Contrary to what clear thinking people believe, FreeThoughtBlogs is not named inappropriately. Because you see, “free thought”, when it comes to FreeThoughtBlogs means letting the thoughts in your brain fly around with gay abandon, freeing them from logic and common sense, continuously mixing them with the irrational fuel of feelings and emotions until they reach an escape velocity sufficient to overcome all the pulls of reason and are hurled out into the the FreeThoughtBlogs zoo where hundreds of eager “freethinkers” trapped in cages with invisible walls anxiously await more food for generating outrage.
While most of FreeThoughtBlogs is quite mediocre, to truly find the the stuff that would crash a reason-o-meter, you have to visit the very appropriately named LousyCanuck. Here is his latest post :
Now for some “free” thinking from there.
The hyper-privileged folks nearest the top of our movement have pretty uniformly fallen on one side of this divide — the side that would rather not skeptically examine ideas like social conventions, consent, harassment policies and protecting the underprivileged.
How on earth do you examine “skeptically” the “idea of social conventions”? Let’s take an example – a social convention is to hold the door open if someone is right behind you. So now let’s be skeptical about it and let’s think freely. This leads us to a fascinating array of possibilities like:
1) What if I don’t hold the door open?
2) What if I slam the door into the person’s face?
3) What if it’s a feminist and she kicks me for being patriarchal?
4) Wait, is this the correct door, or is it a fire exit?
And so you can see how the power of truly “thinking freely” can give you a lot more things to be skeptical about. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if you could also use such “free thinking” against them. But express skepticism that elevators are not that dangerous and you will find that you are not actually allowed to think that. Because? BECAUSE THEY SAID SO!
You cannot “skeptically” examine social etiquette, personal styles, and their interpretations because these are subjective matters. The FTB bloggers like to throw around words like reason, skepticism, rational, free-thought much like the way politicians throw around words like pride, greatest, Jesus, god, honour etc. And they have just as much credibility.
They are also not averse to lying or as I like to call it “thinking freely about facts”.
So it’s absolutely no surprise to me that Dawkins has, again, sided against Skepchick — this time, instead of writing a “Dear Muslima” comment at Rebecca Watson (telling her that the sexism she encounters isn’t nearly as bad as female genital mutilation, so she should grow up or get a thicker skin)
Except that he didn’t say that it wasn’t nearly as bad. He said it was ZERO bad.
But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad.
Another frequent hobby of the FTB bloggers is to pretend they are great warriors for social justice, bravely weathering the harsh comments of Internet posters who criticize them, courageously typing out blog posts attacking those who do not see the world through the one lens of social justice to cover them all, steadfast in their resolution to let no opportunity for generating outrage go by. You would find it a hard task indeed to find this level of arrogance even at the Fox News Network.
It is so far beneath Dawkins that it serves only to undercut his image as a rationalist in my eyes — not that I was any longer under any delusion that he is a pure rationalist.
Alert the presses! Richard Dawkins has gone down as a rationalist in the estimation of a blogger on the Internet who makes universally quantified statements like
It is an emotive argument about the morality of expecting consent before actions are taken involving other people,
If you are about to be hit by a car, expect this guy to ask for your consent to push you out of the way. Because that would be the moral thing to do. Or if a bug is about to walk on to your dinner plate or down your shirt, expect this guy to ask for your consent to flick it off – because hey, who knows? Some people might prefer eating bugs and would rather have it moving around inside them rather than be finger
Of course, it’s not all bad. You will find some real gems of free-thought which you would most likely would not have thought of, such as:
Offering hugs as a reward for vaccination is a nice idea
Now lest you think that is not that mind-blowing, he adds a caveat:
but at the same time, it’s well within the rights of the person who gets a vaccine to forgo the hug.
These are truly words of wisdom that the Internet cannot do without. The rights of women to wear burqas in France? The rights of people to draw cartoons of Mo? Meh! But wait, there’s more!
And in fact, some people are even bothered by the very offer of a hug, so those people must needs make that apparent before they partake in the free vaccination services offered, because the whole event is predicated on something that might be to them a trigger, if not a simple preference.
Sometimes the writing gets freed from the grammar as well. But even after trying various combinations of grammatical fixes, I’m not quite sure what he means. Maybe it means that organizers should make it clear that the vaccines can be had without the hugs. Because “free thinkers” might think that you cannot get a vaccine without a hug!
There is a whole lot more of “hugs etiquette” that I will not bother going through. I will save my energy for what will probably be the next blog post on FTB – A Formalized Skeptical, Rational, Social Justice based Social Etiquette policy that takes into account everyone’s objective level of privilege , feelings, and emotions.
In closing, I think the most apt word for most of the FTB bloggers is, I think, “infantile”. You know how some parents tell kids that there are hungry people in the world so you should not waste your food and you should eat your spinach because it’s good for you? FTB bloggers were the kids who said “Just because other people are dying of hunger does not mean I should eat spinach even if it makes me stronger. I DON’T LIKE IT! I WANT ICE-CREAM ONLY AND NOTHING ELSE. WAH! WAH! WAH!”