We are noticing a bit of a pattern. Moments in time that allow people to break free from feminist thinking and dogma often have the word “Gate” at the end. ElevatorGate, ShirtGate, and now GamerGate. ElevatorGate was a red pill moment for a good number of people, including myself. Previously loyal, unquestioning feminists, many women and men were jarred for the first time by the bizarre feminist attitudes, reactions and double standards against men. This was the feminist crisis known as ElevatorGate; a man allegedly asked a woman out for coffee on an elevator, she declined and they parted. As Richard Dawkins, a leading biologist and prominent skeptic/atheist later sarcastically commented “A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . . ”
Feminists were thrown into a fury. To them, this was proof of a rape culture against women, misogyny “writ large”, male entitlement and of course “the patriarchy.”
For rationalist, skeptical people like myself, it would seem the only thing he did wrong was his being male. Certainly, if he was female in this situation, it would hardly be worth mentioning. When anyone questioned the feminist narrative, explanation or reaction, they were immediately met with accusations of “misogyny,” that is, hating every single woman on the planet. The feminist reaction to the slightest deviation grew stranger yet. To them, it meant you supported rape, you didn’t think women were people, and were always accused of opposing equality.
To add another dimension to this bizarre story, the central story likely did not even happen. When the woman who came forward with her elevator story was asked who it was that asked her out for coffee, she claimed to have “prosopagnosia,” a condition where the sufferer is unable to recognize faces, neither familiar nor unfamiliar. Where earlier that day she recognized people from across the convention hall, pointing people out of the crowd to thank them, she puzzlingly has prosopagnosia, face blindness?
Skeptics have a tool for just this problem, Occam’s razor. Oversimplified, it’s this: If a proposition or explanation seems overly complicated in relation to what’s being proposed or explained and doesn’t make sense where it should, it’s not likely true.
This is the first concrete departure of feminism from rationalism. In rationalism, the burden of proof is always, always, always on the claimant. Always. If you claim to know something, you must demonstrate it. As I’ve learned is common in feminism, the burden of proof is always on the man or, failing that, the person skeptical of a feminist claim. What’s more, if we fail to put the burden of proof on the man or skeptic, a vitriolic, frothing torrent of hate is poured out on us. Feminism truly is, “Where logic and objective discussion dare not show it’s face.”
From this “crisis,” the skeptical/rationalist community largely split into three groups. The largest, the indifferent group, like the popular James Randi Educational Foundation, didn’t react much to ElevatorGate. The next biggest was “Atheism+” (and their allied groups) which was subject to a long list of further crises which will not be explored here. They also eventually ashewed skepticism and rationalism and later even abandoned atheism for the most part, becoming a hub for radical feminists. Being subjected to a long series of self-inflicted crises and embarrassments, they are now a dwindling force. Far and away, the smallest group were those who remained strongly skeptical. Thunderf00t, a prominent PH.D’ed astronomer and anti-creationist became the best-known of the anti-feminist skeptics.
After trying to reach out to skeptics, atheists and rationalists after ElevatorGate, I’ve learned there are definitely those feminists in the rationalist groups who refuse to subject feminism to critical examination. There is virtually no use in arguing with a feminist. Their emotion is so powerful, logic dare not tread. Terms are constantly being redefined to suit their assertions, goal posts moved, ad hoc and circular reasoning abounds. Presupposition, special pleading and ad hominems dominate. It is up to feminism to show the irrationality of feminism, not the MRM or feminist critics in general. Certainly, before ElevatorGate, I would have said the Men’s Rights Movement’s characterization of feminism was simply a caricature. I would have said it was a straw man being set up. You often need to feel feminist irrationality at full blast before you’re willing to believe it’s there at all.
With further movements developing where feminists cause self-inflicted wounds among communities that did them no wrong, one has to wonder: what’s next?