This is the first in a series on what I have started referring to as “2nd Wave Internet Skepticism”. 2nd wave internet skepticism seems to fold tribalism in under the guise of critical thinking. It includes a lot of rhetoric that I first saw in the “Men’s Rights Activism” movement. The same rhetoric can be seen in the modern neo-nazi movement known as the “alt right”. These guys (and I do mean guys, mostly white guys) seem to think that because they’ve figured out that 9/11 truth and chemtrails are bullshit that anything they dislike, ranging from feminism to trans rights and beyond, is also bullshit. I imagine many skeptics will disagree with the ideas I am presenting here, and that’s fine. I have found that the cult of 2nd wave internet skepticism generally hates criticism even though many of those in the movement suggest that “safe spaces” are ruining everything. Hypocrisy and perceptions of one’s own victimhood are on full display in this, the war of really bad ideas.
Original Sin: Elevator Gate
At the 2011 World Atheist Convention Rebecca Watson, who was at the time one of the contributors/hosts on the Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast, left a hotel bar a little before 4am after having drinks with some fans and friends. A man followed her to the elevator and proceeded to hit on her, asking her to go to his room for coffee according to a video that Watson posted after the incident.
The mention of the incident in the elevator was just a small part of the 8 minute video about the conference, but it became a huge deal in the skeptic community. The comments section is full of what appear to be Men’s Rights Activists (see: virgins) complaining that Watson had the temerity to tell people that this is not a good way to pick up women as it will tend to make a lot of women, herself included, uncomfortable. A rational person would think it non-controversial that if you are going to try and hook up with someone or engage in some other sort of sexual or romantic advance, you might want them to be comfortable, they’re more likely to say yes. But the of course the true critical thinkers know that this is absurd. It is, according to those who are in fact critical thinkers, toxic feminism and an assault on men who are just being “the nice guy ™ “.
Richard Dawkins, who I hadn’t seen saying froggy shit prior, responded with this:
“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.”
This is the precursor to a lot of arguments I see today, where 2nd wave internet skeptics will tell feminists that basically as long as they’re not in fucking Saudi Arabia where women have next to no rights, they should shut the fuck up. This is an informal fallacy known as “not as bad as”. In this case it looks like: if someone else has it worse than you, you should never complain about how you are being treated in any given situation or suggest that people might modify their behavior in social situations so that everyone can enjoy themselves. 2nd wave internet skeptics often will point to the treatment of gay and trans people by ISIS to suggest to gay and trans people in the United States or Europe that we ought not complain about bigotry and hatred. There are countless other examples and the “not as bad as” fallacy will no doubt come up quite often in this series of articles about 2nd wave internet skepticism.
This whole thing was so fucking stupid as to almost be comical. Except it turned out not to be comedy. It was “original sin” for many 2nd wave internet skeptics. And shit has basically gone down hill in many corners of the skeptic movement, mostly online, since this event. Luckily enough this stuff isn’t really at dinner parties, skeptics at the pub events, or other social gatherings because there are obviously overly sensitive feminist cows at such gatherings who might be triggered by an open exchange of ideas on whether or not women should feel comfortable in social situations, and of course this limits the free exchange of ideas, or something. Another example of PC culture gone too far? Nah. Just assholes getting upset that someone called them assholes, as usual. A beneficial side effect of this is that a lot of the new breed, the 2nd wave, don't go out much. Gotta take those small victories where we can get them, am I right cucks and SJWS or am I right?
Stay tuned, the next post in this series will be about what happened when an internet skeptic group went from mocking chemtrails and 9/11 conspiracy theory to hating so called “SJWs”. Last straw for me, a gay man, was seeing anti-trans rhetoric in a group that was supposedly about science and skepticism. This ended in the hurt feelings of some loser who can dish it out but can’t take it being put on full display. Should be fun to write, and hopefully to read, unless it was your jimmies I rustled. Then you might have a sad. Whatever. Fuck you.