Aethics: On Sex Work

eadycruikshanketchingbmSex work is always controversial, largely because anything to do with sex is always controversial. Within this term I am including pornographic actors, professional doms and submissives for hire, strippers, prostitutes, rent-boys, escorts and other related professions under the whole common cause of being shamed and blamed for various of society’s ills.

Currently the big conflict is the confusion between people’s concept that prostitution is synonymous with sex trafficking, and the impression of voluntary sex workers that they’re acting of their own accord. It is fair to say that there is a problem with sex trafficking issues, but it is unfair to think that everyone who sells sexual services is forced, coerced or otherwise wrangled into doing it. There are many women, and men, who are quite vocal on the topic and assert that they enjoy their work and have chosen to participate in it – for any number of reasons. There’s no good reason not to take them at their word.

What can a strictly rational approach tell us about sex work, its societal effects and what might be the best approach to it?

What are the Facts?

  • Statistics in this area are notoriously unreliable and incomplete and many of the studies undertaken are intended to be biased to confirm one point of view or another. As a grey/black trade getting hard data is going to be notoriously difficult. We must, then, proceed without the benefit of reliable statistics.
  • One study believes that there are, or were, some 80,000 street prostitutes, that is, those not working in a brothel or out of a flat/house. Whatever the number, these are the most vulnerable and exposed.
  • Prostitutes, especially street prostitutes, are vulnerable to rape and abuse from clients especially given how hard it can be to go to the police for help.
  • Sex trafficking does exist and is an horrific abuse of men, women and children.
  • Other forms of trafficking also exist and possibly/probably on a much larger scale than sex trafficking. Illegal workers are an issue in many countries, often little more than slave labour and controlled in a similar way to those who are trafficked for other reasons. Many of these workers end up hurt or even killed.
  • Voluntary prostitutes and other sex workers should be taken at their word when they say they are not coerced and/or that they enjoy their work.
  • A driving factor for many lower-end prostitutes is economic. You could frame this in the form of economic coercion, or you could see this as a way to make ends meet when no other is available. Sex industry work is also common amongst people in higher education, helping to pay fees while they work through college. Such economic factors also drive people to take less than ‘ideal’ jobs of all kinds just to make ends meet.
  • STDs are of concern and the clandestine and ephemeral nature of commercial sex contact provides a possibility for STDs to spread unknown.
  • The potential damage to existing relationships when someone pays for sex is a concern, albeit a moralistic one. Affairs are essentially the same thing, and may be more damaging being more emotional. On the other hand, access to commercial sex may enable relationships to continue despite sexual or physical problems in one partner, allow partners to explore their sexuality in different ways or to provide an outlet that prevents someone straying in a more significant manner.
  • Sex, physical relief, is a basic human need. Sexual contact promotes physical and mental health. Relationships are not viable for everyone and many people spend a lot of time outside relationships. There are people with various physical and mental issues that mean they cannot access the ‘singles scene’ and these people too have a need for physical intimacy. People who care for severely disabled partners also have needs and these can be served physically at a distance from intimacy.
  • Legality is variable and ill defined, depending on national and local laws. This makes for a confusing mish-mash that serves no-one and is often contradictory or inconsistent. For example, it being illegal to purchase (or ‘dispense’) sex for its own sake, but it being legal to do it in the production of pornography.

What can I conclude?
The truth is that we have long known what the best approach to the ‘problem’ of sex work is. The problem is not that we have no idea what to do about this, but that it is politically unpopular. This is the same issue facing drug legislation and even much broader problems such as crime. As such the issue is one of educating the general public and reaching a critical mass of voters, rather than simply knowing what to do.

The current harmful sides of prostitution – the presumed risk of STDs, the hotly contested degree of trafficking, money going to criminal organisations etc – are minimised or eliminated by bringing sex work (of all kinds) out of shadiness and darkness and into some sort of legal and regulatory basis. Trafficking would be undermined, licensed premises and sex workers could have to fulfil certain criteria for licensing, medical aid and free contraception could be targeted and provided where most required.

The only real reason, that stands to scrutiny, that anyone might be against full legalisation and legitimisation is ‘moral’, which is a rather slippery and subjective way to go about making any sort of policy. With it fully legalised people would be free to partake and participate, or not, as they wished.

Ultimately it does no real harm that people do not bring upon themselves. It provides many goods. Could contribute tax revenue, aid social mobility and despite all that what people do with their own bodies should be up to them (provided that it causes no real harm). People sell their bodies and talents in innumerable other ways without the same judgement or comment (manual labour) and there seems to be no reason that stands to critical examination to disallow people from buying or selling sex.

With pornography, including ‘extreme’ pornography, so long as everyone involved is consenting I see no reason to censor it or make it illegal. With strip clubs, lapdancing and so forth it seems peculiar to me to fixate upon the paid-for nakedness when alcohol is on sale. Clearly we’re willing to accept the unquestionable societal ills of booze in exchange for the comfort and business it brings with responsible use.

Full legalisation and responsible regulation of any and all of these professions will remove the involvement of the criminal element and create a safer environment for both customers and sex workers. It’s a complete no-brainer.

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The Dangers of Creating an Atheist ‘Community’

Backstab_by_BabushkaYagaIt sounds like a good idea I’m sure. Forging the greater community of atheists into some sort of united ‘force for good’. It’s tempting to think that forming a lobby in a similar manner to the Jewish or Evangelical lobby could forward our agenda. What is our ‘agenda’ though? All atheism means is that we don’t believe in god and while other things are common amongst atheists (we tend to be on the left/liberal side of things, we tend to be pro science, pro choice, pro equality, pro secularism) this is by no means certain and there are plenty of things we don’t agree on.

We don’t have to agree on them either.

This week I’ve been watching the feminist groups on Twitter infighting amongst themselves. Despite the fact that they all agree on fighting for the equality of women (at a minimum) they divide themselves up and bitterly infight along fracture lines of age, ‘wave’, transsexualism, conservative/radical, equity/gender, left/right, sex/gender, LGBT issues, disability, anything you care to mention. Julie Burchill, despite being spectacularly un-self-aware of her own divisive nature pretty much nails it here.

What does this mean? Well, it means that they spend a lot more time fighting each other over who is the most progressive and inclusive and virtually no time at all fighting the ‘patriarchy’. It also costs them allies who agree with them in principle but see what’s going on and back away slowly crossing themselves.

We’ve seen this same problem in the atheist community already. Remember how ‘Brights’ went over? Remember the failure of Atheism+?

Why did these movements fail? Why aren’t more atheists members of secular humanist societies? Because the only thing that unites us is our atheism. You add to that, you cut people out who don’t feel they can go along with the rest. This results in weakness, division and irrelevance. I can’t go along with Atheism+ because I can’t go along with their censorious and radical feminist perspective. I don’t believe in all the same things they do or prioritise things the same way they do and so I am excluded from that group because of it.

If you want another example of where this all went wrong, you only need to look at the Occupy movement. When it started it was purely anti-corporate and – in the USA – against the ruling that corporations were considered ‘people’. You had left anarchists alongside right libertarians, you had black bloc alongside tea partiers, anyone who had beef was in. Then they started trying to be something more than a simple protest. They began putting out manifestos and trying to set rules and boundaries. The infighting began, accusations of impropriety, ‘mic checking’ to shout people down. Before long all that was left were stereotypical hippy drum circles and the novelty, the power of that singular statement was gone. Occupy faded into insignificance and achieved pretty much fuck all.

We don’t all need to agree. We’re stronger if we agree on one thing and let the rest slide. We can campaign on those other things in our own time. New Atheism worked (works) because it’s simple. It’s just about not ceding the public square, about standing up and being counted, about saying your piece. Trying to forge anything more than that will only weaken us.

Being part of the atheist community means, and should only mean, we don’t believe in god. That’s all it should take. We can commiserate and support each other. We can share funny stories. We can be a community in the sense of shared experience and conceptual living space.

If you want to campaign for secularism, do so. I will.

If you want to engage in counter apologetics, do so. I will.

If you want to campaign for science and education funding, do so. I will.

If you want to debunk creationist claims, do so. I will.

But I don’t require you to do these things to be my brother or sister in unbelief. I don’t need you to agree with me on politics, gun control, drug legislation or anything else. We don’t even have to agree on tactics – different things all work. It’s not a competition to see who can be the most progressive. Our strength is in our diversity, that we’re a community like any other. Fractious, divided, but together in spite of that. Ordinary people.

Antisocial Injustice

Two Sneetches-Taunt -Trans

But the straight, white, middle-class, cisgender sneetch had no stars at all.

Prompted by the unjustified hate and nastiness of the trans community towards @giagia

Write what you know they say.

Here’s what I know.

‘Despite’ being a white, straight and male and growing up in rural England I have man aged to achieve adulthood without any of the egregious prejudices that I’m supposed to have.

I didn’t encounter anyone of any other race who wasn’t on the television until, I think, a Sikh door-to-door salesman when I was maybe eight or nine years old. He was alright, but otherwise my formative encounters with practically any minority you care to mention – sexuality, disability, unconventional gender identity – have been negative. Still, I didn’t come out the other end of that with any real prejudices.

Sure, I’ve made mistakes now and then. Some genuine, some what people happen to consider mistakes, upon which I disagree.

I was raised ‘right’. I was raised to be as polite as possible, to treat people fairly and equally and to give them a fair crack of the whip whatever my first impression. To ‘judge people by the content of their character’, if you will.

If my friends exhibit racism, sexism or other prejudices, they get my disapproval and often a stern word. Yet, I find myself unaccountably tolerating the exact same prejudices in people who are of a minority or subjectively oppressed group.

Why?

I learned my lessons well. That treating anyone differently on the basis of race, gender etc was wrong. Surely these people – activists even – who have been on the receiving end of prejudice themselves should know this better than anyone, shouldn’t they?

If someone wants their feelings and problems taken seriously then they should extend the same to others, you would think. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Instead I find that people who claim to be activists, who claim to be fighting for equality and fairness are amongst the worst bigots I have ever encountered and the most dismissive of anyone else’s point of view.

If I am against racism, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who broad-brushes all white people or dismisses anything I might say simply for my relative lack of melanin?

If I am against sexism, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who regularly insults men as a gender, laughs off misandry as not existing and undermines genuine men’s issues?

If I am against the persecution of LGBT people, and I am, how am I supposed to react to someone who derisively refers to heterosexuals as ‘breeders’ or ‘cis’ in a sneering tone?

If I don’t think people should be judged for being poor, and I am, how am I suppose to react to someone who dismisses me (wrongly) for being affluent middle class?

Yet I find myself, more often than not, letting these things pass. Not because I don’t find them as objectionable as I do in other contexts, but because of the hypocrisy, the vitriol, the denial, the insults, the swarming pack tactics, the lies and misrepresentations are incredibly stressful and hurtful and aggravating.

And disappointing.

Here are the people who should be on the same page as me, succumbing to and excusing their own bigotry. Redefining *ism from prejudice to prejudice plus power to try and tell you people literally can’t be racist against whites, men, or heterosexuals. Something that is patently untrue.

Here are the people who want you to take their feelings and concerns seriously, no matter what any facts might be, but who will write off anything you say as ‘white tears’, ‘manfeels’ or some similarly dismissive variation thereof.

A person’s colour, gender, sexuality, gender identity etc has absolutely no bearing on the value of their ideas. Nor does being offended by something. I am offended by ‘cis’, ‘privilege’ and many other items of social justice terminology and ideology. Should you stop using them simply because I’m offended?

No.

You should stop using them because they’re useless bullshit that add nothing to discussions and instead anger, alienate and are used as ad hominems and to poison the well before a discussion even gets off the ground.

So what to do?

Being even handed, applying the same call-out culture rules will get one rapidly labelled a bigot, even if you oppose genuine bigots just as vociferously. A blog like this will doubtless attract some sarcasm and the very behaviour I’m talking about. Do I value friends and acquaintances over and above their attitudes? Then why not for the more typical bigoted views, rather than the less typical bigoted views of the activists? Why should activist bigots get a free pass from me that they don’t even give each other? (See the trans/TERF war).

It feels like an insoluble problem.

Here I am, white, straight guy, brought up to treat people equally finding the largest groups I know that don’t do this are the people supposedly campaigning for it. Further, before they know anything about me, they’re already ignoring and prejudging me on the basis of my sex, race, assumed social status and sexuality. I refuse to be held accountable for the actions of my ancestors or for people who aren’t me. I refuse to be tagged with some bizarre new version of ‘original sin’. I want to hold people to the same standards, after all…

If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

Right?

The Beliefs of the Richest People

I had a rather bizarre claim levelled at me today, that the majority of the top twenty richest people in the world were atheist. I thought this sounded like bullshit, so me being me, I checked.

Now, atheism is correlated with intelligence and education, so you would expect the number of atheists to be higher amongst the most successful people in the world. Of course, wealth isn’t entirely analogous to talent, since a lot of it is inherited or ‘old money’, but still with a (rough) world figure of 15% atheistic you might expect two or more of the top 20 to be atheists.

1. Carlos Slim Helu – Christian
2. Bill Gates – Atheist
3. Amancio Ortega – Christian
4. Warren Buffet – Agnostic
5. Larry Ellison – Agnostic Jew
6. Charles Koch – Christian
7. David Koch – Christian
8. Li Ka-Shing – Buddhist
9. Liliane Bettincourt – Jewish (by marriage)
10. Bernard Arnault – Catholic
11. Christy Walton – Christian
12. Stefan Persson – Christian
13. Michael Bloomberg – Jewish
14. Jim Walton – Unknown
15. Sheldon Adelson – Jewish
16. Alice Walton – Christian
17. S. Robson Walton – Christian
18. Karl Albrecht – Christian
19. Jeff Bezos – Christian
20. Larry Page – Atheist

If we count agnostics, that only 4/20, nowhere near 17/20 and of those I know Gates and Buffet have been extremely philanthropic via the Gates foundation, tackling genuine global issues of poverty, starvation and disease. While checking on the religions of the others in this list I found little outside religious donations, Christian summer camps and the like.

In short, religion seems to be no particular guide to someone’s charitable status or generosity and if you are religious, much of your effort seems to be diverted into the pockets of religion and perpetuating that faith.

Oppressed Minority

This well-made short film has been doing the rounds and while it makes a few good points the interpretation is very one sided in a lot of ways. Simply reversing the genders doesn’t entirely work and the film also underlines prejudices and preconceptions about men as much as it does about women. These comments are not meant to undermine anyone’s personal experience but to comment on this ‘funhouse mirror’ version of reality from a man’s perspective.

00:47: A man pushing a pushchair is likely to be pitied and harassed by other men, or at least looked down on. Men are not seen as caregivers and it is seen as unmanning to do so. While some young mothers might coo over the baby and the man pushing the pushchair other men are likely to see it as negative. Not being seen as caregivers men are often denied the possibility of even playing the role a lot of the time, something that I know hurts a lot of men and sees them playing the role of ‘distant breadwinner’ instead.. This comes up a lot through this film, this theme.

01:10: “Oh, I should really be talking to your wife,” is not much different to the way things currently are. Women are seen as the guardians of the home so things relating to the home and serious business around it are seen as the woman’s task. It is the man’s place to get nagged, bullied and tormented into doing the work and the woman’s place to tell him what needs doing. Men are seen as forgetful, stupid and not to be trusted to get things done. This outlook is now being reinforced by ‘Sitcom Dad’ stereotyping.

01:23: Bare chests on women are a much stronger sexual signal – at least in our culture – than bare chests on men. This is why the exposure/modesty laws differ (in part). The comparison is false. This little sequence with the jogger also illustrates, via the point of view of the film maker, how men are seemingly also perceived as sexually threatening. Which is an unfair stereotype. We are to take these pleasantries and compliments as somehow threatening but, as a men, starved of any such attentions, it might be nice to be on the receiving end of such.

01:52: In our world, rather than this parallel, men are severely under-represented in childcare and in teaching overall, until secondary/post secondary education. There are very few male role models and very little exposure to grown men for children until they have already reached their teen years but this under-representation does not get the same attention as the lack of women in STEM education etc. In the UK only 12% of primary school teachers are male and only 38% of secondary school teachers. In the last survey I could find only 48 men were to be found working in state nursery education in the entire United Kingdom. Education as a whole appears to be ill-serving boys with university admissions down, scores and grades lower and it has been suggested that part of this may be down to the feminine workspace to be found in schools. Why are less men doing these jobs? Poorer prospects, pressure to succeed and – at primary and nursery level – implicit and sometimes explicit suspicion of being a paedophile leading to much more invasive checks and suspicion of men who want to work with kids.

03:10: Shouted abuse by the severely mentally ill is not something faced by women alone and while it may be uncomfortable, men are far more likely to face violence (3-4 times as likely to be murdered for example) and have much more reason to be wary – yet aren’t. In a lot of areas men’s mental health issues are far worse than womens. Men are much more likely to end up homeless (76% male in a recent US survey) and while homeless are much more likely to end up on the street. Men are 3-4 more times more likely to take their own lives and there are stigmas attached to seeking help or admitting weakness. Meanwhile there is a lot more help and money available to help women, especially women with children. Being aggressively propositioned by junkies in need of money is also more of a male problem than a female problem. You don’t want to be hanging around King’s Cross late at night! Nor are men immune to having their appearance criticised or even having women cross the road to avoid them if they’re dressed a certain way.

03:50: Pissing in the street? Now you’re just jealous. More of the presumed sexual aggression.

04:40: And again with the presumed sexual aggression. I’ll refer you above. Men are far more likely to get into a violent altercation than women, often because of women if chucking out time in town centres is anything to go by. Violence against women is societally deemed unacceptable. Violence against men, especially by women, is not seen as serious.

05:20: Imagine a man trying to report that he was raped and, bad as things are for women, you’ll see a problem. Rape of men isn’t even defined as rape, it’s redefined as ‘made to penetrate’. Men’s reporting of sexual assault and rape is even lower than that of women – which some feminists estimate to be 90% under-reported (though this is disputed). It is even thought by many that men can’t be raped. Drunken sex of women can be considered coercive or rape while if the man is drunk it is not considered in the same light. For more information, this is informative.

06:00: A point here is trying to be made about office harassment, mixed in with the assault part of the film. However, again, in a ‘grass is always greener’ examination it would be nice to receive positive reinforcement about one’s looks. While I am sure it gets annoying and intrusive after a time men rarely, if ever, get this positive reinforcement day in, day out.

06:20: While the questions are intrusive it is always the job of law enforcement, and the courts, to ensure that there is a case to answer and that time and public money is not being spent frivolously. The truth is that we have absolutely no idea how many accusations of sexual assault and rape are false or how many claims are genuine. It is fantastically difficult to get decent statistics on sexual crime because it is so contentious and challenging accepted statistics from feminist sources is seen not as good science but as dismissal. The video linked above goes a little into this as well. The criminal justice system is not especially gentle with alleged victims of sexual assault, no, but then it is concerned with truth more than comfort. There are dangerous drives in some quarters to change the legal culture, but only around allegations of sexual assault against women. The presumption of innocence is threatened and the standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ has been lessened in some US campuses to ‘preponderance of evidence’. That is, the necessary threshold for expulsion (legal wrangles being separate) is greater than 50% now, rather than greater than 75%. This campus activism may yet leak out into the wider world and meanwhile makes campus life very dangerous for men.

07:00: His wife is meant to illustrate male insensitivity and wrongful priorities but what it does illustrate is the pressure men feel to be breadwinners, to not risk their careers for anything. Something which adds a huge amount of stress to a lot of men’s lives when they would rather have a better work/life balance than they do. In an economy stripped of many traditional male occupations this is an increasingly tender spot with a lot of men, unable to work in the kind of arenas they would prefer and within a male atmosphere, unable to feel worthy of their partners. She’s also meant to seem selfish, turning the conversation about herself, but this too reflects problems that men have expressing emotion and wanting to fix things for their partners, to distract them from pain and hurt, to make them feel better. The guy here is also being looked after, taken care of. Something that a lot of men have to abandon once they leave childhood, being expected to be a lot more self reliant and not to show the weakness of needing others.

08:55: The man in the piece turns, he blames society for the actions of a very few. It is an emotional lashing out that – outside this film – need not be present in the wider society. This alienates his wife who is doing her best and trying to look after him. This part, at least, feels more accurate as a direct gender swap.

 

 

 

Fusion Theism’s New Fallacies

Discussions about religion often end up in the realm of identifying logical fallacies. Typically, as an atheist, one sees the Argument from Personal Incredulity, Argument from Ignorance and Circular Reasoning. Fusion Theism in his post HERE and on Twitter, tried to identify or create new fallacies applicable to atheist thinking and as one of the few polite and reasonable debaters to be found, he’s worth answering.

The Double-Standard Fallacy:” Accepting one form of evidence for your own claims, while simultaneously rejecting this form of evidence for your opponent’s argument.

I confess I don’t know what he’s referring to here as I haven’t seen this occur. It’s possible he’s referring to the way in which we take scientific knowledge as truth, even though it’s relayed to us and comparing that with people taking biblical ‘knowledge’. In other words, the idea that ‘both are from books and we have faith in who is telling us’. All of this is assumption and perhaps he can clarify, but I would point out that science – unlike religion – is subject to peer review, repeat experimentation and has practical real-world applications that confirm its usefulness. IF this were accurate, it would indeed be a problem.

“The Tree-Falling Fallacy:” This argument goes something like this: ‘If a tree falls in the woods and no one recorded it, it never happened,’ or ‘If no one wrote a book about Alexander the Great, that means he never existed.’

This is trying to justify the fallacy of Shifting the Burden of Proof. The point missed is that without evidence for something, it is not logical or reasonable to accept it. Trees falling is a regular occurrence and the existence of a fallen tree is evidence that it fell in and of itself. When it comes to historical figures the comparison being drawn is obviously between Jesus and Alexander (there’s other examples people like to use too, like Socrates). Compared to Jesus, the claim ‘Alexander existed’ is supported by numerous contemporaneous accounts, archaeology, the records of conquered nations and it is not an extraordinary claim. So not only is this an attempt to shift the burden of proof, but it’s inaccurate too.

“The Goat-Herder Fallacy:” Attributing automatic falsehood (and rejecting the arguments of) anyone based on their profession or career. Example: ‘I reject the Bible because it is written by goat-herders.’

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone actually say that’s WHY they don’t believe the Bible or dismiss the arguments. Rather it is a snarky way to make a point that people in the past were ignorant of much we know today. If this were accurate you could argue that it’s a sort of inverted argument from authority.

“The Contemporary Fallacy,”(also known as “The JFK Fallacy”): This fallacy goes like this: ‘Any books written about President Kennedy after his death in 1963 must be rejected as myth, since they were not written about him while he was alive.’

Again this seems to be making a false comparison between the religious mythology of Jesus and actual historical events. Books about JFK are drawn from contemporaneous accounts, film footage, recordings etc. There is absolutely nothing contemporaneous in the stories of Jesus.

“Telephone-Game Fallacy:” Automatically assuming that adults cannot accurately relay facts to other adults, based on a popular children’s game.

Well this isn’t a fallacy and oral history does, indeed, have issues. We can’t be sure of distortions 100%, but we can be reasonably sure.

“The Uneducated Fallacy:” Attributing a lack of education to your opponent simply for holding views that are different or opposite from your views.

That would be an argument from authority, but it can be true. Most people who reject evolution – for example – know little or nothing about it.

“The Truth Fallacy:” (also known as “The Mislabel Fallacy”): Re-defining the word “truth” or “evidence” to only apply to the position that you support, or to the kind of evidence which supports your argument, but not your opponent’s argument. For example: ‘Only science can be accepted as truth or evidence,’ or ‘Only the Bible can be accepted as truth or evidence.’

If accurate this would be a fallacy of redefinition.

“The Auto-Myth Fallacy:” Automatically assuming that an ancient book is myth because it is ancient, or automatically assuming a book is myth if it does not agree with your worldview.

Arguing that an ancient text is accurate or inaccurate based purely on its age would be an argument from antiquity and from its modernity an argument from that. I don’t think anyone actually says that it’s merely age that makes something a myth.

“The Bias-Fallacy:” Attributing more bias to anyone who has a different view from yours, than you attribute to the people who hold your view.

Cognitive bias is a real issue. In my experience non-believers are more aware of it while theists embrace it as though it were a good thing.

“Extraordinary-Fallacy:” Automatically labeling something false because it sounds extraordinary to you.

A reference to ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’. I wouldn’t say this is a fallacy per se since it still calls for evidence. I think we can also, usefully, define ‘extraordinary’.

“The Born-This-Way Fallacy:” Claiming that the best argument is always the one which most closely resembles the knowledge you were born with. For example, ‘Atheism is a much better option than theism, because everyone is born without knowledge of God.’ This would be fallacious since everyone is also born without knowledge of science, logic, math, etc.

I don’t know that anyone has claimed this exactly, rather they’ve pointed out that this is the state of nature and that they remain unconvinced otherwise. Religion is not like science, logic, mathematics etc. We could re-learn all these from scratch and come up with the same answers. IF religion started from scratch, it would be virtually unrecognisable.

“The Raised-This-Way Fallacy:” Claiming that the best argument is the one most closely matching the status or knowledge you were raised with.

I’d file this under cognitive bias again, rather than a fallacy as such. It’s also one that very much fits theism.

Islam Spam: Redux

So previously I contacted eDialoguecentre.org about the spam on the #atheist and #atheism hashtags and got precisely nowhere with even getting them to admit it.

I had another conversation recently suggesting we address our complaints to info@edialogue.org which you’re welcome to try, but I don’t hold out much hope of even getting a response.

Anyway, I did a little more digging and with the help of @VorianK on Twitter and some others, discovered that the source of the spam Tweets is a site called islamtweets.com 

Now, if this were just people clicking on it to tweet some heartfelt Islamic nonsense, this wouldn’t be a problem. The problem is that these tweets come in great long strings, sometimes hundreds at a time, completely clogging up streams and making any genuine dialogue or discussion virtually impossible. It’s automated and amounts to botnet spamming.

A bit more tracking and I discover that the edialogue facebook page is posting advertisements for the Islamtweets website and that they share servers.

I’m consolidating this data here for my complaints to Twitter Support, the sites and the domain registrars (this is abuse). I encourage you to use this link to do the same.

Some people seem to have been able to manage to block the spam by using a mute filter that mutes by source/application. This works in Janetter, if you find means that work in other Twitter programs (especially Tweetdeck and Plume) let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: This may help users of some other Twitter applications (specifically Tweetdeck).

837811247

Data below:

Islamspam2

Islamspam

Domain Name: ISLAMTWEET.COM 
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.name.com
Registrar URL: http://www.name.com
Updated Date: 2013-12-24T09:35:50-07:00
Creation Date: 2012-12-25T10:37:30-07:00
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2019-12-25T10:37:30-07:00
Registrar: Name.com, Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 625
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@name.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.17202492374
Resellser:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registrant Name: Whois Agent
Registrant Organization: Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Registrant Street: PO Box 639
Registrant City: Kirkland
Registrant State/Province: WA
Registrant Postal Code: 98083
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4252740657
Registrant Fax: +1.4259744730
Registrant Email: islamtweet.com@protecteddomainservices.com
Admin Name: Whois Agent
Admin Organization: Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Admin Street: PO Box 639
Admin City: Kirkland
Admin State/Province: WA
Admin Postal Code: 98083
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.4252740657
Admin Fax: +1.4259744730
Admin Email: islamtweet.com@protecteddomainservices.com
Tech Name: Whois Agent
Tech Organization: Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Tech Street: PO Box 639
Tech City: Kirkland
Tech State/Province: WA
Tech Postal Code: 98083
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.4252740657
Tech Fax: +1.4259744730
Tech Email: islamtweet.com@protecteddomainservices.com
Name Server: ns1.edialogue.org 
Name Server: ns2.edialogue.org 
DNSSEC: NotApplicable

Domain Name:EDIALOGUE.ORG 
Domain ID: D160453509-LROR
Creation Date: 2010-10-20T04:55:04Z
Updated Date: 2013-03-14T17:04:47Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2016-10-20T04:55:04Z
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, LLC (R91-LROR)
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 146
WHOIS Server:
Referral URL:
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID:CR65107598
Registrant Name:Registration Private
Registrant Organization:Domains By Proxy, LLC
Registrant Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Registrant City:Scottsdale
Registrant State/Province:Arizona
Registrant Postal Code:85260
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.4806242599
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +1.4806242598
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:EDIALOGUE.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Admin ID:CR65107600
Admin Name:Registration Private
Admin Organization:Domains By Proxy, LLC
Admin Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Admin City:Scottsdale
Admin State/Province:Arizona
Admin Postal Code:85260
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4806242599
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax: +1.4806242598
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email:EDIALOGUE.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Tech ID:CR65107599
Tech Name:Registration Private
Tech Organization:Domains By Proxy, LLC
Tech Street: DomainsByProxy.com
Tech City:Scottsdale
Tech State/Province:Arizona
Tech Postal Code:85260
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.4806242599
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +1.4806242598
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email:EDIALOGUE.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Name Server:NS1.EDIALOGUE.ORG 
Name Server:NS2.EDIALOGUE.ORG 
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DNSSEC:Unsigned