization of just how fucked up it was and so we can’t condemn people for not making it a much better world or carrying the baggage of their times because it can be really hard to go that much against the grain of societal norms and attitudes.

Or at least, I would, if it was that argument and not instead that we shouldn’t at all condemn the horrifying fucking things those time frames did because hey, everyone at the time thought they were swell. I mean, I’m willing to let the Northern abolitionists a little off the hook for still thinking blacks were inferior to them while working to free them from the slave trade and I’m willing to cut some of the Southerners some tiny sliver of slack for not having the ovaries to fight against the system and do what was right to their own detriment.

But fuck, if I’m going to say that slavery itself was a-okay because way back when people thought it was hunky-dory. And the fact that Dawkins is willing to use this bullshit to excuse things like the fucking rape of children is just… gyyahh, trauma-soaked shower-inducing to say the least.

Also, “cannot condemn” mild paedophilia? Hello, child molester talking point, what are you doing here? (No, seriously, this is a common rationalization from child molesters, arguing that their actions are only “mild” assaults so they can’t be held to the same standards as some theoretical worse abuser).

Oh additional comedy point on this paragraph?

Richard Dawkin’s favorite argument against his detractors is that they are moral relativists (yeah, that old wingnut chestnut), especially with regards to those who call out his racism against Middle Eastern cultures. Yeah, just let that one roll around in your head for a second while enjoying his desperate plea to apply moral relativism to the system HE associates himself with.

Hypocrisy, it’s what’s for dinner.

The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile. Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense?

Ah, poor widdle child rapists. Is the big bad world finally having mild consequences almost kinda start coming back to you? That’s so mean!

I mean, all you did was completely fuck up children, leaving them with life-long scars given when they had no hope to emotionally process in a healthy manner what was done to them in the most egregious violation of their bodily autonomy and innocence and now people are acting like you did something wrong.

I know, you would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those damn feminists and their mangy cat too.

“I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”

Do you know that moment when you realize that you are in a hole? But because you weren’t the first person to recognize it, you start digging yourself deeper and deeper because your self-image of yourself as a super-intelligent person who is always right depends on you never being wrong. And eventually you start to feel the convection currents of the superheated rocks above the beginning of the magma. So you decide to keep digging because once a feminist called you out for being a dick and goddamn you are going to burn before you prove that bitch right?

No?

Oh, you must not be a complete fuck then.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, what string of unfortunate life choices could possibly lead you to constructing a sentence like “okay, yeah, sure it’s the rape of children, but it’s not like they’re raping the kids to death, so really, why should we even notice that it’s the rape of motherfucking children, you sick fuck!

I mean, holy fuckballs, this isn’t just rape apologia like last post or even another “hey, the Catholic Church needed to rape those kids for ecclesiastical reasons” from stoned out worshipers just trying to save the scam they’ve shackled themselves to, or even the self-serving rationales of an actual child molester (though it is verbatim their exact arguments and attempted self-rationalizations, which raises rather… pointed questions).

Instead it’s just bafflingly appalling for no adequately explained reason. I mean, there’s been no evidence to suggest he’s raped children himself, so why the unending support for them and the willing use of their sickening talking points to support their violation of real children’s lives?

It’s one of those arguments that one of his embittered critics among the religious right would put into his mouth in order to make him seem like a complete fucking monster because “atheism is evil” or some such shit like that.

I just… words escape me on just how vile this shit is. And I read the writings of people actively campaigning to make the laws against the beating of children weaker for living. I know for vile.

So is there a risk of a metaphorical lynching of well-known people as soon as they’re accused? “I think there is a risk of that.”

I keep hearing this sort of argument from various rape apologists and denialists and I just have to say:

Fine, fuckhead. Where?

Where are the lynchings of these poor rapists before there’s even a credible case? Where’s the public figure accused of rape who didn’t have a phalanx of loyal defenders screaming at anyone who even looked in the rapists direction, long after there were 20 accusers, 40 witnesses, and a video tape of them raping a person uploaded to Youtube? Where, outside of actual lynchings where accusations of “improper sexual relations” with Southern women were often used as the bullshit justification for legalized murder, has this occurred and the person accused of rape had to suffer a genuine loss equivalent of that alluded to by bullshit like this?

Where in the history of ever has a rapist suffered even a tenth what rape victims routinely suffer?

Show me these untold fleets of men destroyed by our unholy campaign against rape, the numbers that go so far against the multitudes who have been raped and never spoke of it to anyone who did anything. Especially for those victims of rape while children.

Cause right now, it sounds like you want me to weep for child molesters who in a very rare occurrence are actually facing real consequences for it. Because wah, they used to get away with raping children and now the mean feminists won’t let them anymore.

And I’m terribly sorry, but I seem to be all out of tears to cry over them. I used them all up weeping for your fucking victims.

But hey, that’s just a bit of hypocrisy, right? Just a momentary blind spot, it’s not like Big Bad Atheist Man, the man who famously called religion child abuse is going to defend religious child molesters too or-

What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”

1) Are you fucking kidding me?

2) They’re not all decades old, you lying fuck.

3) Are you fucking kidding me?

4) Really? Really? The point in which you can reach across the aisle and really feel for how a religious community is suffering isn’t some example of religious bigotry or the way racial animosity is cloaked in anti-religious terms or a show of support for liberal religious groups standing for what’s right against their bigoted cohorts? But rather how they have become the butt of jokes (and little more than that) for getting away with raping thousands upon thousands of kids while organizing their whole fucked-up edifice around avoiding ever admitting they were wrong to do so. That’s got your heartstrings pulled? I don’t want to say this, but if you die and there isn’t a secret basement full of chained up kids in your house… Sigh, of all the times to encounter someone dying by their “principles” rather than letting themselves be a hypocrite.

In the book, Dawkins mentions one occasion when a teacher put a hand down his trousers at a prep school in Salisbury, and four others at Oundle, when he “had to fend off nocturnal visits to my bed from senior boys much larger and stronger than I was”.

Rape culture? What rape culture? I don’t see a rape culture. Honestly, feminists, stop making stuff up.

The Oundle incidents don’t seem to have bothered him.

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Rape is a traumatizing event. It ripples and carries through someone for a long fucking time and leaves its share of PTSD symptomatology. And thanks to the rape culture we all swim in and the pressure against ever showing the effects of mental “illness” or emotional “weakness” and the internal drive to reclaim agency after a horrifying event, rape victims tend to err on the side of minimizing the impact of the attacks because they’d prefer if they had nothing.

Sometimes, somebody gets lucky. Their mind doesn’t register any flashbacks or circling behavior or obsession or other psychological damage from the event, even years afterward when the brain starts to actually process it. It’s just a terrible thing that happened and it doesn’t sink claws in. It happens.

But I don’t for a second buy that this describes Dawkins. Apparently this isn’t the only random interview lately where he’s unbidden brought up odd defenses for child molestation because “hey, it wasn’t that bad for me”, in places where there was no real reason to even broach the subject to begin with. He keeps circling back to these events. He clearly is invested in minimizing their impact, a defense mechanism to try and protect himself. He in other words, shows all the signs of PTSD, and sadly another more rarer side effect of rape (and which is more common for child victims of rape), the internalization of that rape culture as something normal, something that simply was and wasn’t bad or wrong in any way, but was just what happened.

Someone actually over this shit. Someone who was never deeply affected to begin with, who is not invested in minimizing their assault and all assaults as a form of protection, simply does not make arguments like this. And it is a sad testament to those who raped him that he is still that scared child protecting them to the world like they told him to.

But who needs sobering reflections on the immensely fucked up ways child rape affects people for life, when we can make fun of the various horrible things he can yet utter in defense of those who fucked him up for life.

The prep school one did, but he still can’t bring himself to condemn it, partly because the kind of comparison his adult mind deploys is with the mass murders carried out by Genghis Khan in the 12th century.

Yes, that’s right child rape survivors of the world, whether you have rebuilt your lives or still in the shadows of those rapes, let me tell you this. If you’re still alive, then it wasn’t really anything to condemn, you whiny crybaby.

This message paid for by the Horrible People Alliance of Fuckweasel Hill

Without condoning what was done, at least try to put on the goggles of the period and see it through those eyes,” he says. “I find it much harder to put on those goggles where we’re talking about the monstrous cruelty that went on in past times. It’s hard to think of that and to forgive using modern standards in the same way as it might be for the schoolmaster who touched me up but didn’t actually do me any physical violence.”

Eh. I can’t condemn this one. I mean, yes, it’s monstrously fucked up, especially to other victims of child rape, but… it’s a trauma symptom. The minimization of the event, comparing it to things so ludicrously worse in order to try and regain a sense of agency and internalize the blame of the event and try and feel better about not wanting to dwell on it.

Yeah, I’ve been there. I used to compare my own rape to much worse rapes, often to the ones my partner suffered. And my partner did the same with regards to her own to those who suffered violence in their rapes. And they in turn, I’m sure, did the same and focused on those who were repeatedly raped as kids and so on. It’s sadly common.

I can’t yell at a person for pulling this self-destructive crap on themselves, because I and nearly every other rape survivor I know has done it at one time or another.

Really, I guess, if we chalk all the defenses of child molestation as the sad legacy of a trauma never processed, likely in part to an antipathy to feminism and general societal cultural messages that male victims just need to “suck it up” and “man away” their assaults, then the horror show can almost become forgivable.

A sad legacy to why the last half-century of struggle needed to happen and why so much more must still happen to solve this brutal culture that has robbed so many of us of something important, a freedom from the visceral knowledge of just how the loss of body autonomy and the gain of non-consensual violation feels.

I can almost sympathi-

Back at Chafyn Grove I would watch games of squash from the gallery, waiting for the game to end so I could slip down and practise by myself. One day – I must have been about 11 – there was a master in the gallery with me. He pulled me onto his knee and put his hand inside my shorts. He did no more than have a little feel, but it was extremely disagreeable (the cremasteric reflex is not painful, but in a skin-crawling, creepy way it is almost worse than painful) as well as embarrassing. As soon as I could wriggle off his lap, I ran to tell my friends, many of whom had had the same experience with him. I don’t think he did any of us any lasting damage,

Never mind. Fuck you Dick. Fuck you and your “hey, I don’t wanna process my rape, so child rape has never fucked anyone up” bullshit. And fuck your nostalgic remembrances for an abuse factory that destroyed lives with the constant unending threat of bullying and rape. Fuck the systems that would prop up those abuse factories still today and would defend those hideous systems because they were of the right class at the right time.

And fuck all those who would prevent us moving to a world where more children remain safe and “uninitiated” to these violations and who would ever sympathize and defend and spread their arguments and self-rationalizations just because they are too fucking ballsack-shit scared to person-up and actually get the therapy they damn well can afford.

And fuck it, I don’t care if Newt Gingrich fucks a goat live on Fox, next time, no more fucking rape denialists trying to pretend away serious fucking issues like the creepiest trench-coated guy at the creeper festival.


‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. Other figures who have kicked pup Cerberus in the gender-complicated gonads over the years? Orson Scott Card, Isaac Asimov, Roman Polanski, Miles Davis, and Mike Nelson. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™

P.S. Per pre-standing threat by co-bloggers, I must include this link by law to those who want to help out some more. Note, you absolutely don’t need to. The worst is over and you all are responsible for that and even saved us from some unexpected car bills that got thrown onto the plate. So go Team You!

[edited by Provider_UNE] The above, is in fact, the truth. Now the following blew my mind such that I think it needs to be seen again:

“I was walking along Telegraph Avenue, axis of Berkeley’s beads-incense-and-marijuana culture. A young man was walking ahead of me, dressed in the insignia of the flower-power generation. Every time a young woman passed him, walking in the opposite direction, he would reach out and tweak one of her breasts. Far from slapping him, or crying, ‘Harassment!’, she would simply walk on by as if nothing had happened… Today I find this almost impossible to believe.”

Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink…Blink, blink, blink blink…

This is mental vapor lock triggering level of are you fucking kidding me on 17 different levels territory…One could base a fucking Doctoral thesis unpacking all of the levels of fail involved. For me the frist thing that stands out is the fact that he felt the need to share this anecdote (or make it up in the first place and then share it as Gospel.)

On the second the sharing of such an anecdote that fails to end with some variation of “And then I grabbed the guy by the back of his shirt and suggested that he stop with the molestations” or “I grabbed the guy by the back of his shirt and kicked his fucking ass”, while thinking somehow that the hippy punching that begins the tale provides cover for your negligent cowardice…Mind Boggled.

Understanding that Dawkins admits to dealing with inappropriate molestation as a child by figures of authority on a number of occasions as well as his appologia for same and the “times were different” argumentum. I guess I shouldn’t feel surprised.

Cerb, hope you don’t mind, but the fact that someone would retell a story which is the equivalent of “I got some jollies from watching someone abuse another” stuck in my craw.

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And for those who want to help via snail mail, my email address is cerberussadlyno AT gmail DOT com.

Again, thank you all. I really can’t stress how much you saved my ass this month. When I finally have my breakdown, I’m totally naming it after all of you.

242 Comments »

  1. not a gator said,

    September 12, 2013 at 10:43

    Pinker sucks.

    I mean, really, really, really sucks.

    Why people in or out of his field still take him seriously is beyond me.

  2. not a gator said,

    September 12, 2013 at 10:58

    But fuck, if I’m going to say that slavery itself was a-okay because way back when people thought it was hunky-dory.

    And of course everyone did NOT think it was hunky-dory, least of all the slaves who were always doing things like running away, revolting, or smashing their babies against the rocks. Slavery has risen its ugly head and been subsequently banned over and over again.

    For example, slavery was quite common in Western Europe prior to Christian missionaries campaigning to ban the practice from, oh, about the 7th century CE. In the South slaves (servi) stayed that way permanently unless freed, usually captives of war. In the North slaves (thralls) were either captives or acquired their status through debt peonage and were indentured for a fixed term (I believe 10 years).

    Persia banned slavery (for progessive reasons) over two thousand years ago.

    Plenty of contemporary sources from the Americas attest to the horrors of slavery. It was politically controversial and held in contempt in areas where the practice was not current. As early as the 1790s some of the former Sons of Liberty were taking slave cases to court and suing for freedom. The international slave trade was banned by Britain and other countries by the early 19th century and even the US signed on at some point, although they were trafficking so many internally by then that it had ceased to be commercially relevant.

    Even the Romans, enthusiastic enslavers for what its worth, felt a sense of embarrassment at some point about the practice, with some notable upper class Romans opining that the practice, even at its ‘mildest’ was contrary to a truly simple, moral life, and would eventually end. Romans often boasted to treat their slave domestic servants like members of the family… but of course they weren’t.

  3. Mike Nilsen said,

    September 12, 2013 at 12:43

    Suddenly, for Dawkins, anecdotes are evidence. Shit.

  4. Smut Clyde said,

    September 12, 2013 at 13:01

    Pinker sucks.
    Why people in or out of his field still take him seriously is beyond me.

    If Pinker did not exist then it would be necessary for McGravitas to invent him.

  5. Major Kong said,

    September 12, 2013 at 13:34

    Wow. Just wow.

    At what point do you wake up and find yourself defending child rape?

  6. Fenwick said,

    September 12, 2013 at 13:38

    Awakened by an extremely rare bad dream, I’m a-gonna get coffee, prop my eyes open with toothpicks, and read Cerb’s latest.

    PS for tsam: I rote a tru E9 stori 4 U. (Very end of last thread.)

  7. Fenwick said,

    September 12, 2013 at 14:40

    This post is another candidate for the Best of Cerebrus anthology.

  8. S. cerevisiae said,

    September 12, 2013 at 14:46

    Dawkins is doing his best to make atheists look like the boogeymen the fundies paint them as.

    Apologizing for child rape – good job Dick!

    Asshole.

  9. Fenwick said,

    September 12, 2013 at 15:49

    Dark God of Time: My affliction–well, one of them–may be as debilitating as yours. I suffer from Advanced Heisenberg’s Syndrome. I’m uncertain about almost everything.(*)

    (*) Except for Republicans and Democrats, the plague and leprosy of US politics.

    [I expect Mr. Moderator Oregon Beer Snob (if that's his real name), to blow away the footnote as the work of a "purity troll" outside the mainstream of Acceptable Two-Party Political Thinking. (Anyone curious why ol' Fenwick disappeared into the shadows for five months now has the answer.) I needed to get that off my chest. I'm still pretty bitter about it, OBS. And tensor's savage tag-teaming didn't help either.)]

  10. J R in WV said,

    September 12, 2013 at 16:15

    Hey,

    Glad the commentariat has helped out around your ranch.

    I read the whole page top to bottom, and no Don Surber, none at all. He’s still writing for the Daily Mail, you know. Exposing people to his logically impossible tirades.

    So what gives? You decided to give him a break so that he can distort reality unopposed?

    Help us poor hillbillys out here, and put him in his place!

    Thanks,
    JR

  11. The Dark God of Time said,

    September 12, 2013 at 16:24

    Fenwick, I suffer from nothing, and thanks for the funny in the AM.

  12. histrogeek said,

    September 12, 2013 at 16:36

    Damn.
    Even as Hitch and Harris were preaching Islamophobia and paraphrasing medieval Christian polemics and modern fascists as justification, I kept thinking well Dawkins is different. He’s a scientist. His atheism is rational so he’ll support rational moral principles.
    Then came the elevator woman video and his own Islamophobia. Now full-bore rape apology defending the Catholic f*cking Church’s least defensible actions since 1947.
    Well, I can admit I was wrong about him. He’s just another upper-class Englishman who can’t stand that the values of his class aren’t deferred to. Just like American white liberal men in the 80s and 90s whining about affirmative actions or complaining about Anita Hill or wondering in 2008 if they could ever be nominated by Democrats again.
    And he’s also confirming a nagging suspicious that’s been building in me for a few years. The attacks on “relativism” or “deconstructionism” in the humanities by science writers and others would slide into the self-assured defense of privilege. It always has a ring of “why do I have to give a shit what the lessers think. They’re wrong; I’m right.” I had no idea it would happen that fast, and damn do I wish I had been wrong. (I’m no deconstructionist, but you don’t have to read Derrida to know that douchey defenses of homophobia, sexism, classism, and war were what his acolytes were fighting.)

  13. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 16:40

    It was a different time then. You could put a quarter in a vending machine and out would come a child, ready for raping. Would that be acceptable now? Of course not! But let us not be so quick to judge the vicious monsters tearing up the insides of innocent children.

  14. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:02

    Ick. Ick ick ick. Wtf is he thinking? Going on record with this moral cowardice is revolting. Why is acknowledging that things are wrong is ok but preventing them is futile and punishing the perpetrators is just vindictive? As far as I can tell its a defense of privilege. People got away with bad things and some of them got rich off of the misery and death of slaves, but there should be no attempt to fix the injustices that world created? Mighty Britain ruled the greatest empire the world has ever seen, and strip mined the wealth out of it for hundreds of years and owes no debt to the countries it impoverished and the cultures it destroyed? Pedophiles owe no debt to the people whose childhood was shattered to appease their sick appetites?
    There is no way to erase the crimes of the past. But when we acknowledge those crimes existed, doesn’t that impose the moral duty to at least try to stop them in the present? And also punish the surviving perpetrators and compensate the victims? Otherwise why do we even bother to call them crimes? Are we just supposed to throw up our collective hands and say “get over it, life sucks”? No one here is trying to say we should go back in time and compensate the victims of the Punic wars. But when surviving Nazis are still hunted down and prosecuted even as they near the century mark, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we bring the pedophiles still infesting the catholic church or English public school system or anywhere else they might lurk to justice.

  15. Failure Artist said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:26

    Wow. Usually with abuse apologists you wish they knew what it was like to be on the side of the victim (hopeful via a magical mind meld) but this guy knows it first-hand, he can remember how the grope felt physically and he’s still on the side of the abusers. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me. With female genital mutilation, it’s often the older female relatives who push the practice on the younger generations. Adult victims cast their abuse as a “rite of practice” because otherwise they’d suffered meaninglessly.

    Personal note: When I was young my brother tried to force me to show my body after he mooned me. I refused and he got in trouble. He later molested my much younger sister. For a long time I thought that I had “escaped” the abuse but I don’t think I did.

  16. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:29

    So… is it bad form to celebrate other people realizing what a prick Dawkins was, someone who only accidentally fell onto his one achievement in coining the concept of “memes”, and then has gone on to fuck it all the way up? Because if it is, then call me St. Bad Form.

  17. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:41

    He’s no fan of the church, or statutes of limitation. Or the civil court system! Stop this newfangled madness.

    I have to say that for someone who supposedly disparages of God-botherers and is a Great Thinker about matters scientific, he sounds just as incoherent and deranged as some dumbfuck Roman Catholic locked into Automatic Defense of RCC mode.

    At what point do you wake up and find yourself defending child rape?

    Hopefully right before the point when you pick up a ball peen hammer and wallop yourself on the kneecaps a few dozen times.

  18. Chris said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:44

    Also, P.S. the only time I’ll defend religion is to defend the poor Catholic Church who are being pilloried by “modern morals” over such a little thing like raping children for the better part of a century (likely much much longer) while covering it up. Honestly, I don’t see the big deal.

    I’m not even an atheist, but there are few things I loathe more than atheists who interject themselves into religious disputes to say “look, I think all this shit is just the opium of the masses, but I think we can all agree that Christianity is morally superior opium to Islam.” Because then you can’t even pretend that it’s out of a deep personal conviction that sprang from Jesus Christ saving your soul. You can’t even pretend that it comes from the concern that people who don’t embrace Jesus are going to burn in hell. You can’t pretend, in short, that it’s anything other than pure racial/ethnic prejudice, and the ethic of “I don’t actually believe any of the shit these people are saying, but I’m sticking with them anyway cause they’re white.”

    Ayn Rand did this too. So do a couple conservative bloggers I’ve read over the years. There’s a real market for it.

  19. histrogeek said,

    September 12, 2013 at 18:56

    Now, now Chris. It’s not just about racial prejudice. It’s also about sucking up to the powerful. Like generations of post-Enlightenment anti-semites talking about how Jews are more credulous or legalistic or greedy or just plain worse than Christians. Christians run the country but I can join the dog-pile on Jews.

  20. Chris said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:05

    Richard Dawkin’s favorite argument against his detractors is that they are moral relativists (yeah, that old wingnut chestnut), especially with regards to those who call out his racism against Middle Eastern cultures. Yeah, just let that one roll around in your head for a second while enjoying his desperate plea to apply moral relativism to the system HE associates himself with.

    Yes, I’ve always loved that about the people who go “but, but, you don’t understand! These old people weren’t racist, it’s just that racism was okay back then!” Because they’re invariably the ones who then tell you that honor killings in Saudi Arabia are the reason we must bomb Iraq these people and you’re a Moral Relativist if you say otherwise (or point out that not all Muslim countries have honor killings).

  21. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:07

    (*) Except for Republicans and Democrats, the plague and leprosy of US politics.

    [I expect Mr. Moderator Oregon Beer Snob (if that's his real name), to blow away the footnote as the work of a "purity troll" outside the mainstream of Acceptable Two-Party Political Thinking. (Anyone curious why ol' Fenwick disappeared into the shadows for five months now has the answer.) I needed to get that off my chest. I'm still pretty bitter about it, OBS. And tensor's savage tag-teaming didn't help either.)]

    “Pretty” bitter? Sorry, I’m gonna need a more exact number using the IBU scale.

    And whatevs. I’m not going to abuse my moderating powers just ’cause you don’t like me.

  22. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:09

    Dawkins was definitely harmed. The abuse destroyed his ability to feel empathy for himself and for other survivors. Instead he identifies with the abusers. Alice Miller’s books spell out the mind-fuckery.

  23. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:17

    The abuse destroyed his ability to feel empathy for himself and for other survivors.

    Or he lacked that trait to begin with.

  24. decitect said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:19

    Nice breakdown of PTSD defenses – hadn’t really seen that perspective. The defense of child molesters of any class is indefensible – particularly from someone held in high regard for other fields. Just sad how his statements are so obvious from Cerberus’ exposition. Questions should be asked and he should seek some therapy.

  25. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:22

    You can’t pretend, in short, that it’s anything other than pure racial/ethnic prejudice, and the ethic of “I don’t actually believe any of the shit these people are saying, but I’m sticking with them anyway cause they’re white.”

    Ayn Rand did this too. So do a couple conservative bloggers I’ve read over the years. There’s a real market for it.

    I think it’s racial/ethnic prejudice along with a healthy dose of “this will be good for my career.”

  26. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:28

    And whatevs. I’m not going to abuse my moderating powers just ’cause you don’t like me.

    On the other hand, it would be interesting to see, way back when, just how much trolling Fenwick was doing before I put him in the killfile. There was an amusing nymfail at one point.

  27. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:47

    Dear god. Billy Joel to receive Kennedy Center honors?

  28. Chris said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:49

    Oh God, I love watching troll posts vanish SO MUCH!

    I think it’s racial/ethnic prejudice along with a healthy dose of “this will be good for my career.”

    True. What HG said, too. “Better to be the right hand of the devil than in his way.”

  29. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:53

    Dear god. Billy Joel to receive Kennedy Center honors?

    For excellence in Christie Brinkley marrying and being the third best selling solo recording artist in the US?

  30. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 12, 2013 at 19:55

    “Or he lacked that trait to begin with.”

    Well, natural-born psychopaths aside, children generally learn what they are taught. So if you teach them that pedophilia is love and abuse is normal, it can kill the ability to feel empathy and otherwise fuck with a young person’s mind.

  31. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 12, 2013 at 20:26

    Not excusing Dawkins for being a prick, just pointing out how this warped system supports abusers. Even the victims support the abusers. Sick fucks.

  32. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 20:26

    It is possible to lack empathy or significant amounts of it without being a psychopath. See Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some developmental disorders will also get you behavior that looks like a lack of empathy.

    But it comes down to what you think about kids, I suppose. I think we come out with personalities pre-installed and that personality determines how we react to the world, including how we learn. If you think personality is determined by external factors, that gets you a different set of expectations.

  33. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 20:32

    Time for the twin studies.

  34. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 20:41

    Or these:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment

  35. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 21:02

    The Stanford Experiment proves that Zimbardo was a flip nut. And that’s about it. When I was in school it was used as example of Wrong Things To Do When Conducting an Experiment.

    Because of the structure of the experiment, Zimbardo found it impossible to keep traditional scientific controls in place. He was unable to remain a neutral observer, since he influenced the direction of the experiment as the prison’s superintendent. Conclusions and observations drawn by the experimenters were largely subjective and anecdotal, and the experiment would be difficult [read illegal] for other researchers to reproduce.

  36. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 21:08

    The Stanford Experiment proves that Zimbardo was a flip nut. And that’s about it. When I was in school it was used as example of Wrong Things To Do When Conducting an Experiment.

    Well yes. Nevertheless if you want environment influencing behaviour, there is some.

  37. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 12, 2013 at 21:09

    “I think we come out with personalities pre-installed”

    Yes, for sure. For example, I came complete with a high-functioning bullshit detector that was fine-tuned by dodging predators and hyper-vigilance from PTSD. I figured out “I do this because I love you” was a sick lie when I was 5. That didn’t stop me from self-destructing. It took many many years to acknowledge and name what happened and the terrible harm that it did. My coping mechanism was “I’m FINE” until I broke down.

    Imagine if I had been surrounded by people who were willing to intervene to protect me, or people who believed me when I told them what happened and encouraged me to name the abusers and help the healing. How different that would be.

    Funny you mention NPD – I’m doing a case study of sorts with the wingnut who’s suing to shut down my website. I’m a beginner, but it seems the literature does mention abuse and neglect as factors. And clearly there’s a spectrum that ranges from a healthy dash of narcissism to full-blown megalomania. (My research is focused on how to politely and properly get him to have a total meltdown in court and, with luck, attack me in front of the judge.)

    Alice Miller’s work on relearning empathy for survivors can be found in Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, Poisonous Pedagogy and some of her other work.

  38. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 21:24

    You’d be better off watching reruns of the Real World to get an idea of how environment impacts behavior.

    I even wonder if whatever was wrong with Zimbardo impacted participant selection.

  39. Provider_UNE said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:03

    I wish I had read the comments before adding an addendum to the post, but I could not wait and needed to do something to cleanse the mental palate as I am sure most of you will understand.

    Helmut @September 12, 2013 at 18:02 and Chris a few later cover similar territory. I particularly appreciated this nod to brevity:

    Wtf is he thinking? Going on record with this moral cowardice is revolting.

    ‘xactly what struck me.

  40. CRA said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:28

    Dawkins was definitely harmed. The abuse destroyed his ability to feel empathy for himself and for other survivors. Instead he identifies with the abusers. Alice Miller’s books spell out the mind-fuckery.

    I hope it’s occurred to him that his strengths and successes aren’t evidence of complete mental health. I’ve suffered some abuse and trauma, minor by some standards. But minimizing hasn’t helped me, that’s for sure … Maybe if I was a celebrity intellectual with two dozen honorary doctorates hanging in my john, I’d be tempted to say, “a little abuse never hurt anyone, take me for example.” But no, it’s an anvil around my neck. I was taught to be stoic and move on, but really I can’t, even if I don’t always recognize what’s driving my feelings and behavior.

    Maybe Dawkins will have a revelation that if he was out of the woods he wouldn’t be saying his shit out loud.

  41. jim, smiling & nodding whilst quietly fine-tuning the tractor-beams on his Meteor Magnet said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:34

    Huh, fancy that … I just got done watching a mess of Dawkins (along with Hitchens & Sam Harris) slagging religion on PooTube*.

    The two things that jumped out at me were a scene where he’s ragging on a bunch of UK high-school science teachers for not actively belittling the kiddies’ religious convictions (because lawsuits) – & how often he brings up multiculturalism in the same tone most of us reserve for necrophilia or pubic lice.

    As to the former, yeah, well, someone with tenure isn’t likely to perceive just how tight a leash a mere high-school teacher wears at work every day, but still … pretty scummy move there, Dick. Gonna guess there’s no Director’s Cut where he then offers to teach one of their classes for a month to show them how to do it right.

    As to the latter? Being a Canuck, with abundant experience of just how much more peaceful & non-toxic a society can be when half the folks don’t want the other half’s heads on pikes, I think a simple FUCK YOU, YOU CLUELESS FUCKING XENOPHOBIC CRETIN will suffice.

    Objectively, I would think that the prevalence of a more lax attitude toward nasty stuff in the past proves how much more barbaric &/or ignorant society was back then, & nothing more. To posit that its own myopia somehow retroactively exonerates that previous society of its amorality or criminality reeks of magic thinking.

    SCIENCE 101 FAIL.
    __________________________________________________________________

    * It’s a case of “love the bullets, loathe the snipers” with this lot … not one truly upstanding or likeable infidel in the bunch. Sigh. Fortunately, I also watched a big pile of Carl Sagan & Richard Feynman to cleanse my video palate.

  42. Shakezula said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:40

    Wtf is he thinking? Going on record with this moral cowardice is revolting.

    Perhaps he wanted to remind everyone that you don’t need the new fangled internet to be a big stinking troll.

  43. Smut Clyde said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:52

    Dawkins was definitely harmed. The abuse destroyed his ability to feel empathy for himself and for other survivors.

    He was sent to a prep school, then a Public School, the Oxford. “Destroying ability to feel empathy” is what that education pathway was designed to do. Empathetic, undamaged graduates would be of little use in the colonies.

  44. Provider_UNE said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:52

    Concerns have been noted…And thanks.

  45. Smut Clyde said,

    September 12, 2013 at 22:55

    how often he brings up multiculturalism in the same tone most of us reserve for necrophilia or pubic lice

    Dawkins is calling himself a “cultural Anglican” now. He wants his English heritage preserved (without the annoying religious part, of course) without those immigrants messing it up.

  46. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 12, 2013 at 23:09

    Smut Clyde:

    “‘Destroying ability to feel empathy’ is what that education pathway was designed to do. Empathetic, undamaged graduates would be of little use in the colonies.”

    Exactly. Child abuse is part of the system that culminates in the systematic exploitation of all living things.

  47. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 12, 2013 at 23:25

    You’d be better off watching reruns of the Real World to get an idea of how environment impacts behavior.

    I even wonder if whatever was wrong with Zimbardo impacted participant selection.

    I buy all of that too. Zimbardo as school headmaster? Zimbardo as reality TV producer? Sure.

  48. CRA said,

    September 12, 2013 at 23:33

    Dawkins is so serious about preserving English heritage that he condones the abuse of boys, by adults and each other, much as they have been abused (at boarding schools etc.) for generations — because as Babe Ruthless says, that sort of training is an integral part of the system of Englishness? Religion, however English, he’d like to see wither away, but when it comes to schoolmasters groping boys, one mustn’t hastily throw the baby out with the bathwater, or something.

  49. Chris said,

    September 12, 2013 at 23:43

    Dawkins is so serious about preserving English heritage that he condones the abuse of boys, by adults and each other, much as they have been abused (at boarding schools etc.) for generations — because as Babe Ruthless says, that sort of training is an integral part of the system of Englishness? Religion, however English, he’d like to see wither away, but when it comes to schoolmasters groping boys, one mustn’t hastily throw the baby out with the bathwater, or something.

    And is it just me, or is it incredibly fucking weird that an Englishman’s idea of defending English heritage is to be sticking up for the sins of the Catholic Church, of all things? The religion of every enemy of the Realm from the Spanish Armada to the IRA? Short of being French, I can’t think of anything less English than Dawkins’ new buddies.

    Somewhere out there, old-school English chauvinists are shaking their heads in disgust and muttering that English chauvinism is going to the dogs, they’ll let in anyone these days.

  50. Some guy said,

    September 13, 2013 at 3:48

    Dawkins is so serious about preserving English heritage that he condones the abuse of boys, by adults and each other

    Somehow I missed the part where he condoned it…

    In the 1950′s and 1960′s, there were no shelters for abused women, because in polite society the issue of spousal abuse went totally unmentioned.

    Does the fact that I make that observation mean that I condone spousal abuse?

    In the 1950′s and 1960′s, people let their dogs run around loose, with the result that dogs were more frequently hit by cars.

    Does the fact that I make that observation mean that I condone animal cruelty?

  51. Gary Ruppert said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:01

    The fact is, of course liberals support raping children.

  52. Gary Ruppert said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:05

    The fact is, this is how liberal gays make more gays.

  53. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:14

    Random dude probably didn’t RTFA.

    “I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it.”

  54. CRA said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:35

    Thanks, Babe. Spared me the trouble.

    Maybe I wasn’t as precise as I could have been; maybe Dawkins wasn’t, either? Or perhaps me meant what he said, no more no less.

    This is a very articulate fellow. His work requires him to communicate with a high degree of precision. He says he can’t bring himself to condemn mild pedophilia.

    I read the article … Another thing that struck me is him saying (IIRC) that, while in school, he did not feel pity for an awkward boy who was routinely bullied. Dawkins seems to have found the bullied boy to be a sympathetic figure — it’s not clear if these sentiments are just in hindsight, or animated schoolboy Dawkins as well. But he’s candid, and says he felt nothing. He was hardened, you could say, and I don’t think that did (or does) any real good. Dawkins spoke up, now, along these lines because he thinks he’s been making sense of things all these years in good ways, ones that are worth sharing and spreading.

  55. Bitter Scribe said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:56

    The Stanford Experiment proves that Zimbardo was a flip nut.

    I actually took a class from the guy. (It was one of those cattle-call auditorium lecture classes.) He seemed pretty OK except that he had an ego the size of California.

  56. Bitter Scribe said,

    September 13, 2013 at 4:58

    It was a different time then. You could put a quarter in a vending machine and out would come a child, ready for raping.

    Yeah, but now we have 3D printers.

  57. John Revolta said,

    September 13, 2013 at 5:13

    The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile.

    Yeah, um, no. Jimmy Savile died rich and beloved by millions, months before the truth started to ooze out. He was investigated once or twice over the years but never charged with anything. But hey, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good line of bullcrap, y’know?

  58. Some guy said,

    September 13, 2013 at 6:36

    “I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it.”

    I look back in my childhood when spanking children was common. I was spanked occasionally, as, I’m sure, were most of my friends and neighbours.

    I never spanked my own children.

    But what would be the point of condemning my parents and my neighbours’ parents?

    I look back in my childhood when most adults gave little thought to driving after they’d had a few, or more than a few, drinks.

    I don’t drive after I’ve been drinking.

    But what would be the point of condemning those who did so back in the day?

    Some kind of moralistic satisfaction? that would be rather pointless, wouldn’t it?

    Behavioural standards change over time, and Id be quite willing to bet that in fifty years time, people will look back with contempt for things that are so commonplace in today’s society that few would question them…

    Let us earnestly hope that today’s plagues of obesity and gun fetishism will be scorned in the year 2063…?

    This is the point that Dawkins was trying to make: Our ideas of what is socially permissible are somewhat flexible and subject to evolution with time.

  59. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 13, 2013 at 6:41

    It was a different time then. Everyone molested children, and they enjoyed it. Who can find fault with that?

  60. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 13, 2013 at 6:45

    It was a different time then. Children got regular beatings, and we all celebrated it and gave each other child-beating awards. The best child-beaters were featured in the local paper shaking hands with the Governor.

  61. Some guy said,

    September 13, 2013 at 7:04

    It was a different time then. Children got regular beatings, and we all celebrated it and gave each other child-beating awards..

    Sadly, no. We passed over it in polite silence, just like we do now with the fact that many of our neighbours are serious consumers of reality TV or monster truck rallies, or professional wrestling, or Fox News.

    Sadly, this is considered to be “normal” behaviour… Or at least “normal” enough that it would be considered socially unacceptable to challenge it, on the grounds that it is none of our business.

  62. Cerberus said,

    September 13, 2013 at 7:18

    Heh. New troll, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into here.

    #

    Provider_UNE @22:03:

    Yeah, the update is totes okay. Feel free to add your two cents on posts of mine if you feel I’ve missed something in the future.

  63. Whale Chowder said,

    September 13, 2013 at 7:23

    Does the fact that I make that observation mean that I condone animal cruelty?

    Not unless you said that dogs just getting injured by cars wasn’t so bad, really.

  64. Jabble said,

    September 13, 2013 at 12:01

    Ahh, Shit.

    Yes, that makes sense.

    I’ve often said exactly what Dawkins says here, for almost exactly the same reasons (Boarding school in England, Occasional “Inappropriate touching” but not proper abuse, not like real victims, Didn’t really harm anyone, etc). I thought I was being stoical and stiff-upper lippy about it, now you tell me I’m just a walking cliche.

    *sigh*

    The thing is, the people who did it were *genuinely* the only friends and support mechanism I had while I was there. Yeah, *now* I can see that this probably was what marked me out as an easy target, but even now I can’t help but separate their behaviour from the support they gave me (As in “They weren’t being predatory, they were just good friends).

    They fuck you up, your Boarding Masters.

    Still don’t talk about it because I wouldn’t want to cause them any trouble, because they were the only…blah blah…

    You say this is normal behaviour, yes? So what happens when you change that behaviour then?

  65. bulbul said,

    September 13, 2013 at 12:35

    I look back on my childhood when spanking children finding a random Jew, Gypsy or fag, kicking the shit out of him just for fun and throwing him in the gutter for the paramilitaries to finish the job was common.

    I never spanked my own children killed no Jew, Gypsy or a fag.
    But what would be the point of condemning my parents and my neighbours’ parents?

    many of our neighbours are serious consumers of reality TV or monster truck rallies, or professional wrestling, or Fox News.
    Totes the same thing as beating or raping a kid.

  66. Some guy said,

    September 13, 2013 at 12:39

    I’m not a troll. I comment and browse here frequently and 99.9% of the time am totally on board with the program. It just so happens In this case I agree with Dawkins, so shoot me already.

    Look, our society today still tolerates all sorts of cruelties in the sacred name of Authority. Human rights abuses are all too prevalent in less educated societies than ours, and even in ours, just scratch the surface and look at what’s going on…

    Today’s society doesn’t talk much about prison rape, for example. Just how prevalent is it? it seems we don’t know, and we don’t seriously WANT to know. Hopefully in the future that will change.

    Just how prevalent is it today for a cop to abuse their authority and assault somebody, rape somebody, steal from somebody, kill somebody?

    Once again, it seems that society isn’t seriously interested in discussing that subject. But hopefully in the future, that will change.

    I mention these kind of abuses of authority because they are fairly similar to the abuses that went on 50 years ago when parents, teachers and priests authority went largely unchallenged.

    That was just the way it was back then. For the less fortunate and less powerful, life included plenty of indignities, injustices and casual cruelties…a lot like today.

    I’m not advocating tolerating those, and neither is Dawkins.

  67. bulbul said,

    September 13, 2013 at 13:00

    Just how prevalent is it today for a cop to abuse their authority and assault somebody, rape somebody, steal from somebody, kill somebody?
    Very. And every day you have people speaking out against it and occasionally, *gasp*, cops even go to jail for abusing their authority.

    I’m not advocating tolerating those, and neither is Dawkins.
    Ehm: “I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it”
    Reading comprehension, do you fucking has it?

    Also, comparing monster truck rallies (neutral thing), professional wrestling (neutral thing) or even obesity (bad thing, for the fat guy) and gun fetishism (bad thing) to beating (fucked up thing) and raping (doubleplusungood fucked up thing) children is just totally cuckoo bananas. You are a fucking troll, now fuck off.

  68. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 13, 2013 at 13:49

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  69. Some guy said,

    September 13, 2013 at 13:50

    And so you really think in mentioning “caning and mild pedophilia” happening in the past, Dawkins was actually advocating beating and raping children?

    Ehm, I’d suggest you examine your own reading comprehension skills.

  70. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 13, 2013 at 14:00

    There is no such thing as “mild paedophelia”, which in itself is an attempt to minimize what many civilized societies regard as a heinous act in the first place.

    That’s like me saying, “My mother survived 18 months as a child in a Japanese Imperial Army prison camp, so it’s not so bad to put children behind barbed wire, starve them, and commit brutal acts before them, because look how she turned out.”

  71. Major Kong said,

    September 13, 2013 at 14:57

    It was a different time then. Children got regular beatings, and we all celebrated it and gave each other child-beating awards. The best child-beaters were featured in the local paper shaking hands with the Governor.

    Oh, I see you’ve met my grandfather.

  72. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 13, 2013 at 15:13

    Behavioural standards change over time, and Id be quite willing to bet that in fifty years time, people will look back with contempt for things that are so commonplace in today’s society that few would question them…

    It’s true. Behavior standards change. But in every social shift, we see that there are people who are ahead of the curve. Abolitionists were a protesting slavery for how many years before the civil war? fifty? Suffragettes worked for fifty years before women had the right to vote. Civil rights, gay rights, people have worked for decades to generate progress and secure the rights they enjoy today. That means they were working for decades in the public sphere where anyone could see and help.

    We don’t have to be Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr. to see people working their ass off for the rights of indigenous peoples, for environmental responsibility, for laws to protect vulnerable groups like transsexuals, minorities or refugees, or even for equality and fairness in the workplace. And in almost every case, one can identify a group doing the heavy lifting working for justice, fairness equality, and even simple dignity. Because the people who oppose them are entrenched institutions enjoying power and prosperity on the backs of the oppressed. This blog picks out examples of people every couple days who are making themselves ridiculous by badly defending the indefensible.

    Each and every one of us doesn’t have to lead a protest, we don’t even have to actively support and organize and give money and time (although wouldn’t it be nice if we did) but we can at least acknowledge that many activist groups are fighting real injustice and give them our vocal support. We can fight against the use of ‘fag’ or ‘gay’ as casual slurs, we can call out when people around us defend an unjust status quo on the basis of tradition or religion or any other bullshit rationalization. And we can call out people who try and minimize the harm done by when authority figures abuse their authority at the expense of the people they are supposed to protect.

  73. Cerberus said,

    September 13, 2013 at 15:30

    Jabble:

    *Appropriate Physical Gesture of Support*

    Minimization is an easy trap to fall into for any survivor. As I stated in the post, I’ve done it in the past with my own assault and so have the majority of survivors I have known. I think it’s a reflexive means of trying to regain agency. And there’s a lot of social pressure to do so, especially for those of us socialized male growing up.

    On the social support thing, my girlfriend noted with her own rape in an organization that is, like boarding schools, structured to support rapists over survivors (greek orgs) that it’s amazingly fucked up how the orgs make lots of statements of being like a family that are sold directly to those who don’t really have that family or social support in other arenas.

    And that extra dose of betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow. You shouldn’t have had to suffer that or be made to feel so conflicted in the modern day and you never did anything to “bring it on yourself”. Ever. They are the ones who did something horrible and tainted those connections and made them sources of both pain and nostalgia.

    As to your final question. I can only speak to my own experiences, but when I stopped minimizing my rape and the impact it had on me, it was the beginning of actually being able to process it healthily. And the same thing happened when my partner stopped minimizing her own rapes. I can’t say it’s an easy process, but it has been healthier for us than bottling it inside and wondering why we were so weak as to be affected by “something so minor”.

    In general, all I can do is wish you good luck and provide you e-gestures of comfort. You didn’t deserve to have that happen to you and fuck the systems that so normalize this sort of crap.

  74. Cerberus said,

    September 13, 2013 at 15:30

    someguy:

    K. Have fun.

  75. Shakezula said,

    September 13, 2013 at 15:37

    Hey Bitter, was this before or after the experiment? If after, did he mention it?

  76. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:22

    HOLY SHIT>

    I can think of many many words to describe what the Catholic Church is. “Victim” would never ever ever be among them.

    I guess it’s easy to say that being raped as a child isn’t THAT big of a deal if you don’t have to endure the lifelong effects of it yourself.

    Also, isn’t the Catholic assholes who keep crying and bitching about “moral relativity”? And now they’re trying to draw a wide grey line between pedophilia and “mild” pedophilia?

    I DON”T FUCKING THINK SO, MOTHERFUCKERS.

  77. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:28

    I would just like to note that in every single fucking instance of Richard Dawkins being criticized for anything somebody like “Some Guy” shows up at the post and defends him. I think this comment over at LGM may be my favorite so far.

  78. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:35

    I never held up Richard Dawkins as a paragon of atheism, and hero worship is to be avoided at all costs, whatever side you’re on.

    We can see the toll that the cult of Ronald Reagan has taken on conservatism in less than a generation, a bunch of nitwits whose antics threaten to damage the full faith and credit of the USA because Obama won’t give into their desire to put an end to Obamacare.

    Dummies. Sometimes unity is like the apocryphal lemmings off the cliff. Do they ever think of that?

  79. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:41

    @OBS:

    Great example, awesome smackdown. Especially the “Ummmm, Plato?” comment…

  80. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:42

    I would just like to note that in every single fucking instance of Richard Dawkins being criticized for anything somebody like “Some Guy” shows up at the post and defends him. I think this comment over at LGM may be my favorite so far.

    I’d say Dawkins’ collected works have done more to advance human knowledge than the entirety of the Islamic canon.

    Yes because the works of Dawkins were way more important than inventing algebra, algorithms and preserving the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans while Europeans were wiping their ass with any book that wasn’t the bible.

  81. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 13, 2013 at 18:54

    I think this comment over at LGM may be my favorite so far.

    Haw. Witless.

    I here toot my own ahead-of-the-curve horn. Dip Dawkins in urine today!

  82. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:00

    Don’t forget most of the early advancements in astronomy…Arabs.

  83. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:02

    Dip Dawkins in urine today!

    Well done sir.

  84. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:10

    This was an interesting read on atheists that give atheists a bad name

    Submitted without comment, however.

  85. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:13

    I liked the article best because he takes a nice shot at the insufferable windbag Penn Jillette. That guy is an exemplary dbag.

  86. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:35

    I’m an atheist, and I find it really fucking annoying that a few so many atheists are also glibertarian douchebags.

    See also: Ayn Rand.

  87. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:37

    I liked the article best because he takes a nice shot at the insufferable windbag Penn Jillette. That guy is an exemplary dbag.

    This, and also, too: Sipp E. Cupp.

  88. jim, not actually altogether very keen on having his Eschaton imminentized after all said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:39

    “Can’t find it in me to condemn it” = happy to condone it by proxy, just not explicitly … a feat of semantic follicle-fission which matters not one iota in terms of the non-trivial & non-abstract results for Dick & Jane.

    Yes, society was once far more lax about drunk drivers – even while knowing damn well that the wages of that laxity were a 24/7 bloodbath on the highways – until some nice people had the guts & the decency to call the bullshit by name. Then they put the heat on media, cops, pols, lawyers & judges until they got results. Yes, beating the hell out of kids (even wee ones) was once the norm until some nice people had the guts & the decency to point out that not only did this fail to improve their behaviour all that well, & was in fact one of the LEAST effective ways of getting the little buggers to evolve their action-menus – but it also virtually guaranteed that this futile & morbid marathon of violence would be inflicted on future generations of kids ad nauseam unless the perps could be made to cut it the fuck out permanently, via serious jail time if necessary.

    To repeat: previously-dominant & more barbaric social norms are not inherently self-redeeming via either temporal distance nor ignorance. It is no more an excuse before history than it is before a court of law, let alone before the basic retail norms of common human decency – to claim otherwise is true moral relativism in its most toxic & indefensible form. The reason is obvious upon reflection: one’s sheer bone-headed cluelessness, or unwavering religious zeal, or crystal-clear evidence that one’s ideology is literally perfection incarnate, or even having been brainwashed or conned – these factors do exactly nothing to mitigate the oppression, pain, or death of one’s selected victims.

    Want to grant unilateral mulligans for past follies?
    Go right ahead.
    Now, where do you draw the line?

    “Well, sure, Stalin murdered somewhere north of 20,000,000 Ukrainians by starving them to death in hellish agony, even while the Ukraine was the breadbasket of the USSR … but I just can’t find it in me to condemn it because poor old Uncle Joe MEANT well I’m sure – & those were such simpler & more innocent times, after all.”

    It is a vital corollary that this reality in no way makes the current generation the final & ideal acme of ethical rectitude. In fact just in my lifetime I’ve seen social ethical norms degrade in some areas (in some cases radically so) even as they crawl – or leap – upward in others. If you’re yearning for finish lines & victory parades, I’d suggest looking into sports instead.

  89. Seize said,

    September 13, 2013 at 19:46

    OBS – I cackled at the IBU joke. Now momma wants an IPA.

    Cerb you golfed this football out of the park. Richard Fucking Dawkins is now grist for the Sadly mills. I too once loved his work. Luckily I am no longer trapped in a life where paper books are the only window to new viewpoints and teh lolz.

  90. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:00

    This, and also, too: Sipp E. Cupp.

    She fits herself squarely into the wingnut crowd. Despite her claims of being an atheist, she’s as much a mystic fundie as the rest of those jackholes that think believing things makes them true and moral. Shorter: Yeah, she’s a total dumbass who couldn’t critically think her way out of a public restroom.

  91. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:03

    It is a vital corollary that this reality in no way makes the current generation the final & ideal acme of ethical rectitude. In fact just in my lifetime I’ve seen social ethical norms degrade in some areas (in some cases radically so) even as they crawl – or leap – upward in others. If you’re yearning for finish lines & victory parades, I’d suggest looking into sports instead.

    Nice.

  92. DrDick said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:13

    Speaking as an anthropologist who read his work as a grad student back in the dark ages, let me just say that Dawkins has always been a major league asshole. Misogyny and elitism permeate all of his work.

  93. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:16

    I’m an atheist, and I find it really fucking annoying that a few so many atheists are also glibertarian douchebags.

    I think you have it backwards. The atheism is a popular way for glibertarians to try to prove they have scientific minds, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    See, I’m not an atheist (I should say I refuse to call myself one, despite feeling that the idea of gods is about as silly as the ghost and flying saucer stories) because I don’t really care to put the effort into thinking about the existence of a supreme being, and I especially don’t care to have the discussions with those who will never let go of their belief in god(s). I don’t exactly begrudge anyone’s beliefs, as long as they don’t use them to oppress, which most of the world’s believers seem to be ok with. I still believe that 99% of people, regardless of their beliefs, are way way more concerned with putting food on the table maybe leaving their kids a little better off than with stamping out the scourge of homos kissing and such.

    I don’t care, and I like to focus on what is tangible and ultimately correctable, like child rape in churches and such.

  94. Failure Artist said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:20

    For fuck sake this isn’t ancient history like the Romans salting Carthage that would be silly to bother condemning. These incidents happened within living memory. Many of the perpetrators are still alive, especially if you include the upperclassman (children can abuse other children). I think we can condemn living people.

  95. histrogeek said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:28

    As far as I’m concerned libertarians are just Republicans who are OK with rich, white gays; watch porn, especially the nastiest misogynist kind; want to toke up at bars; and don’t want to go to church on Sunday. Given that, it’s not surprising that a lot of them are atheists.
    Throw (and I do mean throw, hard, into a lake) Ayn Rand into the mix and it’s amazing there aren’t more of them.

  96. Chris said,

    September 13, 2013 at 20:43

    As far as I’m concerned libertarians are just Republicans who are OK with rich, white gays; watch porn, especially the nastiest misogynist kind; want to toke up at bars; and don’t want to go to church on Sunday. Given that, it’s not surprising that a lot of them are atheists.

    “Libertarians are what Republicans call themselves when they’re trying to get laid” is still the best definition I’ve ever read.

  97. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 13, 2013 at 21:38

    “Libertarians are what Republicans call themselves when they’re trying to get laid” is still the best definition I’ve ever read.

    Weird how the republican brand is so toxic that “entitled narcissitic creep” is viewed as a step up.

  98. Provider_UNE said,

    September 13, 2013 at 21:49

    Weird how the republican brand is so toxic that “entitled narcissitic creep” is viewed as a step up.

    I just wanted to see this again. Plus I plan on stealing it!

  99. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 22:05

    “Libertarians are what Republicans call themselves when they’re trying to get laid” is still the best definition I’ve ever read.

    That’s also the best definition I’ve ever heard.

    I’m thinking the Libertarian wing of the Repuke party is the one that allows pony tails on men.

  100. Provider_UNE said,

    September 13, 2013 at 22:08

    My favorite from the article tsam linked to above:

    Bill Maher

    The “Real Time” host’s thinly veiled misogyny, obtuse notion that fat, poor people just need to, like, shop at Whole Foods, and self-righteous condescension in all things religious and political might be tolerable were it not for the fact that he’s on comedic par with cervical cancer. The only difference being: cervical cancer doesn’t blame its victims for failing to laugh. Compounding the unpleasant nature of Maher’s wheat-grass pomposity is that, from vaccines to the news items he discusses, he’s just not very well informed.

    I will personally never forgive him for mainstreaming Ann Coulter when his show was on one of the networks in the late 90′s.

  101. Provider_UNE said,

    September 13, 2013 at 22:12

    I’m thinking the Libertarian wing of the Repuke party is the one that allows pony tails on men.

    This is one the reasons that rule number one when reading comment threads is to make sure to swallow before reading. I like my laptop and my beer out of my nasal cavity.

  102. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 22:17

    I’ve always thought Bill Mahar was nothing more than a self-styled agent-provocateur, short on substance and long on condescending bullshit.

    I sort of liked Religulous, but still wanted to punch his guts by the halfway point of the movie.

  103. Provider_UNE said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:18

    So one day at work last week (I work in a restaurant) I was catching up on some dishes when on of my co-workers (who happens to be quite the dry wit) asked me if I could take care of the “Bropocalypse.” unbeknown to me at the time was that the person covering the counter was wiping off tables at the time. I pop around the corner and sure enough there is a cloud of dude-bro’s waiting at the counter. I pass said co-worker muttering under my breath while desperately attempting to contain my laughter “you son of a bitch.”

    Being the professional that I am I was able to process the transactions without laughing, though I did allow myself a chuckle if I was able to turn away for a moment. I was happy when the transactions were finished because then I could really let go. for the rest of the day I would start laughing about every five minutes.

    After work while enjoying a pint, I ran into a bartending friend of mine and related the taleto him which had him laughing after which he shared some of the ways that he and his goof on the dude-bro’s they encounter. The manager of said establishment also started roaring when he heard the story. Apparently goofing on the dude-bro’s is fairly common in the service industry.

  104. Major Kong said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:25

    Thankfully I reached adulthood many years before the “dude-bro” phenomenon.

  105. CRA said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:30

    This thread makes me wish I could remember more of what I read about and around historicism.

    On which subject Wikipedia points us in a great many directions. Plenty of good quotes and paraphrases, including:

    “The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstveränderung] can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.”—Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, III

    Dawkins, who cannot bring himself to condemn “mild pedophilia,” would then be counter-revolutionary, conservative, reactionary. That he “fails to be outraged” doesn’t concern me very much — outrage can be impotent or misdirected. It’s interesting to note the dangers he hopes to avoid. He’s not real clear on those.

    Why CAN’T we “condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” for example? I suppose it depends what we’re trying to accomplish. Historians are various, anthropologists have their methodologies, etc. Clearly, if we’re trying to portray our forebears in a good light, it won’t do to consistently judge them by modern standards. Sometimes they’d look better than us, though.

    If we’re trying to understand different perspectives, our own standards can be useful, or a hindrance, depending how they’re put to use. Lack of self-knowledge invariably distorts our understandings of others, as does fake objectivity. But even so, how could this mean that judging others (of whatever era) by my standards is a mistake, full stop?

    “Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”–Dawkins

    We wouldn’t condemn a 19th-century racist “in the same way” we’d condemn a contemporary? What does that mean to him? I would condemn them, but I’d be perfectly willing to discuss their world-views and laud them for whatever I found admirable. Is this even-handedness what is meant by condemning in a different way? Or should I not condemn at all, perhaps by being historicist (in one sense) and applying their standards, not mine?

    To wrap up, I sorta think Dawkins is afraid of the consequences of applying modern standards even-handedly. Doing so would cause trouble and make people look bad and make history uglier, less hagiographic (or whatever the term is for whole societies). Trinity College produced more Nobel laureates than the whole muslim world, and all that.

  106. Chris said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:33

    Going back for this one,

    Throw (and I do mean throw, hard, into a lake) Ayn Rand into the mix and it’s amazing there aren’t more of them.

    You’d think so, but on further reflection, not really. Most of them are happy just being Republicans.

    Look at the kinds of “government overreach” they really care about: foreign policy, no. (Rand Paul’s drone shenanigans proved pretty well that he was just concern trolling and his position – “I support the use of drone strikes on U.S. soil as long as it’s really really necessary” – is pretty much the mainstream one. And none of his base called him on it). Social issues, no. (Not minding if people are gay or have had an abortion is very different from caring about their rights enough to factor them into your politics). At the end of the day, all they really care about is “fuck taxes,” “fuck regulations” and “fuck gun control.” The GOP already embraces their views on all the issues, and packages it in a very nice “you’re the real Americans” message that well off white guys love (who wants to be an outcast, after all?)

    So most of them simply go Republican/conservative, with “libertarian” being the acceptable outlet for teenage rebelliousness (channeling it in a way that doesn’t challenge any of power structure).

  107. Oregon Beer Snob said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:40

    As the seasons continue their inexorable change and the nights take on that familiar fall bite of chill, the Dudebro begins its migration toward The Business School, The Fraternity, and the $1 PBR.

    See how their plumage naturally takes on the color and sheen of their new University colors?

    See how their awkwardness transforms into bravado as their numbers grow and the drink flows?

    Ah, fall!

    See the Dudebros, and delight in the Bro-ness, for it is amusing.

  108. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:47

    Why CAN’T we “condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,” for example? I suppose it depends what we’re trying to accomplish. Historians are various, anthropologists have their methodologies, etc. Clearly, if we’re trying to portray our forebears in a good light, it won’t do to consistently judge them by modern standards. Sometimes they’d look better than us, though.

    Lookit, man. No rational human EVER supported slavery. I understand the argument that people are a product of their time, but PLENTY of American colonists wanted nothing to do with slavery. The Civil War essentially started during the Constitutional Convention.

    No–giving people a pass for doing something to others they would never want to endure themselves is pure apologist bullshit. Looking upon them with a sympathetic eye only serves to rationalize the behavior in today’s world. It’s crap. Trying to paint a mile wide grey stripe between pedophilia and pedophilia is name of the game for non-practicing pedophiles.

  109. Chris said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:50

    Why CAN’T we “condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,”

    This mystifies me especially because abolitionists in the XIX century had absolutely no compunctions about condemning the injustices of their era in the harshest moral terms. And these people were hardly fringe lunatics – a large chunk of our Congress at the time was on board with that cause. If we’re going to decide that these abolitionists and not the slave owners were the ones who were correct on the issue of slavery (and even most conservatives will concede that, at least in public, before they go on to the quibbling), then why shouldn’t we be celebrating their ancestors and endorsing their view of their own contemporaries?

  110. tsam said,

    September 13, 2013 at 23:53

    So most of them simply go Republican/conservative, with “libertarian” being the acceptable outlet for teenage rebelliousness (channeling it in a way that doesn’t challenge any of power structure).

    YOUR MOVE, MAVERICK MCCAIN!

  111. VCarlson said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:03

    YOUR MOVE, MAVRICK MCCAIN!

    Annd, now I have a mental image of McCrankypants with a ponytail.

  112. tsam said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:04

    Annd, now I have a mental image of McCrankypants with a ponytail.

    Ohhhhhh that would be the Photoshop WIN OF THE YEAR

  113. Provider_UNE said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:05

    OBS obviously lives and/or works in a university town.

    ;)

  114. Provider_UNE said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:10

    Annd, now I have a mental image of McCrankypants with a ponytail.

    Ohhhhhh that would be the Photoshop WIN OF THE YEAR

    Both of these very funny. I consider the gauntlet thrown, fuckers…

    Anybody know of a tumblr or other site that features dudes with ponytails, preferably older ones?

    I know, Jonah Goldberg, etc. Fucking sue me.

  115. Provider_UNE said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:23

    I have found the tumblr and have created a ponytail folder to store possibilities.
    sheesh.

  116. Failure Artist said,

    September 14, 2013 at 0:25

    I remember watching the episode of Bullshit about the Americans With Disabilities Act. There was a segment where a disabled man praised the act and said it improved his life by allowing him to go more places. This was followed by Penn blustering on about BUT IT’S THE GUBBMIT! I didn’t watch any further.

  117. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 1:02

    Lookit, man. No rational human EVER supported slavery. I understand the argument that people are a product of their time, but PLENTY of American colonists wanted nothing to do with slavery. The Civil War essentially started during the Constitutional Convention.

    No–giving people a pass for doing something to others they would never want to endure themselves is pure apologist bullshit. Looking upon them with a sympathetic eye only serves to rationalize the behavior in today’s world. It’s crap. Trying to paint a mile wide grey stripe between pedophilia and pedophilia is name of the game for non-practicing pedophiles.

    I agree. I think there’s a difference between trying to understand people and giving them a pass. Or sympathizing with them … I want to understand Romans, or my late father, or pedophiles, or bullies, without becoming like them. I judge them by my standards, which are mine because I think they’re good ones. I am also willing to do thought experiments in which I judge you by your standards as I understand them. It’s a bit silly, though, without a proper goal (rationalizing more shitty behavior not being one).

    I think we agree too that Dawkins is not just playing logic games for fun, he’s rationalizing pedophilia and beatings. He definitely doesn’t want a revolution in human affairs if that means he has to think differently about his childhood, England, whether sick societies can produce alot of geniuses … He’s worried that things could get out of hand! But I’m not. Condemning caning and “mild” pedophilia, now and past, is part of my program even though it’s upsetting and confusing, involves rewriting history and muddies some reputations. Horrors!

  118. Lurkim dweller said,

    September 14, 2013 at 1:07

    For Front Range Colorado, that “What is government for?” rhetoric just got answered by dropping a Lake Powell worth of water on the mountains and submerging much of suburbia.

    I’m sure the future accounts of our Libertarians will extol their super human perserverance as an islands of individual will overcoming adversity. But for this week, when they really are an island, they are all National Guard-loving socialists.

  119. kg said,

    September 14, 2013 at 1:50

    For Front Range Colorado, that “What is government for?” rhetoric just got answered by dropping a Lake Powell worth of water on the mountains and submerging much of suburbia.

    I’m sure the future accounts of our Libertarians will extol their super human perserverance as an islands of individual will overcoming adversity. But for this week, when they really are an island, they are all National Guard-loving socialists.

    + 1 ZILLION

  120. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 1:52

    I will personally never forgive him for mainstreaming Ann Coulter when his show was on one of the networks in the late 90?s.

    Coulter was all over CNN prior to that. Can’t blame Maher there but obviously he was no help.

  121. Provider_UNE said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:04

    Coulter was all over CNN prior to that. Can’t blame Maher there but obviously he was no help.

    Did not know that, but then I gave up on CNN after Wolf Blitzer was elevated after his Baghdad “performance” after the first Gulf war. One might say that Maher gave her “street cred” with the “indie crowd”.

  122. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:08

    Heh.

  123. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:23

    “Oh, I see you’ve met my grandfather.”

    DAD?!

  124. Origami Isopod said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:33

    First of all, much sympathy to Failure Artist, Babe Ruthless, CRA, and Jabble.

    Close kin to Dawkins’ Telegraph Ave. anecdote was this bit of disgustingness that I saw not too long ago. Completely unironic. I am told that the guy in question is … like that, and there’s no fixing him.

    Not a gator:

    And of course everyone did NOT think it was hunky-dory, least of all the slaves who were always doing things like running away, revolting, or smashing their babies against the rocks. Slavery has risen its ugly head and been subsequently banned over and over again.

    I believe it was Gene Wolfe who wrote a paean to the wonderful loving relationship between feudal lords and their peasants. The many peasant revolts of the Middle Ages have been dropped down the same memory hole.

    with some notable upper class Romans opining that the practice, even at its ‘mildest’ was contrary to a truly simple, moral life, and would eventually end.

    Do you have citations? I’m not doubting you; I’m just curious. Roman society was completely dependent on slaves.

    S. cerevisiae:

    Dawkins is doing his best to make atheists look like the boogeymen the fundies paint them as.

    He’s not the only one. He’s just the most prominent and, possibly, the most astoundingly clueless.

    Decitect:

    Questions should be asked and he should seek some therapy.

    I don’t see the latter happening, ever.

    Shake:

    I think we come out with personalities pre-installed and that personality determines how we react to the world, including how we learn. If you think personality is determined by external factors, that gets you a different set of expectations.

    AFAIK “nature vs. nurture” is antiquated; they interact.

    Jim:

    Being a Canuck, with abundant experience of just how much more peaceful & non-toxic a society can be when half the folks don’t want the other half’s heads on pikes

    Being a Yank, I don’t want to throw stones, but up there you have Harper (who has a lot of support), the Ford brothers (ditto), Parti Québecois, and the centuries-long treatment of First Nations people. Not precisely non-toxic.

    CRA:

    that sort of training is an integral part of the system of Englishness?

    For just a couple of centuries out of a millennium and a half of Englishness, and for only a relatively small class of people and the males of that class only. Morality aside, that doesn’t sound very “integral” to me.

    Chris:

    And is it just me, or is it incredibly fucking weird that an Englishman’s idea of defending English heritage is to be sticking up for the sins of the Catholic Church, of all things?

    Fascists know their own kind.

    Some idiot:

    Let us earnestly hope that today’s plagues of obesity and gun fetishism will be scorned in the year 2063…?

    No, actually I’m hoping that the stigmatization of fat bodies will be considered barbaric by 2063, you clueless fuckwad.

    many of our neighbours are serious consumers of reality TV or monster truck rallies, or professional wrestling, or Fox News.

    Aside from none of those things being like raping children, who the fuck cares what people like to watch if it’s not right-wing propaganda? Pro wrestling is dorky. It’s also harmless. Shove your classism up your ass.

    OBS: Ah, yes, Carcin[ogen]. A fine specimen of the ilk of fanboy Dawkins draws.

    tsam:

    No rational human EVER supported slavery.

    You’re confusing “rational” with “moral.” If you’re a powerful sociopath it is perfectly rational to support a system that benefits you at the expense of others, even if it is detrimental to the society you live in.

  125. Babe Ruthless said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:36

    FYI: My FYWP site just got a new plugin (Wordfence) that allows me to block certain IPs. I’m feeling the powah.

  126. St. Lurkim dweller said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:39

    Moderation ISREAL!

    I usually read my Sadly, No! a few days late to cash-in on the purified, post-moderated snark. I had begun to believe the boogerman references were just another inside riff, a Troofy cast in negative, a shadow puppet Gary.

    Wow. The real time responses at the sharp end of the thread are pretty strange. And then they are gone. FWIW, I kind of liked the Glados-red-eye-module-Henry-Miller spitting id routine. Please clean that up and be bizarre in a way that makes us wonder instead of grimace.

  127. Major Kong said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:40

    actually I’m hoping that the stigmatization of fat bodies will be considered barbaric by 2063

    Probably won’t be enough food in 2063 for anyone to be fat.

  128. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 2:54

    Being a Yank, I don’t want to throw stones, but up there you have Harper (who has a lot of support), the Ford brothers (ditto), Parti Québecois, and the centuries-long treatment of First Nations people. Not precisely non-toxic.

    No society meets the non-toxicity test, but Harper is not even Obama for conservatism, Rob Ford is a mayor (and a relatively weak mayor at that), the PQ xenophobes are at least economic leftists in comparison to American xenophobes, and I’ll stack up our horrifying treatment of natives vs. American horrors any old time.

    It really is way better here except for weather.

  129. Origami Isopod said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:02

    Substance: Fair enough. And you do have national healthcare.

    Also my brain did this WTF thing when I read “This message paid for by the Horrible People Alliance of Fuckweasel Hill.” I tried to imagine people cosplaying members of the HPAFH. Not like, you know, wearing Republican elephant pins or white sheets or anything like that, but… I don’t know. Something something Silent Hill something something ferrets.

  130. Major Kong said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:05

    It really is way better here except for weather.

    I’ll go along with that. I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada and it’s generally saner than the US. Even Alberta doesn’t come close to Texas or Oklahoma on the crazy-meter.

  131. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:14

    “Way better” meant only in the political and “fair play” sense: I’ve spent a lot of time in various parts of the US and I like doing so. Canada’s a cultural wasteland in comparison.

  132. tigris said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:25

    the kind of comparison his adult mind deploys is with the mass murders carried out by Genghis Khan in the 12th century.

    His mind is fucked up.

  133. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:26

    For just a couple of centuries out of a millennium and a half of Englishness, and for only a relatively small class of people and the males of that class only. Morality aside, that doesn’t sound very “integral” to me.

    You’re right. I could counter that those fellas saw themselves as … I was gonna say embodying the whole, but no, they would have acknowledged the other parts. Saw themselves as integral? But still, well put on you.

  134. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:31

    Imagine I had a time machine, and set the controls for 2513. I emerge, meet some Future People, and we get to know each other, thoroughly. Finally I excuse myself to use the john.

    QUESTION: in the best-case scenario for the most people, what do my future-dwelling acquaintances say about me, now that I’ve left the room?

  135. Major Kong said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:39

    in the best-case scenario for the most people, what do my future-dwelling acquaintances say about me, now that I’ve left the room?

    I’m figuring that by 2513 we’ve devolved into some sort of Beyond Thunderdome dystopia.

    Best case they start worshipping you as a diety.

    Worst case they argue over who gets to each which part after they kill you for food.

  136. tigris said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:48

    I once read a short story in which people from roughly our time jumped into the future and while our contemporaries were shown on whatever the future TV news equivalent was, they were not allowed out to meet any real people so the future folks’ ideals of their ancestors wouldn’t be shattered by smelling us.

  137. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 3:51

    in the best-case scenario for the most people, what do my future-dwelling acquaintances say about me, now that I’ve left the room?

    ZPRRRRXMTWV!!!

  138. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 14, 2013 at 4:08

    Revelant? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQb3MGgGFSw

  139. jim, desperately seeking Species Reassignment said,

    September 14, 2013 at 4:10

    up there you have Harper (who has a lot of support), the Ford brothers (ditto), Parti Québecois, and the centuries-long treatment of First Nations people. Not precisely non-toxic.

    Multiculturalism was largely a Pearson/Trudeau innovation, & followed long after the atrocities in the First Nations (which we’ve both repudiated & started making reparations for). They may be dickheads of the first order, but Harper & Ford aren’t running on a “Kill The Subhuman Presbyterians Before They Kill YOU” ticket, & neither are the PQ … which is openly scared shitless of overtly floating separatism again lest it cost them any chance at staying in political power, because by now most of Quebec is thoroughly sick to death of the whole concept. It’s no coincidence that Richard “Mild Pedophilia” Dawkins (like his conservative brethren) despises multiculturalism – multicultural societies tend to have to be relatively liberal & tolerant in order to function.

    Like our medicare & our chartered banks, our multiculturalism isn’t patented, & you Yanks are warmly invited to steal it for yourselves any time.

    NOBODY is non-toxic. Even the friggin’ Swiss have the ugly episode of financial aid to the Nazis to live down.

    Whos’ the bigger fool, the fool or the one who engages him?

    Fools unchallenged tend to be referred to all too soon thereafter as Sir, Your Honour or Mr. President … & hilarity definitely does NOT ensue. The biggest fool of all is the one who assumes that arch folly left unchallenged long enough will organically wither away due to its own absurdity – see “The Dark Ages” for details.

  140. Smut Clyde said,

    September 14, 2013 at 4:58

    Finally I excuse myself to use the john…. what do my future-dwelling acquaintances say about me, now that I’ve left the room?

    “What a weird person. Wanting privacy for bio-download.”

  141. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 5:07

    I’m so glad I didn’t give my answer at once. Please, carry on.

  142. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 5:39

    BTW, “The Selfish Dick” was a good title.

  143. VCarlson said,

    September 14, 2013 at 5:41

    I keep remembering this when I see the title of this post.

    It’s a sign for a real firm on one of the major roads in my Dad’s home town. I kept seeing it and wanting to take a picture on my most recent visit, but that would have either involved extremely unsafe driving or parking on a side street and (gasp!) walking to take a picture. I thought someone would have taken a picture, and I was right.

  144. Anonymous said,

    September 14, 2013 at 6:42

    “It really is way better here except for weather.”

    Come to the west coast of Canuckistan. The snow stays where it belongs – on the ski hill.

  145. Hob said,

    September 14, 2013 at 9:36

    CRA: “what do my future-dwelling acquaintances say about me”

    You don’t have to time-travel 500 years to find that out, you just have to get old— which is a good excuse for me to link to my favorite Tim Kreider cartoon. “The one thing we do know for sure about the future is: we’re going to hate it.”

  146. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 10:12

    I figured out “I do this because I love you” was a sick lie when I was 5. That didn’t stop me from self-destructing. It took many many years to acknowledge and name what happened and the terrible harm that it did. My coping mechanism was “I’m FINE” until I broke down.

    Wow. This. I will have to check out this Alice Miller you speak of.

    It’s funny how what gets us through childhood makes us completely melt down as adolescents/young adults. I blame hormones but I think societal expectations play a role. In our atomized society it’s not as if there are good paying jobs for teens to flee to to get on their feet and feel a part of society .

  147. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 10:30

    I liked the article best because he takes a nice shot at the insufferable windbag Penn Jillette.

    Insufferable is right. I was serially binge watching BULLSH#T! episodes and ragequit after seeing what a jerk Jillette was being to his own employees on film, I guess in his typical bully way thinking that he looked good doing it. Fuck him. Getting stuff wrong via Cato is not what turned me off, it was Jillette’s narcissism. Fuck that guy.

  148. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 10:38

    As far as I’m concerned libertarians are just Republicans who are OK with rich, white gays; watch porn, especially the nastiest misogynist kind;

    I’m pretty sure religious conservatives of every stripe are the world champions at consuming porn, especially the nastier, more misogynistic porn, also go to live sex shows and strip clubs and have nasty unprotected sex without telling their partners.

    I mean, have you ever read a “holy” book?

  149. Major Kong said,

    September 14, 2013 at 13:01

    I mean, have you ever read a “holy” book?

    50 Shades of Leviticus

  150. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 14:23

    I awoke prematurely with these lines mostly formed in mind:

    The daemons’ cruel falchions dripped venom
    O’er a fullscale model of the Tower O’Babble
    Wholly tulle-draped in the manner of Christo
    At great expense borne by Whats-Her-Name,
    She of the hair like so, duly credited. Amen.

    Gonna go back to sleep.

  151. CRA said,

    September 14, 2013 at 14:49

    Still can’t sleep. Instead I get this:

    I dreamt I hired a hobo
    He offered to build my daughter
    He offered to build my daughter a Roald Dahl-house
    He made it, smiling. There being no daughter,
    We rolled that fine Dahl-house down the hill,
    To the foot of the hill, and we followed it down,
    Down to my hill’s tangled foot, and shared a knowing smoke
    on what was left of that Monday morning.

  152. Provider_UNE said,

    September 14, 2013 at 18:03

    50 Shades of Leviticus

    Dude, where and in what fashion, would you like to take possession of your internet?

    /will do the circular genuflection as to catch Kongs current position in space and time, though I am unsure whether that will cover the z axis…

  153. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 14, 2013 at 18:08

    PZ on the subject

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/09/09/i-beseech-you-in-the-bowels-of-christ-please-stop/

  154. John D. said,

    September 14, 2013 at 19:53

    “I’m pretty sure religious conservatives of every stripe are the world champions at consuming porn, especially the nastier, more misogynistic porn, also go to live sex shows and strip clubs and have nasty unprotected sex without telling their partners.”

    I can’t quote any statistics here, but apparently when the Republicans had their big convention in New York City some years back, attendance levels went through the roof at all the local strip clubs, massage parlors, porn stores, etc. etc. Unsurprisingly.

    “I think it’s racial/ethnic prejudice along with a healthy dose of “this will be good for my career.”

    Has anyone here read “Unhitched: the Trial of Christopher Hitchens” by Richard Seymour?

    My opinion of Hitchens used to be that he was once an honorable man, but eventually turned to the dark side for a variety of reasons, some utterly mercenary, but a few of them more complicated than that. An old co-worker I used to discuss politics with ran into me on the subway a few years ago, and after breifly chatting (he’d been a big fan of Hitchens back in the day), we agreed that at least some of the cause behind Hitchens turning into a neocon shill was explained by his alcoholism. Unlike me, my work buddy had actually seen the old soak speak in person – at the University of Toronto – and he told me you could smell the booze reeking off of Hitchens from halfway through the auditorium. He was sitting in the middle area of the seating, and it was not a tiny building.

    I guess I was still giving Hitchens more credit than he deserved, because Seymour’s book paints a very credible picture of him having always been an insatiable self-promoter. I can’t speak for Dawkins, of whom I’m not nearly familiar enough, but Hitchens definitely fit the profile of doing whatever he could for “the good of his career.” The rotten old bastard.

  155. Pupienus said,

    September 14, 2013 at 20:06

    “I’m pretty sure religious conservatives of every stripe are the world champions at consuming porn, [citation needed]

  156. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 20:10

    Do you have citations? I’m not doubting you; I’m just curious. Roman society was completely dependent on slaves.

    Yeah, the fact that the Roman economy functioned at all such as it was is astounding, but a quick google this morning only turned up Seneca, who goes on about the proper treatment of servants (domestic slaves), however, I know there were others, even one who predicted that the regime would eventually come to an end. Never got that classics degree … even I figured out by the time I got to college that I’d need a trust fund for that one, and got a STEM degree instead, though one that appealed to my spiritual needs at the time.

    Our society sucks donkey balls. It’s very similar to Roman society except that it’s not socially acceptable to rape slaves in your house. No doubt it’s going on, but when it’s found out your face is paraded all over the media with “Sicko” and “Monster” underneath it and they shove you in prison where the other prisoners treat you like a freak and you get your ass whooped on the yard. Whereas Romans figured it was an acceptable use. The name “Melissa” started as a nickname that Roman men gave their male slaves–Melissus–honey-sweet.

  157. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 20:20

    Okay, had a half a cup of copy. I’m sorry Origami Isopod, you’re making really thoughtful comments and I was sort of spouting off quickly. I was trying to paraphrase a lot of stuff hastily; also, don’t want to imply anything about an abolitionist movement among elitist Romans per se, just that some of the non-lead-poisoned thinkers (the ones in the country villas drinking spring water, heh heh) did individually take more critical attitudes towards the entire endeavor. And by critical I mean thinking about it analytically, NOT condemning other Romans for the practice or themselves.

    Of course, by my previous comment I hope you understand that THEIR concept of mistreatment quite differs from the US concept. In the 19th century US anti-slavery screeds spent a lot of time on the breakup of families, which was considered a massive harm, and also spent time on the violent punishments which were definitely out of line–the disfiguring, for example–with what was normal in that society. Rape of slaves was the unspeakable horror that was rarely addressed directly. (Also, women in the 19th got victim-blamed worse than today.) Romans, otoh….

    And of course slaves in gladiatorial contexts, or in industry, rowing boats, etc, that is a completely different life than a domestic servant in a patrician household. I’m not aware that upper class Romans wasted a minute’s thought on slaves in galleys. They were talking about the servi in their own household.

    I know more about American slave narratives than I do about the period of Classical antiquity, btw, so I should probably stop there. Like, a lot more.

  158. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 20:21

    of *coffee, dios mio!!!

  159. not a gator said,

    September 14, 2013 at 20:26

    I guess I was still giving Hitchens more credit than he deserved, because Seymour’s book paints a very credible picture of him having always been an insatiable self-promoter. I can’t speak for Dawkins, of whom I’m not nearly familiar enough, but Hitchens definitely fit the profile of doing whatever he could for “the good of his career.” The rotten old bastard.

    I first heard of Hitchens when he “switched sides” politically from left to right. It got him a ton of publicity and new friends. Late in life, he executed a partial switch back (he still thought the Iraq war was justified–the switch was prior to the war though, late Clinton era, I think).

    I’ve never read his books although I’m told they are exercises in name-dropping. Apparently excessive name-dropping is on the NPD diagnostic list. Wait, I mean on some NPD diagnostic list, not “the”.

    He was a truly skilled and effective debater. I think a lot of skeptics and atheists were drawn to him because so many debaters on the science side of the old creationist-evolution debate were ineffective at debating, and Hitchens was more than effective, he killed the other side.

  160. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:10

    David Graeber’s Debt has some stuff about Roman attitudes towards slavery and there must be more references in the bibliography. My poor memory says enough thinkers of note pronounced it a Bad Thing, but not in such a way that would have the practice outlawed. Rather it was a terrible tragedy to befall a man, but there you go, it happens.

    My copy’s elsewhere or I’d do better.

  161. Pupienus said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:14

    They’re shooting Mazda ads in the hood this morning. I wuz walkin to the (upscale hoity toity) Quik-e-mart to get milk (for the blueberry pancakes im going to make shortly), crossing the street whden some punk PA yells “You need to get out of the street!” So of course I stopped right there and sed “No, I need to cross the street. And you need to learn how to ask politely.” [quite a few seconds go by] Some other PA comes over and says “I’m sorry sir, would you please come over to the sidewalk. Thank you.” As I stepped onto the sidewalk I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the first PA get not literally slapped upside the haid.

    Yes, I enjoyed it.

  162. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:15

    He was a truly skilled and effective debater. I think a lot of skeptics and atheists were drawn to him because so many debaters on the science side of the old creationist-evolution debate were ineffective at debating, and Hitchens was more than effective, he killed the other side.

    I don’t think that’s the case: he was really entertaining to listen to and showed no mercy, but he’d go with a shitty argument if he could deliver a really nasty insult. A rhetor who preferred the words over the argument, an Yngwie Malmsteen of persuasive achievement.

  163. VCarlson said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:24

    I read somewhere that it was the Industrial Revolution that finally made non-slave society economically advantageous. Of course, there are a number of quite successful enterprises functioning today only because they have managed to make sure their workers have nowhere else to go or anything else to do, the only difference being that they are not (I think) outright bought and sold, so that may just be a lot of codswallop.

    But since it seems to be more orevalent in areas with large populations and little education, I’m really suspicious of the “quiverfull” and “education is a government plot/something that shouldn’t be free” folk.

  164. VCarlson said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:28

    And, of course, education is a government plot, as the (intended) USian form of government requires an educated and informed populace to function properly.

  165. El Manquécito said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:41

    A rhetor who preferred the words over the argument, an Yngwie Malmsteen of persuasive achievement.

    Nicely said Sub.

    I always enjoyed CH’s literary criticism and, of course, his attacks on Kissinger but there’s no doubt he was never pleasant and then something went badly wrong.

  166. J Neo Marvin said,

    September 14, 2013 at 21:46

    No conversation about dudebros and ponytails can be complete without mentioning this work of genius.

  167. Bitter Scribe said,

    September 14, 2013 at 22:33

    Hey Bitter, was this before or after the experiment? If after, did he mention it?

    After, and yes, he did. In a way that made himself look as good as possible, of course.

  168. Bitter Scribe said,

    September 14, 2013 at 23:04

    Oregon is just chewing up Tennessee and spitting them out.

    Have any two schools ever had uglier colors?

  169. Smut Clyde said,

    September 14, 2013 at 23:23

    My opinion of Hitchens used to be that he was once an honorable man, but eventually turned to the dark side for a variety of reasons, some utterly mercenary, but a few of them more complicated than that.

    A lot of Hitchens’ career moves reek of Orwell envy.

  170. Origami Isopod said,

    September 15, 2013 at 0:08

    John D.:

    I can’t quote any statistics here, but apparently when the Republicans had their big convention in New York City some years back, attendance levels went through the roof at all the local strip clubs, massage parlors, porn stores, etc. etc. Unsurprisingly.

    When the RNC was in the Twin Cities, that area’s Craigslist M/M was chock full of lolz.

    Not a gator:

    I’m sorry Origami Isopod, you’re making really thoughtful comments and I was sort of spouting off quickly.

    No worries. I appreciate all the commentary actually.

    The name “Melissa” started as a nickname that Roman men gave their male slaves–Melissus–honey-sweet.

    The ur-form of the name is feminine, it means “honeybee,” and it has a much longer history. Latin for “honey-sweet” is melidulci[s], I believe.

    Of course, by my previous comment I hope you understand that THEIR concept of mistreatment quite differs from the US concept.

    Oh, yes. It wasn’t race based, first and foremost, and (in theory, anyway) freedom was a possibility.

    FWIW my interest in the time period is entirely amateur. I have no background in classics or the like.

  171. Bitter Scribe said,

    September 15, 2013 at 0:12

    Neil Steinberg said that when he covered an anti-porn assembly at Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater, he nearly got trampled by students rushing to examine a box of the stuff on stage.

  172. Smut Clyde said,

    September 15, 2013 at 0:38

    Barack Obama’s head scar!!

  173. Whale Chowder said,

    September 15, 2013 at 2:01

    Obama had a horn? That’s awesome! That ‘splains the leventy dimensional chess!!

  174. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 15, 2013 at 2:18

    Yes, it’s outrageous to suggest that Republicans and conservatives are hypocritical about their sexual behavior vs. what they preach about monogamy or engage in obsessive, useless pastimes. That’s just not fair.

  175. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 15, 2013 at 2:49

    Yeah, just more librul lies about statistics and Republicans…….

    “Hands down, the Republicans have always been our best customers,” says Angelina Spencer, the Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives. It is the national trade organization for adult nightclubs.

    “And they tend to be business-focused,” she says. “That’s really all I can say. We get clients from all walks of life, but for whatever reason… I have heard club owners say, ‘Boy, those Republicans really are great customers.’”

  176. Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 2:55

    I was dragged to many a strip joint during my Air Force career by my very Republican coworkers. Not that they had to drag all that hard. Actually it went more like:

    “Hey! We’re going to the strip club, wanna go?”
    “Um, sure, why not.”

  177. Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:11

    Look it up yourself asshole. I’m not your damn research assistant.

  178. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:19

    Oh, yes. It wasn’t race based, first and foremost, and (in theory, anyway) freedom was a possibility.

    FWIW my interest in the time period is entirely amateur. I have no background in classics or the like.

    Our slaves were generally much better treated.
    Source: I’M A FUCKING ROMAN EMPEROR.

  179. Shakezula said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:22

    After, and yes, he did. In a way that made himself look as good as possible, of course.

    Can’t say I’m surprised.

  180. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:22

    When the repubs hit Tampa for the convention Grindr went down from overload. That’s a statistic.

  181. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:24

    And a fatherfucking fact.

  182. Whale Chowder said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:31

    I’ll just leave this here.

  183. Origami Isopod said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:43

    Pupienus:

    Our slaves were generally much better treated.
    Source: I’M A FUCKING ROMAN EMPEROR.

    Not sure how you got that interpretation from what I wrote.

  184. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:51

    Holy shit!

  185. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:52

    Origami – think about it for a second.

  186. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 3:53

    FYWP http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/09/14/most-holy-water-found-to-contain-not-so-holy-shit/

  187. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 4:03

    I am outraged that people are outraged that Dawkins isn’t outraged by old offenses.

  188. acrannymint said,

    September 15, 2013 at 5:38

    okay, I’m a drive-by rarely coherent commentator here but there has been a lot of posts on the PZ’s blogs and other atheist sites on what assholes some of these big name guys are. PZ did a post about a major figure being a rapist because he knew the accuser and believed her. I have read enough on Manboobz and sites linked to that I believe quite a bit of it. It’s an ugly world for women, gays, lesbian and transgendered people out there.

  189. acrannymint said,

    September 15, 2013 at 5:42

    by there I mean the skeptic community and don’t even go to the gamers

  190. acrannymint said,

    September 15, 2013 at 5:45

    or MRAs or PUAs

  191. Origami Isopod said,

    September 15, 2013 at 11:22

    Pupienus, if your implication is that I’m whitewashing (word chosen advisedly) Roman-type slavery, that’s hardly the case. Differentiating between different systems of slavery does not imply approval of any of them.

  192. Smut Clyde said,

    September 15, 2013 at 12:09

    Pupienus is calling attention to his status as a Roman emperor, albeit for only three months before a tragic Praetorian-guard-related accident

  193. Failure Artist said,

    September 15, 2013 at 16:07

    The last article may be right that the rise of sex trafficking was simply because there was an influx of visitors and not because of the political beliefs of the visitors. Who knows what the rates are during other conventions?

  194. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 15, 2013 at 17:14

    I thought Pupineus was more the tyrant of a minor Greek island type, not a Roman emperor.

  195. Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 17:23

    before a tragic Praetorian-guard-related accident

    I think there were a few of those. I think more than one Ottoman Sultan suffered tragic Janissary-related accidents as well.

  196. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    September 15, 2013 at 17:35

    My copy’s elsewhere or I’d do better.

    There’s juicy bits in Chapter 7. He notes that Roman law students learned that the institution of slavery is “contrary to nature” (quote from Florentius in Institutions). There’s a lot more as a lot of the basic ideas that Graeber deals with are about obligations and slavery. Also too, I am reminded that I never wrote a Chapter 12 critique.

  197. Failure Artist said,

    September 15, 2013 at 18:25

    Did you have to get rid of the talk about Republican sex trade along with the tick tock troll?

  198. wanfalkeejfkokoha said,

    September 15, 2013 at 18:35

    “Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 17:23

    before a tragic Praetorian-guard-related accident

    I think there were a few of those. I think more than one Ottoman Sultan suffered tragic Janissary-related accidents as well.”

    blah blah blah

  199. Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 18:45

    Yawn. Boring troll is boring.

  200. jim, not actually altogether very keen on having his Eschaton imminentized after all said,

    September 15, 2013 at 18:54

    Look it up yourself asshole.

    SHORT-LIST TITLE FOR MEMOIRS DETECTED

  201. Major Kong said,

    September 15, 2013 at 18:57

    Am I going to have to put my mall-cop badge on?

  202. Origami Isopod said,

    September 15, 2013 at 19:04

    Smut Clyde:

    Pupienus is calling attention to his status as a Roman emperor, albeit for only three months before a tragic Praetorian-guard-related accident

    … oh. Okay. Sorry about that, Pupienus. There are obvious gaps in my knowledge of ancient Rome (mostly I’ve read about the beginning of the empire through the mid-first century).

    Gator/DKW: Thanks for the additional details.

  203. Chris said,

    September 15, 2013 at 19:52

    Look it up yourself asshole. I’m not your damn research assistant.

    I’m always amused when conservatives ask for reliable sources.

    We’ve seen complex organisms evolve into an entirely different species in the span of a few decades (Italian wall lizards in Croatia; look it up), recorded it, documented it and put it up for the whole world to see, and conservatives still insist that species evolution just doesn’t happen, because Jesus and shut up that’s why. We’ve seen things with Hubble that are billions of light years away and were happening before the Earth cooled into a ball, and conservatives still insist that the Earth can’t be more than 6,000 years old because Jesus and shut up that’s why.

    But yeah, they want “reliable sources,” so they can then proceed to deny everything in them that doesn’t prove what they want to hear, even if Jesus himself comes down on a cloud and assures them it’s reliable. LOL. Yeah. We’ll get right on that! Sounds like an efficient use of everyone’s time.

  204. VCarlson said,

    September 15, 2013 at 20:49

    … even if Jesus himself comes down on a cloud and assures them it’s reliable

    I’m pretty sure if Jesus showed up today with the same message he gave 2K+ years ago, most of the Christianists would be right there accusing him of being an unChristian charlatan, with all his hippy-dippy business about loving and respecting others, especially the downtrodden. As for anything he’d say about science, well, if he doesn’t have a religion degree from International Miracle Institute (or whatever), well, he wouldn’t have the required academic chops.

    I’m also pretty sure they’d have been Royalists in the late 18th century, and the first to rat on their holy “Founders” to King George’s men.

  205. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:00

    I don’t think that’s the case: he was really entertaining to listen to and showed no mercy, but he’d go with a shitty argument if he could deliver a really nasty insult. A rhetor who preferred the words over the argument

    Well, that’s the thing, love, research shows that people are more persuaded by ridicule than facts.

  206. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:01

    I’m pretty sure if Jesus showed up today with the same message he gave 2K+ years ago, most of the Christianists would be right there accusing him of being an unChristian charlatan, with all his hippy-dippy business about loving and respecting others, especially the downtrodden.

    There is almost a tragic level of comedy in that 2,000 years later, the same people that’ve fucked with my people, calling them Christ-killers and what not; are not just guilty of the same behaviors that the way-back Pharisees committed that Jesus was arguing against, but would likely have a reborn Jesus persecuted and possibly killed for the same exact message delivered again.

  207. St. Trotsky, Pope-in-Avignon said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:03

    In other words, the whole of the past 2,000 years have been IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION.

  208. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:16

    The ur-form of the name is feminine, it means “honeybee,”

    d’oh! the things you learn on the internet!

    The Zeus connection is really flooring me, as I thought I knew all the variations of his origin myth.

    So I crawled around wiktionary a bit and it seems I’ve conflated melitus with melissus, since melissus has a Greek origin and in fact I think it was given as the name of a Greek slave. I don’t know Greek so I misunderstood the roots. In late latin the bee is styled the melifer, the honey-bearer, also know as apis, which seems like a cognate for bee but apparently is of origins obscure.

    When I said honey-sweet I didn’t mean literally, that was fanciful, but apparently that would be the sense of ‘melitus’. Melissus looks like it ought to mean that, but since it’s a borrowing, etc, &so on.

    I’m not disputing, the whole thing just confused me. Anyway, I stand corrected & all that jazz.

    Also, there’s somebody posting on twitter as Melissa Apis which has hilarious joke name written all over it.

  209. Chris said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:21

    I’m pretty sure if Jesus showed up today with the same message he gave 2K+ years ago, most of the Christianists would be right there accusing him of being an unChristian charlatan, with all his hippy-dippy business about loving and respecting others, especially the downtrodden.

    There is almost a tragic level of comedy in that 2,000 years later, the same people that’ve fucked with my people, calling them Christ-killers and what not; are not just guilty of the same behaviors that the way-back Pharisees committed that Jesus was arguing against, but would likely have a reborn Jesus persecuted and possibly killed for the same exact message delivered again.

    Didn’t somebody write a story that had Jesus coming back in the middle of the Inquisition and promptly getting arrested and killed, all in the name of God, amen? Thus has it ever been…

    I’m also pretty sure they’d have been Royalists in the late 18th century, and the first to rat on their holy “Founders” to King George’s men.

    “Would have been?”

    Their hard-on for the British Empire and the way they get upset at “the roots of Obama’s anti-colonial rage” sounds an awful lot like they still are.

  210. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:22

    Dictionary of Greek & Roman Mythology says Melissa is the propitiator, from whom the bee ‘sometimes’ receives its name: http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/2130.html

    Probably more accurate source than Wikipedia.

    Obvs I was wrong about it being a nickname, or if it is a nickname/epithet, it’s a Greek one, not a Roman one. Which is to say my Latin teacher gave me an oversimplified account. (Upper class Romans studied Greek with private tutors, though.)

  211. VCarlson said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:23

    In other words, the whole of the past 2,000 years have been IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION.

    I think you’ve hit on it.

    As for the ones who called Jewish people “Christ killers,” it never made sense to me. My understanding of the story was it was the Romans who did that; there was also a mob (known throughout time for their sweet reason and loving kindness); the Jewish leaders who agreed were pretty clearly of the genus “Lickspittle” (the species being unimportant); and not a one of the people present at the time was actually alive when the name-calling was going on. A handy excuse for stompage, in other words. But what did I know – I was one of those hippy liberal Quaker kids, not being taught the King James Bible was Teh Inerrant Word of God (in the original English, of course).

  212. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:25

    Look it up yourself asshole.

    SHORT-LIST TITLE FOR MEMOIRS DETECTED

    I lol’d.

    Admit it, you did too.

  213. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:29

    The last article may be right that the rise of sex trafficking was simply because there was an influx of visitors and not because of the political beliefs of the visitors. Who knows what the rates are during other conventions?

    There’s a modicum of truth to this, but given that business conventions are packed with Republicans….

    I’ve been to the other kind of convention and participants generally hook up with each other.

    There’s a persistent myth that sportsball conventions mean good money for hookers, but this is only a myth. It’s been researched a bit that I know of and some journalists took this up too. They interviewed prostitutes in Germany during the World Cup who complained that trade was really down–everyone was watching the matches.

  214. VCarlson said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:30

    I lol’d.

    Admit it, you did too.

    Not me.

    I snickered.

  215. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:39

    If Gopers weren’t found at the Mons Venus it’s because all the other GOPers were there in Tampa and might catch them there and they think they are soooooo teh clever which is why they used TEH INTERNETS of course they are starting to catch onto the conservative c-list watch which is why they moved onto grindr, after all the last CPAC was a MASSIVE BUST after a few good years of hardcore lulz, although some of the more obnoxious talking heads made it all good by blogging about their erotic failures at CPAC anyway.

  216. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:40

    Many conservatives apparently believe the internet is SOOPER SEKRIT and are only finding out otherwise the hard way.

  217. John Revolta said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:43

    all his hippy-dippy business about loving and respecting others, especially the downtrodden.

    And let’s not forget rich man : heaven :: camel : eye of needle.

    That’d get the little socialist twerp shot for sure.

  218. not a gator said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:43

    Oregon is just chewing up Tennessee and spitting them out.

    Go Oregon!

    Blue bottle fly molesting a wilted flower?

  219. Provider_UNE_AndPlayersToBeHatedLater™ said,

    September 15, 2013 at 21:51

    Not me.

    I snickered.

    I snorted, which drew glances from a nearby table.

  220. Fenwick said,

    September 15, 2013 at 22:12

    an unChristian charlatan, with all his hippy-dippy business about loving and respecting others, especially the downtrodden.

    Also not fond of money-changers.

  221. Fenwick said,

    September 15, 2013 at 22:16

    Not me.

    I snickered.

    I chortled.

  222. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 15, 2013 at 22:27

    As for the ones who called Jewish people “Christ killers,” it never made sense to me

    Comes from the TOTALLY LEGIT story of Pontius “Mr. Brutality” Pilate totally in character giving the rabble a choice between J. H. C. and some schmo. Teh Jews said to off Jeebus.

  223. The Dark God of Time, AKA DA said,

    September 15, 2013 at 22:35

    Fenwick, to be more precise, he was against money-changers doing their business “in my Fathers’ house”:

    And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”[Jn 2:13-2:16]

  224. Jeffraham Prestonian said,

    September 15, 2013 at 23:04

    Where have you been?
    .

  225. Fenwick said,

    September 16, 2013 at 0:19

    Dark God O’Time:

    Thanx for correction. Long time since I read the Bibble. With the more accurate and more restricted meaning, I guess Jeebus would still be plenty honked-off at televangelist Send-Money-for-the-Lord’s-Work scams….

  226. Failure Artist said,

    September 16, 2013 at 0:31

    Jesus would hate megachurches with their coffee shops and other businesses.

  227. CRA said,

    September 16, 2013 at 1:11

    “Prosperity gospel” would probably make smoke come out of his ears.

  228. acrannymint said,

    September 16, 2013 at 1:38

    “Prosperity gospel” would probably make smoke come out of his ears.

    There s a church in my town that advertises Bible $tudy Cla$$es. Not sure if they ran out of the letter S for their sign or if it is a prosperity gospel deal

  229. John Revolta said,

    September 16, 2013 at 1:52

    Therrrre’s good news tonight!

  230. kg said,

    September 16, 2013 at 1:56

    JR, let’s hope we don’t hear from that shitbag anytime soon.

  231. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 16, 2013 at 4:41

    Who could have believed that a shitbag’s confirmation process might be acrimonious?

  232. Substance McGravitas said,

    September 16, 2013 at 5:18

    Now the incense which he designated was the excrement of the Chief Patriarch, the denier, the defiler of the Truth, and they sought for it with such instance, and they so highly valued it that the high priests of the Greeks used to send it to all the countries of the Christians in silken wraps after mixing it with musk and ambergris. Hearing of it Kings would pay a thousand gold pieces for every dram and they sent for and sought it to fumigate brides withal; and the Chief Priests and the great Kings were wont to use a little of it as collyrium for the eyes and as a remedy in sickness and colic; and the Patriarchs used to mix their own skite with it, for that the skite of the Chief Patriarch could not suffice for ten countries.

  233. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 16, 2013 at 5:54

    I have found my new favorite pasta. So I had some lamb, a leg – well, the meaty “thigh” part – which I boned (no, not like that u sick fucks), cubed then marinated in olive oyl, cumin, ground coriander, garlic, lemon zest and marjoram. I skewered that shit up on rosemary twigs with eighthed red onion and grilled it beautifully. The pasta: slice tops off a couple garlic heads. Cut a pint of grape tomatoes in half. Throw it all on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with excellent olive oyl, sea salt and some acetico balsamico. Bake at like 350 for a while. Boil pasta – sketti from a box in this case – until barely all dente. Save a cup of the (well salted) water. Drain. Dump the tomates with oil

  234. Pupienus Maximus said,

    September 16, 2013 at 5:57

    In the pot to which you returned the pasta. Squoze the roasted garlic in there, mix well and add dome more Olivia and enough water to make a nice liaison. Magnifique! Imma play wif lemon jus, parm regg., … Stuff but I don’t think it can be much improved upon.

  235. Chris said,

    September 16, 2013 at 6:01

    no, not like that u sick fucks

    The guilty flee where no man pursueth.

  236. Cerberus said,

    September 16, 2013 at 8:18

    New post

  237. Smut Clyde said,

    September 16, 2013 at 8:55

    The guilty flee

    Second-smallest animal mentioned in the Holy Bibble, according to Martin Gardner.
    The smallest animal is of course the Widow’s Mite.

  238. Makhno said,

    September 16, 2013 at 12:50

    One reason Romans may not have been terribly concerned about galley slaves is that they didn’t have any. That’s a Barbary corsair / Knights of Malta thing. Roman oarsmen were generally free men.

  239. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 16, 2013 at 16:38

    I didn’t think that was the case. I know the greek oarsmen were free men, but I thought one of the reasons that Romans didn’t have many jails is they sent prisoners to work on latifunda or as galley slaves.

  240. Helmut Monotreme said,

    September 16, 2013 at 16:40

    But it looks like the wikis agree with you and while the Romans used galley slaves in time of war and other extreme manpower shortages, mostly they did use free rowers.

  241. tigris said,

    September 17, 2013 at 21:51

    I cite Ben Hur as PROOF that nuh-uh they TOTALLY did. CASE CLOSED.

  242. Paul Avery said,

    September 19, 2013 at 23:37

    Awaiting Richard Dawkins next interview…

    What’s all this whiny crap about the permanent damage caused by slavery? I mean, look at Booker T. Washington. He did alright for himself…even wrote a book called UP From Slavery. And Richard Wright, how did racism hurt him? He became a successful novelist.

    Holy hell! Dawkins totally lost his lunchbox.

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