Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Sexism and SOIFdom

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-21

Hat-tipping and riffing on Robert Merkel at LP, it seems no wonder that Slaves Of Imaginary Friends (SOIFs, pun with serf intended) tend to the "conservative" view that women should be homemakers, and furthermore, that if we want a society improved by rational policy, at least a couple of generations of males should be primary care-givers, particularly during the years when vulnerable brains can be poisoned, resistant to the idea of evidence-based action.

With 4 women as SOIFs for every 3 male SOIFs, and with more women as primary care-givers, the next generation is pushed into becoming SOIFs.  If this continues, we are doomed.  This depressing statistic may be related to either the gender gap in students and practitioners of the hard sciences (cause, effect, or self-amplifying feedback loop), and may also be related to the traditional and unfortunate low status of women in conservative societies, mirroring the popularity of early Xtianity among slaves.

Does it also reflect the popularity of fad diets, the relative frequencies of body images contrary to reason and evidence?  The resistance to accepting evidence in these things shares much in common with SOIFdom.

With resistance to evidence-based belief unlikely to help the acceptance of good long-term policy (especially if there are touchy-feeling problems in the short term), it seems that something must be done to break this dangerous cycle of a population of SOIF women raising kids and acting as role-models for the next generation of SOIF child-raisers.

Perhaps the SOIFdom of the bulk of the population can only be achieved by more well-educated humanist males pushing for roles as primary care-givers – especially of daughters.  A single generation with a majority of humanist househusbands over theist housewives might make enough of a difference, and enough boys would follow their dads, and grow up to appreciate the advantages of a rational education and the joys of being a primary caregiver.

As a single father, I’ve done my bit, immunizing my daughter against superstition, as well as my grandson directly and by proxy.  Admittedly, it was a course I had accepted rather than pursued, but it certainly opened my eyes to the opportunities for a source of satisfaction in life to which many males are unfortunately unaware.

Of course, if a rational female stoops to pair up with a SOIF male, then I’d rather that female be the main teacher of impressionable minds.

The other implication is that if you do know a girl irrecoverably poisoned with SOIFdom, then the least-worst option is to encourage that girl to be Roman Catholic and join a nunnery rather than be a breeder.

I’ll admit, in an advanced rational society, I believe that there would be no gender gap in primary care-givers, in hard-science education, and in secular humanism versus SOIFdom.

And even if I’m wrong in the idea that more humanist males should push for the advancement of society by being the ones raising children, pushing their theist female partners out into the rat-race, I’m sure that any males who do make such a choice will end up happy about it.

After all, how many scientifically-educated folk would simply love to have the job of being a presenter of "The Curiosity Show" (in Oz) or "" (in the US) if only for an audience of one?  (I really enjoyed inviting my kid’s primary-school pals over to do things like open up a cow’s heart to see how the valves work or pull out my skeleton to show why shoulders and knees dislocate more than hips and elbows.)

See Also

  • "We believe all sorts of weird stuff" – Robert Merkel at Larvatus Prodeo (2009-12-21)
  • The two Fairfax articles that inspired Robert:
  • Another thought on evolving a better society: encouraging faith healders, homeopaths, etc, discussed in "Dawkins should promote quackery" (2008-05-12)
  • Dawkins and Denton tonight (after I wrote this) started discussing the "setup of counter-reality view of the world that might predispose them to religion" in households with things like Santa Clauses and Tooth Fairies.  In that, again, I’m innocent.  I never volunteered anything about such friends recognized as imaginary, I never lied, but I never said "Santa doesn’t exist".  Mind you, I did raise issues like "If Santa stopped to eat all the bickies and milk left for him by all the children in the world, I don’t think there’d be time to delivery presents to all the children of the world" when I suspected my daughter was ready to start thinking about the lies others were comfortable telling her.


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