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Posted on Jun 1, 2013 in arguments, blogosphere, critical thinking, gender, logical fallacies, philosophy, responding to arguments | 16 comments

Do atheist conferences reflect society-at-large?

mmcelhaney.blogspot.com

mmcelhaney.blogspot.com

In recent months, I have been engaged in ongoing discussions pertaining to atheist conferences – questioning bold claims including ‘anti-harassment policies are necessary for women to feel safe at atheist conferences,’ ‘rampant misogyny exists in the atheist community,’ and ‘atheist conferences are unsafe and hostile places for women.’

I have failed to see adequate evidence suggesting any of these above claims are true and find these claims to be extremely harmful to the health of the atheist community because women become driven away from conferences by the same people who allegedly want to increase the participation of women at atheist conferences. Men and male sexuality — additionally — are demonized; “certain male speakers” are viewed as “dangerous,” bloggers claim men oppose anti-harassment policies because they want to harass women (and believe they have the right to do so), and men are portrayed as monsters who have no concern about others’ personal space. A climate of fear is erected thanks to bloggers spreading false messages about alleged dangerous and “creepy” men at atheist conferences.

When evidence is lacking for these claims and good skeptics wonder why police reports have not been filed, conference organizers have not been alerted to these alleged ‘rampant problems,’ and numerous events ‘go off without a hitch,’ people attempting to defend their evidence-less positions employ charact