|A Measured Response|
|Opinion - Global Warning|
|Lisa Jain Thompson|
|Sunday, 12 February 2012 09:00|
Washington, DC, USA. We have grown accustomed to hearing gunfire in the streets. Casually launched personal attacks are routine in the half-civilized, lawless existence that is the internet.
Rather than some shiny exemplar of modernity, the internet is more like a sprawling jumbled mass of huts, tents, cabins and saloons. A small town; in many ways, a very strange small town.
The internet is a multiverse of discussion broadly tolerant of those who conform to group guidelines while being angrily intolerant of someone else’s true belief. Watchwords: the internet and the people who use it are Still Under Construction.
On a World Wide Web overflowing with emotionally adolescent boys and men, freedom of speech often means the freedom to shout down dissent. [N1] Whether verbally attempting to bullying others in the media or physically occupying the public street, often the first reaction of young human males when faced with a personal obstacle is a direct, frontal assault on that obstacle, person, or regulation.
They want what they want when they want it.
All of us, each and every one, are lost in Tombstone with nary an Earp brother present to take care of the red sashed Cowboys. There is no Raylan Givens every ready to put down the bad guys. It is every website for itself and women need not apply. The punks ride rough shod over the internet.
Periodically a gang of hooligans ride into town and attempted to shut down TS-Si. They could be disappointed porn purveyors. Sometimes a band of crossdressers unites against us. At other times the radical left determines that TS-Si is not sufficiently conforming to their socially approved political dogma. Sometimes it is just a bunch of religious fanatics who believe we are, at best, blasphemers and, at the worst, minions of Satan, if not Satan herself.
Science and reason can attract strange enemies. In the mid-nineties, when I was busy writing slash fiction that dealt with Xena Warrior Princess, I understood why the stories (and my website) were on multiple governmental forbidden lists. The United Arab Emirates, for example. At least I knew why religious conservatives were upset when I speculated that Xena and Gabrielle were engaged in quite personal behavior. Same Sex Loving was even more upsetting to the extremely straight and narrow than it is now.
But TS-Si writes primarily about science and subjects with reasoned research support. We habitually refrain from taking a political position that conforms to the ideological dictates of either Left or Right. Neither do we write polemics against any one religious belief. In fact, we strongly support freedom of conscience, including religious beliefs and practice. We have published and defended people with views deemed unpopular by someone somewhere.
I write as an American Catholic Agnostic trained by nuns and Christian Brothers to study the Christian scriptures with an open, questioning mind. And I am certainly not a foaming atheist who goes out of her way to attack religious belief.
From the start, a basic tenet of TS-Si is that you may believe what you want to believe (we respect your belief but basically we just don’t care much); we will not, however, abide any attempt to force science and reason into conformance with any one personal theology.
Free inquiry forms the foundation of any free society. Would that others would do unto us as we do to them.
We are routinely bemused when TS-Si is attacked with a denial of service. [N2] Even though our enemies are legion, they are normally widely scattered and they seldom have the skillset to launch an efficient attack on us. But it does happen and we must be prepared for the inevitable. Build a web site and they will come.
Whether it is a crossdresser who is upset that we refuse membership in the great mislabeled transgender umbrella or a religious true believer who thinks they speak for God, one of them eventually will launch an attack. The blogs are aflame with those who would silence us. At times the Radical Radical Feminists are all astir, angry in their belief that we believe in the gender binary [N3], which they conflate with sex (which they do not understand either), and do not accept the non-science of academic gender theory.
We continue to worry about the quality of current university scholarship if the Radical Radical Feminists are an example of cutting edge intellectualism. Needless to say: they too have attacked us.
Religious conservatives seldom attack us outright (they are puzzled that our defense of the human sexual binary includes an understanding of the intersex exception), but they do keep up with our science articles. Recently, a politico-religious group launched a spectacularly unsuccessful denial of service attack. They were upset with something that appeared on TS-Si. Good for them. They can remain upset with us, if it makes them feel better. We are not here to provide comfort, however, or religious counseling. We cannot absolve them of their sins.
When the science has challenged our own beliefs, we have updated them to align with the science. We do not deny the science or change it to agree with any of our pre-held beliefs. Science wins every time, no matter how many rice bowls we upset.
As for those denial of service attempts: we won't be intimidated, stopped, or shut down. Not today, not tomorrow. We are right here and are not going away.
Warning: Here Be Science.
Notes[N1] Back when we were cool, the World Wide Web was what we all called the internet. Before that, we were underground.
[N2] A denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is a blunt force attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users. Although the means to carry out, motives for, and targets of a DoS attack may vary, it generally consists of the concerted efforts of a person, or multiple people to prevent an Internet site or service from functioning efficiently or at all, temporarily or indefinitely. -- Adapted from Wikipedia.
[N3] To those in the know who even care to know, the RadFems.
[N4] Christian Bible, Genesis, King James Revised.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 16:31|