Rats (and Richard Dawkins) Making Me Hate Men

Richard DawkinsYou all know that I like rats — a lot. And I’ve certainly told you the story about the study that showed rats exhibiting altruism. In particular, if given a bunch of chocolate chips (which rats love), they will generally save some of them for another rat that is in another cage. But then I found out something unfortunate. All the females rats did this. But only 30% of the male rats did it. The other 70% of the male rats ate all the chocolate chips. I mean, rats don’t have to be altruistic. Having a selfish rat as a pet is perfectly fine because rats are awesome regardless.

But ever since learning that, I think about it every time a man does a horrible thing. It’s really not hard to conclude that 70% of men are selfish jerks. This does go along with my general sampling of male behavior. The one place that it breaks down is in that I also think about 30% of women are jerks. But I should be clear, because I’m implying that there are certain people who are just jerks. Well, sure: some are. But mostly, I think it is that 70% of the time, any given man is a jerk. Certainly I am not perfect. But the point is that because of the mix of chemicals swimming around in our bodies, women really are better then men.

Well, I was over on We Hunted the Mammoth. Why do I do that? It just upsets me. When I say that men tend to be jerks, I’m talking on the small scale. I’m talking about them doing things that I can see myself doing — in many case have done. But it’s nothing too bad. A trip to We Hunted the Mammoth is the gender politics equivalent of putting on NAZI Death concentration camps Germany August 28 1945. It’s really upsetting. But given that Nazis are mostly gone and MRAs are still around, very vocal, and I think, dangerous, it is necessary.

But what’s sad is Richard Dawkins is — relatives to the MRAs — reasonable. He even calls himself a “feminist,” even though he seems to think that as long as women somewhere are having forced clitorectomy, women elsewhere can’t complain about anything.

So yesterday, David Futrelle offerred up, Richard Dawkins, Lindy West, and the Cartoon Video of Great Hatefulness. It is about Richard Dawkins, because Dawkins was recently in a fight that is just like so many others that he’s been in. And that means in many ways it hardly is worth writing about. It’s more the backstory that bothers me. But before I get to that, allow me one sort parenthetical paragraph.

(What’s with the MRAs? Do they think people mistake them for “real men” or something? My direct experience with them is that they are a bunch of man-boys who are mostly just upset because they can’t get dates. It really is all about scapegoating women. I suppose for the older ones, it is about all the other things in their lives that suck. But the younger ones clearly need girlfriends — which they won’t get because they are such misogynists. I would be willing to provide training for the young ones, though. I’m no Don Juan, but it really isn’t that hard to get women to like you. Hint: don’t be an MRA.)

There is a woman named Chanty Binx who made the mistake of yelling at some MRAs on video. This went viral, at least through the Mammoth community. Which led to the usual rape and other violence threats. And then came a video that equated fundamentalist Islamists with feminists. The feminist in the video was a caricature of Binx. Richard Dawkins then tweeted out a link to the video saying that he didn’t think all feminists were like this but some where.

Ultimately, Dawkins backed down. But his back-down position I find truly repugnant. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you read Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. What Richard Dawkins is pushing as a good thing in fact destroys lives. So apparently, as a society, we should allow absolutely anything so long as it doesn’t threaten violence. This is beyond absurd. Has Dawkins never heard of bullying? It very often has nothing to do with violence or threats thereof.

But what’s sad is Richard Dawkins is — relative to the MRAs — reasonable. He even calls himself a “feminist,” even though he seems to think that as long as women somewhere are having forced clitorectomies, women elsewhere can’t complain about anything. And this is, remember, one of our greatest scientists. I guess we can just place him next to William Shockley. But it does remind me of all the New Atheist nonsense of, “I only believe things I have evidence for!” I’m sure that Dawkins and Shockley would claim the same thing.

Regardless: rats. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are not very different from us. I’m not against men. My rat was a male and he was wonderful. But we men tend to be worse than women. And at our very worst, we are terrible.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

20 thoughts on “Rats (and Richard Dawkins) Making Me Hate Men

  1. Dawkins also has no sense of statute of limitations-there needs to be a time to say “yeah, that was then. Who cares now?” But he acted as if it happened last week not three years ago.

    • I didn’t mean for the article to be about Dawkins, because he’s just so predictably idiotic about this stuff. But it would have taken a lot of time to do what needed to be done. Anyway, you can just read David Futrelle — who really is fantastic. It’s good that you girls have a man to defend you! (If this were twitter, I’d insert a dozen smiley faces here.)

      • I know Frank, I am the one who pointed you in his direction. I am friends (ish) with David so see these articles as soon as he posts on Facebook. What is depressing is he has been doing this for six years and he still can post daily.
        I miss the Manboobz days though. Especially after I found my original tee shirts recently.

        • I read the about page. I thought it was funny as hell. Well, parts of it. I’m sure I knew about the site before you. It’s a favorite of many other sites I’m glued to. But it does seem like I never wrote about it before you started talking about it.

          BTW: I knew exactly why he titled the site that. I know how a lot of those guys think. It’s very libertarian. They imagine these long ago “natural” pasts that just so happen never to have existed. It’s like these guys learned anthropology from Tarzan movies.

          • It isn’t on your blog roll and you hadn’t mentioned it so…

            I can’t remember if it was a troll or a found post that had an MRA ranting about us ladies not being sufficiently grateful men hunted back in the day. It has been a long time since I regularly read it and commented. I got tired of trying to figure out how to comment and honestly, the community is not very inclusive of non-regulars.

            • Yeah, I checked and I had never written about the site before. But a big source for me is LGM, which I think you read regularly too.

              As for the blog roll: I want to change the whole sidebar. I’d like to do a page with the regular things I read. But the truth is that I’m not regular with anything that isn’t on my RSS feed. And a lot of sites just don’t do their RSS feeds properly. Interestingly: New Republic — owned by Facebook man-boy Chris Hughes — does a rotten job (after doing a good job in years past).

              • More or less on LGM…if I am too lazy to turn on the laptop I tend to not read it. Since school has started up again, I am probably going to read more regularly.

                • It’s weirdly inconsistent because different writers disappear for long periods of time. I think it is best in the summer when the academics aren’t teaching.

                  • Probably, since SEK moved over to Salonthey have brought on new people and they are nice enough.

                    I try to keep up but for the most part, I don’t have the time or interest anymore. So your blog and about five websites are where I go for news and conversation. And that joke I made on twitter today was funny but did I get even a rolled eye? No! :D

                    • Sorry. I only just saw it. The 10 hours have been a nightmare at work.

                      It used to be that SEK would post links to his Salon articles on LGM. I liked that. But too much of LGM is too inside. I often don’t know what they are talking about.

            • Do archaeologists/anthropologists think hunting was all that important, anymore? Last I checked, consensus seemed to suggest gathering plants & such was more important to the survival of pre-agricultural people. Hunting was a way for men to show off. Hard to know these things, of course.

              • They don’t but the MRA harkens back to the golden era of American life of the 1950s and that is the golden era of TV 1950s where women knew their place. A surprising amount of anthropology according to Rosalind Miles in Who Cooked the Last Supper was patterned on the same thing.

  2. Wow, Dawkins. Talk about asshole. “Not all feminists are like this.” Neither are all plumbers or point guards. What the hell does “not all” mean?

    Basically, here’s what I get. Dawkins is ideologically locked into the notion that Islamic violence has no cause but religion, so he has to defend over and over his mantra about how we need to “mock/ridicule” things but anyone who commits violence or makes death threats is bad. How this logic of Rudeness=Intellectual Bravery has taken off in the worst way amazes me.

    No argument here on the 70/30 split of male/female behavior. But I wonder if that’s the case in many other species. As you know, there are very aggressive, combative apes and many lovely ones, like bonobos. Are bonobo males jerks? I dunno. Sometimes I wonder if we headed down the wrong evolutionary path. Scratch that; I know we did.

    • But if you pressed Dawkins, he would give you the same line that we got from Logicked — because they are part of the same movement. He would claim that of course he doesn’t think that it is just the religion. But where are the tirades about economics and autocracies? Nowhere. He’s only interested in talking about that one thing. I have come to wonder if the New Atheist movement isn’t a direct response to 9/11. The End of Faith came out in 2004 and that really is what started the New Atheism. Now I get that there are a lot of people who consider themselves New Atheists who aren’t like this. I used to think of myself as a New Atheist. But you look at the big players (especially Harris and Hitchens) and you look at the timing… It’s hard to escape.

      What continues to amaze me is how many liberals hold up Harris and Hitchens as heroes. Yes, they were both great in some things. But taken in their totality, they are both neocons. Other than being atheists, I don’t see how they differ from George W Bush.

      • And a a very specific response to the WTC attacks at that; the “they hate us for our freedoms” mantra. Which — if it were remotely true — I would be on board with. But it’s been proven wrong, time and time again. What was that post you did the other day about the necessity of admitting when we are wrong?

        (And — to get back to the original post — while both men and women will occasionally bare teeth to prove themselves right, isn’t it men who are more likely to puff their chests and beat an argument into the ground? In my experience, while both genders do this, men are more likely to do it over stupid shit than women are.)

        It’s become this strange defense of rudeness towards all Muslims. Huh? What? Wasn’t old-school irreverence towards religion directed against, you know, fundamentalist idiocy? Inviting moderate or passive religious believers to laugh at extremism as well? When did that end?

        And isn’t that how you get people to become atheists? If “Holy Grail” had mocked stupid ignorant idiots who took Communion because they kinda sorta believed in Catholicism, and said they were all worthless shits, I would have recoiled in horror when I snuck over to see it at a friend’s house at 12. Instead, I laughed at the monks beating their heads with sacred tablets and the “Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch.”

        If Dawkins wasn’t a dick, he could have used, say, clips from “Portlandia” satirizing a super-feminist bookstore that’s pretty silly. And that’s all it satirizes — silliness — because feminism is not remotely a threat to men. Silly Portland feminists are a threat to no-one. But apparently Dawkins saw more “political correctness!”

        • I have a Muslim friend who is incredibly liberal. I think he’s a Muslim just to piss people off, because he isn’t culturally Muslim. And he’s been Muslim since long before 9/11. Anyway, he always makes me think of a Woody Allen joke, “We were married by a reformed rabbi — a very reformed rabbi — a Nazi.”

          Yeah, I’m big into beating things into the ground. It depends upon how much energy I have.

  3. Old memories! Back in the late 1970s, I did a term paper about the circa 1970 race-IQ controversy spearheaded by Shockley and Arthur Jensen. I wasn’t (and still am not) smart enough to understand Jensen’s statistical analyses. And then the same controversy erupted in the next generation with Murray.

    • I don’t think it ever goes away. It will get a burst of publicity and then everyone will get embarrassed by it. And then, people forget the embarrassment, and Andrew Sullivan whips it up again.

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