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Old 08-26-2013, 04:27 PM
 
354 posts, read 245,977 times
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Quote:
I like astrology. It's entertainment. It's amusing, fun.
I'll bet though, if we took a survey, there would be more women than men who actually take astrology seriously (more than entertainment). I'd also wager that more women than men think chiropractory is an actual medical science, whereas it's nothing more than pseudo-scientific nonsense designed to fleece the gullible out of their money, or worse does actual harm. Do more women than men believe in ghosts?

Poll: Majority Believe In Ghosts - CBS News
This poll shows 38 percent of men do, while 56 percent of women do.

These conjectures are based on first-hand experience with the women in my family who will fall for just about anything without even an iota of critical thought. And they'll continue doing this no matter how much data or reason I supply them with to the contrary. They'll even claim outright they don't want to think about it! Does this mean there is a baseline difference between how the sexes process information? I still suspect there is and that women are typically (certainly not all) more susceptible to what we might call "spiritual or supernatural reasoning". This could be considered a positive or negative depending on what side of the natural/supernatural debate you rest.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:51 PM
 
40,098 posts, read 26,761,498 times
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Default Why aren't there more Women Atheists?

Women tend to be more balanced in the use of their brain. Men are predominately left-brain. The more balanced use of the brain by women gives them access to a more holistic view of reality. Their greater right brain sensitivity affords them a more balanced view of things with less rational underpinnings than the dominant left brain men. "There are more things in this world, Horatio . . . ".
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:57 PM
 
354 posts, read 245,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
Women tend to be more balanced in the use of their brain. Men are predominately left-brain. The more balanced use of the brain by women gives them access to a more holistic view of reality. Their greater right brain sensitivity affords them a more balanced view of things with less rational underpinnings than the dominant left brain men. "There are more things in this world, Horatio . . . ".
Yes, that's a very nice of way of saying it. Emotions are evenly balanced in the female brain while the male brain seems to separate emotions to one region only, which just happens to be the opposite side responsible for speech (I'd imagine this region is responsible for analytical processing as well).
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Old 08-26-2013, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
30,884 posts, read 31,780,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTaTHEIST View Post
I'll bet though, if we took a survey, there would be more women than men who actually take astrology seriously (more than entertainment). I'd also wager that more women than men think chiropractory is an actual medical science, whereas it's nothing more than pseudo-scientific nonsense designed to fleece the gullible out of their money, or worse does actual harm. Do more women than men believe in ghosts?

Poll: Majority Believe In Ghosts - CBS News
This poll shows 38 percent of men do, while 56 percent of women do.

These conjectures are based on first-hand experience with the women in my family who will fall for just about anything without even an iota of critical thought. And they'll continue doing this no matter how much data or reason I supply them with to the contrary. They'll even claim outright they don't want to think about it! Does this mean there is a baseline difference between how the sexes process information? I still suspect there is and that women are typically (certainly not all) more susceptible to what we might call "spiritual or supernatural reasoning". This could be considered a positive or negative depending on what side of the natural/supernatural debate you rest.
I agree, as I have seen the same in my family.
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:17 PM
 
7,112 posts, read 9,354,537 times
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A few thoughts on this great question:

1) People turn to religion more when they feel out of control of their lives. Women are more likely to feel that way because they have so much on them. They are raising the kids, supporting the household, dealing with work politics and low wages and you name it, often at the mercy of a welfare system or ex partner or stalker making their lives harder. There are a lot fewer men in that position, and the ones I know do go to church.

2) Women are usually in charge of raising the kids, and mosty of the more sensible churches give a ready-made moral framework for them to support and reinforce rather than teach solo -- the nuns will handle the religion classes and I can cook dinner, that type of thing.

3) It's harder and harder to meet people & build good support systems after you leave school -- you have your job, your block association and your family. Church adds a big chunk of support to people who have a certain set of beliefs, and there's the safety factor that others you meet there will have similar beliefs, or at least be seriously considering them.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,277,216 times
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Atheism has a problem with diversity, period. Women and persons of color are the two glaring examples of marginalized groups that tend to stay away from the atheist movement. (However, I will not address race issues as I'm not qualified) All this spouting off about supposed great biological differences between men and women, gender essentialism, is just a way to ignore the real problems we face within our movement. Rephrase the sentence that 'women are less analytical then men' to 'latinos are less analytical than whites' and most people will immediately spot the problem with that idea.

Sure, there are studies that show some differences between men and women. However, and this is often ignored by those that latch onto gender essentialism, the variations between men and women are usually smaller than the variations among men of the same group and women of the same group. Read that sentence again, slowly. These variations are not anymore significant than the differences we see among all individuals. These variations do not explain why women are not participating in the atheist movement.

Atheism has a culture problem. And, really, it's not that surprising given that sexism is rampant in our society as a whole. We are a microcosm of that society. Step off this forum for awhile, seek out some new blogs and communities, and you'll find that the sexism/rape culture debate had been raging in the atheist community for a few years now. I haven't posted to city data for a few years as I've been involved in some of these other communities. It's ugly and disheartening to see otherwise rational atheists defend and spout the same ideas (just like we've seen in this thread) that harm women.

Do you want more women in atheism? You can start by not pushing the idea that women are so different than men that atheism isn't really for us. Educate yourself about women's issues and gain an understanding of how to make the atheist community more welcoming to women.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,091,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia160 View Post
Do you want more women in atheism? You can start by not pushing the idea that women are so different than men that atheism isn't really for us. Educate yourself about women's issues and gain an understanding of how to make the atheist community more welcoming to women.
I am a software developer and there is a dearth of women in my field, too. The parallels might be instructive.

In the early days of computing (and I mean early -- 1940's, early 1950's) there was actually a dearth of men in the field and women were favored for their precision and attention to detail. COBOL, one of the first high level programming languages, was invented by a woman, Grace Hopper (also a Navy rear admiral and holder of a Defense Distinguished Service Medal). She is also the originator of the term "bug".

As near as I can tell, at some point men figured out the prestige and income potential and muscled women out. Almost overnight, they were considered too subjective and illogical to do a good job.

It wasn't like there was a meeting of a secret cabal in a smoke filled room somewhere. It just kind of happened. It probably reflected that society already had the attitude that women should only get the boring, undesirable jobs; once software development was seen as exciting and interesting and rewarding work, and the work of coders was seen less as low level gruntwork and began to be understood as a craft, society quit issuing women a free pass on this particular profession.

Today there are still parts of my profession that are 90% - 95% male. I have been in the field for thirty years and encountered exactly two women in all those years.

The best assessments I've read on the topic put most of the blame on bias in the education system that steers girls away from math and science generally, but this can't completely explain why it's especially bad in software development.

I think what it comes down to, is a version of the Old Boy's Network. For young people entering the profession it's all about foosball tournaments and round the clock coding with pizza and Jolt Cola. It's geeky boys who don't know what to do with girls, even geeky ones. So they exclude, without even really conscious intent. It's very juvenile. They eventually grow up but by then most of the women have been selected out. They aren't comfortable in the kinds of work environments we create for them.

Some companies are working hard on this. They are disproportionately recruiting women. It's rapidly changing. Still, I can't convince my stepdaughter to pursue a combined economics / information technology major; it's like talking to a brick wall. Her attitude is, I don't understand it, why would I do something like that.Too bad; we could use a lot of kids like her to displace some of the "empty suits" in management.

So I think Maia is correct, any group where women are underrepresented needs to be looking at what the turnoff is for women. There is no group I can think of where women would be inherently unsuited to contribute just as effectively as men. They might have a different style, a different emphasis, but not a wrong or unworkable one.

A problem for us is we aren't really a "group" in the ordinary sense. We aren't joiners by nature and only a minority of atheists join together for common cause such as political action. We probably never will be primarily about community and mutual support, as we are far too diverse -- we're united only by a disbelief in gods.

Maybe this is the turnoff for women -- there's no "there" there. I do note that my wife, although a lifelong unbeliever, considers atheism irrelevant, she doesn't really want to think about it that much and spend time labeling herself, arguing about it or investing ego in it. It seems geeky and overblown to her. She knows what her (dis)beliefs are and is more interested in Tai Chi class and friendships and community service than in promoting something as personal as metaphysics. If she found a cause she loved it would not matter to her that it had religious connections unless they were some kind of strident formalism that would quash getting things done.

Just some random thoughts. I don't pretend to have the whole answer.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Western NC
651 posts, read 1,277,216 times
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Great post, mordant.

Exclusion of women from academic/lucrative fields is all too common. Men and women are conditioned by our culture to view ourselves a certain way. Men are usually taught that they are innately suited for desirable jobs and women are not. As a result, men dominate these fields and often create an environment that is unwelcoming for women that dare to try to enter the boy's club. When women complain about lack of representation, we're again told that we're unsuited for the field because 'biology' and that we're 'oversensitive' to the sexist atmosphere.

The same thing has happened in the atheist community. And, there is a community. Local groups, such as one that I run in my area, are popping up all over. On the national level, there are conferences and we can't discount the internet community. Within the local atheist community, I've personally experienced sexual harassment. From comments on my breasts to unwanted touching, I've been made to feel uncomfortable within my own group. Of course, these issues were addressed but it was stressful and unpleasant.

At the national conference level, the atheist community has been in denial about sexual harassment and assaults happening at the conferences. Bitter fights have broken out over the simple implementation of sexual harassment policies and sexist rationalizations are used to justify the minority of women speakers at conferences. (Some of this has gotten better in the past year with the focus are better representing women on the panels and harassment policies finally being implemented)

See DJ Grothe's, president of JREF, attitude regarding sexual harassment at TAM and Micheal Shermer's comment that women don't speak about atheism because,

Its who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, whos intellectually active about it; you know, its more of a guy thing.

See Richard Dawkins discount western women's experiences with sexism as not important as it doesn't reach the level of abuse that Muslim women experience in his infamous "Dear Muslima" letter. Look up the numerous death and rape threats, stalking and abuse that female atheist bloggers are subjected to, from fellow atheists, for daring to shed light on these problems.

Sexism is alive and well within the atheist community. It's really not surprising that women are turned off.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:42 PM
 
354 posts, read 245,977 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maia160
You can start by not pushing the idea that women are so different than men that atheism isn't really for us.
I'm suggesting the way the female brain processes information makes it more difficult for them to analyze issues that are typically steeped in emotionalism (god belief in this case) without emotions effecting the process more (perhaps much more) significantly than it does in men.

BTW, I'd suggest atheism (not being a theist) is for everyone Women and men, young and old, black, white, yellow and green (for ET). I would not however attempt to hide a potential truth to accomplish this goal.


Quote:
Educate yourself about women's issues and gain an understanding of how to make the atheist community more welcoming to women.
If there are studies that indicate my above assumption is wrong I would love to have you list them here so I can educate myself more on this issue. If my assumption is correct, then there's little I can do to change this innate trait. If correct, I suppose not telling the truth would be the only way to accomplish this and that would only be if I really cared about the "atheist community", which I'm not sure I actually do.

Also, if it's true women innately involve emotion much more significantly in analytical processing, understanding this would be a necessary first step to overcoming it (if you view it as problematic). IF this is an innate trait, burying your head in the proverbial sand will not make it go away.

Last edited by NOTaTHEIST; 09-05-2013 at 04:48 PM..
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
6,854 posts, read 11,128,311 times
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I tend to doubt that there are more male atheists than female. The vast majority of atheists just don't care to proclaim their religious or anti-religious views and therefore don't get counted in any statistics. You don't have to join anything to be an atheist.

I certainly don't subscribe to the "women are more emotional" viewpoint.

Let's not forget that the president of the American Atheists was a woman and that Madelyn Murray O'Hare, a very famous atheist, was quite a mover and shaker.
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