Men Who Hate Women : Dawkins Edition

Here’s an interesting post from Scott Alexander on the epic fail of the New Atheists.  As is woefully common with the “rationalist community” he only gets a small part of the elephant right.  Mainly, the New Atheists are failing because they are just truly terrible at proselytizing, and their target recruitment demographic is very small.

The post completely misses the obvious– Dawkins’ groundbreaking “Letter to Muslima” was the originating fracture point of the faultline between liberal feminists and the Militant (New) Atheists.  Dawkins excoriated both western feminist women and muslim women with same sneering patriarchial paragraph.  Dawkins was the first public intellectual to yoke anti-feminism with anti-Muslim/anti-Islam eumemes, two foundational tropes that run strong in the veins and arteries of the alt-right today.

Dear Muslima,
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and… yawn… don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with. Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? 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… And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Dawkins issued a grudging apology three years later, but anti-feminist, anti-Islam rhetoric was an established trope in the New Atheist catechism by then.

Here’s another New Atheist, Razib Khan, trying to convince us that New Atheism isnt dead.

Umm…sorry Razib, but unaffiliated doesn’t mean atheist.

About a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) now say they think of themselves as spiritual but not religious, up 8 percentage points in five years, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted between April 25 and June 4 of this year. This growth has been broad-based: It has occurred among men and women; whites, blacks and Hispanics; people of many different ages and education levels; and among Republicans and Democrats. For instance, the share of whites who identify as spiritual but not religious has grown by 8 percentage points in the past five years.

The other part of the elephant in the room, which Dawkins and Khan understand very well, although perhaps Scott Alexander and the SSC commentariat do not, is that the pool of potential converts to atheism is quite small.   Age, SES, IQ, educational attainment, and willingness to expend social capital are all qualifiers.  Where Alexander is correct is that the New Atheists are quite dreadful at proselytizing and recruitment.

The New Atheists accomplished the seemingly impossible task of alienating a society that agreed with them about everything. The Baffler-journalists of the world don’t believe in God. They don’t disagree that religion contributes to homophobia, transphobia, and the election of some awful politicians – and these issues have only grown more visible in the decade or so since New Atheism’s apogee.

The commentariat does tease out the idea that Dawkins is a terrible standard bearer– much in the same way Charles Murray is simply a dreadful spokesperson for HBD issues.  But no one acknowledges the core problem– Dawkins just hates women, (and he especially hates women that assert themselves), and then failed to conceal it in a moment of anger or perhaps senile dementia ON THE INTERNET.  His Muslima letter ripped off the concealing bandage and set up the permanent rift between liberal feminism and New Atheism.  Just as Dawkins condescendingly scolds religionists and “unbrights”, he scolded and shamed Rebecca Watson, his one-time natural ally.

This all relates to the larger problem researched in a book I have just finished reading– and my next post will be a review.  Its quite depressing but necessary.

Why Heather MacDonald Should Not Speak on Campus

It seems we are having a fresh wave of conservative “scholars” trying to break the Blue Wall of acadame.  Perhaps they see the writing on that wall, lol.  This piece on HeatherMacDonald’s abortive attempt to speak at Claremont is emblematic.

Mac Donald spoke via live-stream to a mostly empty room, as protesters banged on the windows and shouted; police cut the talk short and escorted her out of the building.

Here is a rather whiny piece by MacDonald herself, excoriating faculty members for not forcing her on reluctant students.

Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.

Sorry, Heather.  You don’t have tenure and never will.  You don’t have tenure because you are not a scientist, and not a professor, and not an academic.  You are a paid shill for a conservative “thinktank”.  But the reason Heather should give up on trying to wedge crackpot conservative ideologies into universities is the internet is forever, as Razib Khan found out.

So anyone that cares to can research the Secular Right blog, where Khan and MacDonald blogged alongside John “Sun People/ Ice People” Derbyshire, and can sample her writings.  Or just google her old postings.  Probably the craziest imho is Heather’s defense of anti-same sex marriage laws because “foo-foo gay weddings caused unmarried black fathers in the ghetto to flee marriage”.  No data, no science, no support for Heather’s wack-a-doodle hypothesis…which is observably both racist and homophobic.

Heather doesnt have a free speech right on campuses that circumscribes the students’ free speech rights to protest her, or the faculty’s tenured right to ignore her.  She can hire an auditorium off campus and sell tickets, pay for her own security and venue.  The reason conservative ideology is rare on campus is its mostly crap.  Conspiracy theory, grievance and victimhood wrapped in a free speech cloak.  University campuses are a place for the excellence of ideas and competitive fitness selection, not conservative propaganda.

So conservatives, here’s my advice.  Get some better ideas, and data and research to back them up– and if you want to be treated like a public intellectual and a social scientist– get a phd in social science instead of political “science”.

You’re welcome.

Is Razib Khan Cracking Up?

Roughly two years after the New York Times terminated Razib Khan’s contract after a single day, Khan has severed all visible connection with Unz and VDare, and shut down “The Secular Right” –the weblog he shared with John “Sun People/ Ice People” Derbyshire.  Quarantining himself has not led to the NYT proffering a new contract.  And Khan seems to be growing increasingly incensed over the treatment of conservative quasi-scientists like Charles Murray at American universities.  He claims that university students are acting like the “Red Guard” in China’s cultural revolution, showing a profound lack of understanding of the Cultural Revolution and Chinese history from that period.  And this presumes that Murray Racial IQ Theory is indeed science, when its actually a dusty 20+ year old hypoth that has been serially discredited and is of little contemporary value.  I have no problem with Murray speaking on behalf of AEI, a known white nationalist “think-tank”.  And Murray is a political scientist, not a social scientist or a geneticist.

But the craziest thing I saw today was this treatment of John Maynard Smith’s tremendous Evolutionary Theory of Games.  EGT is something that is very current today, in complex adaptive game theory and in the wonderful EGG research project, for example.

Right.  But if Khan “forces himself” to talk about JMS concept of ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy) isnt he going to have to give up on “reforming” Islam?  Because Islam is actually a CSS (Culturally Stable Strategy), a term contributed by Richard Dawkins himself (mirable dictu) to JMS book.

If Khan actually understands the ESS/CSS concept of EGT, then he knows its not possible to “reform” Islam without rewriting the Quran, a book soon to be read by a quarter of the world’s population– and that doesnt seem possible.

An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare. It is relevant in game theory, behavioural ecology, and evolutionary psychology. An ESS is an equilibrium refinement of the Nash equilibrium. It is a Nash equilibrium that is “evolutionarilystable: once it is fixed in a population, natural selection alone is sufficient to prevent alternative (mutant) strategies from invading successfully.

I think he’s cracking up.