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 stuffed with all the right people, 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”.
Since PZ Meyers was involved from the start, “Free Thought Blogs” was certain to resemble other places that define temselves negatively via the absence of something else loosely defined. These are war machines; 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. 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. Freedom is either a mere doctrine or follows the substitution of constraints by more efficient, systematic 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.
They claim that it is their fight against the religious and the sexism inherent in traditional power structures that makes endless debates inevitable. But why not racism instead?
The FTB crowd is homogeneous - racially, politically, culturally, … . Skeptics are Whites plus a few token browns. There is only one big difference left: Penis or no penis. They just can’t stop tearing each other up over what many leave behind with puberty. But why?
One could mention “affirmative action” back firing, but featuring mediocre females prominently because they 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 few communities are bogged down in sexism debates like the new atheists.
It is simple perhaps: The new atheism and skeptics movement is all about convenient bashing and the quick feel good that follows such. Skepticism sells 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. Semi-intellectual stabs at easy targets is what they do. Charitable reading and understanding of your opponent does not sell. They do what they are used to do, also to get ahead inside their own community. Accusing each other of sexism reminds of closet gays bashing homos. Repressed sexism boiling over alternating with the over-compensation characteristic of religious hypocrisy and liberal guilt.
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). And now he is as surprised as so many revolutionaries getting hung as reactionaries by their comrades.