When I was at a Mosque at Ground Zero protest a few years ago the Republicans bused in some kids from the Bronx so they could stand around looking all young and innocent for emotional impact while they talked about how a Mosque at ground zero was frightening to children.
Outside of mentioning it in comments and on blogtv shows I didn’t focus too much on the matter. This was politics and these sorts of tactics are fairly common.
One speaker from; “Focus on the Family” used the children by giving subtle looks and gestures at key moments during his speech. He was clearly trying to imply that children in the neighborhood were frightened by this potential Mosque and these were them standing right here.
I found it peculiar they’d have to bus children from schools to a Park 3-5 blocks away (a 3-5 minute walk) so I sidled on over to the bus driver to ask him where they were from.
He responded that they had come from up in the Bronx somewhere (it may have been Westchester but my knowledge of north of Manhattan geography is a bit vague).
I’ve been arguing with user “ProofThatgodExists” (Sye Bruggencate) in the comments section of my video; “How 2 Debate Theist “Gotcha!” Arguments”
(comments section for video found here).
For those who don’t know Sye – he’s a Theist who has decided to go the rather unusual route of using Christian Presupposition to argue for God’s existence. Unusual because no respectable philosopher takes Christian Presupposition seriously (I address the fundamental flaws of Christian Presupposition in this video here).
Arguing with Sye has given me some clue as to why he thinks Christian Presupposition is the bee’s knees. He clearly has no understanding of even the most basic of the different types of fallacy in addressing faulty logic.
That or he does understand and is being deliberately dishonest to incite frustration, anger and the inevitable emotional response such an irritating exchange can bring.
In a daring move Richard Dawkins tweeted out a call to arms that his fans;
“Boycott websites that deliberately wind up false controversy in order to generate advertising revenue.”
When asked for further clarification Mr. Dawkins replied;
“I feel so strongly about this issue that out of respect for the feelings of Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the gang at Fox News I’m going to start by boycotting my own sites, both RichardDawkins.net and RichardDawkins.org.”
Fox News expressed optimism and support at Mr. Dawkin’s actions and called it;
“A step in the right direction.”
When asked to comment Pundit Bill O’Reilly said;
“I’m so impressed with Richard’s decision to boycott himself that I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and boycott myself as well.”
What followed was an avalanche of pundits, writers, vloggers and bloggers across the internet boycotting their own material in what is becoming known as the “Boycott + Movement” or “B+ Movement” for short.
P.Z. Myers quipped that while he doesn’t think he’d be boycotting his own blog anytime soon he does plan to start boycotting his personal correspondence right away.
I got into a discussion with Richard Carrier in his comments section on a blog he posted on FTB on the issue of the new attempt at creating a group known as; “A+”.
“A+” people would be atheists who are also humanists. The impetus for creating this group came from a perceived problem in the Atheist/ Skeptic community where many of those professing to be skeptics were not being very skeptical.
I’ve watched the argument over sexual harassment evolve over the past week or two and while I can’t really comment on the atmosphere of the skeptic conventions (they’re cost prohibitive so I don’t attend them) I have attended other conventions in the past so I’m familiar with the overall atmosphere.
And before anyone dismisses the convention scene as unimportant I’ll point out that networking in person can be incredibly useful, especially to people whose skills are suited to in-person communication. Convention networking is like any skill set (you know how to do it properly and it’s very useful; you don’t know how and the value of attending a convention is decreased).
So resolving the issue of sexual harassment at conventions and whether it is problematic is necessary.
Aside from anything else? From a strict, marketing perspective; if there is a perceived problem in some area and it impacts on sales then you’ve got a legitimate problem.
I’m told that there is a 22% drop in the number of female attendees at TAM this year and there is no arguing with that number; yes. You’ve got a problem.
If you’re getting similar numbers at other conventions then sexual harassment has become an issue at these conventions-not just at TAM because generally these kinds of drops in attendance are an indicator there’s something wrong with what you’re selling. Continue reading →