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    Free Thought Blogs Closet Sexism Trips Feminista Greg Laden
    By Sascha Vongehr | July 3rd 2012 10:47 PM | 29 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    The so called “Free Thought Blogs” (FTB) has kicked out science blogger Greg Laden and some other godless chap: “Thunderfoot”.

    Ed Brayton, the FTB high priest, writes that:

    When I started this network, it was intended to be very “loosy-goosy,” where we would all make decisions together like a commune; it turns out that doesn’t work very well …

    Ha ha – great – the pinnacle of free thought, the one place that they claim is stuffed with all the right people having what it takes, who, if only everybody were half as Jesus as them, would turn the world into paradise, needs Dear Leader to add a little Stalin because “it turns out that it doesn’t work very well”. Surprised?


    Since PZ Meyers was involved from the start, “Free Thought Blogs” was certain to resemble other places that define themselves via “freedom”, like the land of mass incarceration self-identifying as “the free world”. “Free speech” let the term “imperialism” effectively disappear. “Exceptionalism” is the euphemism that may be employed academically; it refers to the ‘special equality’ reserved for the one that brings freedom to the sorry rest of the world. Run fast whenever something self-identifies negatively via the absence of something else loosely defined. These are war machines; war itself has become the basis on which they survive; they usually decay due to internal strife.

    Mature criticism implies self-criticism, which is suicide in circles that pretend to be especially critical. Skeptics see self-criticism as treason. Thunderfoot’s mistake was to point out that the “Free Thought Blogs” are Group Think Blogs:

    As such I personally see ‘freethoughtblogs’ as unrepresentative of the wider rationalist community in:

    1) The disproportionate amount of attention it gives to sexism compared to other issues.

    2) The way that those who disagree on the matter of sexism are attacked with a disproportionate amount of strawmen, invective and branding (misogynist, MRA, etc etc). This is a behavior more in line with bullying than free thought... and this puts FTB on a trajectory to be more of a fringe group that is intolerant of non-conformity, than a haven for free thought. (Emphasis added)

    Funny how he is surprised about bullying and strawmen arguments on a skeptics’ site, though do I read correctly: they are here “disproportionate” but otherwise fine? Anyway, he mentions two aspects you cannot freely discuss in such “free” places:

    1) That “free” presupposes conformity; you are free to do whatever only if there is no danger of you doing anything non-conform. Freedom is either a forced doctrine or the substitution of artificial constraints by more efficient, systematic, integrated mechanisms.

    Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. Julian Assange

    2) Sex, sexism, boobies, whatever: Elevator gate was far from the end of the new atheist crowd going at each other with all forms of sexism, real and imaginary.

    Number one is obvious, but why number two? They claim that it is their fight against the religious and the sexism inherent in traditional power structures that makes endless debates inevitable. They turn the sexism at TAM meetings into a proof of that sexism is everywhere and that only they do not suppress a free discussion about it. But why not racism instead?

    The FTB crowd is almost homogeneous - racially, politically, culturally, … . You do not find for example the percentage of colored people encountered in a mall. Skeptics are privileged whites plus a few who manage to behave like them and are thus welcome as show pieces of diversity. There is only one such difference left: Penis versus no penis. You would think that on a platform like FTB, you know, with modern, scientifically educated, progressive people, they therefore would have no such xyz-ism problem left at all. Instead, they just can’t stop tearing each other up over what many leave behind with puberty. Why?

    There are many aspects that come to mind. One could mention “affirmative action” back firing, but featuring mediocre females prominently because females draw readers happens everywhere. Females utilizing sex, stuff like “science cheerleaders” and “skepchicks”, is as usual as defending this against criticism with sexism charges, but no communities are bogged down in sexism debates and severe sexism charges like the new atheists.

    I think it is simple, namely, what else would you expect? The popular new atheism and skeptics movement is all about convenient bashing. It stabilizes a new establishment, but instead of being positively doing so, it is “anti”. It is somewhat like being the democrats in two-party tyrannies, supplying token criticism and a playground to abreact, but skepticism largely feeds on the internet where relatively young people seek excitement – fast, no deep thinking. Skepticism sells to much the same audience that watches war porn, free world drones blowing “sand niggers” to shreds somewhere down in oil-land. It sells because “yeah, f’ them, this feels good, I belong to the winners.”

    Sexism charges are convenient weapons that fit the usual strategies of skeptics. They love kicking babies and having the minions high five in the comment sections. Call somebody a crackpot because “Einstein disproved the ether” – it is easy and guarantied to mobilize back-up no matter how wrong it is. If semi-intellectual stabs at easy targets are what you do, if a charitable reading and understanding of your opponent is not what you are able to deliver or willing to deliver because it does not sell, then the easy way is what you do and are used to do, also to get ahead inside a community of peers. Accusing each other of sexism – nowhere as viciously as on sites like FTB – reminds of closet gays “finding” and bashing homos. Repressed sexism boiling over alternating with the over-compensation characteristic of religious hypocrisy and liberal guilt – I am not surprised.

    Greg Laden

    The funniest about the recent affair on FTB has got to be that they kicked out Greg Laden. Greg played the “look, I am really a feminist woman inside” game like few others. He was one of the best and became overconfident, kicking around people like Thunderfoot for their “sexism”, telling people in no uncertain terms that he, Greg Laden, is on the high priest level with PZ and Ed (and a few women he always mentions in order to mention women as if they would ever tolerate a woman in such positions anywhere, FTB or SB or …). And now he is surprised I guess, as surprised as so many revolutionaries getting hung as reactionaries by their comrades. Oh Greg – you were playing with a double edged sword there my friend! Didn’t you know?

    I respect some of Greg’s writing. I hope he learns a certain lesson that he refused to listen to and moves on to write less but more insightfully again.

    Comments

    Fair enough, Sascha. Now apply some of the same acerbic criticism to your good physicist friend on scienceblogs.de, Dr. Martin Bäker, a craven panderer to feminist political correctness and linguistic "affirmative action", always ready to jump to the head of the parade and stomp on dissidents.

    Using Wissenschaftlerin (i.e., the feminine form) as the default generic for "scientist"??! Crazy times a billion? You bet, but Martin is gung-ho for it, and woe betide the fool who loves the German language too much to fall in line with such bullshit. A modern Robin Hood and champion of womankind he is, that Dr. Bäker... a knight in shining armor!

    Or are Germans exempt from your critical eye, Sascha?

    vongehr
    The German SB are in many ways like FTB. My having endorsed Martin in the past is not support for German-history-guilt driven token-feminism or the reality of fields being the end of physics. It is just that compared to the Florians there, he is awesome. All relative.
    Franc Hoggle
    Speaking of German, Peter Sloterdijk sums up freefromthoughtblogs perfectly (though he wrote this well before most of them knew what the internet was) -
    "How much truth is contained in something can be best determined by making it thoroughly laughable and then watching to see how much joking around it can take. For truth is a matter that can withstand mockery, that is freshened by any ironic gesture directed at it. Whatever cannot withstand satire is false."
    That FfTB is in a perpetual toddler's tantrum fit says everything. Without inviting a debate on their merits, it is very difficult (but not impossible) to mock Richard Dawkins or the late Christopher Hitchens. On the other hand, mocking PZ Myers is like falling off a toilet. The former would shrug it off or laugh along. The latter is running out of blood vessels to burst.
    Franc Hoggle, Dawkins is very easy to parody, but attempting to parody Hitchens would have been pointless.

    The reason is obvious when you think about it: Dawkins takes himself extremely seriously and tries to make it as difficult as possible to disagree. South Park had a field day mocking his pompous arrogance. Hitchens only took himself semi-seriously and would have been mortified to learn that someone agreed with everything he said.

    Mister (you are a white man, aren't you) throwaway, Vongehr is a hit-and-miss writer. This time he nailed it. The holier-than-thou espousal of feminism, the championing of the oppressed, the defense of global climate against catastrophic man-made change [Vongehr has yet to wise up on this particular point], the soapboxing to promote racial "minorities" [but where?], all these are forms of posturing employed overwhelmingly by privileged white men, to gain a leg up over their rivals in the daily rat race and to camouflage themselves much as a hyena will roll around in rhinoceros shit to stay safe from larger predators.

    You know this very well, throwaway. I am not prepared to charitably extend the benefit of the doubt to you as Vongehr does. (There is a 5% chance that you are one of the "minorities" benefiting from some form of affirmative action -- a few of Science 2.0's bloggers are representatives of that species -- but I doubt it.)

    vongehr
    Vongehr is a hit-and-miss writer. This time he nailed it.
    Yes, I guess I "hit", and every time I "hit", all of a sudden there appear these guys like you - I don't even know how to describe them - and after that it is "miss" for a long while until I once again forgot that I did not ever want to "hit" again.
    posturing employed overwhelmingly by privileged white men, to gain a leg up over their rivals in the daily rat race and to camouflage themselves much as a hyena will roll around in rhinoceros shit to stay safe from larger predators.
    But you guys are funny sometimes; I got to give you that one. Made me chuckle.
    "1) That “free” presupposes conformity; you are free to do whatever only if there is no danger of you doing anything non-conform. Freedom is either a forced doctrine or the substitution of artificial constraints by more efficient, systematic, integrated mechanisms."

    Come to Pharyngula and not conform all you want bub, this will be proved patently false.

    "But why not racism instead?"

    Good point. You should raise the issue of race and blog about it rather than moan about it not being covered elsewhere. Essentially this is a whine that the focus is too narrow. If there is any oppression of minorities of race who feel unwelcome it is not due to our not talking about it. If anyone has experienced racism at conventions in the past, then let them speak up. The same speaking up as those who have felt harassed, pushed aside, maligned vociferously and targeted because they have the audacity to speak up about the issue of unwanted advances and incidences of harassment have. Neither feel unwelcome because we're actually talking about issues of privilege on all fronts, but we didn't start this fucking battle specifically as targeting gender issues. That ball got rolling with the response to EG. We all want minorities and everyone to be well represented in the skeptic movement - don't we? Is that something we can agree on? You will not find any disagreement on the FTB side of things about that, so why do you have to dishonestly swipe at FTB as unaware or undaunted by the plights of underprivileged persons besides women?

    vongehr
    You missed the point. Apart from that I discussed racism in as far as I can (your demand means you have not looked at my other articles), the point here is not that FTB "covered" sexism rather than other issues like racism. They do not so much cover sexism as they simply exploit it as one convenient means to fight internally.
    We all want minorities and everyone to be well represented in the skeptic movement - don't we?
    Who is "we"? I do not identify with "skeptics". Why do you assume that everybody on the internet who writes about science and seeks to further rational enlightenment is a believer of naive scientism or a "new atheist"?
    They do not so much cover sexism as they simply exploit it as one convenient means to fight internally.

    What a stretch of the imagination. Your ascribing motives for the discussions is presumptive. As someone who doesn't fetishize science I'm sure you have evidence that this claim is true?

    Who is "we"? I do not identify with "skeptics". Why do you assume that everybody on the internet who writes about science and seeks to further rational enlightenment is a believer of naive scientism or a "new atheist"?

    Mea culpa. You are not those things. Just exchange the words "skeptic movement" and "we" with "those who discount their own privilege" and "us" if you wish. Don't get blinded by your tunnel-vision!

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    vongehr
    Your ascribing motives for the discussions is presumptive.
    "Motives" here means pre-meditated rather than rationalized functioning? Did I ascribe that or do you project your "intentional stance" onto me?
    As someone who doesn't fetishize science I'm sure you have evidence that this claim is true?
    Not sure I don't fetishize science. Evidence? None but my personal experience in the lefty-lesby anti-whatever and related scenes, all of which one has no problem discrediting. It is probably more the "progressives" and "skeptics" (especially those who bash crackpots with physics they themselves do not grasp, but those L. Krauss types, too) than the republicans who taught me that evidence is useless.
    Don't get blinded by your tunnel-vision!
    The blindspot is a small part of the visual field. How much larger is all that we should count to our blind spot and why? All that other humans perceive; in order to be good? All that future generations believe or an asumed enlightened and fair, benevolent AI understands? I guess I will just go on to ponder constructionism and simply not care to be called a fashist communist sociopath for it by all sides.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    How nice. I hope it is sincere. I will just take it as sincere no matter what.
    Franc Hoggle
    throwaway (not verified)If there is any oppression of minorities of race who feel unwelcome it is not due to our not talking about it.

    Oh, but you do talk about it -

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blackskeptics/2012/03/21/calling-out-racism-on-the-rdf-site/

    Quite a remarkable fishing expedition. Having gotten nowhere accusing Richard Dawkins of misogyny and rape apologetics, FfTB played the race card. BaU, just another day. This is the real reason for Myers/Brayton moving away from ScienceBlogs/Nat. Geo. It's not due to censorship, it's due to the risk of being held accountable for malicious gossip and unsubstantiated character slurring.
    The same speaking up as those who have felt harassed, pushed aside, maligned vociferously and targeted because they have the audacity to speak up about the issue of unwanted advances and incidences of harassment have. Neither feel unwelcome because we're actually talking about issues of privilege on all fronts, but we didn't start this fucking battle specifically as targeting gender issues. That ball got rolling with the response to EG.

    Wow! This is like someone murdering their parents and then throwing themselves on the mercy of the court on the grounds of being an orphan!

    Recall that EG started with two women, Stef McGraw and Rose St. Clair politely disagreeing with Watson. In response, Watson called them "anti-woman", accused them of "validating misogyny", and so forth. Then, being aware that McGraw was attending a conference at which Watson was speaking, Watson during her talk accused McGraw from the podium of being "ignorant", "parroting misogynist thought", and said that people like her were preventing women from attending events.

    And, if you care to look, you'll see that at least one of these two women who Watson maligned vociferously and targeted, is herself a rape victim.

    And then there's ERV, who was stalked for many months, in fear for her life. The reaction on Pharyngula has been to call her a "gender traitor", of "not having a woman's thoughts", and she has been told to read certain documents to find out what women are supposed to think. People at FTB have tried to get her fired and thrown out of school, and PZ Myers is attempting to have her blackballed at conferences.

    So, yes, FTB has been at the forefront of speaking about harassment: consistently harassing, pushing aside, maligning vociferously and targeting women who happen to disagree with them.

    Sascha, I think that you are tarring all Gnus/Skeptics with the same brush and being more than a little unfair about it. The Skeptic movement is populated with all manner of people, some of them dogmatic, some of them not. It is all very well to sneer, but watching one's "spiritually" motivated friend reject "allopathic" medicine and die an agonising death from cancer ,while simultaneously blogging about it and publicising Hulda Clarke's books, gives a different perspective on the push back against pseudoscience and religion. It is very frustrating to witness the corrosive effect of religious indoctrination on the minds of people in one's own circle. What is so wrong about trying to change that without resorting to FTB tactics. I take exception to the notion (if this is what you are saying) that the overriding motivation of Gnu Atheists/Skeptics is to bash someone. It's usually a case of reacting to a society awash with anti-science, environmentally damaging pesudo-scientific fraud and bigoted religiosity. The faults that you highlight are things to be vigilant against and many skeptics are very aware of them, hence the ongoing spat. You are in danger of appearing to be smugly superior to everybody.

    vongehr
    Your friend died of cancer while I only ever had problems with the remote control needing new batteries? You tell me what a skeptic is motivated by? Albert, I argued with Jehova's witnesses when I was 12 years old. See the problem with this kind of argumentation? It is typical of "skeptical" arguments. I am sure you guys have warm and fuzzy feelings about what you wrote, but it does nothing else besides.
    I do not believe those rationalizations I used myself in the past. If they really are against bigotry and lies and all that, there are other issues much more important - hell, the US prisons are stuffed full with innocent people - right now! Secularism and science must enter politics? Why then never a word about China, where against all the problems of a developing country and Western imperialism trying to turn it into another middle east the whole grows nonetheless because the political leadership is entirely secular and full of scientists? But hey, lets go on the internet and bash somebody who toys with special relativistic Einstein-ether models and call her a crackpot, you know, because "Einstein disproved the ether".
    I am not other Skeptics. All Skeptics are not of the same mindset as FTB. That is what the current spat is about amongst skeptics. The FTB pack mentality, lack of introspection and defense of Holy Cows is grating to a lot of people associated with skepticism. The existence of faux skeptics is not in dispute. As for warm fuzzy feelings, no, try again, and I am not "you guys". I don't insist that anyone is obliged to share my beliefs or interests and if your problems are limited to remote control batteries then good for you.

    Low hanging fruit are an important target. The silliest beliefs are the most prevalent and easiest to expose. Deeper argument has a very limited audience and very limited effect. It's the smug superiority and attitude that a lack of critical thinking skills is a crime that is often the problem when plucking such fruit.

    As for Greg Laden, he was hypocritically dumped because of a really malicious email to a fellow FTB blogger. His attempts to get Abbie Smith fired from her job as an ERV researcher were ignored by the FTB crowd.

    vongehr
    I am not "you guys".
    I meant people who write "but watching one's "spiritually" motivated friend reject "allopathic" medicine and die ...", which is usual skeptiks' fare on the same level of "you do not know what it means to be a women/ get raped/ have children/ feel the presence of god/ ... thus you should shut up and let me enlighten the world."
    Franc Hoggle
    Sascha, I have to concur with AlbertWard. This problem that you are poking with a stick is hardly global. Despite FfTB protestations to the contrary, most atheists and skeptics around the world understand that they are non-ideological groups - the former is simple absence of belief in the intangible, the latter just a method for processing observation - and get quite cantankerous when buffoons like PZ Myers insist on telling them otherwise. These problems are almost entirely limited to north America, specifically the US and even more specifically, the white and entitled middle classes who's idea of catastrophe is their local organic cafè not being to make them a soy milk lattè. What Myers and his coterie of ideological brownshirts can be viewed as is pudgy pink supremacists - nitwits with exceptionalist delusions of manifest privilege that is a vulgar hybrid of Mean Girls and Stormfront. Please, we are more embarrassed of them than you can even begin to understand.
    Sascha, I just discovered your writing, and I must say I'm loving it.

    May I suggest "My Back Pages" by Bob Dylan? It jumps to mind every time I'm confronted with the hypocrisy of the free thinking elite...

    A self-ordained professor’s tongue
    Too serious to fool
    Spouted out that liberty
    Is just equality in school
    “Equality,” I spoke the word
    As if a wedding vow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    Gerhard Adam
    You've definitely got a good article here, Sascha.  I can't believe I'm reading phrases like "skeptic's movement" and "sharing beliefs", etc.

    There is nothing more tyrannical than an individual that "knows" they're right.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Just stumbled over this accidentally. I'm still laughing at the first comment (not to mention the post itself) - yeah "knight in shining armor", that's me.

    vongehr
    Hmm - just read it myself again, and yes, there are places quite funny. What devil drove me that day? However, laughing at my article ain't being laughing with it. Surely you have more insightful thoughts?
    Though I'd rather have those on my recent articles on tautological QM actually. I don't really give a crap about skepticism anymore. Guess I once thought those people would be my audience, claiming enlightenment and all.
    "Surely you have more insightful thoughts"
    Well, let me just tell you this nice story:
    A few weeks ago I was at a SFB-review. Out of the 5 group leaders, none were women.
    Out of the roundabout 40 project leaders, the number of women was, IIRC, about 3 or 4.
    And then I read this post and the comments, all suggesting that, no, there is no problem at all with sexism (and I suppose biologically women are just wired differently and are therefore not interested in engineering [/sarcasm]).

    I won't comment on your articles on QM since I have no clue what you are trying to say.

    vongehr
    And then I read this post ... suggesting that, no, there is no problem at all with sexism
    You see, that is the thing I still do not quite get. I mean, if I did not know you, I would say that this is the reading comprehension of the usual reddit boy. But then, you are a smart man. What is it that renders smart people so irrational when it comes to certain topics? Where do I suggest that "there is no problem at all with sexism"?!?
    women are just wired differently and are therefore not interested in engineering
    You may like to read feminist Greg himself writing that men are testosterone enhanced females. Well, he of course said it left-wing PC, but the facts are the same. You may equally like to look into what for example sex-change operation preparing women say about testosterone therapy. Or you may just apply the analytical skills of a physicist: Are there differences between systems of type M and systems of type W, and how do they play out?

    Or indeed - just spark up a joint. Truly, swallow 20mg amphetamine and tell me in all seriousness that brains and personality and all that is not largely steered by chemicals. You are a scientist for crying out loud! Does it not occur to you that a lot of this PC talk about there being no differences between evolved systems, be it M/W, or races, or whatever, is actually plain denial of evolution? How, speaking of races for example, could speciation occur if not by a more or less gradual differentiation? Dropped down from the great man in the sky? I keep telling you guys: Fashionable mob "skepticism" is anti-science!
    There is such a huge gap between "Our brain is affected by chemicals" and "Women just don't like engineering" that your comment is somewhere between stupid and ridiculous.
    I'll just reflect your question back:
    " What is it that renders smart people so irrational when it comes to certain topics? "

    Nobody is saying that there are no differences between men and women - that's just a convenient strawman.
    But two things should always be kept in mind:

    1. The differences in the means of most properties between men and women is usually smaller than the width of the distribution - the most male female is far to the male side of the most female male.

    2. claiming that all the differences we observe in our society are biological and none of them are the result of cultural evolution is something quite different. Or do you really want to claim that girls are hard-wired to love pink etc.?

    Sorry, but the anti-scientific point of view is yours, not mine.

    vongehr
    There is such a huge gap between "Our brain is affected by chemicals" and "Women just don't like engineering" that your comment is somewhere between stupid and ridiculous.
    Mentioning chemicals was in response to your "differently wired". Chemicals is what wires, and engineering (also as a selective environment) is what interacts with that wiring. Yes, there is a gap. There is also a gap between molecules bumping randomly and humans reading the bible. Are you saying that a huge gap means that evolution, or more generally, natural mechanisms, are not able to bridge these gaps?
    I'll just reflect your question back:
    My question is still where I ever said that there is no sexism?
    Nobody is saying that there are no differences between men and women - that's just a convenient strawman.
    Then why ridicule "different wiring".
    1. The differences in the means ... smaller than the width of the distribution.
    You were talking about a meeting that you attended where there are already only individuals out of the very far tails of distributions! Don't you try no standard tools out of the beginners skeptics toolbag on me.
    2. claiming that all the differences we observe in our society are biological and none of them are the result of cultural evolution
    You trying this strawman on me? Telling me that I confuse algorithmic evolution with biological evolution? You just shot yourself, at least as far as my readers are concerned, believe me! Go to my profile, hit the search function for my articles, type evolution, read. Come back and apologize in a few days, because you may just have to spend some time.
    "Yes, there is a gap. There is also a gap between molecules bumping randomly and humans reading the bible. Are you saying that a huge gap means that evolution, or more generally, natural mechanisms, are not able to bridge these gaps?"
    Sure, and because one gap is due to evolution, another is? And then you complain about me using "standard tools out of a toolbag"?
    Sorry, I don't discuss on this level.

    vongehr
    Ha ha - you just before wrote yourself that the problems we debate here are the result of macro evolution. What about you calm down and switch on the rational units? It is squarely you who is not discussing on a scientific level. Come back when you have calmed down. You have only viciously misinterpreted what I write, since the very first comment. Never and nowhere did I ever claim that there is no sexism or that biological evolution is any longer of much importance. Skeptics balking up the wrong trees - quite what I wrote in my article up there. Thanks for confirming.
    "wrote yourself that the problems we debate here are the result of macro evolution."
    Where the heck did I write that?
    The problems we debate here are problems of culture.
    Some differences between men and women are results of biological evolution, but these differences are not the problem.
    Just for clarification.

    vongehr
    Where the heck did I write that?
    Here (just two comments up):
    2. claiming that all the differences we observe in our society are biological and none of them are the result of cultural evolution is something quite different.
    Just like I never claimed that there is no sexism, it is only you who misinterpreted "evolution" as "biological evolution". No readers who follow my column would make this mistake.

    (Anyway - I have little interest in arguing this. As said, it would be much more interesting to get your input into why you do not understand my recent articles on tautological QM ("
    no clue what you are trying to say" claims that you at least tried). There are lay persons who wrote to me that although they never accepted my approach before, they now finally understand, so, since this is physics and not too political, you should be able to understand.)
    I'd say the recent (hopefully ephemeral) focus on sexism in the skeptic circle reflects the same focus in the demographic from which the skeptics are drawn (educated, western, white, middle class, whatever). You see the exact same exchanges in any similarly composed group; certainly on every campus, and in non-profits, organizations, clubs, groups and especially in "movements." It hasn't got anything to do with skepticism, obviously.

    The fracas very well could have been about racism or homophobia instead; or both, if a gay minority member had been insulted in an elevator. Those are similarly well rehearsed topics for everyone in that demographic.

    There are ironies for everyone in this. The "skeptics" (on all sides of the exchange) jumped straight into their practiced political positions!