If you can’t fight, wear a big hat

It appears that the mighty professor PZ has taken it into his head to attack me again, this time in response to my rhetorical question: “How can an imbecile command such high public regard?”

It is not his first such, but as usual, he does it in his own inimitable style; all invective, no substance. The champion and star of Free Thought Blogs apparently named his blogging site as such to indicate free thought so long as it exactly conforms to his dictates.

But my rhetorical question of imbeciles referred to the writing of an ex Bangladeshi “human rights advocate” on the un-funny topic of acid attacks in some parts of the Islamic world. According to the good professor, in my article, I “started ranting about how evil Taslima was.”

I’ll admit I did use a fair few adjectives, but evil wasn’t one of them. It is a bit too biblical for my taste.

I’ll admit another thing, which PZ surely knows as well. Invective laden prose is fun to write. But the problem of lost credibility emerges if invective is as far as you go. This is why my recent indictment of Taslima included the statement:

“Obviously, everything I’ve just said is no better than unworthy characterization. We will have to look at Taslima’s essay directly.”

I then proceeded to address the body of her article in it’s several problems. Principal among those is the un-examined, but continued portrayal of the violent criminals who burn the faces of human beings with thrown acid using the undifferentiated category “men.” She didn’t identify religious fanatics, nor individuals deranged by ideology, not even women, who are the usual perpetrators of acid attacks in at least one country where such attacks are carried out.

Nasreen listed Cambodia among places where acid attacks occur, but somehow, in her simplistic caricature of “men attack women,” neglected to mention that Cambodian wives conduct such attacks, sometimes against their husband’s girlfriends, and less often against the husbands themselves. The phenomenon is just a bit more nuanced that Nasreen’s:

 

Men throw acid on us with the intention of injuring and disfiguring us.

Along with the claimed motivation by Nasreen including:

 

..for speaking too much, for laughing loudly and for pure fun.

This lack of nuance and insight into cultural forces from a supposed expert is boggling. That is, it’s impossible to understand unless a motive other than reducing or eliminating acid attacks is considered. If the author’s motive is to vilify men, and deify women, she does a good job, allowing that her readers must also lack in nuance of understanding.

Of course, I said all this two days ago in my article Taslima Sells Hate Wins Praise. PZ is obviously encouraged to read that one again, since what he seems to have taken away from his first try was “ranting about how evil Taslima was.”

But why should I care to parse Nasleen’s bad prose, and why correct a established gender ideologue of dubious ethical reputation? Is it because I object to the ongoing public vilification and demonization of men? Yes, and saying so, I can already hear somebody typing somewhere that men are butt-hurt at being blamed every time “men” throw a flask of acid into a woman’s face.

Except that it isn’t just men doing the throwing, and it isn’t even just women being burned. But maintenance and escalation of the “men bad, woman good” narrative isn’t even the biggest problem.

Rather, it’s the fact that anyone trying to solve a problem as serious as acid attacks, but working from a broken model of that problem has no chance of success. Worse than that, if the model used is that “the half of the human race with penises are all simply amoral, sadistic psychopathic monsters” is chosen in full knowledge of it’s falsehood, then the “activism” to reduce or eliminate acid attacks is nothing more than activist theater.

This is the same phenomenon domestic violence service agencies demonstrate when their public messaging claims DV is simply evil men, beating innocent women. This Duluthian view is false too, and similarly doomed to be ineffective against real world domestic violence.

The conception of evil-violent-man and innocent-abused-woman is at odds with the majority of reputable research on domestic violence [1][2][3][4][5][6], which indicates reciprocity of abuse, and that women in violent relationships are “as violent or more violent than their male spouses or partners”[1].

However, as always, a narrative with female victims and male aggressors is a guaranteed sell when raising money, so that’s the story told. And the operators of DV shelters and other agencies appear to not care, as long as the money keeps flowing.

But according to PZ, an odious twit (that’s me) “started ranting about how evil Taslima was” on the “phycho” MRA site, AVfM. I wonder if phycho is the professor’s clinical diagnosis? Since he’s a biologist and not a psychologist, probably not.

But do I believe he really missed the point in my dissection of Taslima’s ideological portrayal of “bad men” by such a wide margin?

Nope, I don’t believe it.

He also made a point of characterizing me, the odious twit (ad hominem), and my article ranting about how evil Taslima was (straw-man), and explicitly stated there would be no link. And thus, no convenient way for PZ’s readers to see the veracity of his characterizations, or lack thereof.

It almost seems like purposeful dishonesty, and cowardice. Where is any address of the actual substance of the argument?

But speaking of links, Professor PZ did remember to link to his own previous article attacking me, which he titled using my online username, as well as first and last name, and a few invectives for good measure.

I’m slimy, and a psychopath before we even get past the URL. Is this how other public academics address people they disagree with? I’ll admit I’ve seen Professor Richard Dawkins use “murderous”, but he was describing a collection of clerics of a sect of Islam which has demonstrated just how appropriate an adjective that was.

However, PZ, unsatisfied with imputation of sliminess and psychopathy, included:

“nutcases, clueless, goon, despised, pseudo-scientific pontificator, misogynist (woman hater), bozo, scumbag, sociopath, sleazy, pretentious, liar, humorless, mentally deficient, and fuckbrained asshole” in reference to a video of mine, critical of Rebecca Watson over her posturing as a sadistic sociopath. I did in fact miss a cue in her performance indicating her act was an act, and several days later uploaded my recognition of the error. A video which might even annoy our PZ, since admitting mistakes is something properly evil MRAs should never do, eh.

So PZ clearly dislikes me, which is understandable once we forget he is an adult and a professor of science – since I am routinely critical of an ideology he publicly subscribes to, on the grounds that it is based on hatred and violence. But that is what makes him such a puzzling fellow. His is a professor of biology, a science built from evidence, starting from questions and considering all evidence. By contrast, ideologies start from a “Truth” and select evidence to conform to that truth. The ones in which that “truth” include an invisible all powerful creator, we call religions.

Demonstrating this contrast, on February 6 he posted a blog entry rightly criticizing the publisher of Jezebel.com for their magical thinking concerning homeopathic medicine. This is medicine diluted to non-existence, where the mixture is nothing but water.

Myers said:

 

It’s the people who try to justify everything with their biases and gut feelings and falsified opinions that have gotten us in our current mess.

But he doesn’t seem able to apply that lens to his own gender ideology. A dogma in which female identity is intractably tied to victimhood, and where rational criticism must never be addressed, only shouted down. Thus the heavy use of invective, the gleeful and public maintenance of lists of the excommunicated, and relative absence of address to arguments made whenever PZ sees what doesn’t conform to his feminist ideology.

This was demonstrated recently by Myers as he reversed his promise of content and editorial freedom to the science blogger Thunderf00t, throwing the recently invited new member of freethoughtblogs off the rigidly ideological blogging site for criticism of that gender ideology. Although Thunderf00t should have known in advance what would happen – it was a particularly clear demonstration of dissenting opinion not tolerated despite the lofty “free thought” name of the site.

No debate or discussion over whether TF was right, or wrong, or wrong in some of his details, nope. The answer is clearly to banish him. In fact, Myers goes to considerable lengths to maintain public listings of those he has excommunicated from his little utopia.

And continuously glaring, how can a professional science educator support an ideological view of gender politics, when he is on record having said: “It’s the people who try to justify everything with their biases and gut feelings and falsified opinions that have gotten us in our current mess.”

And yet, he is avowedly a proponent of that hateful, violent regressive ideology of gender which differs from an ancient religion in few details. Almost all the trappings are present. Refusal to address arguments with anything except personal attacks, censorship, censure black-lists and lately, whispering campaigns. This religion even has it’s most fanatical followers promising violence against the outcasts and heathens. Witness Pam O’Shaughnessy’s eugenics advocacy, the recent femitheistDivine’s mass murder fantasies, and the arguments from feminists including PZ against stopping the ritual mutilation of boys. The grounds for this complaint being that stopping child mutilation is a zero sum game. Any focus on protecting infant boys would ( somehow ) harm infant girls.

 

There is no comparison between FGM and circumcision, and it is annoying to see boys intruding on a thread about a serious political and social issue to insist that everyone look at their little boo-boo.

Yes, I am belittling your loss, because compared to what mutilated women have lost, it’s goddamned trivial.

In fact, Myers is simply belittling any human damage which doesn’t negatively impact the preferred gender, based on Simone de Beauvoir’s formulation of women as eternal victims.

Frank Salter wrote this month for Quadrant[7], an online journal of ideas, literature, historical and political debate published in Australia:

“The absence of self-critical perspectives in gender studies centres indicates a robust level of solidarity or policing, also evident in the media. There appear to be few alternative theories or ideologies on the curriculum, certainly none that take biology seriously. It is what one would expect from a ‘tribal-moral’ community as described by Jonathan Haidt[8] in the case of American social psychology.

I conclude that biology is generally overlooked in women’s and gender studies in Australia. A probable contributing cause is that much of the field is monopolized by a radical ideological orientation which rejects inconvenient facts.”

A bit like a religious ideology.

Of course Myers might imagine he has a trump card in the format of a video depicting me laughing like a badly acted bond villain at the prospect of personally stopping a rape in progress. Numerous copies are still floating around the stupider recesses of youtube, complete with a crashing and booming Beethoven soundtrack – added by me when I first recorded it, as a cue to viewers to recognize hyperbole and grand exaggeration of my frustration with online feminists at the time of that recording. The exaggerated callous laughter, that’s another tip for the viewers too.

However, Myers in his 5 decades of accumulated wisdom seems to think this bit of hyperbolic venting on my part reflects some kind of sinister deeper belief held.

My views on victimization of violent crime are not standard views, mainly because I’ve thought more about my acculturated assumptions than most people. But they’re also a bit more nuanced that the bad-acting super-villain impression PZ thinks is some sort of gotcha.

So I re-ask the same rhetorical question I used near the beginning of this discussion. Do I think PZ takes that video as realistic representation of my views?

Of course he doesn’t, he’s not a child. For that matter, he also has over 200 online articles to choose from and more than 100 videos – which collectively focus on non-violence more than almost any other topic, and which lately have been building a philosophical foundation for ethics based on first principals.

However, PZ has on occasion posted responses to my articles – and it’s nice to know he’s such an avid reader. His problem seems to be either an inability or unwillingness to actually address the substance of any argument. I guess characterizing, name calling, belittling and accusing of malice of intention is easier when you’re a busy academic pseudo-celebrity. It just doesn’t do much for your credibility. The tactics our PZ prefers, taunting, name calling, invective, black listing, lynch mobs, whispering campaigns and the like, these are the practices of a cult.

So PZ, I’m glad you’re such a regular reader of mine, I wish I could return the favour. Sadly tho, your torrents of unsupported invective and puerile authoritarianism don’t much interest me. Without substance behind it, it makes for rather tedious reading.

However, I’ll leave PZ with a challenge.

Address the substance of anything I’ve written in my last 100 articles on this site in a manner befitting an academic celebrity and intellectual. Show me where I’m wrong, and change my opinion. And do it without recourse to the usual tactics of censure, identity-politics and attempted shaming tactics.

I absolutely swear my opinion is readily changeable, provided a strong, reasoned argument can be made. Do it like a grown up. That’s my challenge to you PZ. Act like a man, for a complete full article. If you can do that absent of the usual puerile drivel, I’ll publish a permanent article right here on AVfM announcing to the world that you changed my mind.

I also have a question. What evidence would convince you, professor, besides the continued repudiation of violence and address of basic human rights issues in the movement’s activism and rhetoric, that this is a human rights movement? That’s a real question, so what evidence would convince you?

And if you can’t form a strong argument, or answer that simple question it will be obvious just which adjectives apply to you, professor.

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Addendum: I have learned that since Myers made his dismissive remarks about the ritual mutilation of male infants, he has since reversed his position and argued against that practice. While this may be a legitimate change of his view based on evidence, it might also be simply a self-interested change in political posture.
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[1] http://csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
[2] Headey, B., Scott, D., & de Vaus, D. (1999). Domestic violence in Australia: Are Women and Men Equally Violent? Australian Social Monitor 2:57-62
[3] Dutton D. G. (2007). Female Intimate Partner Violence and Developmental Trajectories of Abusive Families. International Journal of Men’s Health, 6, 54-71
[7] Archer J (2000). Sex Differences in Physically Aggressive Acts between Heterosexual Partners: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651-680
[4] http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/facts/1-20/2006/3%20crime%20victimisation.aspx
[5] http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf
[6] http://fathersforlife.org/pizzey/genderless.htm

[7] http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2012/7-8/the-war-against-human-nature-ii-gender-studies-part-1

[8] Haidt, J. (2011). “The bright future of post-partisan social psychology”, Talk given at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, Texas, 27 Jan. http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/jhaidt-819710-haidt-postpartisan-social-psychology/.

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