On 17 September I wrote the first in a series of posts analysing recent media misrepresentations of the atheist movement, and the role of PZ Myers in the culture of demonising people. I highlighted the work being done internationally by the global atheist movement. On 3 October PZ alleged that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists because some people who comment on my blog also post on another website. This is a very serious false allegation.

While PZ has not written about my recent analysis of the atheist movement on his own blog, he has made comments about it on other blogs and has also tweeted about it. He has in sequence laughed it off, dismissed it, cherry-picked from it, misrepresented it, evaded it, called it a circle-jerk, engaged in whataboutery, said that he likes me and then changed his mind about that, before finally crossing the line into making a seriously defamatory smear.

  • His first response was to laugh off what I wrote, saying that he was pleased to be witch of the week, oh joy!
  • His second response was to dismiss what I wrote, saying that he had ignored my previous email and that he didn’t care that I was accusing him of being rude.
  • His third response was to cherry-pick from what I wrote, falsely implying that the focus of my concerns was one of his allegations rather than his pattern of behaviour.
  • His fourth response was to misrepresent what I wrote, falsely suggesting that I said European atheists are completely free of sexism and racism and that Richard Dawkins is American.
  • His fifth response was to evade the issue, saying that he couldn’t respond to what I had written as it was incoherent.
  • His sixth response was to suggest that Jerry Coyne and I were engaged in a circle-jerk of citing each other’s articles.
  • His seventh response was to engage in whataboutery, by asking how his behaviour excuses bad actions on the other side.
  • His eighth response was to say that he likes me and doesn’t like the demonisation of me by commenters on Ophelia’s blog, but he thinks that I am wrong.
  • His ninth response was to seemingly withdraw his eighth response, accepting that he is a terrible judge of character, and telling all of his ‘friends’ to go away so that he can punch himself in the face instead.
  • His tenth response was to allege that I am defending and providing a haven for rapists, and that the evidence was that some people who comment on my blog also post on another website.

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On Sunday I debated science versus miracles with Professor David Wilkinson, former astrophysicist now theologian, and Dr Michael Moran, one of the medical investigation committee for miracles at Lourdes. This was on William Crawley’s last episode as host of Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster.

Among other things, I raised the offer by Pope Benedict of free indulgences to vulnerable people who visited Lourdes, and the choices that we have to make on those issues where science and faith are telling us contradictory things.


I have just had the following discussion on Twitter with Latsot, an occasional guest blogger on FreeThought Blogs and one of the gentlemen who have falsely accused me of defending rapists. It illustrates the difficulty of communicating reasonably with the people making these false allegations.

The smear was initiated by PZ Myers, a cofounder of FreeThought Blogs, who has repeatedly failed to substantiate his allegation that I defend and provide a haven for rapists and that the evidence for this is that some people who post on another website also comment on my blog.

For context, here is a previous conversation that I had with Latsot, during which he withdrew and apologised for making the allegation, before later repeating the allegation and describing his own apology as a not-pology. Latsot then declined to discuss his withdrawal of his apology on Twitter, saying that he would answer questions about it on his blog.

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Atheist Ireland’s achievements in 2014

by Michael Nugent on October 27, 2014

Atheist Ireland had a very busy and successful 2014, with breakthroughs in international lobbying at the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the OSCE annual human rights meeting; ongoing national lobbying on secular education and healthcare as well as on laws including blasphemy and the Civil Registration Act; plus strong organisational, social and political development at regional level and upgrades to our website.

This video covers some of these achievements, as reported to the 2014 AGM on 25 October, by Chairperson Michael Nugent, Human Rights Officer Jane Donnelly, Regional Officer Kevin Sheehan, Dublin Chairperson Ashling O’Brien, Cavan Monaghan Chairperson John Hamill, North West Committee Member Kelvin O’Connor, Secretary Helen O’Shea and Finance Officer Sean O’Shea.

You can read a more complete review of our year’s work here.

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My late wife Anne Holliday’s final project – see RTE documentary this Thursday on leaving your body to medical science

October 26, 2014

When my wife Anne Holliday died three years ago, she donated her body to Trinity College Medical School. This Thursday and next Thursday, RTE is showing a documentary titled A Parting Gift, which follows a year in the life of medical students learning from anatomical donations, including Anne’s, at Trinity College. Gabrielle Monaghan has previewed […]

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Is there a god? My talk with Hindu Swami Purnananda at UCD Philosophy Society

October 26, 2014

This is my full discussion with Hindu Swami Purnananda at University College Dublin Philosophy Society. Swami Purnananda is also a member of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum. Apologies for poor image quality.

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Is there a god? Extract from my talk with Hindu Swami Purnananda at UCD Philosophy Society

October 23, 2014

This is an extract from my discussion with Hindu Swami Purnananda at University College Dublin Philosophy Society. Swami Purnananda is also a member of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum. This was my first time publicly discussing god with a Hindu. Apologies for poor image quality. Full discussion online later.

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Demythologising the rifts part 1 – the women in atheism panel at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin

October 20, 2014

The rifts in recent years between some mostly American atheist and skeptic bloggers, that have recently been misrepresented as affecting the atheist movement globally, can be dated to events arising from the 2011 World Atheist Convention in Dublin, organised by Atheist Ireland. Some mythologies have since evolved about some of those events, and I am […]

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The Atheist Ireland AGM is on Saturday. Here’s a review of our political work and breakthroughs during the past year

October 19, 2014

The 2014 Atheist Ireland AGM and public meeting will take place next Saturday, 25 October, in Wynnes Hotel in Abbey Street, Dublin. We have had a very busy political year since our last AGM, with some major breakthroughs at the UN Human Rights Committee and the Government finally announcing a referendum next year to remove […]

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Thank you to Latsot for apologising for alleging that I defend rapists. PZ Myers, can you please also apologise?

October 17, 2014

Update: Latsot has now repeated on his blog his allegation that I defend rapists, writing “This is what I mean when I say that Michael Nugent defends rapists. It’s what I always meant. I stand by it. I didn’t apologise for that and I don’t apologise for it now.” He has written of his previous […]

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