Given one constant criticism of the so called “#FTBullies” is that they never take on board criticism and instead shout “misogynist!” I’ve been meaning to start a page where I catalogue the reasonable criticism of bloggers and commenters at FreethoughtBlogs.com and Skepchick.org … Also other people that have their own blogs or high profile jobs and get dragged in as “#FTBullies” just because they happen to agree with one of the bloggers on those networks or even worse are feminists *spit* (Amanda Marcotte, Melody Hensley etc would be examples).
2a. Reasonable criticism of PZ and the pop-EvPsych/Evolutionary Psychology discussion at SkepchickCon
Update3: Ahh this is interesting, so PZ has got around to tackling the bits in Coynes blog post from Pinker. The post is here. Frankly it seems to me that there are fair disagreements here with a lot of strawmanning and assumption of bias from Coyne and Pinker that has unfortunately poisoned the conversation to a degree. PZ points one out in his post, “we” apparently assume there is a “blank state” when its quite obvious this has never been the case – maybe some feminists have stated this but its clear the secular feminist community don’t think this is the case. As in the updates below Coyne also assumes an “ideology” that is driving the criticism of EP, this is conspiracy level stuff and doesn’t make me look on the Coyne/Pinker side too favourably. This was my favourite part of the post as it shows “science denialism” is not the case here and sums up my own thoughts, albeit from a position of being woefully uninformed.
For the record, of course there are genetic differences in human populations! It’s an open question whether any of them make significant contributions to human psychology, however. I’m open to evidence either way.
That sums up my thoughts on EP, so far what I’ve seen is pretty terrible and asking people for examples of “good EP” I’ve got nothing. I guess given the fundamental position that psychology and genetics are linked has to be on some level true there is a possibility of EP being useful in describing that. However given psychology alone is not that good at defining behaviour and is itself often subject to criticism, it seems that taking that ill-defined base and adding an evolutionary perspective is only going to make it harder. Personally I think it remains to be seen if EP is good science or even if it can be good science, I am to be convinced still…. Of course in terms of #FTBullies PZ went ballistic and called Pinker a pinko commie misogynist!!!eleventy11. At least you can bet the #FTBullies tweeps are saying as much despite the evidence.
Update2: Haha seems PZ got around to criticising the Coyne bit of the criticism in “Update” below. Unlike me he is actually able to address the specific criticisms of his supposed EvPsych position. Not looking good and he makes the same point as I did in “Update” below, Coynes criticism is ad-hom laden in places. So unlike Stephanies critique he takes these bits apart as well, and of course screams about what a misogynist Coyne is for disagreeing with him? Err, well no actually and he even agrees with a large part of Coynes statement on what should be researched, somewhat torpedoing his assertion that PZ and the “gender feminists” don’t even want to research gender differences. Why is it that reasonable people swallow the “#FTBullies” bullshit and fight against that strawman rather than reality? Doesn’t make for good criticism, of course the baying fools of the anti-FTB brigade will find some way to make Coyne “witch of the week” to save face. Probably a commenter will say something intemperate under the post…. (Pinker criticism to come from PZ.. Update3 is on the way!)
Update: It seems Pinker and Coyne have taken over on this criticism and as the “big hitters”, unlike poor Dave below, they get the attention. Actually I’d class Daves criticism of the panel as better than Coyne/Pinkers mainly because the post includes the ridiculous “equity” vs “gender” feminist strawman and Dave actually listened to the audio whereas Pinker/Coyne used a summary from PZ to work from. Coyne also makes some extremely unsceptical assertions about how it “seems” this straw “gender” feminist “ideology” is driving the criticism of Evolutionary Psychology. He “gets the feeling” that they don’t want research into gender differences even … *eye roll*
Anyway I’m sure the #FTBullies went berserk and denounced everyone as misogynists? Well no you can see Stephanie Zvans calm measured response here. She actually ignores the ridiculous “ideology” swipes from Coyne and addresses the substance of his objections, which is what Coyne/Pinker should have done in the first place rather than assign unknowable motives to the criticism. Even if they are correct and PZ et al are in the thrall of some evilz feminist doctrine that is totally irrelevant to the validity of their arguments, as usual they stand or fall on their own merits.
2. Reasonable criticism of PZ and the pop-EvPsych/Evolutionary Psychology discussion at SkepchickCon
Disclaimer: I have a lot of reading to do here to really understand this field. While it is clear a lot of pop-EP is total bullshit, Ed Clint and other EP proponents agree on this so that is safe ground, I cannot talk to the whole field. That is clearly a difficult proposition as any large scientific discipline is going to have a wide variety of researchers and areas of research so to dismiss the whole thing requires a lot of knowledge! Rebecca Watson was accused of dismissing the entire field by Ed Clint, and I actually think his post was mostly worthy of being in this section as “reasonable criticism” if he hadn’t included the hyperbolic science denialism accusation thoroughly debunked by Mark Hoofnagle. In fact Rebecca Watson changed her talk to align with Ed’s criticism and without the childish accusations it could have been a bit of bridge building criticism. So in conclusion I think this criticism is reasonable in its framing but that doesn’t mean its right, I really need to go off and read a LOT more to be able to conclude on that point.
So on to criticism, there was an EP panel at CONvergence in the SkepChickCON stream for which there is audio here. On that post a blogger I’ve not heard of before, Dave Allen, links to his criticism of the panel here. I comment on there because I’d like to see him put the criticism to PZ on Pharyngula, obviously Dave will be ripped apart by the vicious Pharyngulites for daring to disagree and hung and dried as an inveterate misogynist /sarcasm. But seriously it seems he has a lot of valid points and its frustrating to not be able to address them myself due to lack of knowledge. Also the criticism that is being brought to PZ is, err, not particularly interesting in anything other than its surreal stupidity.
@pzmyers that account absolutely has to be satire
— Rebecca Watson (@rebeccawatson) July 5, 2013
For Rich Sanderson getting peoples attention is his one and only aim as he is incapable of reasoned criticism and unfortunately he succeeds, even if those people proceed to laugh at his incredibly delusional rantings. Hence this is part of the reason of this whole ongoing blog post – reasonable criticism gets ignored while the Rich Sandersons float to the surface bringing their stench with them. I’d much rather see Dave Allen’s criticism be addressed than Rich’s, although I did enjoy laughing at Rich with everyone else
1. Reasonable criticism of Melody Hensley
Anyway I can start with reasonable criticism of WIS2, unlike anything Vacula managed, Melody Hensley being the “#FTBully” in question. (Definitely not anything Ron Lindsay said as comparing people to North Korean dictators does not count as reasonable)
One thing the Slymepitters come out with is almost true as it feels shitty picking out criticism of Melody when she gets so much unwarranted harassment from the assholes at the pit and on Twitter. I don’t want to be adding to pressure on her when she gets so much from them, reasonable or not. However its so rare for her to get reasonable criticism its worth showing how it actually works. I’m not sure if Melody has seen any reasonable criticism online of her actions before!
Brilliant post that shows how shutting up and listening is sometimes paramount when you are speaking to someone who is often erased from the conversation, ignored and their needs disregarded in preference to the privileged majority. I really feel for Melody here as while she handled this case badly she was under tremendous pressure to avoid criticism of the conference. Its easy in my position to say she shouldn’t have been defensive when dealing with the complaint and should have “Shut up and Listened”… I know that this “#FTBully” will take it on board and improve the conference for disabled people next year. Also CFI as a whole needs to re-evaluate their accessibility provisions, both online and in meatspace as that experience was not acceptable.
UPDATE: As @aratina points out below Melody took the reasonable criticism to heart, weird how that works!
— Melody Hensley (@MelodyHensley) May 24, 2013
Will add more above the fold as I come across them…. Feel free to let me know if you see any.