Out!

The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.

–Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Blade Runner

 

I have criticized Freethought Blogs often over the past month.  In my opinion they were (and are) a group of intolerant leftist ideologues who tolerate no deviation from an overarching philosophy encompassing virtually every fact of modern “progressive” thought.  If you have the temerity not to subscribe to the modern academic feminism found in Women’s Studies programs through North American universities, you are scum.  You get an “F— U!  I hope you die!” in their comments.  If you don’t agree with them on how to combat sexual harassment at freethought/skeptics conferences, you are beneath contempt.  You get called a rape-apologist, or a MRA (I kept seeing that term in the comments to Freethought Blogs and Skepchick and had no idea what it meant–thinking it had to do with some rebel group in Madagascar or something like that, but it is apparently an insult in those places to call someone  a “men’s rights activist” or MRA for short.   I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found this.  Calling someone an MRA appears to be a rather infantile means of an ad hominim attack, or even  poisoning the well, whenever anyone disagrees with their academic feminist ideology–you disagree with me, you are an MRA!  Anything you say is bunk!).  Everyone at FTB appeared either to think the same way on these issues, either by editorial selection or self-selection.

But then things changed.  On June 21, 2012 Freethought Blogs announced their newest blogger, Thunderfoot. Thunderfoot was not afraid to think freely.  He was not afraid to break the ideological straightjacket that hitherto had kept the writers marching in lockstep (I like mixed metaphors, thank you very much!).  Thunderfoot put out post after post after post skewering the current FTB groupthink on issues of sexual harassment in the freethought/skeptics movement.

In his most recent post (today’s date as a I write this), he discussed the current crop of sexual harassment policies that have been released or modified in the past few weeks:

This I think highlights exactly why having incompetent PC doofuses attaching written documents to their conferences (that may have legal consequences) simply makes us all look like a bunch of second-raters.

Yup.  When you have anyone other than a lawyer (one with professional liability insurance coverage) write one of these things, the chances are  pretty good that you are going to come out looking like a moron when the shit hits the fan and a lawsuit is filed.

Thunderfoot even had the guts to take on PZ Myers in a couple of posts.  PZ has been one of the most doctrinaire defenders of the current officially accepted thoughts at FTB, which, as I have said, are based on an unthinking adoption of academic feminist theory.  Over in the little feifdom that is FTB, PZ has a lot of weight.  He does not take dissenting views lightly.  No.  He’s not quite as bad as David Miscavige on the issue of tolerating dissent, but almost.  And it did not take long for PZ to pull the trigger, trow his weight around, blow his whistle, and kick Thunderfoot out of the pool.  And before you start saying that there must have been another reason, that it was not just disagreeing with PZ’s orthodoxy that did it, here’s some proof in the way of a comment PZ made this afternoon:

http://foo.ca/grab/S%202012-07-01%20at%204.04.48%20PM.png

 

Outside.  And.  Opposing.  Yes, to PZ Thunderfoot is a wicked heretic. And sure enough, PZ’s comment was followed by an official announcement from freethought blogs that Thunderfoot is out.  Gone.  Sayonara.  Hasta la vista, baby!

Interestingly, blogger Greg Laden is also out, but that is apparently because he sent an inappropriate and threatening email to another FTB blogger.

Apparently the words “free” and “thought” as they are used together in the title of Freethought Blogs is a term of art.    Because it certainly doesn’t mean what it says.  It obviously doesn’t mean freedom of inquiry.  Or thought.  Or ideas.  No, it means “a place for people who think exactly like us on every issue to write blogs.”  Fair enough.  I never had any doubt that was the case over at FTB, except for the glorious nine days where Thunderfoot had the opportunity to be the voice of reason.  Now they can happily go back to their comfortable echo chamber.

Edit– (5 July 2012)

Thunderf00T has posted a video response to getting banned by FtB:

 

 

 

  • http://thearmchairskeptic.com The Armchair Skeptic

    I’ve seen numerous times that the particular flavor of feminism in question emanates largely from the US (or at least, North America), and while I’ve often wondered if there is a connection to Women’s Studies departments and feminist theory, but this is the first time I’ve seen someone else explicitly make that connection.

    Is there any evidence to show a causal link there? It sounds plausible, and I’d appreciate any references for further study.

    • EveryMan

      As someone that suffered through a “Liberal Arts” education in the 90s, this is exactly true.

      Whenever you hear the code-word “privilege”, that is language used exclusively by leftist/postmodernists social “scientists” in American Academia. Nobody anywhere else talks like that.

      That crux of the fraud they are perpetrating is that there are no meaningful biological differences between men/women and everything is simply a social construction. This is an emphatically non-scientific belief system.

      For more details see here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_wars

      Note that this isn’t exclusively about feminism. Rather, the most vocal feminists appear to be strongly influence by post-modernism.

  • turniphead

    I’ll offer an outsider’s point-of-view. I’ll be as objective about it as I can be: Much invective is being thrown around, on all sides. The thing about the emphasis on sexual equality is that it is a righteous cause. It is right and just to work and strive for equality of all kinds, so the overall force of the arguments are strong.

    As much as I admire Thunderf00t’s work on youtube, his blogging was bad. It just isn’t his medium. Video seems to fit him much better.

    I’ve seen people shout-down the dialogue, name-calling, and even a little rhetorical bullying. I’ve seen hard-ball tactics across various blogs and tweets.

    Over on the freethought blogs, they are talking about “shunning” people. Religious connotations, anyone? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The entire episode has fallen into the Twilight Zone.

    I think the beginning of this post was reasonable, but after that it sort of deteriorates, especially the stuff about thunderf00t. From a reader’s point of view, not much he wrote was worth reading. It’s no tragedy. I’m sure he’ll be okay.

  • John D

    Indeed. I have been critical of some of the writing at FtB for months. Their claims about sexism and harassment in the secular community are overblown and they are often supporters of the worst kind of political correctness. I have never insulted or threatened anyone there, but the wild hoard has called be a misogynist, rapist, rape apologist, child abuser and wife abuser. While I get called this the moderators do nothing and when I complain back that they are unfair and abusive, I get banned. It is like the worst part of the French Revolution over there.

    • Masakari2012

      I have never insulted or threatened anyone there, but the wild hoard has called be a misogynist, rapist, rape apologist, child abuser and wife abuser. While I get called this the moderators do nothing and when I complain back that they are unfair and abusive, I get banned.

      Exactly! Their sycophants provoke people into fights, and the bloggers do nothing unless the victim retaliates. Then the victims are the ones to get blocked.

  • Eshto

    Whoah, big correction is needed here. Hi, just want to point out, I took lots of Women’s Studies courses in college. They were necessary for the certificate in LGBT Studies I acquired from UW-Madison. The program was essentially just all Women’s Studies, with more of a focus on queer issues.

    I can promise you, the things FtB bloggers do were NOT part of the curriculum. Oh sure, they are using a few terms that do happen to come from social science, such as majority “privilege”. But they don’t seem to have any idea what these terms really mean or what their purpose is. This terminology was never, ever presented to us as an insult, or a manipulative way to win an on-line flame war, or an excuse to dismiss somebody just because they were a member of a majority demographic, or a way to make a member of a majority demographic feel guilty about their own race or gender, or for that matter as a way to make a member of a minority demographic feel weak and oppressed and that the whole world is out to get them.

    I was, and still am, a feminist who studies these issues. And yet FtB has called me all sorts of awful names, like misogynist troll, etc. simply for disagreeing with them. They badgered me into telling them off, then they printed the insults I slung at them when I was at my lowest, without any of the preceding context, in order to make me look like a bad person. They took screen captures of my private facebook page and slapped them all over their damn blogs; and twisted insults I wrote totally facetiously into genuine “threats” against them. They’re absurd, and probably insane. And these are not qualities any credible Women’s Studies course values in a professor or a student.

    I can assure you they don’t represent the mainstream academic view of gender issues, and to my knowledge few if any of these bloggers have a formal background in gender studies or a related field. I mean, PZ Myers freaking studies squid, doesn’t he? Yeah…

    My biggest problem with FtB is how they are poisoning the discourse for everyone who HAS NOT taken Women’s Studies courses in a formal academic setting, but who will instead encounter these issues first on-line. The thought of a young, impressionable mind being introduced to the concept of majority privilege (which is a valid concept when used properly to examine how discrimination can function in society) first on an angry, slanted opinion blog where people are screaming and insulting each other, makes me feel incredibly disheartened.

    They make feminists look bad. They make anyone who actually does study gender issues, or social science in general, look bad. Please don’t let FtB position themselves as authorities on these topics, because to my knowledge they don’t have backgrounds in it; and even if they did, their behavior is unacceptable and hostile to education. I had to study these concepts, then write lengthy essays with credible citations, and those essays were then critiqued and graded by professors who are experts in this field. How much of FtB bile is subjected to critical analysis? Oh that’s right, none of it.

    I mean, the idea of Greta Christina teaching a college Women’s Studies course and ranting and raving at all the students… pretty damn laughable if you ask me.

    • Skeptical Abyss

      Not surprisingly (at least to me), I agree with pretty much everything you say, yet I still don’t think a correction is needed. I think your comment is well taken, though. Much of the language and ideology espoused by Greta (FtB), Stephaie (FtB), PZ (FtB) and Skepchick parrots the academic feminist theory thought in North American universities. As you say, they don’t seem to have a deep understanding of what they are talking about, and they certainly don’t have a spirit of openness. And I agree with your assessment that Greta Christina would make a laughable professor, ranting and raving.

      Thank your for your thoughtful comment.

      SA.

    • Astrokid Nj

      They make feminists look bad. They make anyone who actually does study gender issues, or social science in general, look bad

      This seems to be a standard tactic used by feminists. “Oh.. Those feminists arent the good ones.. we are”. You reckon Amanda Marcotte, Jessica Valenti, or any of those man-hating 2nd wavers who are still hanging around, or even feminist organizations like NOW (National Organization of Women), any better?
      If there are really good feminists, they will be like needles in a haystack. Thats because the ideology itself is completely bogus. Oppresive-to-women-only Patriarcy, Rape culture, Male privilege outweighing female privilege, Wage gap, etc. All bollocks and debunked time and time again. And coming to feminist ACTIONS in the real world, they have instituted such misandric laws (VAWA, Alimony, Child Support) and agencies which have destroyed so many men, I say FftB is actually much more benign that the feminists in the real world. You can read through Christina Hoff Sommers’s articles aei.org all devoted to attacking mainstream feminism to start getting it.

  • Mark Burianyk

    I know this is late, I never really paid attention to the Freethought Blogs people before. I had seen some PZ Myers YouTube videos of him speaking at various conferences, and was, I will admit, impressed at the time. He was no Christopher Hitchens, but then, who is right? Seeing the behavior in the last couple months, as I began to pay attention, was depressing and disgusting. Richard Carrier shows his true colours as someone with fascist tendencies, Rebecca Watson goes out of her way to prove how useless, and pathetic she is (I will not be spoken too about privilege in that tone of voice from one of the more entitled people out of a group of entitled people), and PZ Myers makes sure that whatever accusation you can throw at the former, he will always be the king of same. Are they not ashamed to sully the word of skepticism and free thought? Perhaps debating with creationists wasn’t the healthy dialectic process it should have been for these folks, as it seems that rather than sharpen their arguments and think of new questions, they decided to emulate them. Since when they are not being irrational, hypocritical, or unreasonable, they are mind numbingly dense, and even worse, boring beyond all reason, I cannot force myself to keep up with whats happening, but I look forward to the day, which if people who consider themselves to be free thinkers actually are will be inevitable, that I google FTB to find that it has become the virtual graveyard and desert it should have been from the first moment PZ clicked ‘ban’