“Hell No, We Won’t Go!”

Guest post by billybob

Many years ago in Ontario, when people went to a bar, there were two doors one for men and one for women. No more do you see the repugnant signs separating the sexes. Times have changed but not always for the better. A Canadian Atheist post “God: Fact or Fiction” is an advertisement for a debate organized by an Islamic group to discuss the possibility of a god existing.

I was going to attend, but after finding out that there will be segregated seating available for women who choose to sit there, I say, “Hell No I Won’t Go!” Apparently segregation is alive and well in Ontario. We have gone back fifty years, maybe more. Religion is a pestilence; unfortunately, it can’t be cured by antibiotics.

If you are one those of you who say the women have free choice and can wear any clothes and sit where they want, I need you to try something at your next few social events or at work:

  • don’t comb your hair
  • wear different coloured socks
  • don’t bother making sure your clothes are not dishevelled
  • eat with your hands
  • lick your plate
  • pick up the food that fell on your clothes and eat it
  • double dip

None of the above behaviours are illegal; it is your free choice to do them, but you won’t will you! You fear the social repercussions and you fear being shunned. Even as an experiment the damage would be so severe you cannot risk it. If out of fear of being socially ostracised you won’t try the above mentioned behaviour, how can you expect women living in a social group that requires wearing certain clothing and sitting only with those of the same gender to ignore their social constraints, their survival? Are you a hypocrite?

We are about as free to make any choice as the earth is free to stop orbiting the sun. Our individual success within our society is based on following social constraints. Failing to do so would lead to serious social repercussions. Your very survival depends on meeting social norms.

Why does women being equal matter? If women and gays have equality, then I will have equality, and it is my selfish desire to not be under the thumb of some theocrat.

17 thoughts on ““Hell No, We Won’t Go!”

  1. I’m going to nitpick. There was no woman’s door. One door was marked Men and the other Ladies and Escorts.

  2. I dunno, I do all of that list day in day out, except the double dipping.

    That’s where I draw the line.

    There is another, slightly less violently aggressive line of interpretation which says a lot of the throwback to traditional norms are more a signal in the sense of semiotics, as an attempt to generate cohesion and even as a means of protest in the face of hugely numerous and epically tragic wholesale historically large scale mass slaughter going on in the Middle East right now, which is inescapably and quite obviously not generated wholly internally, in the least.

  3. I don’t even own a comb….

    And except for the last 3… That’s how I live.
    I’ve never even seen one person eat chicken wings with a fork.

    As to the last 3, I’ll take that as a challenge for the next time we drink beer.:-)

    Peer pressure is a real thing, and some people are more influenced by it.
    But so what. Freedom isn’t easy, and it sure ain’t free. You have to fight for it.
    But, you can’t fight, if you don’t show up.

    • In the case described above, how is showing up fighting or if someone shows up, how do he/she fight?

      • Showing up is the necessary condition.
        Boycotting is only effective, if others want/expect you there.
        Fighting… In this context is pointless rhetoric…
        But you also can’t engage in rational conversation or persuasion, if you’re at home sulking.

        • Creationists want to debate scientists to gain credibility, just being on the podium with them increases their credibility with a part of the population.

          By showing up an accepting that women will have separate seat I acquiesce to their misogyny.If no one else showed it would just be another religious meeting, no one outside their religion should go. Well maybe I am wrong here other misogynists like catholics and evangelical christians could go.

          • oops

            By showing up and accepting that women will have separate seating I acquiesce to their misogyny.

    • “I don’t even own a comb….
      And except for the last 3… That’s how I live.”

      And you wonder why no one ever calls you?

  4. A little disappointed to see that no one has even suggested boycotting this event due to the segregated seating. There is no sign of a discussion about taking *effective* measures.

    We could all take a lesson from physicist Dr. Lawrence Krauss. He famously refused to address an audience while they were segregated. As soon as the organizers agreed to desegregate the audience, he agreed to participate after all.

    He did that at the last minute, upon showing up to discover the segregation, thereby setting clear priorities.

    This time, no one has the problem of not knowing in advance. This time, problem can be fixed in advance, but only if it is insisted upon.

  5. Women have the option of separate seating, just like they have the option to go to women-only gyms. If they choose that, they have made a choice. You would be setting an example by showing up and sitting next to a woman. It might be a meaningless gesture, and the debate will no doubt be boring, but the opportunity to talk after the event.., and show that atheists exist… Costs nothing but time.

    • What a great idea. Will you be attending? Please let me know.

    • Joe this becoming a debate on free will, you seem to think that there is free will that is separate from physical reality. Do you think there is a soul or something similar that is not subject to causality?

      If so why do we not debate it as I do not think free will exists?

      • Free will demands causality, you cannot claim you have made a choice for x, if X happening was random. The determinism issue is a red herring based on a religious understanding of free will. Its main function in religion was blaming people for sin. So it’s a matter of free will being defined poorly. A more modern Understanding of free will necessitates that we stop thinking in counter-factuals, ignore the nonsensical gods-eye-view, and focus on the understanding autonomy of the individual. Could a another person, in a similar situation, have chosen different? This avoids nonsensical talk of counterfactuals.

  6. An infographic about (the impossibility of) free will: http://breakingthefreewillillusion.com/real-possibilities-and-decisions/

    Re the OP:

    I do find it disturbing that
    1) David Rand of AFT is willing to speak at an event with gender-segregated seating
    2) The Ahmidiyya sect sponsoring this event often go to great effort to portray themselves as liberal/moderate in their approach to Islam, but evidently are not as liberal as they would like the public to think

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