“Amazing” Meeting – HUGE FAILURE…

Opinion by Consumer Advocate  Tim Bolen 

In a way I have no sense of humor about the group that calls themselves the “skeptics.”  I feel that if we could congregate them all in the septic tank, and screw the lid down tightly, we’d all be much happier – them and us.  We’d each be king in our own world.

It’s when there’s a crack in the sewer system, and a few of them get out into the daylight, when problems start.

Time for some amusement though…

I am about to let you read a VERY interesting article in Religious News Service about the “Amazing” meeting titled Do atheists (skeptics) have a sexual harassment problem?”  You can click on the title to read the whole thing.  But just to whet your interest read this intro:

“(RNS) As skeptics, atheists and humanists prepare to gather for their largest meeting in Las Vegas this weekend, attendance by women is expected to be down significantly.

Officials for The Amazing Meeting, or TAM, said Wednesday (July 11) that women would make up 31 percent of the 1,200 conference attendees, down from 40 percent the year before. A month before the conference, pre-registration was only 18 percent women, organizers said.

The explanations are many — the bad economy, that women, as caregivers, are less able to get away, and that more men than women identify as skeptics, whose worldview rejects the supernatural and focuses on science and rationality.

But in the weeks preceding TAM, another possible explanation has roiled the nontheist community. Online forums have crackled with charges of sexism in TAM’s leadership and calls for the ouster of D.J. Grothe, the male president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, TAM’s organizer. In June, Rebecca Watson, a skeptic blogger and speaker, canceled her TAM appearance because, she said on her blog, she does “not feel welcome or safe.

Other nontheists — both male and female — have shared stories of unwanted sexual attention at nontheist gatherings, including propositions for sex and unwelcome touching. Chatter has ranged from calls for more women to attend nontheist events to personal attacks on prominent female skeptics for discussing harassment. Meanwhile, two more skeptic/feminist bloggers announced they will not attend TAM.”

In 2011 “Amazing” meeting organizers claimed they had 1,800 attendees, but I suspect they were counting hotel employees, Vice Cops, etc.  This year, they claimed, they expected only 1,200 attendees.  Frankly, it looks like the didn’t do a fourth of that.

Why?  Well, let’s look at this logically.  Even at first look the whole idea, itself, is dumb.  A commenter to the article above writes:

  • As a lifelong atheist, I cannot imagine anything more boring than attending a conference of atheists talking about something they don’t believe in. I cannot imagine anything more amusing than the recruiting committee.
  • Another says, with humor:
  • Atheist female attendance down? Good God no, Heaven help us… wait, scratch that.
  • And then:
  • Why do people who believe in nothing have to organize?  What would they discuss?I’ve seen the women that attend. Sexual harassment is not in the card unless the man is blind or been prison for a number of decades.
  • But here, just below is one of the important ones.  Why?  The author is one of the female “skeptics,” and well known in the ranks.  Read what she has to say about her own group:
  • More:
  • Dawn Z | Jul 13, 2012 | 6:23pm Unfortunately it seems atheism has drawn many trashy young men with poor and limited social skills who are plain haters any which way you talk to them. I hope its fair to assume smart polite atheist have a non virtual life and wouldn’t run rude post betraying intelligence 24/7. The typical stats on these bullies making atheism look bad is American male, 21 years of age, living in parents attic, few if any real friends and limited social interactions or connections off of the Internet, living in the South. They put woman like me off from participating or taking part.
  •  Would not attend an event to be bullied in person. No thanks.
  • Good to see this being exposed. I have found the sexism intolerable in the atheist community..  I have also experienced bullying and attacks on my womanhood on Facebook from male atheists… There you have men posting about “terrible treatment” of women in the Islamic community as a way of attacking religion, and in the same wall one finds a post calling an Islamic teenage girl a bitch. They show their lack of understanding and a incredible level of disrespect for women. Lots of pictures of women as objects on these pages. Believe me I am not prude but I am diusguted. They fail to see what a poor image they are giving themselves and atheists movements… Plenty of racism sprinkled in too.

Thank you Religious News Service, and author Kimberly Winston for this excellent, and timely exposé.  You can also, if you wish, read an earlier piece on a similar subject by Winston, an article called Do atheists have a sexism problem?”

But, Kimberly, in her superb article, missed ONE terribly important point…

James. D. J Grothe. and the James Randi Educational Foundation sued in Federal Court over “Bogus Million Dollar Challenge.”

Kimberly points out that:

“Online forums have crackled with charges of sexism in TAM’s leadership and calls for the ouster of D.J. Grothe, the male president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, TAM’s organizer.”

Male?  Well, not exactly.  Both D. J. Grothe and James Randi are acknowledged homosexuals.  So, hold on here…

How does a male homosexual “sexually harass” a woman?  Criticize her shoes?  Tell her she has a bad hairstyle?  Steal her underwear?  Hit on her husband?  Tell her she’s a bad Decorator?  Wear the same dress to the Prom?

And more –  Listen, perhaps once again, to the audio tape, here, of James Randi soliciting sex from a young boy, and the mystery deepens.

Even more – Frankly, I watch the “skeptics” (pseudo-skeptics) closely,  I would be VERY surprised to find even one “straight” male skeptic (pseudo-skeptic).  So, ummmmmmm?  Sexual harassment?

Um?  Is it just me, or what? 

I mean let’s ask the real question here?  What the hell should an attendee, female or otherwise, expect from, as I explained in my last article, a gathering of “Orcs?”

“Orcs or Orks are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.

Although not entirely dim-witted and occasionally crafty, they are portrayed as miserable beings, hating everyone including themselves and their masters, whom they serve out of fear. They make no beautiful things, but rather design cunning devices made to hurt and destroy.

Stay Tuned…

Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate