Our server costs ~$56 per month to run. Please consider donating or becoming a Patron to help keep the site running. Help us gain new members by following us on Twitter and liking our page on Facebook!
Current time: August 19, 2022, 4:08 pm

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
#1
Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
So I can't sleep, and I thought I'd compile a list of skeptics who I either no longer have any respect for, or have so little respect for it makes no real difference. I'll add the reasons / explanation for each person as best I can.

This is a personal list; I expect most people to disagree with some of the people on it, and several people to disagree with all of the people on it. Feel free to complain (I won't add you to the list Tongue).

Richard Dawkins
I'll start off with possibly the most well known atheist in the world. I used to respect Dawkins a lot; he was one of the people who got me to be more open about my atheism, to start a blog, to even start these forums. I used to hold his book "The God Delusion" in high regard, and indeed I got a copy signed when I met him a few years ago.

That book is ironically one of the reasons I've lost most respect for him. If you read it as your first book on atheism, or even on philosophy, you think it's brilliant. If however, you start to read other books on atheism, or delve into philosophical thinking even more, you realise that "The God Delusion" is a pile of crap. It tries to make several philosophical points, as well as commenting on various theological ones as well. The problem is, Dawkins has no training in philosophy, and certainly no training in theology either...and it shows...really badly.

The other reason I lost a lot of respect for him was over his handling of the "Richard Dawkins Forums", which were at one point in history, one of the largest internet atheist communities. Long story short, the admin team were crap, a load of things broke and weren't fixed, and then instead of pulling his act together and saving the community (of thousands I might add), he decided to shut down the forums completely.[1] That said, we gained a fair few members that way, so it wasn't a complete loss.

Rebecca Watson
Also known as "The Skepchick", Rebecca Watson is a blogger on skepticism among other things. She also does a few podcasts apparently, although I've never listened to them. In the last year, she's managed to solidify her position among quite a few fellow skeptics as a radical feminist bent on alienating anyone who has the audacity to disagree with her. Her offenses are:

1) Elevatorgate - Ms Watson was in an elevator in a hotel in Dublin at 4am, with a man who had apparently been at the hotel bar with her and all the other skeptics who had attended some skeptical conference. The man said he liked her views, and asked whether she wanted to come to his room for some coffee. She politely refused, the man went to his hotel room alone (as any gentleman would), and that should have been that.

Except that Ms Watson made a video blog a few days later saying the man had made her feel "uncomfortable" and asked men "not to do that"...because apparently asking people for coffee is creepy now...who knew? Anyways, the internet asploded, Dawkins made some funny sarcastic comment about overreacting, and the skeptic community was split into three groups: those who think Watson is a hero (sorry, heroine) for standing up for the rights of women not to get hit on in elevators, those who think Watson is a feminazi who wants men to be seen and not heard (and also not seen), and the rest of us, myself included, who were watching from the sidelines saying "WTF, it's just coffee."

2) Reddit "misogynists" - I love Reddit; it's one of the funniest sites I've ever been on; a place where memes are born, and where hardly anything is taken seriously. On the atheism subreddit, one girl announced that she'd received a copy of some Carl Sagan book. She posted a picture of herself holding the book, and the internet community noted that she was cute. They also noted she was 15 years old, yet this didn't discourage some members from making overly sexual comments (often quite descriptive) about her, what they wanted to do to her, etc...you get the picture.

Ms Watson decided that this was misogyny, because apparently she's never actually read what that word meant. Neither does Ms Watson understand that reddit is a bastion of free speech online, and that often people will use their free speech to support a dark kind of humour rarely found on television. Reddit is not a place for children, nor is it a place only for adults. Reddit is a place for people who understand that they will get insulted, made fun of, and experience both the best and worst of people. If you don't like that, don't use the site.

3) The very recent (as of 3rd January 2012) "Rileygate" / "Radfordgate" - Noted skeptic Ben Radford wrote a blog post for a friend about a viral video that was going around, in which a 4 year old girl (Riley) rants about the fact that girls' toys are pink, and boys' toys are a whole range of colours. Ben skeptically analyses why this is so; what society does to enforce these ideas, and how the media shapes our views. All in all, it was a good piece of writing; he argued his points well, and after all, this is about a 4 year old's rant in a toy store...nobody can really take things much further can they?

Enter Rebecca Watson, with a scathing blog post in response, filled with quote mines, strawmen, and general verbal abuse. Not only that, but in trying to defend what she thinks Riley is saying, she inadvertently (or maybe purposefully, I don't know) puts her own spin on things, going as far as to say that Riley (a 4 year old remember) is a feminist who understands that "girls who don’t dress up or wear make-up are called dykes or unfuckable prudes. Boys who wear skirts are called fags or treated for mental instability." Right...

Of course, Ben Radford responded to Rebecca, and immediately gets attacked by a rabid bunch of "skepchick" fans, who call him sexist, a misogynist (people still don't know what that word means apparently), and ignorant, among other things. Whether we'll see a response from Rebecca is unknown, but one thing is for sure; Rebecca Watson is not a skeptic. She is an ego-maniacal sexist who will attack the character of anyone who she disagrees with, or who has the audacity to disagree with her.

Thunderf00t
Thunderf00t (real name Phil Mason) is a scientist and atheist YouTuber, probably most famous for his "Why do people laugh at creationists?" series of videos, as well as his debates with Ray Comfort, and to a lesser degree, his road trips around the USA. He likes to present himself as a defender of free speech, and for the most part that is true. However, he is also a big hypocrite in a number of ways. For one, when he first started making videos, he didn't appear in them; he would simply do a voiceover. He later decided to "come out" and explained that the reason he'd hidden away before was that people tended to attack his appearance rather than his points. Fair enough, he doesn't think that attacking someone as a person is good form in a debate. The problem is that Thunderf00t is known for doing just that, calling political vlogger Lee Doren "Sir Stares-a-lot" repeatedly, and going as far as to suggest that fellow YouTube atheist Coughlan616 was mentally disturbed.

Not only that, but Thunderf00t repeatedly mentioned the fact that Coughlan616's previous account (Coughlan666) was permanently banned from YouTube. This would be a perfectly valid criticism for Thunderf00t to make, if it didn't so happen that the Coughlan666 channel was taken down due to various people filing false DMCAs at it. False DMCA's are of course one of Thunderf00t's pet peeves in his campaign to keep free speech on YouTube.

Finally, Thunderf00t is an islamophobe, who has in the past claimed that a muslim YouTuber was threatening to kill him, despite this clearly not being the case. In addition, he has come under fire for not responding to his critics, or for dealing with strawmen versions of their points.
Reply
#2
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
Nothing to add

tired here too mate but wanted to get back to you on this.
"The Universe is run by the complex interweaving of three elements: energy, matter, and enlightened self-interest." G'Kar-B5
Reply
#3
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
Your take on Dawkins is interesting. I look forward to seeing why your respect for thunderfoot is so low.
I don't know the other two but given your story on Rebecca Watson, I'd have to agree on all points.
If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools and next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers...
Ignorance and fanaticism are ever busy and need feeding. Always feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers; tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lecturers, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, Your Honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth centry when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind. ~Clarence Darrow, at the Scopes Monkey Trial, 1925

Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. ~Ronald Reagan
Reply
#4
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
(January 3, 2012 at 12:32 am)Tiberius Wrote: Rebecca Watson
Also known as "The Skepchick", Rebecca Watson is a blogger on skepticism among other things. She also does a few podcasts apparently, although I've never listened to them. In the last year, she's managed to solidify her position among quite a few fellow skeptics as a radical feminist bent on alienating anyone who has the audacity to disagree with her. Her two offenses are:

1) Elevatorgate - Ms Watson was in an elevator in a hotel in Dublin at 4am, with a man who had apparently been at the hotel bar with her and all the other skeptics who had attended some skeptical conference. The man said he liked her views, and asked whether she wanted to come to his room for some coffee. She politely refused, the man went to his hotel room alone (as any gentleman would), and that should have been that.

Except that Ms Watson made a video blog a few days later saying the man had made her feel "uncomfortable" and asked men "not to do that"...because apparently asking people for coffee is creepy now...who knew? Anyways, the internet asploded, Dawkins made some funny sarcastic comment about overreacting, and the skeptic community was split into three groups: those who think Watson is a hero (sorry, heroine) for standing up for the rights of women not to get hit on in elevators, those who think Watson is a feminazi who wants men to be seen and not heard (and also not seen), and the rest of us, myself included, who were watching from the sidelines saying "WTF, it's just coffee."

My wife talked to me about this case and helped me to understand it. She managed to do it in a way that didn't sound like male bashing. I'm going to try to pass it on.

Women are terrified of being raped, stalked or sexually harassed. This is not just hypersensitivity but due to a very real danger. I've heard various statistics that suggest about 1 in 4 will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. A wary woman does well to be suspicious of a male stranger that approaches her in a confined area.

For men, this is a difficult fear to fully understand, since we're not as physically vulnerable to being raped. An invitation to coffee seems innocent enough, right? What we don't realize is that from the woman's perspective, every male stranger is a potential attacker. He asked her in a confined space. She had nowhere to run. His intentions may have been innocent but he may have unwittingly creeped her out just from the circumstances. Also, his invitation to HIS ROOM rather than a public area like the hotel was another source of creepyness.

For men, it's important to realize this fear exists and to always make sure when we approach a woman that she's not in a confined space or in any other situation where she feels like she can't say "no" with no consequences.

For women, please understand our difficulty to understand your legitimate fears. You will do better to calmly explain them in the way I just have rather than just assume we're insensitive jerks.
Atheist Forums Hall of Shame:
"The trinity can be equated to having your cake and eating it too."
...      -Lucent, trying to defend the Trinity concept
"(Yahweh's) actions are good because (Yahweh) is the ultimate standard of goodness. That’s not begging the question"
...       -Statler Waldorf, Christian apologist
Reply
#5
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
I should add that according to Rebecca Watson herself, his request started with the words "Don't take this the wrong way". That alone should be a pretty good indicator that whatever followed wasn't meant in a creepy way, but was probably a perfectly innocent request. Watson in her infinite wisdom took it the wrong way.
Reply
#6
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
(January 3, 2012 at 3:55 am)Tiberius Wrote: I should add that according to Rebecca Watson herself, his request started with the words "Don't take this the wrong way". That alone should be a pretty good indicator that whatever followed wasn't meant in a creepy way, but was probably a perfectly innocent request. Watson in her infinite wisdom took it the wrong way.

Anytime someone says "blah blah blah but..." you can ignore the part that comes in front of the "but".

Here's the two things the guy did wrong:

1. Hit on her in the confined space.
2. Invited her to his room, not a public place.
Atheist Forums Hall of Shame:
"The trinity can be equated to having your cake and eating it too."
...      -Lucent, trying to defend the Trinity concept
"(Yahweh's) actions are good because (Yahweh) is the ultimate standard of goodness. That’s not begging the question"
...       -Statler Waldorf, Christian apologist
Reply
#7
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
My take on Dawkins can be found over various posts on this site, let's just say I think RD is a good biologist, not a good spokesperson for anything related to philosophy or maintaining a business/charity.

Rebecca Watson was and still is someone I don't come in contact with much, unless she does something that has the atheist community on Youtube or Facebook up in arms about it. I have no idea who is right or wrong in the whole elevator incident, but I do know that she blew the whole Reddit thing ridiculously out of proportion and tarred every male atheist with the same brush. So much for skepticism.
Best regards,
Leo van Miert
Horsepower is how hard you hit the wall --Torque is how far you take the wall with you
Pastafarian
Reply
#8
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
Exactly, I still respect Dawkins as a biologist. I just don't respect him as a skeptic / atheist much anymore.

Rebecca Watson is a drama queen.
Reply
#9
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
(January 3, 2012 at 4:18 am)DeistPaladin Wrote:
(January 3, 2012 at 3:55 am)Tiberius Wrote: I should add that according to Rebecca Watson herself, his request started with the words "Don't take this the wrong way". That alone should be a pretty good indicator that whatever followed wasn't meant in a creepy way, but was probably a perfectly innocent request. Watson in her infinite wisdom took it the wrong way.

Anytime someone says "blah blah blah but..." you can ignore the part that comes in front of the "but".

Here's the two things the guy did wrong:

1. Hit on her in the confined space.
2. Invited her to his room, not a public place.

Be careful with that word 'Wrong', because you're using it extraordinarily clumsily.

There is nothing at all inherently wrong with asking any person to do anything in any situation, it's all relative to the values of the people in a particular context - In the case of Rebecca Watson is was the wrong action to take should you desire the achievement of either (i) Furthering a conversation with Rebecca Watson, (ii) Sleeping with Rebecca Watson.

Whether the man in question desired (i) or (ii) is unknown, yet you immediately take to this conclusion and subsequently condemn this man without evidence of intention.

Furthermore, you make another questionable assumption that even if he were to be hitting on her this is in and of it's self wrong, yet the only possible 'bad' done to Rebecca was to make her uncomfortable - Would you say the act of making another person uncomfortable is necessarily wrong? If not, what is special about this particular case of making a person uncomfortable?

If there is anything at all to be learned it is that; If a man does not wish to appear creepy to Rebecca Watson (and some other women) then he ought not to ask them her (them) for a coffee in confined space.
.
Reply
#10
RE: Skeptics I no longer have any respect for.
Quote:Richard Dawkins
Start off with possibly the most well known atheist in the world. I used to respect Dawkins a lot; he was one of the people who got me to be more open about my atheism, to start a blog, to even start these forums. I used to hold his book "The God Delusion" in high regard, and indeed I got a copy signed when I met him a few years ago.

That book is ironically one of the reasons I've lost most respect for him. If you read it as your first book on atheism, or even on philosophy, you think it's brilliant. If however, you start to read other books on atheism, or delve into philosophical thinking even more, you realise that "The God Delusion" is a pile of crap. It tries to make several philosophical points, as well as commenting on various theological ones as well. The problem is, Dawkins has no training in philosophy, and certainly no training in theology either...and it shows...really badly.

The other reason I lost a lot of respect for him was over his handling of the "Richard Dawkins Forums", which were at one point in history, one of the largest internet atheist communities. Long story short, the admin team were crap, a load of things broke and weren't fixed, and then instead of pulling his act together and saving the community (of thousands I might add), he decided to shut down the forums completely. That said, we gained a fair few members that way, so it wasn't a complete loss.

While I broadly agree with you about Richard Dawkins being unlearned in philosophy, which is disappointing. However his “ignorance” of theology I can forgive easily.

Whatever his faults the impression I get from his writings, he seems like a decent minded British Liberal (rather like Bertrand Russell) and I like that. Also I respect him because he really irritates theists (especially Young Earth Creationists). Not to mention his ability to explain in layman's terms about evolutionary biology.

On Rebecca Watson, I believe thesummerqueen summed it up best that her behaviour is typical of women who have had bad experiences with guys. It was not like she was sexually harassed or worse assaulted by this guy.
undefined
Reply



Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Do you have any paranormal experineces? EgoDeath 114 7180 October 8, 2019 at 7:07 am
Last Post: Cod
  Skeptics I have immense respect for. Tiberius 24 7674 January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm
Last Post: JollyForr
  The Skeptics Guide to the Universe! theVOID 0 1518 December 13, 2010 at 2:17 am
Last Post: theVOID



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)