Posts Tagged ‘exciting’

On the Failure of Atheist Organizations and Choosing Life!

September 1, 2012

Y’know I kinda knew it all along that feminism was the third rails here.  You can even see it in the very first video I put up on this subject, that I knew this was going to end ugly (“tactically dumb” I think were the words I used).  I really didn’t have a ‘dog in this fight’ beyond the fact that having all these professional victims trying to pass off the most mild transgressions as systematic and pervasive misogyny in the secular community, really did make the group that took this seriously looks like a bunch of jokers, and then to have ‘leaders’ of the community take an accommodationist stance to such professional victim-hood really doesn’t inspire one with much faith that these are dynamic organization capable of prioritizing and focusing on important goals to achieve results.

Having said that, I don’t really feel too badly about how this all came out.  I certainly learned a lot on the journey about the nature of this community, and why so much (although notably not all) of it is operationally ineffective.

In the current case the problem seems to be quite simple, that a group, notable centered around Freethoughtblogs and Skepchick have mistaken (initially arguably accidentally, but later apparently willfully) the odd troll as ‘evidence’ that the community is ridden with misogynists etc.  Indeed now it seems that folks from these forums almost relish the trolling, as they can then use it to ‘score some online pity’.  This path of ‘embracing victim-hood’ is not healthy for them or the community and ends in this hypersentivity to criticism that really doesn’t do anyone any good (‘use the block and ban functions’ urges Rebecca Watson in 100% VFX terms, and we all know how well that worked out for him!).  For instance they see the word “bitch is a gendered insult that demeans ALL women” (a point which Rebecca Watson of Skepchick assures us is so uncontroversial that almost everyone ‘gets’ it), but will have no problem in using the words “don’t be a dick” in their guidelines for their new ‘Atheism Plus’ forum (whose rules prohibit degrading people using sexual slurs).

Yes, ‘Bitch is a gendered insult to all women’ but in the utterly consistent Utopian world of AtheismPlus, ‘dick’ (mentioned only one line earlier in the forum rules!) does not count as the hate speech of a gender slur.

When such casual and common use of language becomes a matter of heated debate, arguably you have already been rendered operationally impotent by your political correctness.  Take another example.  The founder of atheism plus is quite candid about being ‘banned’ from the internet by her boyfriend, while doubtless if I had similarly imposed such restrictions on my girlfriend I would have been labeled a misogynist intent on subjugating women (“WHY NOT JUST TELL HER TO GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN!” etc) and she a propagator of destructive submissive female stereotypes, a gender traitor and therefore a rape culture enabler etc etc.  This is the disproportionate destination you arrive at when you are so sensitive to criticism: seeing the most banal activities that you engage in everyday as fine and healthy but as evidence of horrible sexism endemic in society when anyone else does it.  It also seems to have enabled a formidable cognitive dissonance in these folks.  For example many of these people consider “you’re only a feminist because you are old fat and ugly” as some great evil that should get you pilloried, but have no problem in thinking that saying “you’re only a misogynist because your privilege as a member of the patriarchy means you don’t ‘get it’ ” is some great argument winner.  In both cases the statement may well be perfectly accurate, but even if they were, the arguments constitute little more than personal mudslinging, while the more virtuous path would have been to actually address the argument, not the person.  Yet the latter example here is typically considered by such folks to be an argument winner, but the former beyond the pale as an ad hominem.  The cognitive dissonance is formidable.

However, going back to the original problem though, personally I wouldn’t give such trolls the time of day.  Example in question, coughlan616 in a recent exchange (over a month ago at the time of writing) ended up suggesting that he had performed needless sexual exchanges with my mother.

Inject yourself into the free speech arena? Better be ready for the slings and arrows! However that does not mean those who have not injected themselves into that arena are ‘fair game’.  For those with an interest, this was the full exchange.

Did I go ballistic at this and get a load of ‘secular leaders’ to write letters of support saying that this sort of hate should not be tolerated?

Did I campaign for a code of conduct for the atheist community etc?

Did I demand that anyone who opposed my proposed changes be driven out as C.H.U.D.s, as rejecting my proposals clearly meant that they endorsed Coughlan’s views?

Did I sit there crying at how unsafe this made me feel until someone paid attention?

No! I just ignored him.  If he wants to use his freedom of speech in the open arena to be a dick, that’s his affair. However there are of course some limits, and arguably coughlan crossed those in this case. Not by insulting me, as I’ve CHOSEN to inject myself into the public domain, and in such a free speech arena you have to suffer the slings and arrows of that arena.  This is not true however of my mother (see ‘YOUR MOTHERS A WHORE.. and other stuff‘.  She did not inject herself into the public arena, and is not therefore fair game.  Nor is impersonation, and various other elements such as slander and liable etc, but outside that, everything else, within a VERY broad remit is pretty much fair game.

This is in stark contrast to the way in which the ‘atheism plus’ people apparently think things should go, where one of them says that saying something that hurts someones feelings should be regarded in the same fashion as physical assault.

This is simply bullshit, and it is a damning indictment of everyone in that room that not one of them, not PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson or Jen McCreight actually stood up or questioned this proposition that would involve no less than the abolishment of the first amendment.

AtheismPlus, as defended by PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Jen McCreight and other is about as popular with their own base (freethinkers?) as venomfangxs arguments are with his audience!  A religious man would say ‘God is trying to tell you something there!’

Indeed the mere fact that even with their ‘home audience’ (secularists and rationalist?) they can only get a video rating comparable to that of venomfangx should be giving them a warning that a lot of people actually have issues with what they are saying.  I mean did they not think this through merely on personal-gain-logistical-grounds?  That if just one person finds their comments hurtful, then they will be prohibited from talking about it on freethoughtblogs and skepchick or get prosecuted for ‘assault’.

However, I’ve become increasingly of the opinion that these people are functionally incompetent, to the point where ‘being drummed out of such a community’ is not actually a punishment but a welcome and valuable gift.

My opinions of this were further backed up by checking out the google ‘web interest’ stats on this which show that I actually have a sizably bigger footprint that freethoughtblogs (both comfortably unique search terms).  Not bad seeing as I’m only one guy and pretty much only work on this half time!

So according to Google Insight, ‘Thunderf00t’ has about twice the web interest of Freethoughtblogs. I’m not a big player in the grand scheme of things.  -Freethoughtblogs CLEARLY make a disproportionate amount of noise for their size.

So yup, I figure I’m pretty much done with these hapless noise makers.

Done with those folks who think patronizing ad hominem/ ’emperors new clothes’ style arguments like “you just don’t ‘get it’ ” is some great cerebral, thoughtful and persuasive argument.

-I’m looking ahead and choosing life!! (que upbeat music)

I’m getting back to making videos that can appeal to everyone, not just some petty drama of just how incompetent certain fractions of the secular community are.

There are bigger fish to fry!

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The Edge: This time its HARDCORE!

November 1, 2011

   Before next year (2012) is out, I plan to have taken you to the edge of the unknown, and give you vision beyond mere sight.  To guide you up the more accessible foothills of the unknown on a voyage of discovery leading to an intellectual vantage point from which you will understand why, given nothing but natural processes, emergent self replicating life seems inevitable, rather than improbable.

-Damn straight! If you are going to do open n accessible science, make it interesting! Shining the magic light of knowledge on the hidden origin of life seems to be a pretty entertaining place to start 🙂

The first footstep on the journey of discovery

   Further, now that many know my real name, I can openly link up with other high profile groups promoting science education (to be announced) to publish this work in the peer review literature.  And sure, why not, let’s be bold and set a goal of getting this work published in one of the top research journals like Science or Nature.

   How does this work start? Why with a good drink of bacardi of course!

And I can fully assure you that by this time next year, you will see SOO much more than an amber, highly volatile liquid that is well know for its intoxicating properties on many carbon based life forms!

DON'T PANIC, IT'S ONLY SCIENCE!

   ….and yeah, if anyone’s got a wizard name for this epic endeavor, I’d love to hear it it the comments section below 🙂

Sat 30th July (Big Badda Boom!)

August 1, 2011

It’s crazy, I keep on meaning to get the planes going, it just never quite happens.  Thinking back it probably is a contributing factor that I never get more than 3 hrs continuous sleep (changing battery packs).  Hmm maybe I should have invested in one of those large battery packs, or just jury rigged one myself.  So on the evening on the Saturday I decided it was time to get rid of the potassium.  The stuff is a damn liability in a hot car.  Sure it’s under oil, in an airtight bottle, in an airtight metal can, but even so, its just a liability to have in a car that is your ‘home’.  Turns out I had about 12 grams.  Initially I used my ‘dunking’ apparatus for 4 grams, to show that it would shatter glass easily.  So inside the dunking kit I had a glass.  This is of course the smart way to do it if you don’t want broken glass everywhere.  The kit was a bit war torn by travel and needed some patching together.  I also had to find a ‘safe’ place to do this.  Safe in this case means sufficiently isolated that you are not going to disturb anyone (easy enough in the high sierra) and far enough from vegetation as to not cause any fires.  Eventually found a ravine that would do the job, but damn was it exciting getting my little NYer down those dirt trails for all terrain vehicles.

Turns out the apparatus stuck a little, but the end result was still more than acceptable!

You will notice in this reaction the immerser is fired out.  Turns out on the immerser there was still unmelted and unreacted potassium.  This for me was a fascinating discovery in that it shows the rate that the heat is generated on the surface greatly exceeds the metals capacity to conduct heat!!

Also led to one of those ‘thats why we wear facemaks’ type moments:

I then basically emptied the rest of the potassium out (about 7-8g in total) and wrapped in in aluminium foil and attached it to the emmerser.  Knowing how these things can scale in trecherous fashions, I moved the cameras and myself further away this time.

The 8 gram reaction was again very satisfactory, and I was glad to get rid of that potassium.

The wind regrettably was very high, and only later did I get a ‘sock’ on the mike, meaning most the audio I got here was mostly wind noise 😦  .  On the grand scale of things that was a small loss.  With these sorts of en-devours you can be so frequently screwed by the smallest absent minded moment (take for instance the previous day, when just not setting the focus on the camera resulted in a nights wasted effort).

By the time it was all over I was exhausted, the more so after I had nursed the car out form the dirt trails to nowhere.  So I rolled the car back to where it was kinda overlooking Ridgecrest and watched the over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It was beautiful with the brillant yellow sun peering through the clouds, torn by the wind, shining through into the valley in the foreground filling it with a warm glowing orange to the misty mountains beyond.  It was while I sat there in the silence of the high plains musing on how well the potassium thing had gone, that I suddenly realized that I hadn’t really talked to anyone for days, well, least ways anyone who actually knew my name.  Did think about heading down into Ridgecrest, simply to talk to someone on skype, or phone (mine doesn’t work out here), but I was exhausted, and the sunset was pretty, and by the time it had sunk below the mountains, fatigue had caught up with me.